Friday, July 12, 2013

Vast and Spurious

A Brief History Of Scandals

I have no doubt that millions and millions of Conservatives like @jaazee1 here consider the Affordable Care Act to be among the worst travesties in American history (alongside the IRS non-scandal, the Solyndra non-scandal, the Benghaaaazi non-scandal and -- just spitballing here -- the ACORN non-scandal and the New Black Panther Party non-scandal) not because that bastid Obama refused to wave his magic leadership wand and make the Congress pass a one-page "Medicare for All" bill, but rather because millions and millions of Conservatives like @jaazee1 still firmly believe that stealthily hidden among the bill's 2,000!pages! is a provision to kill @jaazee1's grandma in her sleep.

Which, on a human scale, is a tragedy: a tragedy that an American citizen alive in the 21st century and with fingertip access to the libraries and newspapers of the world has chosen to use the manifold miracles of radio, teevee, print and the internet to pack their skulls with so much shoutycrackers horseshit that no force on Earth will ever be able to uncrazy them.

Now multiply that tragedy by millions and give that mob real political power and you have some idea of the catastrophic scale of failure of American representative democracy that we are facing.  Especially now that scandals have become the tactical political nuke of choice for those whose lives and fortunes are dedicated to crippling Democratic presidents and scuttling their agendas.

Which anyone over a certain age who hasn't been politically comatose for the last couple if decades will recognize as just the latest and saddest chapter in an old, sad story:

Not that the NSA story is a fake scandal.  Not at all.  The FISA court is an embarrassment and as I have previously written, James Clapper should resign and should be under the care and feeding of an independent prosecutor.  On this point and many others, Mr. Greenwald and I are in complete accord.

But of course that cannot happen because everyone knows Eric Holder is something something henchman something something Chicago Thug something something Fast and Furious something something Benghaaaaaazi!

And even if Eric Holder did the honorable thing and resigned in disgrace and spent the rest of his life in sackcloth and ashes visiting right wing websites and personally apologizing to everyone whose freedumb he stole and gave to the Muslim Brotherhood, and President Obama were to appoint a new AG...even that would be insufficient because Obama himself is such a vast and terrible existential threat to America that anyone he would appoint would be one more variation of literal pure evil manifesting itself on the material plane.

Just like his nominee for Secretary of Labor:
Obama nominates left-wing radical and Eric Holder henchman Thomas Perez for Labor Secretary

Oh goodie, another left wing radical to be a cabinet position. After Hagel, Brennan and Jack Lew, Thomas Perez should sail through Senate confirmation with at least 80 votes. You know what will happen. Senate Republicans will talk a good game about not confirming Perez because of how radical left he is, and all the BS he pulled as Eric Holder’s henchman. Then they will just roll over and confirm him, as they did the previous three.
Or his dastardly attempt to subvert the normal, legal process of Republican congressional heroes suffocating various government departments out of existence in order to hand more or your freedums over to his Commie "labor" friends on the National Labor Relations Board:
Members of Congress tell McConnell to stop blocking NLRB nominees
July 10, 2013 10:00 AM
WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline) — U.S. Reps. Linda Sánchez and Joe Courtney on Tuesday joined a group of American workers in calling on Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to stop threatening to block a Senate vote on nominees to the National Labor Relations Board.

Currently, the board is at the center of a dispute over recess appointments.

Sánchez, D-Calif., and Courtney, D-Conn., on Tuesday also released a letter signed by more than 200 House Democrats demanding that McConnell, R-Ky., end the “ideological attacks” on workers’ rights and consider the full package of President Barack Obama’s NLRB nominees.

“More than 80 million private sector employees rely on the National Labor Relations Board for protection from unfair labor practices,” Sánchez said. “By threatening to shut down the NLRB’s ability to function, Sen. McConnell and Senate Republicans undermine the very foundation of our country’s labor laws and workplace protections. “Republicans should stop this reckless attack on workers’ rights. The American people deserve better than this. They deserve to have a fully functioning NLRB so that workers are on equal ground with their employers.”

Courtney called the move “shameful” and a “blatant attempt” to prevent the NLRB from functioning for the nation’s workers and employers.
Obama's existential malevolence is so pervasive that it was even necessary to publicly kick 89-year-old, wheelchair-bound Bob Dole to the curb and block passage of "an international treaty that would spur other nations to pass their version of the law, making the United States a role model to help tens of millions of people around the world":
A lesson for Bob Dole: old rules no longer apply

A disability treaty with broad support seemed like a sure thing to the ex-Senate stalwart. But his own party had other ideas

WASHINGTON — It had been 16 years since Bob Dole stepped down as Senate Republican leader, ending a legislative career in which he earned a reputation as a master of bipartisanship. Yet there he was at the end of 2012, trying to close a deal.

Dole was 89 years old, just out of the hospital, working the phones to win senators’ support. Then, in a dramatic effort, he rolled in his wheelchair onto the Senate floor, all but daring senators to vote against him and, by proxy, anyone with a disability.

It was a moment Dole had long awaited. He had brought the parties together to pass his greatest piece of legislation, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, which required the retrofitting of buildings and sidewalks and provided an array of other rights.

Now he wanted the Senate to approve an international treaty that would spur other nations to pass their version of the law, making the United States a role model to help tens of millions of people around the world.

But what had once seemed like a foregone conclusion – passage of the treaty — went awry amid infighting that few had foreseen. The deepest wound — some considered it betrayal — came from a Republican senator from Dole’s home state of Kansas. That senator, Jerry ­Moran, had announced he supported the treaty and would be “standing up for the rights of those with disabilities.” But instead of carrying the Dole flag into battle, Moran wound up casting a crucial vote against the measure, dismissing his initial support by saying in an interview he “had never made a conclusion as to whether I was for it or against it.”

The treaty’s defeat on Dec. 4, 2012, was a defining moment for the Senate, even if it received far less notice than crises such as the fiscal cliff.

A reconstruction by The Boston Globe of the events leading up the defeat provides an inside look at how the Senate, once known as the “world’s greatest deliberative body,” has become overwhelmed by partisanship — even on a seemingly uncontroversial measure aimed at helping some of the world’s most vulnerable people.
And why was is imperative that Republican congressional heroes blow up even this seemingly benign and useful treaty that would have, among other things, served as a big, 'ol pile of free pro-American advertising among the family of nations?

Because, as "The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose", as has been shown since even before the infamous Potato-Day-Gate

Obama and his Legion of Doom can convert any benevolent and useful thing, any incremental progress on human rights, any praise or any acknowledgment of any kind into fuel for his existential malevolence.

Therefor, for the sake of the America we all love, it is absolutely imperative for all citizens of goodwill to stand on their rooftops and scream "Tyrant! Tyrant! Tyrant!" 24/7/365 regardless of what Obama actually says or does, just as it is the prime directive of every good Republican to thwart every single thing Obama and his henchmen try to do at the nation level, and roll back every perfidious radical leftist scheme like "science" and "voting rights" at the local level.

This is how the last five years (and most of the Clinton Administration) has sounded on the Right.

On the Left, the last five years have sounded a lot like this:

Fake! Scandal! OMG! Tyranny! Fake! Scandal! OMG! Communism! Fake! Scandal! OMG! Cover Up! Fake! Scandal! Fake! Scandal! OMG! Just Like Hitler! Fake! Scandal! OMG! Welfare Moochers! Fake! Scandal! OMG! Baby Killers! Fake! Scandal! OMG! Stolen Election! Fake! Scandal!  OMG! Death Panels! Fake! Scandal! OMG! Kenyan! Fake! Scandal! OMG! Tyranny! Fake! Scandal! OMG! Communism! Fake! Scandal! OMG! Cover Up! Fake! Scandal! OMG! Just Like Hitler! Fake! Scandal! OMG! Welfare Moochers! Fake! Scandal! OMG! Baby Killers! Fake! Scandal! OMG! Stolen Election! Fake! Scandal!  OMG! Death Panels! Fake! Scandal! OMG! Kenyan! 




So as real and true as the NSA scandal is -- and it is -- it can't really be all that shocking to find that people who have listened to the right wing screeeeeaming for five years about what a slavering, America-hating Stalinist despot Obama is and what muddled, Kool Aid (actually, Flavor Aid) guzzling cultists his supporters are would react poorly to an important and consequential story that came jacketed in the "Obama is a monster and anyone who disputes it is a Kool Aid guzzling cultist hypocrite" language of right wing radio.

And as big a fool as Walter Pincus made of himself -- and he did -- it was also inevitable that anything that involved a Beltway goof making a monumental ass of himself on this story would instantly join the pantheon of Conservative OMG! Liberal! Media! Scandals! right between the martyrdoms of St. Bob Woodward and St. Howie Kurtz, with David Gregory, Chuck Todd and the Washington Post all being cast as skeevy Liberal Media co-conspirators.

Pincus failed to mention that Snowden had worked in the intelligence community for four years. This lack of context made it sound -- at least to me -- as though Pincus was insinuating that WikiLeaks, Snowden, and possibly Greenwald, had conspired to get Snowden into his last position at Booz Allen (where he only worked for  a few months) in order to steal documents.
That Pincus made these errors in the first place is shocking enough; that they got past who-know-how-many Post editors is mind-blowing.
We have seen this before, though. Any journalist who bolts from the mainstream media's Narrative Plantation that demands Barack Obama be protected, coddled, and guarded, will always face blowback from his so-called colleagues. Greenwald dared hold Obama to the same standard he did Bush (something the media see as apostasy), and now he has seen no less than David Gregory, Chuck Todd, and The Washington Post go to extraordinary lengths to undermine him.
No less than Bob Woodward went through the same earlier this year; as did Howard Kurtz.
Finally, the alert reader may have noticed that somehow the Breitbart Collective failed to list Fox News among those who went to "extraordinary lengths to undermine" Mr. Greenwald, despite the fact that once Roger Ailes was done using him for his own purposes, he did not hesitate to cut Mr. Greenwald up awful bad.  Not to worry, alert reader: I'm sure that the millions of Conservatives truth-seekers like @jazee1 out there can be counted on to take a break from hyperventilating over Fake! Scandal! OMG! IRS! long enough to use their mad internet skills to ferret that fact out all by themselves.


Anonymous said...

From the esteemed Mr. Peirce, listing the groups that will emerge from woods, hair afire to oppose any nomination the Usurper makes replacing Napalitano;

"The Edward Snowden Popular Front For The Liberation Of Stuff We Already Knew."

....oh and he will be excoriated for that one line, because that is most assuredly not allowed in the new Randian frontier.

DeistPaladin said...

The internet has not been the cure-all for ignorance, especially the willful kind. If anything, it's made the delusional even more delusional, since they can pick-and-choose their sources of "information" in ways they couldn't before.

In the old days, you had a few easy news sources. Sure, conservatives still said crazy things back then but we also had a media that would more-or-less fact check them.

Today, people can bury their heads exclusively in Britebart and hate radio, getting all their "information" from these sources, sources which are designed to confirm their bigotry and validate their paranoid conspiracy theories. On the off chance that they accidentally turn on the television while the news is on, reporters rarely, if ever, fact check any lies they come across. That's the blogger's job.

And so the alternate reality bubble is stronger than ever.

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

I always love it when people start misreading the ADA.

In fact, the actual ADA legislation did NOT mandate retrofitting of buildings or anything relating to the built environment.

The ADA was a piece of civil rights legislation, allowing people with disabilities to bring a lawsuit against companies or governments who have not take reasonable steps to provide full accessiblity to facilities.

In an effort to provide guidance to what reasonable accomodation means, the Act included the Uniform Federal Accessibility Standards and the ANSI accessibility standards in the appendices. (in fact, the ANSI standards have been updated twice since 1990, I wonder if the Act has been updated?)

There was no real enforcement arm in the ADA other than litigation. Some states, like Wisconsin, changed their code to reflect and reference the ADA, so the state plan examiners and building inspectors could enforce the specific stipulations of the referenced standards; but that doesn't prevent someone from bringing an ADA suit against the owner, so much as inoculate the designers and state agencies.

Since much of the country has adopted the International Building Code, the ADA has become largely moot as regards the built environment; the IBC directly incorporates the current ANSI standards for accessiblity, so the specifics, regulation and eforcement of accessibility in the built environment is pretty clearly called out.

But the UFAS guidelines remain in place, which creates some confusion, as the UFAS guidelines have not kept up with the ANSI standards, and conflict in some cases. So a building that is built subject to both standards cannot quite do so.

But don't get me wrong. The current state of accessibility building standards is far, far better than what existed in 1990 (although I have to say that when I analyzed the ADA requirements vs. the Wisconsin requirements, the Wisconsin code was already 90% of the way there). And the treaty discussed actually doesn't require much from the US, but rather called for the treaty partners to bring their own accessibility standards up to ours.

But I guess I wasn't surprised that there are still people who saw the ADA as overreach; I still sometimes deal with clients who don't see that building a project that is better able to serve a wider array of people is actually a good thing, and figure they can save some money by skirting the law.

Sorry about the length of this comment, driftglass. Where should I put this soapbox?