Sunday, September 21, 2014

The Ill Wind That Blows No Good -- UPDATE


Malaria is what bwings us togevah today.

Malaria, which has been with us forever:
Malaria is one of the most ubiquitous diseases known--there are more than 125 different species of malaria that infect mammals, birds and reptiles, which indicates an early origin. It has probably afflicted humans throughout our evolutionary history, although the first historical reports of symptoms that match those of malaria date back to the ancient Egyptians (around 1550 B.C.) and the ancient Greeks (around 413 B.C.). 
And it usually presents with distinctive characteristics that make it possible to identify it as "malaria" once it has set in:
Characteristic signs of malaria infection are fever and flu-like symptoms, including headaches and muscle or joint pain. These usually begin after an incubation period of 10 to 14 days after the infective bite, during which the malaria parasite first inhabits the liver and then quietly multiplies in the blood. Classically, the fever is intermittent, recurring every few days, corresponding to the erythrocytic cycle. Each time the infected cells burst, liberating new merozoites, toxic metabolites and malarial antigens are also released. The body's immune system responds with a fever. In P. falciparum infections, fevers would occur on days 1, 3 and 5, whereas in P. malariae, fevers would occur on days 1, 4 and 7, and so forth.
But for most of human history, the cause of the disease was a complete mystery.  People knew it when they saw it, but when it came to identifying its source, the best our species could manage was a general idea that outbreaks occur in warm, swampy environments, which is how the disease got its name:
These early descriptions noted the association between fevers and wet ground. In fact, the word "malaria" actually derives from the Italian for "bad air"-- the mal'aria associated with marshes and swamps.
Then two very important things happened.  

First, in 1880 a French army doctor named Alphonse Laveran discovered the microscopic parasite which causes the disease,  And second, in 1897, a British doctor -- Sir Ronald Ross -- sussed out that the lowly mosquito was the delivery system for these malarial parasites.  In 1902, Ross was awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine for his work.

/Pause for dramatic effect./

As most of you know, for the last 25 years or so, I have been conducting my own, informal experiment on members of the Conservative movement.  And after decades of observation and experimentation, here are my results.

First, actual, on-the-ground American Conservatism as it is practiced in the real world either has nothing whatsoever to do with academic Conservatism, or explicitly rejects and repudiates academic Conservatism.  This is a terribly important distinction because, as I wrote back in 2012, actual on-the-ground Conservatism is a political retrovirus which infects everything it touches while camouflaging itself whenever it can.
The Conservative Hate Virus that was cultivated by Nixon and went pneumonic under Reagan destroyed Conservatism decades ago and replaced it with a slowly-rotting corpse. A shambling, gibbering, mindless thing that, for a time, served both the RNC's electoral interests and Rupert Murdochs's business interests. It put every bitter clinger, crackpot, bigot, gun-nut, Christopath, homophobe, Klansman, brownshirt and anti-woman douchbag and anti-science glibertarian in-harness together to pull the GOP to victory and to make thugs like Rush Limbaugh very, very rich.

And the formula for turning hate into a profit-center is so damn easy! Just wave a flag in front of their big, vacant eyes, poke 'em with a stick (ACORN! Commies! Sluts! Kenyan Usurper!) every few minutes, call 'em super-patriots for jerking off to Sean Hannity and Ann Coulter, and point them where you want them to go.

The Conservatism Retrovirus left us open to infection from a whole suite of opportunistic wingnut disease, and from Falwell to Limbaugh to Beck, Conservatism has permitted each of them and all of their mutant imitators to breeze past democracy's natural antibodies -- an educated electorate, an honest press, a respectful politics -- and settle in for a nice, long parasite feast.
And since academic Conservatism bears no resemblance whatsoever to actual, on-the-ground American Conservatism, those who claim to preach to former in theory while they have been working assiduously for the latter in practice are either demagogues or grifters or dupes or just garden variety idiots.

Second, my research reveals that actual, on-the-ground Conservatism is incredibly tenacious, because even though it markets itself as a political philosophy or intellectual school, it is, in fact, little more than a phenomenally well-funded a cult, which has methodically closed itself off from the rest of the world.  A cult that simply hides behind a new brand name and whenever the toxins it has built up under the old brand would otherwise kill it off.  Thus does a "Reagan Democrat", become a Republican...then change hats and become a Tea Partier...then morph into a "Constitutional Conservative" and thence an Independent or Libertarian...while never once substantive changing the poisonous claptrap that Rush Limbaugh has been crapping into their skulls for last 25 years.

Third, my research clearly demonstrates that the only thing which has kept Conservatism from imploding from its own, internal insanity years ago and/or being laughed off the national stage as the comically transparent fascist fraud that it is, is our Mainstream Media's pathological obsession with Fake Centrism.


How do I know?


Try this simple experiment.

The next time a Conservative runs some standard issue bullshit past you at the a party, or at work, or in on of their endless LARGE FONT EMAILS..push back gently but firmly.  Remember going in that this is an experiment and that there  is zero chance you are going to actually alter their opinion in an way.  Being a Republican (or Tea Partier or "Constitutional Conservative" oir Independent or whatever) in 2014 means they are so far gone -- so thoroughly  counter-programmed against ever admitting error --  that nothing you say or do is going to change their mind, so for the purpose of our little test these are just subjects from whom you are collecting data.

My own results to date have been depressingly consistent: no matter what the fucking topic, the response is always instant and reflexive:  Yeah, well, Libruls are just as bad.  Worse, even!

Librul news sources are just as wrong just as often as Rush and Sean and the Moonie Times.

Rachael Maddow is just as wrong just as often as Ben Carson.

"Meet the Press" as just as Librul as Fox News is Conservative.

"The Nation: is just as fact-impaired as the Moonie Times.

Librul Big Labor is just as influential as Conservative Big Business.

George Soros is just as evil as the Koch Brothers and all the other wingnut billionaires combined.

Anti-gun protesters are just as extreme as gun nuts.

Climate scientists are only in ot for the money...just like climate change deniers.

Whatever mistakes George Bush might have made, Libruls are directly responsible for us "losing Iraq".

The ACA website glitches were just as bad as Katrina.

Benghaaaazi! is not just as bad as Watergate -- it's like Watergate and Iran/Contra and had an evil baby that was raised by Abu Ghraib!

Libruls are mostly to blame for the deficit that is going to Kill Us All!

It's a very long list, that gets longer every day as Conservatism continues to kill everything it touches, and Conservatives are forced to manufacture ever more Librul Straw Men which they can point to as being far, far worse than anything they're up to.

Like malaria, Conservatism is an infectious parasite.  But also like malaria, without a delivery system -- without a swarm of "Both Sides Do It" mosquitoes stinging us over and over again and giving every wingnut in America a blank check alibi for every shoutycracker racist  thing they say and do -- Conservatism would still exist, but it couldn't get into our bloodstream over and over again.

It couldn't kill us from the inside.*

Which brings us, inevitably, to this umpteen thousandth iteration of the political philosophy of American Most Ubiquitous Conservative Public Intellectual:
Somebody recently asked me what I would do if I had $500 million to give away. My first thought was that I’d become a moderate version of the Koch brothers. I’d pay for independent candidates to run against Democratic or Republican members of Congress who veered too far into their party’s fever swamps.

-- David Brooks, 09/19/14
You can cry in your beer from now until the crack of doom about the depravity and sneering nihilism of the Rush Limbaugh Party. and I'm sure I would agree with virtually every line item on your bill of particulars.  But as long as Conservatism's Both Sider enablers like David Brooks and all of his well-funded, mealy-mouthed imitators continue to be feted as Wise and Serious People by our mainstream, media, not a god damn thing is going to change.


* This quote turned out to be a fabrication.  However I stand unswervingly behind what Fake NDT said. :-)


MsYellowDog said...

Absolutely brilliant commentary! I agree with every word,and wish I were as talented a writer as you are.

Jim from MN said...

Saying "both sides do it" proves you got nothin' to more to offer and you have lost the battle. Again.

Paul said...

My tea-party mom decide one year that she would like to debate politics with me. For every reasoned, well-researched argument I gave her, the inevitable response was a fact-free Beck-inspired tirade about evil liberals doing worse. No rebuttal. No reasoning. No debate.

I cut her off after a painful few months. So tiring.

Kathleen said...

What MsYellowDog said.

n1ck said...

Brilliant again, DG. Same ol' same ol' in other words.


Republicans may have ultra-right wing fever swampers like Ted Cruz and Louie Gohmert, but Democrats have ultra-left wing fever swampers like Mary Landrieu and Chuck Shumer. And don't even get me started on the super ultra lefties like Zell Miller and Joe Lieberman.

Anonymous said...

Oh, Bobo. We all know that if you had $500 million to spread around to political candidates, $499,999,000 would go to far right GOP assholes, so long as they were lucid enough to avoid saying painfully stupid things (so, in other words, the money would go to maybe a couple dozen people).

The other $1,000 would go to whichever Democrat was most aggressively agitating for war with Iran in the Joe Lieberman tradition.

But there's no way in fucking hell he'd spend more than a few bucks to bankroll moderate indy candidates. No.fucking.way.

Frank Stone said...

I'm afraid that Neil deGrasse Tyson quote you included here is fake. Sorry.

steeve said...

"Somebody recently asked me what I would do if I had $500 million to give away"

Oh that's hilarious.

One clue to what he'll do with 500 million is what he does with the 50 million he already has, which is sit on it and dedicate his life to making the number bigger.