Stupidity trilogy

    It was another lost weekend in dysfunctional Washington, as the full faith and credit of America hangs in the balance. The bottom line is that President Obama, in the interests of reaching a debt-ceiling deal, has been more than willing to tick off his liberal base (by proposing, among other things, deep slashes to Medicare and Medicaid, thus targeting seniors and poor people) – whereas the cowed Republican leaders won’t dare take the risk of ticking off their conservative base (by compromising with the hated socialist/Muslim/radical/devil/whatever). According to the conservative GOP mindset, seniors and old people apparently need to suffer even more, if only to protect low taxes for rich people and to save the tax loopholes that benefit hedge-fund managers and offshore corporations.In other words, the tea-partyers – who according to the polls, represent no more than 20 percent of the citizenry – continue to have a choke hold on Uncle Sam. The Gallup poll, back in April, reported that only 33 percent of Americans had a favorable view the tea-party movement; as far back as March 2010, only 37 percent were signaling thumbs-up. And yet the Republicans continue in their foolishness to defy the will of the landslide majority of Americans who implicitly understand (even if the Republicans do not) that compromise has been a fundamental tenet of politics dating back to the Founding Fathers.On the issue of compromise, here’s Guy W. Farmer, a self-described independent Nevada voter who contributes occasional columns to a newspaper out there. He’s no fan of Obama, but these days – as he wrote yesterday – he’s far more upset about the current Republican extremism. The GOP had better pray that this guy is not a barometer of swing opinion. I yield him the balance of my time on this particular topic:”Ideological extremism is on display every day in Washington as Obama and the GOP blame each other for the debt crisis; unfortunately, the president is winning this battle in the court of public opinion — ‘unfortunate’ because he’s vulnerable on fiscal issues. But instead of pressing the advantage they gained in last year’s mid-term election, Republicans are blowing it by protecting Wall Street fat cats and reverting to their tired old ‘no new taxes’ mantra.”And who are these intransigent ideologues? Well, they’re people like Tea Partiers Ron Paul and Michelle Bachmann, and radio talk show hosts Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, who keep shouting ‘No compromise!’…as they lead their fanatic followers toward an election debacle in 2012…”I’m old enough to remember when House Speaker Tip O’Neill compromised with President Ronald Reagan to avoid a budget crisis, and when congressional Republicans compromised with President Bill Clinton to reform welfare and balance the budget. But that was then and this is now, when compromise is a bad word…The unintended result is to push independent voters like me – perhaps as much as 40 percent of the electorate – back toward the Democrats.”——-Even in the absence of a hacking-and-bribery scandal, Rupert Murdoch’s toxic contributions to western civilization are lamentably apparent. Consider his empire’s performance this past weekend, in the immediate aftermath of the Norway horrors.Without a shred of provable evidence, here’s the headline that his London tabloid, The Sun, rushed onto its front page:Al Qaeda Massacre: Norway’s 9/11Meanwhile, 3000 miles away, Murdoch’s house pets at The Wall Street Journal quickly posted an editorial that focused heavily on the threat of Muslim jihadists. After all, the editorial said, the jihadists had lashed out at Denmark in 2005 for printing unfavorable cartoons of the prophet Muhammad – and now here were the Norweigans, “thunderstruck by yesterday’s seemingly coordinated bombing and shooting attacks…”But within hours, Murdoch’s predictable scapegoats were found to be innocent. The self-confessed culprit turned out to be a white right-wing fundamentalist Christian extremist. It’s futile to expect any apology from the Murdoch “news” outlets. At minimum, perhaps they should channel a famed Fox cartoon character and simply say:“D’oh!”——-Let us behold the latest behavior of that subspecies best known as ignoramus Americanus.It turns out that some people in Arizona (naturally) are mighty upset that local meteorologists keep referring to those big summer dust storms as “haboobs.” After all, who wants to hear an Arab word uttered in mixed company? The National Weather Service used the word, the local news media repeated the word, even the government of Arizona has long invoked the word…surely this must be the first step toward the imposition of Sharia law.”Excuse me, Mr. Weatherman!” one citizen wrote to a local paper. “Who gave you the right to use the word ‘haboob’ in describing our recent dust storm?” Another wrote, “I was insulted that local TV news crews are now calling this kind of storm a ‘haboob.’ How do they think our soldiers feel coming back to Arizona and hearing some Middle Eastern term?”Yeah, maybe a thorough purging is what we need. And why stop with haboob? Henceforth, let us not permit any Middle Eastern terms to sap and impurify our precious bodily fluids. So, from now on, when we hunker down to watch TV, we should not use the word sofa (which derives from the Arabic suffah); when we sleep, we should never use the word mattress (from the Arabic al-matrah); when we play tennis, we should never refer to our racquets (from the Arabic rahat); those of us who own orange pussycats should never again call them tabbies (from the Arabic attabiya).And forget haboob. Surely a dust storm would best be described this way:all-American airborne alluviumliberty granulesfreedom sandpatriot powderand, of course:gun grit

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