Wednesday, April 24, 2013


Via Mediaite, we get Rush Limbaugh's take on the Boston bombing:
Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh called out a variety of media outlets on Tuesday for trying to "to Dzhokhar [Tsarnaev] what they did to Trayvon Martin." He said that showing images of Tsarnaev at 14-years-old is an effort to humanize him and frame him as a "normal" or "mixed-up kid," rather than a accused murder and terrorist.

"The news media are doing to Dzhokhar what they did to Trayvon Martin," Limbaugh observed. "They're regularly showing a photo of Dzhokhar that was taken when he was about 14. Soft, angelic, nice little boy. Harmless. Cute. Big, loveable eyes." ...

Limbaugh said that the news media is actively attempting to frame Tsarnaev as an innocent child by repeatedly showing the image of him as a young teen....
Apart from the obvious problem -- um, Trayvon Martin was an unarmed person who was killed, not a killer -- let's consider what this tells us about the right-wing mindset.

According to Limbaugh, it's impossible to hold the following two thoughts in one's head simultaneously: Dzhokhar Tsarnaev seems to have been a really decent kid and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is guilty of an unspeakable crime. But I don't know anyone who has trouble thinking those two things at once. Yes, there are a few idiot #freejahar conspiratorialists on Twitter. But even as we ponder Dzhokhar's very normal American adolescence, do you see any broad call in liberal America for him not to be in custody, not to be charged, not to be accused of a capital crime? Is anyone out in the street protesting any aspect of this? Are there petitions? Are there editorials? Is there a movement?

There was discontent when Dzhokhar wasn't read his Miranda rights for a couple of days. There'll be discontent from death penalty opponents if he's sentenced to death. But no liberal is going to be upset at the mere fact that he's been convicted and sentenced. None of us are going to be upset if he's held accountable for what he's done.

You see, we can simultaneously believe that a person is guilty of horrible things and is also a human being. We can believe that a person is capable of decency and can lose his grip on the ability to be a decent human being.

And Limbaugh's inability to hold those two thoughts in his head at once tells us a great deal about American right-wing thinking in general.

Right-wingers can't regard Barack Obama merely as a guy with whom they have very strong disagreements. No -- he has to be the Antichrist. He has to be literally committed to the goal of destroying America. He has to intend the enslavement and impoverishment of the population. He has to intend the dismantling of the nation as it's existed for centuries. He has to be pure evil.

The same for the rest of non-conservative America -- we're all Hitler. The media is guilty of treason. The universities are disloyal. Hollywood wants to destroy the nation's foundations. Democrats in Congress are tools of Satan.

This is the conservative mind in our time. To them, everyone is either saved or damned. They don't acknowledge the existence of any point in the middle. This is why we can't work with these people.


Palli said...

Yes, I believe Rush Limbaugh is a despicable, narsisisstic man and is also a human being.

Victor said...

Republicans in the 1960's and early 1970's did a pretty good job of keeping themselves seperate from the John Birchers, and the Christian Theocrats, extremists.

They rejected both groups Manichean world views, where everything is either white and pure, or black and evil - and that any shade darker than pure white, is evil.
Pure Capitalism, and pure Christian Theocracy, are all that are acceptable, and any move away from them, is to side with Communism/Socialism, or Satan.

Both groups, being shunned by the national party that would most side with their beliefs, went local, and started winning local elections, and then more regional ones. And they had a passion and fervor for doing the groundwork necessary - after all, this was for the salvation of their country through purification. "Pure," as it was defined by them.

Then, Reagan made his deal with the Christian Teocratic devils, and welcomed the Moral Majority in the Republicsn Party - to help as loyal footsoldiers, to win back the office of the Presidency, and both houses of Congress.

Ah, but the Christian Theocrats didn't want to be just loyal footsoldiers, so they spent the next decades further infiltrating the ranks of the Republican Party, and expanding their reach, higher and higher up the political food-chain.

And now, they virtually control the Republican Party.

And, the remaining Republican corporatist powers-that-be, in 2009, to help counter the new Democratic President, and both houses of Congress, decided to create the TEA Party (Taxed Enough Already), which was a combo of the long left for dead John Birchers (who had been waiting for this opportunity for decades), and still more Christian Theocrats - who both objected to taxes, and other issues, like public education.

On the principle of "The enemy of my enemy is my friend," the Birchers, who can, but don't have to be religious, and the Christian Theocrats, who used to avoid politics, but now want to want to marry politics and religion, joined together, to fight against that KenyanSocialistFascistCommunistHeathenMuslimAtheist, and the Democratic Party.

And now, both groups of loons run the Republican Parties new asylum.

And even the Republican politicians already in office, can't negotiate, can't "reach across the aisle" to compromise, lest they be seen as "impure," and primaried by someone more in line with the duel Manichean Bircher and Christian Theocratic bases.

The problem for the rest of us, is that the MSM seems to feel the need to continue to prop-up the Republican Party as some sort of viable force for governance, instead of a loose consortium of politican and religious extremists.

And, until the MSM will do that, and continue to do that, the extremist Republican Party will continue to have chances in national elections.

And that is why the rigth-wing extremists just took billboards out in NYC, chastising the MSM for its continued "Liberl Bias."

And the right-wing extremists of both flavors, don't care if everyone drowns in the 'deep blue sea,' just as long as they don't have to make any deals with the groups they label as "The Devils."

Rock, meet hard place.

Victor said...

Oh, and I'm pretty sure that Lil' Rush was also a pudgy, cute looking angel, at least at one time - or, at least to his Mother.

Now, he's an ugly fat ammoral monster - a blowhard who twists people minds for personal financial gain, and some form of power.

On the plus side, his popularity is declining - and so are the number of companies wanting to be associated with him, by sponsoring his daily "Three-hour Hate."

Ten Bears said...

"... has been convicted and sentenced ..." Even here in your so-called "liberal" cybersphere, NPR for the past week (when not beating war drums ore Syria), not to mention the blatent bloodlust of the mainstream media. I suppose t'would boondoggle to remind folks that the core of Anglo-American law - your law - is in Innocent Until Proven Guilty!

Do you see what you have become?

Very good rendering c u n d, that's how I recall.

No fear.

Chris Andersen said...

Innocent until proven guilty is a principle that applies to the courts and I fully support its application there. But just because I believe our justice system should be based on this principle does not mean that I have to personally adopt it when judging and individual.

I have more of a "preponderance of the evidence" standard that comes from science: pretty much everything I've heard so far says this guy is guilty and nothing I have heard exonerates him. Therefore, I am comfortable with talking about him without the otherwise necessary "accused" adjective.

Uncle Mike said...

TB, I don't see anything posted here (or in any other bastion of the "liberal cybersphere") that would force you to remind us, of all people commenting on the suspect, that he is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

Methinks you are preaching to the wrong choir.

JoyousMN said...

Excellent post Steve. And another great comment from Victor. Thx all. I just wanted to delurk a moment to say I really love this blog.

Steve M. said...

Thank you!

PQuincy said...

Orthodox thinking -- there is the way of right and good, and any deviation means complete surrender to the way of wrong and evil -- seems to be a human potentiality that is systematically stroked and amplified by one type of cultural construct, namely what one might call the 'Mediterranean monotheisms.' It appears elsewhere, to be sure, and many people who grow up in the cultural context of Mediterranean monotheism nevertheless hold a humane view of those they disagree with, recognizing shared humanity.

But thinking orthodox is also appealing -- it makes so many difficult realities seem simpler, it provides explanation for so many unexplainable painful events. Its hold on the American Right has grown enormously over the past half-century, in addition, joining anti-communist orthodoxy with Christian neo-orthodoxy (mostly Evangelical, though this is really not about denominations).

From my secular and humanist perspective, orthodox thinking is a failing of our species that we ought to be able to overcome...

Ten Bears said...

That's a pretty slippery slope, how would feel were it applied to you?

Ten Bears said...

Perhaps pointing to the manifestation of mob mentality even here in this bastion of liberalism is a bit too... nuanced?

You have convicted him without benefit of trial.

I don't want hear anymore about gitmo.

No fear.

Examinator said...

Uncle Mike
My but your view appears myopic.
This is potentially what happens when trial by media takes place. NB I said 'potentially'.
I’d suggest that the reason for “the presumption of innocence” is because lame brains ASSUME that lame street media and social media have all the facts and/ or are representing them objectively.
Like it or not the purpose of a society is for mutual benefit. I fail to see how the lad in this article got a fair shake of the dice.
You are entitled to your opinion but you make the same mistake most people do that they are the gold standard by which to judge others. Sadly this is not true.

A very interesting comment. I wonder where you put biological influences in all of this.
See my version in the previous topic. (Not that it’s as articulately put as yours or correct)
My focus is on solutions to an unacceptable collection of circumstances, rather than simply shrugging or lamenting “shit happens”.
Clearly I’m seeking a solution to what motivates the rump of society to listen to the verbal and intellectual diarrhea rushing from Rush’s wrong orifice.

Victor said...

The "Fear Button" is easy to hit. And can be done very cheaply.

We all have one - all that needs to be done, is, like in "1984," to discover what any particular individuals FB is.

The "Empathy and Compassion Button" is harder to hit - and, in fact, is completely lacking in about 27% of the people.

And, while what Rush, Glenn, Savage, FOX, and other assorted Reich-wing media sources, do is easily and cheaply done, doesn't mean that it isn't well done. Or, at least well done enough to be very effective.

And, though MSNBC is slowly catching up to FOX in the evening hours (probably a result of the disappointment by their viewers after all of the promises of a Romney victory in 2012), all it takes is something like that Boston Marathon terrorist incident, and months of good work by the Liberal and Progress people in the media, goes right out the window.

Hence, many Republicans, and their media supporters, knowing that their participation in immigration reform is critical to the future prosperity, if not the very survival, of their party, still can't help themselves - and after the two young Muslim men bombed the Marathon, killed a police officer, and had a shoot-out with the cops, they can't help but reach for that "Fear Button," because it's been so successful for them before.

After all, using fear is the only way they've remained a viable poltical party in the last 40+ years, drumming-up, and then using, the fear some people have of blacks, hippies, women, Liberals, foreigners, gays, etc.

Fear is easy, and it's in everyone. All ya gotta do, is find the right button.

Compassion is hard, and not everyone has that button.

What are more people going to watch?
A show called, "Fear Factor," where people have to confront their fears, or "Compassion Factor," where people try to summon-up some compassion for someone unlike them.

I think the ratings will show that, as always, "Fear" trumps "Compassion."

And it won't even be close.

Examinator said...

Thank you for responding, clearly we agree on the methodology. However, It’s not their actions that I was getting at, rather that of the Liberals (sic)/ Lefties, as in my response to the previous topic.
Specifically, when dealing with fears or phobias, what tantamount to “Your fears are a load of cobblers, moron” is somewhat less than helpful. In fact it simply drives the less abled further into their determined confrontation to me that’s monumentally counter productive.
The same goes with generalizations on the motives of the proponents.
Chomsky makes the point that the TPers(‘rump’ 27% on either side political divide[ my qualification]) have legitimate issues ( all be that appallingly articulated [my words]).
Ask yourself how often do you hear “I haven’t a clue but this is my opinion” or “this fear is fantasy but I’ll be petrified anyway” ? I’ll wager not that often. The truth is you can’t defeat someone’s emotions by brow beating reason.
As a long serving volunteer crisis intervention counselor I can assure you that;
People under fear/threat of anything but an immediate (gun to the head) threat/fear DON’T lead with the actual problem (even if they know what the issue is).
A belief in God(s), culture etc is the symptom not the motivation, the fear/concern. A child is not frightened by a monster under the bed per se but the unknown...hence the parent looks under the bed and encourages the child to do so….problem solved.
In the aboriginal culture of Australia if the gadicha ( gad-die- cha) man (witch doctor ) points the bone and the victim wills themselves to death . In PNG in some tribes it’s the Dukduk who dances and casts the spell the victim also dies as does any female who see’s him.
The only survivors of these are those that have been convinced White mans (puripuri) is stronger.
Two examples I know personally of one was given “medicine” but died. The other was given Cod liver oil with dry ice smoke while every one was theater gowned and masked against the power… he survived.
The latter was practical psychology * in his terms of reference*
[[I have an effigy of a Dukduk on the mantle place and sadly (at times) neither two daughters (one a Jew), a wife, sister in Law (a nun) or my mum (fundie) are affected in the least by his power.(Bugger!).]]]

The point is fears are real to the person who believes them and they must be addressed at source and in their terms.
As a counselor one NEVER gives advice or direction however you help them to find their own solution and you confirm it.
I see little point in playing whack em O with their idiot nonsense or doing the political/ ideological (sic) venting.
My point is that the intelligent left are dealing with * the wrong issues and the wrong way *. There fore by and large being manipulated by those with the longer focused game.
Compassion isn't the issue .....How to isolate the shit stirrers and desensitise the fears... It can be done.

Left Handed said...

Agree with Victor! It seems obtuse that the republican party gets a pass. As if the "tea" party are the rational ones. What passes for liberal bias is just so laughable. Take a look at MSNBC; Morning Joe GOP, Chris registered republican Mathews. Yes, there are liberal voices but not many true progressives. MSM is biased toward the left is a fallacy. Has anyone been to a tea party event. It's a complete riot!!!