Just another Reality-based bubble in the foam of the multiverse.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Real 21st Century Truthiness

It really was a lone bugman.

This was not really an act of suicide terrorism.

Real terrorists don't deserve a fair trial.

Torture is really okay.

Republicans really care about your health.

Your President is a real liberal democrat.

We know that Barack Obama, in his heart of hearts, truly wants Real Change. We can tell this by examining the furrows of his brow as he squints meaningfully into the middle distance, by carefully measuring the sincerity-per-pixel count of his campaign posters, by reflecting on the inspirational Martin Luther King quotes he delicately intones before carpet-bombing an Afghan village. But we also know that despite his best efforts, Barack Obama can't achieve Real Change, confounded as he is by such institutional barriers as Congress and the Pentagon and Barack Obama. We know, for example, that Barack Obama wants nothing less than a sweeping overhaul of America's health care system, but has been hopelessly blocked at every turn by conservative Democrats like Ben Nelson, Joe Lieberman and Barack Obama. And we know that Barack Obama did everything he could to oppose a trillion-dollar no-strings-attached bailout of a corrupt finance industry, but was helpless to stop it, boosted as it was by notorious corporate whore Barack Obama. And we know that Nobel Laureate Barack Obama is a devout lover of peace, but has been powerless to prevent the American military's rampant bloodletting throughout the Muslim world, as the nation's armed forces remain in the hands of that bloodthirsty warmonger Barack Obama.

And we know that although Barack Obama is an idealist, representing the very best and brightest of American Liberalism, he's also a hard-nosed pragmatist, willing to compromise between extremes of Left and Right, between black and white, between war and more war. That's why when the Left wanted to close Guantanamo and the Right wanted to double Guantanamo, Obama doubled Bagram instead. That's why when the Left wanted to cut greenhouse gas emissions to 350 parts per million and the Right claimed global warming was an international Masonic conspiracy, Obama bombed a village in Pakistan. And that's why when the Left wanted universal health care and the Right wanted hundreds of billions of dollars for Wall Street, a capital gains tax cut and a domestic spending freeze, Obama gave them hundreds of billions of dollars for Wall Street, a capital gains tax cut and a domestic spending freeze.

And we know that as disappointed as we might be in Barack Obama - in his little failings, in his petty slights, in his odd betrayals, in his unseemly habit of dancing naked through the streets of Oslo smeared with the blood and entrails of Afghan children - we also know that the alternative would be far worse. Why, with a Republican president, we might be at war with Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, and possibly Iran, or facing some hideously draconian corporatist scheme to compel poor people to buy private insurance they can't afford, with a government that not only excuses the torture regimes of the past but dramatically expands them while giving itself license to murder anyone it likes anywhere on the planet. With Barack Obama, on the other hand, we have all that plus a man who can sparkle wittily on late night television. Now, I think that has to be worth at least a couple thousand dead Muslims, don't you?

Not to mention all the dead Americans once the next World War kicks off in earnest.

As the Rude One says:

...truly, while they may be different in kind, in the specific grievances, are the things that drove Joe Stack to a suicide attack on the IRS different in tone from those that led Abdulmutallab onto his plane? A feeling of disempowerment that only great violence could overcome? A belief that the American way of life was debased? A hope that others will rise up through their sacrifice? Inspiration from groups and belief systems that advocate violence?

Why can we say Stack was driven insane, as if that abrogates the crime, but Mohammed Atta was not? If the Austin police had captured Stack, would they have discovered that he was inspired by websites that provoke retaliation against phantom enemies? Or by the recorded rantings of Glenn Beck, who said back in July 2009, "People don't trust the government, they go out and buy a gun"? (At this point, we need to be careful about Stack, for his beliefs straddle a line between teabagger jihadi and confused Marxist. Truly, you can expect the end of his suicide note to be quoted as a way of aligning him with liberals.)

There is violence here, in America. It is brewing, in many quarters, and it is fanned on by those who have no idea of its consequences and will not participate in its acts. But combine that urging forward with desperation, and it will end in more acts like Joe Stack's. Or Nidal Hasan's. Or Jim Adkisson's. Or Mohammed Atta's. The inarticulate rage of the deluded and despairing, fostered by those who benefit from the violence, is released in a barbaric yelp, an expression of the helpless hate that hate produces.

But they only speak when the Company's ready to make a fast one off their words.

The Feds don't call Stack a terrorist, perhaps in part because he was a CIA contractor?

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