Tuesday, March 31, 2015

MARCH 2015 BONEHEAD ABSURDITY OF THE MONTH

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1. Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. Walker once again showed his disdain for democracy and the U.S. constitution. In criticizing President Obama’s response to Islamic terrorists he offered his record of handling protesters in his state as evidence that he was qualified to take on terrorists. He said:

 “I want a commander-in-chief who will do everything in their power to ensure that the threat from radical Islamic terrorists do not wash up on American soil. We will have someone who leads and ultimately we'll send a message not only that we'll protect American soil but do not take this upon freedom-loving people anywhere else in the world. We need a leader with that kind of confidence. If I can take on 100,000 protesters, I can do the same across the world.”

Comparing peaceful protesters from Wisconsin to a terrorist army in the Middle East is par for the Walker course. His divide-and-conquer strategy has created a rift in Wisconsin that will be difficult to heal. His base may eat up statements that he is a big tough guy for standing up to protesters, even though he never really did; he was so afraid, he slunk into the capitol like a coward through underground tunnels. Some hero! Walker’s afraid of the very citizens he was elected to represent.
2. Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. Walker is becoming more reliable than Limbaugh, Palin, Coulter and Cruz as a guaranteed source for bonehead absurdities. It will be hard to top his recent absurd statement on foreign policy. According to Walker, the most consequential foreign-policy decision” of his lifetime was President Ronald Reagan’s decision to fire the country’s air-traffic controllers in 1981. The reason:

It “sent a powerful message around the world that this guy was serious. . . .It told our allies, if he said he was with you, he was with you, and it told our adversaries not to mess with us.”

This is utter nonsense. My apologies to the signing of the Paris Peace Accords, Nixon’s opening to China, the use of force in Afghanistan and Iraq (and elsewhere), Reagan’s bold initiative to eliminate all nuclear weapons (which paved the way for the INF and START treaties), his tacit support for perestroika and glasnost in the Soviet Union, and other consequential decisions that occurred during Walker’s lifetime. If Reagan’s firing of a bunch of unionized workers sent such “a powerful message around the world,” it appears our enemies didn’t get the memo. The Soviet Union still escalated the war in Afghanistan, shot down a South Korean airliner, and stepped up the funding of communist governments and insurgencies in Central America and the Caribbean. I guess the terrorists that blew up the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut also didn’t get the message. Walker’s statement would be simply laughable if it weren’t for the possibility that this idiot could become president.

3. JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon. Dimon is pissed off and he’s not going to take it anymore. He believes government regulators, in response to grassroots populist anger at Wall Street excesses, are squeezing the life out of his bank. Dimon whined to reporters that “banks are under assault,” then went on to say:

“In the old days you dealt with one regulator when you had an issue. Now it’s five or six. You should all ask the question about how American that is. How fair is that?”

This from the $20 million a year man whose bank made $22 billion in profit last year, a 20% increase over 2013 and the highest in its history. The nerve of that man! His bank has drawn the attention of regulators because of the litany of crimes it has committed under his watch, including mortgage, investor, consumer and credit card fraud, forgery, bribery, perjury, sanctions violations, and other criminal misdeeds. On top of this, it has deceived its own investors, gamed the rules to overcharge electricity users in California and the Midwest, overcharged active-duty military families on their mortgages, and much more. Yet he and other JPM crooks in the boardroom have escaped criminal prosecution. Most have received raises. So he has a problem with regulators; it should be with jailers. (For more on JPM’s illicit practices and legal problems, see my Phronesis series on Corporate Crime.

4. Maine Republican State Senator Michael Willette. In a Facebook post, Willette suggested that President Obama’s family members are part of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. He shared a photo of Obama on Facebook that pretended to use the president’s words, saying of ISIS:

“I’ll deal with them at the family reunion.”

This dilly is only one of several offensive posts he has circulated on Facebook. Urged by the Maine Democratic Party to step down over what they described as a “prolific online history of racist and bigoted remarks,” Willette told reporters he has no intention of resigning. He did apologize to his colleagues for his behavior and admitted to the Portland Press Herald that he had made an “error in judgment.”

5. Senator John McCain (R-Az). In explaining why he joined 47 Republican senators in sending an open letter to Iran saying the Senate would have the final say on any deal they make with the Obama administration, McCain cited his party’s distrust of the president.

“It’s also symptomatic between the total lack of trust that exists now between we Republicans and the president,” he said. “This has established a poisoned environment here which sometimes causes us to react maybe in not the most effective fashion.”

Later after admitting that signing Tom Cotton's letter to Iran was “not the greatest idea ever,” McCain offered this lame excuse:

“I saw the letter, I saw that it looked reasonable to me and I signed it, that’s all. I sign lots of letters”

It’s nice to know he signs lots of letters he apparently doesn’t read in full. Of course this is a nonsense excuse—political damage control at its worst—only one step above an unnamed Republican’s claim that the letter was meant as a “cheeky” joke. McCain must have been aware of the precedent-breaking significance of the letter. That apparently doesn’t matter. McCain and his GOP colleagues are so entrenched in their determination to block every Obama initiative that obstruction is now second nature. Maybe he just doesn’t give a shit. Or maybe there’s a more sinister motive at work. Scuttling a diplomatic solution to a serious nuclear concern might discredit the neocon claim that non-proliferation can only be reliably achieved through the use of military force. They believe we need to eliminate nuclear threats, not accommodate them. Whatever the reason, his complicity with the 47 is inexcusable. It amounts to treason.

6. Tom Cotton (R-AR). Senate Republicans are receiving strong criticism for the open letter they sent to Iran in an effort to scuttle nuclear weapons negotiations. Some have expressed regrets for signing, though the excuses are rather bizarre (see John McCain absurdity above), but not Cotton, the driving force behind the letter. The Arkansas Republican told CBS Face the Nation on March 15 that he has “no regrets at all” and accused President Obama of “not negotiating for the hardest deal possible.”

In the same interview, he went on to say:

“Moreover, we have to stand up to Iran’s attempts to drive for regional dominance,” he continued. “They already control Tehran and, increasingly, they control Damascus and Beirut and Baghdad. And now, Sinai as well.”

"They already control Tehran"? I guess controlling its own capital proves its bent on regional domination. Watch out for those Swedes; I hear they control Stockholm. But, I can see how Cotton would be impressed—controlling one’s own capital is quite a feat—just look at the eminently uncontrollable Washington D.C. And this guy is leading almost all of the Republicans in the Senate on how to approach dealings with Iran.

 7. Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla). Inhofe was selected for a bonehead absurdity not so much for what he said than what he did. Inhofe, chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, brought a snowball from a recent Washington DC snowstorm to the senate floor and presented as evidence to disprove climate change science.

“In case we have forgotten, because we keep hearing that 2014 has been the warmest year on record, I ask the chair, do you know what this is,” Inhofe said to Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), who was presiding over the Senate’s debate, as he removed the snowball from a plastic bag.

“It’s a snowball. And it’s just from outside here. So it’s very, very cold out. Very unseasonable.”

His ridiculous show betrays not just his ignorance but what a danger he poses to humanity. As any educated person knows, Climate change produces wild and extreme swings in weather. That Washington D.C. is experiencing record cold and snowfall is not refutation of climate change science, but one more data point to add to the pile in support of it. It’s not that Inhofe misunderstands science; he doesn’t need it as a guide. To him the fate of the climate is in God’s hands. In his recent book on climate change (The Greatest Hoax), he criticizes scientists (whom he always refers to as “alarmists”) for forgetting that God is still up there, and He promised to maintain the seasons and that cold and heat would never cease as long as the earth remains. As evidence he quoted from Genesis 8:22:

As long as the earth remains
There will be springtime and harvest
Cold and heat, winter and summer


How disturbing is this that this ignoramus has so much power over the fate of the planet.

8.  Ted Cruz (R-Tx).  Politicians are notorious for shading the truth, but no one, underscore, no one, tells more fibs than Ted Cruz.  Below is a sampling of recent dillies from the announced presidential candidate:
  • Cruz said ISIS is “right now crucifying Christians in Iraq, literally nailing Christians to trees.”
  • He described a “strong bipartisan majority” in the House that voted to repeal Obamacare (Two Democrats joined the Republicans).
  • He bluntly claimed that “the jurisdictions with the strictest gun control laws, almost without exception have the highest crime rates and the highest murder rates.”  (untrue)
  • In recent weeks, Cruz has been using some variation of this line: “There are 110,000 agents at the IRS. We need to put a padlock on that building and take every one of those 110,000 agents and put them on our southern border.” The IRS has 14,000 employees, and far fewer agents.
  • On climate change:  "You always have to be worried about something that is considered a so-called scientific theory that fits every scenario. Climate change, as they have defined it, can never be disproved, because whether it gets hotter or whether it gets colder, whatever happens, they'll say, well, it's changing, so it proves our theory."
Cruz, who never offers any evidence for his absurd claims, has the nerve to label his presidential campaign:  a “Time for Truth.”  In some ways this is a huge asset for Cruz: he is clearly trying to establish himself as not only the most right-wing presidential candidate, but the truth-teller who isn’t afraid to say what conservatives know to be right-- a real right-wing hero.

9.  Real Estate Tycoon Donald Trump.  Trump cast doubt on whether Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) can run for president, because Cruz was born in Canada.

"It’s a hurdle; somebody could certainly look at it very seriously," Trump said during a phone interview on My Fox New York.

"He was born in Canada. If you know and when we all studied our history lessons, you are supposed to be born in this country, so I just don't know how the courts will rule on this."

To recap, Barack Obama was born in the United States to an American mother. Ted Cruz was born in a foreign country, but because his mother was American this makes him a "natural-born citizen" under the U.S. Constitution.  Do you think The Donald will be as dogged in demanding Ted Cruz's birth certificate as he was for Obama?


And the winner is:  With apologies to several worthy candidates, especially Cotton and previous winner Inhofe, the March Bonehead Absurdity Award goes to Scott Walker for his March double.  Our apologies to Ted Cruz, but with the primaries approaching, Phronesis is sure to hear from him again.  

































2 comments:

  1. Ron,
    Scott Walker is a bona fide bonehead, but Jamie Dimon is far from being a bonehead. Rather, he is just doing extremely well what he is so well paid to do: robbing from anyone he can and keeping it all. A veritable reverse Robin Hood. He is certainly a crook in the service of a corrupt system, but hardly a bonehead. The obvious bonehead next issue = Indiana Governor Mike Pence: "Was I expecting this kind of backlash? Heavens no!"

    ReplyDelete
  2. Ron,
    Forget about Mike Pence, the next supreme bonehead must be Matthew McLaughlin of Huntington Beach, CA, who is trying to get enough petitions to put on the ballot his "Sodomite Suppression Act," which would make a homosexual act a capital crime punishable by death. I am sure that he feels that his Lord and Savior would be proud. Lordy!

    ReplyDelete

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