Monday, January 21, 2013
Playing the silliness card ...
The good news is that the take-down of David Brooks contained in David Brooks Now Totally Pathological has gone totally viral.
The point it makes is that those moderates who remain within the current extreme and negative version of the Republican party must escape into progressively more baroque fantasies.
Obama is being blamed for making Republicans ...
... “look like whackos willing to endanger the entire global economy.”
Yes, and so:
Brooks displays an almost surreal lack of interest in the underlying reality that Republicans actually are whackos willing to endanger the entire global economy. It is his responsibility to conceal this reality from America.
It's a nice piece on the madness that's infesting the United States, courtesy of crazed Republicans.
And it's as good a way as any to remind others that bald-faced whackiness exists elsewhere, as in Paul "generally or majorly grumpy" Sheehan's tirade about Obama in Meanwhile, life goes on but mind the speed bumps:
He (Obama) had one major policy, healthcare, and one major tactic, a relentless attack on his opponent's wealth and corporate background. He also played the race card. He created a massive transference of wealth, via Obamacare, then urged voters to act in their self-interest.
No evidence or explanation was offered by Sheehan as to how Obama played the race card. It was just a general, vicious slur of the lowest, most debased kind. Perhaps there's a hint of it in the notion that only blacks benefitted from Obamacare, but it's such a silly notion that Sheehan dared not make it explicit.
Sheehan did, like a pony performing a trick at the circus, produce a flurry of letters, of the kind that signifies somebody read the piece and reacted with outrage.
This is somehow understood by editors as a sign that attention is being paid and that opinion-makers in the Fairfax rag are reaching their readership. As Sheehan reached letter-writer Philip Lee of Leura:
Paul Sheehan states that Obama ''played the race card''. As a keen student of US politics, I can recall no such act, or was Sheehan merely channelling another of his ''comrades'', Andrew Bolt, who has made similar scurrilous and unsubstantiated claims?
He then goes on to quote, in support of his claim of massive voter cynicism, a faux survey conducted by another of his ''comrades'', Tim Blair, from, wait for it, that paragon of balance, The Daily Telegraph.
For once, words fail me. A new year, same as the old year. (here amongst similar letters)
Roll on the Fairfax paywall, and let's see how many in the readership are willing to pay to be abused intellectually by Sheehan.
Because you don't simply accuse someone of playing the race card, without offering any evidence, and expect to get away with it.
Which makes it all the funnier that this week, Sheehan spends his entire column writing in support of a Dutch politician who routinely and explicitly plays the race card, and piously dresses it all up as a free speech issue in Free speech dogged by politics of difference.
Geert Wilders is one of those politicians who makes the breaking of Godwin's Law a mere doddle, a bit of pre-breakfast warming up, a figure of alienation, signalling fury and turmoil.
Naturally he's just the sort of vicious politician who'd attract Paul Sheehan. (And receive the bounteous admiration of Norwegian mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik).
When you're an attention seeking self-promoter, the best way forward is to compare the Qu'an to Mein Kampf, and campaign to have the book banned in the Netherlands. And lump all Islamics together as crazed, murderous fanatics.
In his visit to Britain, Wilders excelled himself by calling Muhammad a barbarian, a mass murderer and a pedophile, and calling Islam a fascist ideology which was violent, dangerous and retarded (and you can cop any number of similar statements in his wiki here).
As a politician, Wilders is a one-trick pony. He needs violent Islamic extremists in the same way that the extremists need him. Everywhere he goes he sows ferment, discord, sourness and disorder, with his idle chatter about the fall of Rome, the fall of western civilisation and so on and so forth, to the point where the German resort town of Monschau decided he wasn't welcome:
"Anyone who pollutes the integration debate in the Netherlands with poisonous right-wing populism as Wilders has, and advocates prohibition of the Koran by a comparison with Hitler's Mein Kampf, is not welcome in Monschau. I wanted to distinguish Monschau from that."
So how does Sheehan portray the Mein Kampf-wielding Wilders?
...a supporter of democracy, freedom of religion, feminism and gay rights.
Indeed. And Hitler was a vegetarian who loved dogs.
Oops, at least the pond pays, and pays handsomely into its Godwin's Law swear jar.
Sheehan presents a pitiful, piteous tale of organisers unable to find a room or a lodging or a stable or a conference centre willing to help out organisers wanting to hear Wilders do a little rabble-rousing down under. Hapless Westpac cops this sort of abuse:
The bank, which has been courting the Chinese Communist government for years, wanted nothing to do with this Dutch democrat.
''I was organising an e-way payment system with Westpac to link to the website of the Q Society [the sponsor of the tour]. I received a call from a manager who said the Westpac Risk Management Team had decided the material for sale was offensive and inappropriate and therefore they would not proceed with the e-way system. I asked to speak to the manager responsible and was told he was on leave.''
Don't you just love the image of the bank courting the Chinese Communist government for years, while ignoring a pious Dutch democrat?
Your mission, thought it is understood that you will likely ignore it, is to find Sheehan waxing uxorious about Gina Rinehardt, who has been selling her iron ore to the Chinese government for yonks.
Oh never mind, here you go, with Rinehart didn't start the fire, and Rinehart's vision puts north at the top.
Did either piece start off Gina Rinehart, who has been courting the Chinese Communist government, a major buyer of her iron ore for years, and campaigning to bring in foreign workers, including some from China ...?
Of course not. And so it's back to Wilders, and this remarkable juxtaposition of information:
Apparently, the anti-Western Hizb ut-Tahrir is not ''fringe'', nor worthy of an excoriating opinion piece, but the leader of a party that won 24 seats, 1.4 million votes, and 15 per cent of the vote in the Dutch 2010 election represents an extremist fringe.
That's as opposed to that extremist fringe party, the Australian Greens.
The Dutch MP causing so much concern is Geert Wilders, the leader of the Party of Freedom (PVV), the king-maker in Dutch politics over the past two years.
When Wilders withdrew his support for the government last year, it collapsed and a national election was called. A month after that election, in which the PVV polled a million votes and won 16 seats ...
Yep, the king-maker ain't a king-maker no more. He took a bath in the most recent election, as the Dutch electorate moved away from his extremist ranting, and decided a middle course suited them better.
The information is out of the mouth of the babe Sheehan but the angry, grumpy bub is incapable of understanding the contradiction.
The enfant terrible he so loves, the grand-standing Mein Kampf Godwin's Law breaker is a fading force in his home country, and instead must rely on controversial tours - of Britain and now downunder - to maintain interest and sustain his attention-seeking.
And naturally this allows Sheehan to recycle all of Wilders' most dire statements:
Wilders believes Islam is a political ideology, not just a religion, and should be compared with totalitarian belief systems. He has compared the Koran to Fascism and Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf. He advocates ending immigration by Muslims because the Netherlands was losing its demographic and social stability. For this he was taken to court for hate speech. He won, but the case occupied three years.
Uh huh. Fancy that. And when the pond remarks that the Bible produces a totalitarian belief system that led to Adolf Hitler ...?
Well of course it'd just be wild-eyed nonsense, but that's the whole point of being wild-eyed. You'll always find a ratbag columnist or two willing to swing a cudgel or a baseball bat for you.
Wilders is opposed to what he calls the Islamification of Europe by a combination of demography, immigration and accommodations by multiculturalism that are not reciprocated by Muslims. Two other Dutch political activists who were similarly critical of Islam were subject to numerous assassination attempts. One was murdered, the other fled to America.
Uh huh. Now there's as fine an example as might be wanted of playing the race card, and confusing it with religion - explain and discuss how an Indonesia Muslim is exactly the same as an Arabian one.
It's the usual blather of fear-mongers and right down the fear-mongering path of Sheehan, who loves to rage about Islamification himself.
And the cheeky devil has the cheek to talk about Obama playing the race card.
So how do we know it's all about fear?
Debbie Robinson believes the fear she has encountered in Australia merely confirms her reasons for arranging Wilders' visit: ''With every refusal I asked why, and was almost always informed that management had concerns about the repercussions. The audience was never the issue. The issue was offending Muslims. Looking at the number of cancellations and refusals it is apparent the Islamic community are not getting their message across about being the religion of peace.''
Actually this is echo-chamber logic.
Most Australians, it would seem, couldn't give a stuff about Wilders, in much the same way as most Australians couldn't give a damn about Lord Monckton. It's just a bunch of noisy attention seekers and poseurs of the right wing kind in their echo chamber, poncing around claiming it's all about fear of intimidating Islamics.
Shock jocks shouting at airheads, and airheads shouting back at the bubble heads. And the blimps.
Why would any organisation think about offering a platform for a shit-stirrer? Why go through the pain? And for what? Mere aggro self-aggrandising, self-promoting ratbaggery, proclaiming a religious apocalypse.
Why to go the trouble, when we already have Fairfax offering a platform for Paul Sheehan who routinely offers up this sort of sanctimonious clap-trap and double-speak and double-think (we almost said Orwellian but the Godwin's Law swear jar has copped a pounding this morning) ...
People are entitled to loathe Wilders, or shun him. They are also entitled to support him, or hear him. The problems encountered with his visit illustrate the double-speak, double-standards and fear that exists when it comes to the subject for which Wilders is notorious - confronting Muslim extremism.
Gad sir, there's no fear at the pond. Just disdain, disinterest and a fair amount of contempt.
Especially for those who chatter idly about Obama playing the race card, then wheel out Wilders as a St. Sebastian style victim of a monolithic horde of Mein Kampf clutching Islamics ...
Gad sir, and sweet long absent Jesus ...
(Below: playing the race card)
Posted by dorothy parker at 1/21/2013 07:43:00 AM