Read Their Lips: Some SERIOUS Mental Mistakes Out There!

25 01 2010

Here are three connected “what’s in a name?” rants from today:

Rant One
So the Dickensian SC Lt Gov has just ruined the whole freedom storyline about the GOP No-Go to any human services for anyone (Haiti too?) He let the cat out of the bag literally, when he compared people in need to stray animals that need to be left to starve — and without health care, no doubt — so they won’t breed.

“You’re facilitating the problem if you give an animal or a person ample food supply,” Bauer continued. “They will reproduce, especially ones that don’t think too much further than that. And so what you’ve got to do is you’ve got to curtail that type of behavior. They don’t know any better.”

Somebody in this story doesn’t know any better all right, but to me, it sounds like him! America as Animal Farm, and some pigs are more equal than others? Maybe his pack of alpha wolves deserve credit for shrewd animalistic survival instincts at least. No wonder they need all those guns guaranteed by their piggy view of the Constitution, rather than the human services by which all living animals could be treated humanely. So many strays are starving and sick these days that they might turn on their overlords and start fighting back . . .

***************
Rant Two
I just saw a nice conservative Christian school and homeschool teacher, well-educated, longtime advocate for home education — with whom I collaborated to oppose mandatory universal preschool among other things — use a puzzling term completely new to me:TOTUS. She linked it to a news story about the President giving a speech in these dire times, followed by her comment: “The TOTUS speaks to children.”

Treasury head maybe?

I was determined to figure it out for myself, ran through various possibilities as if I were doing a crossword puzzle, but no luck. The thumbnail looked like it could be the President? — maybe among themselves they sneer at him as Teacher or Totalitarian of the US?

Sigh, finally I Googled it. Maybe I am the last person to hear this for the first time or maybe you don’t know either. If you do know, have you really thought about what this label packs in its punch?

These are people agitating to change the constitution to define all human life as fully human even before birth, even when it is just a potentiality — in the same breath they politically dehumanize this extraordinary (and certainly living, breathing) human being who represents all Americans and leads our humanitarian efforts throughout the globe.

At least when their derision insisted he wasn’t American-born and wasn’t black enough or too much like Hitler and was palling around with terrorists, he was still presumably — if barely — “human!”

And at least when Limbaugh snatched away that humanity to call him a giant alien cockroach, he was still a LIFEFORM. But this new political derision is more damning and dismissive even than that: now the President Barack Obama is not only not human, but not even animal life like the stray cats and dogs we must harden our hearts against and not feed, to prevent them from breeding more unfortunate lives to clutter up our conscience (see Rant One): now he’s not even animal or insect, not even ALIVE. Only a machine.

And not even a learning machine that can think for itself and help humankind in valued partnership, like say, Data on “Star Trek: Next Generation.” A stupid machine we should junk. (Alternately, evil enemy technology.)

They are crowing this week that it’s a triumph for American values that suddenly even CORPORATIONS are human and guaranteed individual human rights — but not the Teleprompter?
Think about it. WWJD?

See The Lucifer Effect for more.

***********
Rant Three
Sean Hannity said today on his radio program, and I quote: “I think it is wrong to plan your life.” (Really, then surely it’s wrong to plan other people’s childbearing and marriages and sexual expressions and access to human food, shelter, medicine and health care through government, much less raise armies to fight wars to reshape lives and nations and whole regions of the globe to suit YOU. And if it’s wrong for anyone to plan this life, surely it’s even wronger to spend a moment’s effort trying to plan the next one??)

Meanwhile, back on earth, in reality, among sentient beings, Hannity’s broadcast stance against the morality of human volition, of planning and pursuing life goals, surely devalues every individual’s hard work, savings, initiative, education. All missionary work and politics. All commitments such as friendship, marriage and raising a family. All these are by his simple pronouncement that planning is wrong, rendered worse than pointless — actually wrong!

These are stupid, exasperating and poorly thought out ideas, dangerous even — still I wouldn’t call him not human or not alive, for spouting them.

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18 responses

25 01 2010
JJ

Re Rant Two —
My old friend has clarified that this is a Beltway media nickname and it was used on Yahoo in publishing the story. She just picked it up and didn’t mean to demean. In fact she offered a different slant in that she thinks it is relying on the Teleprompter itself that is dehumanizing Obama, not calling him one.

25 01 2010
JJ

But honestly, I’m not sure that makes it better. So our Fourth Estate is openly calling him names and getting away with it? Gre-ea-at . . .

25 01 2010
sam

So, saying that he is merely a teleprompter isn’t demeaning because she didn’t mean it that way? I’ve been slogging through the liveblogging from the Prop 8 trial so much lately that much of what I see is filtered through a sort of lens that I’ve developed. A huge part of the trial is the defendants (the anti-gays) knocking themselves out to hide their true motives. They want to control access so that they can continue to hide. They want to control evidence so they can continue to hide. They want to be able to say hateful and immoral things, but if you call them out on it then they turn their words to try to make it sound as though you are the one being divisive. What happened to the respect we were demanded to pay to the office when Bush was making us all look like assholes?

25 01 2010
JJ

Sam, I wish I could disagree but I can’t.
Without picking on any one individual and judging that person’s heart, what you describe politically, in intent and effect, is what I see happening too.

26 01 2010
Mole's Progressive Democrat: IOWA FOCUS: Blogs, Food Co-ops … | Educational Iowa

[…] SOme SERIOUS Mental Mistakes Out There! « Cocking A Snook! […]

26 01 2010
JJ

What’s in a name like Hitler? Some of us warned, begged and pleaded that it was a grievous thinking error that would bleed off its power of human story, to be flinging that name around in the 2008 presidential campaign.

See also Obama is Literally Hitler and You Can’t Spell Godwin’s Law Without G-O-[P]:

Dear Friends:

Obama and Hitler have a great deal in common in my view. Obama and Hitler use the “blitzkrieg” method to overwhelm their enemies. FAST, CARPET BOMBING intent on destruction. Hitler’s blitzkrieg bombing destroyed many European cities – quickly and effectively. Obama is systematically destroying the American economy and with it AMERICA. First the banking/investment industry, next private enterprise (GM and Chrysler) and now HEALTH CARE. . .Start a blitzkrieg of your own!

And from my dear Favorite Daughter, see:

It started out innocently enough, when I discovered a conservative homeschooler blog comparing The Honorable Mr. Obama to Adolf Hitler.

26 01 2010
JJ

As Sam rightly observes, saying you don’t mean it that way while continuing to say it that way, isn’t better and actually may be worse. It sure kills the American conversation.

26 01 2010
JJ

How Language Tricks Our Feelings, Shrouds Our Thoughts:

. . .[In Orwell’s] essay “Politics and the English Language”. . . citing examples of dying metaphors, pretentious diction or rhetoric, and meaningless words –- all of which contribute to fuzzy ideas and a lack of logical thinking. . .

Orwell said that political prose was formed “to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.” Orwell believed that, because this writing was intended to hide the truth rather than express it, the language used was necessarily vague or meaningless. This unclear prose was a “contagion” which had spread even to those who had no intent to hide the truth, and it concealed a writer’s thoughts from himself and others.

26 01 2010
Lynn

So, why are Nice Conservative Christians so obsessed with the teleprompter? I don’t get it. Ronald Reagan (consumate performer/NCC messiah) used a teleprompter. Was he a TOTUS, too? George W. tried to use one, but the contraption was too confusing, so he switched to index cards. Do you suppose NCCs are just mad that Obama can speak coherently and in complete sentences (unlike Reagan and Bush) and used the t-prompter “issue” as a distraction? That’s my working (justa) theory, but I’m open to correction.

Btw, Sam, I just heard that the *real* cause of all the rain we’ve been getting here in California is rampant homosexuality. Please keep up the good work as, following many years of drought conditions, the rain is a much needed… gay-send (?).

Oh, and, the rainbows are a nice touch.

26 01 2010
JJ

The SC Lt Gov, for example, is claiming he shouldn’t have tied people to animals with his metaphor. But then in the next sentence he does it AGAIN! Sounds like an entrenched Thinking Problem he can’t think himself out of, or ever talk me into:

“I never intended to tie people to animals,” he said, before opting for a kinder animal metaphor: “If you have a cat, if you take it in your house and feed it and love it, what happens when you go out of town?”

Noting that he has raised money for a group that protects animals, Bauer also said he is “not against animals.”

Oh, well then. Sam is right to doubt that can make it all better. What does that actually MEAN? So he’s only against people?

Yet he says he is FOR people (as long as they don’t need anything and they vote and work and worship as he deems right?) He wants animal-people to be more than strays, presumably even more than pets? (So everyone should be pet owners like himself and his paternalistic southern class? Hey, I read Uncle Tom’s Cabin and Gone With the Wind. Pet owners don’t really want their pets to turn into Real Boys and Girls and move out, much less become competitors.)

Is he saying he WOULD like people as fully human, if only they would plan out their lives, education, careers and family finances as the current Great White Fathers running government and all our other American institutions deem right?

Bauer said he is committed to finding ways to end the “culture of dependency” created by government assistance. He suggested that people on welfare undergo drug testing or be mandated to attend parent-teacher conferences. Efforts at self-improvement, such as job-training or earning a high school equivalency degree, should be rewarded. [hmmm, rewarded through public programs such as the ones he is in position to legislate and enforce, or is he saying all by private pet owners, whoops, I mean entrepreneurs?]

Otherwise, he argued, people will just sit at home waiting for a government check. He called that a “systemic problem.”

But wait, what about the similarly conservative and churchy Hannity in Rant Three above? Planning your life is immoral and wrong! You could be pre-destined by divine plan to be poor and hungry and immature and sinful:

“If some of these people who are currently on welfare were put to work you wouldn’t have an immigration problem,” he said. “The welfare system is so entrenched that nobody wants to do manual labor jobs.”

Asked about criticism from his political opponents, Bauer argued that many voters in South Carolina agree with him. He said he is only telling hard truths that have been swept under the rug for decades and called for a “mature discussion” about welfare in South Carolina. He said he has spoken about the issue for months, and not once has a voter objected.

“That’s part of being a leader,” he said.

So — hmmm, so plan but don’t plan? Plan as if there’s a coming attraction in which the script calls for you to become one of the Chosen, joining the christian soldiers and marching on to war with the cross of Jeee-zus going on before? — and then all will be revealed and you shall prosper! (Never mind all that metaphorical humanity like “as you do unto the least of these, you do unto me” and “the meek shall inherit the earth” stuff; the Mighty Bauer must mean such words were planned out for saps on welfare to swallow, keep them confused and suckered and starving while martial law takes over in the name of god.)

See also Beyond the Palin: Political Psychology for ACTUAL Thinking Citizens.

26 01 2010
JJ

JJ once considered criticism of Barack Obama’s language and speaking style, when she was first getting to know him by thinking for herself. These are not wrong questions, when asked in right spirit.

Back then it wasn’t because he was using a teleprompter but he was a young overachiever with big plans, coming across as too schooled, stiff and formal for small groups of less-educated folks than himself wanting to hear what he would do for them. I was legitimately wondering: is this politician sincere and are we seeing what he really believes, and so shall *I* believe, and join the hard work of this cause in concert, for the good of my country? Or is he a fraud, a charlatan, thus not the change we’re looking for, maybe even my enemy and my duty to resist?

26 01 2010
JJ

And here’s my deeply troubled essay almost three years ago now, raising concerns about Christian speaking styles from Democratic presidential candidates Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, too. Even if these were sincere and part of who they were, how they would lead — is it right for America to choose the public leader whose religious rhetoric we prefer?

It’s not that these aren’t thinking questions that can and should be raised, by clear-thinking good citizens actually working together to find workable answers.

It’s that as Sam says, that’s not what really is going on now, if it ever was . . . now it’s that questioning itself that needs to be questioned.

26 01 2010
Crimson Wife

Aren’t you an ex-Methodist, J.J.? I’m not super-familiar with that denomination, but don’t they preach Matthew 25:40 (“whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me”)? Sounds like Lt. Gov. Bauer slept through a few too many Sunday School classes….

Hannity also sounds like he could use a refresher on Catholic teachings about fatalism and free will.

I hadn’t heard of TOTUS before, but that I did find funny. I don’t care if the President uses a teleprompter, but I do think he needs to spend less time giving speeches and more time actually doing his job. He wasn’t elected “PR Guy in Chief” but Commander in Chief.

26 01 2010
JJ

CW:
don’t they preach Matthew 25:40 (“whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me”)? Sounds like Lt. Gov. Bauer slept through a few too many Sunday School classes….

Exactly. And all my Methodist family background was even from his state, SC!

26 01 2010
JJ

AS for what his job is, people seem not too clear on that — not to legislate but to use the “bully pulpit” isn’t it? Teleprompter included? How is that different than Reagan doing his job as president, except of course RR was teleprompter-reading from old movie scripts rather than law books? 😉

26 01 2010
JJ

How Humans are Hard-Wired to Treat Each Other — as animals maybe we’d be more moral and kind than as conservatives?

Are humans hard-wired to be ruthlessly competitive or supportive of one another?
. . .The once-popular killer ape theory is crumbling under its own lack of evidence . . . towards increasing evidence for humans as cooperative and empathic. . . people do not always adhere to the profit principle.

We care about fairness and justice and sometimes let these concerns override the desire to make as much money as possible.

28 05 2010
Snook Animals We’ve Known and Loved « Cocking A Snook!

[…] Stray cats and dogs, Animal Farm, pigs […]

14 09 2010
What a Difference a Year Makes in the GOP « Cocking A Snook!

[…] year, declaring war over President Obama daring to give a nationwide back-to-school speech? (And mocking him for using a teleprompter to do […]

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