Friday, April 01, 2011

Moron Joe: MSNBC And The Scarborough Factor

Morning dolt and “libertarian” Republican Joe Scarborough must be chafing at the bit in MSNBC’s mildly P.C. liberal culture populated by smart, progressive women, including his co-host Mika Brzezinski. It seems Scarborough has been fuming “for a decade now” at being lectured by the Left  until, finally, he found an opening to vent his contempt for those odious liberals and progressives that he  co-habitates with. Or so he thought.

It's impossible to tell who or what sparked his rage, but Moron Joe used America's  humanitarian intervention in Libya as a pretext to lash out incoherently at liberals in the friendly anti-lib platform of POLITICO, the D.C. political gossip (m)ag favored by the Idiot Punditocracy. POLITICO attracts lots of cloaked wingnuts like Joe himself, and unfortunately provides much of the punditry seen on MSNBC’s IP parade — enabled by Matthews & Mitchell, et al.

Moron Joe’s rant is hardly worth comment except in the wider MSNBC context of a host writing a hit piece aimed squarely at several of his colleagues. It would be one thing it it were factual, thoughtful, or objective. It is none of these. Even by Scarborough’s low standards (POLITICO has none when it comes to attacking liberals) it was a piece unworthy of publication. It reads like the peckings of a drunk or someone who’s in a drug-induced altered state. Which could well be the case. Here are the lowlights:

The idiocy begins at the top with the non sequitur title, “The hypocrisy of the American left.” Huh? Even as a portentous title hook to make you read his illogical screed, there’s no there there. First, there’s no equivalence whatsoever between President Obama’s collective, UN-sanctioned limited action as part of a NATO force to prevent the imminent genocide of innocent civilians, and Bush’s unilateral invasion of a country with massive sea, air and ground forces — one that was based on a pack of lies about weapons of mass destruction which we were led to believe the dictator planned to use against the U.S.

Second, Moron Joe commits the classic error of every narcissist "libertarian" wingnut: He believes the Left to be as monolithic as the Right. He just assumed the Left would march in jack-booted lockstep — because that's how his comrades in the wingnut hive behave — the moment our President (Supreme Leader to the wingnuts) commits us to military action. So accustomed must Moron Joe be to the collectivist knee-jerk reaction of the Right he didn’t even bother to notice the deep fissures President Obama’s action in Libya opened in the Left. Instead, oblivious to the evidence of leftist discord all around him — Juan Cole's open letter to the Left (below) makes it crystal clear — Moron Joe charged ahead with his attack on liberals and progressives:
How can the left call for the ouster of Muammar Qadhafi for the sin of killing hundreds of Libyans when it opposed the war waged against Saddam Hussein? During Saddam’s two decades in Iraq, he killed more Muslims than anyone in history and used chemical weapons against his own people and neighboring states.

With the help of his equally despicable sons, Uday and Qusay, Saddam devastated Iraq, terrorized his people and destroyed that country’s environment. By the time American troops deposed him in 2003, Saddam had killed at least 300,000 of his own people — and human rights groups say that tally does not even include the million-plus casualties his invasion of Iran caused.

If Obama and his liberal supporters believed Qadhafi’s actions morally justified the Libyan invasion, why did they sit silently by for 20 years while Saddam killed hundreds of thousands?
Wow. I’m not quite sure which “left” Moron Joe is indicting here. Certainly not Rep. Dennis Kucinich. He has called for Obama’s impeachment. Did any Democrats call for Bush’s impeachment days after the illegal invasion of Iraq? Tragically, no. It was years after the war began before serious questions were raised by Democrats. In 2008, Rep. Kucinich introduced a bill with Rep. Robert Wexler which contained 35 articles of impeachment against President Bush. There was hardly any opposition from conservatives. Republicans and the Right, besides the few exceptions noted here, rubber-stamped everything Bush wanted.

So drop the pretense, Moron Joe. Dennis Kucinich wasn’t the only Democrat/progressive to oppose President Obama’s action in Libya. The clamor of opposition from the Left against the Libya military operation has been infinitely more vigorous and substantive than any Republican grumblings over Bush's illegal prosecution of the Iraq war. Ron Paul was just about the only active Republican member of Congress to make a fuss about it.

Most important, the Left's opposition to the Libya operation has been principled. Here’s but one example of how much (not!) the Left emulates the Right in goosestep lockstep when it comes to blindly supporting the authority of its leaders. This heated exchange between MSNBC's Ed Schultz (for intervention) and Jeremy Scahill of the Nation (against it) will tell you all you need to know about the often strong differences of opinion within the Left on matters of policy and high principle. Liberals and progressives are individuals who consider every issue on the basis of truth and principle. We are not like the wingnuts in their frat house hives poring over their Luntz talking points to tell them how to respond to a moral question.

Compare this to the reprehensible political posturing of the Right and the wannabe GOP presidential candidates. From the flip-flops of  Newt Gingrich and Rand Paul to the reflexive opposition of Michele Bachmann and Sarah Palin, the lunatic Right has even floated outrageous charges alleging President Obama is helping Al Qaeda in Libya. Contrast these disgusting cheap shots against our President with the Left’s debate about our military commitment: How much will it cost? how many jobs could the  $1 million price tag for each cruise missile lobbed at Libya save? Are we getting mixed up in a civil war? How come we didn’t intervene against “friendly” dictators in Yemen and Saudi Arabia? What’s the endgame? The difference between Left and Right on this issue is striking.

The history of our involvement with Saddam Hussein goes back further than 20 years. In 1983, Moron Joe’s god, President Ronald Reagan, sent “special envoy” Donald Rumsfeld — the very same co-war  criminal completing the Bush-Cheney Iraq war trinity — to assure Saddam of our support against Iran with a handshake and a handwritten letter from the Gipper. (Hmm … I wonder if Saddan had it framed?) No one on the Left “sat silently” as this outrage unfolded.

Democrats and the Left decried the bloodshed in the Iran-Iraq war and worried about the spillover that could destabilize the region and draw Israel into the conflict. It was President Jimmy Carter, a Democrat who introduced human rights as an essential component of our foreign policy. Lessons learned from Vietnam, he said, are that “we must become more cautious about . . . interventions” and “ought not go plunging militarily into under-developed countries.” UN Embassador Andrew Young said the U.S. rejected “military activism.” True to his policies, President Carter’s only use of military force was an ill-fated attempt to rescue the American hostages held by Iran.

Carter’s human rights policy was thrown under the bus with a vengeance by the Reagan administration. President Reagan invaded Grenada, sent the marines into Beirut, crawled out after the terrorist bombing of the barracks, bombed Khaddafi killing members of his family and nearly killing the dictator himself, illegally sold arms to Iran (our avowed enemy) to fund the reactionary Contras in Nicaragua, and embraced the brutal dictator of Iraq, Saddam Hussein, while arming his enemy and ours (Iran). And Moron Joe has the gall to accuse liberals of looking the other way to Saddam's atrocities (a lie) when his god, Ronnie, was blowing kisses at the Iraqui butcher, and after Democratic President Jimmy Carter, Reagan's predecessor, had enshrined human rights as an essential element of U.S. foreign policy?

Regarding Saddam's atrocities, Moron Joe suffers from an affliction particularly common to the Right and his collectivist comrades in the wingnut hives: selective memory. It wasn't the Left but the Reagan administration that turned a blind eye to Saddam's human rights violations. The Left had opposed Reagan's foreign policy misadventures, and referred to Saddam, contemptuously, as "our sonofabitch." Furthermore, Moron Joe conveniently overlooks the accurate estimates of Iraqui deaths after the U.S. invaded Iraq and deposed Saddam Hussein. As the Wall Street Journal reported:
WASHINGTON -- A new study asserts that roughly 600,000 Iraqis have died from violence since the U.S.-led invasion in March 2003, a figure many times higher than any previous estimate.
"Since March 2003, an additional 2.5% of Iraq's population has died above what would have occurred without conflict," the report said. The country's population is roughly 24 million people.

Human Rights Watch has estimated Saddam Hussein's regime killed 250,000 to 290,000 people over 20 years.
A Johns Hopkins survey of civilian casualties in Iraq, "The Human Cost of the War in Iraq," gave a 95% certainty to the figure being between 426,269 and 793,663, with the highest probability given to the figure of 601,027.
As a direct result of Bush-Cheney's criminal war on Iraq, between 310,000 and 350,000 more Iraquis were killed in Bush's war of choice than killed by Saddam in the previous 20 years. No wonder Moron Joe wants to lay the moral failings (and worse) of two Republican presidents (one of whom he reveres) at the doorstep of the Left. Such crude history FAIL might pass muster with the lazy anti-intellectualism and disdain for the truth of his comrades on the Right, but it doesn't make the grade with liberals and progressives for whom the truth is not a fungible commodity.

Furthermore, it is inaccurate for Moron Joe to call NATO’s intervention in Libya and its establishment of a no-fly zone to protect civilians an “invasion.” The NATO sorties over Libya are no more an “invasion” than Nazi Germany’s air war on the British Isles during the Battle of Britain. Had that been an “invasion” we’d all be speaking German and giving the Nazi salute today.

Once Moron Joe's major premise is shot down in flames, what remains are the barely coherent ravings of years of pent-up, internalized contempt for liberals and women unleashed in his primal scream. He begins by sef-righteously proclaiming that “[s]elf-righteousness is a dangerous vice [which] breeds arrogance and moral blind spots for those who come to believe they are superior to those who share different worldviews.” (Projection. Next.)

He decries televangelists “caught crawling on the ground outside a hooker’s hotel room” and “politicians (who) have also wallowed in the grandiosity of their moralistic worldview.” An interesting juxtaposition considering the televangelist thing is a Religious Right FAIL and the hooker  thing is a GOP politician FAIL. Moron Joe names no names, probably because most of his miscreants are fellow Republicans and Religious Right fanatics.  David Vitter, Ken Calvert, Duke Cunningham, Christopher Lee, the Craigs List Congressman are but a sampling of Republicans addicted to hookers. Here’s the comprehensive list. And unlike Democrats caught up in similar scandals (e.g., Elliot Spitzer), it's the hypocrisy of the family values “moralistic worldview” that is the greater sin — and a total Republican FAIL. Next.

Moron Joe asserts the usual wingnut false equivalence whining that George W. Bush “has been damned by the ministers of the far left as a war criminal, a fascist and a Nazi when labeling his policies as overly ideological and deeply flawed would have sufficed.” Ministers of the far left …WTF? Although, George Orwell’s 1984 Ministry of Truth is close at hand: FOX “News” at 1211 Avenue of the Americas in New York City. (You could do us all a BIG favor, Joe, and walk your resumé over there. They might anoint you the Fifth Wingnut at Fox & Friends.) Next.

Oh, yeah. How about some names please, Joe. No? Okay, my turn: Former Reagan Deputy Attorney General Bruce Fein called for the impeachment of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, and the prosecution of Bush administration officials who carried out the executive branch’s criminal policies. Said Fein: “Bush claimed authority to say he can kidnap people, throw them into dungeons abroad, dump them out into Siberia without any political or legal accountability. These are standards that are totally anathema to a democratic society devoted to the rule of law.”

Paul Craig Roberts, former Assistant Treasury Secretary in the Reagan administration, said Bush should be tried as a war criminal. He has compared Bush to Hitler and Bush supporters (E tu, Joe?) to  “brownshirts with the same low intelligence and morals as Hitler's enthusiastic supporters.” Perhaps the bewildered Scarborough is acting out pent-up resentment over the harsh, venomous indictment of Bush by two prominent former Reagan administration officials.

Yes, the Left said it first, Joe, but don’t blame the messenger. Not when your conservative colleagues agree with the Left — chapter and verse. Imagine how uncomfortable it must make Moron Joe, Reagan idolater that he is, to see two fellow travelers break Reagan’s 11th Commandment — “thou shalt not speak ill of another Republican” — with so much self-righteous malice. How did Moron Joe put it? — Ah yes, wallowing in the “grandiosity of their moralistic worldview.” Next.

 As for the Hitler and Stalin allegations — names, please Joe. The fact is, we’ve all seen the hideous racist and violent signage of the Tea Party. There’s nothing, nada, from the Left that compares to that, and I challenge Scarborough to either put up or shut up. PERIOD. Next.

We know Moron Joe couldn’t pass up slamming a leftie woman’s group, right? I mean, Mika in her infinite ‘boys will be boys’ patience says he’s “raised the bar” (for wingnuts?) and calls Moron Joe sidekick Mike Barnicle “my mysoginist.” So she’s got Joe’s henpecked back for this:
“That extremism required that the Bush years be filled with images of CODEPINK protesting on Capitol Hill, anti-war activists clogging the streets of New York City and left-wing commentators beating their chests with the self-righteous indignation of Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker … But in the morally murky afterglow of the Obama years, the certainty of these secular saints has melted away. President Barack Obama bowed to his generals’ demands by tripling troops in an unending war. CODEPINK did nothing.”
Wow. Now this one's really getting into psycho-babble territory. For the Left, CODEPINK, the feminist activist group, is just a blip on our radar. They're in, they're out, they demonstrate, do their thing. Gone. For male wingnuts, however, these aggressive feminists and their street theater appear to be a threat to their very manhood. One after another, wingnuts from Scarborough to Limbaugh to Beck and everyone inbetween lash out at CODEPINK (hardly noticed at all by the Left) obviously not because of who they are, but what they represent. To the male wingnut, an angry CODEPINK feminist holding a sign and engaging in her little street theater can only mean one thing: emasculation.

The nonplussed Moron Joe never bothered to check his facts. For instance, the CODEPINK announcement that “Critics of President Obama’s decision to bomb Libya will speak in front of the White House about why they oppose the bombing campaign and what they think should be done instead. Speakers include Retired US Army Colonel and former U.S. diplomat Ann Wright and CODEPINK/Global Exchange cofounder Medea Benjamin.” How could Joe have missed it? It's right in their website. As to Guantanamo, CODEPINK gave President Obama a failing grade: “And when it comes to Home Ec, he's given the military an even bigger slice of the pie while the country is starved for dough. The former law professor has hardly made straight A's in upholding international law (Guantanamo still open) and civil liberties (cracking down on peace activists).” Oops.

(Wouldn't care to speculate on the Bakkers — again, of little consequence to the Left — and all that “secular saints” shit. Is Joe Scarborough Catholic? That might explain it. Believe me, I know.)

To be fair, Moron Joe did name one progressive — Katrina vanden Heuvel, publisher of the Nation — as “one of the few liberals to take a principled stand against what America is doing in Libya.” Katrina's entitled to her opinion. The point is, she's not “one of the few.” Nor are those who disagree with her motivated by a desire not to hurt the President's reelection chances. That is a fundamental misread of the debate raging on the Left; and hardly credible, considering that lately liberals and progressives have been the President's least enthusiastic supporters. And judging by Jeremy Scahill's reaction, the President's got a lot more fence-mending to do before this is all over. Suffice it to say, like every other wingnut out there —Moron Joe has issues. Which is fine by us. But when he mixes public policy with personal baggage and proceeds to lie about the history — then it becomes everyone's problem.

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