11 October2006: Election Propoganda

Muddling through the election propaganda

“Are you scared yet?” That is Bart Simpson’s tease to Lisa when she is reading Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven.” It came to mind a couple weeks ago while reading Stephen Graeber’s meandering piece about the danger of so-called appeasement. I hadn’t realized so many historic applications of the term. After reading his account, I still don’t.

The term now in vogue, even passing from George Bush’s lips and in Graeber’s column, is “cut and run.” It’s ironic in that those who use it, including the draft dodger-in-chief himself, actually never gave themselves the opportunity to cut and run, near as I can tell, because they had run and hid. The wheels are coming off that jalopy, though, with peacenik stalwarts such as Sen. John Warner (R-VA), chair of the Armed Services Committee now echoing John Kerry’s position on Iraq.

Another zinger Righties like to put out is “It’s better we fight them over there than over here.” That raises the question about the “we” in that sentence. Perhaps it could be better phrased, “It’s better we send ill-equipped young Americans, primarily from the lower end of the socio-economic stratum, on several tours of duty to be sitting ducks in the midst of a civil war serving as a perverted basic training for terrorists in order to give me, a conservative, middle-class white male, the short-term illusion that we are actually killing more terrorists than we’re creating and winning the war on terrorism.”

This is the muddle season, the weeks leading up to an election. We muddle through it in large part due to the muddled thinking put out there, like on Fox when they identified former Republican Rep. Mark Foley as a Democrat. Hey, if the facts don’t fit, change them.

Conspiracy theories are abounding. Currently, there are two fashionable ones making the “nutso” rounds. The first is whether the Bush administration was complicit with the September 11 attacks. The other is the line that Democrats were behind the timing of the recent outing of former Republican congressman Mark Foley or, more accurately, the outing of the Republican congressional leadership.

Two points: one, for as low I believe Bush and crew are capable of sinking, they’re not capable of going that low; two, even if they would, they aren’t smart enough to pull it off. Evidence of their stupidity: Iraq. For the Dems, both hold true—they are simply not dastardly or smart enough to pull it off. Besides, Brian Ross of ABC has said his sources were Republicans, which suggests, there may be a few national Republicans with consciences.

No one other than Mark Foley is responsible for his behavior. However, the Republican leaders failed to take timely action when evidence kept showing up that Rep. Foley was a potential danger to underage pages. That’s hardly surprising in that they have failed to do likewise both in terms of Bush’s War in Iraq with all its subsidiaries such as Halliburton and the Jack Abramoff scandal that was caught several congressmen in its net including former Republican Majority Leader Tom DeLay. It’s called “accountability,” the same concept Gov. Owens tosses around to label schools stupid.

With regard to there being a connection between Foley being gay and, at the least, “hitting on” underage boys, one has nothing to do with the other, despite rightwing commentators attempts to link the two. If the Foley Affair suggests boys need to be more wary of gay men, then recent school shootings suggest girls need to be wary of straight men with guns. Another analogy: homosexuality is to pedophilia as heterosexuality is to pedophilia only 95 percent less so. The vast majority, 95 percent according to authentic studies, of crimes as such are perpetrated by straight men on both boys and girls, usually by a family member or person in position of trust, such as a page with a congressman.

Another frightening trend as evidenced by the shootings is increasing violence against girls and young women. When you have whack jobs like national syndicated talk show Michael Savage stating that at least the deed done by a Washington Times writer against a 13-year-old girl “was normal pedophilia,” all I can say is maybe on the right. For the rest, any pedophilia is abnormal.

At the end of day, perhaps this will be the silver bullet to undo the ruling regime and the rightwing noise machine. Those on the left know they’re both shams and scams. Those on the hard right will remain obstinate in their world of delusion. Those in between are the ones whose eyes are opening. It’s most unfortunate, though, that it takes something of the Foley scandal to do it.

Up here, we annually go through the mud season during the spring months. It’s the fall and the pre-election campaign, hence the “muddle season.” Besides the obvious downsides to this season, there’s one that best separates the two: in the spring, the brown stuff you need to kick from your boots before entering is just plain old mud.

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