Friday, January 02, 2015

American Schnooks: The People Who Can Be Fooled Again. And Again. And Again

One Reader's Comment included below in blue type is better than any I could make.  Read it and then read the article -- Both SO TRUE!  The conservative nay-saying ideologues are like a heavy albatross hanging around the neck of the country, preventing all of us from living what could be a far better life than we have today. (Except for the vastly wealthy and corporate set, who are enjoying the Best Days they've ever had since the Victorian times.  The Robber Barons and corporate monopolies are alive and thriving today, thanks to Republican-granted deregulation and tax breaks -- and to the conservative Supreme Court that has declared corporations to be people). 

American Schnooks

Wonderful analysis and so tragically true. Loved "Babbity country club hobnobbers"(sadly, how many will get that reference)?, plus others you come up with. I was educated in the Sixties, and highly influenced, as were many in my generation, by "Language in Thought and Action" by the great S. I. Hayakawa, later best known as "the old Asian congressman who kept falling asleep". Critical Thinking was to me, always the most important underlying need to be taught. As a parent, teacher and sub, as well as teaching semi "delinquent" and "at risk" kids, I always thought this needed to be the ultimate, underlying focus, and tried to make it so. Starting teaching in the late sixties, I quickly realized that critical thinking was being undermined by the Powers That Be running our schools. It has continued to get worse. I won't bore you with a lot of examples you are surely well aware of... Thank you

American Schnooks: The People Who Can Be Fooled Again. And Again. And Still Again. Not to Mention a Time or Two After
By Jaime O'Neill

If you are inclined to be optimistic, you want to believe that people learn from their mistakes. You think that if people are lied to or misled, they'll be dubious or more cautious the next time someone tries to pull a fast one on them. But, in the United States of America, in the 21st century, there's a bunch of people you can fool over and over again. They're the people who watch Fox "News," and they're the 21 to 25% of the population who consistently turn up in polls supporting just about anyone or anything the Republican Party dishes out, no matter how deluded or squirrelly. They're known as "the base," a collection of aging high school drop outs, religious fundamentalists, so-called pro-lifers who love fetuses but are less concerned about living children, Babbitty country club hob- nobbers, hard-hearted rich pricks, gun nuts, xenophobes and racists, anti-government nimrods, and assorted yahoos whose understanding of American politics was almost entirely formed during stints in the U.S. military. They just never catch on.

In one of the classic spoken idiocies for which George W. Bush is remembered, he managed to mangle an attempt to repeat a rather simple idea. Speaking before an audience in Nashville in 2002, President Bush said: "There's an old saying in Tennessee — I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee — that says, fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can't get fooled again."

What he was trying to say, of course, was "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me." It's not a complicated thought, but Bush had, and has, the mind of a simpleton, not an organ quite able to track a thought through the syntax required to express it.

But if he thought that being fooled once was enough to inoculate people against being fooled in the future, he wasn't thinking of the Republican base, the people who voted for him twice, despite the fact that the most devastating attack against us occurred on his watch, and he followed up that rather major lapse by conducting a retaliatory invasion of country that had nothing to do with the attack he'd failed to prevent. He'd also revealed rather generously just how clueless he was, mouthing a sizeable number of non sequiturs and moronisms that would have alerted a smarter nation to the fact that it wasn't being led by the sharpest knife in the drawer. This was the guy, after all, who sympathized with people who found it hard to "put food on their families," and who reassured us by saying "Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we."

That last comment may have been one of those gaffes that have the side effect of being pretty near the truth, though not the kind of truth people who are fooling us ever want us to hear. But the right wing has learned that there really is nothing they can do to alienate the schnooks who hang on their every ill-chosen word. Tell 'em that they'll eventually get richer if we just transfer most of the money to the wealthiest people and wait for that filthy lucre to trickle down on us. They've been hearing that little fairy tale for decades now, and the true believers still have faith that they'll be getting wet any day now. Instead, we all just keep getting soaked.

And when Dick Cheney told the faithful that the war in Iraq would be over in a matter of months, if not weeks, the schnooks bought it, along with the idea that we'd be "greeted as liberators." We later found out that the whole thing was based on lies, but now, more than a decade later, the Republican base still can't bring themselves to believe they were played for fools, and they still aren't mad about it. Cheney, the draft evader, the guy who had "other priorities" when he was supporting the war in Vietnam, but didn't want to fight in it, the guy who rose to oversee the entire American military despite that reluctance to serve, and the all-around man on the make, can still do no wrong with a wide band of Republicans who prove that fooling 'em twice is a piece of cake, and fooling them ad infinitum ain't all that much harder.

The GOP faithful keep getting hosed on the subject of job creation, for instance. Every time Boehner or McConnell wanted to pick a fight with Obama about something else he was doing, they urged him to focus on jobs. But when he did, they didn't like that, either, and they never came up with so much as a single idea of their own on the subject, except for the moldy oldie about tax breaks for the rich as a path to more jobs, a bit of rotten goods they've peddled all-too-successfully for decades. Meanwhile, unable to gain so much as a burble of support from the right wing, Obama soldiered on and brought the jobless rate down to under 6%, which was lower than what Mitt Romney, the off-shoring- of-jobs specialist promised he would deliver by the end of his first four years in office. Obama met that goal in half the time, but it's pretty likely we'd be still above 8% if the Romnoid had won, After all, almost every idea he ever had was antithetical to job creation. Here at home, anyway.

But the Republicans sell the schnooks the idea that they're the party of business, the guys who are savvy about money and know how to create prosperity. And they do. They create ever greater wealth for the people at the top of the heap. Anyone who points that out, however, is engaging in "class warfare," just as anyone who points out the racism that is the glue binding the right wing together is playing "the race card," and is therefore, a "racist." In the tradition of the Big Lie, they repeat that certifiable nonsense over and over, and the schnooks take the bait, again and again, voting against their self interest, and for the interests of the people who wouldn't piss on them if they were on fire, but happily trickle on them most any other time. .

Facts don't interest the schnooks, however, and they are unmoved by anything that tends to be objectively verifiable. They don't like science, and the ideas that draw their approval tend to fall in the category of "voodoo economics," the term George W. Bush directed at Saint Ronald Reagan's ideas on the subject.

On the subject of fooling people, they've retired the jersey Ronald Reagan wore when he was busy fooling so many Americans, and the more time passes, the more stuff the right wing is able to ascribe to Reagan whenever they want to pull the wool over the eyes of the sheep who can be persuaded to believe anything so long as Reagan's name is stuck on it.

I mean, really, what does it take for people to not only buy such simpleminded bullshit by the ton, over and over again, but to buy it from salesmen as unappealing and unconvincing as John Boehner and Mitch McConnell, or Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity? Does the word "gullible" seem sufficient to describe such people?

Abraham Lincoln once observed, mostly sagely, that "you can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time." What with Fox "News," right wing radio, and the thin but tall tales spun by the likes of Ted Cruz and Rand Paul, the Republican Party is clearly the place for those people who can, apparently, be fooled all of the time.