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People Believe Junk

Originally published at BunkBlog. You can comment here or there.

I don’t understand how so many people, presumably graduates of high school or even college, can be so credulous or just plain stupid. Just in the past week, I’ve seen a few surprising things folks say and seemingly believe.

Many people continue to promulgate the story about Speaker Pelosi demanding a giant aircraft to fly cross-country. In case you’re one of those not involved in the reality-based world, the House Sergeant at Arms requested a larger plane for the Speaker than her predecessor had. The reason for that is because the Speaker, due to security concerns, is expected to fly nonstop to her home district from DC. Hastert lived in Illinois, Pelosi lives in California. Basic physics, folks.

A strange number of folks continue to blame President Clinton for everything wrong in the world, and when that doesn’t work, they just try to say that whatever bad things President Bush does are okay because Clinton did them too. Except they get facts grossly wrong. A letter in last week’s newspaper said that Clinton was responsible for thousands of deaths, and at least Bush hasn’t been convicted of perjury. Well, Clinton wasn’t convicted of any crime either, so huh? And, as for the thousands of deaths, I find no data to support that. If we are discussing only deaths of US citizens, Clinton’s forays into various locales caused approximately 100 deaths. If we include civilians or enemy combatants killed in Bosnia, Somalia, Kosovo, et cetera, the numbers undoubtedly rise into the thousands but probably (by most estimates) not above 15,000. But, to be fair, if we want to blame President Clinton for anyone who died in military actions he promoted, we need to blame President Bush for all deaths related to military actions he promotes; that number is somewhere above a half million, by all estimates that use real numbers instead of guesses.

Ann Coulter called John Edwards a faggot. I honestly don’t get it. Is the woman so completely unhinged that random gibberish is falling from her lips now? Has there ever been the slightest indication that Edwards is not straight, if that was even relevant? Of course, Coulter has a history of calling every man in the Democratic party gay: Al Gore is a “total fag,” Bill Clinton had the “whiff of the bathhouse,” etc. I love that she implied that Clinton was gay, cuz that horndog was chasing every skirt he saw, but no slacks.

And, naturally, Al Gore continues to be harassed by the Right even though he’s not remotely close to an elected office. Latest jabs are that he’s overweight (ooh!) and that his house in Tennessee uses a lot of electricity, and is therefore producing greenhouse gases at a hypocritical rate. The people who make this attack are usually the same folks who deny that greenhouse gases cause global warming, science be damned. Makes you wonder why they would point out that something they don’t believe is happening is being exacerbated by someone’s actions to begin with. Secondly, the Gores do use a substantial amount of electricity, but they pay double the market rate in order to buy only renewable energy. So, no greenhouse gases there after all. I still wonder about why anyone with a small family needs to use 20 times as much electricity as the national average, even when you include the security detail and offices on the premise. But, it’s not increasing greenhouse gases. Darn facts sure cause trouble.


( 15 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 4th, 2007 09:40 pm (UTC)
Do we get to count Rwanda? How do you rank a President who stood around with his dick in his hand during one of the top 5 genocides of the 20th century?
Mar. 4th, 2007 09:44 pm (UTC)
Are you saying Rwanda whould count against Clinton's tally?
Mar. 4th, 2007 09:58 pm (UTC)
Hell yeah. I wish the Atlantic had their archives open to the public. Their coverage is enough to make you cry. Timely intervention could have stopped it in its tracks. But as usual the UN didn't give a fuck, and Clinton was worried about his poll numbers. That's one area where I have to respect Bush. He's got values. Right or wrong, he's willing to take a risk and be judged by history.

Of course, very few people are judging Clinton for his inaction, so maybe he made the smartest move after all.
Mar. 4th, 2007 10:12 pm (UTC)
Values? Like leaving Darfur to become a bigger cesspool than Somalia? Like screwing over the military and veterans at every turn, while proclaiming how much the military means to him?

If he has values, they aren't any I'd like to see emulated.
Mar. 4th, 2007 11:25 pm (UTC)
Darfur is not yet as bad as either Somalia or Rwanda. Or Afghanistan or Iraq. Given four major humanitarian and political disasters left over from the previous administration, he's doing pretty well. And doing it with a military that had been cut to the bone.
Mar. 5th, 2007 12:14 am (UTC)
The military which was cut to the bone by Bush the First, you might note. I was in at the time - Clinton didn't do major downsizing, and we bitched plenty about the optempo even then, without 130,000 troops in Iraq.
Mar. 5th, 2007 01:46 am (UTC)

And my brother was in the military under Clinton. While Bush Sr. certainly began the cuts, Clinton definitely continued them, long after it was obvious they were going too deep.

Neglecting military readiness while simultaneously neglecting multiple hot spots makes me wonder just what Clinton did do. Out of office five or six years, and he's got next to no legacy. Kosovo is the one foreign policy success, and that's more than outweighed by a disaster in Somalia that told the world the U.S. was a paper tiger, a major genocide in Rwanda, a nuclear North Korea, the Taliban taking over Afghanistan, and Saddam regularly launching missiles at U.S. troops enforcing a U.N. sanctioned no-fly zone and kicking out inspectors in violation of the unconditional surrender won by Bush Sr.

Only time will tell how well Bush will have done five or six years after he's out, but he's certainly tried harder.

Mar. 5th, 2007 02:21 am (UTC)
The Bush administration oversaw the first stage of the Peace Dividend (boy does that seem like a bad idea in retrospect), and downsized the Active forces by over half a million. Under Clinton, the major cuts were in the Reserve components, reducing it in strength by over half compared to the 1990 level. Bush the Elder was trying to show that the country could get some benefit from the end of the Cold War, and he began the process that has made our military a cauldron of turmoil ever since. There used to be something called the Homebase Assignment Program - it's been gone since the beginning of the drawdown, in favor of Advance Assignments. So, when a soldier goes on a short tour to Korea or wherever, his family no longer knows where they'll be living two years hence. It's been an unmitigated disaster.

Clinton did nothing to help nor seriously harm the military. He did fight the Congress to override the law every year, to give us a raise larger than what the Congress called for. I liked that. But, he was seriously disinterested in foreign policy. He never seemed to be interested in winning a conflict, only in doing what was absolutely necessary to forestall public relations disaster.

You can't blame Clinton for the Taliban - that was Reagan's mess. Somalia was definitely Clinton's mess, but I don't think anyone could have done anything with that except avoid it. North Korea (my area of expertise, BTW) is something I don't think anyone has handled well since 1953. Most recently, 2002 saw Kim taunting the West with his nuclear program after he'd launched a missile over Japan in 1998. It's almost as if he was wondering what it took to get our attention.

As I've said before about situations such as the Katrina debacle and others, there's plenty of stupid to go around.

Certainly, if you look at a presidential legacy as being solely foreign policy driven, Clinton was an abject failure. But he was sure a popular one.
Mar. 5th, 2007 03:10 am (UTC)

Clinton was a failure at domestic policy too.

The defining moment of my political life was watching a federal agent ducked down behind a squad car spraying a building full of women & children with full auto fire from an MP5 without even looking over his sights. It doesn't get much more polarizing than that. I imagine it must have been something like what Kent State was for a previous generation. That anger took the Nixon administration down, the anger from Waco resulted in the worst incident of domestic terrorism until 9/11, the worst ever perpetrated by Americans.

Even if you measure Presidents by the low bar of their ability to hold shit together Clinton was an abject failure. By the time he left office, very little had happened except that Americans had gotten to watch themselves bombing and shooting each other, oral sex had become an acceptable topic for the nightly news, you couldn't get a bayonet lug on a rifle, we were on the verge of a stock market meltdown due to loose monetary policy - which to be fair, Bush didn't correct, and is still causing problems - and while Clinton had tried and failed to outlaw encryption for American citizens, a few bright boys from Saudi were learning how to fly...

Mar. 4th, 2007 09:50 pm (UTC)
Rwanda is certainly one of the more shameful events to happen in quite some time. But, the parallel with Darfur is obvious, so maybe it's a wash, if we're going to blame our Presidents for sins of omission.

When people said, "never again" after the Holocaust, apparently they only meant "never again in Europe."
Mar. 4th, 2007 09:55 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I'm not happy about Darfur either.
Mar. 4th, 2007 09:44 pm (UTC)
See, Clinton was actually gay, but chased skirts to hide the fact. Yeah, that's it.
Mar. 4th, 2007 09:50 pm (UTC)
It's very canny of him.
Mar. 4th, 2007 11:35 pm (UTC)
I cannot offer comment, as I don't pay attention to American politics if I can help it. But, for your amusement....a little Ann Coulter pR0n ;)
Mar. 5th, 2007 12:16 am (UTC)
Delightfully twisted, thank you dear.
( 15 comments — Leave a comment )