July 02, 2011

What, Me Worry?

Sometimes I think along these lines: if the Obama presidency were a prize fight, the ref would have stopped the thing three rounds ago. What we're witnessing now is really not very pretty. It's become a kind of blood sport, like bear-baiting or bull fighting. The Republicans, who appear to navigate without any moral compass at all, are in the sadistic process of seeing how far they can push this debt ceiling game to extract concessions from the President. Can they get Obama to agree to legislation simply abolishing Medicare and Social Security? Can they eliminate all functions of the federal government other than defense and spying on the American people?

I don't know what to do with the guy. He seems to have found a unique style which succeeds at (a) caving into his GOP tormentors without producing any compromise whatsoever while (b) completely alienating his own base by breaching every single one of his campaign promises on civil liberties, the war on terror, the Patriot Act, the Surveillance State, Guantanamo, medical marijuana, transparency in government, and prosecution of whistle blowers. The list goes on, but it becomes tiring to delineate. I don't even understand how it's possible to be that inept. Simple random probabilities would suggest that occasionally Obama would stumble and do something heroic. Say, for example, when he was addressing a crowd of same-sex advocates recently in New York. Why not just come out and say it? "Yes, I support, wholeheartedly, the concept of equality in marriage." Case closed. What could he possibly have to lose at this point? Does he think that Michele Bachmann and her crowd of drooling sycophants might still come around to his side if he keeps co-opting, caving, debasing himself with weasel-talk?

Sheesh. "Carbon dioxide is portrayed as harmful. But there isn't even one study that can be produced that shows that carbon dioxide is a harmful gas." -Rep. Michelle Bachmann, April, 2009. This is the favor that Mr. Obama is attempting to curry. This is the leader of the Tea Party Caucus in the House, the dominant force du jour in American politics. Chris Matthews has another tingle up his leg because Michele Bachmann really says what's on her mind, no holds barred. What mind would that be? His insane boosterism is the kind of media spotlight which takes marginal candidates and gives them national credibility. "There are hundreds and hundreds of scientists, many of them holding Nobel Prizes, who believe in intelligent design." - Michele Bachmann, advocating the mandatory teaching of alternatives to evolution in public schools.

There have been to date 189 Nobel laureates in physics, 160 in chemistry, the two fields to which Michele might be referring, if Michele had any idea to what she was referring. However, it must be noted that the first Nobels were awarded in 1901 and of these 349 scientists, "hundreds and hundreds" of them are already dead and cannot be asked about their belief systems. Hundreds and hundreds of these scientists would probably not agree that carbon dioxide is always a completely harmless gas. For example, to conduct an Einsteinian (Einstein, Nobel Prize Physics, currently dead, non-believer in intelligent design) thought experiment, if you placed a human being in a sealed room that contained, as its atmosphere, only CO2, then carbon dioxide could definitely be harmful. Admittedly, this is not a "study," but in general really smart scientists, including hundreds and hundreds of Nobel Prize winners, don't spend their time on really dumb experiments to disprove stupid hypotheses advanced by airheads. Similar claims, after all, could be made for H2O (and I wouldn't be surprised if Michele had somewhere made them). Yet if you're 5'6" tall and standing in 7' feet of water, H2O becomes "harmful" in the same way that CO2 levels in the atmosphere, rising from their present 380 parts per million to 550 ppm, say, could also suffocate, in effect, the entire human race. Kind of a numbers game.

Contemplating such inanity coming from a "serious" candidate for the Presidency gives me the chills, and naturally makes me wonder whether any sort of Obama criticism is really a good idea. That's the parlous state at which we've arrived in this great Republic of ours. Barack got his law degree from Harvard, Michele from Oral Roberts University. I wish Barack would make the difference more obvious sometimes. Or maybe that's the problem at this point. Mistrust of the elites and embrace of the yahoos. Michele Bachmann: a complete ninny who talks like America. Oy vey iz mir.

Notes & Errata on Debt Ceiling for Dummies: I stand corrected. The amount of maturing debt which the Treasury must handle in August is closer to $470 billion than it is to $30 billion, the number I erroneously used based on a misinformed source. Thus, Uncle Sam is in very much the same boat as Bill Zup D'Wazoo, insolvency-wise. There is no way the USA can raise half a tril in one month without borrowing money beyond the current ceiling, so we're looking at default, for the first time in history, if the United States does not resume Treasury auctions in the near future.

No comments:

Post a Comment