Friday, May 31, 2013

Michele Bachmann: Champion + Liar = Champion Liar, not hero, not leader, not good Christian

I've heard it said by the right that those who oppose same sex marriage are not bigots, because they believe their position sincerely. They try to assert that sincerity is some kind of proof against bigotry.

Being a bigot is not a matter of how sincere you are. Being a bigot is defined by what you believe being factually inaccurate, and unfairly derogatory of an entire group of people. Bigots are quite sincere, which is far too benign a word for it; they are quite strong in their belief. Sincerity has nothing to do with it; wrongness and unfairness is the defining characteristic. Bigotry is dangerous, it is damaging, it is BAD, it is WRONG, and it is more wrong the more strongly the bigoted belief is held.

Today marks the anniversary of my first post here at Penigma, four years ago. It's been a wild good time, and led to me writing in many other places for other people about many things; but penigma is my home blog. What motivated me to ask my colleague Pen if I could join him here was frustration and anger over the deeply held belief by people on the right in things which are not true, and which are often hateful and hurtful and outright damaging to others, notably one of our friends who is an established blogger.

I was prompted by having encountered deeply, sincerely held right wing ideology that put conformity to that ideology, right or wrong, above things like facts -- facts which are reasonably verifiable to ordinary people, with minimum effort.  While there have been a few instances where I have had to dig deeply in a long hard slog to find the facts - the truth -  in most instances, fact checking is relatively straightforward.

I'm quite proud of some of that digging, notably the work that we did on the Ponzi schemers in the David Strom / WWTC radio show series about Chris Pettengill and Jerry Durand where the right wing media and a prominent GOP operative were cooperative in the efforts of two now-convicted criminals to rip off the right wing 'true believers' who follow them, their 'grass roots supporters'. 

We cared more about the facts, and we cared more about the harm that was being done to their fellow conservatives than those on the right. In writing here, we did something good to help stop that. Right wing ideology, purity, and sincere adherence to their political thought was nothing more than thin cover for an utter disregard for decency, fairness and honesty; it was window dressing for greed and exploitation of victims.

We not only cared about that exploitation being wrong, about the disregard for facts and the tolerance for lies, as we came to know the victims we genuinely LIKED them, and to regard them as friends scattered across the country.

David Strom's radio show ended; he went on from one right wing political gig to another; first Emmer's PR guy in charge of research, then a researcher in state government along with his wife, his radio show producer. Then on to writing for a political online 'news' entity. Ironic in a particularly ugly way for someone who went to such great lengths NOT to research his own radio show partners, even after it was called to his attention that they were crooks, and that he was assisting them to rip off conservatives. The MN GOP or those who support it always seem to have a way to keep their operatives on someone's political payroll, no matter the failure, no matter the disgrace, no matter the questionable ethics involved.

FACTS MATTER. No one is a 'champion' deserving of praise or credit or respect if they promote lies and factually inaccurate founded hatred.  Michele Bachmann is not a leader, not a champion, not a hero.  She is a very effective, very public LIAR, who has made a lot of money and pandered a lot of influence. That is true of the other right wing leaders, not just her.

There is nothing good or right or noble about the people who blindly believe her either; she peddles a political viewpoint of hatred, of suspicion, of distrust, of conspiracy theories, of racism and of homophobia, or intolerance.  The right wing, the far right wing that now controls that side of the political spectrum, is bad because they are so often WRONG when it is so relatively easy to be factually accurate.

Some of that willful ignorance is paid for by those who deliberately spend large amounts of money to promote the lies, to promote the exploitation, to promote the stupidity.

Michele Bachmann once said on the floor of Congress that Carbon could not be dangerous because it is 'natural', it occurs in nature.  She then went on to claim that there were no studies showing that carbon levels above a safe threshold were dangerous.

That is not true, it is not even remotely reasonable. But right wingers believe it; they not only won't look for the facts, they ignore and actively AVOID the facts.  They LIE about the facts.

There are stacks upon stacks of studies showing the dangers of carbon above safe normal levels. The wrong proportions of natural things kill; you can die by drinking too much water. The normal gases in your blood  when diving will give you the bends, from which you can die, horribly, if you do not receive the proper decompression treatment in a hyperbaric chamber. Natural is not and has never meant gentle or safe or not dangerous.

Whether it is about unscientific/faith based attitudes about abortion or human-caused climate change/global warming dangers, or factually inaccurate ideas about economic and taxation policies, the right has become the party of the willfully stupid and ignorant, and of liars and thieves and bigots, fanatics and extremists, on a grand scale that was not previously tolerated even in the worst era of the cold war back in the 1950s, the days of the heinous McCarthy era witch hunts.  The right has pushed out the moderates and the sane and the intelligent with their teabaggers, and their primaries, and their 'purity tests'.

And THAT is what has led me to blog, the passionate need to push back against the stupid, the factually inaccurate, the intolerant, and the liars and thieves.  The right tries to justify their wrongness - as we see from a good right wing preacher fanatic below.  The right is toxic to the success and security and continuation of this country.  There is nothing NOBLE or good about being stupid, about lying, about persuading and deceiving people that they should trust you or believe you without making the effort to be accurate and factual.

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