Ain’t Necessarily So

One of the chief reasons GOP politicians and the Village Media who love them are able to maintain any semblance of credibility was on vivid display at the Hagel confirmation hearings: for wrongness, there is always strength in numbers. What really lay at the heart of John McCain’s cartoonishly crabby badgering of Hagel about the overhyped “surge” (which, if nothing else, did cause an additional 1000 American deaths), was just another episode of the big, tough, dumb kids bullying the four-eyed nerds for the crime of being, well, right.

No, you lumpy old ball of carcinoma and impotent rage, forcing someone to say something false, however widely believed, does not make you right and your opponent wrong, it just makes you an asshole.  And despite Hagel’s almost universally panned performance, when he deferentially said history would be the judge, that had to leave a mark, not just on McCain, but on every other war cheerleader in the Village, too.  Being wrong about something is evidently perfectly okay, as long as you don’t ever admit it, and thus make a lot of Very Serious People look as foolish as you do.

Preference for the counterfactual isn’t just confined to such vividly enormous, groupthink-related debacles like the Iraq War; if fact, nearly every issue being breathlessly fretted over within the beltway is so ethereal as to make cotton candy seem substantial.  Tune into the Sunday shows, McCain’s natural habitat, and it’s easy to see why even people who aren’t seething, superannuated rage-oholics get confused sometimes.  In this alternate universe, America’s most urgent problems range from things that might happen to things that will, never in a million years, happen, while the mere mention of things that are currently happening goes over like a fart in church.

Thus, we are supposed to worry about the (currently shrinking) deficits while ignoring a half-decade unemployment crisis, scandalously underfunded public services, tottering infrastructure, and third-world inequality.  Multiple current wars, declared and undeclared, are far too stale and boring to even talk about when future wars are so much more enticing opportunities for tough talk and jingoistic bluster.  Real crime, like the ongoing Wall Street larceny that left the economy in tatters, is shunted aside faster than a pedophile priest can be transferred to a new parish, while imaginary hordes of dusky-hued intruders, be they “terrorists” or “gangs,” are the “real killers” in this OJ Simpson-like beltway operetta.

To this toxic bipartisan litany of imaginary fears, the Republican noise machine piles on ever more fanciful ones, from FEMA camps to creeping Sharia Law,  headless corpses in the desert and union-thug beatdowns, and never does anyone mention that the formerly merely naked emperor is now performing unnatural acts with a factory-farmed chicken on Meet the Press.

All this would be tolerable, albeit embarrassing, were there not so many things Americans ought to be worried about right now; urgency and consequence have become inversely proportional to airtime and column inches, and for good reason.  A visibly unfolding climate crisis has, just this year, caused an unrelenting and unprecedented drought over vast swaths of the US, record wildfires, a “superstorm” that swamped New York, and freak tornadoes that picked off teabagger-infested areas with almost Godlike accuracy.  The increasingly desperate fossil fuels industry lurches from disaster to disaster, leaving a trail of poisonous detritus and dead bodies in its shiny wake, and yet we have to listen to transparent energy shills natter on about a new “boom.”

You see, behind every false narrative  that muddies our discourse and stupefies the voters, there is someone laughing all the way to the bank, generally but not exclusively a big Republican donor.  The Military/Industrial/Surveillance/Incarceration Complex.  The Fossil Fuel Industry.  Wall Street.  All have grown so powerful that even their most demented fantasies seem within reach, so they’ve simply pulled out all the stops to get while the getting’s good.  A preschooler could see through this, but, conveniently, none of the cossetted media are so gifted, or at least that’s what they’d have us believe.

History will be the judge, and I expect that judgement to be harsh.




  1. Teddy says:

    Very fine post.

    But you know what people ought to really be worried about?
    Exploding Dreamliner batteries.
    /Elon Musk

    Also (this is me talking now):
    Did you see the list of Sunday Gasbag Guests this weekend?
    No McCain
    No Graham
    Those cowards have to let Hillary’s victory and their idiocy over Hagel die down, and Stretch Gregory’s ADHD let him forget them, before they appear again. What moronic cowards rule us.

  2. Teddy says:

    Oh, they are probably attending the Superb Owl and thus unavailable. Lindsey, in particular, is a fan of all sports involving he-men fighting over balls.

    • cocktailhag says:

      As well I know. On Thursday I went to my brother’s to run power and cable to the wall above his mantel for his giant new TV. (now that the kids are almost grown up and the wives are both gone, he decided he could watch the Super Bowl in the living room….) He didn’t bother to invite me, natch, knowing my 000000 record of showing up. I don’t think John and Lindsey will be there.

  3. Teddy says:

    You really took your time with the metaphors and similes in this post, Hag. Really quite an excellent piece. I like knowing you, and I’m happy you’re on our side.

  4. Teddy says:

    Oh, look, local bakery fundies looking to end non-opposite marriage, at Sweet Cakes by Melissa:

    The Oregon Department of Justice is looking into a complaint that a Gresham bakery refused to make a wedding cake for a same sex marriage.

    It started on Jan. 17 when a mother and daughter showed up at Sweet Cakes by Melissa looking for the perfect wedding cake.

    “My first question is what’s the wedding date,” said owner Aaron Klein. “My next question is bride and groom’s name … the girl giggled a little bit and said it’s two brides.”

    Klein apologized to the women and told them he and his wife do not make cakes for same-sex marriages. Klein said the women were disgusted and walked out.

    “I believe that marriage is a religious institution ordained by God,” said Klein. “A man should leave his mother and father and cling to his wife … that to me is the beginning of marriage.”

    Me again: what a hill to die on, the Cakes-for-Weddings Hill!

    • cocktailhag says:

      This isn’t the first time this has happened: other wedding profiteers in the white trash suburbs that surround us have done similar things. (As I recall, it might have been som other overpriced bridal frippery… a gown?) I thought when they had to choose between Jesus and capitalism Jesus always ended up with the tire tread marks, but I guess that’s just for the big guys.
      Did you also see the (surprisingly tough) interview with the new Catholic Bishop/closet case? Worth a look, since you’re already delving into the big O.

      • Teddy says:

        Oh, my! What a pretty young archie-B we have!

        • cocktailhag says:

          Well, beauty is evidently only skin deep. He’s a Latin Mass bible-banger who should have been a Baptist, but was lured in because of the outfits and production values.

          • Teddy says:

            And the Altar Boys! Don’t forget all those young minds to corrupt, young souls to steal for the SkyDaddyGod and young, smooth, supple young bodies to defile….

          • cocktailhag says:

            I was an altar boy for several grueling years and never got any action, to my considerable chagrin. What am I, chopped liver?

      • RUKidding says:

        I just bought a “same sex” wedding card for good pals of mine (of long standing) who just got married in MD (I got verklempt when I saw their wedding photos… my good pal used to sort of have to be in the closet, so this is such a victory on many levels). The card purchased at local card store of BigCardInc. Surprisingly had THREE whole same-sex wedding cards. Young clerk was in favor of such & commented that they used to only have one such card, but the company is slowly grinding out more.

        Another pal said: oh the wedding profiteer industry is gleefully pouncing on same-sex weddings cuz more money to be made. I said: sadly, no, not all of them are. Some are sticking to their “Christiany guns” and refusing to serve same-sex couples, including, I believe some galoot of a photographer in MD who claimed he simply could NOT take wedding pix of same sex couples bc: eeeek! horrid! satan-spawn! or some such. Idiots.

        • cocktailhag says:

          But wait, in six months or so, when the fallout of being exposed as bigots in the newspaper has slowed sales, they’ll be whining about “radical homosexuals” ruining their business, and also, too, teh death threatz.
          It’s as predictable as the sunrise.

          • mikeinportc says:

            Having worked for three different businesses that included a flower shop (the current one also) , it’s hard to believe it’s a big deal for anyone, including the true believers.There’s so much $ to be made, and same-sex couples are over-represented , in #s & $, for all occasions , and all aspects of the business. Probably due to , in general, fewer children, and thus more time, and disposable income. It’s just part of “normal”. * shrug* ???

  5. mikeinportc says:

    The highlight for me, was Lindsay Graham questioning the existence, and efficacy, of an Israel Lobby. He then, of course, proceeded to become ExhibitA for such, and demonstrate it’s reach. It would have been better if somebody on air had the awareness, or the stones, to chuckle along with me. What a sniveling, vile, putrid, gasbag. (Again)
    As bad as they were, some in favor of Hagel were even more nauseating. Shorter translation : ” Even though he had a couple moments of temporary insanity, Chuck Hagel really is as horrid as everyone else here. Really! Believe it!” Unfortunately, that’s fairly accurate.

    • cocktailhag says:

      Admittedly, I should have watched the thing in its dreary entirety, but CHNN doesn’t pay well enough for that. I can usually bluff my way through off a clip or two and some transcripts, so I did.

      • RUKidding says:

        I couldn’t listen to more than about 20 seconds of Walnuts McCrankyPants on the radio. If nothing else, WHAT a monumental WASTE of our tax dollars. Really! If these azzholes are so frickin’ “concerned” about Hagel’s alleged abilities: fine & dandy.

        Given that I listened to almost none of this waste of money idiocy, my understanding is that the time was mostly devoted to bullying & bashing Hagel over bullshit nonsense & mostly about the “Surge.” Like, ohmigawd.

        Apparently next to NO time was spent on truly “investigating” what Hagel’s abilities might be in this job and/or anything else relevant to what Hagel’s expertise is or plans for this job and so on. ARE the TeaTardz truly *satisfied* with this bullshit? I mean: what WAS the purpose of this? Just to satisfy Bibi & his evil gang in Israel? And if so, did THIS “satisfy” them?? I mean, seriously: what was the POINT??? Other than Walnuts & Miss Lindsay endlessly proving what steaming, bitter, twisted & useless turds they are?? Does. Not. Compute.

        My loathing of these creatures knows no bounds. McCain is truly past his sell-by date, and Miss Lindsay needs to find something more relevant to focus on.

      • mikeinportc says:

        I was cookin’ & cleanin’, so could take my concentration off it, when the cringe meter got too high. ;)

  6. mikeinportc says:

    Nick Turse, on the Hagel brothers, Vietnam, and the farce in Foggy Bottom.

  7. nswfm says:

    Friday, I spoke with a business owner about this. He agrees with me and Mike above. Name one who has been intimidated? How about all of the people on the panel. What a bunch of assholes. On full display. For everyone in the world to see. Lower than lice, cockroaches, colonoscopies, used car salesmen…the WDC Leech Class.

    • cocktailhag says:

      That poll is one of the few things I’ve seen that gives me hope for the future.

      • nswfm says:

        Of course, a Navy Seal Sniper, shot in back at a gun range in TX today by a fellow vet with PTSD is part of McCain and Graham’s legacy in Iraq. Surge, smurge. They probably made a ridiculous amount of money, insider trading on the MIC stocks, those CongressShmucks.

        • cocktailhag says:

          Those are the tangible investments, with the filthy lucre attached. At least that’s understandable, if heinous.
          It’s the intangible, which is boosting the big lie until they leave the public stage, that probably looms larger, and is much more insidious.

  8. dirigo says:

    ” … overheated melodrama surrounded by endless nattering … ”

    Sounds like:

    McCain trying to arm-wrestle Hagel into a yes or no answer on the surge and its inestimable benefits

    Lindsey Graham insisting that senators rarely do dumb things (implying of course that they nearly always speak brilliantly)

    Almost any hack Republican of recent vintage insisting that waterboarding isn’t torture

    Banksters blaming (among others) unsophisticated (and fatally trusting) mortage holders for the collapse of the financial markets

    Bill Clinton saying he did not have sex with that woman

    Silvio saying he did not have sex with those women

    Richard Nixon dragging the electorate over the coals about how he wasn’t a crook (while implying perhaps that he did not believe in sex)

    Former GE chief Jack Welch explaining the wonders of corporate planning based on quarterly performance goals (while implying perhaps that such a strategy was a kind of management Viagra, to achieve short, regular, high energy squirts of profit to satisfy ravenous boards of directors)

    Gun nuts of various stripes pounding the idea, post-Newtown, that school principals or teachers, even women with no remote familiarity with weapons, should carry AR-15s within an educational environment

    George W. Bush claiming he was misunderestimated

    And so on …

    Happy Stupor Bowl Sunday!

  9. mikeinportc says:

    Happy SPD to you too, CH, & all. :)
    Can’t wait for the gag-fest tributes to the two dead guys in TX. I see that Chris Kyles was being sued by Jesse Ventura. From the Guardian :
    ” At the time of his death, the former Seal was being sued by Jesse Ventura, the former Minnesota governor and ex-professional wrestler, over claims in the book that Kyle punched him in a 2006 bar fight over unpatriotic remarks.”
    Anybody know who supposedly said what?
    My overall take on the hearing, as it was happening ( & at times, it seemed Hagel’s also) ;) :

    • cocktailhag says:

      I noticed Kyle won a “medal” for killing 150 human beings. (The previous sissy had only managed a mere 109…) If there were a God, I think that’s the sort of thing She’d notice.

  10. mikeinportc says:

    Yep.Nauseating, literally. Hard to tell from that, what he felt, if anything, about that. Not curious enough to get the book. A few years ago, ’05? , a co-worker’s brother-in-law emailed,from Iraq, his photos of a man killed by such a sniper.Burned into my brain forever. It was meant to be humorous , and most seemed to take it that way. That in itself was sickening, regardless of how it happened. ( Attempted suicide bomber, supposedly, but no evidence of that in the photo.) The photo showed a young man , from waist up, on his side, on the sidewalk. A bullet hole in his forehead, with a cone , ~6″ dia x 4″ deep, missing from the back of his head, with the missing chunk, and other bits on the sidewalk. Then a second photo, a closeup of his head. Hi-f%##$^^n-larious!

  11. timothy3 says:

    As Eunomia‘s Daniel Larison wrote, regarding the Hagel hearing,

    Republican hard-liners have contributed to their party’s defeats in three of the last four elections, and they inflicted long-term damage on their party’s reputation on foreign policy by embracing the biggest foreign policy blunder in a generation, and now they are furious with Hagel because he’s one of the few national Republicans to recognize reality. McCain’s obsession with insisting on the rightness of the “surge” that failed on the Bush administration’s own terms is one example of this refusal to cope with reality.

    It’s this “refusal to cope with reality” (although I’d phrase it a refusal to acknowledge the existence of reality since one cannot cope with something if one doesn’t admit to its existence) on any and all matters of US domestic and foreign policies that is making the GOP look like someone with anorexia — a skinny, unhealthy, waifish spectre of a political party.

    (CH, obviously — and for reasons beyond my ken — I’ve been permitted by the internet gods access to your site for commenting purposes; I burned a lotta frankincense to still those angry beings)

  12. mikeinportc says:

    timothy, I had a dog like that. In his head, if he turned just so, and couldn’t see me, I ceased to exist. He was then free to take off, where he wished . When I said something, he’s stop, and turn, shocked, just shocked I tell ya, that I was there. ” Sorry, Mike. If I’d only known you were there, I’d have asked permission . Really! :) Smartly stupid/stupidly smart , that one was. ;)

    Memo to Grumpy : The ethnic cleansing was almost over when the “surge” started. Any “success” that you perceive was probably purely coincidental.