The Stooge Whisperer

Conservatives, at a grass roots level, are neither evil nor stupid people.


Bless their hearts and pig-eyed little noggins. All they really want is to be be left alone to thump their Bible, and wave their flag, and fondle the Glock 18 they picked up at the 7-Eleven. To live in a world with their own kind, and the occasional good colored folk, the ones who are willing to work without stealing, and who respect the sanctity of the white woman's vaginae. To be able to go to church or school without having the gay agenda shoved in their face by laws forcing men to openly fornicate with other men in the baptistry of the Greasy Thicket Church of Christ.


They're passionate, and inspired. And they will watch Fox, and listen to Rush, and read Drudge, in an effort to bolster their own personal outlook on life as the universal truth.


And they will take every word uttered by their overlords as gospel, and regurgitate every bullet point as if it were a golden little nugget of wisdom from the Gods.


Rather than the polished turd of half-truth and vitriol that it is.


A few, of course, are just stupid. Some are simple, possessed of intelligence but unwilling to deal with any subject in anything but the starkest binary terms.


Most are scared, not of anything palpable, but disconcerted by the ego blow they see lurking underneath any reality that doesn't hew to their self-centered perspective.


They're not looking for the truth...they're looking for comfort, and rationalization.


No, they're not evil...but they're fucking dupes. Stooges. Tools. Sheep. Everything they decry, they are.


And these Goddamn bleating bastards haven't spent the last few days shitting out the stupid in giant, stinky bucketfuls.


Apparently, the deal for the release of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, a benchmark moment in finally bringing to an end a violent and tragic chapter in our country's history, has given the Conservative Clown Consortium the inspiration to, once again,  cry havoc, and let slip the dogs of dumbfuckness. 


Now, this particular stream of bullshit is a little different than the Benghazi bullshit, or the IRS bullshit, or any other heaping helping of misinformation the right-wing squawk box has spoonfed it's drooling herd over the past few years.


Contextual duplicity has long been the primary hammer in the political spin drawer, for both the left and right. But this situation, complicated and still being being played out on several points, offers a chance to volume load the fertilizer for maximum chicanery.


The process here is to take several salient but ultimately benign facts, and throw them out at once. Some of them may have minor procedural or technical aspects that are questionable or unresolved. Some are conjecture. Some are irrelevant. 


The effect is one of being overwhelmed by sheer volume, and conflating the amount of “information” with it's actual content. The response is, all too often, a lazy conjecture that since there is a lot of information, there must be some indicting points somewhere.


Especially when one remembers that most receptive audience for such prestidigitation is one that lacks the inclination, if not the ability, to examine a problem multilaterally or in-depth. Instead, they employ intellectual short-hand to work themselves up into a full-bore, red-faced, foot-stomping slobber-fest. 


It's not unlike fanning the flames of three or four small, separate camp fires, and screaming into the phone to send fire-jumpers over to battle the raging inferno. 


It is an illusion, a mirage, a marketing device. There is no single point that has any real damning validity. not one. But they can keep pointing to the sheer volume of "negative" points as their "proof" of the Obama administration's incompetence, wrong-headedness, or criminality.


And it turns otherwise nice and reasonable people into raging, scatter-shot assholes.


Now, since civility and murder laws limit the way we treat these yammering squirrel monkeys, we have three choices: walk away and let them fling poo to their heart's delight, fling back, or hose them down with a little logic. 


"Flinging back" is too messy. We might be dying to remind them that Reagan and W both did everything they are accusing Obama of doing, and to worse effect, and question where their outrage was at that point and time. It's tempting because it's true. But such an argument does nothing to dispute their point, and it too easily devolves into a finger-pointing charade.  In fact, using such a tactic can be seen as giving tacit agreement that  something ideologically, morally, or even legally questionable has been done.  


Walking away is probably the smartest things to do. But then you've left a public hazard / braying jackass free to shit all over the intellectual sidewalk.


So, how do we calm these jittery little pests.


Facts. They may not shut 'em up; by the time they've reached this stage, they've developed a stubborn skin of resistance that, while it doesn't repel logic, it makes them oblivious to it.


Still...we can try.


First, find a space in the jabbering to slide in a query. Ask them calmly to explain what, exactly, about the affair disgusts them the most. These folk love to take a dip in the pool of self-righteousness and glory in how “disgusted” they are.


It may not follow in this direct fashion, but the round-robin should hit all of these points.


If they say the President acted illegally, usually the first and most damning “fact” they have been fed, remind them that he was well within the Constitutional boundaries of his responsibilities as the Commander in Chief. The President is given the necessary flexibility to undertake situational actions. Every President has had it, many have used it, and no one, not even the loudest of the President's critics, seriously questions his right, even his responsibility, to do what he did. 


Fevered accusation: "But he was supposed to notify congress"


Reasoned response: "Yes, he was. and he did...they have been under a standing declaration that such a move might have to be undertaken, quickly and without any further adherence to procedural nicety. The congressional officials have been aware of the possibility of this impending action since they were briefed and consulted on the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan. 


In question is a statute in the 2014 National defense Authorization Act, which requires a thirty day notice for the release or transfer of Guantanamo prisoners. When the law was signed in, Obama issued a signing statement, at that time, warning them of the possibility of just such move, and reinforcing the existence of executive powers, under the Constitution and as the Commmander in Chief, to do exactly what he just did. 


Not a word of protest was heard from any conservative official or officeholder. Not one. Several, in fact, knowing of the administration's efforts, tried to get ahead of the curve by requesting, in the last few weeks, more effort put into bringing Bergdahl home. That way they could say they were instrumental in doing so, and put a feather in their political cap. 


But, and here is where the legal grey matter floats up, had he not given this warning, he still was under no obligation to wait for their approval, or to even consult with them on the matter. The notification is a strictly procedural and political device. It has no practical application or effect. 


Should he, as a matter of procedure and political sense, have done so? Probably.


Is is, though, by strict definition, illegal? Probably not, because he was protected by his previous signing statement, the admitted continuous and detailed consultation, with congress, on the the act, and the executive powers granted by the Constitution. It certainly does not fall within the realm of the “high crimes and misdemeanors” that some have tried to imply.


We have since learned that there was credible intelligence indicating that Bergdahl would be executed if word of the deal leaked out. This fact is the kind of thing that often gets conveniently “forgotten” when such things become politicized. In this situation, only the most rabid proceduralist or feverish partisan hack would suggest sinister impropriety in the President's actions. “


Mistakenly thinking he has multiple arrows of decisive sharpness in his quiver, the stooge shoots again.


Fevered accusation: "...but Bergdahl is a traitor and a deserter..."


Reasoned response: "There is evidence to support that. And he will, in all probability, face charges. He had begun to question the role the United States was playing in the area, and became angry after seeing a small child run over and killed by an American tank. He had, in fact, mentioned renouncing his American citizenship.


But he was still a prisoner of war, and videos of him, taken just after his capture, show not someone who is glad to be amongst the Afghans he had come to identify with, but someone scared and obviously under duress. 


To quote United States Army general and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey:


' The questions about this particular soldier's conduct are separate from our effort to recover ANY U.S. service member in enemy captivity...Like any American, he is innocent until proven guilty...our Army’s leaders will not look away from misconduct if it occurred. In the meantime, we will continue to care for him and his family.'


The United States military takes great pride in in handling these things thoroughly and honorably. It is one of the things that makes them the strong and successful organization they are. Are you suggesting that the Military code of Honer be abandoned or short-circuited due to a circumstance you dislike?"


Fevered accusation: " men died trying fo find him when he deserted..."


Reasoned response: "The military does not simply leave suspected deserters out to dry, or forget about them. They aggressively try to find them, and bring them to justice. Bergdahl will have to answer for what he's done. 


We ask a lot of our men and women in the military. Many pay with their lives. But they bravely do what they are told to do. It is why we honor and respect them, even if we despise war or the political leaders who inevitably start them. We should never trivialize their sacrifice. 


But war means people will die. There have been over 2,300 American military deaths in Afghanistan since the beginning of operations there. All were killed due to some particular circumstance, because they did as they were told. They should all be mourned and honored, not used as political spin art. "


Fevered accusation: "...But we gave up too much...five prisoners for one deserter..."


Reasoned response: "It's not a goddamn baseball trade...this isn't Len Barker for Brook Jacoby and Brett Butler. 


First of all, there was only one POW in Afghanistan, and that was Bergdahl. 


There were legitimate concerns about his health, so getting him out was a priority. 


The five prisoners were going to be released anyway, as soon as American troops left Afghanistan, or just before. Nothing deviating from protocol here; when you cease to become involved in hostilities, prisoners of war are released. By doing it this way, the administration not only used it as a fulcrum to bring home the final prisoner of war from this particular military theater, they gained some latitude in what happens following their (the five Guantanamo prisoners) immediate release. 


Still, lopsided POW trades happen all the time. The practice is even covered under the Geneva Convention. What the administration did was follow standard protocol in preparation for bringing ALL of our military personnel home. "


Fevered accusation: "...but...they’re head honchos of Islamastan...we don't negotiate with terrorists...they might try and fly planes into the World Trade Center again..."


Reasoned Response: “The policy of not negotiating with terrorists applies to hostages, not prisoners of war. Again, prisoner swaps are covered under the Geneva Conference, and the United States has never shied away from the practice. Such negotiations, even with entities with whom we are at war, are often brokered.


Also, they're Taliban, not Al-Queda. The State Department has never formally declared the Taliban a terrorist organization. They are a battlefield enemy, which allows for negotiating channels. They have never sought to attack American homeland. And, in fact, we have a long history of working with them in some capacity, going back to a reception held for them by President Reagan in 1986, where he famously referred to them as 'the moral equivalent of our founding fathers', and actively running through every administration since.


The Taliban are assholes, no doubt. Real slime. But we can't always choose our enemy, or who we deal with to get results.


These released prisoners will, no doubt, go back to bashing America, but there is no evidence that their participation will be of any real consequence in American affairs. They could, but that could be said of any POW who is released, in or after any conflict.


If, however, they show up on any intelligence radar, they will be put on the Executive Kill list. Re-capture or re-arrest will no no longer be an option. In fact, they may hit that list as soon as they set sandal in Qatar. "


Fevered accusation: "...but..but...Bergdahl's dad learned Pashto...HE GREW A MUSLIMABIST BEARD..."


Reasoned response: "Bergdahl, since his son's capture, has striven to learn as much about Afghan culture as possible, in an effort to understand what his son is going through, and why his son reacted so strongly to the suffering of the Afghan people.


Since his son's capture, he (Bowe Bergdahl) has been around no English speakers, none. There is considerable speculation as to how this has affected his communication skills. His father has said he wanted to be able to deal with his son as soon and strongly as he could.


He has become a fierce anti-war protester. He has also made some potentially incendiary remarks, including a tweet, directed to a Taliban official that read 'God will repay for the deaths of every Afghan child, ameen'.


The fact that the senior Begdahl  has shown a concern for the people of Afghanistan does not mean he is a traitor. He has done nothing illegal or subversive. There are plenty of American citizens who share his concern, but love their country no less than you or any other conservative.


Including the cast of Duck Dynasty, and their suspicious facial hair. "


Fevered Accusation: “But Obama orchestrated this whole thing on a weekend, to keep it out of the public eye”


Reasoned response: “Yeah, you might want to loosen up your tin-foil beanie.


The White House may have been surprised by the fierceness of the response. Even their most ardent defenders will agree that the Obama administration is probably the most politically tin-eared since Carter.


Bu these are not people stupid enough to consider the possibility of keeping anything 'out of the public eye'.


We live in a 24-hour news world, where digital media constantly reloads our headlines and sees to it that every nook and cranny is exposed within days, even hours. The old White House Press Office trick of releasing potential negative information late on Friday or Saturday simply doesn't work anymore.


And let's not forget...The “We Hate Obama” coalition is in perpetual need of fresh beat-off material. There are whole networks devoted to uncovering every minor slip-up the President makes, and illuminating them in the loudest and most damaging way possible. There's a whole right-wing blogosphere poring through every White House movement and document looking for minor contradictions and bits of procedural minutiae to blow up and out of proportion as as “hard evidence”.


The White House has no illusions of flying under the radar. It's simply not a possibility. They know this.


The timetable was dictated by circumstance, not subterfuge. “


Fevered accusation: "but..Benghazi....Muslim...Kenya...Socialist..."


Reasoned response: "Shh. Okay, run along. It's nap time. Bye, bye."


Will it work? Change their mind or shut them up?


Of course not. You can't reason with sheep.


But with the right information, you can shear the motherfucker to the skin and laugh when the cold wind of reality hits 'em in the backside.   





Brent Sanders 2014


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