In my last post, I noted that the boiling frog simile has been replaced by the disabled bathyscaphe drifting down, down, down below crush depth, as cracks appear in the windows and spread, and the sounds of metal stressed beyond its breaking point emulate the electronic shrieks of a cyber-Cerberus undergoing extreme torture.
And the pressure continues to build.
Trump sees Nunes memo as a way to discredit the Russia investigation
By Kevin Liptak, Kaitlan Collins, Sara Murray and Dan Merica, CNN
Updated 6:43 PM ET, Thu February 1, 2018
Washington (CNN) President Donald Trump, hopeful that a controversial Republican memo about the FBI might undermine the Russia investigation, appeared poised Thursday to allow the document’s release.Trump and his aides signaled throughout the day they would not use executive power to block Congress from making the memo public, setting up a clash with the FBI and intelligence officials, who warn the memo distorts facts and could jeopardize intelligence-gathering information. The document is said to allege the FBI abused its surveillance tools….
As everybody except Republicans seems to “get” this is an unprecedented (a misspelling of “unpresidented” which is where the USA finds herself) predation on our governmental norms.
The sad, simple fact is that the Party of McCarthy and Nixon (Joe and Dick, disrespectively) has managed to jettison the last shreds of intelligence and sanity that it had all but divorced itself from since Ronald Ray-Gun and his idiotic notion that our own government was the enemy.
There is nothing controversial in this summation — save to Republicans, of whom we might quote the great pamphleteer Thomas Paine: “To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason … is like administering medicine to the dead.” And yet, that “perfect skepticism” adopted by the Limbaugh/Ailes wing of the GOP pterodactyl as a means of “argument” will ensure that quasi-alcoholic rationalizations of almost unlimited complexity and all but infinite abstruseness will arise to justify the unjustifiable.
Before I go any further, I need to give you the proper language to rebut this long-standing and utterly specious form of argument, which has been used to “debunk” climate change and evolution, science in general and a thousand and one other household uses:
To paraphrase Bertrand Russell: Perfect skepticism is perfectly impossible to refute and perfectly useless, to boot.*
[* “If we adopt the attitude of the complete sceptic, placing ourselves wholly outside all knowledge, and asking, from this outside position, to be compelled to return within the circle of knowledge, we are demanding what is impossible, and our scepticism can never be refuted. For all refutation must begin with some piece of knowledge which the disputants share; from blank doubt, no argument can begin. Hence the criticism of knowledge which philosophy employs must not be of this destructive kind, if any result is to be achieved. Against this absolute scepticism, no logical argument can be advanced. But it is not difficult to see that scepticism of this kind is unreasonable.”
~ Bertrand Russell, THE PROBLEMS OF PHILOSOPHY (1912)
CHAPTER XIV. THE LIMITS OF PHILOSOPHICAL KNOWLEDGE]
That’s as deep into it as we need plumb. Deeper “philosophical” discussion falls into the category of either “minutiae” or “sophistry.”
Here is our situation: the fellow who acts NOTHING like an innocent party has been unrelentingly–albeit slowly–engaged in a “Saturday Night Massacre” to remove all investigations and investigators from looking into his increasingly shady Russian connections. This is called “obstruction of justice.” Thus far, it’s been shown about thirty ways from Sunday. So this isn’t actually much in dispute, save for Republicans who remain impervious to facts.
What IS important here is to note that the notion of “laws” and “checks and balances” and the “Constitution” have all been tossed into the trash by the GOPs of Congress in a transparent attempt to do to the FBI what they regularly do to any and all opposition. In Scientology, it’s called “dead agenting“:
Dead Agent means to spread malicious lies and rumors about Scientology critics or organization, in an attempt to so thoroughly discredit them that everyone concerned will be disgusted with them, and not listen to the information they have to give about the cult….
I have often noted and sincerely believe that the GOP adapted this practice and has used it to their own advantage for years. It is an epistemological ad hominem: this fellow (or group) is so terrible and disgusting that NOTHING they say should be believed.
And suddenly we are arguing the virtues of the opposition, rather than their allegations. Yesterday in the Washington Post, Dana Milbank did a similar number by running a long, snarky column about how the Democrats at the State of the Union had failed to hold out their pinkies while sipping tea and listening to the GOP’s plans to sodomize America sans lube. I wrote:
Columnist comes to dinner.
Half the guests are barbarians. The barbarians proceed to fling the food, drink all the booze and hold a gang rape of one of the non-barbarian guests in the middle of the dining table.
Dana Milbank is the columnist.
He sees the aforementioned, and writes a long, disparaging column about how the non-barbarians failed to use their shrimp forks correctly.
As we normalize slander, fail to blink at treason, accept nonsense and specious persiflage as “arguments” and “debate,” the barbarians continue to win. This is the gist of the problem.
But, at this point, it all continues to spin out of control. Rational dissection of the monstrous does us no good here.
Yes. The “ship of state” is sinking to the lowest depths. And yes, we’ve already passed crush depth, for those who wonder why it all hasn’t imploded by now. Be of good cheer. That implosion is coming any day now.
Perhaps, as Calvera notes in The Magnificent Seven [film]: “If God did not want them sheared, He would not have made them sheep.”
Greg Sargent noted last November in the Washington Post, “Trump is not trying to persuade anyone of anything as much as he is trying to render reality irrelevant, and reduce the pursuit of agreement on it to just another part of the circus.” And yesterday’s New York Times editorial board notes:
… The question is whether there are any adults left in the G.O.P. The evidence so far is not encouraging, notwithstanding a sporadic furrowed brow in the Senate. At some level, one hopes, a sense of shame and responsibility to the republic will finally kick in. But that, too, is unlikely. Republicans from the top on down have made it clear, expressly or otherwise, that this is all about winning the political fight directly in front of them, the consequences — and the rest of America — be damned.
Tomorrow, as I write this, the brown stuff will hit the rotating blades, and we will be in it with little way back.
And suddenly, after a long, almost imperceptible creep, we find ourselves characters in a novel by George Orwell.
Beware of burning Reichstags.
UPDATE, February 3: I should note that the followup to “The Thick Plottens” is one compound word: “Nothingburger” — although I do not write this with any relish.