A Rush for the exit

I think this is my last current events / consuming journalism post, with one * for I might change my mind later depending on a certain set of circumstances. I think it’s important for people to champion quality journalism and question lazy journalism, but I’m opting out. If a blog post topples over The Cliffs of Insanity, and Buttercup isn’t there, did it really happen? We could be thorough and check what the shrieking eels have been eating, but that would be a colossal (I am definitely going to spell check the word colossal) waste of time. Just like this series. In for a florin, in for a guilder, and I’m out of guilders.

I’m not shutting down the site and whatever the hell it is I’m doing here. I have too much fun with it. But the Consuming Journalism series is just pissing into the wind. What’s the population in America now? Mid 300 millions? How many millions watch MSNBC, Fox, and CNN religiously? Let’s say more than a lot of millions. I do not think people are stupid, not at all. A lot of those viewers know how to gut a bathroom, put in a new toilet and shower, and tile it. That stuff is Newtonian level physics for me. People are smart. But for the vast majority, their intelligence and wisdom is not applied to the consumption of news and journalism. The people who like to think about it are already following people doing a great job.

I’ll close this little series out with a few thoughts about a Rush Limbaugh transcript I read tonight. Some background first. I forget when Rush came onto the scene. Let’s just call it the mid-80s. My memory isn’t great, though, and that could easily be inaccurate. If so, let’s swap him for Patrick Buchanan. I was drawn to their stuff early on. I liked their Walden-esque appeal. Work hard and anything’s possible. I haven’t given up on that last bit, it’s an amazing thing about America. It’s also true that you can work three jobs until 70, miss a rent check, and end up on the street.

I wasn’t paying attention to a lot of the things that Buchanan and Limbaugh were leaving out or trying to very conveniently erase. I’d like to think I’m more aware now. And if you haven’t already concluded that ahhh, he was a 15 year old white dude whose parents busted their asses into the trajectory of upper middle class and who had access to solid, safe public schools, well, you haven’t been paying attention.

Limbaugh’s smart. He identified early on a way to get rich appealing to predominantly white supporters who believe firmly in American exceptionalism. The transcript I read tonight shows a perfect example of that exceptionalism. In the article, he discusses the killing of Suleimani and Iran’s response. There’s no room for humility, no reflection. To him, it’s a waste of time. (Realclearpolitics served up the transcript, with a lot of spelling and grammar errors. I didn’t double check their sourcing because it seems 100% authentic Rush. If it’s not really Rush, sorry Rush, the sentiment can still be discussed.)

Limbaugh: This Country Has A Foreign Policy Rooted In The Notion That We’re The Problem, Too Powerful

I hate to follow one quote up with another, but it’s 1) getting late and 2) I’m no Charles Mudede. I refer to Mudede a lot because I think he’s an amazing writer. When he discusses a viewpoint or a topic, he does so with his thoughts. He doesn’t lean too heavily on offering up quotes and hoping people somehow magically understand the point he is making. I rely too heavily on people’s words. Anyways, here’s the quote.

We are going to protect what we have. We are going to grow what we have because we’re the good guys, and we are the agents of positive change for anybody in the world that wants to join us. And anybody that stands in our way and kills Americans is not going to get away with it. 

We’re the good guys. The right has done a fantastic job of labeling any expression of grey areas as unpatriotic, blame America. It sells really well. It’s an easy argument to stick to, to stay relentlessly on brand. It’s also really lazy, and it leads to more misery and suffering in the long run.

Suleimani had American blood on his hands, and he was in the business of killing. I had a cushy desk job in Baghdad, but I raced for a few bunkers when the…man, memory fades…was it CRAM?…alarms went off. I’m sure Iran provided a lot of those rockets and mortars. Live by the sword, die by the sword. Suleimani wouldn’t have skipped his morning coffee if my name had shown up in the blown to bits files.

But why do we keep allowing ourselves to buy into this dumbed down Manichaean worldview of we’re good, they’re bad. Well, unless Mani was right. I’m not a scholar of Manichaeism, so I don’t know where the Iran America battle would fall into that dogmatically.

Yay Trump won, Iran blinked, go good guys. That is the gist of Limbaugh’s argument. It’s the language of a 5th grader’s recess hour.

The U.S. Government overthrew the democratically-elected leader of Iran in 1953. We invaded Afghanistan in 2001, and we’ve had a military presence there since then. Afghanistan borders Iran. We invaded Iraq in 2003 and have had a military presence there since then. Iraq borders Iran. Neocons like Cheney and Bill Kristol, who were instrumental in launching the Iraq War, have been arguing for the overthrow of the Iranian government for a long time.

For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Oh snap, I think that’s the first remotely scientific thing I have ever tried to put in writing. Now I’m nervous, I hope I got it write. Monroe Doctrine, arming the mujahideen…the good guy, bad guy, whining about being blamed for things argument is a lazy one. Limbaugh has millions of listeners who love that argument. Is it too much to hope for to have leaders and talking heads who treat Americans like adults?