Welcome to this weeks edition of The Daily Banter mailbag!! Today, Bob, Ben, Chez and Jessica Furst discuss the attempt by the Texas Republicans to pass SB5 after the session ended; groupthink among Snowden fans; and the return of Crossfire on CNN!
1. The most obvious question this week is WHY are the Texas Republicans not facing a world of shit for trying right in front of everybody's eyes to cheat and pass SB5 after the special session had ended. EVERYONE saw them fix the time on the vote and then switch it back and yet no one's been hauled before the law. Explain that.
Chez: The easy answer is because the initial jurisdiction, I'd imagine, would be Texas and they damn sure aren't gonna do anything about it there. Beyond that I really get the impression that when your crime involves institutional politics and an entire party no one really knows what to do with that. It's like the old line about one death being a tragedy and a million being a statistic. We're just so used to systemic awfulness that we don't consider it a crime anymore. Who the hell do you drag before the authorities? The Lt. Governor? The entire Republican Senate of Texas? No. So they just let it go. It's fucking shameful because what they tried to do truly was criminal and the only reason they didn't get away with it this time is that they knew everyone saw them do it. There was no way they could've covered it up.
Ben: After Bush and the Republicans took the country to war under the flimsiest pretenses in the history of all conflicts and literally no one did anything about it, nothing surprises me anymore. The SB5 debacle was absolute horse shit and everyone knows it, but the GOP is so used to getting away with it they don't bother hiding their illegal/immoral/disgusting behavior.
Bob: Actually, it's likely there would've been multiple lawsuits if the lieutenant governor hadn't reversed the (too late) passage of the bill. I don't know that there's a statute against violating Senate rules in Texas, but it would've been easy to file a suit to prevent the bill from being enacted. Come to think of it, when the bill eventually passes there will DEFINITELY be lawsuits against it, and the challenges will likely get kicked all the way up to the John Roberts Supreme Court. Freaked out? I am.
Jessica: Oh Troy, how sweet and innocent you must be. People lie. People cheat. They do this to get what they want. It has always been and forever will be. Unless they bring in a law about that, but perhaps it magically won't get through because they didn't have the right color trainers on, or the electricity went out, or someone's dog ate the official piece of paper.
2. There has been a lot of talk about how the media is purposely smearing Edward Snowden but it's not as if it has had to do much considering his own behavior. Why do you think some are so desperate to hold Snowden up as a god that they will overlook what he's actually said and done?
Ben: There is a very worrying trend of hero worshiping in left wing circles, and it's not only annoying but incredibly damaging to debate in this country. You literally cannot have a conversation with people on the civil libertarian left because they deify their heroes (Glenn Greenwald, Jane Hamsher, Noam Chomsky, Julian Assange, Edward Snowden etc etc) and revert to a prewritten script whenever you challenge them on their world view. I know because I used to be one of them. I don't discount any of the names I mention above - all of them have important things to say and have provided a useful analysis of modern politics. But that's all it is - a useful analysis, not the definitive guide to understanding how politics works. For example, I think Noam Chomsky is one of the most important intellectuals to have ever lived. I've read almost everything he has written, and his analysis of modern geo politics/economics is staggering. But he's fallible like everyone else and I don't see why he can't be criticized. When it comes to Ed Snowden, I think he's a brave, heroic, narcissistic and hypocritical. I'm not going to paint him as one thing or the other because it's too damn simplistic.
Bob: I know exactly why. Because everyone else is doing it. The groupthink surrounding Snowden and Greenwald is staggering. Very few people are thinking independently or rationally about what they're reading -- if they read beyond the headlines at all.
Jessica: Everyone likes the David and Goliath set up. Maybe if Snowden does reappear in Ecuador or wherever, he'll turn up holding a sling…crazier stuff has happened.
Chez: It goes to something I wrote about last week involving hero worship in the name of the greater good. To the usual suspects within the Utopian Left, the fact that Snowden is a flawed hero doesn't matter -- he's still a hero and his existence serves an invaluable purpose. As far as they're concerned we should all be paying attention to the information Snowden's releasing rather than how he's doing it, why, what his motivations are, what his true intentions may be, etc. and if anyone who dares to do otherwise is a surveillance state lackey. Fuck that. Snowden's proven himself since the very beginning to be a painfully narcissistic political nihilist whose early cloak of righteous indignation is crap. At first he claimed to be against the illegal -- but really not -- data-mining of U.S. citizens but that morphed into just hating the entire system for its own sake. And anyone who cries about civil liberties and then runs to China, Russia and so on is entirely full of shit and not worthy of being taken seriously. The info he's released, while interesting, isn't anywhere near the massive deal he'd like us to believe, so, yeah, fuck him.
3. Looks like "Crossfire" is officially coming back. How long before Western Civilization officially comes to an end?
Chez: About as long as it takes for Newt Gingrich to dump Calista and propose to S.E. Cupp.
Bob: Hopefully The Daily Show will shame it into cancellation again before any real damage occurs.
Jessica: I give it approximately 3 days, I hope it's 3 days anyway because this week has been a long one and I really, really want to have a weekend.
Ben: Humanity really has reached an all time low when TV is so shit that a failed political show is brought back to entertain everyone. Seriously, Newt Gingrich??? How Goddamn desperate is CNN?
In our mission to ridicule politicians, celebrities and anyone vaguely famous, we're going to be running a quote at the end of each mailbag where you, our readers, decide who you think said something ridiculous. This week's quote:
"I like the color red because it's a fire. And I see myself as always being on fire."
Who said this? Kanye West, Arnold Schwarznegger or someone actually on fire?
Answer at the end of the day.