Thursday, December 17, 2009

Jon Stewart Rips Laura Ingraham for Holocaust References

A few years back, the Right Wingnuts went crazy when Illinois Senator Dick Durbin dared to suggest that the photos coming out of Abu Ghraib prison reminded him of something he would expect to find in a totalitarian regime. Now, however, these same jackasses have no qualms about using Holocaust analogies to oppose health care reform that would still leave Americans far short of what citizens enjoy in almost every other industrialized democracy in the world.

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Perhaps Stewart's best line was his response to the moron who insisted that "we can never let the pen become mightier than the sword."

"The pen being mightier than the sword is only the basis for our civilization."


  1. Vinny,

    I've been visiting some of the left-leaning blogs listed under the heading "Left Ones" on my blog. It hasn't been especially rewarding as yet.

    But this post is especially disturbing considering I had always found you more rational even when I was disagreeing with you. Let me explain what's wrong with this Stewart piece.

    First of all, unlike most right-wingers who have as much time to do so, he fails to give more than just the slightest of snippets. This, of course, makes it easier to mock the person highlighted, but worse than that, he uses it to make himself seem like he's got a real point of contention to abuse.

    The first was the quick remark about not killing babies. I can't believe it would be difficult to imagine this refers to these pathetic reform bills financing abortions with tax dollars. Most people of logic and honor recognize that people are people from conception and their personhood is as precious as anyone else. Even those who disagree should recognize what such people mean when saying things about "killing babies" in such a context and to mock them with no decent support for their alternative opinion is low indeed.

    Then the bit about the pen and the sword. Since Stewart only offers the one sentence and not anything more, I claim the right to read into it a likely more reasonable explanation. The speaker was referring to the power of the pen being abused in the writing of and signing of this lame and economy wrecking "reform" bill. It is doing more damage than the sword, or equal damage as a sword albeit slower and with more suffering, or even just as a metaphor for the damage this bill will visit upon the average family and the poor.


  2. Then of course the Laura Ingraham piece. I think she is only paraphrasing the original poem, not intending to make comparisons to holocaust victims. She plainly states that they came for the rich and did nothing because she's not rich. Obviously she's referring to those who believe it's OK to continually tax the rich as if the gov't will never get to the "less rich" until they get to everyone. The point here is that to justify the continued taxation of one group sets a precedent for the taxation of other groups.

    The same is true for the confiscation of weapons from the law abiding being acceptable to those who don't avail themselves of that particular right. When one right is taken, it makes it easier to take away other rights.

    So, this is nothing like what Dickhead Durbin did. He made a direct comparison to despots in his description of the photos of Abu Ghraib. Ingraham merely borrowed a style to express what is going on now. It's a pretty lame and cheap accusation that serves to avoid addressing the concerns she expressed. Durbin's statement were a distinct accusation against our military, as he didn't take the time to depict Abu Ghraib as an isolated incident.

    I'm surprised you go along with it.

  3. As a point of clarification, when I looked it up, I found that Durbin's remarks referred to an FBI agent's complaint about interrogation techniques at Gitmo rather than pictures from Abu Ghraib prison. He said if you didn't know better, you might have thought he was describing something that was going on in Nazi Germany, the Russian gulags, or under Pol Pot.

    I actually agree that his remarks were over the top and factually inaccurate. Mistreating enemy prisoners during war falls far short of arbitrarily killing innocent civilians.

    On the other hand, had Durbin said that you might have expected something like that out of a repressive regime like North Korea, he would have hit the nail on the head. Many of the techniques used at Gitmo were based on things that were done to captured American soldiers during the Korean War.

    Durbin mistake was in comparing the techniques at Gitmo to the wrong totalitarian regime.

    Ingraham, on the other hand, was protesting policies practiced by almost every other industrialized democracy in the free world. Any comparison to a totalitarian regime is outrageous.

  4. There have been many visits to Gitmo by many people of both sides of the political aisle. The general tone after such visits is that it's not a bad place to get one's self committed if one is to be made prisoner by the US military. I don't think there is any comparison between the way prisoners are interrogated at Gitmo and in nations with whom we generally find ourselves in opposition. Indeed, the people incarcerated there would not be so nice in their treatment of our people and I think anyone paying the slightest attention would be foolish to suggest such a thing. And though certain regimes may have employed some of the interrogation techniques used at Gitmo, it still does not justify comparisons to those despotic regimes. For example, the way we waterboard is not necessarily the same as the way other people do it, or rather, the word is used to describe different techniques. I understand, for example, that the Japanese in WWII had a technique called waterboarding that was far different from what was used on KSM.

    Though "Pencil" Dick Durbin was quoting someone else, he did so with some purpose one could say was more loaded than the agent he quoted. The agent, who's politics and sensitivities are unknown to me, may simply be in the wrong business. But Durbin's usage of the quote was politically motivated making it loathsome as it has the shotgun effect of disparaging others beyond his intended target of the Bush and his admin.

    If every other industrialized democracy in the free world jumped off a cliff, are we supposed to follow? Ingraham's protestations work for the others, but she's not concerned with their failings, but rather with our own. Crappy policies are crappy policies and who employs them is irrelevant. All that is relevant is that our politicians wish to adopt them. I oppose it as well and you should, too.

  5. If every other industrialized democracy follows a policy, then comparing it to Nazism is the height of ignorance regardless of whether you think it is a bad policy.