Between Benghazi And Climate Change GOP Goes Whole-Hog Hillbilly

The Republican Party dynamic explains the problem. Attempting to appeal to a demented base of Southern-style (Confederate) nincompoops, the screaming jackass pundits prime the pump of hate and stupidity, and the politicians then respond to what is left of "what the people want". That this whole process produces a debilitating derangement of American politics has so far only bothered that portion of the GOP, the RINOs essentially, who still think the Republican Party can be salvaged from its current base condition as a pack of goose-stepping Jethroes.
In the old television show, The Beverly Hillbillies, the joke was that the smart, educated, people had no chance whatsoever against the eponymous Hillbillies, who while they didn’t have much in the way of brains or education or sophistication going for them, they did have the only thing that mattered: piles and piles of money, and the power that came with it.

Fortunately, with it being the 1960s, that power was wielded in a usually harmless and silly manner. That’s because the people who had the money, having spent most of their lives being actual hillbillies, were indifferent to it, and had no idea how to use it. For that purpose, they relied on a ruthless banker to help them manage things. Often, the banker would have to pretend to be as dumb and ignorant as his rich, hapless, customers, in order to get them to go along with whatever scheme he had devised for them (or for their money).
The Clampett family displaying their love for good solid, Confederate States of America, values. A running joke in The Beverly Hillbillies, was that the Clampetts were so ignorant and absurdly buffoonish, they still acted like the Civil War was going on, and the South was aiming to win. This was laughed at in the 1960s as total nuttery. In 2014, not so many people are laughing any longer, as it became evident long ago, a lot of Republicans take Southern heritage, and the Confederate flag that symbolizes it, as honorable things worth cherishing—and perpetrating.
And that pretty much sums up the situation over in the Republican Party, which has always been run by and for rich banker scumbags and similar vermin, but now, because all the decent human beings in America are Democrats or to the left of that, the only bodies the GOP can find to make up their voting base, are a bunch of stupid, ignorant hillbillies.

Two recent schemes by the GOP leadership point this up, as they maneuver to find something, anything, to convince the American people to vote against their interests and for Republican candidates—people who often sound as if they just arrived by time machine from their benighted home in the Dark Ages.

BENGHAZI

The Republicans have managed to take this old name of a Libyan town and turn it into a meme, which basically means “Barry and Hillary are hiding something about four dead Americans!” The first thing you have to understand is, it doesn’t matter what the facts are. Indeed, stating the facts, pointing to the conclusions of previous investigations of Benghazi (investigations run by US military officers and diplomats, not Republican attack dogs), instantly gets you branded a heinous Dem hacktivist, who doesn’t care about “four dead Americans”. Instead, Republicans keep demanding that basically, we have no idea what Benghazi is, or what happened—except that it has to be about terrorists (which Barack Obama never denied), and it can’t have anything to do with “that video” (which previous investigations said did have some role to play in things).

One of the most lurid examples of the crazy things the Republican hillbilly base believes, is that US Ambassador Chris Stevens was attacked by mad-dog terrorists, who dragged him into the streets, stripped him naked, and sexually assaulted him, before shooting him to death. The fact there is no evidence whatsoever this happened, and that there is sworn testimony, by people actually at the scene, Stevens died of smoke inhalation, and did not suffer sexual assault or any gunshot wounds, simply does not matter to the Republican hillbilly base.

When Eleanor Clift said on the McGlaughlin Report recently that Chris Stevens had died of smoke inhalation, and wasn’t dragged screaming through the streets of Benghazi by terrorists, Clift was denounced by Republicans for spewing Dem-party-line talking points, that cannot make any sense in light of—well in dark of—Republican propaganda. But Clift was of course simply repeating the conclusions of the Benghazi investigations that have already asked and answered most of the questions the Republicans keep saying Obama is evading answering.

The Republican leadership, and better than that the Republic punditship, have told the hillbilly base what to think and they simply do not possess the ability or any interest to question it. After all, Benghazi is the gift that keeps on giving. It attacks Barack Obama, though when Romney used it for that purpose in 2012, the American people told Romney to shut up being a fool about it. And, it attacks Hillary Clinton, who just might be running for POTUS in 2016, and the GOP needs to make it sound like Hillary is sinister—like that ever stopped a Clinton.

CLIMATE CHANGE

Far more concerning than Benghazi, and even way more than the “four dead Americans”, is the Republican war against science, being chiefly waged against climate science, but also against the evils of evolution, cosmological science, and even the practice of medicine. Climate science’s conclusions that man-made warming of the Earth’s climate is happening, now, and is presenting us with an increasingly dire threat to humanity (and most other living things), is rejected by a substantial portion of the Republican hillbilly base.

Why is there such general, and utterly irrational, hatred of science amongst this dangerously misinformed minority.

We can blame or thank religion for that. And of course Charles Darwin. After Darwin, and his theories about natural selection, the process by which all life forms came into being, no God or Creation required, the medievalist contingent in the USA has been going more dementedly apeshit over what they view as a Satanic plot.

Does that sound too extreme a characterization?

Well, then consider this statement, made not by some looney hillbilly blathering like a fool on his Appalachian front porch (an ancient American right, by the way), but this in fact is the stated opinion of Representative Paul C. Broun (R-GA), current Chairman of the Investigations and Oversight Subcommittee for the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee:
"I've come to understand that all that stuff I was taught about evolution and embryology and Big Bang theory—all that is lies straight from the pit of Hell. And it's lies to try to keep me and all the folks who taught that, from understanding that they need a savior."
And "all that stuff" is about as deep as the Republican base is able to go in characterizing their grasp on science and its questions and answers. If there is an argument to make about human-caused climate change's complexities—for example, that for a number of years the warming of the atmosphere has slowed, but the warming of the oceans has dramatically and alarmingly increased—even people who play "moderate" Republicans on television want nothing to do with the evidence, and will instead look right at their base, and the rest of the American people, and lie to them.

This happened again just yesterday, when two conservatives, Joe Scarborough and Bill Kristol, appearing on Morning Joe, attempted to put a positive spin on the looney statement of Republican presidential hopeful, Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL).

Rubio made this cogent analysis of the climate change question:
"Our climate is always changing. I do not believe that human activity is causing these dramatic changes to our climate, the way these scientists are portraying it, and I do not believe that the laws that they propose we pass will do anything about it, except it will destroy our economy."
Well, naturally the laws proposed can't do something about a thing you don't believe exists in the first place. But, what is the scientific basis for Rubio's position? Oh come on! What does science have to do with it? Everybody knows science is a pack of "lies straight from the pit of Hell".

Of course, alleged "moderate" Republicans, such as Scarborough and Kristol, know just how crazy that argument sounds to most Americans. And so, in an effort to dumbsplain what Rubio must have been trying to say, the Republicans came up with a modified "scientists are Satanists" position.  While Scarborough and Kristol acknowledged rapid climate change was real and being caused by humans, they insisted that it was unknown just how much the human contribution was to blame, and further, they insisted that Rubio was correct to question the need of actually doing anything that might have a negative impact on the US economy. This is the GOP language, used for decades on this issue, of saying there is no need to do anything about human-caused climate change. To emphasize the lack of urgency, Kristol repeatedly denied that warming of the climate was even still going on.

This is what Kristol had to say on that point:
"It is startling that in the last twenty years, the warming seems to have stopped, and so people should take account of that too."
That certainly would be something to take into consideration—if it were true. But it is not true. Instead, what has happened is that the mean temperature increases globally have paused for a few years. This is common in a long-term cycle of increase, and, just four years ago, in 2010, we had another annual mean record high for the entire planet.

Furthermore, and this is the main concern, many climate scientists now think that the reason for the pause in global atmospheric temperature increases is because the atmosphere has reached a point where it cannot absorb any increase in the short term. Nevertheless, the energy release, from the continuing carbon (and other pollutant) impacts on the climate, means the additional heat has to go someplace. And where? Unfortunately, it seems to be going into the world's oceans. And that means the melting of the ice packs and glaciers of the planet is increasing faster than earlier estimates. And that means the rising of the global sea level will proceed faster than earlier estimates.

Just today, we have this disturbing new estimate from NASA, which now declares the melting of the massive West Antarctic glacier is "unstoppable". Worst case predictions now suggest an additional 12-foot rise in ocean sea levels—above those previously predicted.

This makes estimates of a huge sea-level crisis seem much more likely.

Yet, Bill Kristol argued that none of this would be of any interest to the Republican base:
"The [Republican] base does not want the US economy shut down. The base does not care about theoretical debates about how much human beings contributed [to climate change] in the 1950s or the 1980s."
Instead, Republicans are encouraging their base to keep their minds focused on a single event in a single place and time: Benghazi on September 11, 2012.

How that will play in general elections, where the sane part of the electorate also gets a say, remains to be seen. But the Republican Party is seeing itself downsize into a party of single, deranged, issues—and ones that are of little or no interest to the American people except as symptoms of the death of the GOP.

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