Saturday, May 30, 2015

Here's The Oxymoron O'The Day: The Jebster Is The Smart Bush

Eags performs the latest pre-mortum autopsy on The Jebster and proclaims the former governor of Florida to be DOA by the time the Dumbo national convention gathers in Cleveland, OH in mid-July 2016. Perhaps the Dumbos will shoot themselves in the foot by annointing The Jebster as their 2016 nominee. The Jebster — unlike his older brother — is book-smart. The boy completed the honors program at the University of Texas-Austin in three years. However, as he has risen in the Dumbo ranks, he's gotten less smart with each passing year. Who nows: by 2016, he may rival St. Dutch in the hide your own Easter egg competition. If this is a (fair & balanced) tale of mental disintegration, so be it.

[x NY Fishwrap]
The Arrogance Of Jeb Bush
By Timothy Egan

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You thought he was the smart Bush. You thought he was the reasonable one. You thought he was the Republican with one foot in the 21st century, the man who wasn’t going to say crazy things to win the primary voter who believes in crazy things. But you haven’t been paying attention to Jeb Bush.

Yes, he was strafed from both sides for his tortured and fact-challenged explanations of the Iraq war. The fumbling is understandable: Bound by family fealty, the fraternal load of the biggest foreign policy debacle of our time, Jeb Bush can’t state the obvious.

But an equally astounding, and perhaps more absurd utterance, has not received nearly as much attention — his climate change stance. Bush the youngest believes the Earth is warming. No doubt, he’s willing to go further out on a limb and conclude that heat expands, cold contracts and a dolphin is not a fish.

That’s as far as he’ll go. He says the science is “convoluted,” even though the latest assessment from international climate scientists states with 95 percent confidence that humans are the cause of a sick planet. That obfuscation is also understandable. You simply cannot be a leader of the Republican Party without appearing to know less than a fifth grader about earth science.

The real stunner was a statement made earlier this month at a campaign event. What bothers him is not the threat of megastorms, life-killing droughts, city-burying sea rises — but experts in the scientific community who are sounding such alarms. Those people.

“And for the people to say the science is decided on, this is just really arrogant, to be honest with you,” said Bush. “It’s this intellectual arrogance that now you can’t have a conversation about it even.”

Is it arrogant to say that smoking causes lung cancer? That you shouldn’t text and drive? That the American diet and lifestyle cause Type 2 diabetes, which is killing people? There is some wiggle room in each of those assertions. But you test them at your peril. Since when did prudence become a vice in a family whose presidential patriarch was guided by what “wouldn’t be prudent”?

In that sense, Jeb Bush is the living example of another bit of truthiness from science: Evolution does not always mean advancement.

In fables, in biblical parables, in history lessons mostly forgotten, a single theme repeats itself: It’s arrogant to defy nature.

Arrogance is thinking you can build subdivisions in a flood plain, because everyone around you is doing it.

Arrogance is putting a shopping center over an earthquake fault, knowing full well that the collapse could kill hundreds of people.

Arrogance is paving the sponge of land that normally holds water during epic rain events, thinking there will be no consequence.

Arrogance is lording over a planet where a majority of all species that have ever lived are now extinct, without giving it a second thought.

Arrogance is the certainty that you can geoengineer your way out of whatever mess you make.

Bush, a Roman Catholic convert, could ask Pope Francis about humility in the face of nature. The pope has been outspoken about how the world’s poor will be most affected by the rise in global temperatures, and the responsibility to slow human-caused soiling of the Earth. In an upcoming encyclical, he hopes to influence a global accord on climate change in Paris next December.

Or Bush could ask his older brother, who cited the same arrogant bunch of know-it-alls — the National Academy of Sciences — in stating, while president, that the unsustainable increase in greenhouse gas “is due in large part to human activity.”

Why is that so hard to say? Why are Republicans still debating whether the house is on fire, when much of the rest of the world is ready to direct the fire hoses?

One reason is that the Earth-is-doomed purists are annoying, with their sanctimony, their humorlessness, their failure to embrace political nuance. No president has been better on climate change than Barack Obama, and yet influential voices in the environmental community consider him a traitor to their cause.

Coming from Florida, much of which could be underwater in our children’s lifetime, Jeb Bush knows better. He is reflective and well-informed about his own health and weight loss. And he once spoke the language of common sense about trying to restore a smidge of the wild in the strip-mall-saturated Sunshine State.

But now he has to be dishonest to keep his tenuous hold among the top tier of Republican candidates. He’s already out of line with his party on Common Core school standards, and immigration. A trifecta of conservative heresy would be enough to knock him out completely.

It’s too late — his embrace of science denial will not save him. It doesn’t matter that he may rake in $100 million during the fake campaign, where he can remain under the radar of nominal oversight by not formally announcing. It doesn’t matter that he may yet win the Koch brothers primary, which explains more than anything why he favors more fracking for oil and gas.

In addressing and assessing the great issues of the day, Jeb Bush has disqualified himself to lead. On top of that, he’s politically inept. All he has going for him is a certain arrogance, to use his word, that the name Bush entitles him to be president. Ω

[Timothy Egan writes "Outposts," a column at the NY Fishwrap online. Egan — winner of both a Pulitzer Prize in 2001 as a member of a team of reporters who wrote the series "How Race Is Lived in America" and a National Book Award (The Worst Hard Time in 2006) — graduated from the University of Washington with a degree in journalism, and was awarded an honorary doctorate of humane letters by Whitman College in 2000 for his environmental writings. Egan's most recent book is The Big Burn: Teddy Roosevelt and the Fire that Saved America (2009).]

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