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The most valuable function performed by the federal government is entertainment.

– Dave Barry

I know it doesn’t quite work with this, since the NRA isn’t a part of the federal government – yet/officially – but seeing as how it exists as a corollary of and in symbiotic opposition to the federal government, I felt the quote was apropos.

What I’m referring to is this. This, as has been widely reported, is too good to be true. This is what gets me out of bed in the morning. This is a steal at twice the price, and so good, it must be fattening. As reported by MSNBC:

The powerful gun lobby has posted what amounts to an enemies list on its website, and the neverending lineup includes scores upon scores of individual and groups that the NRA sees as hostile to gun rights. The list has more than 500 names, including women’s groups, law enforcement organizations, former presidents and A–list celebs.

As they say ’round the Bluth household, this is ripe for parody – this is ripe! Such entertainment should really cost more money – if you’re good at something, never do it for free. But there it is, right on their website – for free. Here’s what Daily Kos had to say, in one of the best characterizations of this tasty morsel of news:

The actual list is broken into multiple parts: There are political organizations the NRA hates, specific people (mostly celebrities and journalists) the NRA hates, and companies the NRA hates. Continue reading below the fold for a very, very small sampler from among the hundreds of entries.

AARP
American Civil Liberties Union
American Medical Association
American Bar Association
American Jewish Committee
B’nai B’rith
College Democrats of America
League of Women Voters
NAACP
National Coalition Against Domestic Violence
National Education Association
National Organization for Women
National Spinal Cord Injury Association

That’s just the tiniest sampler—by the time you’ve run through the whole thing, I think you’ve probably covered almost everyone in America. All right, what about specific named individuals?

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A fanatic is someone who can’t change his mind and won’t change the subject.

-Winston Churchill

A post I’ve discovered on Daily Kos, from almost exactly a year ago, has gotten to the heart of the problem, more succinctly and concisely than I have yet to put it. One needn’t even look past the title to find its insight: “An open letter to the people who hate Obama more than they love America.” This is the bone-deep problem with the extremist elements on the right, and a trait by which those known as “extremist” can be defined: their hatred for Obama and what he represents takes precedent over anything and everything, including the well-being of the nation, the economy, the health of the citizenry, and on, and on. This is the root of their obstructionism, from which stems all the actions they’ve taken, and even seems at times to be obstructionism for its own sake – they oppose whatever Obama does and says simply by virtue of him doing or saying it. Opposing him is what they stand for, is what defines them, and is their overwhelming and superseding goal.

And they have just about said as much. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who is a big player in the Republican party, is widely quoted as having said, two years into Obama’s first term, “my number one priority is making sure president Obama’s a one-term president.”

Number one priority.

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As a way of saying sorry for the unannounced Christmas/New Year’s hiatus – for those who noticed that I was, in fact, on hiatus, and experienced any sort of emotional distress or spiritual unmooring because of it – I offer you this comic, by the political satirist known as Tom Tomorrow, and reposted here from Daily Kos. It contains much more astute political observation than I could have given you.

TMW2013-01-02colorKOS

…and a happy New Year!

The ante has been upped on Godwin’s Law, to a current – and disturbing – level.

For those of you who don’t know, Godwin’s Law was first proposed by Mike Godwin in 1990, and states, “As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1.” The longer a discussion goes on, the more likely it is that someone will compare something to Hitler or the Nazis, in order to cast whatever the person doesn’t like in an evil light. Godwin’s law is a corollary to and modification of the term Reductio ad Hitlerum, coined by Leo Strauss in 1951. Latin for “reduction to” and quasi-Latin for “Hitler,” Reductio ad Hitlerum is a logical fallacy referring to the attempt to refute an opponent’s view by comparing that view to one held by Adolf Hitler. The idea being, simply by exposing a view as one held by Hitler or as being similar to his ideas, the view is automatically rendered invalid and indefensible.

This is obviously not true – though he didn’t have many, Hitler was known for a couple views that would probably be considered widely accepted in the U.S. today, such as anti-communism, but that’s not the point – and employing this fallacy avoids arguing on the merits of a particular argument, instead employing an ad hominem strategy.

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