Thursday, March 29, 2007


File Under: Arguments, Specious

Have you ever heard the saying that it is often the loudest voice which advances the weakest argument? One would be hard pressed to find a more perfect example of this principal than The Bloviator, Rush Limbaugh, as sanctimonious a hypocrite as ever walked the earth. When not on trips out of the country enjoying a mixture of Oxycontin, Viagra and underage hookers, Limbaugh spends his time on his Reicht wing talk radio show complaining at length about the moral decay of people on the left. He holds virtual copyright on the technique of stressing the word Liberal in much the same way as the Church Lady would pronounce the word SATAN. He doesn't just quaff the Kool-Aid™, he mixes it up and passes it around for everyone else to drink. He has numerous connections to the slimy underbelly of the Republican party, and it is therefore no surprise that he is utterly devoid of the smallest shred of decency. His attack on actor Michael J. Fox's Parkinson's symptoms is particularly execrable, but by no means unique in a career of unprincipled manipulation. He wouldn't know a fact if it bit him on his bloated double-wide ass.

In one of my many daily web searches, I happened across a link to Limbaugh's website, and an article that advances a particularly vacuous argument: that the Democratic Congressional investigation into dismissal of eight federal prosecutors constitutes a 'perjury trap.' This is of course designed to advance the Republican theme that this perfectly legitimate exercise of congressional oversight authority is some kind of witch hunt carried out by Liberal (think SATANIC, see above) 'extremists.'

Limbaugh's website requires that one sign in to read it, something I am loathe to do. I strongly suspect that by doing so, I would be counted by Rush as one of his army of fawning supporters, and I will not give him even the slightest satisfaction in that. Hence I am forced to quote from younger brother David Limbaugh's column in the Sun Myung Moon-owned reicht wing rag, The Washington Times. The piece's title asks, 'Who's Politicizing Justice?' If you don't believe these opinions to be in lock step with the older brother, I have this quote from the header returned from Rush's site by Google, "Anyway, it's a perjury trap. They've all seen what happened to Scooter Libby." Anyway, here's David Limbaugh's version of the same argument:
"One reason I have been urging Republicans to man their battle stations against Democrats is that Democrats are in perpetual, full-blown war mode against Republicans. The Democrats' militant approach to the manufactured Justice Department scandal illustrates the point... why are they always alleging Republican scandal even before they have any idea what the facts are?
The answer is that it's all about discrediting the president and augmenting their own power, which is why they always try to tie Dick Cheney or Karl Rove personally to every event they mischaracterize (sic) as a scandal."
(emphasis added)
First off, observe how Limbaugh the Lesser repeatedly uses language designed to paint anyone who doesn't have a Republican empty pod husk under their bed as a foreign invader. Every time I hear language like this it brings back the shudder I felt when I heard Chimpy proclaim on Nov 12, 2001, "if you're not with us, you're against us" and the premonition that the definition of 'us' would get narrower and narrower as time went on. As we have seen, the premonition was not without merit - 'us' having by now been reduced to Bush himself, Laura, and White House dog Barney.

Second, the lame attempt to make the scandal go away by a simple redefinition of terminology - 'Manufactured', 'mis-characterize' and so forth. Finally, 'before they have any idea what the facts are?' And how, one might ask, is anyone supposed to know what the facts are when dealing with the most secretive government in the history of the U. S. A.? The Limbaugh brothers may want to deny the existence of documents and emails proving that White House and DoJ officials have been consistently lying about this affair, but that doesn't nullify the facts. I have to say, it looks to me like David Limbaugh is even stoopuder than his sibling. If Congress indeed has no idea what the facts are, that only serves to justify subpoenas, and witnesses testifying under oath.

Which reminds me of the exchange between Bill O'Reilly and Jonathan Turley the other night. When O'Reilly brought up the case of Scooter Libby in his argument, Turley responded very quickly with, "Well, see that's a bad thing to choose cause he's a convicted felon. A jury found him guilty of lying." The reight-tards just can't keep themselves from bringing up points that, when examined by anyone with an ounce of grey matter, actually undermine their case. Having faced nothing but softball questions from a complacent media for six years, they really have lost the skill of recognizing a logical fallacy when they see it. Or spew it.

Which brings me back to the Limbaugh brothers' use of the term 'perjury trap', because in essence that's the same argument O'Reilly is trying to advance. Monica Goodling is justified in invoking her fifth amendment rights because of what happened to Scooter. As of course by extension are bigger fish like Rove and Miers. Back to Limbaugh the Lesser;
Mr. Schumer's Democrats demand that the evil Mr. Rove and others shackle themselves in leg braces and shuffle over to Congress to volunteer themselves as witch-trial, perjury trap martyrs in the spirit of the fallen Scooter Libby. When at first you don't succeed at taking down Mr. Cheney and Mr. Rove, try, try again... We must encourage the president to hold his ground here and, the next time Mr. Schumer expectorates false charges against him, to reverse the charges. He should say to Mr. Schumer: "Senator, you are the one subordinating the law to politics. You are the one acting unethically and abusing your power, by wrongfully accusing public officials of wrongdoing and demanding their resignation without any evidence wrongdoing occurred. If you have a scintilla of evidence of wrongdoing, produce it, or hold your slanderous tongue. Before lecturing us again on politics and justice, explain to us why you routinely savage my highly qualified and ethical judicial nominees for crass political purposes."
The irony of using the terminology above should escape no-one's attention - when the Bush administration actually has prisoners in very real shackles and leg braces who have had no evidence proffered against them, and no opportunity to mount a legitimate defense. And this string of verbiage, "witch-trial, perjury trap martyrs in the spirit of the fallen Scooter Libby" - simply bewildering in the degree of mendacity displayed. Making Libby out to be some kind of hero when he was embroiled in a major breach of security that was entirely politically motivated and did material damage to the country is especially at odds with the facts.

The real meaning of the term perjury trap refers to a line of questioning directed at a witness already on the stand - one who it is suspected has already perjured themselves, and the 'trap' is in making them expose their duplicity. The specious argument coming from the right only shows that the White House and Department of Justice have crimes to cover up, and cannot testify truthfully without exposing those crimes.

If any trap exists, the administration has set and sprung it themselves. As any fool can plainly see, if they have nothing to hide they have nothing to fear.

Cross-posted at Ice Station Tango

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