Archive for January, 2010

A disastrous day for Republicans.

Jan 29, 2010 in Barack Obama, Clueless Conservatives, Politics

They let themselves get locked in a room with Obama and the camera rolling.

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Yet a good day for them and all Americans. This was an intervention. As I said before the election, people love to say all sorts of crazy things about Obama but that he has realized a brilliant counter-tactic: Make everybody sit down and hash it out with him. Let them ask questions until they’re blue in the face. When asked if he’d stay longer, Obama said, “I’m having fun!” He could have gone all day, and the prospect of doing this once every month or so as some like Mark Ambinder have suggested is something you can rest assured Republicans will resist. GOP aides have already said letting cameras in the room “was a mistake.”

This is exactly what it takes to deflate the rhetoric coming from the Earl Grey aficionados since Obama was sworn in, the accumulated nonsense they believe will grant them huge victories in November.

But the “optics,” as they say, are stupendous. (TEH!) One versus a roomful, relaxed, confident, informed, mature and collected. A gaggle of politicians suddenly unwilling to repeat the vilest slanders they’ve freely engaged in and encouraged with their base. Suddenly, a government that teases the public: We might be able to work together afterall.

How do the Republicans pivot from this into a string of 41 vote filibusters until November? Is there an opening now, as the Tea Party shenanigans unravel and Sarah Palin is off hunting big paychecks for her celebrity appearances, for Republicans to actually behave like a party of grown-ups and accept that most of what gets thrown their way is already heavily compromised and that most liberals are sitting around glum-faced and dissatisfied because Obama has been stubbornly centrist?

-jb

p.s. Fox News couldn’t take it and cut the talk short, while the other cable networks let it play. Letting you decide!

The jig is up.

Jan 29, 2010 in Politics

Republican = fiscally reckless, danger to our country’s future financial health:

One day after the president upbraided Congress in his State of the Union address for excessive partisanship, Senate Republicans voted en masse against a plan to require that new spending not add to the deficit (it passed anyway as all 60 members of the Democratic caucus hung together).

Any Democrat who can’t annihilate a Republican in November after this isn’t worth a bucket of rabbit piss. Any many of them aren’t.

-jb

Andrew Breitbart: The last icon of journalistic integrity.

Jan 28, 2010 in Clueless Conservatives, Journamalism

Andrew Breitbart, symbol of honesty and sincerity, gets a dose of real journalism.

When in doubt, play the victim.

-mg

Heed the words of Admiral Akbar.

Jan 28, 2010 in Politics

Always remember the Republican definition of bi-partisanship; Republicans write the laws and Democrats vote for them.

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Shorter Obama

Jan 27, 2010 in Politics

Hey morons; YOUR TAXES HAVEN’T GONE UP so stop pretending that they have.

-mg

You’re NOT going to believe this…

Jan 27, 2010 in Clueless Conservatives, Politics

Looks like James O’Keefe is on Breitbart’s payroll. He’s taking what I’m sure he believes to be the high road and without the slightest bit of irony is tisk-tisking “the MSM” for jumping to conclusions (has anybody heard “partisan witch hunt!” yet?). However they try to spin the episode it’s going to be hard arguing that O’Keefe and his band of knuckleheads weren’t aware that they were doing something highly illegal. The dittoheads can blow smoke up each others asses all they please but it’s a different story when you’re sitting across the table from an FBI agent.

-mg

Because Fox keeps you informed!

Jan 27, 2010 in Barack Obama, Health Care

When people actually find out what’s in the Senate bill, most of it tests positively. Nate Silver breaks it down, bit by bit. People don’t like the mandate or the overall price tag, but they like almost everything else about it, giving it an overall +22 net favorable rating. Unfortunately, Silver also reveals that rarely did over 50-60% of people even know about the provisions they liked so much.

Of course, the Democratic politician doesn’t think, “Wow, this bill has some great stuff people will like that I can sell without breaking a sweat!” They think, “Run away!!!” Obama’s State of the Union is well-positioned to course-correct here, but there ain’t a soul gettin’ their hopes too high. My forecast: 65% chance of reclaiming the baton, 35% chance of boilerplate that doesn’t change anything.

-jb

Is anybody in the market for a Kindle?

Jan 26, 2010 in Politics

Starting tomorrow at 10AM PST you’ll be able to pick one up on the cheap.

-mg

I wonder if Brietbart posted bail for this kid.

Jan 26, 2010 in Clueless Conservatives, Politics

It’ll be fun watching this get explained away as a simple, harmless prank:

NEW ORLEANS — A conservative activist who posed as a pimp to target the community-organizing group ACORN and the son of a federal prosecutor were among four people arrested by the FBI and accused of trying to interfere with phones at Sen. Mary Landrieu’s office.

Activist James O’Keefe, 25, was already in Landrieu’s New Orleans office Monday when Robert Flanagan and Joseph Basel, both 24, showed up claiming to be telephone repairmen, U.S. Attorney Jim Letten’s office said Tuesday. Letten says O’Keefe recorded the two with his cell phone.

It’s a good story but Democrats simply aren’t unified enough to coordinate the type of Fox News outrage campaign that could drive something like this into the headlines. I was going to say that this’ll be the last time we hear from O’Keefe but I thought twice about it once I considered right-wingers selective concern about the law. Given the opportunity they’ll turn this guy into a hero like they did to another one of their favorite convicted felons; G Gordon Liddy. And if there’s one thing we learned from Joe The Plumber it’s that nobody fails the GOP laugh test and that the slightest attempts at scrutiny will arouse howls of agony (he’s being attacked!!) from doughy pantloads like Beck and Limbaugh.

-mg

And since we’re talking about bailouts.

Jan 25, 2010 in Politics

Considering that AIG, GM, Bank of America, etc. no longer face risk of collapse because tax payers are expected to pony up cash any time they make a boo boo wouldn’t you agree that they should be paying a premium for such a luxury? Fed backing is the ultimate insurance policy against devastating loss and I think it’s only fair to expect some form of compensation.

-mg

Some clarification would be nice.

Jan 25, 2010 in Disappointing Dems, Librulz

From anybody.

“I think he’s allowed the left wing to pull him too much in that direction,” said Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla.

What exactly has “the left wing” gotten from President Obama?

-mg

On the same page?

Jan 24, 2010 in Health Care

Robert Gibbs seems to understand things fairly well:

Putting aside some of his careful talk, it struck me how happy I was not to be seeing Ari Fleischer, Scott McClellan, Tony Snow, or Dana Perino on the screen lying to me constantly in support of a horrific agenda. Gibbs fundamentally gets it, and seems to be fully aware of the treacherous political landscape the Obama White House is finding itself in. He still throws in a few too many squishy qualifiers, but he appears to finally feel the fire under his ass.

His advantage, however, is that the ball is in the House’s court. The Senate can negotiate with 51 members willing to add fixes via reconciliation, able to offer the House a better deal than Joe Lieberman or Ben Nelson (and, of course, a big improvement on the GOP’s extended middle finger). I know not everything can be done via reconciliation, and I expect House members to know that as well.

It’s important that Democrats itching to retreat at this point see only bayonets behind them, charging forward. Retreat is simply unacceptable at this point, and would be one of the purest expressions of the term, “snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.” Democrats can win on the bill with one vote in the House, or face a political tsunami of rage and inconvenient indifference. Any American with hopes for repairing our broken system and who fears that they may one day slip through the health care cracks can feel somewhat reassured that the future won’t be so grim. Should the bill die, tens of millions of Americans will have little choice but to despair as the one party they’re supposed to trust on health care fumbles the ball on the five yard line.

-jb

The funniest thing I’ve ever watched.

Jan 21, 2010 in We'll post whatever we goddamned want to

Even after fifteen years I still weep tears of laughter:

-mg

Speaking of fishing pictures.

Jan 21, 2010 in We'll post whatever we goddamned want to

We didn’t catch shit…but that doesn’t mean we didn’t have a good time.

Mille Lacs. Rocky Reef Resort. 1/17/10.

The fishing was slow so I think we all got a little bit of the Space Madness inside that little ice-shack. (more…)

Our discourse in a nutshell.

Jan 21, 2010 in Politics

From Ezra Klein whose regularly brilliant insights make me wonder why he hasn’t been fired yet:

And here comes the firing squad. Anthony Weiner went on MSNBC to suggest that Democrats drop health care and pivot to jobs. Evan Bayh is blaming “the furthest left elements of the Democratic Party,” who have gotten exactly nothing they wanted in recent months.

There will be more to say on all this tomorrow. For now, it’s worth observing that a Democratic Party that would abandon their central initiative this quickly isn’t a Democratic Party that deserves to hold power. If they don’t believe in the importance of their policies, why should anyone who’s skeptical change their mind? If they’re not interested in actually passing their agenda, why should voters who agree with Democrats on the issues work to elect them?

This is how our media discourse works:

When a Republican wins an election it is proof that Democrats have strayed too far to the Left. Furthermore, it is a vindication for all that they stand for.

When a Democrat wins an election it is proof that they need to adopt right-wing ideology and figure out ways to cater to the far-right for the sake of bi-partisanship.

Like Republicans whose only prescription for matters large or small is to cut taxes, pundits reactions to Democratic Party foibles would be much easier to take seriously if they all didn’t consist of the same message; that in order to be successful, regardless of all evidence to the contrary, Democrats must stampede to the right and cater to every Republican wish. Obviously, that’s not what their base, such as it is, wants. But why should we give a shit about the party if that’s what they’re willing to do in the first place? Because they’re better than the alternative?

If the Teabaggers and the Progressives ever teamed up in this country, drawn together because of their mutual hatred of encroaching serfdom, then DC is going to be in for some big trouble. Like Kunstler says, we’re only a few oil embargoes away before the peasants start sharpening the guillotine.

-mg

A victory for corporate cash.

Jan 21, 2010 in Politics

This wasn’t hard to see coming. The Supreme Court, which under Roberts regards corporations as the truly important people, hands them a blank check on political ads.

Dear, Working-class Person: The noose just tightened around your neck another couple inches. Corporations can spend millions on market-testing and figuring out exactly what messages get people to elect politicians who will then kickback billions. It’s a stealth war on you, and there’s no way to fight back without getting loud, and that’s gonna get labeled “class warfare,” because that’s a market-tested buzzword that gets people to shut up.

There’s one solution, and that’s publicly financed elections. The corporates know to call that “socialism” and shut you up again. But if “freedom” has crossed your lips in the past year, it’s one of the few things that’s gonna put more control in your hands.

-jb

Somebody in D.C. gets it.

Jan 21, 2010 in Disappointing Dems

What’s it’s been like to be a Democrat for the past 17 years or so.

-jb

My resume.

Jan 21, 2010 in Culture, Politics

Mike has pictures of fish to post, so that kind of neutralizes those try pulling the “real ‘merican!” shtick on him (to endorse policies that benefit the top 1%). Allow me to list my “populist” credentials, since advocating for policies that actually help blue collar workers isn’t enough.

1. My daddy is a farmer. I had a pet goat when I was little. I spent half my afternoons running around on the farm (when Mother was working evenings) making toys out of sticks and old gasoline nozzles, chasing geese and exploring.
2. I grew up around guns, and enjoy shooting them. My father and grandfather were champion trap-shooters, but I was more of a rifle-and-scope kind of guy. My father still trades guns and anybody who has ever been to a gun show in Iowa has probably met him. Hint: He’s the only vocal Democrat in the building.
3. My mother is an RN, and the first in her family to graduate from college, albeit a two year nursing program.
4. I went to a school with a K-12 population of about 240 kids. I took welding and small engines.
5. I graduated from a state college, University of Northern Iowa. Ivy League schools intimidate me a bit, and the people who graduate from them seem like they have robotic super-powered brains to me.
6. I have drunk many pitchers of cheap beer and various forms of swill. When I drink wine, it’s under $5. One of my favorite things to drink is a 40 oz. bottle of malt liquor. Pretty much, if a vagrant would drink it, I’ll give it a shot (shout out to Mad Dog 20/20!). PBR tastes like cow piss, though.
7. I eat terribly. Fast food in any form, burritos, five dollar piles of Chinese food…yesterday my lunch was half a bag of hot fries. Cheeseburger, cheeseburger, cheeseburger! Seriously, I could eat chicken nuggets and pizza every day (though I had to start jogging, like an elitist)
8. Cool smarty-pants kids don’t really like me or find me particularly interesting, cultured, or rebellious (though I am, I swear).
9. It was up to my wife to see that I wore halfway decent clothes. Before her I was wearing tapered jeans and t-shirts, and lots of dark monochromatic shirts.
10. I’ve worked in nursing homes, small town restaurants, single screen movie theaters, dormitory dining service, polling, window selling, video stores, etc.
11. I make around $20K a year and haven’t had health insurance since 2000. Just got on my wife’s plan, no visit to the doctor yet. I’m just about done paying for the $4000 operation I had two years ago (two operations, it ended up being), and for years I had to travel to Mexico to get dental work.
12. By sheer luck and nothing more have I avoided a small posse of illegitimate children with terrible women.
13. Oh, I grew up in a town of 100 people, and spent the other half of my childhood tooling around the countryside on bike, building forts where possible (within a train trestle, mind you), and swimming in whatever body of water we could find.
14. I went to Sunday school most of my life, where we never talked about Hell, just read the more exciting parts of the Old Testament and talked about what a nice man Jesus was.
15. I was spanked, not only by my parents but by my high school principal on more than one occasion.
16. Finally, I swear like a sailor. Or, rather, like a farmer. Or a farmer’s son from small-town America. Because that’s what the fuck I am.

Now, I’ve excluded a lot of things that make me a bit “fancy” and also “un-American” by the barometers of a lot of Ivy League wealthy rightwingers who hate the poor and working class and gleefully manipulate and pillage them for all they’re worth. If a working poor person does have some education and uses a few too many big words going after the elites in our society, they can be neutralized via the cultural war tropes that piss us off because they’re distracting and stupid…so we can be ostracized for being pissed off and calling “stupid” where we see it.

The elites in our society don’t tell people “pull yourself up by your bootstraps!” because they want to help them become wealthy too. Liberals and conservatives alike own small businesses and become managers. The elites say it to keep us down, to keep the rabble away from the fruits of their labor, away from the profits that their hard work generates. They don’t get people frothing mad about taxes because taxes keep anybody poor or working class down, but because it’s the wealth of the elites that gets tapped to provide for schools, Social Security, Medicaid, and other things. Roger Ailes needs every penny of his $23 million a year so he can keep living behind thick walls with security details, so Fox hosts the Tea Party rallies and get people fired up about health care for them that would lean on his taxes for support. It’s that simple. And if a rich person does dare to advocate for the working class, they have the whole “Limousine Liberals!” shtick to play. You get screwed either way.

So they sell that snake oil, and these rich bastards assuage the working poor by telling them the liberals who are trying to directly help them secretly hate them.

My father was a blue collar working class Democrat who supported the party because he always saw them fighting for him, and he always saw the Republicans doing everything they could to screw the working class. He never regarded their blather as anything other than the prattling of used car salesmen, smooth-talking shysters. Nobody could ever fool him into thinking that denying him health care was doing him a favor, and nobody could ever fool him into thinking that a billionaire’s taxes were too high. He’s culturally still somewhat conservative, and my ways don’t always please him, but that’s always been a separate subject. He’s still not sure Barack isn’t going to take away his guns, but he knows that’s the only issue he likes Republicans for. It’s the only thing they have to say that has anything to do with his actual life and how it’s lived, and it’s not enough.

And that’s the foundation from where I start.

-jb

p.s. And I’ve seen every single UFC!

One constant remains.

Jan 20, 2010 in Politics

-mg

Capitalism: Amoral or immoral?

Jan 17, 2010 in Economy, Politics

Joseph Stiglitz:

We have created a society in which materialism overwhelms moral commitment, in which the rapid growth that we have achieved is not sustainable environmentally or socially, in which we do not act together to address our common needs. Market fundamentalism has eroded any sense of community and has led to rampant exploitation of unwary and unprotected individuals. There has been an erosion of trust—and not just in our financial institutions. It is not too late to close these fissures.

How the market has altered the way we think is best illustrated by attitudes toward pay. There used to be a social contract about the reasonable division of the gains that arise from acting together within the economy. Within corporations, the pay of the leader might be 10 or 20 times that of the average worker. But something happened 30 years ago, as the era of Thatcher/Reagan was ushered in. There ceased to be any sense of fairness; it was simply how much the executive could appropriate for himself. It became perfectly respectable to call it incentive pay, even when there was little relationship between pay and performance. In the finance sector, when performance is high, pay is high; but when performance is low, pay is still high. The bankers knew—or should have known—that while high leverage might generate high returns in good years, it also exposed the banks to large downside risks. But they also knew that under their contracts, this would not affect their bonuses.

It’s always about rigging the game and having a good alibi:

The financial sector worked hard to stop predatory lending laws, to gut state consumer protection laws, and to ensure that the federal government’s ever laxer standards overrode state regulators. Their ideal scenario, it seems, is to have the kind of regulation that doesn’t prevent them from doing anything, but allows them to say, in case of any problems, that they assumed everything was okay—because it was done within the law.

And the teabaggers say DON’T YOU SEE WE NEED MORE FREE MARKETS GUBMINT IS EVIL! I dunno, but I feel I have a lot more control over what my government does than I do Wall St. Without the stimulus we’d have an 11%+ unemployment rate, but the teabaggers are sitting around shaking in their boots about socialism, convinced that it’s the source of their problems, after we just suffered an economic collapse at the hands of unrestrained private institutions.

-jb

OLIGARHY!

Jan 17, 2010 in Health Care, Politics

Protect the mafia!

You’re a social worker or a parish priest in a poor urban neighborhood that lives under the malignant, if stable, stewardship of an organized-crime protection racket. The small business owners all have to pay a protection fee, which most of them can afford, but a significant portion of bodegas and nail salons operating on razor-thin profit margins struggle to come up with the money. When they fall short (which is often) they are subjected to beatings, harassment, vandalism and other petty cruelties.

Now, it turns out that you can raise enough money through your organization so that you can reliably cover the protection fees for the struggling shop owners operating on the margins. Whenever they can’t come up with enough money, you can make up the difference. The improvement to residents’ lives would be massive: no longer forced to live in fear, they would be allowed to transact their business and go about their lives free from the constant, degrading fear of physical violence. But by taking this action you would also be channeling revenue into the pockets of the protection racket and, perhaps more insidious, further entrenching its power by conceding its central premise: that all local businesses must pay up in order to survive.

This is, of course, the solution to our health care problem forced on us because of the “centrists” and the Republicans. It’s a short term solution, and it gets the idea right of ending the beatings, but by forgoing price negotiations due to rightwing economic “principles” that have been absorbed by the centrist dipsticks, we give the health care mafia the right to jack up the prices whenever they feel like it.

There are some great cost control seed programs in the bill that can make a difference in the long run, but without price negotiating power, we’re leaving the back door wide open. Thank the Blue Dogs and the teabaggers for that one, folks. Having at least 55 Senators in favor of real change and a president willing to sign the bill doesn’t get jack squat done anymore.

-jb

Amnesia is not a governing philosophy

Jan 17, 2010 in Clueless Conservatives, Politics

This is pretty irrefutable:

On BILL MOYERS JOURNAL, (Thomas) Frank looks into the not-so-distant past to describe what America looked like before the time of President Obama, focusing on the last ten years, which he’s called “A Low, Dishonest Decade” in a recent column for the WALL STREET JOURNAL. Frank believes that many of the crises that afflicted America during the oughts should be laid at the feet of the conservative movement. Frank’s list is long: the inadequate response to Katrina; the Enron, Abramoff and Madoff scandals; the mismanaged Iraqi reconstruction; two mismanaged and unpopular wars; and the 2008 financial disaster. Frank argues that it can all be traced back to an intentional dismantling of the government’s oversight infrastructure, driven by a belief that government is always bad: “This is why the wreckage that I’ve described can’t be separated from the conservative ideology and the conservative movement, generally: Because of their hatred of big government and their disdain and contempt for the federal workforce.” But according to Frank, the financial disaster has wiped clean Americans’ memories. They are mad at the bankers and mad about the economy, and conservatives may ride a wave of populist outrage back into power.

Even more tax cuts and less regulation will do the trick, I guess. The GOP answer is that we should essentially continue all Bush policies, much as a quack might recommend beating down a headache with a hammer.

-jb

The real advantage of campaigning on family values.

Jan 16, 2010 in Culture, Politics

Cheating on your wife is okay if you’re a Republican.

You see, they’re working hard to degrade the institution of marriage so that we can’t risk gay marriage. It’s above you, don’t try to understand it.

-jb

A hint for our president.

Jan 16, 2010 in Barack Obama, Clueless Conservatives, Economy

Keep this up, and follow up on it, so we can see the teabaggers stutter while Republican politicians run to the defense of Wall St.

-jb

Step 1: Ruin the country, get tossed out of office.

Jan 16, 2010 in Clueless Conservatives

Step 2: Pin people’s unhappiness over ruined country on the new guys, try to get back in office.

I have noticed a recurring theme in Republican commentary has been to ignore the economy in assessing the public’s sour mood toward the party in power, and to assert that disapproval of the Democrats is entirely a function of public revulsion at the liberal agenda. One could make a case that the Democrats have politically overreached. I disagree. But to characterize the backlash as driven entirely by concerns about policy, without mentioning the pull of an economic crisis that began before Obama took office, is not an argument that any political scientist, or even a candid pollster or political adviser, would take seriously. It’s pure propaganda.

I wonder what Charles Krauthammer thinks was the cause of 28% approval ratings for Bush before deregulation and deficit spending broke the country? Now we’re supposed to view it as a massive rejection of liberal policies the second Obama’s ratings dip below 50% in the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression?

Ah, but the Republicans, the more you prove them wrong, the madder they get. Proving Charles Krauthammer is a ridiculous idiot day after day will get you nowhere with these folks. The hero worship of Palin, Beck, Limbaugh, Cheney and the like proves the GOP has created an infinite loop of stupid that cannot be interrupted with facts. Tonight, I despair.

-jb

What’s really important is that we don’t suggest Rush Limbaugh is a racist.

Jan 15, 2010 in Racism

Limbaugh tells his listeners there’s no need to donate to the Haiti rescue effort. And that this is merely a chance for Obama to “burnish his credentials” with the black community by giving him a chance to be compassionate towards the little guy…because that’s so out of character with Obama’s past.

This is one of the most powerful leaders of the Republican Party. It’s because of his “Barack, The Magic Negro,” parody that Republicans can’t simply criticize Harry Reid’s use of the word “Negro” and have to pretend Reid was actually expressing racist notions himself. It’s a party that is still sore over Trent Lott’s exorcism over fond reminiscences of the days of segregation.

There isn’t any more room for doubt. Rush Limbaugh is a foul motherfucker, a dyed-in-the-wool racist who viscerally shudders at the sight or thought of black people. Their suffering, the suffering of innocents, inspires no greater emotion than contempt. The sight of others rising to the occasion and actually behaving in a Christ-like manner befuddles him, angers him. Much has been made of Pat Robertson’s outright Satanic condemnation of the nation of Haiti, but we’ve seen through this crisis that these two birds are of the same feather. This GOP leader, a hero among teabaggers and so-called “conservatives,” is one of America’s most despicable and openly evil human beings.

Recently the cultists stood agog that blacks would protest Limbaugh owning an NFL team. At some point, the dope excuse no longer holds water. If you walk with Limbaugh, you might as well walk with the KKK. You’re no better.

-jb

UPDATE: Upon being challenged by a female caller, Limbaugh offered this rebuttal:

“What I’m illustrating here is that you’re a blockhead. What I’m illustrating here is that you’re a close-minded bigot who is ill-informed. If you had listened to this program for a modicum of time, you would know it. But instead, you’re a blockhead. Your mind is totally closed. You have tampons in your ears. Nothing is getting through other than the biased crap that you read.”

Projection (nearly every word could be applied to Limbaugh himself, although Oxycontin abuse is more likely to be the reason for his deafness, not tampons in his ears)) coupled with blatant misogyny.

The amazing thing about talk radio is that this man can be one of the leaders of the GOP, yet most of what he says escapes the public notice.

Conservatives for gay marriage.

Jan 15, 2010 in Politics, teh gay

Sullivan praises Ted Olson, who is bringing the case to court, ready to demolish every grass hut argument that gets constructed to deny gay citizens equal rights.

Looking at what Olson has written on the subject, I see virtually no difference in the case for gay marriage I’ve been making on the web for over ten years. Yes, he’s conservative, I’m liberal, but what on earth does that have to do with equal rights in America? Zip. It’s the same argument because it goes to the deepest principles the nation was built around. In those principles, liberals and conservatives should find common ground. That we have a gang of reactionary theocrats calling themselves conservatives nowadays is to be expected. But there’s a significant difference between wishing gay people would go away or turn invisible and actually wanting gay people to be more conservative in their lives by settling down and reinforcing their families.

Sadly, the presence of four “conservative” judges on the Supreme Court bench who are more of the theocratic radical model, gladly willing to throw out the Constitution where their religious beliefs have deeper roots.

-jb

A brand new sexual position.

Jan 14, 2010 in Clueless Conservatives

The Palinbeck: Two people get together and shove their heads up each other’s asses. No oxygen permitted.

What a train wreck. “They say we’re stupid!” Nothing is done in 60 minutes to dispute that, of course.

-jb

Is your cat ready for the rapture?

Jan 13, 2010 in Politics

From my new favorite website.

Can you guess the name of the forum by reading its description?

This is not a forum for conspiracy theories, this is a place for news, articles, and commentaries regarding the UN/EU, and the emerging One World Government revealing end times events. Matthew 24; Romans 8:22 Conspiracy threads will be deleted.

The One World Government System

Keep your conspiracy theories out of our One World Government forum!

Discussions on religious freedom, church-state separation, and the sanctity of human life issues from a conservative Christian world view, keeping Christians informed on government policies regarding the protection of human life and religious liberty.

End Times Politics

It’s important that we observe the sanctity of life before we’re consumed in hell-fire.

A forum discussing organized religious groups such as Mormonism, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Islam, Catholicism, Judaism, Church of God, Bahai, Scientology, etc… that deny the biblical Jesus alone is the complete atonement and only Savior for mankind, add works to grace, and extra-Biblical rituals to worship, thus negating true salvation.

Modern Cults and Religions

I’ll bet Catholics are stoked about being grouped in with Scientologists.

There’s an active thread about Sarah Palin’s new Fox gig. Somebody claims that they “didn’t see that coming” while another invokes my personal favorite chestnut the true believers love telling each other; that “liberals are scared to death of Sarah Palin”. No explanation of why, of course, but I’ll keep you posted if I hear anything.

Harold Ford: Rugged Individualist Extraordinaire

Jan 13, 2010 in Clueless Conservatives, Economy

Cuz he’s got a helicopter and you don’t.

So the rugged individualist Harold Ford — who inherited his father’s Congressional seat at the age of 26 — is a self-proclaimed “capitalist” who believes that people “should lose” if they don’t do well: unless, that is, the people who “don’t do well” are his funders and controllers on Wall Street, in which case they should be propped up by the U.S. Government with bailouts and loans and Federal Reserve tricks until such time that they can pay themselves tens of millions of dollars in bonuses, at which point they should be left alone in the name of “free market capitalism” and keeping the Government out of the affairs of industry and away from their “rewards.” What Ford is advocating, of course, is the exact opposite of free market capitalism:

It’s the exact opposite of free market capitalism but their understanding of capitalism is exactly what is described above. Venture onto any right-wing blog/message board, the Wall Street Journal editorial page or College Republicans gathering and their definition is quite clear: government money going to people they like is capitalism while government money going to people they don’t like is socialism. Obviously if you were an authentic capitalist you would see any type of state intervention into the economy as a distortion but today’s rugged individualists never have an issue unless the largesse goes to parties they feel are unworthy. You’ll find plenty of ardent “free market capitalists” working at places like Lockheed Martin or Rockwell Collins. The fact that the companies they’re working for wouldn’t exist without enormous tax payer funded subsidies rarely enters into the equation and if it does they’ll rationalize it by saying that they “deserve” it because they’re working and those people aren’t working or some other self serving justification. A guy who lived on my dorm floor at ISU is the head of a research team at a defense contractor here in town. He makes over $100K a year and is currently developing a system by which the data from unmanned drones can be transmitted to hand held devices like the iPhone. He freely admits that all of their R&D money initially comes from the Air Force and if their projects happen to have civilian applications they’ll be able to capitalize on that as well. Again, the exact opposite of free market capitalism. But this friend of mine will also moan and groan about food stamps and “socialized” medicine. Maybe he thinks he’ll lose his house if some local kid gets his ear infection cleared up. I dunno. He drives a BMW 5 series so I guess that makes him a “capitalist”.

Let’s hear it for the proletariat!

Jan 13, 2010 in Politics

Communist China overtakes Socialist Germany in exports.

-mg

I guess, um, it’s really important.

Jan 11, 2010 in Journamalism

Five articles on the front page of Politico about Harry Reid back in ’08 saying Obama had a good chance of winning because he didn’t have “a Negro dialect.”

I mean, Reid probably shouldn’t have used the word, “Negro,” but his point was that the public wouldn’t be kind to a brother who spoke like a brother. Which is a comment on the country’s racism, not a racist sentiment itself by any stretch of the imagination.

But five articles? One with three sub-articles?

I guess they’re lacking for more exclusive musings from Dick Cheney they can copy down and print uncritically?

-jb

p.s. Prepare yourself for the giggles as Republicans are outraged on behalf of black people. Turns out, it was just like when Trent Lott was sorry we didn’t have segregation anymore!

You made a swear!

Jan 10, 2010 in Clueless Conservatives, Culture

I thought we were the only ones that this happens to.

Saying the word fuck in the presence of a right wing blog(ger) opens you up to endless reams of condemnation for your lack of shame and civility. Oh, and you can forget your argument because none of that matters now. Swearing means that they get to scrupulously ignore your reasoning ad infinitum.

-mg

You can do it, Johnny!

Jan 10, 2010 in Culture

Add me to the list of those thoroughly disenchanted with the cult of self-esteem-above-all maniacs, especially those running our schools (credit goes to Andrew):

Racists, street thugs and school bullies all polled high on the self-esteem charts. And you can see why. If you think you’re God’s gift, you’re particularly offended if other people don’t treat you that way. So you lash out or commit crimes or cut ethical corners to reassert your pre-eminence. After all, who are your moral inferiors to suggest that you could be doing something, er, wrong? What do they know?

Or you become a Republican who gets angrier the more people point out to you Sarah Palin isn’t remotely qualified to be President. Generally, the self-esteem cult has made our age of misinformation all the more possible. Republicans continue spouting insane ideas and easily disprovable statements because they keep patting each other on the backs, telling each other they’re the “real” Americans. While the internet has given us a trove of information that can be used to dispel their constant factual errors, it’s sprouted an even bigger monster of loving embraces among fools. Those who have witnessed the epic battles we occasionally have on here with stubborn righties are treated to the sight of us placing our boot on the face of a winger who’s invested all his/her self-worth in a losing proposition. The boot hurts, but the boot is tough love.

Mike and I went to a small-town Iowa school where a fool was likely to be skewered by a teacher with a razor-sharp tongue (bless Richard Burton Rydstrom’s soul, even though he made me hate him at the time). There were a few teachers who might have been assigned suicide-prevention and dispensed with a bit more kindly praise, but generally our tiny, simple school had little to offer but hard-as-nails intellectual honesty.

Oh, and it had a full-featured shop (I took woodshop, small engines, and welding), a home-ec classroom (I failed at cooking and sewing), an art building and a bigger music program than most 2000+ student schools. The school understood that not everybody was going to go to college, so it didn’t waste time sticking future working joes in Chemistry class, but even college track kids like me were able to sample all classes. Nearly everybody in the school was in sports, music, drama, or all three. Guys who would spend their careers doing electrical wiring got their start in high school. The K-12 population of the school was little over 200 students.

In California we have mega-schools that go over budget but are filled with alpha males who can’t make the football team and spend their days ruining academic classes because they are busy humiliating each other and wooing the females. Meanwhile teachers and administrators burn through millions of taxpayer dollars in professional development where they fellate each other marveling over their new techniques for making noisy kids look like they’re being productive (tip: have them draw pictures about the lesson, stick the pictures on the wall…principals will go orgasmic). Teachers who hand out too many Fs are hauled into the principal’s office to get the finger pointed at them. Every kid knows one absolute fact: It’s wrong for teachers to tell them to shut up, or say much of anything that will make them feel sad inside.

I think this results in a lot of mushy-headed liberals as well as wrong-headed rightwingers, but the difference is that with rightwingers it permeates upwards, to the point where the entire GOP apparatus is geared against intellectual honesty and feeling any shame, coupled with a coddling media afraid to practice some stern journalism and thwack some knuckles with rulers.

Okey-dokey, got that rant off my chest!

-jb

Outnumbered vs. outgunned.

Jan 05, 2010 in Iran, Journamalism, Middle East, Politics

Still pulling, hoping, and wishing for the Green Revolution in Iran to keep snowballing.

The violence has increased, but the protesters have overwhelmed government forces numerous times. Andrew Sullivan should get a Peabody for coverage of the tumult in Iran this past year. He’s been the one-stop shop of the war coverage. If you’ve been trying to follow it on cable news…why?

-jb

Limbaugh is a terribly stupid man.

Jan 05, 2010 in Clueless Conservatives

Republicans love our current medical system!

Moments later, Limbaugh turned his praise of the hospital’s service into his latest proof that the current American health care system is working perfectly.

“Based on what happened to me here, I don’t think there is one thing wrong with the American health care system. It is working just fine, just dandy, and I got nothing special,” Limbaugh continued.

What Limbaugh didn’t realize, SEIU’s blog points out, is that the Hawaiian health care system is one of America’s most progressive. So progressive, in fact, that Hawaii has been exempted from some of the terms of the Senate health care bill because the current system’s requirements go above and beyond the ones federal legislation would mandate.

Furthermore, Limbaugh’s saviors at the Queen’s Medical Center are represented by the Hawaii Nurse’s Associations, which, according to SEIU, offers benefits and protections similar to those of a labor union. The anti-reform talk show host is working to deny more people the same type of “confidence-inspiring” medical attention that made him “thankful to be an American.”

Not that we should really pay attention to the personal health care experience of a mega-millionaire. But it does reveal once again how conservatives rail against “socialism” in health care, without acknowledging that socialism has a lot to do with why our health care system is any good at all. Hawaii has a progressive system so that people like Limbaugh aren’t the only ones who can afford to go to the doctor.

It’s a sorry state of affairs that these people can bluster and beller so belligerently and still win territory in the health care fight (or most any other). If it weren’t for government “interference” with health care, even employer plans would be able to discriminate based on previous conditions. Yet people who rely on such provisions actually bother giving Limbaugh’s idiotic ramblings credit, and consider him more trustworthy than anybody, regardless of the facts.

A democracy gets the government it deserves, and it’s clear we are sinners.

-jb

Richard Cohen wants to sell you some merch.

Jan 04, 2010 in Christian Right, Clueless Conservatives, Politics, teh gay

Right-wing, evangelical Christians looking to profit from culture war anxieties have a pretty good scam going. Present yourself as an expert in a field that dove-tails with your culture war issue of choice and then set up a non-profit where suckers can donate cash, buy your self-help materials and pay to hear your lectures. During the last decade these operations became even more lucrative as the Bush administration sought to funnel tax dollars into faith-based schemes like abstinence only education. The fact that it doesn’t work didn’t matter. The Christian Right voting block wanted some payback for their organizational efforts and thought they could save babies by telling girls that they’re guaranteed to get venereal diseases and die if they touch a boy’s pee pee. Richard Cohen has made a comfortable living by selling books and CDs (some cost up to $350) to parents that believe that they can cure their children of homosexuality and save them from a life of sin. I pointed out here how those selling the idea of homosexuality as a psychological disorder base their premises on the work of the universally discredited, hate-group leader Paul Cameron.

Uganda has always been a popular stepping stone within evangelical circles so it’s no surprise to find that Richard Cohen and his usual troupe of salesmen have been trying to push their wares. Christian friendly Uganda has a comfortable relationship with religious industries like the 700 Club or charismatics like Benny Hinn who can go set up a “ministry” there and solicit donations on behalf of the locals. These organizations can then use the ministry as a means of income for themselves under the guise of “administrative costs” while their congregation gets to relieve the burden on their heavy souls by way of their wallets. Uganda makes for a friendlier environment than say, nearby Sudan where proselytizing might cost you your head.

The theme of the event, according to Stephen Langa, its Ugandan organizer, was “the gay agenda — that whole hidden and dark agenda” — and the threat homosexuals posed to Bible-based values and the traditional African family.

For three days, according to participants and audio recordings, thousands of Ugandans, including police officers, teachers and national politicians, listened raptly to the Americans, who were presented as experts on homosexuality. The visitors discussed how to make gay people straight, how gay men often sodomized teenage boys and how “the gay movement is an evil institution” whose goal is “to defeat the marriage-based society and replace it with a culture of sexual promiscuity.”

Now the three Americans are finding themselves on the defensive, saying they had no intention of helping stoke the kind of anger that could lead to what came next: a bill to impose a death sentence for homosexual behavior.

More consequences that, omg! Nobody could have predicted!:

Human rights advocates in Uganda say the visit by the three Americans helped set in motion what could be a very dangerous cycle. Gay Ugandans already describe a world of beatings, blackmail, death threats like “Die Sodomite!” scrawled on their homes, constant harassment and even so-called correctional rape.

“Now we really have to go undercover,” said Stosh Mugisha, a gay rights activist who said she was pinned down in a guava orchard and raped by a farmhand who wanted to cure her of her attraction to girls. She said that she was impregnated and infected with H.I.V., but that her grandmother’s reaction was simply, “ ‘You are too stubborn.’ ”

Despite such attacks, many gay men and lesbians here said things had been getting better for them before the bill, at least enough to hold news conferences and publicly advocate for their rights. Now they worry that the bill could encourage lynchings. Already, mobs beat people to death for infractions as minor as stealing shoes.

Good job, guys! Hope you did well at the merch table!

Nanny state alert.

Jan 03, 2010 in Culture

Seems you, as a parent, can’t decide whether or not your child can have a tattoo. But this isn’t about persecuting Christians so it doesn’t matter.

-jb

Why It Makes Sense to “Blame Bush”

Jan 03, 2010 in Politics

Since the online wingers’ #1 strategy is “come up with a good epithet, play it on a loop, and dance to it like kids at a rave,” it’s not surprising that whenever you point out how many American lives might have been saved by undertaking a liberal commie project like actually focusing on Al Qaeda in their zones of influence, they holler about how you’re “blaming Bush.” But who to blame for the catastrophic waste of waging war where Al Qaeda had no purchase? Bush’s own people knew what the deal was; somebody made the call on squandering our limited resources in the wrong place, for seven years and counting.
-TT

Bring the war home.

Jan 02, 2010 in Anti-War, Culture

Terrific documentary on The Weather Underground:

-mg

Sure, it’s a cliche, BUT…

Jan 02, 2010 in Beltway-itis, Media, Politics

Ben Smith wants you to know that “some Democrats” think that Obama should have handled the attempted terrorist attempt differently. In this case “Democrats” equals one Doug Schoen:

“They should have approached it as a national security emergency requiring a bipartisan response, not a political response,” said Doug Schoen, a pollster who worked for President Bill Clinton in the 1990s. “He absolutely should have interrupted his vacation and absolutely should have gone back to Washington, and convened a high-level, bipartisan meeting.”

He forgot to mention that Schoen is a paid Fox contributor, perpetual concern-troll, and Republican placater. The rest of the article is filled with one “some might argue” and “others note that” after another.

I admit; I don’t know what a bipartisan meeting would have looked like but I’m pretty certain that it would not have accomplished anything besides rile the public up more than necessary. The fact that Obama’s evened response didn’t have any of these consequences indicates to me that it was the right move. Back to the concern trolling:

Explanations of Obama’s low-key reaction in the face of a terror attack include the characteristic caution of a president who resists jumping to conclusions and being pushed to action. They also include the White House’s belief – disproven repeatedly in 2009 – that it can evade the clichéd rules of politics, which include a suspicion of Democratic leadership on national security. Only Sunday night, when criticism of the system “worked” comment was not going away, did White House aides realize their approach was not working and that they needed to shift course.

It’s only a “rule” because outfits like Politico are more than happy to perpetuate these cliches by writing three page opinion essays with titles like “Democrats’ worst nightmare: Terrorism on their watch”.

Again, it’s unclear what a more hysterical reaction would have accomplished besides ease Beltway anxieties about Obama’s lack of symbolism/histrionics. But I guess when you’re too lazy to develop a systemic analysis or an original opinion on terrorism then what you’re stuck with is tedious water-cooler banter about Washington stereotypes.

-mg

What makes a film “conservative”?

Jan 01, 2010 in Clueless Conservatives, Media, Politics

What makes for a movie that right-wingers are bound to enjoy? If you said starkly-defined, if not comically simple enemies and distinct lines of authority then you’re on the right track. Nial Gardiner does a bit of projection by staking his claim to some films of the past ten years that he feels have galloped “to the defence of capitalism and the free market”. Who knew that Tolkien’s allegory about greed was actually a pro-capitalist polemic? By Gardiner’s criteria, the only elements that need be present in a film in order for it to be “conservative” are an evil dragon and a gallant knight to slay it. Fairy tales, essentially. Or any other story that can be shoe-horned into a right versus wrong, good versus evil, cowboys and indians paradigm. Basically, most of what comes out of “liberal” Hollywood.

Gardiner does a damn fine job of proving yet again that right-wingers do not understand art. And since propaganda is the closest variant that they can identify with they can’t help but see everything through that lens. Every work has to be reduced to either a vindication or an affront to their ideology and every artist is obligated to tell them what they want to hear.

WOLVERINES!!!!!

-mg