Random Thoughts On Many Things

The Tea Party

Finally the Tea Party seems to have found something that goes over the line as far as what they allow their “members” to say and do. They kicked out Mark Williams, the head of the Tea Party Express, below is just a taste the fantasy letter he wrote…

It began “Dear Mr. Lincoln,

“We Coloreds have taken a vote and decided that we don’t cotton to that whole emancipation thing. Freedom means having to work for real, think for ourselves, and take consequences along with the rewards. That is just far too much to ask of us Colored People and we demand that it stop!”

Oil Spill

The media obsession with the oil spill and the immediate need to blame someone shows the immaturity of the press. Every twist and turn has caused them to hyperventilate on TV. They act like the Deep Water Horizon was the first oil well drilled in the gulf and ignore the over 30,000 other rigs out in the gulf. I wish as a country, we had done something about our dependence on foreign oil back in the 1970’s when OPEC was jerking us around.

Refudiate This!

Sarah, Sarah, Sarah…..there is this thing called “spell check” and this other thing called “dictionary.com”. You have to give her credit for sticking to her guns, right? She’s like George W. Bush in many ways, why should I be surprised that some Republicans like her? When I went to post this, I had to ignore the spell checker on “refudiate”. :)

Whoopie Goldberg, Come On!

What in the hell is wrong with Whoopie? Defending Mel Gibson after the latest racist, misogynistic rant? I googled Whoopie and the word “defends” and realized, she is a habitual defender of assholes. WTF Whoopie. Here is the list with links….

Mel Gibson

Roman Polanski

Michael Vick

Christian Bale (Here is his rant)

Jesse James (Sandra Bullock’s cheating husband)

“Single Ladies Dance” (You know, the little girls dancing like Beyonce)

Polls

As regular readers know, I’m not a fan of polls and how they are being used by the media to try to sway legislators into voting with the popular trends in the country. Morning Joe on MSNBC is barely watchable anymore. And it isn’t just because Obama has been down in the polls, it isn’t just about politics these days. Remember this where the baseball pitcher was robbed of a perfect game, someone did a poll to see what the American people thought of a bad call in a freakin baseball game. If that isn’t taking the polling phenomenon to new levels of stupid, I don’t know what is.

The New Republican Party Welcomes All – Crazies, Racists, Conspiracists, Paranoids and Morons

Steve Benen has a piece based on a column by Dana Milbank which talks about the Republican Party’s mainstreaming of the fringe elements of the party. They seem to be welcoming all comers, whether sane or not, racist or not, conspiracy freaks or not and basically those who believe that the world is flat. Both Milbank and Benen say it better than I can so here is some of their words about it. First Millbank…..

Late last month, Thomas Sowell of the conservative Hoover Institution penned an irresponsible column likening Obama’s presidency (particularly his pushing BP to set aside funds for oil-spill victims) to the rise of Hitler in Germany and Lenin in the Soviet Union.

After the column came out, Sarah Palin tweeted her followers with instructions to “Read Thomas Sowell’s article.” Sowell’s theme — that Obama, like Hitler and Lenin, exploits “useful idiots” who don’t know much about politics — was strikingly similar to what wound up on the Iowa billboard.

[…]

Twenty years ago, the dawn of the Internet Age gave us Godwin’s Law: If an online argument goes on long enough, somebody will eventually invoke Hitler. When that happens, it’s basically the end of the conversation, because all rational discussion ceases when one side calls the other Nazis.

These sentiments have long existed on the fringe and always will. The problem is that conservative leaders and Republican politicians, in their blind rage against Obama these last 18 months, invited the epithets of the fringe into the mainstream. Godwin’s Law has spread from the chat rooms and now applies to cable news and even to the floor of the House of Representatives.

Consider these tallies from Glenn Beck’s show on Fox News since Obama’s inauguration: 202 mentions of Nazis or Nazism, according to transcripts, 147 mentions of Hitler, 193 mentions of fascism or fascist, and another 24 bonus mentions of Joseph Goebbels. Most of these were directed in some form at Obama — as were the majority of the 802 mentions of socialist or socialism on Beck’s nightly “report.”

And now Steve Benen’s take on this…

The speed with which conservatives went from zero to hysterical in 2009 was impressive, but it’s the mainstreaming of sheer madness that doesn’t get the attention it deserves. As Milbank noted, “[A]ccusations that once were beyond the pale — not just talk of Nazis and Marxists but intimations of tyranny, revolution and bloodshed — are now routine.”

[…]

And so the Republican Party shows no meaningful qualms about becoming the party of conspiracy theories (“Birthers,” Gulf oil spill was deliberate), wild-eyed accusations (ACORN, “re-education camps,” Gestapo-like security forces, New Black Panther Party), and radical policy positions (a five-year spending freeze to address a global economic crisis, the belief that tax cuts pay for themselves, a freeze on federal regulations, willful ignorance about energy, health, and education policy, the entire Sharron Angle/Rand Paul platform).

[…]

The point isn’t that political radicalism is new; it’s clearly not. Rather, the key development over the last 18 months is the ways in which right-wing extremism has gone mainstream — with the consent of the Republican Party, which sees the electoral benefits of blind rage and fear.

That Mason City billboard warned the public that “radical leaders prey on the fearful & naive.” On this, the Tea Partiers were far more correct than they probably realize.

I’ve argued all along that the LEADERS of the Republican Party are the crazies and now they are just “emboldened” by the election of Barack Obama. They’ve been there all along, they are just now taking over control of the party from those “thinking” Republicans. I have a hard time thinking of a “thinking” Republican these days, they all seem to have gone over the edge. We live in a scary country.

Don’t Believe The Compulsive Liars – The Stimulus Worked And Continues To Work

Reality, what a concept! Republicans and their complicit media have succeeded in creating an alternate reality that isn’t based on facts, but well tooled opinions that get repeated over and over and over again on right wing radio, right wing television (you know who you are), cable news networks all trying to be as shallow as the ratings leader of cable news and since everyone is doing it, even the broadcast networks. As this alternate reality has been taking form over the last year, I continued to see analysis by countless economists without political agendas and yes, even conservative economists, that say the stimulus has been wildly successful at preventing more job losses and in recent months, increases in jobs. Here is one story from February…

Just look at the outside evaluations of the stimulus. Perhaps the best-known economic research firms are IHS Global Insight, Macroeconomic Advisers and Moody’s Economy.com. They all estimate that the bill has added 1.6 million to 1.8 million jobs so far and that its ultimate impact will be roughly 2.5 million jobs. The Congressional Budget Office, an independent agency, considers these estimates to be conservative.

[…]

For that, the stimulus package, flaws and all, deserves a big heaping of credit. “It prevented things from getting much worse than they otherwise would have been,” Nariman Behravesh, Global Insight’s chief economist, says. “I think everyone would have to acknowledge that’s a good thing.”

Something I’ve heard recently that proves the idiocy of Republicans and the media is the idea that because President Obama “promised” an unemployment rate of 8% and we haven’t reached it yet, that proves that the stimulus didn’t work. Let’s break that down. First, the 8% forecast was made early on in the administration before the dust had settled on the economic meltdown. A reminder for some folks that President Obama was inaugurated on January 20, 2009, please store that in your brains for a minute. Everything that happened prior to that date, was done by the Bush administration. Everything leading up to that day in regards to the economy, happened under Bush. I’m sure the pea brains on the right will jump to the “stop blaming Bush” line that they trot out whenever anyone tries to give perspective to how we got where we are. How can they put everything at the foot of Obama after just 18 months, but can’t wrap their heads around the fact that being president for 8 years kind of lays some of the responsibility for the state of the economy at your feet. It is surreal that the media can now discard 8 years of gutting our economy and because Obama has been president for 18 months now, it’s ALL his fault. “Can’t blame Bush anymore, it’s Obama’s now” has become the new media line.

I just heard David Gregory, who seems to have an agenda when it comes to the Obama administration, present the stimulus as if its sole purpose was to keep unemployment at 8%, nothing else, that was the only reason and measure. The Republicans have succeeded in brainwashing the media and therefore the public of this meme. I live in Michigan where every day I see the stimulus dollars at work and I’ve said it before, those people working on the roads and bridges are collecting checks, paying their bills, paying their taxes, buying stuff that helps business stay afloat…..how can the right wing dismiss these people as non existent. All those teachers, police and firefighters that have kept their jobs because of the stimulus…I hear the right wing refer to them as government jobs as if they are robots, not people. Since when did a teacher, a cop and a firefighter become government workers?

I’m going to continue to push back against the perpetual lies of the Republicans, although it’s hard to keep track of all the lies that spew out of the right of this country. For a party that claims to be rooted in Christianity, there sure is a lot of sinning going on. I guess hypocrisy doesn’t just show up in their politics but in their very being.

Financial Reform Gets Over Hurdle – Another Win For President Obama!

Here is the New York Times story about the success. I’m sure all the “nothing is good enough” crowd will pick it apart, both sides will whine and cry and their will be “poutrage” from some on the left. The Huffington Post, which I refuse to link to, has a blazing headline “REFORMED BUT NOT TRANSFORMED“. They wouldn’t want to actually give credit where credit is do now would they? I haven’t been tracking on it too much, so I can’t speak to the details but I’m sure that since it took 3 Republicans to pass it, it probably is watered down pretty good. But considering the way our dysfunctional democracy works, it’s better than nothin’!

Why Can Dylan Ratigan Call The President A Little Boy And Get Away With It?

Yesterday I posted about Dylan Ratigan’s rant on Morning Joe where he referred to President Obama as a “little boy” and made a reference to him bending over for Wall Street. I commented on many “progressive” blogs about what I had heard and put up a post on this blog. I googled it shortly after I posted and found my post right there at the top of Google’s results. I thought to myself, woe…no one else caught that or if they did, they didn’t think anything of it? W.E.E. See You picked it up and did a post with the video of it. All day long I kept checking the big blogs and nothing, no mention of what I think were incredibly offensive comments towards our president. Not just the “boy” reference, a code word from days gone by, but the lack of respect for the office of the president itself. What a huge insult to the leader of the free world and what it stands for. I wondered if I was the only one who had seen it, are Morning Joe’s ratings so low now that no one is actually watching it? It is the lowest rated morning show on TV, you know?

Now imagine if Rush Limbaugh had said that. What do you think Media Matters would have all over their front page? Daily Kos? Huffington Post? TPM? Why has Dylan Ratigan been given a pass? Is it because he works for MSNBC, the Fox News of the left (according to some, not me)? I certainly had a lot of hits yesterday because of my post, I think it is because so many people saw it and were wondering where the outrage was and Jonathon Capehart linked to my blog as an example of Dylan “getting smacked around”, poor poor Dylan.

Now don’t get me wrong, I support my fellow leftie bloggers for the most part, a few exceptions, but I can’t believe they are ignoring this and letting Ratigan get away with it. His form of populist ranting is the worst kind, you might notice how he keeps reminding us throughout his rants that he is just representing the masses. It’s very subtle, but if you look at a transcript of what he says, he constantly drops in those populist cues. It’s very much a brainwashing technique, ala the Republican spin-meisters. Notice how he makes a general statement that most everyone can agree with, then he sprinkles in his supply-side economics propoganda and then returns to a populist statement. Since the bullshit is couched between two reasonable statements, well then the bullshit must be true too.

I’m not done with Ratigan either, stay tuned for more analysis of this wolf in sheep’s clothing.

Did Dylan Ratigan Just Call President Obama A “Little Boy”?

On Morning Joe, Dylan Ratigan just went on a rant, like he is prone to do, and he was reenacting a conversation between the president and “Wall Street” and he called the president a little boy. He ended his little rant by saying the president bends over for them, or something to that effect. I have a feeling he is going to catch some flack for that little tirade. Of course his solution to all things economic, give some more tax breaks to rich people. I’m sure that will create a job for my nephew real quick.

Random Things I Read Recently!

I’ve been posting lite lately, in case you haven’t noticed. Lots going on in life and not too much that has inspired me. This post is a grab-bag of things I’ve read and watched, kind of a highlights reel of sorts.

Check out this clip from Fox News, hat tip to Bob Cesca….The Awesome One…..

I thought two wrongs did make a right?

The incredible Booman has this take on a long, long, long Eric Alterman piece that has its moments of clarity but reads like a history lesson, a good, thorough history lesson, but a history lesson none-the-less.

I am not disappointed for all the reasons that Alterman goes on to spell out in painful detail. I am disappointed that Obama has not been able to deliver on all campaign promises but since Alterman provides me with more than a dozen systemic villains to choose from to blame for this disappointment, I don’t need to point my disappointment at the man who proffered that agenda in the first place. Moreover, my recollection from the campaign was that all the major candidates (Clinton, Edwards, and Obama) were criticized from the left for not offering a progressive agenda. Yet, Alterman characterizes Obama’s platform as if it were the second-coming of the New Deal. He never promised that. What happened is that economic conditions changed and required Obama to respond much as FDR had to respond, with bold rescues and sweeping reforms. He didn’t have a mandate for that because the economic collapse came less than two months before the election.

I think it’s myopic to act as though the people elected Obama because of his promises on how to rescue the economy, but it’s equally short-sighted to behave as though an historic economic collapse shouldn’t have re-shuffled his campaign promises and priorities. That’s exactly what key advisers like Joe Biden and Rahm Emanuel argued when they said Obama should drop health care to focus on jobs. Obama stuck to his guns on health care, but it was inevitable that other promises would slip. And understanding that is just as important as understanding all the other obstacles in Obama’s path.

If you thought electing Obama would guarantee that all of his promises would become law inside of two years, you are going to be disappointed. I’m not. I’m extremely happy with the president and nearly at my wit’s end with pretty much everyone else in this country. No faction frustrates me more than my own, and I’m grateful for Alterman for starting this conversation. I just wish he’d shine a mirror on himself and our movement. We need to hear about our shortcomings, too. Our biggest shortcoming is not understanding what Alterman has written and what it means for how we should feel about this administration. As I’ve said, this present Congress is the most productive and progressive Congress since 1965-66 and this president is the most successful and progressive since LBJ, and too many of us are focused on our disappointments and not focused on the right-wing threat that lurks out there with all its institutional advantages, just waiting to destroy this country, for good.

The most excellent KayinMaine over at White Noise Insanity has a great Rachel Maddow clip up that is a most see, a little FOX News take down.

The one and only Digby at Hullabaloo takes the words right out of my mouth – so I took them right off her page.

Over the week-end, gasbags were all atwitter about whether Sarah Palin’s SarahPAC fundraising means she is running for president. And gosh, what on earth was that Mama Grizzly ad all about? Why it didn’t talk about any issues at all and just featured Palin and her fans! (Marc Ambinder presents the whole array of possibilities here.)

I find it very telling that the Villagers don’t get what’s going on here. She is not a serious politician. She is a political celebrity/entrepreneur, collecting money from her fans to fund herself and sell her brand. To the extent that she is working for anyone but herself, she’s working for The Republican Party, bringing together some of the disparate strands of the conservative movement, striking the pose of the “outsider.” But that is the extent of her serious commitment to politics.

Palin is a “reality” entertainer. Look on the covers of the celebrity magazines and you’ll see lots of them. There’s a lot of money to be made by someone like her in merchandising alone, much less personal appearances, books etc. I’m guessing she’ll find herself on the personal growth/religious circuit too, along with her reality show on TV.

She is a creature of the new political media, maybe the first pure version of her kind. As soon as people grok that, her fund raising and touring will begin to make more sense. But I would be shocked if she would ever feel the need to subject herself to parochial elective politics again. It’s not where her talents and ambitions lie.

I also read Paul Krugman from time to time, just to keep up my economic chops (a musician term) and here Paul reminds us that the stimulus worked….what little stimulus passed after the idiots in the congress watered it all down.

Let’s call it an open thread….”you’re an open thread”!