Hat Tip to Osborneink on Twitter!
I started writing this post about a week ago, having no idea that the two subjects of the post, dumb and dumber, would meet up and chow on some pizza. If you added up their IQ’s, you still wouldn’t reach 100. I imagine there was a lot of grunting and pointing going on at this meeting of the stupids.
Cable news and even broadcast news have become vehicles for con artists, egomaniacs and narcissists to make lots of money. There are way too many examples of this in the last few years, but I will just pick a few to focus on. The most recent and blatant example is Donald Trump. He used the guise of “possibly” running for president to promote his NBC show “Celebrity Apprentice”. It was so over the top and obvious, that some in the media even said they knew he was just trying to get publicity and then they would “roll tape” or say “we’ll talk to the Donald right after the break.” So even after admitting that they were being used, they just kept doing it. There were a few days on MSNBC where he was camped out in their studio and they put him on every half hour to spew his bullshit, mostly unchallenged. And he always dropped in several mentions of his TV show, without fail. I watched as MSNBC anchors just sat there speechless as he vomited out his racist, elitist bullshit and in my opinion, did great harm to our society. They helped to perpetuate the underlying racism behind his birth certificate claims and towards the end of his media blitz, the President’s educational accomplishments. That all came to a halt with the complete shellacking of Donald Trump at the White House Correspondent’s Dinner. And then the next day, the killing of Osama bin Laden.
I called for a boycott of NBC until they fire him. I am still not watching that network until his ass is gone. It doesn’t look like it will be anytime soon, so NBC can count on one less viewer and one less consumer buying their advertisers products. I will not watch that network until he is off the air, period. I have also switched over to CNN as my daytime news network. Fuck MSNBC during the day, they simply take the latest meme from the “Morning Meme Generator with Joe” and repeat it on the half hour and then bring on Jane Hamsher or some other firebagger to beat up on the President and ignore his latest accomplishments. They usually have a Republican there to beat up on the president too, their idea of being bi-partisan. I do still watch Lawrence O’Donnell, Rachel Maddow and sometimes Ed Schultz. What else is there for a liberal to watch these days, until I get my cable network off the ground. (Only half joking)
The other example of the cable networks being willing vehicles for con artists is Sarah Palin. She has a documentary coming out and is on a bus tour. She has a fire in her belly, you know. I take Prilosec for mine. But once again, she is teasing the media into thinking she is running for president, when almost everyone says they know she will not. But that isn’t any reason to not pretend like she is and give her all the oxygen in the room. Who gives a shit about Joplin MO, or the radiation in Japan that has dropped off the radar, or the other communities torn apart by tornadoes or flooding. Instead, they are pimping for Sarah Palin and putting money directly into her greedy little, crib-noted hands. They are completely unabashed in giving her all the time she wants. And I’m not just talking about Fox News, this is all the cable networks, broadcast networks and the freakin internet too. I personally have grown tired of laughing at her half-witted sayings and screeching voice.
Mark my words, the next few weeks will be the Sarah Palin chronicles on cable news, they will have well paid reporters following her around, clinging to every word and tweet she spews, speculating about her run for president, blah, blah, fucking blah. And there is no way in hell she is running for president, that’s way too much work. Shit, she couldn’t handle being the governor of Alaska and cashed in while the getting was good.
I’ve been calling this phenomenon the “Balloon Boy Syndrome”, in honor of Richard and Mayumi Heene, the reality show folks who missed the limelight of being reality stars and had to jump up and down to get people to pay attention to them. This syndrome is very contagious, as soon as one network goes with a story, the others follow right along. Long gone are the days of checking sources or confirming stories, that’s for wimps. Run with it, what the hell, they can always spend 20 seconds saying they were wrong, after having beat the dead horse into the ground or followed the empty balloon half way across the country. They wait for the next ding and head off like salivating dogs to the next media created 15 minute fame whore.
The effect of the “Balloon Boy Syndrome” is that it just encourages others to do the same. At one point, I referred to the Republican primary as simply auditions for Fox News. Just today, I saw that Gov. Rick Scott of Florida and Gov. Rick Perry of Texas are both toying with the idea of throwing their hats in the ring. Who can blame them, all they have to do is say a few crazy things, watch the media descend upon them, they get built up, form a PAC, raise a bunch of money, write a book and collect the loot. And these cable outlets and news organizations just play right along with it, no shame, no apologies and no honor obviously. Is it any wonder the media ranks below child molesters in polls. (That may be a slight exaggeration, but who’s going to check on it?)
This is a must watch clip that speaks volumes about what our country has become in recent years. Hat tip to Osborne Ink.
Based on the responses I’ve received after calling for a Boycott of NBC, I know that I’m not the only person incensed by the “carnival barker” Donald Trump. And I really mean no disrespect to carnival workers, they aren’t all like the stereotype that we are used to seeing. I’m sure the President meant no disrespect either and chose those words in lieu of a few choice words he would have rather used. If only I could be a fly on the wall of the Oval Office. :)
I have really been trying not to watch any more Donald Trump packages on the cable news networks, but I can’t help but read and hear some of it. The more I hear from him, the more I think he is really fucking stupid as well as racist, and I posit that you have to be really fucking stupid to be a racist, anyway. As he talks about how “very, very successful” he is and how he has built “a great company”, he doesn’t seem to realize that there are millions of people in this country who will never visit a single hotel or property of his. who will never watch a TV show with his arrogant, elitist, racist ass on it and as a matter of fact, there is a growing group of people who are consciously boycotting his sponsors and NBC, the network that has given him a platform to spew his vile, hateful, white elitist bullshit. MSNBC, a sister station, has been just as bad, with the exception of the evening opinion shows. I’ve had a feeling since Keith Olbermann left, that the writing is on the wall for the rest of the liberal evening lineup. I hope I’m wrong, because moving into election season, we need some sanity to level out the craziness that I’m sure is going to be even more over the top in the next election.
So, if “The Donald” thinks that alienating, offending and hurting millions of people across this country is a good business move, I’ve got a bridge in Brooklyn I’d like to sell his dumb ass. And what he has done HAS hurt a lot of people across this country. He has brought back an era of hate that many of us have long hoped was dead. He’s given racists comfort by his subtle and not so subtle racist appeals to the “devils of our worst nature”…to twist around the powerful words of the second greatest president, Abraham Lincoln…
“We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory will swell when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.”
— Abraham Lincoln
Goldie Taylor’s incredible words the other day are just one example of the pain he has wrought on our country. Baratunde Thurston touched on similar themes and showed us why this sideshow Donald Trump should be relegated to the trash heap of history – the stinky, nasty pile of rotting food and waste where the vultures of history can pick at his rotting memory.
Abe, I hope you are right.
Updated again: Petition http://www.change.org/petitions/dump-trump-tell-nbc-to-fire-donald-trump-for-lies-against-obama
Updated sponsor list from NamelessGenXer
Bob Cesca takes on Dylan Ratigan’s lovefest with Andrew Breitbart, the guy who brought us the Acorn scam, the Shirley Sherrod scam and all sorts of other racist crap over the years. Here’s part of Bob’s take on Breitbarts appearance on Ratigan’s show the other day….
Dylan Ratigan gave Andrew Breitbart ten full minutes of MSNBC airtime the other day to promote his book, and predictably failed to corner Breitbart on any of his egregious lies and self-admitted scams.
After introducing Breitbart as a “controversial blogger,” Ratigan described the Big Government entrepreneur as a “sharpshooter who’s good,” a “smart man,” and “an incredibly passionate and effective man.”
This after Ratigan called Swift Boat financier T. Boone Pickens a “true patriot” a couple of weeks ago.
So, naturally, Twitter erupted with criticism of Ratigan’s pathetic Breitbart infomercial. My remarks are here. And here’s a pointed back-and-forth between Ratigan and David Shuster. Meanwhile, Media Matters compiled a series of questions for Breitbart that Ratigan should have asked.
Update: On my commute to my day job today, I was listening to the Bob and Elvis Show podcast and they were talking about this subject. As they were talking, it occurred to me that both of those men are blatant racists. There are way too many examples of Breitbart’s racism to pull up here, go to Google and type Breitbart and Racism and you will see a slew of them. Now, Ratigan’s racism isn’t as blatant and even when it is blatant, most of the media and the blogosphere just ignore if for some reason. I say it is because he is on MSNBC, which is not liberal, I don’t care if they have a few hours of left leaning opinion shows at night. The rest of the network is becoming Fox News II. In many ways, Ratigan’s racism is much worse, since he couches it in populist rhetoric which is targeted at the less informed, which makes it very Fox Like if you ask me.
UPDATED With Transcript – Twitter Tip of the Hat to Black Water Dog of The Only Adult In The Room. This is one awesome clip, wow, she explains exactly what is going on and has been going on since President Obama was elected. This should be seen by everyone. Wow. That’s all I can say!
Update: Transcript available at CNN.
ZAKARIA: You think about leadership, what do you think about President Obama as a leader?
NOOYI: I think he’s a remarkable individual, but let me put this in context, Fareed. Just imagine that you are the CEO of a company. Just bear with me for a while, while I talk you through the story. Imagine you are the CEO of a company and your executive team, half want you to succeed, half want you to fail.
ZAKARIA: Republicans and Democrats.
NOOYI: Yes. And then imagine that your functional team, you can’t hire them without the approval of your executive team.
ZAKARIA: Half of whom want you to fail.
NOOYI: That’s exactly right. Also imagine that every word you say is debated in the public media every minute of the day. Also remember that your board of directors is a fragmented group who really cannot get together to fire the executive team if they don’t tow your line.
ZAKARIA: The American public.
NOOYI: That’s exactly right. That’s the environment in which the president of the United States is working today. It’s not as if the president is maintaining a successful country. The president is turning around a difficult situation. So all things considered, you’d say he’s doing a pretty good job.
This is a post I put up a while back that I decided to dust off and share with you all again in light of the completion of Arianna’s Scam, AOL paying her $315 Million dollars for her Huffington Post website (don’t go there). The original headline read “The Huffington Post, A Stolen Idea!.” I’ve also put links to other posts I’ve done about her below.
Arianna with her buddy Newt Gingrich
Politico has a long piece up about a lawsuit brought by two Democratic consultants, Peter Daou and James Boyce which claims that the idea for The Huffington Post was stolen from them. A while back, I did some research into Arianna Huffington and came across some rather revealing things about Arianna and her MO. The most glaring of these was her teaming up with Newt Gingrich in the early 90′s to help bring about Gingrich’s Republican Revolution, oh and apparently she’s still hanging with him. I’m old enough to remember that bullshit and have always been skeptical of Huffington and see her as an opportunist. Her new book, no plug here, attempts to play on people’s fears about the economic crisis. I hope to find time to write about that soon, she’s been not so subtly appealing to the angry people in the country….there’s money to be made on that anger, you know? From the Politico piece…
The complaint is a direct challenge to the left’s most important media property from two stalwarts of the progressive movement. And it challenges Huffington’s own oft-told story of coming up with the idea in conversation with Lerer and other friends.
“Huffington has styled herself as a ‘new media’ maven and an expert on the effective deployment of news and celebrity on the Internet in the service of political ends,” says the complaint. “As will be shown at trial, Huffington’s and Lerer’s image with respect to the Huffington Post is founded on false impressions and inaccuracies: They presented the ‘new media’ ideas and plans of Peter Daou and James Boyce as their own in order to raise money for the website and enhance their image, and breached their promises to work with Peter and James to develop the site together.”
It certainly doesn’t surprise me to read this, that’s what Republicans are all about, making money on the backs of other people. It completely fits with her opportunistic MO. She is the wolf in sheep’s clothing. Every time I hear her introduced as a liberal, I do a spit take with my coffee or Lipton Diet Green Tea…and we all know how painful that can be. She is no liberal, she just shifted her “mark” to liberals. She saw the pendulum swinging away from conservatism with the election of George W. Bush and saw a great opportunity to capitalize on it. Recently, it seems she is jealous of all the money Glenn Beck and his sorts are making off the anger on the right. I see her book as a blatant appeal to those people, she want’s some of that money too. More from Politico…
Lerer, a former AOL executive who once worked as a spokesman for junk bond king Michael Milken, later involved other Internet gurus – the marketing expert Jonah Perretti, and Drudge collaborator Andrew Breitbart – in their launch, and Daou and Boyce aren’t the first to contest the Huffington Post’s lineage.
“I created the Huffington Post,” Breitbart told Wired in March, prompting Huffington to reply that he “wasn’t present” for the initial 2004 meeting.
Can you even fucking believe it, Breitbart was there at the start of The Huffington Post. Now that speaks volumes in my mind. Andrew Fucking Breitbart working with Arianna, and of course this is after she supposedly saw the light and became more progressive….cough, spit. I remember seeing her talk on C-SPAN in the early 2000′s and thinking, wow, a conservative who’s seen the light and grown. As I continued to watch her speak, I had a sense about her that she was slippery. She talked around a lot of issues, was very slick in her appeal to liberals, playing on their dislike for George W. Bush, using clever put downs of him to gain acceptance. I have to admit, I was digging what she was saying, I disliked ole’ W. about as much as anyone. But even then, I was cautious because of her slickness. It was only after I started getting pissed off at the misleading headlines on her site that I started doing some digging and discovered the above links.
Booman, who was the source of the Politico link above, wonders why The Huffington Post is considered left…
Is the Huffington Post the “left’s most important media property”? Really? Because I have never opened the Huffington Post unless directed there by someone else. I have almost never linked to them (probably less than a dozen times in six years). I don’t think I’ve ever been to their home-page. I think if they were really so important, I’d find I couldn’t blog effectively without knowing what was going on there. But, for the most part, the Huffington Post doesn’t even exist for me. It’s like the Drudge Report. I know it exists, and occasionally someone points out to me that they have some interesting material, but that’s it. And why is the Huffington Post considered a left-leaning site? I don’t consider Arianna Huffington to be left-leaning. She’s a critic of President Bush and the current brand of know-nothing politics of the right. But she’s certainly no liberal. Above all, she’s a business woman and a celebrity. She’s not a part of any movement I am aware of. I’m not knocking her, but I just don’t get why her site is supposed to be important to the left. For what?
I used to frequent her website until I noticed a change in course and their turning on the President. I was often sucked into the misleading headlines which many times didn’t reflect was in the actual article, a blatant bait and switch of sorts. She is very good at making money off people’s emotions, I suspect she will continue to do well in that regard. I just won’t be a part of it.
Here are some links to other posts I’ve done about The Huffington Post, Arianna inspired me. There is something about a conservative trying to act like a liberal that pisses me off, for some reason.
Is it any wonder that a political party that was stomped in 2006 and 2008 can make a comeback just two years later? When you have the 3 major broadcast networks ignoring what that party actually does and instead just helps to spread their talking points, what the hell does anyone expect the general public to think? Unfortunately, the masses don’t go out and dig for information, they trust the major networks and newspapers as if they were still being run like they were in the 60′s, 70′s, 80′s and even some of the 90′s and 00′s. As a political junkie, with a graduate degree in communications, I’ve watched closely with horror as the commercialization, sensationalization (new word, I think…I’m like Sarah Palin now) and Foxification of the news business has happened in the last 10 to 15 years. Here is the source of this rant you are enduring, from Media Matters…
GOP blocks 9/11 first responders bill; ABC, CBS, and NBC ignore the story
December 10, 2010 2:17 pm ET by Eric Boehlert
It was kind of a big deal.
The bill is officially known as the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2010 and is named after a first responder who died from a respiratory disease attributed to his rescue efforts on the morning of the Sept. 11 terror attack. The bill easily passed the House in September with a rare bout of bipartisan support. The bill’s backers expected passage in the Senate, as well.
But yesterday, every Republican senator voted against the bill. The action was part of the GOP’s obstructionist strategy of not allowing any senate action to proceed until the chamber votes on a bill that will continue to Bush era tax cuts, including those for the very wealthy.
But not at ABC, CBS or NBC. Last night, all three evening newscasts failed to report on the fact that Republicans had voted down a previously bipartisan bill designed to provide medical coverage for Sept. 11 emergency workers. At the major networks, that development was not considered newsworthy.
That’s pretty remarkable. But the larger point here is that Republicans are now practicing an unprecedented brand of obstructionism and they’re doing without having to pay much of a political price. Why? Because the press is giving them a pass. The press is pretending what Republicans are doing is normal and everyday. It’s not. It’s radical.
I was listening to the NPR show “On Point” the other night on my way home and heard a mention about how SIPRnet came to be and it all came into focus for me. In case you didn’t know, SIPRnet was developed in 2005 by none other than the Bush Whitehouse. It is one more fuckup that was left behind by the boneheads who ran our country into the ground for 8 fucking years. This was W’s response to the criticism of the government intelligence agencies not sharing intelligence. So what do they do, put it all up on a server where even privates in the military have access. What a great fucking idea. When you let the village idiots run the country, you end up with this sort of stupidity.
Now I’m all for our government being accountable and I long for the days when the press actually did reporting, investigating and actually sourced their information and made decisions about how – what they say – may affect people. Not anymore, anything goes these days. Anyone can jump up and down now and get attention from the media…”if you touch my junk, I’ll have you arrested”…was I the only one who could tell that this guy was going for hits on his blog, his 15 minutes of fame. Well he got it, and more. The media fell for it like it was a kid trapped in a silver balloon flying across the country. Now we have Wikileaks, which is a perfect avenue for any disgruntled employee to dump massive amounts of raw intelligence, opinions, innuendo, trade secrets and yes, wrongdoing within the organization. The floodgates have been opened up, there are plenty more people in the world looking for their 15 minutes and Julian Assange has given them a perfect vehicle.
This latest dump of information is starting to set in with opinion leaders and the knee jerk reactions have gone away, replaced with caution and a better sense of how this will impact the world. My biggest problem with this leak is that diplomacy is like a good thing, the opposite of war in a lot of ways. It’s how we deal with other countries, get cooperation, build relationships that benefit real Americans and the world. Julian Assange obviously doesn’t give a shit about what effect his leaks will have on real people, he clearly has an agenda to damage America and the collateral damage of his leaks don’t seem to concern him. I agree with Hillary Clinton that this latest dump was an attack on America.
I see Assange and many on the left like the “firebaggers” (Hamsher and gang) as anti-everything. It is all black and white, you’re either with us or against us…where do I remember that from? They seem to think everything should be transparent, as if anything that is secret or kept internal to our government is inherently bad, it all must be revealed regardless of the consequences. For people who otherwise seem intelligent, this attitude is completely naive and myopic. It must be dark with their heads so far up there asses.
We live in a strange world folks. A world where cable news in particular can pick a topic and beat the hell out of it, slant it, create a narrative for it in the face of evidence to the contrary and then ride that narrative until they see a shift in public opinion that then justifies their narrative. It’s pretty fucked up to be honest. In fairness, the cable news stations have 24 fucking hours a day to fill and you can only obsess about Lindsey Lohan and Snookie so much before you have to come up with some other shit to sensationalize.
The TSA has become the boogeyman of late. There aren’t any Democrats running for any imminent elections to beat up on, so they have to pick something. Here is a good example of the blogosphere perpetuating this phenomenon. From the usually great Karoli at Crooks and Liars…
Yes, TSA procedures suck, and yes, they’re heading toward a tipping point where there will be nearly unilateral support for getting rid of them.
So am I wrong, but aren’t there a ton of polls out showing that the vast majority of the general public support using the scanners? I’m sure the media’s narrative is starting to have it’s intended results, to vilify the TSA….the latest target for populist outrage, but so far Karoli’s line “heading toward a tipping point where there will be nearly unilateral support for getting rid of them.” Really? The media has a lot of work to do to accomplish that. But they are on it, that’s for sure.
Just pay attention to how the cable news stations are just repeating, repeating, repeating….with subtle things like “groping” and “pawing” and “breasts” and “junk” or whatever the fuck. They are trying to appeal to the “knee-jerkers” who will jump into outrage mode on a dime. We’ve become a nation of fraidy cats (sp) and wimps. They will keep beating this issue relentlessly until either something drastic happens or some other natural or man-made disaster distracts them. Then, it’s off to the races on the next media obsession. What a world, what a world.
And of course there are Republicans who immediately think, how can I make some money on this or help some other rich guy make some money on it. Steve Benen (emphasis mine)
But as travelers grow more frustrated with heightened airport security, it appears Republicans are opening a new front on the privatization crusade.
A Republican lawmaker, who is faulting big government spending, is suggesting that airports dump the Transportation Security Administration altogether, and opt instead to privatize security.
And some airports, fed up with poor service in a climate where travelers are outraged about the prospect of full-body scanners, are listening.
The consideration comes after Florida Republican Rep. John Mica — a longtime critic of the TSA — wrote letters to the country’s 100 busiest airports earlier this month asking them to switch to private security.
There are a variety of angles to consider here. Note, for example, that private companies that stand to benefit from privatization also happen to be generous campaign contributors to Mica’s re-election campaign.
Even more importantly, several domestic airports already use private screeners, but it’s still the TSA that establishes mandatory security standards. If Mica or other Republicans want to have a conversation about whether those security measures are appropriate, that’s fine. But whether those doing the screening are public employees or private contractors doesn’t change the standards themselves. Selling this as some sort of cure-all for frustrated travelers is silly.
As Josh Marshall joked yesterday, “Watching cable TV this morning it seems like the new idea is that this would all be better if private sector workers rather than government employees were inspecting Americans’ crotches, boobs, etc.”
Steve Benen goes on to ponder just how wonderful it would be to have Blackwater-style companies taking over the screening, oh happy day!
MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow tore into Politico Wednesday for reprinting Republican “spin” without reporting the actual truth.
Politico reported that Republicans had delayed a meeting with President Barack Obama because he had “ambushed” them at a previous meeting back in January. But Maddow pointed out that there is little truth to that version of events.
According to Glenn Thrush at Politico, Republicans rescheduled a meeting with Obama because they are distrustful after he “crashed” their January retreat and humiliated them on national television.
“The roots of the partisan standoff that led to the postponement of the bipartisan White House summit scheduled for Thursday date back to January, when President Barack Obama crashed a GOP meeting in Baltimore to deliver a humiliating rebuke of House Republicans,” Thrush reported.
That is a blatant lie, and isn’t Politico supposedly the most in touch publication, getting all the inside info from both sides….cough, spit. Whoever wrote that crap had to have known it was completely false and Republican propaganda. So much of the media just doesn’t care about the truth anymore, it is sickening, really. Rachel tells it like it is…
“Today cable news all day was driven by a story from that same website, Politico, that was purportedly about that same real event but was completely made up,” Maddow said. “I don’t mean to say it was completely made up by Politico. Quite transparently it was made up by unnamed Republican staffers who were trying to inject a new anti-Obama story into the news today that didn’t have any basis in fact whatsoever. Those were the folks who made it up. It was Politico who printed it.”
Josh Marshall weighs in on this with a reminder to everyone about the reality that didn’t seem to make it into the Politico story…
“So was it an ambush? Well, My God, not even close. Here’s the press release from Mike Pence, Chairman of the House Republican Conference, thanking the president on January 13th for ‘accept[ing] our invitation to meet with the Republican Conference later this month,’” Marshall continued.
“In other words, that’s more than two weeks before these House Republicans who must have spent the month in a sensory deprivation chamber were stunned to see the president’s motorcade driving up unannounced to crash their party.”
So what in the fuck is Politico doing? Why would they print completely false information, manufactured propaganda from Republican operatives? Is there journalistic integrity anywhere these days? Once again, Rachel Maddow tells it like it is…
Maddow was particularly offended by the way Politico printed this quote from a Republican staffer: “There were [House Republicans] who only knew Obama was coming when they saw Secret Service guys scouting out the place.”
“I am sure some unnamed Republican operative said exactly those words and that’s why there are quotes in the article to justify those words being written,” Maddow said. “But just printing something somebody said is not itself — what do you call it? News, right. It’s publicity. And in this case, it’s publicizing somebody’s totally fake, untrue story about a knowable, reported on, real thing.”
Later in the day, Politico edited their story to remove that quote.
Apparently all you have to do these days to get the media’s attention and dominate cable news coverage is to get really angry and make a lot of noise. I propose that we liberals and progressives start getting angry, protesting, showing up at Republican town hall meetings and getting loud. If the media has changed how it does business by only caring about those who are angry, let’s get fucking angry. I propose that during this last election their was a lot of anger remaining from the Bush demolition of our democracy, but somehow all those people got lumped in with the Tea Party people. It’s very similar to lumping all the people who supposedly didn’t like the health care bill, some who thought it was pure socialism and some who thought it didn’t go far enough towards socialism.
Melissa Harris-Lacewell made a similar point last night on The Last Word about so called “independents” that seem to all get lumped together when in reality, you have independents who are all over the political spectrum. Think Bernie Sanders….he’s not in the middle of Democrats and Republicans, he is clearly to the left of Democrats. I guess it boils down to the fact that journalists in general aren’t very bright and like to simplify things, it’s easier for their little brains to wrap around simple ideas. I return to my refrain about the media using polls as crutches, it’s just easier for them to spit out a story when they can just regurgitate poll results. One of my favorite signs from the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear says it all…“A poll about a fact is NOT news!”
Steve Benen, who is consistently the best blogger on the internet….along with the Awesome Bob Cesca…has a great post up saying what I have been thinking since the election. The bastard always steals my thoughts and then puts them in writing much more eloquently than I can, so once again….what he said. (emphasis mine)
If it seems like you’ve been seeing those same four words — was it worth it? — all week, it’s not your imagination. The ubiquitous question is based on the assumption that Democratic losses were the result, not of awful economic conditions, but of the party’s agenda. The president and his party completed some remarkable policy achievements, but, the argument goes, those breakthroughs only pay electoral dividends if the public likes the policies. Instead, voters disapproved, strengthening the GOP “wave.”
The evidence to bolster this case, rather than blaming the economy, remains thin. But for the sake of conversation, let’s go with it. Let’s say Democrats effectively made a giant trade — they forfeited their House majority, and in exchange, Dems had one of the most successful congresses of the century, passing landmark legislation generations in the making.
Of course it was worth it. This is what big majorities are for.
One of the things that drives me nuts the most about the media is the prism through which they view everything, politics. It seems like it doesn’t matter much what a politician does once they are elected, like passing laws, representing their constituents or making a difference in the country. Instead, it’s all about the next election. You almost never see cable news actually talking about policy, except how it might affect someone politically. The midterm election is barely over and they are already talking about how everything anyone does will affect them in 2012. Jeez, can we take a break for a minute and actually govern. More from Benen…
There have been plenty of pieces making the case, and I’d recommend items from Cohn, Chait, and Sargent, among others. But I was especially struck by William Saletan’s Slate piece yesterday, not only because I disagree with him from time to time, but because I was nodding in agreement when he explained, “[I]f health care did cost the party its majority, so what? The bill was more important than the election.”
Politicians have tried and failed for decades to enact universal health care. This time, they succeeded. In 2008, Democrats won the presidency and both houses of Congress, and by the thinnest of margins, they rammed a bill through. They weren’t going to get another opportunity for a very long time. It cost them their majority, and it was worth it.
And that’s not counting financial regulation, economic stimulus, college lending reform, and all the other bills that became law under Pelosi. So spare me the tears and gloating about her so-called failure. If John Boehner is speaker of the House for the next 20 years, he’ll be lucky to match her achievements. [...]
It’s funny, in a twisted way, to read all the post-election complaints that Democrats lost because they thought only of themselves. Even the chief operating officer of the party’s leading think tank, the Center for American Progress, says Obama failed to convince Americans “that he knows their jobs are as important as his.” That’s too bad, because Obama, Pelosi, and their congressional allies proved just the opposite. They risked their jobs — and in many cases lost them — to pass the health care bill. The elections were a painful defeat, and you can argue that the bill was misguided. But Democrats didn’t lose the most important battle of 2010. They won it.
Hell yes, this is one of the reasons why I support this president so much, he is there to get shit done and getting reelected isn’t his highest priority. This doesn’t quite fit in with the media’s narrative, they don’t understand it, it causes them cognitive dissonance. It does not compute for them. What it does is to give pundits the opportunity to hang themselves with their words and prove they are only about politics, fuck the people.
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.
It always enraged me that the Bush Administration so willingly sent our troops off to fight in two wars of choice, but when they returned to the states with injuries or mental problems, they turned their backs on them. President Obama has been fighting for veterans for years and now as president he is helping them even more.
First, let’s take a look at what the last Republican administration did for veterans or rather, did TO veterans. Joan McCarter at Daily Kos gives us this in a post…
As VoteVets uncovered in 2008, the VA of those days deliberately misdiagnosed Veterans to reduce the cost of treatment and disability payments:
On March 20, 2008 a VA hospital’s PTSD program coordinator sent an e-mail to a number of VA employees, including psychologists, social workers, and a psychiatrist stating that due to an increased number of “compensation seeking veterans,” the staff should “refrain from giving a diagnosis of PTSD straight out” and they should “R/O [rule out] PTSD” and consider a diagnosis of “Adjustment Disorder” instead.
How shitty is that to send young men and women into a horrible, frightening, brutal environment and then when these young people suffer mental problems from it, those fuckers just abandoned them. And not just abandon but actually put up roadblocks for them, make them suffer a little more. Not many people know that each year, over 6000 veterans commit suicide. That’s twice the national average. CBS News did some excellent research on this…
Dr. Steve Rathbun is the acting head of the Epidemiology and Biostatistics Department at the University of Georgia. CBS News asked him to run a detailed analysis of the raw numbers that we obtained from state authorities for 2004 and 2005.
It found that veterans were more than twice as likely to commit suicide in 2005 than non-vets. (Veterans committed suicide at the rate of between 18.7 to 20.8 per 100,000, compared to other Americans, who did so at the rate of 8.9 per 100,000.)
One age group stood out. Veterans aged 20 through 24, those who have served during the war on terror. They had the highest suicide rate among all veterans, estimated between two and four times higher than civilians the same age. (The suicide rate for non-veterans is 8.3 per 100,000, while the rate for veterans was found to be between 22.9 and 31.9 per 100,000.)
President Obama has done more for veterans in 18 months than the previous administration did in 8 years. Well, really, the Bush administration made many steps backwards for veterans all the while claiming to be the party that represents the military through it’s propaganda machines like Fox News and the rest of the right wing media which was aided and abetted by the cable news networks. Check this out from VetVoice via Daily Kos…
After already increasing VA funding and signing a bill to insure advanced funding for the Department, President Obama’s Department of Veterans Affairs plans to announce next week that it is removing the speed-bumps that hindered PTSD afflicted Vets from obtaining a disability rating:
The government is making it easier for combat veterans diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder to receive disability benefits.
The Veterans Affairs Department plans to announce Monday it will no longer require veterans to prove what might have triggered their illness. Instead, they would have to show that they served in combat in a job that could have contributed to post-traumatic stress disorder.
The nearly 20 percent of Veterans who return with signs of PTSD will now find it easier to obtain what they earned when they bravely defended their country. Making the process for obtaining benefits as smooth as possible is the least we owe these heroes. This decision to streamline the process for PTSD claims illustrates a commitment to our Veterans from this Administration that was absent for eight years under previous leadership…
…The new PTSD guidelines aren’t just a boon to Iraq and Afghanistan veterans–they apply to all veterans, and there are still many Vietnam vets suffering, who’ve waited decades for this help.
Hooray President Obama, finally someone who actually cares about the people that presidents like to send off to do their dirty work. Now I know a lot of people on the far left think Obama is just as bad as Bush was when it comes to wars and in my opinion, these people are really out of their minds. I completely understand the principled stance that no wars are good, I personally wish we lived in a world where they weren’t necessary. I never think war is a solution to any problem and am against all wars. Having said that, let me remind people that President Obama DID NOT get us into these two wars and in fact Barack Obama was one of the lone people who stood up against the Iraq war when everyone was signing from the same hymnal about WMD’s…remember that shit. Here is a Youtube post that uses people to read his speech in 2002 (before the war) which has apparently been lost…
Here is a transcript of that speech, please go read it, even you trolls who will undoubtedly go berserk over this post. And I challenge all you “Hillary inspired Obama haters” to go find what ole’ Hillary said in 2002 about the Iraq war. I only say that because some of President Obama’s harshest critics are these folks. If you watch that video or read the transcript, you might notice that this young, future president nailed it…absolutely nailed it…in predicting what would happen if we invade Iraq.
Active Duty Troops
So now onto how he cares for active troops. He’s bringing them home where they belong. This is from a blog I just came across called Musings on Iraq…
U.S. forces are scheduled to draw down to 50,000 by September 1, 2010 following President Obama’s withdrawal plan. It’s hardly been noticed, but U.S. troops are almost at that level already.
Since 2009 over 60,000 U.S. soldiers have been pulled out of Iraq. In January 2009 when Obama first took office, there were 142,000 U.S. troops in Iraq. After that, several thousand were withdrawn every couple months, going down to 140,000 in February, 137,000 in March, 134,000 in May, 130,000 in June, etc. According to the spokesman for U.S. forces in Iraq, there are currently 77,500 U.S. personnel in Iraq as of July 2010.
U.S. Troop Strength In Iraq 2003-2010
May 2003 150,000 – Invasion force
October 2007 171,000 – Height of Surge
January 2009 142,000 – Beginning Obama administration
February 2010 98,000
President Obama is doing exactly what he said he would do. How many of you have seen stories from the MSM about this? Or on the 24 hour cable news networks? I know that many of these troops are being re-assigned to Afghanistan, where the Obama administration is focusing it’s efforts to weaken Al Qaeda and help get some semblance of a stable government in place. Rachel Maddow was over there last week and did some excellent reporting about what’s going on. Her and Richard Engel are both amazing and paint a much different picture than you will hear out of the right-wing noise machine AND the MSM. Rachel had an exchange with Ann Curry from the Today show where Ann tried her hardest to be a Fox News morning host but Rachel told it like it is, like she usually does. From a Crooks and Liars post about the exchange…
This is the first time I’ve seen a journalist really try to get beyond the basics of the Afghan war and into the details of what our military is actually doing, what they hope to accomplish, and how they’re going about accomplishing it. Rachel Maddow is hardly a hawk, so part of the remarkable quality of her reporting is seeing her come to an understanding that much of what’s being done involves helping people, not killing them.
This clearly doesn’t fit the story they want to tell on The Today Show. Watch the video as Rachel is questioned about the July deadline and the supposed “delayed Kandahar strategy.”
For some reason the video C&L has up there isn’t Rachel on the Today show but here is some of the transcript, once again courtesy of Crooks and Liars…
CURRY: In fact, let’s talk about that. It’s a year from now that the US troops are scheduled to leave. We’re 104 months into this war, Afghanistan is now the longest war in US history. June was the deadliest month in the war with 60 Americans killed, Rachel. And so is this president’s deadline of leaving a year from now, beginning to withdraw a year from now, actually realistic?
Translated: FOX thinks a deadline is foolish. Don’t you think so too, Rachel?
And Rachel’s answer is perfect, because it’s the truth and it makes sense. That July deadline isn’t just there for show:
MADDOW: There have been a lot of critics who have said that that deadline doesn’t make sense in terms of military strategy. But I think that’s only true if you think of war, this kind of war, as if it’s some kind of D-Day every day. It’s really not like that. Counterinsurgency doesn’t look like that. The point of this counterinsurgency strategy is to set up an Afghan government so that Afghanistan is essentially hardened against the Taliban coming back into power and against them link — them — Afghanistan again linking up with these extremist groups. The deadline is not for military strategy in pure military terms. The deadline is so the Afghan government feels like they’ve really got to get their act together and stand up and get it done. I have to tell you that, you know, the counterinsurgency doctrine may not work. It may not work no matter what we do to set up — try to set up Afghan government here. But it definitely won’t work without a deadline, at least in Kandahar, not based on what I’ve seen after this latest embedding.
Rachel Maddow is no hawk, she’s telling the truth about what is going on in Afghanistan – which doesn’t fit in the alternate reality that some on both the left and right seem to be living in. It is creating much cognitive dissonance in their brains…..many I’m sure are just tuning it out or simply denying it. I’m sure my favorite troll will call me and President Obama murderers and all sorts of vile stuff, I really feel sorry for him, not just because his comments always end up in my spam filter but that his brain is actually so clouded that clear thoughts can’t emerge.
I firmly believe that the Obama administration really will have fighting troops out of both Iraq and Afghanistan by the end of his first term. Until then, the haters will surely claim he can’t do it, he’s a warmonger or from the right, he’s soft on terrorism or whatever else Frank Luntz tells them to say. President Obama is proving to be a much better president than I even imagined, he’s able to stay on track and stay focused even with the fickle media (MSNBC and CNN) and the hard right-wing liars (Fox News) and the lame mainstream media (thanks Sarah) trying to trump up stupid ass process stories or the latest poll of 700 people who still have land-line phones. Results really do have a huge effect on the general public, much more effect than the media does. And since the public IS so fickle, with a coordinated advertising campaign for the general election in November, the Democrats simply have to tell the truth about what has ACTUALLY happened over the first two years of Democrats in control and that is much easier when you have the truth on your side.