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.
Markos Moulitsas of Daily Kos has been blacklisted at MSNBC for calling out Joe Scarborough on his hypocrisy. It revolves around the little known “dead intern” problem that Joe Scarborough swept under the rug successfully back in July of 2001. Markos simply sent a tweet referring to the dead intern, which was really pretty random, but good for Markos for doing it. I first heard about this story from a commenter at White Noise Insanity, the very insightful Grant in Texas. I looked into it because of my dislike of the smarmy Joe Scarborough who I think is the worst kind of propagandist on television. He gets away with more bullshit on his morning show than anyone on TV. Now for the twitter exchange that Joe has blown up into a big story, and has forced me to post this long detailed post about. Thanks Joe, I’ve wanted to expose this fishy dead intern story since I found out about it. From Markos….
In case you were wondering why you haven’t seen me on MSNBC recently, it seems that Joe Scarborough, he of the lowest rated morning show in cableland, has blackballed me. And Phil Griffin, the alleged president of MSNBC, is going along with it.
It all began May 29, with Joe Scarborough taking to Twitter to whine about the media coverage of the supposed Sestak scandal (remember that one?):
JoeNBC: The Sestak story is as unbelievable a cover story as Nixon throwing little Checkers under the bus. A farce on it’s face. Luckily for the White House, the media has been negligent on this story since Day 1. The press will let this laughable story slide.
That was too much horseshit for me. If there was someone who had ZERO ground to stand on whining about media bias, it was Scarborough. So I shot back:
markos: Like story of a certain dead intern. RT @JoeNBC: Luckily for the White House, the media has been negligent on this story since Day 1.
Markos: But if you want to talk about bullshit “scandals”, @JoeNBC, there’s this one about Joe Sestak and the White House you might’ve heard of.
It degenerated from there.
JoeNBC: @markos Unbelievable. You have a long history of spreading lies suggesting I am a murderer. This is the 3rd or 4th time by my count.
Markos: @JoeNBC, I’ve never suggested you’re a murderer. I’ve noted media hypocrisy in going after Gary Condit. But he was Dem. You aren’t.
JoeNBC: Anyone in media who interviews @markos, know that you’re extending your credibility to someone who regularly suggests that I’m a murderer.
Markos: A bit touchy, @JoeNBC? Links for where I accuse you of being a murderer please.
So Joe Scarborough went crying to the president of MSNBC who put out the word to his “teams” not to book Markos for a while, kind of like a journalistic “time-out” or something. But since Joe wants us all to know about this dead intern who mysteriously died in his district office in Florida, let’s have at it. I’ll start by saying if it was someone else that it happened to and there was a “D” behind that congressman’s name, can you imagine how Joe would react? He has gone off on people with much less evidence and for much less serious offenses. Some background on the story from Conservative Babylon.
Just the facts: Scarborough got a divorce. Then he suddenly resigned from Congress, just six months after re-election. (Invoked old fallback excuse of wanting to “spend more time” with children.) Then he suddenly resigned as publisher of the Independent Florida Sun. Then, just as suddenly, Lori Klausutis, 28-year-old staffer to Scarborough, was found dead in Scarborough’s district office in Fort Walton Beach, Florida. Date was July 20, 2001. Cause of death: Blow to the head. Conclusion: Heart condition caused her to collapse, fall, hit head on a desk, and die. Story barely a blip on the radar. Lots of people left with lots of questions.
Click on the blue “Read More” for the rest of the post.
Now everyone knows that Rush Limbaugh is a racist, he has made his views plenty clear over the years, so his latest racist rant is no surprise. What struck me about what he said is the alternate reality he seems to be living in. I chalk it up to his drug abuse combined with his racism, the two are a powerful combination. Here is a quote as posted by The Raw Story….
Limbaugh suggested Tuesday that Winfrey and other African-Americans owe their success to their skin color.
“If Obama weren`t black, he`d be a tour guide in Honolulu or he`d be teaching Saul Alinsky Constitutional law or lecturing on it in Chicago,” Limbaugh announced.
“He wouldn`t have been voted president if he weren`t black. Somebody asked me over the — oh, I need to remember. Somebody asked me over the weekend, why does somebody earn a lot of money, have a lot of money. I said it`s because he`s black,” he continued.
Limbaugh then went on to attack Winfrey. “It was Oprah. No, it can’t be. Yes, it is. There’s a lot of guilt out there. To show we`re not racist, we`ll make this person wealthy and big and famous and so forth,” said Limbaugh.
Who is he talking about when he says “To show we’re not racist, we’ll make this person wealthy and big and famous and so forth”. So let me get this right, the American people (whites only I guess) all got together, at a convention I imagine, and decided to show people they aren’t racist by making Oprah famous and Obama president? Really Rush? I can just imagine folks sitting around in their living rooms thinking, “I really don’t like this woman Oprah, but because she is black, I’m going to make myself like her damn it. I have to get rid of this guilt somehow, I must like this woman.” How fucking stupid is that?
During the election, a co-worker who is a right wing hack, made a similar statement that Obama got the Democratic nomination because of affirmative action. It is a similar kind of stupid as Limbaugh’s, rooted in racism. I called him out on it on the spot, it got kind of weird, but there was no way I could let such idiocy stand. Give me a fucking break, you get nominated when people vote. Real Americans going to the ballot box and casting their votes, not some cabal of white people deciding to give him the nomination because he’s black. I lost all respect for that professor when he made that statement.
This sort of fantasy thinking is permeating the right wing these days. It goes right along with Stephen Colbert’s “Truthiness” idea. Apparently these people are fine with fooling themselves, lying to themselves and everyone else, not letting facts get in the way of their fantasy thinking. They buy into the “death panels” and “birther” conspiracies, they cling to every idiotic word that Sarah Palin utters or tweets and they send money to Glenn Beck because someone has to take money from the crazy people in our country, call it affirmative action for dummies.
Of course this isn’t the first time that Rush has some weird conspiracy theory about successful black people, this is from Pensito Review…
When it comes to discussing any topic other than politics, he is clearly out of his league. For example, his one foray outside politics, into sports as a football commentator on ESPN in 2003, ended abruptly when he made a blatantly racist comment about Eagles’ quarterback Donovan McNabb that was very similar to what he said here about Oprah Winfrey.
“I think what we’ve had here is a little social concern in the NFL. The media has been very desirous that a black quarterback do well,” Limbaugh said then. “There is a little hope invested in McNabb, and he got a lot of credit for the performance of this team that he didn’t deserve. The defense carried this team.”
You wouldn’t want to give the quarterback, the field general, the leader of the team…any credit for the success of the team. And according to Rush, it must be because he is black….apparently the “media” all got together and decided that it was “desirous that a black quarterback do well”. Once again, Rush is living in an alternate reality where groups of people come together and decide they are going to help those black people get ahead, because you know they can’t do it on their own. And the fact that a black man won the highest office in the land, is the leader of the free world, well that just doesn’t compute for Rush in his pea sized brain.
So with Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin and many others within the Republican party going to extremes to fool themselves and cling to their racist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic and all the rest of the “phobias” out there it seems – where is the media in all this. How can these people keep spouting this crap and get away with it. Are Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow the only ones in the media that see through the bullshit? Is the rest of the media just as stupid as the leaders of the Republican party? It sure seems that way to me.
The craziness coming out of the mouths of some people seems to have no limit. Jack Welch, former Chairman and CEO of GE was on Morning Joke this morning and when asked whether BP should be trusted he basically said yes the can, they are just inept. The really crazy thing that came out of his mouth, and I guess we should cut him some slack because he is getting pretty old, but he said the president should have gotten all the oil CEO’s in a room and locked them in it until they came up with a plan. He was very serious about not letting them leave, forcing them to stay in a room in the White House until they came up with a plan. That is a perfect example of the absolute craziness coming out of some people’s mouths. Let’s break this down, he thinks the president can force private individuals to come to a meeting and then lock them in a room, forcibly, and keep them locked up until they solve an unsolvable problem. Does that sound like we are living in America to you? Is that really what he wants the president to do? Or is it just the right wing hyperbole that appeals to the knuckle-draggers in the country. It President Obama were to have done that, just imagine what the idiots like Joe Scarborough would have screamed.
After Jack Welch made these crazy claims, Joe Scarborough, who loves to talk out of all 4 sides of his mouth, jumps on it and sees an opportunity to use it to his advantage. They had a good ole’ time speculating about this crazy idea and Mika attempted to throw some reality into the situation and of course was talked over and diminished. She also went after Rudy Giuliani for telling a whole bunch of lies last week when he was on several TV shows. This was of course brushed off as White House talking points, whether it was true or not didn’t seem to matter, they are talking points. Which brings me to this whole “golfing while president” talking point the Republicans are trotting out, including the Republican commentors on this site who keep claiming to not be Republicans but when the latest talking point comes off the press, they are right there spewing it.
I have to give Jack Welch credit for shooting down that talking point and saying that president’s need to have recreation and downtime, it makes them think more clearly and do their job better. It’s just one more example of how the right and the media seem obsessed with appearances and symbolism. Reality really has no place in most of their thinking, as was shown when Mika pointed out all the real things that the Obama administration did early on in the crisis and that was then dismissed because they didn’t “convey” that well enough. In their pea-sized brains apparently if you don’t convey it, it didn’t really happen. That’s the type of mentality of too many of the talking heads on TV, reality doesn’t really matter, it’s perceptions that matter. I’m sure there is plenty of room to criticize little details that were or weren’t done, but when people make the blanket, exaggerated claims like he didn’t consult with industry experts…..that’s complete horseshit, they assembled a team of people in Houston composed of experts from many oil companies, engineers, physicists etc.
I have to give Mika credit this morning, she did an excellent job pushing back against the bullshit spewing from Joe and his cronies mouths. Mark Halperin was also a voice of reason, although he never goes too far out on a limb for the president.
Thank you John Dickerson at Slate.com for giving some much-needed perspective on this crazy meme that the media and their Republican puppet masters have wrought on us cable news junkies. You know, the one that says the Barack Obama isn’t angry enough, not emotional enough. And then the leap they’ve been successfully making to date that it points to a lack of leadership. Personally, I think passing a health care bill, no matter how much it is flawed, showed tremendous leadership. People in the media who have never been elected or governed or led for that matter, seem to think they have a right to paint this president as lacking leadership, as if real leaders come out in front of the cameras and blow a fuse, go ballistic and show some emotion. When the reality is that American presidents have rarely, if ever, showed any real anger in public. John Dickerson at Slate.com weighs in on this…(emphasis mine)
While no one has yet discovered a way to plug the BP oil leak, each day does bring the discovery of yet another fundamental character defect that explains President Obama’s helplessness. He’s not emotional enough. He lacks crisis experience. He is insufficiently creative. With the leak likely to last into the summer, before long it will be blamed on Obama’s bad penmanship or his skinny legs.
The one question we’ll always be able to ask, fortunately, is whether the president is sufficiently angry. In the daily temperature reading that has become the White House press briefing, spokesman Robert Gibbs once again addressed the president’s temper. “Our point is not to feign, through method acting, anger at what environmental and economic damage has been wrought by this disaster. That wasn’t going to fill a hole. That wasn’t going to put money in the bank account of a shrimper that’s not fishing. That’s not going to help a hotel worker or a hotel owner on a beach in Florida.”
Here’s the thing about presidential anger. It’s never seen in public—not just from our first smooth jazz president, but from any president. If presidents show anger in public, they risk looking out of control, which in moments of crisis is the exact opposite of what people want.
This perspective seems to have eluded ANY of the talking heads that appear on my TV. The idea that he isn’t angry enough about the spill started with one of the pinhead media people, a right-winger no doubt. It was then picked up and ran with by many others, usually couched in “some say the president isn’t angry enough” statements. Who these “some” are never makes an appearance. It soon morphs into “The American people don’t think he’s angry enough” and then that gets repeated ad nauseum, drumming that line into the masses heads. After they’ve done that long enough, they take a poll and ask a question like “Do you think the president is angry enough about the oil spill?” The media then pretends like they weren’t the ones pushing that meme, it’s the America people that believe this.
Now I bet if you did a poll, completely separate from any questions about the oil spill and asked people, “would you rather your president was calm and in control or angry and pounding his fist on the table?” What do you suppose would be the result? Of course it would be calm and in control. But of course if you couch that question between two questions about oil gushing from a pipe in the gulf, you will get vastly different results. I love the fact that my president doesn’t lose control and let his emotions get the better of him, that IS EXACTLY WHAT I DO NOT WANT HIM TO DO! We all know that if President Obama had come out from day one and yelled and screamed, taken control of BP, put all the responsibility on the federal government….well you know what the right-wing noise machine would have done with that. In the political environment we live in, there is no winning, there is no agreed upon reality, there is no truth – only differing points of view and it doesn’t really matter what the president does or doesn’t do, the right-wing and the firebaggers will find fault with it. And if they can’t find anything factual, they’ll just make shit up like he isn’t angry enough. To me that says they can’t find anything else to criticize him about.
Stay cool, President Obama, don’t believe the right-wing, they are trying to trap you into being the “angry black man.”
Go read this most excellent post by Al Giordano over at The Field. It’s great stuff. Here is a snippet…
What I have often smacked down from this corner as “the poutrage of the week” and the panicked Chicken Little behavior of those who follow the commercial media’s constant feedbag of crisis and attention-seeking, is really, all of it, a consequence of the harms that de Botton describes. Like domesticated oxen, the population is yanked from media stoked crisis to crisis, all of which carry a whiff of apocalypse: an oil gusher in the Gulf now comes with underwater 24-hour live stream cameras, all available online and to TV networks, as experts – real and invented – jump onto our screens to tell us their version of what is happening. “We are continuously challenged to discover new works of culture,” says de Botton, “and, in the process, we don’t allow any one of them to assume a weight in our minds.” A few weeks later comes Israel’s raid on an aid flotilla (the Middle East being, for many, a Pavlov signifier for “apocalypse” and thus an easy ruse for the media to get all sides drooling and barking according to an age-old script) and the cycle starts anew. And next week or the following week, when fatigue sets in on those obsessions, it will be something else altogether.
Morning Joe always seems to get my blood pumping in the morning. David Gregory and Savannah Guthrie trotted out the ole “the statue of limitations on blaming the Bush administration is over” talking point. Isn’t that a FOXism? Whenever anyone mentions the source of a problem or what caused a particular problem, the right wing and the media trot out that tired formulaic response. It’s so stupid on it’s face, there is some arbitrary time when a previous administration is no longer responsible for what they did? What is it, one year, 18 months, the first 100 days? Using the statute of limitations analogy is basically admitting that they are responsible, but we just can’t blame them anymore. In a criminal case, even if a person is guilty, if the statute of limitations is up….they go free.
It’s just one more example of how the media likes to simplify things, make it black or white, categorize it, compare it to something else so it’s easier to digest (the whole Katrina example). The media has been taken over by the village idiots, it seems. If you listen carefully to almost any newscaster, reporter or “expert” on the cable shows, you can hear so much opinion, supposition and blatant un-sourced information. Hell, a post on a blog or a tweet from an anonymous person is sometimes used as corroboration. How screwed up is that. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard a pundit cherry pick a statement from an emailer or tweeter or whatever and use that as a basis for saying “the American people believe this or that”. It’s the “Foxification of America”.
Oh this is good, Rachel is doing excellent work these days. You HAVE to watch this if you haven’t already. It’s priceless.
The other morning on “Morning Assholes Who Talk Shit”, I heard the spin artist Joe Scarborough get his panties all in a bunch because the head of the EPA, Lisa Jackson cancelled her appearance at a democratic fundraiser just one day before it happened. I’ve also heard the media criticize President Obama for playing golf or going to Chicago for Memorial Day. How can they go on with anything in their lives while the oil is still leaking? I wonder if all these critics are stopping everything in their lives while this is going on. Should the whole world just stop until the oil leak is plugged up? Is this similar to John McCain suspending his campaign during the election?
I can just hear President Obama say…
“I am suspending my administration until the oil leak is stopped. I will give endless speeches trying to console the media who can’t seem to take their eyes off that little video feed at the bottom of their TV. I will pound my fist on the table for James Carville. I will swear at BP for Keith Olbermann and I will not try to figure out how this might have happened, that would be blaming Bush and we can’t have that now, can we? I will make appearances on every morning news show, except Morning Joe, I’m sorry but they are just idiots. I will be available for the local noon news and cry on queue, maybe Glenn Beck can give me some pointers. I will sit down with Oprah and talk about my feelings, maybe I’ll jump up and down on her couch, she seems to like that. I now admit that I don’t like getting calls at 3 am and I’ve asked Hillary to answer them from now on, it’s usually Vladimir Putin after a half gallon of vodka anyway. But most of all, I will not do a damn thing else for this country until that spill is stopped and every last drop of oil is cleaned up from the gulf, you go create some fucking jobs, you deal with the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, you go clean up the two fucking messes that Bush/Cheney propagated on me in the middle east but didn’t pay for and then stuck me with the bill. You try to pass a climate change bill or repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (and I’m talking to you Greenwald and Aravosis) and you try to roll back all the Bush/Cheney infringement on our basic human rights. I’m getting in a submarine and going down to fix that motherfucking leak.”
I don’t always agree with Bill Maher, but that’s a good thing in my mind. When people start thinking in “lock-step”, then we are in a dangerous place. I haven’t listened to the entire podcast of Bill’s show, which is how I get it…..no HBO for this poor sucker. Crooks and Liars has a clip of it and below you can find some of the transcript. I’d like to hang with Bill Maher, I like how he calls bullshit what it is. One of his “New Rules” from his last show is priceless.
New Rule: Al Gore Must Call His Sequel An Inconvenient Truth 2: What the Fuck Is Wrong With You People?
Bill has a column over at Huffington Post that you can read here. One of my favorite lines from it is below, he is responding to Global Warming deniers. (emphasis mine)
That’s the problem with our obsession with always seeing two sides of every issue equally — especially when one side has a lot of money. It means we have to pretend there are always two truths, and the side that doesn’t know anything has something to say. On this side of the debate: Every scientist in the world. On the other: Mr. Potato Head.
There is no debate here — just scientists vs. non-scientists, and since the topic is science, the non-scientists don’t get a vote. We shouldn’t decide everything by polling the masses. Just because most people believe something doesn’t make it true. This is the fallacy called argumentum ad numeram: the idea that something is true because great numbers believe it. As in: Eat shit, 20 trillion flies can’t be wrong.
You loyal readers know how I’ve been bitching about polling every damn thing that moves, the lazy journalism method, but it’s more than that. It’s crossing over into the realm of upending long established principles that this country was founded on. See Arizona and the “show us your papers” law if you need an example. The media is pushing the polls that show the “majority” of Americans agree with it, the constitution be damned. The media is trying to exert control over the agenda by commissioning polls with leading questions, poorly ordered questions and nonsense topics like the freakin bad call at the Detroit Tigers game last week.
I watched some of Morning Joke this morning and was treated to a constant drumming of the meme that the president hasn’t showed he cares enough about the oil spill, and Scarborough was trying his hardest to morph it into a leadership issue. Leadership is much different than stagecraft….photo ops….empathy….and fake outrage. I love the fact that my president is a serious, get things done president instead of someone standing in front of a “Mission Accomplished” banner. I want him working, not acting. I want him solving problems, not flying around the country to the latest natural or man-made disaster. I know if he were that type of president, the media would be pounding him for being all about symbolism and appearances.
Morning Joke clearly has an agenda to damage the president, why else would they devote their entire show for weeks to beating that drum? It’s not like there were a couple of terrorists captured this weekend or anything else that happened in the world. And Joe and Mika (President of Joe’s fan club and lap dog) keep exaggerating and mischaracterizing what people actually have said. This morning he painted a picture that said that every democrat that’s been on in the last couple of weeks thinks the president is doing a poor job at “managing” this crisis. Which is complete horseshit. I watch almost every morning and it isn’t true. Sure, people have said he should have been “more out front” on the issue or could have tweaked his public performance, but they have all said he is doing everything he can. This morning James Cameron said that exact thing, which Joe glossed over…he hears what he wants and talks over those who he doesn’t want to be heard. Anthony Weiner had that pulled on him this morning too.
I just read a story about unfortunate remarks by Helen Thomas, the White House reporter who has been covering the white house since the Eisenhower administration. They have gotten her in deep shit with the Jewish community. I’m not going to post the clip here, because I love Helen and don’t really want to “pile on” by spreading her screw up even further. I think she was expressing her anger towards a brutal Israeli government that continues to kill innocent men, women and CHILDREN. Ever heard of cluster bombs? She has issued an apology for her remarks which is here. I had the honor to meet Helen a few years back, the university I work at brought her in to speak. Her niece is a local news anchor. I’ve also exchanged emails with her since then and she is a very kind, generous woman who also isn’t afraid to speak her mind to power. She is the only reporter who held George W. Bush’s feet to the fire. The ONLY one.
Ari Fleischer is calling for her to be fired for her remarks, which of course is an overreaction. Considering Helen has been doing this since 1943, if this is the worst screw up she’s had, I think we can cut her some slack. What she said about Jews going home and occupying are akin to racists in America telling African Americans to go home, she screwed up. The history of that land and who owns it is a long one and it’s not so cut and dry. I’m often reminded of America’s own claims of ownership on this land, in my opinion Native Americans are the original owners of this land but we all know that they don’t exactly have control of it now, do they?
She’s apologized and it’s time to move on. Helen Thomas is an icon and a much needed voice in the white house briefing room, even if you don’t always agree with her. We need her to ask the questions no one else will ask, the ones that aren’t about some freakin’ poll but the issues that are important to the American people.
(Update: CNN is reporting that Helen Thomas is retiring. Thanks Helen for all you’ve done for America over the years, you will be missed)
(Updated Again: Crooks and Liars has a post about it with details on the hate from the right and the Jewish community)
So really, it’s photo ops that we really need, huh, idiot media. It’s crazy to me how so many in the media will come right out and admit that there isn’t much the White House can do that it isn’t already doing, but the President needs to show us he cares – give us a good photo-op, maybe some crocodile tears. It plays right into the media’s obsession with public opinion, moods, the finger-in-the-wind mentality. Joe Scarborough just said he wants to see theatrics, he came right out and proved my point that it’s all about the theatrics. Maureen Dowd and others wrote about the same subject this weekend. How is it that the media can make this about Obama when the real story is how we got to this point. What caused this bullshit? Bob Cesca pointed us to this post from Balloon Juice which summed up a lot of my feelings. (emphasis mine)
Look, I know that we face many difficult challenges. A lot of things have gone wrong and more will go wrong. This is to be expected because Republicans have been in charge for most of the last four decades.
Do you really think that you could have Anti-Government Republicans in charge for 30 plus years and actively working to destroy the infrastructure of government without causing system failures? If you do, then you are living in candy land (or a tea infused lotus dream).
The oil spill in the gulf is is just another result of snorting deregulation fairy dust with a Markets-Are-God hi-ball chaser night after night for decades. When you let industry capture regulators and dismantle effective governance, you guarantee a catastrophic failure. The spill is evidence of this, so was that mining disaster in West Virginia, same thing when it comes to that financial meltdown and the same thing will be true when the next system fails.
And when it does, like idiots, we will not blame the failed philosophy of the modern Conservative movement. Nope, we will blame President Obama, liberals and Democrats—because that is what we are used to doing. More than that, we will ignore facts and worry whether or not the optics of the response are right. We will all ask: is he yelling loud enough yet?
The idiot media just plays right along with it. I’ve certainly heard a few news reports about the deregulation and coziness with regulators that lead to this mess but for the most part the media has devolved into it’s process, political implication mode. I’m glad that President Obama isn’t about theatrics, even though I seem to remember his opponents (both dem and rep) trying to paint him as ONLY about theatrics, giving a good speech etc. That is campaign mode, when speeches…..well, that’s what you do when you are trying to get elected and President Obama did it very well. Governing is quite different. President Reagan ushered in the era of photo ops, stage craft, Hollywood, strategically place props such as military officers, babies, American flags, victims of whatever tragedy is current. Subsequent administrations including Clinton continued that tradition and took it to new levels. President Bush, of course, took it to its logical conclusion with his Mission Accomplished photo-op that will live on as an example of how stagecraft really is fake, Xanax for the masses. Now I know that if President Obama were down there everyday, screaming at the cameras, giving the press its photo-op, that they would accuse him of using the tragedy for a photo-op, for political purposes. I can just hear the outcry from the Republicans and Hamsher and the gang about how he is all symbolism, he should be back at the White House taking care of business. It doesn’t really matter what the president does, the media will find something to criticize the him for – always about process. Hell, they get all worked up about the man going to see his daughter play soccer without them, damn, they missed a fucking photo-op.
Some advice to President Obama from Extreme Liberal – fuck em, keep doing your job, stay focused on the important issues, don’t cave in to the idiot media. They don’t have your best interests at heart. It’s very similar to listening to Republicans giving campaign advice to Democrats, I don’t think they are really too concerned about you. That symbolism bullshit is for the simple-minded, mostly the media, getting shit done is for the rest of us. I always want to say to assholes like Ed Henry, Wolf Blitzer or Joe Scarborough….when you get elected president, you come talk to me….until then, piss off. These assholes pretend like they know more than everyone, they are the real authorities and the president must bow to their gathering of opinions with a 4.7% margin of error. They decide what is most important for the president to do, not the person who actually ran and was elected President of the United States of America. I’ve said it before, I would love it if the president didn’t run again, take the wind out of the sails of the “what political implications will this have for 2012” crowd.
People are getting very frustrated with the oil spill that continues to gush into the gulf. It sickens me and its unbelievable to me that they ever let oil rigs off-shore – especially if they didn’t have a tested plan to fix a problem like this. Rachel Maddow had a great review of news footage from years past. This isn’t new, they have never had any good plans to fix this type of problem. It is posted below, watch it if you want some context to the situation. Of course the media never seems to give any context, they treat everything as a new phenomenon, they re-invent the wheel repeatedly.
I’ve heard both James Carville and Harry Shearer screaming and attacking the president, both Louisiana natives who are especially upset that this mess hasn’t been fixed yet. They have every right to feel that way. But I think they are both letting their emotions overwhelm them and have slipped into irrationality. Their anger is misdirected, very much like someone who is helpless and has to lash out at someone. I think they have chosen the wrong people, to even imagine that the President doesn’t take this seriously is just fucking stupid. Both Shearer and Carville are screaming for symbolism, they admitted it in their rants. They want style over substance, damn it. I want visuals, photo ops…maybe President Obama should move the Oval office to Louisiana until this problem is fixed….what, 20 fucking years from now? It’s not like there is anything else the president has to worry about, and I think Barack Obama got his undergraduate degree in petroleum engineering, right?
These cries for a superhuman response, they want Obama to swoop in and fix the problem like magic, are very irrational and like a said, very much a scream for help from someone who feels they have no control, no options. The response from Carville and Shearer and I would add Howard Fineman, is really kind of childish. This situation isn’t cut and dry, there isn’t a magic answer that just isn’t getting done. The experts in this area HAVE been assembled in Houston for many weeks, a combination of experts tapped by the administration, BP experts and experts from other oil companies too. They are weighing all the science, testing, experimenting and they are working with urgency, we may not have a live feed of their work, but it is happening.
Steve Benen over at the Washington Monthly has a great post about the idiotic tactics the Republicans have been using since President Obama took office. It’s good stuff, here is a couple of pieces of it. I highly recommend you go check it out.
Long-time readers may recall a discussion we had back in December, about the quality of the debate over health care reform. It was obvious at the time that the meaningful, interesting disputes weren’t between conservatives and liberals, but between liberals and other liberals.It’s not that the right remained silent; it’s that they offered arguments that no serious person could find credible. Consider, just off the top of your head, the most prominent concerns raised by opponents of the Affordable Care Act. What comes to mind? “Death panels.” “Socialism.” “Government takeover.”
It was the biggest domestic policy fight in a generation, but most of the policy debate was spent debunking transparent, child-like nonsense. The left approached the debate with vibrancy, energy, and seriousness. The right thought it was fascinating to talk about the number of pages in the legislation.
Making matters worse, the quality of the discourse on health care wasn’t especially unusual. We endured a mind-numbing debate over economic recovery efforts because Republicans weren’t prepared for a serious argument. We can’t discuss Wall Street reform because Republicans keep saying “bailout” for no reason. We can’t discuss a climate bill because Republicans reflexively reject the science.
I think it is very much a scorched earth tactic. Prove that politicians can’t do anything right so they sweep the bums out….which is really the only hope the party of “hell no” has. It could very well work with the media being such willing participants in the process. Steve Benen links to Marc Ambinder, who is excerpted below…
I want to find Republicans to take seriously, but it is hard. Not because they don’t exist — serious Republicans — but because, as Sanchez and others seem to recognize, they are marginalized, even self-marginalizing, and the base itself seems to have developed a notion that bromides are equivalent to policy-thinking, and that therapy is a substitute for thinking.
It is absolutely a condition of the age of the triumph of conservative personality politics, where entertainers shouting slogans are taken seriously as political actors, and where the incentive structures exist to stomp on dissent and nuance, causing experimental voices to retrench and allowing a lot of people to pretend that the world around them is not changing. The obsession with ACORN, Climategate, death panels, the militarization of rhetoric, Saul Alinsky, Chicago-style politics, that TAXPAYERS will fund the bailout of banks — these aren’t meaningful or interesting or even relevant things to focus on. (The banks will fund their own bailouts.)
Bob Cesca has a new column up that is awesome, as usual. Bob’s blog is really awesome, but this column is from Huffington Post. He proceeds to begin the process of exposing Glenn Beck for the dangerous person that he is. Bob nails it…(emphasis mine)
My theory is as follows. Glenn Beck is engaged in a carefully orchestrated performance that, if taken to its logical end, can only end up in tragedy — a tragedy, not in the name of some great political or social or religious cause, as too many of his viewers might believe, but rather in the name of pure careerism and greed. A tragedy in the name of Glenn Beck’s personal drive for fame and fortune, not to mention the similar motivations of Roger Ailes and Rupert Murdoch.
Right. I get it. I should probably ignore him. Why should I waste time writing about Glenn Beck again? As hard as it is to believe, most days I intentionally ignore Glenn Beck posts and videos on the blogs. My reoccurring reaction is generally twofold. One: he’s exhausting to watch because just as I’m wrapping my head around one line of googly-eyed horseshit, he belts out another ridiculous, melodramatic or dangerous line, and before I know it, I’m faced with a log-jam of crazy, forcing me to scramble for either an oxygen mask or a stiff drink. And, two: why pay attention to the television equivalent of an escaped mental patient screaming gibberish on the median strip at a busy intersection?
I can’t watch Glenn Beck either, I prefer to read the transcript if someone else posts it, but I can’t watch him for the same reason Bob says, “before I know it, I’m faced with a log-jam of crazy…”. I don’t think it’s good for my blood pressure, it’s for health reasons in my case. More Bob…
What his regular viewers haven’t grasped yet is that he’s putting on a show. He’s playing a role. He’s tricking his audience. Unlike a left-leaning audience, Beck’s audience is mostly composed of white conservative Christians who pride themselves on taking certain things on faith, and who often act against their own financial interests for the sake of patriotic cheerleading. It’s an audience that embraces gun ownership and tends to be more reactionary and militaristic. (Incidentally, there’s no equivalent to this on the “other side” simply because it’s not in the nature of liberals to be, you know, conservative.)
These are the folks that believe in “truthiness” and are very susceptible to suggestions and crazy conspiracy theories. It’s dangerous business messing with people like that, especially when the person doing it is off his rocker, as most anyone with a brain can see. I heard Keith say last night that Glenn Beck doesn’t even know what he is saying most of the time, that’s why he contradicts himself so much, he doesn’t even remember what he said previously, because he just says whatever horseshit comes to his mind. His theatrics is what it’s all about with him, the details don’t really matter, certainly facts don’t matter. It’s the money…
Instead of asking for donations, by the way, Beck just markets all varieties of crap-on-a-stick to his people. Beck has released seven books since 2007. Seven books in three years! Add to the mix three DVD releases and 26 compact disc releases. There’s his subscription-only “Insider Extreme” website which charges $75 per year. There’s a print magazine called “Fusion” (20 issues for $66). There are the obligatory t-shirts, mugs and other forms of cheap swag. All of this is heaped on top of a multimillion dollar Fox News contract and a syndicated radio deal worth $50 million over five years. Capitalism is one thing, but Beck is manipulating his audience to hand over their cash in exchange for swag that can’t possibly be worth the price, considering the volume of his output (seven books in three years!). As the saying goes: how hard he prays depends on how much you pay.
Now that’s some scam he has going. It makes me want to take advantage of all those brain dead check writers and credit card chargers. Maybe start printing T-shirts with Glenn Beck quotes on it or other teabagger slogans and bullshit. Isn’t it appropriate that some of that stupid money goes to me? I think so. If they are going to piss it down a black hole, they might just as well give it to me, right? There is a cottage industry out there to separate idiots from their money. P.T. Barnum had it right. If only it weren’t so scary what might happen with this clown. Bob Cesca brings it home with this.
This week, Beck attacked the president’s deceased mother and grandparents as being Marxists. Which other innocent bystanders will turn up on your commie hit list, Glenn? Who will you attack next with McCarthy-style abandon in the name of bilking your audience, Glenn? And do you honestly expect that your audience will remain passive observers of all of this?
And so I intend to expose Beck as the dangerous grifter he really is. He’s committing a nationally televised fraud and, given the sorts of people who are the most susceptible to his trickery, it’s only a matter of time before Beck’s deception takes a tragic turn.