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Republicans Want You To Feel The Pain Of The Sequester, Because BLAME!

Sometimes it takes a really old politician who doesn’t quite have the talking points down in order to get honesty from the Republican party. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) let the truth spill out last week in an interview with the Salt Lake Tribune. (emphasis mine)

I’m for sequestration,” Hatch said, if Congress can’t cut spending. “We’ve got to face the music now, or it will be much tougher later.”

And in the very next paragraph, the Tribune offered this…

With across-the-board spending cuts set to kick in next week, Hatch said sequestration would lead to an economic disaster in Utah as two-thirds of civilians working at Hill Air Force Base would be furloughed. He said it would be “devastating to our nation’s readiness.

Republicans are trapped inside a bubble of their own making. They keep breathing the fetid air inside the bubble and it clearly makes them crazy.

A little history for those who have lives and don’t follow all this political back and forth.

  • The sequester was supposed to force Democrats and Republicans to come together (super committee) and solve the imaginary crisis that existed only in the minds of Republican politicians who thought that if they made the economy tank, they could somehow blame it on the one guy who the American people trust, President Obama. How did that work out for them on November 6, 2012?
  • The super committee came and went with Republicans continuing their childlike ways, kicking and screaming on the floor, saying no repeatedly and whining like someone took their pacifier away at bedtime.
  • Which brings us to the most recent debt ceiling crisis, because you know, nothing better to do. President Obama stood firm this time, fool me once…and Republicans folded like an origami swan. Well, actually, they punted and acted like children once again by just pretending like there is no debt ceiling until May 18th, 2012.
  • And now we have dunt, duh duh….SEQUESTER. I like to refer to it as “John Boehner’s 98%” or “How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Sequester”.

And why on earth would the Republicans stick to this dumb ass tactic? So they can blame it all on President Obama. And Republicans were all excited when they got an assist from Bob Woodward, who in his insider wisdom, came up with a “moving goalpost” analogy that was crushed by several real journalists.

What a great plan, Republicans. Hurt your constituents, hurt the U.S. economy some more, make up a bunch of lies to cover your sorry asses and get the compliant and equally dumb ass media to play along with it. On Sunday morning, I stopped counting the word “blame” when I reached 15. The media likes playing the blame game just as much as the Republicans, commissioning polls to see who the public will “blame” when the cuts start hurting.

This is what passes for strategy in the Republican Party of 2013.

February 26, 2013 Posted by | Economy, Politics, President Barack Obama, Republican Party | , , , | 5 Comments

The Republican’s “Whining” Strategy After The Second Inaugural

barack_obamaELB

I’m enjoying watching the reaction from Republicans to President Obama’s incredible second inaugural speech. I especially like their whining about the President not reaching out to them.

They way I see it, the Republicans are speeding towards the edge of the cliff and now they want the President to grab their outreached hands and save their tea party asses before the “momentum of their ideology” flings them into the canyon. Sorry dudes, this is your runaway mess. Enjoy the ride.

It takes a special kind of crazy to spend four years walking in lockstep against our President and slapping his outreached hand at every turn, only to cry about him not reaching out to them in the second inaugural. It has become obvious to anyone who is honest with themselves that the Republican Party is bankrupt, out of ideas and has no foundation remaining. They are a reactionary party now, and they don’t seem to be doing that very well either.

Beyond that, they are also becoming a party of whiners. Recent articles by Charles Krauthammer, Michael Gerson and David Brooks give us the best examples of this. Krauthammer started the trend that is best summed up by Smartypants as “conciliatory rhetoric as ruthless strategy”. Here is a piece of Krauthammer’s whine, via Smartypants…

He’s been using this, and I must say with great skill–-and ruthless skill and success–to fracture and basically shatter the Republican opposition… His objective from the very beginning was to break the will of the Republicans in the House, and to create an internal civil war. And he’s done that.

Michael Gerson, former speechwriter for President George W. Bush, came up with yet another great expression for us liberals to use, in bold.

The debt ceiling is a form of leverage they can’t responsibly use. A partial government shutdown or full implementation of the sequester are less toxic alternatives but of questionable utility. [...]

Given this weak Republican position, Obama must be tempted by a shiny political object: the destruction of the congressional GOP. He knows that Republicans are forced by the momentum of their ideology to take positions on spending that he can easily demagogue.

For a noted Republican to admit that the Republican Party is out of control, careening towards the cliff, is pretty astounding. I have very little sympathy for them, since we all watched as Republican leaders let the Tea Party take the wheel of their party while they stood on the curb cheering.

And not wanting to be “outdumbed”, David Brooks weighed in with his wisdom.

It’s more likely that today’s majority party is going to adopt a different strategy, which you might call Kill the Wounded. It’s more likely that today’s Democrats are going to tell themselves something like this:

“We live at a unique moment. Our opponents, the Republicans, are divided, confused and bleeding. This is not the time to allow them to rebuild their reputation with a series of modest accomplishments. This is the time to kick them when they are down, to win back the House and end the current version of the Republican Party. [...]

“Then he could invite a series of confrontations with Republicans over things like the debt ceiling — make them look like wackos willing to endanger the entire global economy. Along the way, he could highlight women’s issues, social mobility issues (student loans, community college funding) and pick fights on compassion issues, (hurricane relief) — promoting any small, popular spending programs that Republicans will oppose.

That last paragraph is just hilarious considering the reality that we all just witnessed.

I frequently ask myself who the Republicans think they are appealing to with this whining strategy. Do they think that the base of their party wants to hear them cry about those mean ole Democrats? I’m sure more than a few Republicans are calling them some choice names for that.

Do they think their whining appeals to Democrats who just worked their asses off to defeat their party? If anything, it makes us gleeful as we watch them form a circular firing squad and then argue about who gets to go first.

Maybe they think all that crying and whining will appeal to independents in the country. I suspect there are a few of those who will sympathize with them, since that swath of “independents” or “undecideds” aren’t the brightest bulbs in the bunch – see the CNN focus groups after the debates.

I probably shouldn’t get so much pleasure from seeing all this, but I do hope this Republican sideshow gets picked up for another season.

Cross-posted at Angry Black Lady Chronicles

H/T to Smartypants for the links!

January 22, 2013 Posted by | Accomplishments, Economy, Human Rights, Politics, Republican Party | , , | 1 Comment

The Slow, Steady Demise of the Republican Party Continues

republican1As the wheels on the Republican clown car keep flying off one at a time, our President and Vice President continue to prove that the Democratic Party is the only serious, adult political party in Washington these days. Even with the obstructionist GOP pulling every dirty trick in the book, the President and Democrats keep moving forward and fighting for all Americans.

I remember back to December of 2012 when Republicans started telegraphing their intention to try to use the debt ceilings as “leverage” to destroy the safety net that took generations to weave and I thought to myself that they clearly didn’t learn any lessons from the last election.

I laugh every time a Republican, or one of the media that parrots them, tries to make the lame ass argument that because the GOP retained control of the House, even though they lost seats, that somehow they won. Here is one example of that denial from Boehner the Blubberer…

“The American people want solutions, and tonight they responded by renewing our House Republican majority,” House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, who ran unopposed in his re-election bid, declared Tuesday night.

And of course Buzzfeed, a wannabe Politico, took the idiotic concept even further.

Americans, for all their griping, apparently really do prefer their government deeply divided and dysfunctional.

I almost feel silly spelling this out for people, but in our current state of political and media dysfunction, you really do have to spell it out in precise detail for the uninformed or Fox News brainwashed masses. We each vote for our individual representatives and senators and when the dust settles on the election, we find out which party came out ahead. I’ve never seen a line on a ballot that gave me the option of voting for who controls a branch of congress or a check box for “divided government”. It’s wherever the chips fall. It’s magical thinking to believe that somehow the American people coordinated their votes to reach an outcome.

I feel similar about the folks on the left saying that more people voted for Democrats than Republicans when you add up all the votes. Well, we don’t add up all the votes or if we do, it means absolutely nothing. I certainly agree with the people pointing out the gerrymandering that took place in order for Republicans to keep so many seats, but the fact that Democrats received more votes overall, shouldn’t be used in the same way Republicans are using the overall outcome in the House. Democrats should stick to the facts, we picked up seats in the House.

The changing metric of who won or lost an election in the Republican’s minds reveals just how pathetic they are. If the roles were reversed and Democrats retained the House while Republicans picked up seats, you know damn well that they would be saying they won because they picked up seats. The grasping for some kind of straw that they can use to say they won is comical to me and reveals just how easy it is to spin without push back.

This denial from the Republicans, which may be better described as a delusion, also makes them continue with the same crap that brought the American people out to smack them down on November 6th. The prime example is the Republican’s attempt to use the debt ceiling to take our economy hostage again. There is a huge difference between the 2011 debt ceiling crisis and the current one. In 2011, the Republican’s goal, as spelled out by many in the party, was to make President Obama a one term president at all costs. That included damaging the economy, preventing job growth and saying anything to mislead their voters and rile them up. And it was easy to get their partisans to go along with it, because after all, it served their prime goal.

When the idea of another hostage situation with the debt ceiling started creeping into the discussion before Christmas, I couldn’t believe that the Republicans would go there again. Not only is it idiotic for all the same reasons it was in 2011, but with the election behind us and the goal of defeating the President a mere memory of a wet dream, it raises the level of stupidity even higher. The President has played his hand masterfully. He is smart enough to know that the election is behind us and that Wall Street and big business is not into losing money unless it is planned for their benefit.

Newt Gingrich was one of the first in the GOP to point out the stupidity of the tactic and he is being joined by many others on the right side of the fence. Steve Benen gives us the latest defections from the stupid caucus…

Just today, Charles Krauthammer, a prominent conservative pundit, told Republicans they “won’t get” their ransom, they’ll have to “give in” eventually, and they should “forget about forcing tax reform or entitlement cuts or anything major.” Jennifer Rubin added, “The jig is nearly up…. [T]he threat of bumping up against the debt ceiling is not realistic and hence not useful.” [...]

It would probably be an overstatement to say Republicans are already surrendering, but let’s just say they’ve taken the white flag off the shelf, even if they’re not yet ready to wave it.

That said, it also appears the congressional GOP hopes to trade one hostage for another.

Even if Republicans now seem to realize they can’t follow through on their debt-ceiling threats — they really should have thought this through beforehand — GOP policymakers still appear committed to aggressive confrontations on automatic sequestration cuts and funding levels for the government itself.

Late Breaking News! While I was at lunch, apparently a new defection came to light that makes it inevitable that the GOP is going to cave on their idiotic ploy. Sen. John Cornyn made it quite clear in an interview with the Houston Chronicle…

“We will raise the debt ceiling. We’re not going to default on our debt,” Cornyn told the Houston Chronicle editorial board…. “I will tell you unequivocally, we’re not going to default,” Cornyn said Thursday.

Game, Set, Match!

Cross-posted at Angry Black Lady Chronicles

January 18, 2013 Posted by | Politics, President Barack Obama, Republican Party, Tea Party | , , | 6 Comments

The Extremely Liberal Podcast on Diversity, Guns, Lance, Emos & The GOP!

Recorded on January 16, 2013, we pontificate about diversity in the President’s cabinet, Newtown & gun safety, the latest “Emo” opportunism, Lance Armstrong and the ongoing fun of watching the wheels come off the Republican party. Notice we now have an RSS Feed (upper-right column). Go on, give us a listen.


To download the mp3, right click and “Save As” (67 mb).

January 17, 2013 Posted by | Podcast, Politics, Republican Party | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Effects Of Listening To Current Republicans

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H/T to Emily Stoneking from Poli-Sci-Fi Radio

January 17, 2013 Posted by | Republican Party | , , | Leave a comment

Soledad O’Brien Challenges The Republican’s Attack On Amb. Susan Rice

I love it when Soledad O’Brien gives the press a lesson on how to be a journalist and digs down deeper into the GOP’s idiotic arguments and faux outrage. The Republican party thinks that their audience is stupid and the vast majority of the press actually is stupid and lets politicians get away with the crap that McCain and Graham are attempting. The fact that while John McCain and Lindsey Graham were holding their very serious, cranked to 11, press conference screaming about not having information about Benghazi while other Senators were being briefed on the incident, pretty much says it all.

Watch as Soledad O’Brien and Charles Blow make Republican congressman Joe Heck look rather foolish and reveal how misguided the Republican attack on Ambassador Susan Rice is.

November 16, 2012 Posted by | Media, MSM, Politics, President Barack Obama, Republican Party | , , , | 2 Comments

Rachel Maddow Summarizes The GOP of 2012 Succinctly!

This clip is all kinds of awesome. You may have seen it in other places, but if not, this is my gift to you. If Republicans were smart, and most aren’t, they would listen to Rachel’s advice. Take it away Rachel…

November 13, 2012 Posted by | 2012 Election, Election, Health Care Reform, Human Rights, Politics, President Barack Obama, Republican Party | , , , | Leave a comment

My thoughts And Some Links On The Eve Of The Election

I thought I’d put down a few thoughts before tomorrows important election. I’ve been sick for the last week with a terrible cold and it has interfered with my plans to post like hell in the lead up to the election.

This race has been fascinating in so many ways. The Republican party is in shambles, with no adult supervision or guidance. Mitt Romney is a pathological liar with money, a dangerous combination.

Many books will be written about this election and I’ve been thinking hard of writing one myself. I’ve also thought about a documentary or two surrounding what happened in 2012. So many ideas, so little time.

I’m particularly fascinated by the collective failure of the media to do their jobs. In my 50 years on this planet, I’ve never seen anything like it. Sure, there are examples of some great journalists who have done awesome work over the last year, but as a group, the media has failed miserably by all standards.

I thought I’d direct you to some great reads that I’ve come across over the last few days of blowing my nose, coughing and sneezing.

If you haven’t heard about or read the piece by Mike Allen and Jim Vandehei in Political titled “Lessons Learned from 2012″, you should go take a look at it. In my opinion, they are basically outing themselves as racists…but they probably don’t even realize it. In many ways, they are revealing what many other journalists have been more subtle about when they talk “demographics” in polls and particularly that all important “white vote”. Several people have written responses to it, including Steve Benen at the Maddow Blog and Joy-Ann Reid from The Grio.

The idea that Hurricane/Superstorm Sandy was the reason for Romney’s momentum coming to and end is a bunch of crap, if you ask me. I never saw his “momentum” after the first debate as anything more than what it was, a media hyped bounce – one kept afloat by the hot air coming out of most of the media, left and right, and of course the Romney campaign as well. The great Nate Silver had a go at that idea at his NYT’s Fivethirtyeight blog. Go give it a read.

Steve Benen also had an excellent summation of Romney’s meandering campaign.

The entire line of attack seems rather sad — it’s more forced than sincere — but the larger takeaway is that the Romney campaign has spent months chasing after every shiny object that catches their eye.

This campaign is going to be about “the private sector is doing fine”! Wait, scratch that, it’s going to be about “you didn’t build that”! Oh, actually, on second thought, it’s going to be about the “redistribution” quote from 1998! Hold on, now it’s going to be about “you can’t change Washington from the inside”! On second thought, it’s going to be about “not optimal”! No, wait, it’s going to be about characterizing developments in the Middle East as “bumps in the road”!

This is precisely why I’ve compared Team Romney to small children playing soccer, running wildly to wherever they see a bouncing ball, whether it’s strategically wise or not. There’s certainly nothing wrong with a campaign taking advantage of new opportunities, but haphazardly shifting from one out-of-context sound bite to another is evidence of an unfocused candidate in search of an effective message.

If you missed Michael Smerconish’s endorsement of President Obama, go read it. He’s a conservative, in case you weren’t aware.

The excellent, AWARD WINNING BLOGGER, Angry Black Lady posted Chris Rock’s appeal to white voters. Of course, it is funny as hell, it’s Chris Rock.

I’ve been camped out at Nate Silver’s Fivethirtyeight blog for the last couple of weeks. As I’m sure most of you know, he looks at all the polls and sorts through them to come up with damn accurate predictions. As of this moment, 6:29 pm, he has President Obama’s chances of winning at 86.3% and his projected electoral tally at 307.2. Because he doesn’t play the game of bouncing from one poll to the next but rather combines them, weights them and comes up with more accurate estimates, many in the media aren’t big fans. They of course rely on the latest poll to write their stories for them and Nate just takes all the air out of their balloons. Pundits have taken some shots at him recently. He took one back at them as quoted in this piece.

And last but not least, Fox News has been going berserk over trying to create a controversy over the terrorist attack in Libya that killed 4 state department employees. Bob Cesca has a great clip of Geraldo Rivera standing up to Eric Boiling on Fox News, check it out. Truth comes to Fox News for a change.

I hope to be feeling better tomorrow and will hopefully be up to posting some more thoughts.

Here is a link to a message from my granddaughter.

PLEASE VOTE.

November 5, 2012 Posted by | 2012 Election, Democratic Party, Election, Media, Mitt Romney, Politics, President Barack Obama, Republican Party | , , , | Leave a comment

Talking Voter Suppression, Racism And Lies on The Extremely Liberal Podcast

Another great discussion with one of my smart and liberal friends.

Running Time: 1:04:00


To download the mp3, right click and “Save As” (46 mb).

(Apologies for the sound quality, I pulled a rookie mistake. I’ve heard worse though.  :)

November 3, 2012 Posted by | 2012 Election, Election, Podcast, Politics, President Barack Obama, Racism, Republican Party | , , , , | Leave a comment

Still Undecided, Consider This!

I know a lot of people don’t obsess over politics like I do, so I thought I would try to boil things down to some basic points.

There is a clear choice in this election. If we just look at one thing about each candidate for president, the differences are obvious.

Both President Obama and Governor Romney graduated from Harvard University. What each did after leaving Harvard speaks volumes about their character.

Mitt Romney headed to Wall Street and procured funding for a business venture from some shady folks from Latin America. He built a business that specialized in raiding failing corporations, getting as much money as they can out of them and then liquidating the assets, firing the employees and moving on to the next victim. I found this breakdown of Bain’s business model that I think sums it up pretty good.

Bain Capital, under Romney’s leadership, had one goal: take the money and run. More specifically, their highly successful process goes like this:

  1. Take over a company
  2. Borrow millions against the assets
  3. Procure millions more in taxpayer funded grants and low-interest loans
  4. Put the millions in grants and loans in their pockets
  5. File for bankruptcy and hightail it out of town, asap

Kinda sleazy if you ask me…did you ask me?

Barack Obama could have headed to New York, Wall Street or anywhere he wanted to after serving as the president of the Harvard Law Review…kind of a nice resume piece, you know. But instead, he chose to go to Chicago and help people. Two years after leaving Harvard, he took a job with a church based organization called the Developing Communities Project, which was a group of Catholic charities formed to help people suffering through layoffs and plant closings in the Chicago area. The project went on to win many awards and help countless people in Chicago pull themselves up by their bootstraps. Barack Obama then went on to teach constitutional law and entered the state legislature where he began his career in politics, continuing his goal of helping people.

So yeah, there is a clear difference between President Obama and Governor Romney. I go with the guy who helps people, how about you?

November 2, 2012 Posted by | 2012 Election, Election, Mitt Romney, Politics, President Barack Obama, Republican Party | , , | 4 Comments

Romney’s One Point, “Magic Bullet” Plan To Fix Everything

With the passing of Senator Arlen Specter, I was reminded of the “magic bullet theory” he devised while working for the Warren Commission investigating the assassination of President Kennedy. I couldn’t help but see a parallel to Mitt Romney’s singular solution to all the country’s problems – more tax cuts for the 1%. He believes that cutting tax rates that benefit the wealthy disproportionately and rolling back regulations that President Obama put on Wall Street after the 2008 crash, will somehow fix everything.

Just forget about Bush’s tax cuts in 2001 & 2003 that added $3 trillion dollars to the national debt and ignore the fact that in the years after those tax cuts, America lost 8 million jobs during the Bush recession, which was handed to our newly elected president. And of course, you should also forget that the Republican leaders, including Paul Ryan, met on President Obama’s inauguration day to plot complete obstruction of the new president for political reasons.

Let’s call Romney’s one point plan what it is, TRICKLE DOWN ECONOMICS. The belief that if we just coddle the rich, they will, in their benevolence, share the wealth with the rest of us by supposedly creating jobs. Just ignore that new Jaguar they are driving, or the 4th home in the Hamptons or the Rolex watch that is weighing down their Bermuda tanned arms. It will trickle. Really!

The concept of supply-side economics has been thoroughly tested and thrown on the trash pile. We only have to look at Mitt Romney’s personal history to see a perfect example of how giving even more to those who don’t need it, won’t do a damn thing for the rest of us. Where is Mitt Romney’s money at? IN THE FUCKING CAYMAN ISLANDS, BERMUDA AND IN SWISS BANK ACCOUNTS. Do you think that money will ever trickle down to you?

Mitt Romney is a walking example of how greed and selfishness only creates more greed and selfishness.

Businesses don’t create jobs unless there is a demand for their products or services. It would be fucking stupid to do it otherwise. It’s why they do market analysis and studies to determine whether there is demand. When there is demand, businesses expand and create jobs. No demand, no reason to expand. Any business person who says they will create jobs if we just give them more disposable income is applying Romney’s “greed is good” principle and probably has an eye on a new car or vacation home.

If the government were to invest in rebuilding our infrastructure – roads, bridges, schools, railroads and other foundations of our country that we all rely on – real people will get those jobs like construction workers, teachers, contractors, firefighters, suppliers of the materials for the projects and many more businesses that support those industries. And when those people receive their paychecks, they will create demand for products and services and give a reason for the 1% to actually invest in new jobs. We don’t have to rely on their benevolence, they will do it because it makes business sense.

Here is an analysis that shows the difference between the effects of spending versus tax cuts.

The most widely cited studies include those by the Congressional Budget Office, economists Alan Blinder and Mark Zandi, and economists James Feyrer and Bruce Sacerdote. These reports find a range of values for each program. In these studies, the “bang for the buck” value—what economists call the “multiplier,” or how many dollars of economic activity is fueled by one dollar spent—for overall social protection ranges from 0.8 to 2.31. Separately, Blinder and Zandi report a value of 1.61 for unemployment insurance and 1.74 for food stamps.[2]

Research by Urban Institute economist Wayne Vroman estimates that one dollar spent on unemployment insurance fuels between 1.7 and 2.1 dollars of activity in the overall economy.[3] According to these studies, the value for a dollar of spending on infrastructure ranges from 1 to 2.5, while the value for aid to state and local governments ranges from 0.7 to 1.8.

The analyses value middle-class tax cuts, such as the Making Work Pay tax credit that gave tax credits of $400 ($800 for couples), as generating between 0.6 and 1.5 dollars of additional economic activity; the value of extending the Alternative Minimum Tax patch for high-income earners for an additional year ranges from 0.2 to 0.6 dollars of additional activity. And the analyses value the extension of the housing tax credit for first-time homebuyers, providing credits up to $8000, in the Recovery Act from 0.3 to 0.9.[4]

As you can see, putting money in the hands of consumers who will spend that money does a lot more to spur economic activity. Handing money over to the rich and hoping they create jobs with it is just plain stupid.

President Obama has been working hard to pass legislation like the American Jobs Act that would create an estimated 1.9 million jobs, but the obstructionist Republican party isn’t interested in creating jobs while President Obama is in office. They should be shown the door on November 6 for letting petty politics keep America from recovering from the mess that the GOP congress and President Bush created in the first place.

There is an easy solution, vote Democratic across the board and send a message to the Republicans that American workers are more important than politics.

Cross posted at Angry Black Lady Chronicles

October 18, 2012 Posted by | 2012 Election, Budget, Economy, Mitt Romney, Politics, President Barack Obama, Republican Party | , , , | Leave a comment

Well Rehearsed Liar Declared Debate Winner, Honest & Classy President Real Winner

I’m sorry that I don’t have time to write much today, Thursdays are my busy day molding young minds into good liberals. (Joking, I don’t talk politics with students!)

In lieu of writing something new, I decided to post highlights from my Twitter rants since the debate ended last night.

I will never accept that someone who told blatant lies, turned his back on his own policies and was overly aggressive and rude, won an American presidential debate.
























October 4, 2012 Posted by | 2012 Election, Election, Politics, President Barack Obama, Republican Party | , , | 4 Comments

David Gregory Auditions For Fox News On Meet The Press

Come on, Roger Ailes, hire the man already why dontcha?

I stopped watching Meet the Press on a regular basis shortly after Tim Russert passed away. But I feel obligated to watch when we get near an election, just so I can keep an eye on what is going out to national audiences on the broadcast networks. It became obvious to me a long time ago that David Gregory is on an endless audition for the next Fox News gig.

This past Sunday, September 30, 2012, David Gregory grabbed the Republican torch and ran with that sucker. His interview with David Plouffe was more Fox News than Fox News is and it was noticed by a few people. As I listened to his questions, I was astounded by how loaded with GOP talking points and opinion they were.

I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that David Gregory was the keynote speaker at the convention of a Republican advocacy group, along with Karl Rove and Speaker John Boehner.

Let’s take a look at some of David Gregory’s questions a little closer, piece by piece. (emphasis is all mine)

Question 1 (to be analyzed)

GREGORY: “I want to talk about some issues including a foreign policy crisis in Libya…”

As you can see, Gregory calls the attack on our embassy a “foreign policy crisis”, which plays right into the Republican party’s attack by pointing at the President, rather than portraying it as a senseless act of violence against America. Gregory goes on…

“…and the fact that this administration has changed its tune when it comes to describing the raid on our compound, on our embassy in Libya that killed our ambassador Chris Stevens and others, of course, on the ground.”

Don’t you just love the phrase “changed its tune”? The implication in that phrase makes it sound like it was a “flip-flop” or worse yet, a lie. The odd thing is that David Gregory then plays a clip of Ambassador Rice from the September 16 episode of Meet the Press where she says this…

“Let me tell you the– the best information we have at present.  First of all, there’s an FBI investigation which is ongoing.  And we look to that investigation to give us the definitive word as to what transpired.  But putting together the best information that we have available to us today, our current assessment is that what happened in Benghazi was in fact initially a spontaneous reaction to what have just transpired hours before in Cairo, almost a copycat of– of the demonstrations against our facility in Cairo, which were prompted of course by the video.”

Now seriously, Ambassador Rice made it very clear that it was “the best information we have at present” and that the FBI was investigating and we look to them for “the definitive word as to what transpired”. She then repeated “the best information we have available, our current assessment…” and went on to say that what happened in Benghazi was (according to best info at present) initially a spontaneous reaction to what happened in Cairo hours earlier. I’m not sure what else David Gregory wanted Ambassador Rice to say before he would believe that the administration was still investigating the incident and wasn’t sure exactly what happened. Maybe if it had been printed on a giant Nerf baseball bat and smacked against his head a few times, he might have heard it…or believed it.

There’s more…

“There was a caveat there.  She said the FBI was still investigating.  But the thought was it was a spontaneous reaction. A couple of days before that, the Libyan president said, no, in fact, al Qaeda was behind this attack.”

Notice how Gregory dismisses the multiple caveats Ambassador Rice gave with a quick “There was a caveat.” He then oversimplifies her statement by saying “[B]ut the thought was it was a spontaneous reaction” and then makes a lame attempt at a “gotcha” moment by pulling a but, but, but…the Libyan president said a couple days before that al Qaeda was behind the attack. And exactly where is the problem, David? Is David Gregory implying that the FBI wasn’t needed in Libya to investigate the deaths of 4 American diplomats? Does David Gregory think we should just accept the word of the new President of Libya, it’s not like the guy was under any pressure…having just failed at protecting our embassy, something that the host country is obligated to do. Or is David Gregory’s problem just that there was a contradiction, even after the many caveats preempting Amb. Rice’s answer. That’s some hard hitting journalism, David. Nice one! LOL!

There was more to the question and more Fox News-style bias…

GREGORY: (cont.) “And then days later, after Ambassador Rice is on this program and other programs, the president’s spokesman Jay Carney says this.  “It is, I think, self-evident that what happened in Benghazi was a terrorist attack.”  Well, if it was self-evident, then why didn’t the president come out and called this exactly what it was, an act of terror on the anniversary of 9/11?”

Well, Mr. Gregory, President Obama had this to say on September 12, 2012…

“No acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation, alter that character or eclipse the light of the values that we stand for.”

Maybe David Gregory was too busy sipping tea with the Romney crowd to pay attention to what our President actually said the day after America was attacked. I know the people at Fox News have selective hearing and miss things that don’t fit with their narrative, but the once great Meet the Press used to pride itself on getting things right. I guess it is just a different kind of “right” these days.

David Plouffe responded to the loaded question and touched on some of the points embedded in it. I’m sure that he wanted to hit them all, but David Gregory had to interrupt Mr. Plouffe in his confrontational style.

Question 2 (more of a follow up)

As David Plouffe is explaining to the rabid host how forthcoming the Obama administration was as new information came to light, Gregory interrupts with this…

GREGORY:  No, but there’s also the question about whether you call this what it is on the day that it happens.  Jay Carney said it was self-evident that this was a terrorist attack.  These are people who came to a demonstration with weapons and security was an issue at the compound.  Why not call it what it was?

I sensed that David Gregory wasn’t liking the fact that Plouffe was spelling out the reality of how these things work because like a petulant little child he responded, “No, but there’s also….” in a combative way, once again showing his bias and agenda with his line of questioning.

As you read above, President Obama referred to the tragedy as an “act of terror” the day after it happened. So the entire basis of Gregory’s question is bogus. Once again, I wonder if he actually saw the President’s words about the tragedy or if he is just reading from Republican talking points. I expect that sort of thing from Fox News anchors, but generally not from network anchors.

If you look at what Gregory says, “there’s also the question about whether you call this what it is on the day that it happens”, you have to ask yourself if “knee-jerk” is the new intelligence for Mr. Gregory and Republicans. Is this a new standard for all presidents or just this one? Throughout the whole process, the Obama administration has been deliberate, honest, and open about what they know as they find it out. I shouldn’t be surprised that Gregory and the GOP don’t know how to act when an administration is forthright with the American people. If you look back at the last Republican administration, they clearly decided first and then bent the facts to justify it. Do WMD’s ring a bell?

Question 3

This next question was caught and tore apart by several people in the media and it was one of the more blatant falsehoods that David Gregory injected into his questions this past Sunday.

“GREGORY:  The president has said as recently as May of this year that al Qaeda has not had a chance to rebuild, that al Qaeda has been defeated…”

Except the President NEVER said that al Qaeda was defeated. From Imani, THE Angry Black Lady…

Here’s what President Obama actually said:

And one year ago, from a base here in Afghanistan, our troops launched the operation that killed Osama bin Laden. The goal that I set — to defeat al Qaeda and deny it a chance to rebuild — is now within our reach.

Still, there will be difficult days ahead. The enormous sacrifices of our men and women are not over.

So David Gregory claims Obama did an al Qaeda victory dance, when Obama totally didn’t.

President Obama clearly said that al Qaeda’s defeat is “within our reach” and “[T]here are difficult days ahead.” So yeah, like the opposite of saying al Qaeda is defeated.

The rest of David Gregory’s question…

“…There is an election on, as we’ve been talking about, and the president’s challenger said plain and simple, the president failed to level with the American people and call this a terrorist attack, because you had to be concerned about another terrorist attack from al Qaeda in the Middle East after the president said that al Qaeda had been defeated.”

David Gregory repeats the lie about the President saying that al Qaeda was defeated and then takes up the twisted reasoning of the Romney boneheads that the President didn’t call it a terrorist attack because then he would be contradicting himself with something he never said. It all gets so stupid when trying to follow wingnut logic, but sometimes you just have to get down in the trench of stupidity and sort it out for them.

David Plouffe’s response was spot on…

MR. PLOUFFE:  That is preposterous and really offensive to suggest that.  As information was received from the intelligence community, it was distributed.  This president’s record on terrorism takes a backseat to no one.  We obviously took out their number one leader in Osama bin Laden, the leadership of al Qaeda has been decimated just as the president promised in 2008.  And by the way, in 2008, the president said he would go into Pakistan to go after Osama bin Laden.  Governor Romney said he wouldn’t.  Governor Romney said it was tragic that we entered the Iraq war.  One of the reasons that al Qaeda strengthened during the last decade is our focus was too much on Iraq.  So we are happy to have this debate and we’ll have it obviously for the duration of this campaign…

You can see from the ellipsis that Gregory interrupted Mr. Plouffe with this injection of yet another Republican talking point…

GREGORY:  Was this an intelligent– intelligence failure?

Now you can’t tell from the abrupt question what exactly “this” is to David Gregory. You would assume that he was talking about the “contradictions” that he had just spent many minutes belaboring, but it may have been in reference to the intelligence leading up to the attack, which is yet another “blame the President” meme that the right has been trotting out. Once again, is there a new standard where it’s alright to blame our country, our leader, when America is attacked. Can you imagine David Gregory asking these sorts of questions of say, Karl Rove, immediately after 9/11? The fainting couches would have crumbled from the weight of all the faux right-wing patriots falling on them.

Question 4

GREGORY:  As you know, the Chairman of the Homeland Security Committee has called for Susan Rice to resign.  Does the president have a hundred percent confidence in Susan Rice?

The Chairman of the Homeland Security Committee is, of course, Rep. Peter King of New York. He’s a freakin nut, do I need to say more?

Question 5

GREGORY:  What about the broader point here?  Security is so bad in Benghazi that the FBI can’t even go in and investigate.  What about the fact that there are talk of military options to find Ambassador Stevens’ killers?  What is America doing to work its will to change the trajectory in Libya?

The assumptions behind these odd questions are open to interpretation. Yes, security is bad in Libya, tell us something we don’t know. And yes, there is talk of everything being on the table in response to the attack on our embassy. But what the hell is Gregory implying with “[W]hat is America doing to ‘work its will’ to change the trajectory in Libya?” That to me is just a Palinesque word salad question. Is America really trying to “work its will” in Libya or doing what our diplomats have been saying, supporting fledgling democracies as they fight for self governance. Working our “will” on other countries is a Bush/Cheney era thing which obviously informs David Gregory’s questioning.

Question 6

GREGORY:  Was it inappropriate for him to go to a fund-raiser the day after this attack now in retrospect knowing that it was a– a terrorist attack, the– inappropriate for him to engage in politics as usual?

There was no fundraiser in Las Vegas the day after the Libyan attacks. You wouldn’t know that if you relied on Republicans like David Gregory and the Breitbart people, who have been pushing that lie. I looked into the President’s published schedule and many reports about his trip and there was no fundraiser.

I remembered seeing Jon Ralston, the host of Ralston Reports, a statewide television show in Nevada, say as much on my television. I was having trouble tracking that clip down, so I emailed Jon and this was his response.

There was no fundraiser. He spoke briefly to a rally and then left.

But David Gregory decided to parrot the right-wing nuts who have been pushing that lie to the world. I’m a little disappointed that David Plouffe let that one slide by, but I can imagine when so much shit is being hurled at you, you have to pick your battles and respond in a way that gets the message out.

Question 7

This next one is another of the Romney campaign’s lame-ass attempts to try to undercut President Obama’s huge successes in foreign policy. David Gregory does a great job of getting in all the faux facts of this Republican attack….isn’t it hard to view David Gregory as anything other than a paid shill for the Republicans? Gregory is responding to David Plouffe’s answer that said the President is on the job 24/7.

GREGORY:  24/7, but apparently not during U.N. meetings as The New York Post highlighted here, the question about whether there was a snub not meeting with the Israeli leader, the president is on The View, this is U.N. world leaders to gab with the gals of The View that was the headline in The New York Post with their own point of view there.  But is this– is he– is he not performing all the critical role of– of the presidency, particularly with the foreign policy crisis?  With so many questions about management of the Middle East, when you have a key United Nations gathering, not to meet with world leaders, including Netanyahu at a time of so much concern over Iran?

Gregory’s first sentence, “24/7, but apparently not during U.N. meetings as The New York Post highlighted here…”, once again shows his right-wing perspective. He was argumentative towards Plouffe and then goes on to sprinkle in the buzz words Republicans love so much, including “snub..Israeli leader”, “on the View”, “foreign policy crisis” and he ends it with the right-wing’s next war of profit, Iran.

I think the Republicans were really pissed that President Obama didn’t meet with several leaders at the U.N. because they probably had a whole batch of lies at the ready to throw out to the gullible, lemming media. Personally, I don’t care what reasons the President had for not doing a bunch of meetings around that time, that’s his decision. When David Gregory is president, then he can decide who he meets with and when. Until then, the guy who actually got 65 million American votes will make that call.

Question 8

This next question reveals that David Gregory is either stupid, a right-wing hack or what I’d put my money on, BOTH! David Plouffe responded to the previous question and at the end of his response, David Gregory’s next question followed…

…By the way, look at– let’s talk about Governor Romney’s response during this.  You know, in the– in the hours as these attacks became known in Libya and the assaults on our embassy in Egypt, Mitt Romney throws out some half-baked statement.  And I think that’s one of the reasons…

GREGORY:  But the government– wait, but the United States government had to also disavow its own statement that came out of the embassy in Cairo that some might also call half-baked and had to be revised, did it not?

So once again, David Gregory interrupted his guest so he wouldn’t miss an opportunity to represent his Republican masters. He compares the embassy statement, which was sent out BEFORE there was any violence (in an attempt to prevent violence), with Romney’s knee-jerk statement that showed he didn’t understand the sequence of events. The two statements have no similarity, but it gave Gregory the opportunity to inject just one more Republican falsehood into the conversation. And it had that petulant child ring to it, “yeah, but they did it too, so nah!”

Question 9

The final question I will examine from this “train wreck called journalism” that NBC broadcast for the world to see, brings out the class warrior in David Gregory. After playing a clip of President Obama, Gregory tees up a doozy of a question, proving yet again that he pays attention to his GOP handlers quite well. Try this one on for size.

(Videotape, Thursday)

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA:  During campaign season, you always hear a lot about patriotism.  Well, you know what, it’s time for a new economic patriotism–an economic patriotism rooted in the belief that growing our economy begins with a strong and thriving middle-class.

(End videotape)

GREGORY:  Invoking patriotism there, just trying to be clear, so raising taxes on wealthier Americans is the president considers that patriotic?  I assume he also thinks sacrifice is patriotic.  And yet he is not spending much time talking specifically about what he’d do, like how he would cut the Medicare program to make it solvent.  Beyond the cuts that he’s talked about, and when Simpson-Bowles says he needs much more dramatic cuts.  So framing this as patriotism, it’s about taxing the wealthy but not talking about where the American people should sacrifice?

Gregory bypasses the idea of a strong middle class and growing jobs at home and instead, goes right for the “taxing wealthier Americans” and then pivots quickly to sacrifices from people on Medicare. But he goes even further and pulls out the Simpson-Bowles line, but only focuses on the spending cut side of that Simpson-Bowles exercise in futility and ignores that the commission also called for increasing taxes on “wealthier Americans.”  It is very similar to how the rest of the Republican party uses the Simpson-Bowles commission, plucking out what suits them and ignoring the rest.

David Gregory has been playing the role of conservative hack for quite a while by both representing the Republican agenda in his questioning, but also in his selection of guests and the panel of talking heads.

What makes David Gregory’s tactics so insidious is that he embeds so many falsehoods within his questions, that it’s impossible for his guests to respond to all of them. And when they do respond, he interrupts them if they begin to get a valid point across. With each new question, the process continues on, leaving a wasteland of bad information in its wake.

I’m thankful there are only a few more weeks left in the election so I can quit watching Meet the Press and spare myself the frustration of watching a once great show, a standard bearer for network news shows, slip down the drain.

Cross posted at Angry Black Lady Chronicles

UPDATE: Check out Charlie Pierce’s post on the “Dancin Master” (David Gregory)

October 2, 2012 Posted by | 2012 Election, Election, Media, MSM, Politics, Republican Party | , , , | 1 Comment

Romney Is Running Against An Illusion!

I’m sure you’ve all had this experience before. You are conversing or tweeting or facebooking with someone and they characterize President Obama in a way that is so far from the truth that you wonder if the person is living in an alternate reality.

The prime purveyors of this alternate reality are Fox News and Rush Limbaugh. Both of those entities reach many millions of people on a daily basis and spread so much misinformation that the fact checkers and honest journalists are overwhelmed – they can’t keep up with it. If you need examples, go spend a few minutes at Media Matters for America, which does an excellent job of keeping an eye on those two propaganda machines.

I read an interesting book review in the New York Times yesterday that alluded to that alternate reality. I don’t agree with the reviewers full characterization of Obama’s first term, but he points to the above idea in a concise way in his review of Charles R. Kesler’s book I Am the Change. (emphasis is mine)

Whenever conservatives talk to me about Barack Obama, I always feel quite certain that they mean something else. But what exactly? The anger, the suspicion, the freestyle fantasizing have no perceptible object in the space-time continuum that centrist Democrats like me inhabit. What are we missing? Seen from our perspective, the country elected a moderate and cautious straight shooter committed to getting things right and giving the United States its self-­respect back after the Bush-Cheney years. Unlike the crybabies at MSNBC and Harper’s Magazine, we never bought into the campaign’s hollow “hope and change” rhetoric, so aren’t crushed that, well, life got in the way. At most we hoped for a sensible health care program to end the scandal of America’s uninsured, and were relieved that Obama proposed no other grand schemes of Nixonian scale. We liked him for his political liberalism and instinctual conservatism. And we still like him. [...]

The Claremont Review doesn’t like Obama one bit. But it has usually taken the slightly higher road in criticizing him, and when Kesler begins his book by dismissing those who portray the president as “a third-world daddy’s boy, Alinskyist agitator, deep-cover Muslim or undocumented alien” the reader is relieved to know that “I Am the Change” won’t be another cheap, deflationary ­takedown. Instead, it is that rarest of things, a cheap inflationary takedown — a book that so exaggerates the historical significance of this four-year senator from Illinois, who’s been at his new job even less time, that he becomes both Alien and Predator.

It isn’t just Republicans who have this mindset, I hear very similar “inflations” from the libertarian trolls on Twitter and in the blogosphere. They seem to have molded their reality to fit their perceptions and of course take in any information that agrees with it and reject any that runs counter to it. This next passage is particularly good.

But his systematic exaggerations demonstrate that the right’s rage against Obama, which has seeped out into the general public, has very little to do with anything the president has or hasn’t done. It’s really directed against the historical process they believe has made America what it is today. The conservative mind, a repository of fresh ideas just two decades ago, is now little more than a click-click slide projector holding a tray of apocalyptic images of modern life that keeps spinning around, raising the viewer’s fever with every rotation. If you want to experience what it’s like to be within that mind on a better day, then you need to visit “I Am the Change.”

The reviewer doesn’t mention what I think has a lot to do with that rage, RACISM! I don’t, however, attribute all of it to racism. Having been an observer of politics for many decades, I know that at least some of it is rage against “liberals” in general. President Clinton had people accusing him of murder and all sorts of other batshit crazy stuff and of course you don’t get any whiter than Bill, at least on the surface.

So to me, it’s a combination of deep seated racism bubbling to the surface, the vilification of all “liberals” in the style of Frank Luntz and the effect of the Fox News/Limbaugh projects that have misinformed millions of Americans for right-wing political gain.

I miss the Republican party that used to be based on real ideas, as stupid and misguided as they were. It’s nearly impossible to debate a right-winger these days, because you can’t even get them to agree to objective facts and instead have to spend your time trying to educate them about reality.

On November 6, 2012, we can all do the country and our discourse a favor by sending every Republican packing.

Cross-posted at Angry Black Lady Chronicles

September 28, 2012 Posted by | 2012 Election, Democratic Party, Politics, President Barack Obama, Republican Party | | 5 Comments

What Republicans Have Done To Women

Steve Benen at The Maddow Blog sums up just some of the things that Republicans have done or attempted to do to women in recent years. It was in response to Liz (chip off the ole blockhead) Cheney and a crazy rant of hers.

Consider the proposals we’ve seen from Republican officials this year: restricting contraception; cutting off Planned Parenthood; requiring state-mandated, medically-unnecessary transvaginal ultrasounds; forcing physicians to lie to patients about abortion and breast cancer; fighting equal-pay laws; and delaying the Violence Against Women Act. When it came time for House Republicans to pay for lower student loan interest rates, GOP officials decided to get the funding by cutting access to breast cancer and cervical cancer screenings.

The Republican Party’s 2012 platform calls for a constitution amendment that would ban all abortions. A Republican congressman recently compared access to birth control to 9/11 and the bombing of Pearl Harbor. The Republican Party’s vice presidential nominee co-sponsored a bill to redefine “rape.”

The Republican Party’s U.S. Senate nominee in Missouri believes a woman cut “shut that whole thing down” if impregnated through a “legitimate rape,” while Republican Party’s U.S. Senate nominee in Pennsylvania believes a rape pregnancy and out-of-wedlock pregnancy are “similar.”

Cross-posted at Angry Black Lady Chronicles

August 30, 2012 Posted by | 2012 Election, Human Rights, Politics, Republican Party | , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

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