Dispelling Myths of the Right

David Maraniss wrote a book about President Obama called Barack Obama: The Story. I haven’t read it yet, but I did see Maraniss on several shows discussing the book and it has caused a stir on both the left and the right. I’ve always thought he was a straight shooter and about as objective as any writer of politics can be.

I think a lot of the negative reaction from the left towards his book was because of the way the crazy right was spinning it, which has become the norm for the right these days. They take one little kernel of information (or plucked sentence) and manufacture a massive lie, complete with conspiracies and dire implications and then push it out into the public sphere through surrogates, including “respected” Senators, Representatives, Governors, pundits, bloggers and radio blowhards. And of course, network and cable talking heads then dutifully pick it up and further pound it into the public consciousness. A perfect example of this was seen when Donald Trump, or as I called him at the time, “Balloon Boy”, was appearing on the half hour at MSNBC to blow his birth certificate dog whistle.

David Maraniss wrote an opinion piece for the Washington Post that is worth a read. It disproves some of the craziness floating around in right wing circles with actual facts, history and truth…what a concept. Here is a snippet…

Not all of them are “birthers,” but the notion that the president was not born in the United States remains at the epicenter of the anti-Obama mythology. Here is the conspiracy that would have had to exist if Barack Hussein Obama II were not born in Honolulu, Hawaii, on Aug. 4, 1961:

First, the local newspapers would have had to have been in on the scheme, because they ran notices of his birth among all the other local births that week. Second, the Immigration and Naturalization Service would have had to have been covering something up, because INS officials were closely tracking Barack Obama Sr. when he was at the University of Hawaii on a student visa from Kenya. They thought that he was a bigamist — which he was, having married a woman in Kenya before coming to the States — and a womanizer, which he also was. INS documents in the weeks and months before and after the son’s birth clearly establish the father’s whereabouts and the birth of his son. Finally, the name of Obama’s mother, Stanley Ann, was unusual enough that doctors and nurses in Honolulu remembered it and her giving birth. One prominent doctor was asked by a young journalist if anything interesting had happened in the medical world that week, and he responded, “Well, Stanley had a baby!”

What concerns me is that many people – way too many people – when presented with these facts, still refuse to believe that he was born in Hawaii. Whether it’s because of racism, partisanship, stupidity, paranoid schizophrenia or the constant brainwashing by the above mentioned surrogates, it has gotten out of control. When the Speaker of the House of Representatives, who is a couple of heartbeats away from the presidency, panders to those who believe them, it proves that the the Grand Old Party ain’t so grand anymore.

Cross-posted at Angry Black Lady Chronicles

Questions Remain In Racist Minds

It seems that not many people, including the media understand that the mere act of asking the question, “why did President Obama wait so long to release his birth certificate”, is offensive. It continues to legitimize the haters and racists who have been demanding it in the face of overwhelming evidence that’s been around since 2008 in the primaries. Asking that question implies that there was a valid reason all along to ask him, there hasn’t been, it’s all been a manufactured meme to attempt to de-legitimize our first black president. Eugene Robinson touches on this idea very eloquently…(emphasis mine)

Two ugly forces had to combine to produce the birth certificate sideshow, which can only be described as a national disgrace. One is a calculated attempt by Obama’s political opponents to de-legitimize his presidency.

It seems obvious to me that this campaign to paint the president as some sort of usurper — this insistence that despite winning the popular vote by a healthy margin and the electoral vote by a landslide, he wasn’t really elected — has everything to do with race.

Does anyone disagree? Well, just imagine what the birthers would be saying if Obama — like his Republican opponent in 2008, John McCain — had been born in the Panama Canal Zone. Or think of the uproar if Obama — like George W. Bush in 2000 — had lost the popular vote but won the electoral college.

Look, I’m not surprised that the first black president faces unprecedented scrutiny about his origins, and I hope Obama’s not surprised, either. This sort of thing comes with being a historic “first,” and there’s no way around it. To those deniers who can’t come to terms with the fact of the Obama presidency, I have nothing to offer but this: Yes, he’s smarter, richer, luckier and better looking than you, and he’s your president. Yours, mine and ours. And he’s black. Get over it.

But race alone couldn’t have generated the whole birther phenomenon. Also required was an increasing tendency for facts to be treated as personal accoutrements, as easily adopted or discarded as the newest-model smartphone.

If a fact is inconvenient, just ignore it. Put it aside. Surely there’s someone out there who’s selling a counterfeit version that might be more to your liking.

The late Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s adage that “everyone is entitled to his own opinion but not his own facts” seems so last century. I’m not talking about competing worldviews, I’m talking about a lack of agreement on what is provably, objectively true and what is not. Political polarization is old hat. Empirical polarization — a rejection of this nation’s founding Enlightenment principles — is something new.

In my mind, this last point about objective reality and political polarization is tied to a similar idea I posted about a while back, the fact that we have several right-wing sources of misinformation, primarily Fox News and Rush Limbaugh. They create a false meme, a lie, an exaggeration or run a fucking edited video that creates a false reality, it is then repeated and various Republicans get the memo on the talking points and spread out across the media to continue it. What is disgusting is that often, the lies have already been exposed, yet the media keeps going with them using words like “critics are saying” or similar excuses. The next step in that process is to commission a poll where they can verify that their meme generator worked. That then gives the media cover to keep the lie going, if so many people in a poll believe it, it must be newsworthy. When that lie gets established in the lexicon and starts to die down, the next one begins in the same cycle as above. It’s quite insidious.

How Stupid Is Donald Trump? The Boycott Of NBC Continues!

Based on the responses I’ve received after calling for a Boycott of NBC, I know that I’m not the only person incensed by the “carnival barker” Donald Trump. And I really mean no disrespect to carnival workers, they aren’t all like the stereotype that we are used to seeing. I’m sure the President meant no disrespect either and chose those words in lieu of a few choice words he would have rather used. If only I could be a fly on the wall of the Oval Office. :)

I have really been trying not to watch any more Donald Trump packages on the cable news networks, but I can’t help but read and hear some of it. The more I hear from him, the more I think he is really fucking stupid as well as racist, and I posit that you have to be really fucking stupid to be a racist, anyway. As he talks about how “very, very successful” he is and how he has built “a great company”, he doesn’t seem to realize that there are millions of people in this country who will never visit a single hotel or property of his. who will never watch a TV show with his arrogant, elitist, racist ass on it and as a matter of fact, there is a growing group of people who are consciously boycotting his sponsors and NBC, the network that has given him a platform to spew his vile, hateful, white elitist bullshit. MSNBC, a sister station, has been just as bad, with the exception of the evening opinion shows. I’ve had a feeling since Keith Olbermann left, that the writing is on the wall for the rest of the liberal evening lineup. I hope I’m wrong, because moving into election season, we need some sanity to level out the craziness that I’m sure is going to be even more over the top in the next election.

So, if “The Donald” thinks that alienating, offending and hurting millions of people across this country is a good business move, I’ve got a bridge in Brooklyn I’d like to sell his dumb ass. And what he has done HAS hurt a lot of people across this country. He has brought back an era of hate that many of us have long hoped was dead. He’s given racists comfort by his subtle and not so subtle racist appeals to the “devils of our worst nature”…to twist around the powerful words of the second greatest president, Abraham Lincoln…

“We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory will swell when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.”
— Abraham Lincoln

Goldie Taylor’s incredible words the other day are just one example of the pain he has wrought on our country. Baratunde Thurston touched on similar themes and showed us why this sideshow Donald Trump should be relegated to the trash heap of history – the stinky, nasty pile of rotting food and waste where the vultures of history can pick at his rotting memory.

Abe, I hope you are right.

Updated again: Petition http://www.change.org/petitions/dump-trump-tell-nbc-to-fire-donald-trump-for-lies-against-obama

Updated sponsor list from NamelessGenXer


20% of People Are Crazy! (updated)

OK, maybe it isn’t 20%, it might be 25%…..or it could be less than 20%. But a certain percentage of the American people are batshit crazy. I’m not talking about people with mental impairments and I’m not disparaging anyone who has one. I’m referring to people who either through profound ignorance, bigotry or the mindless following of charismatic leaders (Rush and Glenn come to mind)…are easily led down whatever path they stumble upon. TPM has a story about a poll which asked about the “birther” phenomenon, you know those folks who think President Obama was born in Kenya, not Hawaii. The pollsters pressed the people for details and the results are kind of interesting and prompted me to write this post. From TPM…

As part of its general national survey of adults in late April, ABC/WaPo asked, “where was Barack Obama born, as far as you know?” The initial answer was 68% United States, 14% another country. ABC then pushed the undecideds, by asking for their best guess. After those leaners were pushed, the final result was 77% United States, 20% somewhere else.

Now if this poll is to be believed, 20% of the American people believe something that has been proven to be false with hard evidence, lots of it and I’m not going to present it here. I’ve seen the birth certificate and the certificate of live birth and the newspaper announcement of the birth in the Hawaii paper. Anyone who thinks his conspiracy to become president started at birth, well let’s just lock those people up right now!!!! What is so interesting about these poll results, though, is that 1/3 of those who believe he wasn’t born in America actually approve of the job he is doing. Whaaaaaa? That means 6.6% of the general population can actually believe a conspiracy even when they approve of the target of that conspiracy, I think I’ve met some of these people….it always results in me shaking my head like a snow globe and saying “Whaaaaa?” More from TPM…

The same ABC/WaPo polling sample had Obama’s approval rating at 54%, with 44% disapproving. This puts Birther approval of Obama at about 20 points behind the norm. The poll of American adults has a margin of error of ±3.5%.

I’ve typed it before, the 54/44 number really is pretty good for a president who won with 53% of the popular vote and has taken on some big issues like health care. On top of that, he’s been fighting against a very well financed campaign and a Republican party that has tried every single trick they can find to try to stop the president from doing anything. Can you imagine how much higher his approval rating would be if the misinformation and lying campaign that has been going since he took office hadn’t taken place? So many of the people in the disapprove category are just ignorant of the truth, they have sources of information like Rush and Glenn that are intentionally faulty, they lie with no conscience and continue to do it even when confronted with the truth, they are playing this group for suckers. And if the shoe fits…


Bob Cesca points us to this poll finding that proves my point in this post, it looks like it’s more like 28% rather than 20%.

We have some new national polling coming out tomorrow on offshore drilling. The most astounding number from the poll? 28% of Republicans said the recent oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico made them more likely to support drilling off the coast to an equal 28% who said it made them less likely to be supportive. 44% said it made no difference to them and that’s understandable, but why would an oil spill make you more supportive of drilling?