Canyon Sky wallpaper

Canyon Sky wallpaper

Anyone keeping track of how many times conservatives drag out some kooky analogy and then use a what would FDR or Truman have done in this contrived situation or as someone once said “urgent threat”. It could be because conservatives have never won a war. Their war lust is a dangerous version of keeping up with the Joneses mentality. Battles and skirmish here and there might be necessary, but war on the scale of WW II, or Iraq for that matter,  have become an anachronism. Talking about all out war has become war porn for conservatives. The very idea of it sends shivers down their spines, their toes curl and their eyes bug out. Different strokes for different folks and all, but it’s embarrassing to watch.  Gingrich: Roosevelt would have attacked Iran, N. Korea

In a speech Thursday before the conservative American Enterprise Institute, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich charged that the United States had failed to take George W. Bush’s 2002 “axis of evil” speech seriously when it ignored the opportunity to attack Iran and North Korea following the invasion of Iraq.

Newt’s speeches are productive. Being an attention junkie they give a much needed fix and makes the Right feel tingly all over. Thus I should get paid for doing my part, attention wise. It is difficult to take one of the most morally, intellectually and monetarily corrupt individuals in the U.S. seriously. Let’s pretend for a moment Newt is not batshit insane. What would happen if the U.S. decided to attack North Korea, A Nightline ‘War Game’ Pits North Korea Against a Hypothetical U.S. Strike

Although North Korea has openly defied the United Nations’ weapons inspectors and has admitting having a secret nuclear weapons program, the Bush administration has made it clear it has no intention of subjecting the communist nation to the kind of military action it is considering against Iraq.

Critics have asked why war against North Korea is not an option for the United States. A Nightline “war game”  in which teams of experts took sides, one team playing the United States, the other North Korea found that military action on the Korean peninsula could quickly escalate into a full-blown war, with North Korean shells and missiles inflicting massive damage on South Korea and the American troops there, possibly forcing the United States to respond with tactical nuclear weapons.

One of the experts predicted a “symphony of death,” with hundreds of thousands or even millions of casualties.

[   ]…Nightline asked a fifth expert, a former analyst with the Defense Intelligence Agency, with 20 years’ experience on the Korean peninsula, to comment on the outcome of the war game. He firmly believed that China would not stand by, but enter the conflict on the North Korean side. And he said the casualties from a North Korean attack over the DMZ would be much higher, with closer to five million South Koreans and Americans dead in the first few days.

I disagree with the last expert. China has become an authoritarian capitalist economic power and an increasingly wealthy one at that. With a U.S. crippled by war they would lose too much economically by siding with  North Korea. China bought a lot of U.S. debt during the Bush era – Republicans were able to float the economy, including two wars on that debt. We’re not likely to feel obliged to pay off a debt to someone we just had the worst war in history, crippling China’s economic ambitions. Splitting the difference between experts, Newt would be happy to get us into a war with as many as two and a half million causalities. Why Newt thinks this is a serious foreign policy stance is anyone’s guess. Currently North Korea is held in check by its poverty and the same U.S. and NATO nuclear deterrent that was partly responsible for winning the cold war. The NK have shown no expansionist tendencies, they’re the most isolated country in the world. It’s just Newt war porn talk or maybe he really is insane.

Any blogger that would call themselves “Confederate Yankee”  pretty much tells you all you need to know about the mentality at work. Why not just call himself the “Pro-Treason Yankee”. Those that thought the genuflecting for Andrew Breitbart or the attacks Shirley Sherrod would stop had only to read the tortuous thinking of Jeffrey Lord of The American Spectator. Lord was confused, poor man, by the term lynching. The pitiful Confederate doesn’t know what the word edit means – A Confident Prediction

First a few words about the narrative that the AP writer is trying to further.

The video was not heavily edited… it wasn’t edited at all. It was merely an excerpt proved to Breitbart from a much longer speech.

See, it wasn’t edited at all! Someone just selected a particular excerpt and cut out the rest!

Why, what do you think “edited” means, college boy with your fancy word-definition understanding?

So CY is at his keyboard. He reads back to himself “it wasn’t edited at all”  and hits the publish button. Let’s all take a moment and be thankful for the small, though inadvertent, lesson CY has passed along to all of us.

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Republicans Have a Roadmap to Another Economic Disaster

There are plenty of reasons for not being a Conservative. I for one could never keep a straight face, or steady hand on the keyboard and write crap like this from the right-wing media watchdog site Newsbusters, Paul Ryan Schools Chris Matthews on Tax Hikes, Budgets and Economics 101, By Noel Sheppard.

MATTHEWS: I just don`t see — I just don`t see any program cuts. You`re talking in general terms, but let me tell you this: the major Republicans that come on television will not cut Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. They won`t cut the military. They can`t cut debt servicing. They won`t — they won`t get rid of a major cost of government.

They`ll talk about, you know, let`s freeze discretionary spending or discretionary and domestic in some sort of generalized way. But they won`t get rid of government. They seem to like government. In fact, they love to talk against it.

RYAN: Go to Americanroadmap.org and you will see a very comprehensive piece of legislation that the CBO has scored that`s actually paying off the debt —

Indeed, this Roadmap was released last week, but I digress:

MATTHEWS: OK.

RYAN: — with specific reforms to the entitlements you mentioned.

MATTHEWS: Name a major piece of the 1.4 trillion to 1.7 trillion. No, just take —

RYAN: OK.

MATTHEWS: — just take a chunk out that 1.4 trillion by getting rid of a big program or good expenditure that people now watching can understand.

Straightforward question. Now watch Ryan give a straightforward answer that Matthews will summarily brush aside like a fly in front of the camera:

RYAN: I would rescind the unspent stimulus funds. I would rescind all the TARP funds that aren`t spent. I would do a federal hiring freeze and pay freeze for the rest of the year. And I would go back and cut discretionary spending back to `08 levels and freeze that spending going forward.

Now, you and I can get into a debate about Keynesian economics, whether it worked or didn`t. I don`t think it did. We increased domestic discretionary last year by 84 percent. I don`t think we should continue to build that kind of a base. Let`s go back and cut discretionary spending back to `08 levels.

MATTHEWS: OK.

RYAN: Rescind stimulus, rescind TARP and do a federal hiring and pay freeze. Those are just a few ideas that add up to $1.3 trillion right there. (all italics are Newsbusters commentary)

Newsbusters loves that Ryan Roadmap. It was even scored by the CBO(Congressional Budget Office). The conversation with Tweety doesn’t mean much. That Newsbusters thought they heard, saw or imagined some big take down is typical of the sheeple mentality conservatives wear like a plastic flag pin made in China. When do right-wingers love the CBO? Not a trick question. They love the CBO when it scores a spending proposal or program the way they want it to and says the CBO is infiltrated with Marxists when the score doesn’t go their way. One way to get a favorable score for your proposal is to put a perfect scenario into your budget proposal and leave out any inconvenient numbers and consequences  – CTJ Shows Tax Proposals in Rep. Ryan’s ‘Roadmap’ Lead to Disaster

In a report released yesterday, Citizens for Tax Justice (CTJ) critically examined the tax policies proposed recently in Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) budget alternative, titled conventionally, “A Roadmap for America’s Future.” Claims of the proposal “balancing the budget” and “reforming entitlements” have already been thoroughly debunked, but CTJ has contributed a valuable analysis of the young Republican’s tax policies, which will actually cost the government “$2 trillion over a decade even while requiring 90 percent of taxpayers to pay more” than they already do in taxes.

This is where I’m supposed to have a gotcha on Newsbusters, but having read Newsbusters for a few years and having become familiar with their obvious aversion to actual research, there is reason to believe they didn’t even read Ryan’s Roadmap. Either way they are guilty of having the same high journalistic standards as Andrew Breitbart and Fox News. There is no bullsh*t they will not print to advance their agenda.

How does Ryan, the ranking member on the House Budget Committee, accomplish this stunning feat? Steve Wamhoff, the report’s author, argues that Ryan’s proposal reduces federal receipts and outlays to recklessly low levels, while pumping money into the pockets’ of the nation’s wealthiest citizens. Ryan, according to Wamhoff, structures this disaster of a budget proposal around four main tax policies: extension of all Bush Tax Cuts; introduction of a “simplified” tax as an alternative to the personal income tax; elimination of the estate tax; and replacement of the corporate tax with a value-added tax (VAT).

None of us have to be tax experts or economists or statistical wizards to understand the results of the Bush tax cuts.

“You cut taxes and the tax revenues increase.”  —  President Bush, February 8, 2006

“You have to pay for these tax cuts twice under these pay-go rules if you apply them, because these tax cuts pay for themselves.”  — Senator Judd Gregg, then Chair of the Senate Budget Committee, March 9, 2006

From 2001 to 2007 the tax cuts did not pay for themselves. The economy did not grow, but corporate profits did increase. Remember that Republican Math says tax cuts stimulate the economy, create jobs, increase revenue and pay for themselves. Ryan has been in Congress since 1998 and voted for the Bush tax cuts. At no time during his tenure during the Bush years did he provide any kind of map much less one that would balance the budget. If the Roadmap is so great why did he wait for now to release a plan that balances revenue with expenditures. And why, if tax cuts pay for themselves is he for a VAT on  business.

Replacement of the corporate tax with a consumption or VAT for business would create a regressive tax that would overwhelmingly hurt the poor and middle class, as businesses would be able to shift what was once a tax on them onto consumers.

Critics have been beating up on Rep. Ryan’s budget proposal since he released it back in February, but, as Matt Yglesias noted earlier today, it’s important to consider that in the not-too-distant future, Ryan could be writing budgets for a GOP majority, “presumably animated by the same moral principles that led him to this idea.” That is a scary thing.

As much as conservatives like Newsbusters and their darling Congressman Ryan like to flip-flop on CBO scores they play a similar game with Medicare. If they can scare people to support their agenda by portraying President Obama’s health-care reform as a way to kill grandma, then that becomes the useful lie of the week. If crippling or doing away with Medicare or Social Security or whatever safety net will make them look like deficit hawks peacocks they’ll use that too.

The proposal would shift risk from the federal government to seniors themselves. The money seniors would get to buy their own policies would grow more slowly than their health-care costs, and more slowly than their expected Medicare benefits, which means that they’d need to either cut back on how comprehensive their insurance is or how much health-care they purchase. Exacerbating the situation — and this is important — Medicare currently pays providers less and works more efficiently than private insurers, so seniors trying to purchase a plan equivalent to Medicare would pay more for it on the private market.

It’s hard, given the constraints of our current debate, to call something “rationing” without being accused of slurring it. But this is rationing, and that’s not a slur. This is the government capping its payments and moderating their growth in such a way that many seniors will not get the care they need. This is, in its simplest form, a way to limit the use of a finite resource…

[  ]…You can argue whether this cost control is better or worse than other forms of cost control. But it’s a blunt object of a proposal, swung with incredible force at a vulnerable target. Consider the fury that Republicans turned on Democrats for the insignificant cuts to Medicare that were contained in the health-care reform bill, or the way Bill Clinton gutted Newt Gingrich for proposing far smaller cuts to the program’s spending. This proposal would take Medicare from costing an expected 14.3 percent of GDP in 2080 to less than 4 percent. That’s trillions of dollars that’s not going to health care for seniors. The audacity is breathtaking.

If Democrats had proposed Ryan’s plan we’d be hearing the shrill screams of death panels and rationing one again, but since a conservative is planning to throw grandma out into the fend for yourself on the private market roasting pit, it’s all just good old capitalism at work. I don’t think Ryan wants to kill grandma, I don’t think he’s given the possibility much thought one way or the other. But hey according to the geniuses at Newsbusters he sure schooled Chris Matthews. If Paul Ryan’s Roadmap Is the Republican Way, Why Aren’t Republicans Driving On it?

— Because deficit reduction is so intimately linked to health reform, Ryan would focus on reducing long-term burden of Medicare and Medicaid; the programs would be significantly revamped, and eventually significantly reduced, and while the level of benefits could remain the same, the way the benefits are delivered would change — vouchers would be used to incentivize private insurance plan purchasing. They would be linked to income, which will save money, but premiums tend to rise more quickly than incomes.

–Ryan endorses a version of President Bush’s partial privitization of Social Security, giving younger Americans the option of investing as much as a third of their money, and filling the multi-trillion dollar transition gap that would result by using general revenue. In other words, the rest of the government budget might have to be significantly cut in order to allow Social Security to be saved. (Ryan says this isn’t necessarily true.) The CBO concluded that “traditional retirement benefits would be reduced below those scheduled under current law for many workers who are age 55 or younger in 2011.” Benefits for current retirees would stay the same.

Ryan’s plan does not have costs controls. Unless you call a cap on payments a cost control. That is what scare mongers like Sarah Palin and Newsbusters said health-care reform would do – cap payments so when grandma or whoever reached a certain point they’d let them die. Ryan is not proposing that per se, though he is proposing to leave seniors, the disabled and the poor to hang out to dry when their medical costs exceed a predetermined limit. And of course it would save money if you cannot enroll in Social Security or Medicare until you’re 69. That adds another four years where the free market decides whether you eat or get medical care, in other words live or die. Ryan accused, as his acolytes are also sure to, the  CBPP’s Analysis of “A Roadmap for America’s Future” of “partisan demagoguery”. In Republican Math name calling apparently changes the way numbers add up. Ryan’s rebuttal didn’t hold up to scrutiny either,

Cost of Medicare

Ryan’s Assertion : Ryan challenges our statement that his “plan imposes no requirement that private insurers actually offer health coverage to Medicare beneficiaries at an affordable price.”

Our Response : Although Ryan cites this as an example of an error or misleading statement on our part, he then fails to dispute it. He merely cites a section of his plan that directs the Department of Health and Human Services to publish a list of Medicare-approved health plans; he glosses over the issue of affordability, which was the heart of our statement. The simple fact is, as we wrote, that under the Ryan plan there is no requirement that private insurers offer coverage to Medicare beneficiaries at an affordable price. We believe that many frail seniors and people with disabilities would find adequate health insurance coverage priced out of reach.

Standards for Medicare Benefits

Ryan’s Assertion : Ryan takes issue with our statement that his plan “establishes no specific standards for Medicare benefits.”

Our Response : Here, as well, Rep. Ryan is incorrect. He notes that section 301 of his bill (H.R. 4529) defines “qualified health coverage” under Medicare. But neither section 301 nor any other provision in the bill establishes any standards for Medicare benefits, which was our point.

Ryan  and Newsbusters have a Roadmap. It’s chock-full of all the economic goodness Bush/Cheney and the Republican party had for economic prosperity back in 2001. The plan the man with the Roadmap voted for.

Green Leaves of Summer wallpaper

Green Leaves of Summer wallpaper

Which came first: Did Jeffrey Lord of The American Spectator go to the Andrew Brietbart school of journalism to be an unabashed hack propagandists for conservatives or did Andrew Brietbart go to the American Spectator school of journalism for the lazy racist. Jeffery is positive Shirley Sherrod lied about her lynching story and Bobby Hall. SO, WHAT DOES FIT THE AMERICAN SPECTATOR’S DEFINITION OF “LYNCHING”?

You probably know that Jeffrey Lord of The American Spectator is being justifiably attacked for a vile article in which he claimed that Shirley Sherrod lied when she said, in her now-famous NAACP speech, that a relative named Bobby Hall was “lynched” by a white Georgia sheriff named Claude Screws. Lord said this was a lie because, well, Hall wasn’t hanged, he was merely beaten to death outside a courthouse by the sheriff and his men while he was wearing handcuffs.

That, to Lord and the Spectator, is not “lynching.”

Jeffery doesn’t know anything about the law, black history or history just like NYT conservative columnists Ross Douthat does obviously not know any working class white folks. No More Mister Nice Blog did some research and did find the American Receptacle does know how to shovel out big stinking piles hyperbole,

Just last month Senate Democrats prided themselves on signing an anti-lynching resolution. John Kerry even said it was a crying shame the statement didn’t have 100 co-sponsors. Liberal coverage of the resolution was universally supportive. So what happened? First opportunity these pure at heart forces had they set off to lynch Karl Rove, all because he supposedly had directed his gaze at one of their women, a hot Vanity Fair-certified blonde bombshell [Valerie Plame].

–Wlady Pleszczynski, “Operation Overrove,” American Spectator, July 18, 2005

The media is staging a coup against Mr. Bush. They cannot impeach him because he hasn’t done anything illegal. But they can endlessly tell us what a loser he is and how out of touch he is (and I mean ENDLESSLY) and how he’s just a vestigial organ on the body politic right now.

… no one elected the media to anything. If we let them lynch the man we elected as President we are throwing out the Constitution with the war in Iraq. In the studios and newsrooms, there is a lynch mob at work.

–Ben Stein, “The Lynching of the President,” American Spectator, January 25, 2007

Apples? Pomegranates? They’re the same thing in the eyes of wing-nuts, but a cold-blooded beating death, defined by law as a lynching, suddenly they’re splitting atoms to define the difference as a lie. American Spectator’s Jeremy Lord is a Lying Sack at which is a longer post with more details,

So let Lord wallow in his own emptiness; the fact is that he is wrong in his attempt to draw a distinction in law.

Here is how the South Carolina Criminal Code defines the crime in a representative example of state anti-lynching provisions:

The Elements of the Crime:

1.  That a person’s death resulted from the violence inflicted upon him by a mob and

2. That the accused was a member of that mob

(A mob is defined as “an assemblage of two or more persons, without color of law, gathered together for the premeditated purpose of committing violence upon another.”

Strangely, I see no mention of hanging, of trees, of strange fruit in here (nor in Title 18, sec. 241 of the US code, which addresses lynching from a civil rights law angle), just as they somehow fail to specify tire irons or chains, or fire or whatever.  Extrajudicial killings by a mob are lynchings.  That’s it.

Lynchings were not always the cause of death, but were the end of a ritualized murder of a black man,

Anthony Crawford, a black landowner, was beaten by a mob, tied to a truck and dragged through town. His attackers then hung him from a tree in the Abbeville, S.C., fairgrounds and shot him about 200 times.

Crawford’s alleged crime? Fighting with a white storeowner he believed was trying to cheat him.

Crawford’s lynching took place on Oct. 21, 1916.

Apparently none of Saint Ronnie’s infallibility rubbed off on Jeffery, Former Reagan aide attacks Shirley Sherrod

Every now and then, it can be an educational experience to take a trip inside the mind of a conservative “intellectual.” Take, for example, former Reagan political director Jeffrey Lord who has written an anti-Shirley Sherrod screed in The American Spectator.

Lord initially applauded Sherrod’s firing, but he now apologizes for doing so. Nonetheless, he still condemns Sherrod. Why? Because, he says, Sherrod was incorrect when she said that a relative of hers had been lynched. In his words:

Plain as day, Ms. Sherrod says that Bobby Hall, a Sherrod relative, was lynched. As she puts it, describing the actions of the 1940s-era Sheriff Claude Screws: “Claude Screws lynched a black man.”

This is not true. It did not happen.

The strange thing is that Lord acknowledges that Hall was beaten to death by Sheriff Screws, who dragged Hall’s prone body through the country courthouse as he died. The murder was apparently a result of a conflict that began when Screws confiscated a firearm from Hall. Screws didn’t think blacks should be allowed to own guns. After Hall sued Screws to regain possession of his weapon, Screws went berserk and beat Hall to death.

Words or worms, conservatives are so easily confused sometimes and yet so anal about exactitude at others you can hear the squeak from miles away. Bush claimed neither he nor anyone in his administration  said Iraq was an “imminent threat”,

“There’s no question that Iraq was a threat to the people of the United States.”
• White House spokeswoman Claire Buchan, 8/26/03

“We ended the threat from Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction.”
• President Bush, 7/17/03

Iraq was “the most dangerous threat of our time.”
• White House spokesman Scott McClellan, 7/17/03

“Saddam Hussein is no longer a threat to the United States because we removed him, but he was a threat…He was a threat. He’s not a threat now.”
• President Bush, 7/2/03

“Absolutely.”
• White House spokesman Ari Fleischer answering whether Iraq was an “imminent threat,” 5/7/03

“We gave our word that the threat from Iraq would be ended.”
• President Bush 4/24/03

“The threat posed by Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction will be removed.”
• Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, 3/25/03

“It is only a matter of time before the Iraqi regime is destroyed and its threat to the region and the world is ended.”
• Pentagon spokeswoman Victoria Clarke, 3/22/03

“The people of the United States and our friends and allies will not live at the mercy of an outlaw regime that threatens the peace with weapons of mass murder.”
• President Bush, 3/19/03 (one of Conservative bed wetting’s finest moments)

All those words or worms or lynchings or murders or imminent threats or urgent threats mean one thing one day and something else the next, and its right-wingers that are always going on about making English the official language. Sounds like a good idea for everyone but right-wingers, who will be at a considerable disadvantage.

Another Blue Rain Drops wallpaper

Another Blue Rain Drops wallpaper

Remember the recent story about a study done by scientists in which when confronted with the facts, rather than change gears and make a reality adjustment, many people dig in even deeper  – Instead of changing their minds to reflect the correct information they can entrench themselves even deeper. Brietbart and his web sites have displayed a predictable lack of respect for facts, integrity and due diligence involving several news stories including ACORN, the New Black Panthers and the Department of Justice, and Shirley Sherrod among others. Having had the chance to revisit the Sherrod debacle Britbart decides to decode the complete video for us. William Saletan does a precise piece by piece breakdown of Brietbart’s mangling of the video into conservative doublespeak versus the plain American English the rest of us speak, Amen Canard Breitbart lied about Shirley Sherrod. Now he’s lying about the NAACP.

So, let’s review the Breitbart gang’s allegations:

When … she expresses a discriminatory attitude towards white people, the audience responds with applause. False.
The NAACP … is cheering on a person describing a white person as the other. False.
The NAACP audience seemed to have approved of her actions when she talked about not helping the white farmer. False.
They weren’t cheering redemption; they were cheering discrimination. False.
As Ms. Sherrod recounted the first part of her parable, how she declined to do everything she could for the farmer because of his race, the audience responded in approval. False.

First Breitbart and his acolytes falsely accused Sherrod of discriminating against whites as a federal employee, despite having no evidence for this charge in the original video excerpt. Strike one.

Then they misrepresented Sherrod’s story as an embrace of racism, when in fact she was repudiating racism. They later pleaded ignorance of this fact because they didn’t have the full video. Strike two.

Now, with the full video in hand and posted on their Web site, they’re lying about the reaction of the NAACP audience.

The excuses are all used up, Mr. Breitbart.

What Sherrod was doing – I guess Brietbart does not know any regular church goers – was not  giving a speech, a chat, a formal presentation, she was baring witness to the group about a personal and spiritual epiphany,  storytelling

If you understand this, you’ll also understand that the responses from Sherrod’s audience are not remotely what Andrew Breitbart has said they are, but instead are ways for the audience to register that they’re tracking with the path of the story. And I bet that pretty much everyone in that room understood what kind of story Shirley Sherrod was telling: it was a testimony, a conversion narrative, of the kind that Christians have told in churches from time immemorial. If you think that Shirley Sherrod endorses thinking of white people as being of a different “kind” than her, you may as well also think that St. Augustine endorses the stealing of pears. Because her story is in the same genre as his Confessions (which title, as Garry Wills has pointed out, might better be translated Testimony).

Why would anyone expect Breitbart and his gang of hypocritical acolytes understand the context of a heart-felt testimonial. It must be great being a conservative such as Breitbart where the standards are so low you can get away with pretty much anything in the name of the cause.

Rep. Zach Wamp (R-TN) Suggests Committing Treason If Voters Reject Right Wing Views On Constitution

“I hope that the American people will go to the ballot box in 2010 and 2012 so that states are not forced to consider separation from this government,” said Wamp during an interview with Hotline OnCall.

[  ]…Moreover, while Wamp and Perry’s secessionary agenda puts them at odds with the Constitution and the American people, it does have one famous precedent supporting it.  In 1860, American voters elected an obscure former congressman named “Abraham Lincoln” to the presidency.  Eleven southern states — all of whom disagreed with the new president on the issue of slavery — soon decided that they didn’t want to be bound by the results of that election.  Before Wamp starts campaigning to become the next Jefferson Davis, however, he might want to give some thought to what happened the last time right-wing state governments engaged in an act of mass treason.

At least one right-wing conservative blogger pulled out the tired deflection that Lincoln was a Republican to defend conservatives against any taint of racism during the recent flaps over the NAACP. Conservatives have not been the party of Lincoln for a century. All the Lincoln republicans became Democrats and all the southern conservative Dixiecrats became wing-nuts. One would think these self-appointed experts on American history and the Constitution would try to keep up.

Victor Davis Hanson, The Nurse Ratched of Conservatism, Meet Karl Rove

During the course of the Bush administration I referred to extremist right-wing ideologue and historian Victor Davis Hanson as Pangloss. Like Pangloss, for Hanson everyday presented itself as the best of all possible worlds. Bush was an infallible god-like figure who could do no wrong. Everyone and anyone who disagreed with the neocons – of which Hanson is one – was a decadent terrorist-loving puppy- hating leftist who did not realize that Bush’s presidency was a real life miracle ( Hanson was and is one of the more prominent members of the Cult of Bush). In 2007 when the housing bubble had burst, Bush’s job creation record was the worse since Herbert Hoover, no WMD had been found in Iraq and all the connections between Iraq, al-Qaeda turned out to be figments of Dick Cheney’s sick imagination and Republicans had run up a record deficit rather than rise revenue, Hanson wrote:

So why are we so upset with our political leadership? Despite the housing slump, it is not the worst of times. After all, the economy is still strong, with low inflation, low unemployment, low interest rates and respectable growth.

Bush leaves office and sells the fake ranch, one of Hanson’s handy symbols of Bush’s everyman status, and suddenly Hanson becomes Nurse Ratched. In both the novel and the film One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Nurse Ratchet is the quiet clenched teeth voice of insanity. She, like Hanson, is the ultimate ironic figure, the deeply disturbed and masochistic, swagging their finger at the less worthy, the less powerful. On July 17, 2010, still as astute as ever Hanson writes, Pampered populists

It’s surreal to see President Obama play the class-warfare card against the Republicans while on his way to vacation on the tony Maine coast, and even more interesting to note that now gone are the days when the media used to caricature Bush I (“Poppy”) for boating in the summer off the preppie-sounding Kennebunkport. The truth is that the real big money and the lifestyles that go with it are now firmly liberal Democratic.

I always suspected Nurse Ratched saved the occasional meds for herself. Nurse Ratched Hanson meet Karl Rove and friends, “Grassroots” Rove-linked group funded almost entirely by billionaires

Virtually all of the $4.7 million raised by Karl Rove’s new conservative outfit was contributed by just four billionaires, three of whom are based in Dallas, Texas, and two of whom made their fortune in the oil and gas industry.

[  ]…It’s also important to note that American Crossroads has set up a partner organization called  American Crossroads GPS that, because it has a different tax status, does not have to reveal any donor information and is also more limited in spending its money on campaigns (Politico has more on this). American Crossroads GPS took in over $5 million in June, and we’ll likely never know who is putting up the money.

Everyone knows the first rule in the Conservative rule book: Deny all reality and create your own. Hanson always works this rule into every column he writes. That is not exaggeration. Every column he writes has it’s own fantasy based motif, declarative statements and world view. In the “Pampered” column he also goes by another rule in the playbook. When Conservatives have money it is because America is the land of opportunity and these industrious individuals have clawed their way to the top through hard work. On the other hand, according to Nurse Ratched Hanson, when Democrats have money it is because they are elitists whose money has magically appeared out of the liberal ether. The subset of this Conservative rule is that all working class Democrats – like actual nurses, police and fire fighters, carpenters, middle-managers, store clerks and scientists are terrorist loving Maoists.

General Jerry Boykin, who, in uniform, toured churches across the United States, declaring openly that “George W. Bush was not elected by the majority of the American people; he was appointed by God”

Boats at Anchor Sunset wallpaper, Some Essential Links on the Journolist

Boats at Anchor Sunset wallpaper

First up is Ezra Klein who started Journolist, You shall know them by their work

Yesterday’s dispatch attempted to detail a conspiracy to bury the Reverend Wright story, or maybe respond to it by calling conservatives racist, or maybe just stick to the policy questions. It was hard to say, because rather than an actual media conspiracy, the Daily Caller had a handful of avowedly liberal columnists arguing with one another about Jeremiah Wright. I didn’t participate in that thread, and the next day, wrote this post, which argued that Wright’s comments would be a big deal even if he’d been white and the candidate had been John Kerry. This did not make lefties happy. Some conspiracy.

The other piece of evidence in yesterday’s story was a public letter signed by 41 members of Journolist protesting ABC News’s conduct during one of the presidential primary debate. You may remember this one. Greg Mitchell, of Editor and Publisher (and not a member of Journolist), called it a “shameful night for US media.” On Journolist, Tom Schaller, a professor of political science at the University of Maryland, wrote an angry letter and asked people if they’d like to sign it. Then the letter was posted in public. You can read it here. Some conspiracy.

There’s a piece of that story, incidentally, that the Daily Caller — and their Journolist beat reporter, Jonathan Strong — knew but did not report. After the letter came out, I thought a lot about whether it was appropriate for a listserv including journalists to be used in that way. I decided it wasn’t. I banned further letters from being circulated on the list.

As Klein points out – and of course the buzz word that accompanies every wing-nut analyst of the Daily Caller Pravda-ish presentation of the emails – is these is not much of a conspiracy here. One columnists would flaot some thoughts that were a bit goofy and would be shoot down rather quickly. Some liberal opinion columnists did not like McCain or Palin. Oh no, say it isn’t so I’m so shocked.  Like some of the media actively jeered Al Gore doing the 1999 debates.

Jonathan Zasloff is mentioned directly in the Daily Caller selectively edited snips and responds here, in which I receive (and respond to) hate mail

And the best of all of them:

You commie pig, In November, we win.  In January, we will restore the Republic and commie sluts like you will not like it here.  You may want to move to the socialist country of your choice.  You will be happier.

Take your slut wife with you.

Sigh.  Actually, the first correspondent probably had a good point when he pointed out that if in fact Fox, as a cable station, doesn’t need an FCC license, then it’s all moot.  Note: that’s why I wrote an e-mail, asking a question.

Zasloff question about Fox’s license was not unreasonable in a list which consisted of people talking about news, baseball, public officials and various public policy issues. The FCC of the United States has very high threshold for what constitutes inflammatory, defamatory and abusive speech, but it does have guidelines which Fox  stretches to it’s limits,

News Distortion.  The Commission often receives complaints concerning broadcast journalism, such as allegations that stations have aired inaccurate or one-sided news reports or comments, covered stories inadequately, or overly dramatized the events that they cover.  For the reasons noted above, the Commission generally will not intervene in such cases because it would be inconsistent with the First Amendment to replace the journalistic judgment of licensees with our own.  However, as public trustees, broadcast licensees may not intentionally distort the news:  the FCC has stated that “rigging or slanting the news is a most heinous act against the public interest.”  The Commission will investigate a station for news distortion if it receives documented evidence of such rigging or slanting, such as testimony or other documentation, from individuals with direct personal knowledge that a licensee or its management engaged in the intentional falsification of the news.  Of particular concern would be evidence of the direction to employees from station management to falsify the news. However, absent such a compelling showing, the Commission will not intervene.  For additional information about news distortion, see http://www.fcc.gov/cgb/consumerfacts/journalism.html.

The Right has decided that merely bringing up the issue is like something Pravda would do. As usual the Right has it backwards. In a democracy with a free press, editorial writers are free to bring up such issues especially in light of the goals stated in the FCC’s own policy of licensing news organizations. Since much of Fox’s news content is distributed to local broadcasters, yes they are covered by those FCC rules. Fox does falsify the news and the FCC has not taken any action against them. So much for protecting the public air waves and the public interests. Zasloff’s question or, suggestion if one wants to spin it that way, was quickly shout down by his liberal co-conspirators.

Latest Daily Caller Journolist exposé even more lame than the first

It should be noted that the first half of the article had nothing to do with Fox News. Instead, it focused on a few people who saw comparisons between the rise of the tea party and the rise of the Nazis. I guess we’re supposed to be outraged by the comparison, and indeed, it is inappropriate. But for the right to get upset at liberals invoking Nazis comparisons, seems a bit disingenuous to say the least. After all, Media Matters has documented countless instances when right-wing media figures have done the same. And, has Glenn Beck ever had a show where he hasn’t called some progressive a fascist? I mean, get real.

A Note to All the Non-JList Reporters, and a Response from Henry Farrell

Dear Ken

Just to say that your post on journolist seems to me to be seriously  misconceived. As a former member of journolist, I can tell you quite honestly that there wasn’t any story coordination, or anything like it. Nor, if you read the Daily Caller article carefully, despite its deliberately misleading headline, do they have any proof of same. A couple of the hotter heads on the list may sometimes have wanted journolists not to report on topic x or topic y, but no-one took them seriously. I’m on many listservs, and journolist was much the usual fare — a lot of arguments between people who disagreed with each other, gossip on journalism and sports, a fair amount of political speculation (which may have influenced people indirectly — but no more than any other conversation would), and a fair amount of exchange between journalists and academics and wonks on topics of their expertise. You’re really barking up the wrong tree here. There weren’t any marching orders — and indeed there was a fair amount of effort to make sure that it didn’t become a means of political organization.

Here is what we all have to beleive to make the JList shocking. There is no e-mail exchanges, organized or oterwise, between those in the Kool-Kids Koservative Klub saying the say or worse about non right-wingers – “Diann Jones, a vice chairman of the Collin County Republican Party, has apologized for an e-mail that some local judges denounced as racist.” Carol Carter, forwarded a whimsical email to her loyal Republican colleagues around Tampa Bay about the very convenient ability of many black people to travel to Washington D.C. for Obama’s inauguration, despite the fact that many blacks drowned when Hurricane Katrina flooded New Orleans.GOP Gals Make Hilarious Obama Welfare Coupons Tea Party NY Gov Candidate’s E-Mails Exposed: Racism, Porn, Bestiality. We’re back to the glass houses versus glass skyscrapers comparison. Jlist relative small glass house – if it is a glass house at all for some self identified partisans exchange thoughts, versus the rampant virulence of the Right.

The Shame of the Daily Caller

What’s maddening about this whole issue is that of course it’s impossible to prove a negative. The closest one can come, however, is reasonable inference. The Caller appears to have access to a very large proportion of JournoList emails and they can’t come up with anything that withstands cursory scrutiny. Nor are they willing to simply publish the full text of the pilfered emails they’re writing about, forcing their audience to instead rely on Jonathan Strong’s deliberately misleading writeups.

Let’s look at the Jlist brouhaha in the context of the Brietbart and the Right’s shrill and nasty reaction to a rather mild statement by the NAACP to repudiate the “elements of racism” within the conservative rebranding effort known as the tea nut movement. Every Conservative blog I’ve read has said – never quoted – the NAACP as accusing all tea party members as being racists. Their reaction, in addiction to discombobulating the original NAACP statement – was to be in such a hurry to get revenge for their hurt little feelings they cook up another edited tape. Some journalists – most of them opinion writers whose partisanship was no secret – say they don’t like conservatives – you know the way Fox, The National Review and most of the columnists at WaPo don’t like Democrats. So now the sleazy and overblown reaction to Jlist.

The Top 13 Vilest Things Conservatives Said About Shirley Sherrod

1. “sure sounded racist” “[e]xhibit A” of “what racism looks like.” “a speech to the NAACP that sure sounded racist.” Fox’s Steve Doocy

2. Claiming Sherrod’s speech was  “outrageous, and perhaps everybody needs a refresher course on what racism looks like,” and “I mean, it is really a shocking admission,”  Fox’s Alisyn Camerota

3. “She was, like, bragging that she withheld … all that she could do” to help the white farmer. Fox’s Brian Kilmeade

4. “This emerges and pretty much confirming what many of us thought about people who’ve burrowed their way in the Obama administration with radical outlooks, a radical agenda, and in this case, a racist sentiment expressed clearly by her.” And “[T]he question is how many more people like Ms. Sherrod exist in the Obama administration who aren’t so stupid, as she was, to actually explicitly state her views on this question of race. It’s really — it’s really shocking. And Andrew Breitbart, by the way, did a great piece on this whole thing, fantastic.” Right-wing Conservative commentator and frequent Fox guest  Laura Ingraham

5. “Will Eric Holder’s DOJ hold accountable fed appointee Shirley Sherrod for admitting practicing racial discrimination?” Twitter post by Andrew Breitbart

6. “Racist Govt Official/NAACP Award Recipient Resigns after Big Government Expose.” headline at Andrew Breitbart’s Big Government

7. In refering to Sherrod, “obviously has some sort of Marxist or redistributionist qualities to her.” Glenn Beck on his radio program after she was asked to resign.

8. “Sherrod shouldn’t be given her job back. The broad is a Marxist. I have no sympathy for her.” Twitter post by the right-wing conservative Human Events editor Jason Mattera.

9. Sherrod supports “the haves versus the have-nots and the need for redistribution.” She is a supporter of “obamaism”. Rush Limbaugh radio show.

10. Without offering any supporting evidence, Sherrod can be counted among the “radicals, racists, socialists” that have been “stocked” in the Obama administration. Fox News’ Monica Crowley

11. Sherrod is “a communist, radical, socialist, terror-sympathizer.” “White farmer-hater Shirley Sherrod is linked to Bill Ayers.” Rabid anti-American right-wing blogger Jim Hoft (Gateway blogger)

12. Comparing Sherrod to racist tea nut leader Mark Williams, exclaimed, “It’s every bit as hateful as the New Black Panther video. Look at that woman! I mean, aren’t you ashamed?” MSNBC’s Morning Joe, Margaret Carlson.

13. Video of Andrew Breitbart suggesting that the Spooners, the white farmers who Shirley Sherrod helped, are co-conspirators in a scheme to make Big Government look bad. Also at the same link  Glenn Beck is sure the whole fiasco, started by Breitbart’s lack of journalistic integrity and zeal for revenge against the NAACP, thinks this is some sort of twisted conspiracy orchestrated by the president to discredit Fox News.

Some background by Ta-Nehisi Coates, On Lacking All Conviction

Yesterday, that same administration forced out, Shirley Sherrod, a longtime Civil Rights worker and black USDA appointee, evidently, because she dared confess that she’d once been motivated by racial prejudice but had since seen the error of her ways. Sherrod details how, as a child, her family was essentially terrorized by the Klan and white vigilantes. Her father was murdered 45 years ago. Her widowed mother, at one point, had to stand on the porch with a rifle to fight off the Klan. “I know who you are!” she yelled at them.

Sherrod’s personal story is about redemption, and the case she highlights took place 20 years ago, long before she was working for the federal government.

I’m generally a little wary of hero worship. To be humans to have physical and moral frailties built in. Look hard enough – with some people like those listed above you do not have to look very hard – and you’ll find flaws. Sherrod is her very down to earth way demonstrates one of those moments that gives humanity a little hope that we are capable of rising above the fray once in a while. In that since I wouldn’t say we owe those above a thanks, but the opportunity to see the contrast between those that seek to be more virtuous and both who seem very comfortable with their repugnant values and malicious ways.

The heroism of Shirley Sherrod

And that’s where the truly significant and rare courage of Sherrod becomes so consequential.  Unlike so many who are caught in similar right-wing/media smear storms and (understandably) back down, Sherrod refused to meekly slink away.  She conspicuously refused to apologize for things that merited no apology.  Rather than legitimize the accusations with defensive self-justifications, she put the blame squarely where it belonged:  on Brietbart, on the NAACP for condemning her without all the facts, and on the Obama administration for demanding her “resignation.”  And as a result of her refusal to allow these false smears to go unchallenged and the low-life smear artists to be rewarded, the true facts have emerged.  The actual culprits in this episode — basically everyone except her and the white couple who came forward to defend her — are clearly identified and exposed, with their credibility in tatters.  And it’s hard to imagine the administration’s not reversing itself and offering to re-hire her, thus being forced to reverse a serious injustice.

As much value as Sherrod’s NAACP speech has for everyone, her conduct in the face of this massive onslaught is even more instructive.  It ought to serve as a template for how people respond to all of these low-life, right-wing smear campaigns:  with unapologetic clarity and resolve about who the actual wrongdoers are.