Black and White Concrete Pier wallpaper – Infidelity, Swinging, Hypocrisy, Lies, Ignorance, Viciousness and Racism. Just Another Day in Conservatism

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Mitt Romney is not exactly the most charismatic presidential candidate, and that he lacks substance might be a problem for a few conservatives. There is always luck and just wearing opponents down with money fueled repetition. In the luck department there is the departure of the guy who entered the race on an anti-gay platform, Rick Perry, and that stuff about being the Moses of job creation, except he would have had to explain how the state with the second largest number of federal employees created those jobs in a vacuum - CNN: Rick Perry to end campaign.  There are repercussions for culture warriors obsessed with having the government attach strings to every woman, cause they shouldn’t be allowed to make their own health decisions – another why is conservative Stalinism patriotic, but liberals are mean authoritarians moments. Perry was so far behind in the polls he didn’t even have enough leverage to ask for favors. More luck, but this is hardly the big shocking story of the day in terms of the general facts which were already well-known – ABC News May Air Controversial Interview With Gingrich’s Ex-Wife Marianne on Thursday.

Buzzfeed has gathered some of what Marianne may say based on previous interviews:

On his ethics: “He believes that what he says in public and how he lives don’t have to be connected. If you believe that, then yeah, you can run for president.”

On his affair with Callista: “I know. I asked him. He’d already asked her to marry him before he asked me for a divorce. Before he even asked.”

Newt has attempted to soften the blows before with religious appeals. “I was doing things that were wrong, and yet I was doing them,” he told the Christian Broadcasting Network. “I found that I felt compelled to seek God’s forgiveness. Not God’s understanding, but God’s forgiveness.”

The emphasis is mine. Both in covering politics and in my personal experience with conservatives – no truer words could describe the deep down moral rot of conservatism. Humans regardless of political views do bad stuff and stupid stuff. For conservatives that stuff is so massive that they end up living a lie. That mountain of ethical issues dragged through life is not enough. Conservatives genuinely believe that appearances and what they can get other people to believe matter more than substance – thus the Big Never Ending Lie. I am not just coming to this realization today. I came to it years ago and it still has the power to make me shudder. The Sludge Report is trying to sell the interview as all about the media and when it will release the full interview. As usual it is safe to ignore that internet rag. Because most of the things that Marianne Gingrich are already know it is previously unknown snips of information and the compelling nature of such revelations on national TV that matter. Newt is in striking distance in South Carolina – depending on the poll 3 to ten points behind Romney. Newt knows that we know that he is a disreputable con-man at best, a scumbag at worse. In the realm of the conservative mindset you can not only be a con-man, but you can make quite a nice career out of it – see Mitch McConnell(R-KY), Paul Ryan(R-WS) and so on. While you can still be a scumbag and a player in conservative politics – see Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly, Karl Rove, Ann Coulter – you cannot become president. This might be Newt’s defining scumbag moment - Video of the Day: Gingrich Asked His Wife to Share Him

The x-factor is how damaging the interview could be. With Rick Perry dropping out of the race, Gingrich’s claim to being the conservative alternative to frontrunner Mitt Romney is stronger than ever. But tawdry revelations could endanger his backing among social conservatives, and it looks like there might be some. ABC has released the first excerpt from the interview. In the brief clip, Marianne Gingrich, describes her ex-husband admitting he was having an affair with congressional staffer Callista Bisek, who is now his wife. “I said to him, ‘Newt, we’ve been married a long time.’ He said, ‘Yes, but you want me all to yourself. Callista doesn’t care what I do.’… He was asking to have an open marriage, and I refused.’” (On the other hand, his philandering is hardly news.)

Marianne Gingrich also bashes the presidential contender, from whom she was divorced in 1999, saying his campaign positions don’t square with his personal moral decisions. ABC has a few more teasers from the interview here.

Rick Perry is said to going to include an endorsement of Gingrich in his formal withdrawal speech. One wonders if this news will reach him in time to keep Perry from showing another foot in his mouth. If this is the best Newt can come up with as an excuse he is history – a fitting end for Freddie Mac’s resident historian, Gingrich Camp Responds to Ex-Wife’s Interview

The push-back on ABC from the Gingrich campaign was in the form of a letter signed by Mr. Gingrich’s two daughters from his first marriage, Kathy Lubbers and Jackie Cushman, who regularly accompany him on the stump.

“ABC News or other campaigns may want to talk about the past, just days before an important primary election,’’ they wrote, adding that their father’s campaign would concentrate on issues important to voters.

Noted: use kids as shield. Also noted, it is now forbodden to talk about any candidates past.

“The failure of a marriage is a terrible and emotional experience for everyone involved. Anyone who has had that experience understands it is a personal tragedy filled with regrets, and sometimes differing memories of events.”

“We will not say anything negative about our father’s ex-wife,” the statement continued. “He has said before, privately and publicly, that he regrets any pain he may have caused in the past to people he loves.”

So he is sorry he suggested a swinger marriage. Or sorry that he claimed that what he does in private does not matter, he preached the kind of right-wing bile conservatives like to hear and that is what matters. * As I am writing this it appears that Perry has gone and done it again – he has endorsed the Corrupt Wing-nut Welfare Queen Swinging Adulterer. It is truly a good day…..to be Mittens.

This series of events is a turning point for the conservative movement. I only caught a half-minute of it, but Sarah Palin was on cable news last night praising Newt. Not only that she had picked up just a little on the vulture capitalism meme.

If he even gets close — and he’s closer to Mitt Romney in two new polls — she can point to her last-minute vote of confidence. “If I had to vote in South Carolina,” she told Fox News’ Sean Hannity on Tuesday, “in order to keep things going, I would vote for Newt.”

If things don’t go well, hey, she’s got lots of wiggle room.

She didn’t endorse him. She just said she’d vote for Newt on Saturday so the race doesn’t end now. “Iron sharpens iron, steel sharpens steel,” she said, which I guess means the GOP-ers need to sharpen up so the media and those “on the left” can’t anoint Mitt Romney.

I’ve never gotten that thinking. Oba-mites would surely prefer Newt or Rick Santorum to Romney and all his harking back to a simpler, white picket fence America.

But in any case, Newt just tweeted her words to millions and says she’s in his cabinet, and just when you thought Sarah and Todd — who did endorse Newt — were fading away, she’s back, a possible kingmaker!

What’s so clear is that she can’t stomach Mitt, who just said collecting $374,327 in speaking fees in a year is “not very much.”

As Newt fades back into the one item or less line at Tiffany’s the fact that he was running yet another coded racist conservative campaign does not have quite the impact it should. Though it should not be forgotten, Real Racists Do Real Things

Newt Gingrich puts Juan Williams up on that Summer Jam screen, and church of white populism says Amen:

Next to the election of a black president, we’d say that Gingrich’s standing O was the most compelling dramatization of racial progress so far this century. Which isn’t to say that racism has been completely eradicated. It lives on in the minds of liberals who see Bull Connor when they look at Ozzie Nelson.

Again if you really want to believe that racism “lives on in the minds of liberals” and that Gingrich’s address to Williams stands just below the election of the country’s first black president, I’m sure you can marshal some sort of evidence for support. If your chief goal, as a thinking person, is to find a path to making yourself right, you may never amount to much of a thinking person, but you can never be disappointed. It must be admitted that Juan Williams is, himself, no stranger to such pursuits, and that the unerringly righteous are, ultimately, deserving of each other.

[  ]…People who are regularly complicit in wrong, are not in the habit of admitting such things. The unwillingness to admit wrong, the greedy claim upon the powers of disappointment,  the deep sense of injury is not coincidental–it is a necessary fact of wrong-doing. The charge that the NAACP are the actual racist is the descendant of the notion that abolitionists wanted to reduce Southern whites to “slavery,”  that the goal of civil rights was the rape of white women.That Barack Obama would have a “deep-seated hatred of white people” is not a new concept.

Racism is, at its root, a lie.The habit of lying does not end with the racism itself. It is a contagion that extends to the defense of the initial lie.  The expectation of intellectual honesty, from a candidate who employs dishonesty, and from a slice of the electorate that stakes their political lives on that dishonesty is rather bizarre.

When a professor of history calls Barack Obama a “Food Stamp President,” it isn’t a mistake to be remedied through clarification; it is a statement of aggression. And when a crowd of his admirers cheer him on, they are neither deluded, nor in need of forgiveness, nor absolution, nor acting against their interest. Racism is their interest. They are not your misguided friends. They are your fully intelligent adversaries, sporting the broad range of virtue and vice we see in humankind. If you are a praying person, you should pray for their electoral destruction in November.

This has become Standard Operating Procedure in conservatism. Blow that racist dog whistle – food stamps, black president, class warfare is not happening. When called on using said racist dog whistle, claim victim-hood: explaining how conservatives use racial prejudice is a sin far greater than the racism itself. That political tactic and smear is now part of the standard Republican campaign kit. Those concerned about racism are worse than the racists has become such a successful meme that the press/media has been tamed and intimidated once again by right-wing propaganda techniques – Santorum, Race and the Limits of Journalistic Fairness

You’re an NPR reporter covering a presidential candidate. Serious stuff, even if it’s still early in the election season. As he speaks, you think you hear the candidate say something that negatively singles out African-Americans. You try to get an explanation from the candidate after he finishes, but can’t get to him. So, you go back to your hotel and listen to the tape. You’re convinced he said it. But it’s a little garbled.

What do you do?

In the balance, as you prepare your story, could be the fate of one man’s presidential candidacy, or an increase in racial friction during an election year—or just simple accuracy.

This is the situation that Ted Robbins faced covering Rick Santorum in a meeting with voters in Sioux City, Iowa, two days before the Iowa caucuses earlier this month. Unable to get an explanation from Santorum, Robbins went with what he heard, which was a slur against black Americans. Since then, however, many listeners—and the candidate himself—say that in the garbled comment, the candidate did not mention blacks. At the most, others say, the candidate might have started to say “black” but stopped himself.

[  ]…This is what Robbins’ story quoted Santorum as saying in Iowa:

They’re [undefined who, but probably government and politicians] just pushing harder and harder to get more and more of you dependent upon them so they can get your vote. That’s what the bottom line is.

I don’t want to make black people’s lives better by giving them somebody else’s money. I want to give them the opportunity to go out and earn the money.

[  ]…And so the resulting story on Morning Edition did not lead with the “black” comment or hype it by calling it racially provocative. It was only midway through the three-and-a-half-minute report that Robbins said on air:

For Santorum, that [core message] means cutting government regulation, making Americans less dependent on government aid, fewer people getting food stamps, Medicaid and other forms of federal assistance – especially one group.

And then followed the tape of Santorum making the famous quote, which we could all hear for ourselves. The story then cuts back to Robbins, who adds:

Santorum did not elaborate on why he singled out blacks who rely on federal assistance. The voters here didn’t seem to care.

This last comment can be taken in many ways, but Robbins says he was referring to the lack of reaction in the almost all-white audience, which clapped politely.

Curiously, many reporters were at the event, and only NPR reported the highly newsworthy black quote.

Had it been Mitt Romney, or, say, President Barack Obama, who had muffed a line, their press spokespeople would have been all over the journalists to correct—or spin—the statement.

[   ]…CBS was able to do a fact check. Instead of looking at Medicaid, CBS looked at food stamps, a program much easier to analyze. Pelley pointed out that only nine percent of Iowans who receive food stamps are black; 84 percent are white—somewhat reflecting Iowa’s overall racial makeup.

Pure objectivity doesn’t exist. It must be tempered with fairness, with context that considers consequences, or we lose trust.

You’re a very visible candidate running for the presidency of the U.S.A. You think and should know something about the food assistance program. It’s not like asking him or him pontificating about NASA and specific communication satellite missions. Now, last month, five years ago, or twenty-five years ago more whites were on supplemental food assistance than black Americans. Why would you use less than 10% of the people on such a program as your example. Conservatives can spin all they like there is a recurring pattern at work with conservatives and the images they invoke in voter’s minds - Food Stamp President? The Science of Why Gingrich’s Race-Tinged Label Sticks

Black Stereotypes in White America

While core values and their activation by news frames play a significant role in structuring American views about poverty, the issue is by no means “race neutral.” In fact, based on analyses of multiple national surveys, the political scientist Martin Gilens (1995; 1996b; 1999) concludes that among whites, the belief that “black people are lazy” is the most important source of opposition to spending on welfare and to programs that provide direct assistance such as food stamps and unemployment benefits.

In one survey analysis, Gilens determined that holding negative perceptions of white welfare mothers led to some increase in opposition to welfare spending, but the increase was limited.  In contrast, holding negative views of black welfare mothers resulted in substantial increases in opposition (Gilens 1996b; 1999).

He also compared the relationship between the real world incidence of blacks in poverty to shifts in news magazine and TV portrayals, examining any corresponding changes in the public’s perception of poverty’s racial composition. Between 1985 and 1991, while the actual percent of poor who were black remained relatively constant at about 29%, the percent of blacks featured in media portrayals of poverty increased from 50% to 63%; and public estimates of the percent of the poor who were black increased from 39% to 50%.

Other research is consistent with Gilens’ conclusions. For example, Gilliam (1999) traces the stereotype of the “black welfare queen” to a story recited in stump speeches during the 1976 presidential campaign by Ronald Reagan. Gilliam argues that the image has become a common script found in TV news coverage. In his experiments testing the effects of these stereotypes, Gilliam finds that when white viewers watch TV news portrayals of black mothers on welfare, exposure leads viewers to oppose welfare spending and to endorse beliefs that blacks are lazy, sexually promiscuous, law breakers, and undisciplined.

Very wonky research article but worth a read. Liberals are not imagining things. They are not playing the race card. Liberals are dealing with the reality of a very nasty intrinsic part of the conservative movement that has not progressed beyond the 1980s, or hell the 1960s for that matter..

By way of Krugman this morning, Should We Feel Sorry for the Wealthy?

The editors at CBS asked me to respond to Ari Fleischer’s tweets about how tax burdens have changed in recent years:

Are the wealthy paying too much in taxes?: Ari Fleischer, the former White House Press Secretary for U.S. President George W. Bush , has been trying to make the case on Twitter that the wealthy are taking on more of the tax burden than ever. Here’s a sample of his tweets:

@AriFleischer The share of total federal tax paid by bottom 60% dropped from 22.5% in ’79 to 14.4% today. Source: CBO

@AriFleischer   The share of total federal tax paid by middle income dropped from 21% in ’79 to 16.5% in ’07.

@AriFleischer The share of total federal taxes paid by top 10% rose from 40.7% in ’79 to 55% in ’07.

The share of total federal taxes paid by top 1% rose from 15.4% in ’79 to 28.1% in ’07

Of course, the argument is incomplete without knowing how the share of income changed over these years. He uses the CBO as a source, so I’ll use the same same data to respond to his claims:

CBO finds that, between 1979 and 2007, income grew by:

275 percent for the top 1 percent of households,
65 percent for the next 19 percent,
Just under 40 percent for the next 60 percent, and
18 percent for the bottom 20 percent.

The share of income going to higher-income households rose, while the share going to lower-income households fell.

The top fifth of the population saw a 10-percentage-point increase in their share of after-tax income.
Most of that growth went to the top 1 percent of the population.
All other groups saw their shares decline by 2 to 3 percentage points.

Let’s take the top 1% first. Between 1979 and 2007 income for this group grew by 275 percent, and the share of income doubled from around 10 percent to around 20 percent of total income. However, the share of taxes for this group less than doubled. Thus, a doubling of income resulted in less than a doubling of taxes. Given that income growth outpaced tax growth, it’s hard to see how we can describe this as an increase in the tax burden for the top 1%.

Not even hard to understand for non-economists. Income for the top has grown far faster than their tax rate.

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