Monthly Archives: May 2009

Giving them enough rope?

This is probably too Machiavellian a prospect, but is it possible that the White House’s walkback of Sotomayor’s 2001 comment — that her race and gender might help her, might make her judgments “better” than a white male’s, in specific cases — is all about stoking the conflagration between the right and the far right currently raging in the Republican party?

On it’s face, it seems unlikely and it might not have been planned to do that, at least not primarily. But, planned or not, I’m guessing that a major effect of the administration backing away from the comment will be to energize the far right wingers in their criticism of it. They will feel vindicated and will take sustenance from it. Not that they were likely to back down in the face of scolding from the “moderate” in the party.

But this will just give them renewed vigor in their obstinate refusal to tone down their crazy talk.

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What are they thinking…?

Or, are they even thinking, for more than a nanosecond, at all?

Even before news leaked concerning the announcement of Sonia Sotomayor as Obama’s Supreme Court pick, conservatives were “spoiling” for a
SCOTUS fight
. A fight based not on the views, history, ideology or any personal characteristics or beliefs of the nominee, but instead based purely, and proudly, on nothing but obstructionism.

Okay, fair enough. But they are just proving, yet again, that the “party of the future” is astoundingly, historically, tragically — and now farcically — tone deaf.

After their trenchant criticism of Pelosi, they are now going to trash a latina — proving that losing the latino/a vote for a few generations isn’t enough of an epic fail and they really want to see just how many women they can also drive away from their Republican party. To be sure, some Republicans attempt to slow the train ride, if only just a little bit, to oblivion. There are two example from, of all places, Utah: Jon Huntsman and Jason Chaffetz.

But, even such strongly right leaning moderation, despite its relative popularity outside the echo chamber, is not viewed favorably within the asylum.

There’s always an a chance they will suffer a sudden, if momentary, attack of rationality, but I’m not sure how likely that is. They of course hold up Sarah Palin and Liz Cheney as proof that some of their best friends candidates and pundits are women. They can even bring forth Michael Steele, now with more mojo, if not actual control or respect from the RNC committeemen, to show how much “urban-suburban hip-hop” street cred they can boast.

But with party back benchers calling for an end to “birthright citizenship” because they fear the wrong sorts of people are taking unfair advantage, and their treatment of strong women who make them feel weak, the likely coming ruthless attacks on Sotomayor are not going to do much for their long term viability.

But still, they can always count on the unwavering support, as David Neiwart writes, of their base.

Update: Judicial Watch and redstate are already on the attack.

Update II: Glenn Greenwald writes approvingly of the pick.

Update III: Huffington Post takes down a ridiculous lie the right wingers have been spewing.

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Five deferment Dick takes terrorism more seriously than you

Former vice president Cheney, who sought and won five draft deferments in the Vietnam era because he “had other priorities” than fighting in a war in which he supported others being killed, is speaking now on national television. He is promulgating more misinformation about his administration and the current one. No surprise there.

One of the most glaring was his claim that, after 9/11, his administration attacked nations that “had the capacity to produce weapons of mass destruction.” Does that sound familiar? It’s not what he and the other administration lackeys were peddling in the run up to the invasion of Iraq. At that time, they were speaking in certainties about the indisputable fact that Iraq not only had all kinds of weapons of mass destruction, but that they were just days, hours, minutes away from launching wmd filled drones and killing us all. Especially your family.

You don’t want terrorists to kill your family, do you? Then shut up and let us invade Iraq.

But they didn’t only lie about Iraq having wmd. They also lied about a connection between Iraq and al-qeada, Iraq involvement in 9/11and a slew of other fantasies.

Of course, when enough people realized the lies, it was too late and we are now stuck in Iraq for who knows how long. This was what this man’s sage advice brought us before.

And, of course, he completely glosses over how he and everyone else in the administration ignored intelligence before 9/11 that al qeada was planning attacks in the US.

And now, for some strange reason, the Republican party, the American Enterprise Institute and the media villagers think we should still listen to this man’s opinion about world affairs. I wouldn’t listen to his opinion about the color of orange juice.

Here’s a reminder of some of the lies and bullshit he and his cronies have spouted before:

Five deferment Dick makes his first appearance at 2:16. At 3:54, Bush does his hilarious bit about not being able to find wmd at the White House Correspondent’s Dinner — you know, the one that was classy and had all the villagers rolling in the aisles, unlike Stephen Colbert’s unwelcome snark or Wanda Sykes’ meanness. And at 4:57, an off camera passer by tells five deferment Dick during an interview what the vast majority of Americans think of him.

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Complete lack of self awareness

The other day I noted, as have many others, that many right wingers in America today are better described as authoritarian rather than truly conservative. Many right wingers are in fact radical in the positions they take and the policies they advocate. But that is a subject for another post.

One of the characteristics of authoritarians put forth in the link above is a near total lack of self awareness and reflection. This characteristic finds expression multiple times a day in the right wing echo chamber but I just want to briefly note an example that occurred today at one of my favorite trolling destinations, one I have written about with some frequency here: redstate.com.

The posters and commenters have been breathlessly attempting to hype a joke about Miss California Carrie Prejean by Obama adviser David Axelrod into some sort of Democratic Macaca moment. Axelrod was on NPR’s “Wait! Wait! Don’t Tell Me” and, when asked if he gave advice on the Obama’s new dog’s name, said he was only called in on the last three “and one was Miss California.”

This most recently caused the would be Republican party saviors to write a post with this headline: “Obama’s punk, #1 advisor says Christian women are dogs.” A completely rational response, no? Well, the commenters get themselves into a lather defending women against the nasty misogynistic Democrats and leftists.

It’s all the standard faux outrage we have grown accustomed to since the right wingers and Republicans began casting about for an issue, any issue, to try to score political points since their ignominious defeat last November.

But then came the clincher. It was in response to this question from a redstate stalwart:

I would like to point out something that has apparently been missed…
Aaron Gardner Monday, May 18th at 9:53PM EDT
Axelrod *repeated* that “Miss California” was one of three names that he was called in to consult on….meaning the original inference came from either Michelle or Barrack themselves.

So maybe we should be asking President Obama why he believes that a Christian Conservative woman is equatable to a dog as well.

A commenter, whose hope for terrorist attacks on “blue cities in blue states” I quoted before, let fly with this little gem from the campaign:

Well, he is married to one, and at least she claims
Tbone Monday, May 18th at 10:25PM EDT
a Christian affiliation.

Envisioning when all that is Left is the Right.

(The last line is this posters signature, appearing in all his posts. It neatly exemplifies the type of eliminationist rhetoric David Neiwart writes about in his latest book.)

Rather than call him out for the same offense that had the redstaters so exercised, the stalwart commenter “Tbone” was responding to and another frequent commenter show their approbation:

Tbone…she certainly doesn’t claim to be conservative though…lol…nt
Aaron Gardner Monday, May 18th at 10:32PM EDT

Aaron’s Archive

conform and celebrate diversity….or else!!!

Log in to Reply

ZING….which just goes to show….
JadedByPolitics Monday, May 18th at 10:34PM EDT
when you are pointing a finger you have three pointing back at yourself! Obama has shown absolutely ZERO respect for women and it continue’s even though “he won”!

Whoever has his enemy at his mercy &
does not destroy him is his own enemy

(Note also that JadedByPolitics’ signature also confirms Neiwart’s thesis.)

So, in the minds of the commenters and site administrators at redstate, hoping for “blue” Americans to be murdered by terrorists is not a problem, a joke about naming a dog after Carrie Prejean is cause for extreme moral outrage and prompts calls for Obama himself to apologize and, to cap it all off, calling Michelle Obama a dog and implying she is a fake christian is funny funny.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: and they wonder why they keep losing?

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The genuis of Joe Scarborough

I normally avoid “Morning Joe” on MSNBC like I would the screeching caterwauling of a … well, the screeching caterwauling of a group of uninformed blowhard ignoramuses. Funny coincidence.

Scarborough is moronic and blustery. Brzezinski is vapid and sycophantic. The other guy, who has the unenviable resume item of being Tucker Carlson’s former sidekick, is hollow and off putting. Occasionally they have decent guests and panelists but I don’t know the frequency of appearances of non morons because I hardly ever watch the show. I’m usually doing something much more productive — like sleeping.

Today however, I happened to rise early and, to my misfortune, I tuned in the program.

The conventional wisdom is that MSNBC is the liberal foil to the right wing FoxNews. However, the fact that MSNBC gives so much time to these rightwing apologists demonstrates that they, not the Murdoch vehicle, own the rights to “Fair and Balanced,” desperate and foolish, or even funny, court cases notwithstanding.

This morning, after a long cold night in the wilderness, the hosts were positively giddy at the prospect of a new dawn for the right: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s claim that the CIA misled her about waterboarding.

None of us know at this point how this case will turn out of course. But the right is latching onto this for all its worth, and possibly a great deal more. Scarborough and Brzezinski are no exceptions.

The basic line is that CIA agents would never mislead or lie to congress, so, ipso facto, they did not mislead or lie to congress. Further, the fact that Pelosi asserted they misled her or lied to her, when all right thinking people just know the CIA would never mislead her or lie to her, destroys her credibility and, by extension, that of Barack Obama, every Democrat and anyone to the left of Dick Cheney ever.

But then Mean Old Buzzkill Lawrence O’Donnell came along with his irritating knowledge, grasp of reality and use of facts.

Goddamn lib’ruls!!

O’Donnell mentioned that none other than St AuH2O said that the CIA lied to him about mining harbors in Nicaragua in the 1980s.

Goddamn lib’ruls!!

Scarborough, The Genius, replied that by then Goldwater was “as crazy as [O’Donnell].” This is of course the vaunted No True Scotsman fallacy. Normally, such hooey would be laughed off the stage in a rational debate. On “Morning Joe,” however, it passed for sacrosanct Truth and irrefutable logic.

To O’Donnell’s credit, he was able to carry on rather than stare slack jawed and gobsmacked at the idiocy surrounding him. In the next segment, the hosts and panelists, including Richard Viguerie, were discussing the current sad state of the Republican party and the right.

O’Donnell had the temerity to repeat a point he has made before: that all mainstream American politicians, including most if not all Republicans serving in office now and for the last 70+ years, were and are socialists because they refuse to even advocate ending social security, medicare and medicaid.

This is much like O’Donnell’s takedown of Pat Buchanan complaining about Obama speaking at Notre Dame despite Obama’s pro choice views while ignoring his own and others’ deviation from the church’s position against the death penalty.

Goddamn lib’ruls!!

It is beyond refutation that social security, medicare and medicaid are socialists programs. You’d think that even the dimmest rightwing pundit would have the intelligence to acknowledge this and admit to being just a teeny bit “socialistic.” Ah, but then that would show that you didn’t account for Joe Scarborough, Wonder Boy.

Without acceding to O’Donnell’s point, he hemmed and hawed about advocating talking about considering perhaps calling for ending the Department of Education and, when pinned by O’Donnell, claimed that he, as a true conservative, would not be for ending the now decades old programs in the interest of social stability.

So there you have it: according to Joe “The Big Brain” Scarborough, socialism is conservative.

And then Scarborough had the nerve to repeatedly make pointed reference to O’Donnell supposedly using “pharmaceuticals.” I don’t know the specifics of this obviously inside implication, but, I would humbly suggest that Scarborough stop ingesting whatever brand of crazy pills he’s apparently swallowing by the handful and switch to whatever “pharmaceuticals” O’Donnell is supposedly taking.

Goddamn lib’ruls!!

Update: Crooks and Liars Video Cafe now has the video.

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the way forward for the left

I, like so many others, have been having a lot of fun mocking the right for their lack of substantive ideas and their run of astonishingly bad choices in the wake of the last election. And I’m not about to stop.

However, there has to be more than that or else, like so called ‘intelligent design‘ and creationism, it just amounts to poking holes, or trying to, in an opposing position and hoping that by default, my argument wins. That doesn’t mean I’m swearing off criticizing the right. Far from it. In addition to still noting their rhetorical ineptitude, I will continue criticizing their positions.

But it also means I will criticize the Obama administration when warranted. The right’s hack Obama as messiah meme aside, that is an area where liberals, progressives and the left have the right beat by miles. Speaking generally of course, we tend to be better at self reflection and criticism while the right tends much more toward toeing the party line and not criticizing their leaders.

You’re either with us or against us

I believe that this stems from the fact, as many have noted, that the rightwing in America today is far better described as authoritarian rather than truly conservative. And despite the currently fashionable, though unbelievably ignorant, penchant for many on the right to conflate liberalism or socialism and fascism, the left is generally very well described as anti authoritarian.

As such, I will not hesitate to criticize Obama from the left. Many rightwingers will no doubt misunderstand this as some sort of disillusionment with what they take to be my god like hero. It always amazes me that they project so much of themselves onto liberals, progressives and other left of center types when they claim that someone on the left must, by definition, be a hero to us.

They are the ones who are generally unable to stand any criticism of their dear leaders. They just assume the same is true for us. Another thing they get wrong.

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Teh crazy, it burns!

You’d think that the folks at Redstate.com, being denizens of the web, would try backing off making up stoopid lies. But, then you would be giving away the fact that you expect them to act with a modicum of respect for the themselves, their readers and the truth. Which, of course, is crazy:

You might think it should be obvious that terrorists should not be given the same rights as the troops who defend us from them. But then again, you might think there’d be no reason to resettle terrorists in the U.S., or to give them welfare benefits. You’d be wrong

dday at Hullabaloo has a nice takedown of teh crazy.

How desperate do Republicans and right wingers have to be to make up such silly lies like the Obama administration wants to “settle” terrorists in your neighborhood and “give them welfare benefits”? That is beyond mere hyperbole and bombastic rhetoric. It’s just plain crazy. I’m talking full blown paranoia here.

Who do they think they’re going to win over with these kind of transparently ridiculous and laughable attempts at smears? Okay, granted. There are people, probably a large contingent of Redstate readers among them, who actually do believe this is exactly what the Democrats are planning to do. They are ready and willing to believe that Barack Obama’s highest personal ambition is to set KSM up with a section 8 mansion right next door to their grandmother’s house.

But this is a very small percentage of the American people because most of us are in fact not clinically insane. And the people who do believe this lunacy are already pretty much on board with the extremist right wing agenda. Others, even those who don’t much like Obama, Democrats, liberals or anyone to the left of William F Buckley, are not going to be swayed by this nonsense. In fact, although I don’t have the figures to say for sure, I’d be willing to bet that more than 90% of Americans either fall out of their chairs laughing at this crapola or just quietly shake their heads in sadness and pity.

The bottom line is that this utterly loco silliness hurts far far more than it could possibly ever help the Republican party and conservatives. I honestly do not understand how the people who peddle foolishness like this think they are helping their cause. At some point I have to think that a majority of Republicans and conservatives will come to their senses enough to realize that this is unhelpful. Clearly, that realization has not set in yet.

Update: The realization most certainly has not set in yet. They’re doubling down on teh crazy with another post. We held German POWs, among them hardcore nazis, in the US during world war 2. But, as dday at Hullabaloo notes in the link above, these geniuses think terrorists are a bigger threat than the third reich.

Update II: Wow. Just freaking wow. Now they’ve put up yet another post. This one with an embedded video ad from the Republican savants in congress, complete with scary music and — I’m not kidding — footage of the 9/11 attacks. Yes, conservative Republicans are showing footage of the planes slamming into the towers in a political commercial. And, as the sages at Redstate note, they actually believe it’s a winning issue for them. They also link to the congressional Republican’s website on the issue. What’s more, the scummy Republican website co opts the Never Again phrase used to remember the Holocaust.

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