Tag Archives: media

Great Video from Blue America on Republicans and Debt

by john

Blue America has another good video knocking Boehner and the Republicans for running up deficits and the debt (via Digby, who has a couple other videos up today):

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Breitbart Lies About Shirley Sherrod: do facts actually matter anymore?

By John

[This post has been edited to correct the spelling of Breitbart and Sherrod]

Update: here’s the full original video from the NAACP site, also via TPM:

Update II: go here to sign a petition to support Sherrod being reinstated.

While the NAACP is receiving death threats over their call for the ‘tea parties’ to repudiate racists elements in their midst, the rightwing republican blogs are getting the vapors over a very deceptively edited tape of an Ag Department official who is made to appear to admit to blatant racism against a white farmer. The conveniently redacted video is of a black woman, Shirley Sherrod, explaining how she encountered racial tension and her own mixed feelings, 24 years ago, before working through the difficulties, helping the white family keep their farm and becoming friends with them.

I first saw the video at redstate, although it was first put out by Brietbart’s Big Government site, the same site that put out the very deceptively edited ACORN videos, which created an equally untrue perception. It was clear that it was strategically cut, literally it stopped Sharrod in mid sentence when it appeared she was going to explain how her first reactions were mistaken.

TPM is working on getting the whole, unedited, tape, which a local production company is holding until it gets permission from the local NAACP chapter to release it.

Sharrod has spoken to the Atlanta Journal Constitution and CNN — Media Matters has the video, which I can’t embed. I’ll put it up here as soon as it’s available in a format wordpress supports.

So, do the actual facts matter here? Or are we just going to accept the false rightwing republican narrative that has counter factually smeared Shirley Sharrod, just as they did to ACORN, Van Jones, Dawn Johnson and countless others?

[From the AJC article] The wife of the white farmer allegedly discriminated against by the USDA’s rural development director for Georgia said Shirley Sherrod “kept us out of bankruptcy.”

Eloise Spooner, 82, awoke Tuesday to discover that Sherrod had lost her job after videotaped comments she made in March at a local NAACP banquet surfaced on the web.

But Spooner, who considers Sherrod a “friend for life,” said the federal official worked tirelessly to help the Iron City couple hold onto their land as they faced bankruptcy back in 1986.

“But Tuesday morning, Sherrod said what online viewers weren’t told in reports posted throughout the day Monday was that the tale she told at the banquet happened 24 years ago — before she got the USDA job — when she worked with the Georgia field office for the Federation of Southern Cooperative/Land Assistance Fund.

Sherrod said the short video clip excluded the breadth of the story about how she eventually worked with the man over a two-year period to help ward off foreclosure of his farm, and how she eventually became friends with the farmer and his wife.

“And I went on to work with many more white farmers,” she said. “The story helped me realize that race is not the issue, it’s about the people who have and the people who don’t. When I speak to groups, I try to speak about getting beyond the issue of race.”

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Barber and the ghosts of Washington Post op-eds past: why the old media deserves to die

At a time when a majority of respondents apparently believe Obama is a socialist, the Washington Post decided that it would be a good idea to give column space to a crazy, quasi insurrectionist whackadoodle Alabama congressional candidate best known nationally for cheezy commercials featuring himself in flustered conversations with bad actors portraying the founding fathers — ‘gather your armies’ — and another one in which he talks to an actor portraying Lincoln and equating paying taxes to being held in slavery.

Steve Benin notes the ridiculousness of it all:

Today, Barber has an op-ed in the Washington Post, defending the “politics of fear,” and rationalizing his hatred for America’s leadership.

Over the past 18 months, the federal government has sought to seize or has seized control of the health-care industry, the financial industry, the mortgage industry, the automobile industry, student loans, broadband Internet and the energy sector through cap-and-trade legislation.

If this were true, it might help shed some light on why right-wing activists like Barber are so hysterical. But here’s the thing: these complaints are gibberish. His indictment of the government is based on observations with no foundation in reality.

The federal government hasn’t “seized control” of the health care industry — it approved modest reforms of a dysfunctional system, the kind of reforms many Republicans supported up until very recently, while leaving private control intact. The federal government didn’t “seize control” of the financial industry — the Bush administration bailed out the industry to prevent an economic collapse, and Democrats approved some new safeguards to protect consumers, but left private enterprise in private hands.

And on and on. The mortgage industry has not been nationalized. The automobile industry was rescued, is paying the taxpayers back, and will return to private control. The government was subsidizing student loans anyway, we just ended needless and expensive taxpayer-financed giveaways to banks. The Internet and the energy sector are no closer to government ownership than they were before.

In other words, given a high-profile platform, Rick Barber’s case against the Obama administration and congressional Democrats is patently ridiculous for anyone who takes reality seriously. These aren’t subjective questions, judgment calls, or matters of opinion — the observations he states as fact are demonstrably false.

Which leads to the obvious questions: why on earth is the Washington Post publishing an op-ed with claims the editors surely know to be wrong? How does it inform the newspaper’s readers to present them with delusional assertions with no basis in fact? [Emphasis added]

When people talk about how much poorer the world will be when these dinosaurs finally go extinct, remember decisions like this.

Leave aside the normal rightwing game of telephone that is the Washington Post opinion section; what good does giving this hysterical loon possibly do?

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And now begins the birther summer

The still prevailing narrative is that Democrats will suffer great losses in the fall and Republicans might take over the house and make strong gains in the Senate, even if they might not win both houses. This narrative has been the conventional wisdom for months now and, while it has been getting push back for awhile, it still qualifies for the title of conventional wisdom.

For months, I’ve been writing and saying that I think this is overblown. Yes, historical trends favor the Republicans as the out of power party in the first midterm election. Yes, the birfer/teabagger brigades are vocal and enthused. Yes, the economy is not yet fully recovered. Yes, there is a general feeling of anti incumbency and there are more Democratic incumbents than Republican incumbents. And yes, many progressives and Democrats are less pumped than in 2008.

But I don’t think it’s going to be as bad for the Democrats and progressives as the prevailing narrative is predicting. They will probably lose seats in both houses; but I doubt they’ll lose either of their majorities.

Despite efforts to tamp it down, there will be a civil war on the right. There was a minor freak out yesterday over the fact that a muslim Arab-American won a beauty pageant. It was a tempest in a teapot, but it was still illustrative of the nativist racism that animates so much of the animosity of the birfer/teabaggers.

Even if congress doesn’t act on it, immigration and immigration reform will be part of the debate. This is bad for rightwingers and Republicans because, not only does it alienate latinos and other immigrant groups as well as young people generally, it encourages loony rhetoric, especially from the types of older white people who like to complain in public about their liberties and country being taken away from them and how they, as older white christians, are the most persecuted group in America today.

That’s not exactly a formula for victory for the rightwing Republicans. The leadership knows this, but the base is clueless about their lack of broad appeal.

The base is largely isolated. They watch Fox, listen to talk radio, visit far right sites and mainly only talk politics to people who agree with them. The vastly overestimate the popularity of their views. But, fueled by this misapprehension regarding how many people share their beliefs and prejudices, they are ready to let their freak flag fly.

Like the apocryphal American tourist who shouts louder and more slowly when confronted with people who don’t speak English, the birfer/teabaggers, who are just the far right segment of the rightwing Republicans with new names, become louder and more shrill when they see their message isn’t getting the widespread approval they were so sure it would.

If you thought last summer’s ‘town hall’ meetings featured petulant, whiny baby boomers, wait till this summer. There will be rallies and protests galore. And the anger of the birfer/teabaggers will be directed just as much at the rightwing Republican leadership as at the Democrats, progressives, liberals, immigrants, young people, etc, etc…

When they encounter negative public reaction to their extremism, they will blame the leadership for ‘pulling punches.’ They will get more extreme and the leadership, becoming more and more afraid of their prospects in the general, will pull further and further away. Each factions’ actions will fuel the other’s reactions and it will get increasingly ugly.

And many of their potential supporters will either vote for Democrats or stay home.

Then, after the Republicans under perform, the leadership will blame the extremism of the base and the base will blame the punch pulling of the leadership. The disarray could last until after the 2012 elections.

Now, this could of course be overly optimistic. What if the Republicans do better than I predict, even perhaps taking the House?

I’d still think the base, and in this case the leadership as well, would take the wrong message. They would feel empowered and run to the right in 2012, which, I’d contend, would be a mistake.

Basically, I believe the rightwing Republicans created a monster when they ramped up their fringe base. Whether it’s sooner or later, there will be a backlash against the extremism. When — and whether — that actually happens remains to be seen. But I predict it will come sooner rather than later and that this summer will set off the backlash.

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Birthers, Bunning and Birchers: how rightwing Republicans are setting themselves up to fail

There has been no shortage recently of Republicans concern trolling for the electoral future of Democrats. As Steven Benen notes, the Republicans are so sure that passage would be a disaster for their opposition, they’ve been working furiously to make it happen. Uh huh.

Dave Weigel writes about McCain’s birther gambit against an opponent that should never have been a problem for the former presidential nominee. As he notes, despite rightwing Republican protestations that it will not be effective, Democrats and allies are poised to use this and similar fringe issues and conspiracy theories as a wedge from now till November.

The strategy is to force Republican candidates to choose between their extremist base, who views the conspiracy as undebatable gospel, and potential independent supporters, who largely run away from the slightest hint of such fringe notions.

Bunning is receiving accolades at redstate for, with the help of other rightwing Republicans, furloughing thousands of workers and cutting off unemployment relief for hundreds of thousands of Americans. While the Sunday morning pharisees would rather gossip about the WH social director, this is an issue that will not help the Republicans at the voting booth.

Last, Rachel Maddow notes that the Birchers were not only in attendance at CPAC, they were actually sponsors of the annual rightwing pilgrimage. Nearly five decades after WF Buckley exiled them, they are being welcomed back into the rightwing complex with open arms.

Much has been made of the short memory of the American electorate recently, usually in the course of concern trolling advising Democrats not to even mention anything that happened from Jan 2001 to Jan 2009. I think most of this is just plain wrong if not outright disingenuous hot air.

Every time Cheney snorts in public, rational Republicans cringe. I know that’s an increasingly small subset of the party, but that’s my point.

By Scozzafavaing anyone who doesn’t toe the birther-bunning-bircher line, and toe it with gusto, the rightwingers and Republicans are walking into more election outcomes like NY23 than like Scott Brown’s unusual victory in Massachusetts.

If the American electorate truly does have a short memory span, then the drawn out, boring debate over hcr might be reduced to two images:

  1. histrionic middle aged white people shouting about socialism, ‘government interference’ in social security and medicaid/medicare, and birth certificates
  2. representative samples of the millions of people who were uncovered before Obama signed the bill expressing untold relief that they will not have to die to ensure the profits of the health insurance industry

What will be fresh in their minds’ eyes as they enter the voting booths will be the bloody infighting fueled by the birther-Bunning-bircher troika and whatever other nuttiness the rightwingers decide to put on display between now and November.

Is there any doubt that, feeling emboldened, they will really let their freak flags fly in the coming months?

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The Party of Hypocrisy: the label Republicans (and some Democrats) deserve and that progressives must make stick

I wrote yesterday that progressives should turn the recent flurry of rightwing Republican hypocrisy into a long term narrative of double standards that comes to the forefront of everyone’s mind every single time they see, hear or think or Republicans and rightwingers of any affiliation.

This is certainly happening in response to the continuing over the top examples of hypocrisy and has been an ongoing project of some outlets.* However, as far as the larger message from progressives goes, the notion of Republicans and rightwingers as consummate general practitioners of hypocrisy has not been a recurring theme.

In fact, what is unusual about this particular moment when we are experiencing a surge in stories about Republican and rightwing hypocrisy is not that the level of such hypocrisy has increased, but only that the coverage of that hypocrisy has increased.

And if the past is any guide, this recent uptick will be temporary unless progressives make a concerted effort to keep it at the forefront of the national narrative.

If we know a well is poisoned, we know that any water from that well is not fit to drink. This was true yesterday. It is true today and it will be true tomorrow. Any water from that well, no matter how shiny and clean the bucket seems to be, cannot be trusted to be safe.

Progressives need to establish the fundamental belief that Republicans and rightwingers — of any or no affiliations — are water from the poisoned well of hypocrisy. In time, some Republicans who are not hypocrites might gain positions of influence in their party and will not deserve that label. But, as seems obvious, this is not the way things are today.

In the mean time, if we want to avoid another 8 or 16 years of Republican rule under the leadership of Palin, Beck, O’Reilly and Limbaugh, it is the job of progressives to ensure that there is a virtually hardwired link in the mind of every voter between Republicans and rightwingers and the general — and predictable — practice of unrestrained hypocrisy.

You can check out the full Gingrich from the Daily Show last night here.

* Note, of course, that this is by no means an exhaustive, let alone any where near complete, list of recent and ongoing efforts to document and archive Republican and rightwing hypocrisy. Please feel free to provide other examples in the comments if interested.

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Rationalizing hypocrisy and bad ideas: how to remind voters why they rejected the Republicans

The recent take downs of Palin and Limbaugh for their hypocrisy of use of the term “retard” are good models for how to counter such illogical positions. Colbert’s dissection of the double standard from last night’s show is one of the better ones I’ve seen.

The same is true for the weird rightwing jab that Obama is somehow dependent on teleprompters. This is gold for the committed rightwingers but leaves everybody else shaking their heads. Of course, Palin’s use of note cards during the speech and palm reading during the pre vetted Q&A session makes the hypocrisy even more evident, as does the defense of Palin for doing so.

Below are two examples of defense of these double standards from the commenters at redstate. Note that they seem completely oblivious to the cognitive dissonance they engage in. That is an artifact of hyper partisan speech that has completely left rationality behind.

But, while they might not see their own hypocrisy, it is glaringly obvious not only to those on the left, but also to any one who is not already a committed Obama hater mired in reactionary groupthink. The Dems need to remind independents of what they will be in store for if they vote for the current slate of rightwing Republicans as a means of protest.

They also need to remind them that, along with all the usual hypocrisy, come ideas like privatizing social security, ending medicare and declaring war on Iran.

Here are some redstaters defending Palin’s use of crib notes and giving Limbaugh a pass on the use of “retard.” Although it has to be said that not everyone over there is enamored of Palin and the author of this post criticized Palin’s hypocrisy over use of term, labeling his post “Sarah blew it,” which drew these as the first two comments:

you are WRONG, she answered him perfectly on that question….
JadedByPolitics Tuesday, February 9th at 5:11AM EST (link)
because Rush was doing it satirically did you hear him or did you pick up your talking points from Media Matters? BTW when you live by the PC code you will die by the PC and that is what she made Rahm do and for that she is CORRECT!

I suspect in a debate with The idiot and his Teleprompter she and her palm would SMACK him around. Sarah Palin hit is out of the park in the past week at advancing Conservative Values as she had the entirety of the LEFTIST media watching her every word and of course then there are those like YOU who want to batter her as well but so be it because she is STILL STANDING and what she is saying is gaining traction in America and when the populace likes what they hear they vote OUT Democrats!

Without his TOTUS Obambi is a bumbling idiot
nessa Tuesday, February 9th at 5:19AM EST (link)
he is barely capable with the damn thing. Soon it will be whispering in his ear so he doesn’t screw up corpsman or some other equally difficult word. The tingler and the rest of the lame stream media praise his ability as an orator, but like the rest of obambi’s history, there is nothing to back that up. An orator can speak without the TOTUS, Obambi is reduced to a mumbling idiot without his. I’d rather write an entire speech on my hand than rely upon the TOTUS and the words of the man behind the curtain that feed the great and powerful Oz.

Again, their double standard is invisible to them but is shockingly obvious to everyone else. We need to remind voters that this hypocrisy is not just a fodder for jokes but is emblematic of their entire approach to governing and campaigning.

For a while the Party of No was a good counter to the rightwing Republicans. We should now change that to the Party of Hypocrisy. These issues will stick in people’s mind and make it that much easier for them to see the hypocrisy that is so rife in so much else of what the rightwingers and Republicans preach to the rest of us.

An added benefit is that, as is seen on this thread and elsewhere, such blatant adherence to double standards also drives a wedge between various factions even of the redstate community. This is even more true of the broader rightwing Republican coalition.

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What might have been: Sarah Palin reminds Americans what they voted against

David Weigel at TWI is reporting on the Palin speech to the “Tea Party Convention” in Nashville. I’ve dvr’d it and have only listened to the first fifteen minutes and will either update this post or write more expansively tomorrow.

For now I’ll just say that she is putting the capstone on the merger between the so called tea party — or parties — and the Republican party. It was obvious anyway, but now they’re not even trying to put up a facade. Still, I think that’s a a move that will diminish their outsider credibility and spark various internal skirmishes.

Also, by defending the Bush administration and adopting, in the first fifteen minutes at least, a combative tone reminiscent of some of her really odious posturing during the campaign, it seems that she is giving quite a gift to the administration and congressional Democrats.

Update: Okay, it’s only been a few minutes, but

…and around the world, people who are seeking freedom from oppressive regimes wonder if Alaska is still that beacon of hope for their cause…

I’d have more sympathy for her stumbling over her notes if she hadn’t repeated the strange rightwing Republican attack on Obama as somehow being dependent on teleprompters.

Update II:

…and unethical shameless tactics like considering a candidates children fair game…

Like Rush Limbaugh, John McCain and many other rightwing Republicans did to Chelsea Clinton?

and

and children with special needs are welcomed in this world and embraced

Like the way Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck used exactly the same term Rahm Emanuel used, except they used it explicitly to mock and ridicule developmentally challenged people?

Update III: her hypocrisy is shameless. Sam Stein at Huffington Post notes the following about her Sunday morning appearance on Fox

Palin also used her platform to continue a call for the president to rid himself of his closest advisers. On Attorney General Eric Holder, she labeled his handling of captured terrorists — “allowing them our U.S. constitutional protections when they do not deserve them” — a firing offense. On Chief-of-Staff Rahm Emanuel, she said his comments calling liberal groups “f-ing retards” was “indecent and insensitive” and cause for his dismissal.

But the former governor went to great and sometimes awkward lengths to insist that when conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh used the same exact term to describe the same exact group, it was simply in the role of political humorist.

“They are kooks, so I agree with Rush Limbaugh,” she said, when read a quote of Limbaugh calling liberal groups “retards.” “Rush Limbaugh was using satire … . I didn’t hear Rush Limbaugh calling a group of people whom he did not agree with ‘f-ing retards,’ and we did know that Rahm Emanuel, as has been reported, did say that. There is a big difference there.”

Also, there are now pictures and videos of the notes she scrawled on her hand; no word on whether she wrote the notes before or after she made the telepromter dig.

Again, this would normally not be a big deal if she hadn’t repeated the weird teleprompter line. Also, as Stefan Sirucek notes at HuffPo in the above link, it was a “lovefest” with pre selected questions. Criticizing Obama’s performance at the “question time” with House Republicans and overlooking this requires some world class level mental gymnastics.

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Poll finds many Republicans disconnected from reality; Wapo calls Obama disconnected despite its own polling data

David Kurtz at TPM and Greg Sargent at The Plumline note that, sadly unsurprisingly, a Washington Post article is disproved by the paper’s own polling data. If anyone wonders why people turn away from these corporate mouthpieces when good alternatives exist on the web, this fiasco says it all.

As Sargent points out, when asked whether Obama “understand the problems of people like you,” 57% said yes, 42% said no and 2% were undecided. And the Post chooses to portray this by asserting “almost half” of the respondents feel he is disconnected. They’re not even trying anymore; just like the guy on Hardball yesterday who, in explaining his opposition to ending DADT, said he wanted to outlaw homosexuality.

All of this comes on the heels of the Research2000/DailyKos poll showing how fringe most self identified Republicans are:

Should Obama be impeached?
no: 32%
yes/not sure: 68%

Do you think Barack Obama is a socialist?
no: 21%
yes/not sure: 79%

Do you believe Barack Obama wants the terrorists to win?
no: 43%
yes/not sure: 57%

Do you believe ACORN stole the 2008 election?
no: 24%
yes/not sure: 76%

Do you believe Sarah Palin is more qualified to be President than Barack Obama?
no: 14%
yes/not sure: 86%

Do you believe Barack Obama is a racist who hates White people?
no: 36%
yes/not sure: 64%

Do you believe your state should secede from the United States?
no: 58%
yes/not sure: 42%

Should public school students be taught that the book of Genesis in the Bible explains how God created the world?
no: 15%
yes/not sure: 85%

Should contraceptive use be outlawed?
no: 56%
yes/not sure: 44%

Do you believe the birth control pill is abortion?
no: 48%
yes/not sure: 52%

Do you consider abortion to be murder?
no: 8%
yes/not sure: 92%

Do you believe that the only way for an individual to go to heaven is though Jesus Christ, or can one make it to heaven through another faith?
other: 15%
christ/not sure: 85%

These are not people who have the slightest interest in compromise or bipartisan unicorns and rainbows. If Democrats want to achieve legislative and further electoral success, they must bring this craziness out in the open.

Call them on it. Force votes that make Republican incumbents and candidates to stake out a position on wedge issues that will force them to choose between the fringe elements in the base and moderates and independents who will not support the extremist positions that titillate the base.

Call into radio shows; go to forums, rallies and townhalls and make the Republicans stake out a position on these issues. Don’t let them have their cake and eat it too.

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Rebranding the Party of No: Republicans try to put a positive spin on obstructionism

After the unexpected smackdown Obama gave the House Republicans, the rightwingers and Republicans are making clear that they are doubling down on the ‘Party of No’ obstructionism that has allowed them to monkeywrench hcr.

There’s not exactly a shortage of people offering all sorts of advice on getting messages across. One thing that seems clear is that presenting a laundry list facts and figures does not motivate adequate numbers of voters, either in the election booth or in polls and other gauges of ‘the mood of the country’ in between elections. Now I’d say that the notion of ‘the mood of the country’ is a pretty ludicrous construction. The best we can probably do is to talk about the predominant for now mood of various constituent groups of various coalitions. However, as the current teabagger infighting shows, even that may be several bridges too far.

Looking at blogs like Daily Kos, Talking Points Memo, Think Progress, Crooks and Liars, Redstate, Town Hall and any number of others will show that posters and commenters at all these sites also express ‘internal’ dissension and outright infighting. Still, on specific elections and big issues like hcr, what are at other times loose groups tend to tighten up and coalesce around candidates and issue positions, especially when confronted with such polarized choices as they pretty much inevitably are in the US.

As I noted above, facts and figures alone, however impressively arrayed, do not generally pull voters into a dedicated orbit around a candidate or policy position. I have not yet really dug into the book, but I’m tending to think Drew Weston is right when, in The Political Brain: The Role of Emotion in Deciding the Fate of the Nation, he argues that narratives, by reaching our emotions, are more persuasive.

As the rightwingers and Republicans have demonstrated, those stories and ’emotional truths’ need not actually be grounded in reality. However, when the narratives are actually based in fact rather than distortion, they have the beneficial effect of attracting the not insignificant number of voters who are persuaded by facts and figures.

Together with people who respond more positively to emotionally undergirded narratives, they might form a coalition that can counter the Party of No agenda of the rightwingers and Republicans.

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