Tag Archives: terror

The Economy, Nativism and Islamophobia

by john

In previous times it was other religious and immigrant groups that became the American national scapegoats. Today it is all muslims, from would be directors of community outreach centers to random cab drivers. Real Americans sure do love to hate those lesser people among us. And, for the record, those ‘lesser people’ include everyone who doesn’t think Sarah Palin and Rand Paul are the best things out there.

The Real Americans define who is a fellow Real American and who is lesser. In their considered opinion, the lesser are almost all non white people, although some will be let inside the gates as junior conditional members after a suitable show of obsequiousness. They are all muslims. They are many jews. They are all christians who dare to believe in social justice. They are all, airport bathrooms and meth fueled gay hooker massage sessions aside, all non straight people. They are not only liberals but rightwingers who served in the Reagan and Bush administrations but who don’t completely toe the far rightwing fringe line.

The self proclaimed Real Americans are puffed up but scared and wounded, mostly white people who are afraid of losing their white privilege. They are not unique to America, at base. Every society has a certain proportion of scared reactionary troglodytes who will always hate and suspect the other, however that other is defined at any particular moment.

But, in times of economic hardship, their vile can spread beyond their nominal ranks. In recent years, the trogs seem to make up between 20 and 30 per cent of the population. But, Ed Brayton at his blog Dispatches from the Culture War at Science Blogs, brings us this depressing news:

click on link to The Economist

Brayton seems to have misread a particular result and claims that fewer than half of the Democrats approve it, which is noted in the first comment, but still. Fewer than 60 per cent of these Dems approve it and a quarter oppose it. Another commenter, ‘Abby Normal,’ makes this good point:

This poll was from an opt-in internet survey of 1000 people. Perhaps it’s just wishful thinking on my part. But it seems likely that those who opt in would be those with the strongest (i.e. emotionally driven) opinion. If so, bias toward anti-Islamic opinions skewing the results seems entirely likely.

That’s somewhat hopeful, but only slightly so. It seems that all human societies are prone to this sort of xenophobia. Despite all the rightwing hoopla about ‘American Exceptionalism,’ America is not, never has been, and likely never will be immune from this.

But one thing is different now. People are on record with their opinions and positions on this and the record is archived. The xenophobes will never be able to run from the bigotry and prejudice they are spewing these days. There are tens if not hundred of millions of people on the web who will make sure that the vileness they are indulging in now will be hung around their necks for the rest of their lives and forever after that.

They don’t get to walk away from this ugliness when they decide it is no longer politically beneficial.

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Redstate’s Erickson: threats of violence are bad, but not really that big a deal and Democrats deserve them anyway

[This post has been edited to correct the spelling of Eric Cantor’s name.]

This could be the beginning of the rightwing meltdown.

If King George Will Not Listen . . .

This is one of those posts that has to be written and has to be said, though I know going in to it I’m going to get beaten up from all sides, though especially from a left particularly out to get me right now.

Nonetheless, this must be said.

The threats, potential acts of violence, and violence against those who voted for the health care legislation must be condemned. They are neither helpful to those seeking repeal nor the acts of a civilized society. I comfortably say I speak for all the front page posters here condemning the violence and threats. The people who think this country has descended into the darkness do in fact send us down a dark path themselves with these actions.

…snip…

I’ve said for weeks I was a bit fearful of what would happen as a result. I sincerely pray we are not on the cusp of some group of angry and now unhinged mob lashing out at congressmen for a vote in the Congress. But something seems to be brewing and I frankly don’t think the Democrats should at all be surprised. They were and they knew they were playing with fire to advance legislation many Americans see as the undoing of the American Experiment. Some of those Americans will now conclude that, like with the founders, if King George will not listen, King George must be fought. [emphasis added]

In a sane political environment, this could be the beginning of a rightwing meltdown. But, in our current politics, it’s probably not. How many Republican party officials will condemn this?

I’d be surprised if one did. Cantor is supposed to speak on the violence in a couple of hours today — will he be called, or feel compelled, to comment on this disgusting post?

This mealy mouthed cowardly condemnation of violence in one weak breath followed by full throated expressions of support and understanding of the violent impulses is exactly what too many on the right think they can get away with.

They cannot.

They can also not get away with claiming Rep Lewis lied about being the recipient of our most vile racial epithet. They are on record and will pay the price for cozying up to violent extremists in the court of public opinion and at the ballot box.

Erickson is explaining away, and in so doing, condoning and supporting political violence. Now and forever, he owns this.

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Redstate commenter calls people with Obama bumber stickers “targets”; how will admins respond?

I’ve noted before, as have the redstate admins and regulars themselves, the far rightwing Republican site aggressively polices its comments sections.

They decry and swarm comments they disagree with, frequently ban commenters for comments they deem inappropriate and even disappear comments they see as sufficiently problematic.

I hope they do some or all of the above to this comment and commenter. Unfortunately, I won’t be holding my breath. They tend to be a bit selective in their faux completely fair and balanced (TM) outrage.

That Obama sticker on your bumper………
makemyday Thursday, March 18th at 9:50AM EDT (link)
used to show the rest of us how stupid you are.

If this passes that bumper sticker just made you a target!

When all else fails…….. Shoot!

“Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it.” –American author Mark Twain (1835-1910)

“We should never despair, our Situation before has been unpromising and has changed for the better, so I trust, it will again. If new difficulties arise, we must only put forth new Exertions and proportion our Efforts to the exigency of the times.” –George Washington, letter to Philip Schuyler, 1777

click for link

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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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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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Blaming Obama for Xmas attack will backfire on rightwingers and Republicans

Recently, former George Bush spokeswoman Dana Perino claimed, incredibly, that no terrorist attacks occurred during the Bush administration. She made the astounding comment while blaming Obama for the Ft Hood shooting. More recently, Republican strategist Mary Matelin claimed that the Bush administration “inherited” 9/11 from Bill Clinton.

Now, in the wake of the attempted Christmas plane bombing, far too many Republicans and rightwingers are at it again. Only hours after the incident, Republicans and others were busily trying to gain partisan advantage on the back of the averted tragedy.

Republicans and rightwingers are so tone deaf, and now so over confident as well, that they are the only institution on the face of the planet that can make the Democrats seem reasoned and responsible. Together with their reactionary general obstructionism and their absolutist opposition to health care reform, their naked and cringe inducing partisanship in response to this attempted attack will hurt them greatly.

They will not see the gains they are expecting next November, gains any rational party would be able to put in the bank. Instead, voters will, in significant numbers, turn away from their clownish buffoonery and poison politics.

Sadly, this continuing Republican and rightwing clownishness might lessen the need for Democrats to improve their own lackluster performance.

Update: Crooks and Liars has video of Rove joining the party.

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Perino: no terrorists attacks occurred during Bush administration

From Media Matters and Huffington Post:

No, really. She actually said that. And she wasn’t joking. And, of course, Hannity and the other guest didn’t bat an eye or, y’know, remind her about the almost 3000 people who died eight years ago or about the fatal anthrax letters.

This is a sad follow up to my last post. In today’s rightwing echo chamber, Perino gets to say that, despite the fact that the worst instance of terrorism in United States history occurred under Bush’s watch, in fact, no terrorist attacks actually occurred under Bush’s watch.

This is what passes for accurate and intelligent analysis for rightwingers and Republicans.

And the really weird part is that she wasn’t intentionally or consciously telling a lie. As far as she, her fellow rightwing Republican talking heads, and most of her Fox ‘News’ audience are concerned, she uttered the god’s honest truth.

If for a moment, they allowed a vague recollection of Sep 11 2001 to enter their consciousness, they would quickly mitigate it by reminding themselves that, of course, those attacks as well as the anthrax letters were in truth Clinton’s fault.

You can’t blame a new president for the mess the previous one left. Well, if the new president is not a Republican, then of course you can do that, but that’s another story.

Update: Via Media Matters, Perino obviously explains that, obviously, it’s your obvious fault for misunderstanding her obviously obvious meaning. Obviously.

Here’s a clip from the comment section:

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The Uninformed Agrieved: at least they know they’re mad

I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by Mathews conduct of this interview and it brings up an important trend: the proud and willful rejection of any reference to facts and rationality in preference for stridently reactionary emotionalism.

Chris Mathews actually came down pretty hard on Bishop Thomas Tobin of Providence Rhode Island over his refusal to allow Rep Kennedy to take communion. Mathews asked him if abortion is murder, what should the penalties be and Tobin dodged the question.

Mathews said Tobin must either make specific recommendations or stay out of “law making,” which the Bishop has “transgressed” into. Pretty strong stuff about separation of church and state, saying the church needs to stick to moral suasion.

Mathews notes that, although he shares the Bishop’s views on abortion, Tobin is reluctant to advise “even a minute in jail” for women and girls who have abortions because Americans, Catholics and others, don’t view abortion as a crime.

The piece began with a clip of JFK, still a presidential candidate in Houston, seeking to allay fears that he would be beholden to the Pope as President:

I believe in an America that is officially neither Catholic, Protestant nor Jewish. Where no public official, either requests or accepts instructions on public policy from the Pope, the National Council of churches or any other ecclesiastical source. Where no religious body seeks to impose its will, directly or indirectly, upon the general populace or the public acts of its officials.

Mathews repeated the quote, asking Tobin what he thinks of it. Tobin replies that JFK was talking about “establishing a national religion.” Incredulous, Mathews asked how he can assert such a transparently untrue assertion.

You think he meant something different from what he said?

The short answer is yes, he probably does. Although he could be cynically manipulating the faithful, it’s also entirely likely that the good bishop has deluded himself enough that he can purposely accept a ridiculous interpretation of Kennedy’s meaning.

It happens so often that it can become hard to notice. Here is just a short selection from today’s toobnetz:

  • New Left Media (via HuffPo) has a great video showing the vacuousness of Palin autograph seekers:
  • Via TPM, the RNC thinks they lost the last two elections because they were just too leftist, so they think it’s a good idea to implement a purity test.
  • Via Think Progress, teabaggers think it’s just a hoot to jeer a woman whose uninsured pregnant daughter in law died.
  • Via Crooks and Liars, Tucker Carlson, in all seriousness, asserts that Palin is “as smart as” Al Gore and “more experienced than” Obama.
  • Via Plumline, Cheney slams Obama for bowing the the Japanese Emperor despite serving two presidents who did exactly the same thing.
  • Via TPM, Crist spells it out:

    “It’s hard to be more conservative than I am on issues — though there are different ways stylistically to communicate that — I’m pro-life, I’m pro-gun, I’m pro-family, and I”m anti tax.” … “I don’t know what else you’re supposed to be, except maybe angry too.” [Emphasis added]

  • And last, via Political Animal at The Washington Monthly, Steve Benin, addressing the issue, quotes Isaac Chotiner at TNR

    The first problem with this argument is that … Palin is unlikely to become a policy wonk because she is not very smart. What’s more, Douthat’s argument is tautological. Sure, it would be nice for the GOP if Palin and Huckabee were interested in policy. But if they were interested in policy, then they would not be so appealing to the GOP base.

    In other words, the problem is that a large part of the right has no interest in a policy wonk, and sneers at intellectuals and elites and the types of people Douthat would like to see running the party. A candidate who was interested in learning the ins and outs of the welfare state and health care policy is unlikely to ever achieve Palin/Huckabee levels of popularity with the grassroots.

These examples illustrate the views and psyches of a fairly large segment of our society. Recent polls estimate this group to comprise around 20 to 25 percent of the general populace.

That means, assuming you live in an average place, demographically speaking, and you’re in a room or on a bus with 19 other people, four or five of them believe things that are demonstrably untrue and act on those beliefs politically and socially.

In some areas the percentage of your 20 busmates or roomates will be lower; but in other areas, it will be higher — and in some of those areas, very, very much higher.

The web, along with older media like talk radio and Fox News, help fan the flames of such irrationality. But, like printing presses and cans of spray paint, this specific technology is still neutral. Barring further corporate intrusion, it is not in and of itself responsible for the ignorance spread through its reaches.

It just as readily carries counter arguments and refutations. But to do so, it must be peopled with those who are ready and willing to counter the ignorance. Thankfully, it is.

And after coming of age doing so much to fight the spread of misinformation during eight years of rightwing Republican misrule under Bush and Cheney et al, progressives and liberals on the web are well positioned to keep banging on the outside walls of the rightwing echo chamber.

[This post has been changed since original publication to correct the wording of the final paragraph and to acknowledge that emphasis was added to the Crist quote from TPM.]

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Newsmax tries to disappear column advocating a military coup against Obama

Here’s yet another example, as if one were needed, of the rightwingers not getting the archive.

(via TPM)

(via TPM)

These people are not thinking rationally. TPM and Media Matters, among many, many others, have the story, including this link to a PDF of the article and this to a web version of it.

By trying to act as if the column never existed, they are ensuring it will be linked to and reposted innumerable times.

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