Monday, August 29, 2011

A Word to the Whiners.

If you can get beyond her atrociously and openly racist first sentence, you need to listen to the rest of her diatribe.

This woman is running for President of the United States. She may get the Republican nomination. There are actually people who call themselves Progressives(I call them Firebaggers), who are actually thinking about voting for this woman, should she be nominated, as a sick sort of revenge against Barack Obama, for not waving his magic wand and making everything hunky-dory and moreso in less than 4 years.

These people reckon that, because the GOP seemed to have revitalised themselves in less than a four-year Administrative span, so, too, will the Progressive movement rise like a Phoenix from the embers of what was once Barack Obama.

It don't work that way, sunshine.

Vote Bachmann or Perry or even Mitt Romney, and not only do you consign yourself and the country to at the very least a quarter century of Republican rule, you hand the whole kit-and-caboodle over to the Dominionist Praetorian guards who are fronts for the Koch brothers.

A Bachmann or a Perry will engender a Christie, who'll engender a Rand Paul, who'll engender a Marco Rubio, with the Overton window snapping shut and the Democratic Party dead in the water.



A world without end of Republican domination. Amen.

You need to think about all this "criticism," which amounts to criticism of just about everything this President does or doesn't do, and ask yourself why, exactly, you do it? And be realistic, because his failure to give you a unicorn with wings doesn't even come close to explaining it.

You need to look at all your so-called Leftwing media icons and ask yourself if they're really who and what they say they are. Just look at the number of Damascene conversions from the Republican dark side, who've relatively recently emerged as "Progressives." Yes, I'm looking at Ed "Don't Vote" Schultz, Cenk "The President is a moron" Uygur, and Her Serene Highness Queen Ratfucker Omnipotent of Medialand, herself, Arianna Huffington.

I'm talking about all those pundits who hide behind the comedian's mask and call themselves Progressive, whilst bigging up Ron Paul's credentials. It's easy to surmise that those sheeple who think Daddy Paul is Daddy Cool for wanting to legalise pot and bring the troops home, certainly aren't aware of Paul's racist and white supremacist connections, nor of the fact that Stormfront - the REAL Nazis - endorse him. But you can bet your bottom dollar, Bill "Islamophobe-I'm-for-the-death-penalty-and-racial-profiling" Maher is.

So go ahead and keep the divisive criticism up. Cry about your Maypo when someone tells you off about it. And, please, by all means, vote for Michelle Bachmann. You might wake up one morning in 2013 and find that Social Security and Medicare have been put on the table, served up and eaten, only to be washed down with Koch.

But you'll only probably blame Obama.

One final thought: the single tie that binds the Teabagging Right to the Firebagging Left is racism. If you don't think so, just start calling yourselves "Cleopatra."

Confederate Americans (We Know Them as Something Else)

At the recommendation of a fellow Southerner, I'm currently reading a book I should have read long ago - Tony Horwitz's Confederates in the Attic.

It's one of the most honest representations of the Southern psyche I've yet to read, without any of the snark, insinuation, condescension and assumption many on the Left make about Southerners, as a whole, today.

But it also made me realise something supremely ironic.

There's a chapter devoted to a week-long odyssey Horwitz made with a real hardcore Civil War re-enactor named Robert Lee Hodge, who's now, actually, an Emmy Award-winning documentary filmmaker. The idea was to cover all the major Virginia battlefields in a one-week blast - basically, condense four years of fighting into one week. Hodge referred to the trek as a "Civil Wargasm."

I guess there's still plenty of that left in Virginia, where the bulk of the fighting took place, and the first great irony of this was that Virginia could also be deemed a site of Revolutionary Wargasm too - the colony-cum-state who produced so many of the original Founders, including the authors of the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights and the Constitution, should also produce many of its military and political brethren who tried, for one reason or another, to rend it asunder. Oh hell ... the damned ordeal was all about slavery. Any fool knows that, and it's a bigger one who doesn't or who says he doesn't.

Horwitz's book was written in the mid-1990s, when we had a Bubba in the White House, a Bubba as Vice-President and a Bubba as Speaker of the House. Yes, the South had risen again and morphed into Bubba Heaven.

Horwitz and Hodge hit Richmond during the week that the City Council was meeting to discuss the possibility of placing an additional statue on Richmond's famous (or infamous, depending on who you are) Monument Avenue. This is a wide thoroughfare in the city adorned with humoungous statues of Confederate icons - Lee, Jackson, Jefferson Davis, and the rock star, himself, Jeb Stuart. The single biggest testament to a gaggle of losers to be found anywhere, and I'm saying that as a Southerner. Honest to Pete (Longstreet, Confederate general and BFF of Ulysses S Grant, who turned Republican after the War), Monument Avenue is a real testament to Lost Cause mentality.

At the time of Horwitz's visit, however, the Council was debating whether or not to add a statue of a real son of Richmond, an iconic sportsman and a true hero, Arthur Ashe, who'd recently died.

Horwitz listened as the first two members of the public rose to speak. They were two elderly men, one white and one black.

An elderly white man in a seersucker suit and a red bow tie was one of the first to speak. His appearance and courtly drawl fit my stereotype of a stuffy Richmonder - an image that his words quickly contradicted. "We have Monument Avenue, not Confederate War Monument Avenue," he said. "Let's change it from a fantasy to a true Monument Avenue. If we don't, we'll be saying to the world that Arthur Ashe was not good enough to be on that street."

He was followed by a retired black foreman who expressed a similar view. "We'vegot to do something now to get over that fight back then," he said, referring obliquely to the Civil War. "That's the only way we'll sort out this black/white thing."

The arguments go back and forth, until suddenly someone politicizes it:-

"Ashe isn't a soldier and his statue will barely reach Lee's saddle," said Wayne Byrd, who headed a chapter of the Heritage Preservation Association, a pro-Rebel flag group ... "This statue will trivialize Ashe and be disrespectful of Confederate-Americans who hallow the other men on that street."

Whoa, here! Just a couple of points. Byrd is a big FFV name in Virginia - that's First Families of Virginia. In fact, the Byrds literally founded Richmond, brick by brick. They certainly dominated politics for years. To those of us who owed them scant respect(because we recognised them as drunkards, corrupt and inept politicians and general assholes), we have the saying, "shit for the Byrds," meaning nothing worth a damn, like them. They had their heritage and their political sinecures, often passed down from father to son, until the last Senator, young Harry, who couldn't stay with the Democratic Party after the Civil Rights Act was made law, but couldn't make himself part and parcel of the Party of Lincoln.

I guess his kinsman Wayne could, however, because, during a break in the meeting, Horwitz approached Wayne Byrd, and asked him what he meant by the term "Confederate-American."

"A Confederate-American - then and now - is simply anyone who's against big government," he said.


Stand UP and be counted, Michele Bachmann, Ron and Rand, Paul Ryan, Chris Christie, Marco Rubio, the entire Bush family, Newt Gingrich, Grover Norquist, Herman Cain, Mitt Romney, John Thune, Sarah Palin, Allen West, Darrell Issa, Orrin Hatch, Mitch McConnell, Eric Cantor, Nikki Haley, Scott Walker, John Kasich, Mitch Daniels, Jon Huntsman ... and Saint Ronald Reagan, who intoned that government was the problem?

You get my drift?

If Confederate-Americans are people who are against big government, then that's the Republican Party!

Isn't it ironic that the Party of Lincoln has now become synonymous with the definition of what a Confederate-American is?

But wait a minute ... wasn't it Big Bubba, you know Number 42, a Democrat, who proclaimed in 1996 (right about the time Horwitz's book was on the Bestsellers' List), that "the era of big government was over?"

The world is full of oxymorons.

And, by the way, Arthur Ashe's statue now adorns Monument Avenue.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

What Happens When You Don't Vote

I usually try to get back to the Commonwealth once a year. I've lived for the past 30 years in the same part of England to which two other Virginia women, Pocahontas (my kinswoman) and Nancy Astor, were condemned; and so I feel that if I don't wiggle my toes in some Old Dominion dirt at least once a year, I'll be pushing up daisies in Brit dirt along with Mrs Rolfe and Lady Astor.

But in 2009, I came home twice, the second time,expressly to vote in the state gubernatorial election. Not that my vote did any good - I voted for Creagh Deeds: nice man, weak candidate.

Virginians have a particularly mad habit of saying one thing and doing another (which drives my English husband around the bend). The real Democratic candidate in 2009 should have been Terry McAuliffe, a clintonista, but a Democrat, nonetheless. However, Virginians balked at a Carpetbagger running for the state's highest office. So what did they do?

They elected a Carpetbagger ... and a Republican.

But this wasn't just any old Carpetbagger ... Jesus, Mary and Joseph, Reconstruction, for the certain dynamics in the South, would have been heaven on a plate if all the occupying Yankees had been like Lil'Bob McDonnell!

First, he wrote a doctoral thesis, basically saying women should be barefoot, pregnant, in the kitchen and submissive to their husband. Lil'Bob tried to brush this away as a youthful indiscretion, but fact was, when he wrote this (for his post-graduate degree at the religious playschool known as Regent University), he was already a married man with a wife (maybe not barefoot, but certainly in the kitchen and pregnant a lot) and in his mid-thirties.

When does "youthful" cease to be "youthful?"

Then, there was this little matter which unfurled during the McDonnell campaign (and at a gun booth as well!)

And then, after all was said and done, one of the first things Lil'Bob did as governor was to insert one cultural foot into his mouth and shove.

Look, we don't need any kind of reminder that the Civil War - that's right, I said the Civil War, not the War Between the States or even the War of Northern Aggression - happened. Hell, we're Southern; as Faulkner says, in the South, the past isn't even past. But, Lordy, someone should have told Lil'Bob that the Civil War ended in 1865. We lost. Get over it. (And, pssst! The war was all about slavery.)

But, you see, Lil'Bob should be all over that shit. Because he won. To the victor, the spoils, and all that.

Our problem is that we got a Carpetbagger of the Chris Matthews variety, from Chris's same area nad neighbourhood around Philadelphia. You know, the spittle-flecked type. The sorts who "forget" a black person is black if he or she is the right kind of black person. For Chris Matthews, that's Barack Obama; for Lil'Bob, that's Sheila Johnson of BET.

Lately, Lil'Bob's latest trick is coyly sponsoring draft legislation which heavily regulate the Commonwealth's abortion clinics.

Anti-abortion advocates have been pushing for two decades to impose new regulations that would treat abortion clinics as ambulatory surgery centers and require that they meet hospital-type regulations. They say such rules will make Virginia clinics safer for women because they will no longer be treated like doctor’s offices.

The regulations require the same strict physical requirements as outpatient surgical centers that would be doing complex and invasive surgery, abortion rights activists said. The new requirements are based on dozens of pages of guidelines for health-care facilities published by the Facility Guidelines Institute, a nonprofit group.

(Pssst again! For "nonprofit group," read "conservative family values.")

Now, I certainly didn't vote for Lil'Bob McDonnell, whom many people in the Republican party and the media are now touting as possible Vice Presidential material; but I can easily see how some people in the media, who didn't know any better, might lump Lil'Bob in with all the other raving lunatice fundamentalist Pentecostal types who charm snakes, speak in tongues and believe we are in End Times - people like Michele Bachmann or Rick Perry.

In fact, Joan Walsh is going into meltdown on Rick Perlstein's Facebook wall about Jimmy Carter, trying to curry favour with Perlstein by lumping what these myopic media elitist wannabes perceive to be Carter's conservatism, likening it to his Baptist religion - Southern, protestant and fundamentalist. Walsh even concludes that a good enough reason for Carter hatred is the fact that Michele Bachmann formerly supported him in another life.

(Well, Joan's gal, Hillary Clinton, started out a Goldwater babe, and once upon a time Rick Perry was not only Al Gore's BFF, but his campaign manager, so do we hate these people too?)

I'm sure Joan would like to lump Lil'Bob into that pejorative pack of Dominionists too, except that she can't because he's not.

Lil'Bob belongs to Joan Walsh's ethnic and religious dynamic. Begorrah! He's an Irish Catholic lad from a working class neighbourhood in Philadelphia. Like Joan. Like Tweety.

Recently, Lil'Bob addressed the graduating class at my alma mater, the University of Virginia. It brought back memories of when I took my degree there. That was in 1976, the bicentenniel year. A Republican was in the White House. Jimmy Carter was running for President. The governor was Mills Godwin, who was elected as a Democrat, but who converted to the GOP halfway through his tenure. I remember when he was introduced, my mother told me the audience had to stand, and they did. All except my father, who remained in his seat, with his right hand raised and clenched in a fist, except of the stiff middle finger.

But that was then, and this is now. McDonnell gave the graduating class some timeworn, if not trite advice, which, upon reading this, seems adverse to his Republican principles:-

Follow the Golden Rule. Do unto others, as you'd have them do unto you. Help and serve your neighbor. Be kind and generous to others. Take responsibility for others, and make no excuses. Give back to your community generously. Live today well. Do not worry about tomorrow ... Always vote ...


That sounds positively Democratic. In fact, it sounds liberal to the point of socialistic. So socialistic, that I almost wonder if Lil'Bob meant, at the end, that these kids should just vote, as in "just do it," or that they should vote for the GOP?

Who knows? This is the enigma about Bob McDonnell. His policies stink, but he's never been anything less than respectful to the President - moreso than a lot of politicos and pundits from our blue side of the fence. He dismissed birtherism as nonsense and said people should focus on the President's policies and not his character. He's taken government money and publically thanked the President for any help and aid offered the Commonwealth.

Do I want to see McDonnell out of the Statehouse? Yes. I'm bloody glad he's only got one term, and I'm counting the days. Do I want to see him out of politics? Goes without saying. And I certainly don't want to see him on a GOP ticket in 2012 or even heading one in 2016; but Bob McDonnell is what happens to a state when people can't be assed to go to the polls and vote, for whatever reason.

However, I have to say that Virginia could have come off worse in this situation. At the end of the day, Bob McDonnell is no Scott Walker.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Confederates in the (White House) Attic

So Joan Walsh, Democrat, unreconstructed PUMA and self-professed "hippy" (yeah, and I sleep with George Clooney) is worried about Rick Perry's Confederate connection. Does Joan think anyone with Confederate roots or associations should be barred from serving as President?

Well ...

Woodrow Wilson was the son of slaveowners who supported the Confederacy. The Teabaggers hate him for his Progressive ideals. Still, Wilson believed in segregation and his favourite film was Birth of a Nation, which glorified the Ku Klux Klan.

Both sets of Harry Truman's grandparents were slaveowners, who supported the Confederacy. Truman de-segregated the military.

LBJ's grandfather fought for the Confederacy. Johnson, as a boy, loved listening to his stories. Johnson signed the 1963 Civil Rights Act, as you know.

Jimmy Carter's people, both in Virginia and Georgia, wore the gray. A few even wore the blue, but they made up after the spat was over.

Big Dog came from Scots-Irish roots. His people were fierce fighters for the Confederacy.

William Jefferson Clinton was named after this man:-

Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederacy, hoped the South would win. His wife was so assured, she was hoping to give receptions in the White House, after the South's triumph.

Davis hoped this man's military efforts would enable him to conquer Washington, the enemy's capital.

Robert E Lee, Commander of the Army of Virginia.

Davis's great-great-great grandson and Lee's great-great-great-great nephew sits in the Oval Office today ...

Literally and legally.

Reclaim the Name

Like the man said, pick up that Liberal label and wear it as a badge of honour. Liberals ACHIEVED. Progressives whined. Reclaim the name, then replace the base.

When Journalists Lie: Re-Writing History

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I admit, living in the UK has spoiled me rotten to the BBC's political commentary. Their reporters and journalists are people who've covered the political scene since God was a boy, often working themselves onto the national stage by means of the provincial and local beat.

Granted, some are part of a political dynasty - in Britain, Richard Dimbleby's sons, David and Jonathan, are inheritors of his mantle, but neither erupted on the national scene until they were mature men well past the age of thirty, and neither shouted out questions to a disgraced politician centering around a sports score, the way the scion of our greatest political commentator did.

The BBC employs real political journalists. It's political "contributors" are seasoned strategists and ex-politicos, not socialites, social climbers and soccer moms, and certain not inarticulate sorority sisters.

And the historian whom they consult is Simon Schama, who is consistent, and who doesn't spin against fact about which he's written to score a point against a politician whom he thinks is "arrogant."

I have read both Rick Perlstein's books - Before the Storm, which chronicles the rise of Barry Goldwater (and also how the Birchers infiltrated the Republican party) and Nixonland.

This is why I was particularly shocked to see Perlstein wantonly revise history in this interview with Chris Matthews earlier this week. It was directly the opposite of what actually happened in the first debate of 1960.

Quite specifically, Kennedy didn't blind Nixon with sweeping liberal confidence and rhetoric to the point that Nixon broke out into a sweat. The fact is, as Perlstein reports in pages 52-58 of Nixonland, Nixon was ill at the time of the debate and had a temperature of 101 degrees. To whit, the man was sweating before the debate even started, from fever, though it pains me to be seen as defending such an odious being as Richard Nixon.

But here are Perlstein's own words from his own book - words that are not cherry-picked or spun:-

Nixon was knocking off states in the South at a handsome clip when he contracted a staph infection from banging his knee on a car door. His physicians counselled three weeks in the hospital. Newspaper journalists urged the honorable course on his opponent: to cease campaigning for those three weeks. The Democrat sent a get-well message instead. (And they called Dick Nixon the dirty one). Ill-advisedly, Nixon kept on knocking off states: Maryland and Indiana and Texas and California his first day out, Oregon and Idaho with a side trip up to Canada the second. The next day, between Grand Forks and Peoria, Richard Nixon caught a cold. Then as he crossed the tarmac in the rain, flew the red-eye to St Louis, and struggled to connect with a hostile Democratic crowd of union machinists on three hours' sleep, the cold got worse. Then a scratchy-voiced peroration in New Jersey; then a hop to Roanoke for an open-air address that added another line to his crowded medical chart: a high fever, something to enjoy on the predawn flight back halfway across the continent to Omaha, Nebraska.

As the day of the debate approached, Nixon was swallowing drowsy-making antibiotics, but still losing sleep; fortifying himself against weight loss with several chocolate milk shakes a day, but still losing weight; losing color; adding choler. He looked pale, awful.

His staff offered practice sessions. Nixon barked that he already knew how to debate. He was underwhelmed by the event at any rate. "Television is not as effective as it was in 1952," he had told a journalist. "The novelty has worn off."

Kennedy prepared like a monk. The afternoon of the showdown, he capped off the last of the three intensified practice sessions with a fortifying nap, piles of index cards covering him like a security blanket.

While Kennedy slept, Nixon campaigned in front of another hostile union crowd. His TV advisers became increasingly frenzied as the appointed hour approached; they were kept away from him, and weren't able to brief him on the debate format. Nixon took a single phone call of advice, from his vice-presidential candidate, Henry Cabot Lodge.

The hour arrived. For security, the candidates were driven directly inside the studio building. One wonders what distraction inspired Richard Nixon's awkward egress that ended with his smashing his bad knee once more on the car door's edge. His facial reaction was recorded for posterity: "white and pasty."

Kennedy emerged from his car looking in a producer's recollection like "a young Adonis." (That the young Adonis, but for a dangerous schedule of pharmaceuticals, was sick as an old man was for future generations to find out.) He kept his suit fresh by slipping into a robe. He walked out onto a terrace, sunlight dancing on his skin, paced back and forth, all coiled energy, punching his palm with his fist: the challenger.

In the other corner, the reigning heavyweight debating champion, weihing in at -

(Eight pounds less than it took to fill the shirt he was wearing.)

His people had begged Nixon to let them buy him a new one. He stubbornly refused. An aide had slathered a species of make-up over a portion of his face - a product called Lazy Shave, cadged at the last minute from a corner drugstore, to cover up his day's beard growth. The concession was no doubt ascribable to Herblock's infamous caricatures in the Washington Post. They'd rendered Nixon's "five o'clock shadow" a national laughingstock.

The panel of reporters introduced themselves. And Howard K Smith of ABC intoned, "In this discussion, the first of a series of four joint appearances, the subject matter, it has been agreed, will be restricted to internal, or domestic, American matters." He called the Democrat to begin with his opening statement; and the Democrat opened up, staring stalwartly into the camera, with a sucker punch.

And they called Dick Nixon the dirty one.

"We discuss tonight domestic issues. But I would not want that to be - any implication to be given that this does not involve directly our struggle with Mr Khrushshev for survival." Kennedy was bending past the breaking point the spirit of the two campaigns' formal agreement to focus the first debate on domestic issues and talking about what Nixon was not yet primed to discuss: foreign policy. The distraction was brilliant. It left Nixon with two immediate choices - calling the foul and looking as if he were ducking, or letting Kennedy get away with looking like he was controlling the debate.

So Kennedy essentially pulled the 1960 equivalent of Sarah Palin's infamous "I'm not gonna answer any questions, I'm gonna talk right to the American people." Nudge-nudge-wink-wink.

Last November, the BBC aired a documentary about the debate. Its host and researcher was Andrew Marr, the BBC's chief political correspondent, a man who would put any of our political pundits and commentators to shame.

Marr prefaced the actual debate, with background about how Kennedy, essentially, ratfucked Hubert Humphrey in order to win the West Virginia primary, by getting his operatives to push the lie that Humphrey was a conscientious objector during the second World War. The story stuck, a precursor to Lee Atwater's assertion that perception is reality.

But more important, this is what Marr found out about that iconic first debate:-

When I met some of those involved, including Kennedy's TV adviser in 1960, I came away freshly awestruck by his presentational audacity.

For instance, in that first debate, Kennedy politely excused himself for a "comfort break" a minute before the two men were live on air. He did not come back.

As the studio manager was counting down the final seconds to going live, everyone - Nixon included - was aghast. Just as the count ended, there was Kennedy, smiling at the podium. "Psyching" an opponent doesn't get smarter than that.

And yet… Kennedy beat Nixon not simply with his ads, his sound bites, his jingles, the carefully posed photographs and the downright lies he told about his health. He beat Nixon by not standing for anything beyond rousing banalities.

On the "missile gap" with the Russians, Kennedy knowingly hyped the danger. Nixon, as vice-president, knew the real facts but also for reasons of national security, could not reveal them. (And Kennedy probably knew that, too.)

On the other great issue - civil rights - the Kennedy team sent one message to black audiences and another to middle America.

Did it matter? I came away thinking the mix of big money, smearing, a feel-good blur where policy should have been, and the selling of the candidate like soap flakes, added up to a fairly shameful record.

Even then, he barely won. The younger Nixon, who was liberal on race and more economically mainstream than he became, could well have made a good earlier president.

In office Kennedy made some terrible overseas blunders (though kept his nerve over the Cuban missile crisis) and was slow on domestic policy, particularly civil rights. Had he lived longer, I think he would have had a lower presidential reputation.

The 1960 campaign is not the story I had expected. It's a far more interesting one. It has been obliterated by those images of the handsome young father and husband, then the young king cut down in his prime.

But today we live in a world that has become profoundly cynical about politics. I think we owe it to ourselves to look past those images and ask: aren't there better ways of doing democracy than Kennedy's?

So all Perlstein's rhetoric that Kennedy swept Nixon into a sweat with his soaring and confident liberal punches was pure spin, delivered to a hack posing as a viable political interviewer and strengthening the assertions of a girl reporter so tongue-tied she couldn't articulate a sentence clearly. Why? To spin pejoratively the current Democratic President as ineffective and - in Harriet Christian's words, "an inadequate black man."

If you want to know there "historian" Rick Perlstein stands on Obama, check this out. Troll along the commentary enough and get past the adolescent "I am Spartacus" shite, and you'll find that what he hates most about the President is that he's "arrogant."

Well, Yankee Boy, I'm a Southern girl, and where I come from, "arrogant" is Northern for "uppity." You'll also find that Marse Rick lives in the President's old Chicago neighbourhood.

So for insightful commentary, good old reliable (not) Chris Matthews gets a slip of a lass off the rag of Her Serene Highness Queen Ratfucker Omnipotent of Medialand and someone who's clandestinely (unless you look at his Facebook page) hostile (and maybe racially so) to the President.

And you use them to compare him to FDR and Kennedy. FDR, born into American aristocracy, born to lead and rule, the liberal icon whom today's EmoProgs conveniently forget did jack-holy-shit for African Americans - indeed, who compromised with the Southern tranche of a 70 plus Democratic Senate majority in order to pass social welfare legislation which denied any coverage to that racial demographic. The same FDR, the Japanese-Caucasian Alex Wagner should note, interned the Nisei in concentration camps during the second World War.

And, yes, Chris Matthews is right to point out that Richard Nixon, as President, wanted to effect employer-based universal healthcare ... but was scuppered from doing so by Ted Kennedy in the Senate, whom he'd approached to help craft the legislation.

The late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan once said that a person is entitled to his own opinion, but he isn't entitled to his own fact. It's scurvy enough to spin current affairs to suit a particular agenda; it's worse to spin the past to suit the same. Even worse, is when someone who touts himself as a historian does this, as a means to achieve an end.

It's not clever. It's scurvy. And it's the secular version of what David Barton is doing on the right, but for the same purpose.

Politics certainly does turn up strange bedfellows.

Anyway, for anyone who's interested, here's the first debate from the 1960 election, in its entirety:-

Friday, August 19, 2011

If the EmoProgs Had Lived in the 1950s ...

... They'd have been the Maypo kid with his hapless dad. See how they always want, yet resent, the Big Daddy character.

Bill Maher and the Magic Negro Syndrome

Perception is reality. ~ Lee Atwater

Bill Maher has a problem. On Tuesday of this week, he tweeted this:-

Obama's pathetic: "the political culture blahblah..." - BLAME THE REPUBLICANS! Besides better politics it has the added virtue of being true

And on Wednesday, he tweeted this:-

Rick Perry says he's not sure if Obama loves his country and the response from President Wayne Brady is "I'll cut him some slack"? HIT BACK!

OK, I get it that Bill's less than pleased about the President. We know (because Bill never ceases to remind us at every opportunity) that he was the first celebrity-talking-head-pundit-until-he-says-something-that-draws-the-ire-of-the-viewing-audience-then-he's-only-a-comedian-political-commentator ever, ever, ever, in all this time, ever, on the Left to criticize the President.

And we know that Bill also remorselessly and ceaselessly (well, at least from 2007, when it became reasonably safe to do so with a Democratic Congress)chastised George Bush.

And we know that when Bill decided to criticize the President, he ended his snide and snarky critique with a heartfelt wish that Obama would be - yes - more like George Bush. Here's the clip, itself, to jog your memory:-

Keep in mind that this rant occurred in June 2009, not even five months after the Inauguration, and keep in mind that, not only did he he compare the President to Lindsey Lohan ("in the papers a lot, but not doing very much"), he also went on to say that, after less than six months, the President had failed to make real progress on health care, the banks and climate change. Keep in mind that the previous week, he'd chastised the Republicans for saying the exact same thing about Obama - basically, that he was always in the papers and on television.

But the final punch was the clincher:-

"What he needs in his personality is a little George Bush ... What we need to do is to marry the good ideas that Barack Obama has with a little bit of that Bush attitude and certitude."

The Bush swagger, the alpha male, the codpiece moment.

Five months into the first year of Obama's administration and Bill's wanting this?

Well ...

Keep in mind what else happened in Bill's tranche of the entertainment world that spring:-

- Jay Leno left The Tonight Show (for the first time).

- Conan O'Brien debuted as host of The Tonight Show.

- Stephen Colbert broadcast a week's worth of his programs from Iraq, with special satellite appearances by the President and also Bill's latest man crush, George Bush.

- Jon Stewart eviscerated Jim Cramer on The Daily Show.

Everyone was talking about all of these things, but no one was talking about anything Lil'Boy Bill had done or said, until he said this.

That started the snarkball rolling, ending the year with Bill referring to the President as "Barry" and then pushing the pejorative meme of him being no different from Bush. (Pardon me, but wasn't Bill one of the biggest big mouths in 2000, trolling the country with the message that Bush and Gore were one and the same and that we should all vote for Nader? How well did that work out?)

Looks as though Bill fell prey to the disorder affecting most of the EmoProgs, resulting from the election of Barack Obama: Magic Negro Syndrome. Elect the cool black man, and he'll wave the magic wand which extends naturally from his manicured fingertips, and his wish is your command. Free healthcare for all? No problem (even though he never uttered a word about the fabled "single-payer", there are people abounding who fell under his magic spell and would swear on their lives that he promised that and more). Banish the bankers to the nethersphere of hell? Done.

The Magic Negro Syndrome assured its victims that the first African-American President not only was faster than a speeding bullet at righting the economy and putting people back to work with six-figure salaries, not only was he more powerful than a locomotive at getting whatever progressive legislation the EmoProgs demanded through a recalcitrant Congress, he was able to leap tall orders of legislation past Congress in a single bound and ensure that he got everything he wanted, when he wanted it and all within the requisite 100 days.

Yep ... a lot of people believed that. A lot of people totally tuned out everything Candidate Obama said, instead, treating him the way a gaggle of adolescents would treat the ubiquitous rock star on whom they had a teenage crush - projecting all their hopes, beliefs and desires on a veritable tabula rasa, which only existed in their brainful of latent teenaged kicks.

But Bill Maher knew better. This, and everything which ensued thereafter, was all about Bill and the promotion of Bill's brand.

So in the interest of "Bill's Brand," his craven self-promotion, let's look at some of the memes Bill introduced in the past three years or so, which are taken as irrefutable gospel truths for the EmoProgs ... because, ya know, Bill, you're just so ke-wel and so funny and so sexy, speaking all that truth to power, without ever facing power down in the face ... because, ya know, it's just so easy to lob missiles from a distance rather than meeting the danger right up front ... Oops ... that sounds like something Bill said once ... Oh, yes ... I remember now ...

Anyway, let's look at some of the deliberate lies Bill's propagated about the President, lies which his abject followers now insist are truths:-

1. Obama is needy and desperate to make friends with Republicans who wouldn't wipe their handmade designer shoes on him. In fact, he has a constant need to reach out and make friends with Republicans.

Rather rich, coming from someone who regularly pals around with Ann Coulter, Darrell Issa, Jack Kingston, Bill Frist, P J O'Rourke and Arianna Huffington. Even richer, that a regular guest on his program is Andrew Breitbart, whom he regularly protects from panel onslaughts.

In point of fact, the "need" the President feels to "reach out" to the Republicans, from the very beginning, resulted from the fact that he had to do so. The Democrats have only hit the magic number of 60 in the Senate for a grand total of 2 months, in 2009, when Al Franken was finally certified as Senator. Prior to that, for the big stimulus vote, the President needed Republican support. In January 2009, there were 56 Democratic Senators and 2 Independents who caucused with the Democrats. One of those Independents was Joe Lieberman. That should tell you a lot. Al Franken wasn't certified until June 2009. Ted Kennedy was ill at that time, so that brought the number of actual Democrats down to 55. They needed at least 3 Republicans to cross the aisle to vote for the stimulus package.

That's why the gals from Maine were courted so assiduously, that's why the stimulus amount was reduced significantly - to attract their support. In the end, the whole thing passed by one vote, and they managed to garner a defection from the Dark Side, when Arlen Specter came back to his roots. So in June 2009, they actually managed to have 60 Democrats in the Senate, until Ted Kennedy died in August of that year. Now, also, consider that the Democratic make-up of the Senate includes the likes of Ben Nelson, Mary Landrieu, Kent Conrad, Max Baucus and Joe Manchin.

Now fast forward to November 2010. Bill's constant denigration of the President results in hoardes of his sheeple sulking out the vote. Result? A Republican House. Divided government means negotiation and compromise between the two parties. Bill Clinton had to do it. So did Reagan. And Nixon. Nothing new there, but with Obama, it's forbidden. Oops ... forgot. The Magic Negro can hypnotise his opposition into fulfilling his every demand. Or else, he just goes "gangsta" - you know, the way Negro men mostly are, according to Bill.

2. The President is a terrible negotiator. He's weak. He caves to Republican demands. He's wimpy and wussy. He has no spine.

Like every other "Progressive," Bill whined and moaned about the extension of the Bush era tax cuts, and like every other "Progressive," he failed to see what the President got in exchange for those tax cuts. The rich and the Republicans got everything they wanted, but did they?

Charles Krauthammer certainly wasn't happy with the compromise. He called it the swindle of the year, you know, similar to the way Obama was accused of shaking down BP for compensation money. Bill failed to realise that, in exchange for a two-year extension of the tax cuts, the President obtained many measures that ensured an easier life for the long-term unemployed, the poor and the working poor; but Bill, like most rich, white and affluent "Progressives" never thinks of that demographic, and when he does, he has to have an antiseptic bath. But that doesn't include all the rest of the Lame Duck legislation he was able to effect, because the tax cuts had been dealt with - things like DADT, the First Responders' Health Bill, and START. Bill doesn't consider any of those things.

Now the latest gnashings and wailings and accusations of weakness come in the face of the debt ceiling negotiations. I don't think Bill understands the intricacies of the compromise effected here, so I'll let Bob Cesca tell him how, instead of John Boehner getting 98% of what the GOP wanted, it was another sleight-of-hand effected by the President.

While everyone is fixated on how terrible this debt-ceiling deal is for Democrats, If one pauses long enough to really analyze the details and all of their implications, one finds that, in the long term, this deal is actually wildly in favor of the President’s position.

The truth is — there actually is revenue included in this deal, and here I will briefly defer to Ezra Klein:

In a presentation to his members, Boehner says (pdf) that the rules governing the committee “effectively [make] it impossible for Joint Committee to increase taxes.” Specifically, he’s arguing that using the Congressional Budget Office’s “current-law baseline” makes tax increases impossible, as that baseline assumes the expiration of the Bush tax cuts, and so, if you touched taxes at all, you’d have to raise taxes by more than $3.6 trillion or the CBO would say you were cutting taxes and increasing the deficit.

Confused? That seems to be the point. Boehner is misleading his members to make them think taxes are impossible under this deal. But make no mistake: The Joint Committee could raise taxes in any number of ways. It could close loopholes and cap tax expenditures. It could impose a value-added tax, or even a tax on carbon. The Congressional Budget Office would score all of this as reducing the deficit under a current-law baseline. The only thing that wouldn’t reduce the deficit is going after part of the Bush tax cuts. That means they’re likely to go untouched in this deal.

In case you don’t understand — allow me to elaborate.

John Boehner is selling the current CBO baseline to his caucus to pass this bill, and the current baseline includes an expiration of the Bush Tax Cuts. The only way for the Bush Cuts to be extended is if the “super congress” committee offsets it with tax hikes or tax reform in other areas. Going after the Bush Tax Cuts in the committee would not count as reducing the deficit, because the baseline already assumes they will expire.

John Boehner knows this, but most members of his caucus and, admittedly, many members of the Democratic caucus don’t realize it. I didn’t put two and two together myself until late last night.

If you view this deal from the perspective that there is a guarantee the Bush Tax Cuts will expire, then suddenly the deal swings wildly in favor of President Obama.

The president offered John Boehner a 4:1, cuts:revenue deal, but what he ended up getting instead is a 1:2, cuts:revenue deal.

The Bush Tax Cuts account for roughly $3.7 trillion dollars in additional revenue over 10 years. The spending-cuts tentatively agreed to in the deal account for only $2.7 trillion dollars over 10 years. This means there is $1 trillion more dollars in revenue contained inside the deal over 10 years than there are spending cuts.

Furthermore, the spending cuts contained inside the bill do not come into effect until 2013, after the Bush Tax Cuts expire, meaning the revenue and cuts come into effect at roughly the same time.

If the rabid members of John Boehner’s caucus realized this, they would probably be calling for his head.

It’s no coincidence that President Obama came out last night and bluntly said this is not the deal he wanted. It’s no coincidence that John Boehner and Eric Cantor both told their caucus that President Obama “caved.” They have to say this, because if it appears that President Obama got anything in the deal, then suddenly it can’t pass the House of Representatives. There is nothing they hate more than giving the president a victory, so it has to appear as if he got nothing, and they have been pretty convincing.

President Obama knew this would look bad for his administration in the short term, but he took that risk in exchange for winning further along down the road. As I mentioned above, none of this policy actually comes into effect until 2013. Not even the spending cuts. Only 1% of the spending cuts will be felt in 2012.

This deal masterfully accomplishes the task of kicking the can down the road for the Republicans without actually appearing so unless you really dig deep into it, and it leaves most of the details up to the next session of Congress beginning in January of 2013.

We all owe the president a great deal of respect for being willing to take the political hit in the short term to save us in the long term.

3. Obama's a failure. He didn't do what he said! Waa-waaa-wahhh!

Bill says he didn't close Gitmo. Not true. He signed the Executive Order, and then the fiscal and organisational responsibility for closing the place - dealing with the cumbersome logistical duties of moving and re-housing the inmates there until they were brought to trial on the mainland - reverted to Congress. Ninety-four Senators voted against funding to close Gitmo, including Al Franken and Bernie Sanders. Then, when attempts were made by the Department of Justice to effect a civil trial in New York City for Khaled Sheikh Mohammed, Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand objected. Attempts to move the trial to Pennsylvania were met with strenuous objections from Arlen Specter. A third attempt to have the trial in Virginia was met with objections from James Webb and Mark Warner. All these Senators were Democrats.

And in case Bill's in any doubts about what exactly the President has achieved during his first Administration, he can take a look here. This site will explain the President's achievements in words Bill will succinctly understand. I would suggest he study those achievements, because another lie he's been propagating is that Obama doesn't stand for any Democratic ideals, but then Bill doesn't give a rat's ass about people like the lady for whom Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act was named. It doesn't surprise me that Bill ignores legislation like this; Lily Ledbetter probably bores him the way it bores other Progressives.

The Matthew Shepherd Hate Crimes Act? Repeal of DADT? Instructing the Department of Justice not to defend DOMA in court appeals? Those aren't Democratic ideals?

And Bill has the audacity of a dope to state blatantly that the President is pathetic, because he refuses to round on Republicans exclusively in apportioning blame on government legislative intransigence. Bill needs reminding that the President wanted the tax cuts repealed for the wealthy in September 2010, as a lede into the campaigns before the Midterms. Harry Reid and Russ Feingold, with Nancy Pelosi's support, refused to consider this. And during the actual tax cut negotiations, the President tabled the idea of having the Lame Duck Congress vote early on the debt ceiling rise, but that, too, was refused by Harry Reid, who wanted the incoming Republican House to own the responsibility for raising the debt ceiling too. And that worked out so well, didn't it?

Fair dos, to the President for rounding on his own version of Harry Truman's "Do Nothing" Congress; and if Bill wants to moan about Obama not tackling jobs - well, besides the fact that the President doesn't legislate, there are some forty-odd jobs' bills being deliberately held up in the House now, all of which were introduced by Democrats.

That's because that certain demographic of voter from the Left, devoid of critical thinking ability who listen to the self-promoting likes of Bill, Ed Schultz and Arianna Huffington, as well (of late) to concern trolls like Joan Walsh, stayed home; and because of that, we got a Republican House.

So why should the President give succour and sustenance to people who've never had his back, but who they expect to cover theirs when the going gets rough?

As for Bill, puerile attitude is on display in the following clip. All it took was for the bumbling, ineffectual President Sanford and Son, a President who didn't conform to Bill's standard of "blackness," to kill one Osama Bin Laden and this response was elicited:-

In praise of one black ninja gangsta President - in fact, week after week, when he's not talking about Sarah Palin's stupidity, he never ceases to remind the audience of the colour of this President's skin. It's like a weird word-association game: "Black-Obama" ... black-Obama-wussy ... black-obama-spineless ... black-obama-caving.

But that's ok, Bill. We know the cool kids are chasing Ron Paul's fire engine in the run up to election year, and you've always wanted to be a part of the in crowd. Pallin' around with Ron and Rand will now give you opportunity to be as racist as you want, considering they're backed by Stormfront, as well as the Kochs, who have close links with the Nazis as well.

Even if your new man-crush, Ron, doesn't make it all the way to the White House, you can live with Rick Perry, who's pledge to lower taxes would fit right in with the current little tax trick you're playing on Jerry Brown at the moment. Besides, President Perry is much better for your brand of comedy. He'll get more laughter from your audience, who won't be forced to squirm under your pithy references to President "Wayne Brady." The disaffected Left will wonder why so many people voted for this clown. Gee, it must be racism, huh? It would never occur to them that someone like Perry might stand a chance to win, because they stayed home.

But I'll leave the last word to a Facebook friend, Nia Jones, who has your number pegged, after reading your insulting tweets about the President of the United States.

Folks like Maher dont get clever slights like this. He has a steryotypical view of black men and is pissy because president Obama like most black men dont fit his sterotype, so they get mad and say stupid shit.

That, Bill Maher, is proof that you're not only an undermining ratfucker, but a racist as well.

So toddle off with your buyer's remorse, little man, and your disappointment that your vote in 2008 didn't secure, for you, the mythical Magic Negro, but just a Negro. In the meantime, here's a little song to help you over the disappointment of all your man crushes - from Carter to Clinton to Nader to John Edwards - and by the way, I've got a bet on how long it is before you actually use the real hardcore racist n-word on air in reference to the President. Not long, I'll wager.

Lee Atwater would be proud of you. You've proven, beyond doubt, that for some people, the sheeple variety, whatever they perceive becomes the undoubted truth for them.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Ron Paul: A Rose By Any Other Name

I know all there are scores of too-cool-for-school kids who hang out on Bill Maher's Facebook page and stoke this little man's enormously fragile ego.

Bill's always been a big fan of Ron Paul's, although he's not too keen on Rand Paul. I can't figure out why, because their idealogy is one and the same. I mean Rand learned his tricks at the foot of the master.

But I get it. Bill and his barely post-pubescent (emotionally and intellectually) gang think Paul's ke-wel because he wants to bring the troops home from just about everywhere (no plan for what to do with the masses of servicemen discharged thereafter) and he wants to legalise pot, prostitution and pinball.

OK. Fine. But, in case you don't see anything wrong with what Ron Paul's saying in this clip, from May 2011, in case you don't know why Chris Matthews is going into spittle-flecking mode, here's a quick history lesson for you: PROPERTY RIGHTS is a euphemistic racist term. PROPERTY RIGHTS was what slave-owners claimed under the Constitution when the government in Washington was conflicted within itself (nice to know some things never change, eh?) during the 1850s, when it attempted constitutionally to halt slavery or, at least, halt the expansion of slavery. And PROPERTY RIGHTS is the euphemism used by Abraham Lincoln when instructing the invading Union Army not to interfere in freeing any slaves who absconded from their masters. The only way around that was for General Ben Butler to treat slaves who escaped to his lines as contraband, or "appropriated property" so as to avoid any abuse of "property rights." So, you see, even the Yankees were constrained, at first, to treat the slaves as chattel.

And PROPERTY RIGHTS was the cry which went up amongst Southern white businessmen in the 50s and 60s, like Lester Maddox, the axe-wielding restauranteur who became governor of Georgia, in order to enforce segregation from the schoolroom to the storefront.

PROPERTY RIGHTS is a subject dear to any Libertarian's heart, and it's the reason why any Libertarian thinks the Civil Rights' Amendment of 1963 is wrong, wrong, wrong. As you can see, the apple didn't fall too far from the tree, because last year, Rand Paul used the same argument against the Civil Rights Act, when Rachel Maddow so aptly handed him his ass on a silver platter.

Part I

Part II

So there you go. Like Bill'n Hill, ya like Ron, ya gotta like his boy Rand. Their philosophies are the same - no picking and choosing. Why is it the daddy's ideals are more attractive than the son's, especially since they're one and the same?

But, still, I guess the spawns of the culture of instant gratification fit in well in the selfish me-first idealogy of the Libertarians. Just remember to bone up on your property rights when you're hanging out with Bill and the Aqua Buddha.

Message to the Lazy Left: THIS Is How It Starts!

You start out in 1954 by saying, “Nigger, nigger, nigger.” By 1968 you can’t say “nigger”—that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states’ rights and all that stuff. You’re getting so abstract now [that] you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites. ~ Lee Atwater

First of all, you need to watch this, and pay close, close attention:-

If you're not familiar with the context of this film clip, this concerns the 2009 attempt by the Wake County (North Carolina) School Board, effectively, to desegregate the county's schools. Wake County is a pretty prosperous area of North Carolina, which includes the capitol city of Raleigh. They had, for years, enacted an income-related means of school desegregation which, basically, ensured that not more than 40% of any school's enrollment was eligible for free lunch/textbooks/entitlement/whatever programs.

And this worked swimmingly, as the British would say. From kindergarten through high school, the classrooms exposed local children to diversity as a norm, not an exception. The kids thrived.

But in the 2009 School Board elections, Americans for Prosperity (a Koch front group) funded campaigns for the four determinative board seats up for grabs, a win that could and would change the ethos of the board in its entirety - if all four candidates shared the same goals, diametrically opposed to the previous mindset of the School Board.

Andy Kroll, writing in Mother Jones describes the situation:-

The story starts back in 2009, when elections were held for four of Wake County's nine school board seats—enough seats to dictate the public school district's agenda if all four board members wanted the same reforms. That's where Americans for Prosperity, a conservative political advocacy group, came into play. AFP swooped in to fund and organize on behalf of four candidates who sought to kill the district's policy of busing to ensure diverse, desegregated public schools. The AFP-backed candidates ran against what they called "forced busing"—a phrase, the film points out, that dates back to George Wallace in the 1970s—and instead stressed that schools should educate only those who lived in the surrounding neighborhood.

Local reporters, some of whom are interviewed in the film, connected the push to eliminate busing with the philosophies of AFP and its funders. "They're definitely pushing an agenda to resegregate these schools, but there's also a real push toward privatization," Sue Sturgis of the Institute for Southern Studies says in the film.

Harken unto the coded language. "Enforced busing," as is pointed out, is a euphemism from the Wallace era of "Segregation then, segregation now, segregation forever." But there's another one: "neighbourhood schools," which is the concept these people, aspiring to School Board positions, hoped to push.

As Robert Greenwald, the film's producer emphasizes:-

"The fact that millionaires can put hundreds of thousands of dollars into a local election and essentially deprive people of their rights, in many ways, and mess with their school system," he says. "It seems to us one of the strongest examples of the really incredible way money takes away our democracy."

Regarding education, the Kochs want what all real Libertarians want: an end to the public school system as we know it. Pure privatization, which means if you've got the money to pay for your child's education from kindergarten onwards, you win. If not, fuck you, because there's nothing Libertarians like more than an uneducated or undereducated class of peasants to do poorly-paid scutwork; and in case you haven't noticed, a couple have states where these sorts have been allowed in the backdoors, especially after the EmoProgs' collective outburst of poutrage in November 2010, have already sent out testers regarding repealing existing child labour laws, which means all these little urchins, sons and daughters of the hoi-polloi, can be put out to work, flipping burgers and other servile tasks, when they're as young as 12 years old.

Who would have thought that the 21st Century would see a return to Dickensian values? Child labour - why that's just a hop, skip and a jump from slavery, itself!

Speaking of which, or - rather - speaking of segregation in another sense, the Kochs and their sheeple, also oppose the Civil Rights' Act of 1963 as unconstitutional, especially the parts which say that private businesses and landlords cannot discriminate against people for jobs or housing on the basis of race. That's what lovely jubbly granddaddy-like Ron Paul means when he talks about "property rights," and that's a euphemism which goes right back to the Civil War.

So, all you hipster cool kids, hanging out on Bill Maher's Facebook page stroking Lil'Boy Bill's cyber manhood in his unabashed love of Ron Paul, who wants everyone to have the right to shoot up on heroin legally (but who opposes the rights of rape or incest victims to get an abortion), Uncle Ron wants these things too: the end of public schools, child labour and segregation.

The other amazing thing about this story is that it never made it past being a local issue. Apart from the network affiliates in Raleigh, the national news media never picked up on this story, and it was monumental. Come on, a county in a Southern state - not only a county which is home to the State capital and a major Souther city, but also a state which went for Barack Obama in 2008 - effectively reverses desegregation and reverts to a segregated school system, after the election of bought-and-paid-for local candidates, funded by a very wealthy and sinister outside force. Even more astounding and newsworthy - and you'd think the media would want to reinforce this positive image - was the fact that the local people, who opposed this enforcement, banded together, black, white and brown, to fight and demonstrate against enforced segregation, against stepping back in time.

And they won. Unlike Wisconsin. They won. Without Ed Schultz, screaming into a microphone. Without Rachel Maddow's snark. Without Michael Moore's ubiquitous presence. And without Adam Green's fear-mongering for money.

The School Board was forced to abandon, albeit temporarily, the plans for resegregation.

Maybe it's easier for the media to keep the pejorative image of dirty, ignorant, bigoted Southerners in the minds of a certain demographic. Who knows?

OK, this was only a provincial School Board in what is, essentiall, for some people, a provincial state; but this is how the GOP works. Specifically, this is how the Bircher end (read "Koch") of the GOP works, which is now, more or less, the mainstream of the beast.

They start small. Take a few seats on a school board, enough to cause havoc. Next a town council, or a county board of supervisors. Then a seat in the House of Delegates or State Senate, and then ... the big time.

If it takes five years to convince a Congressional district or a state that an ueber conservative needs a specific candidate with a specific agenda to represent your interests, good. But if it takes ten or twenty years to crack that nut, no matter. They've got all the time in the world.

What you're seeing in today's Republican party took all of 40 years to achieve, and it began in 1970, when the precursors to today's EmoProgs, led by Mr Supercool Western Dude, Gary Hart (who sported the same haircut as Rick Perry, who was actually a Democrat, himself, then), kicked the Southern and Midwestern working classes and the working class union members of the Rust Belt states to the political curb, left them wandering in the wilderness until the GOP stepped forth to offer them succor.

The people who welcomed them were neighbours, friends, people they'd known all their lives. There were Republican party headquarters set up in most small towns and staffed by people native to the area. The Democrats, on the other hand, only set up shop every four years in such areas and staffed them with wide-eyed and idealistic college kids from out-of-town, hoping to get some sort of political experience in Rubeland. The day after any Presidential election, shutters down, locks changed and people gone. As if they'd never even been there.

I would recommend anyone read Laura Flanders's excellent book, Blue Grit, published in the wake of the 2006 midterm elections. It's a short book, but it shows how, incrementally and over a period of thirty-odd years, the Republican party managed, from the bottom up, to turn such formerly Progressive and solidly blue states, like Kansas and Missouri, red. They kept the message simple, they used local people as operatives and they started small and grew.

It's no wonder that today's EmoProgs come across as whining self-obsessed, recalcitrant adolescents, deprived of their dose of instant gratification. it's no wonder that they worship the words of the eternal Peter Pan male, Bill Maher, petulantly name-calling and chucking verbal rocks and running for comic cover.

It's called learning to live by pragmatism, which is second nature in politics, but something today's EmoProgs can't seem to accept. It means that sometimes when you contribute to a politician's campaign fund, and he gets elected, he might have to look after a lot of other people's interest in your state or district, as well as your own. A lot of Progressive groups found this out after 2006, when they had contributed to the campaigns of Jon Tester in Montana and James Webb in Virginia, when - instead of promoting a full set of Progressive values, they actually looked after the interests of their constituents. A lot of Tea Partiers, as well, found out the same thing when they effected the election of Republican Scott Brown to Ted Kennedy's old Massachusetts Senate seat, and Brown proceeded to cross the aisle to vote.

Politicians are supposed to look after the interests of their district or their state.

I totally agree that if we want to see a more liberal White House, we have to elect more liberal legislators, but sometimes this is a process that has to be done in stages; and ofttimes, this means accepting that some districts and states are more conservative than others and would respond well to candidates of a more moderate political hue. But you need to fit the candidate to the area. People respond the best to what's most familiar to them, and until we get operatives who at least sound like the people they're angling to convert to our side, we're going to have a communication problem, to say the least.

It means engaging. It means talking with and not down to various demographics. And it's going to take time. And effort. And we could have had a two-year start on that time and effort already, but people got caught up their own assholes being led by other assholes in picking apart the most politically progressive President since LBJ - one whose message of change should be understood to mean that incremental change is the sort which lasts and upon which more change can be built.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Two Fat Men Walk Into a Bar ... and Meet Chris Matthews

Two sides of the same coin. Hot air.

Update@ Actually, I learned something from this exercise that shouldn't have surprised me, but which sparked a memory: Rush Limbaugh, expostulating about MSNBC, is positively astounded at the change in Chris Matthews.

Chris Matthews! Seems that Chris, at one time, was an acceptable substitute host for Rush's program, whenever Rush was on a sex tourist vacation.

And then I remembered that before Chris was getting tingles up his leg from Obamalove, he was head honcho cheerleader for George W Bush. (Who remembers Chris and the "Mission Accomplished" moment?)

Or maybe Matthews is just a salesman? After all, there was a time that MSNBC tried to outflank Fox on the Right (in the wake of patriotism engendered by 9/11). I guess maybe that might explain Chris's flag-waving fervour, but it doesn't explain the part he played in getting television talkshow icon, Phil Donahue, the sack:-

Despite the network’s emphasis on flag waving, MSNBC showed how little it understood the Fox model when, with Griffin as MSNBC’s prime time head, it hired the liberal Phil Donahue, who’d been Griffin’s childhood idol, out of retirement in April 2002 to anchor an 8 p.m. prime-time talk show that would challenge O’Reilly. The show debuted with the highest ratings ever for an MSNBC program, attracting more than a million viewers in its first night. But within a month, the audience was cut in half. At the same time, executives expressed increasing unease about his vocal opposition to the looming war in Iraq. At a time when red-meat patriotism prevailed, Donahue booked antiwar guests like Michael Moore, Rosie O’Donnell, Susan Sarandon, and Tim Robbins. Soon the Donahue problem threatened Griffin’s job. In a tense phone conversation, Shapiro told MSNBC president Erik Sorenson to fire Griffin, but Sorenson pushed back.

“I’m not going to do that,” he told Shapiro. “No. 1: Phil’s been loyal to me for a long time. I don’t think it’s right. And No. 2: We’re short-handed. We have all this talent, and he’s the one who’s managing it.”

As a compromise, Griffin’s job was spared but he was stripped of responsibility for the show. The new producer insisted on a precise numerical balance between liberals and conservatives. Donahue’s problems only increased when Chris Matthews let it be known that he wanted Donahue off the air. Matthews was a rising force at the network, with a reported salary of $5 million. He cultivated former G.E. CEO Jack Welch and had the ear of NBC CEO Bob Wright (the two summered together on Nantucket). Matthews saw himself as MSNBC’s biggest star, and he was upset that the network was pumping significant resources into Donahue’s show. In the fall of 2002, U.S. News & World Report ran a gossip item that had Matthews saying over lunch in Washington that if Donahue stays on the air, he could bring down the network.

After the item was published, Matthews showed up at Donahue’s office and apologized. “He didn’t deny it,” Donahue remembers.

As much as it pains me to admit any agreement with Limbaugh, I also wonder what the hell happened to Chris Matthews. Like a lot of other talking heads, he started souring on Bush only when it was safe to do so. He slated the Clintons remorselessly during the Lewinsky scandal, yet visibly chokes up and constantly mistakenly refers to Bill Clinton as "the President." He's recently just come off a massive hard-on for Michele Bachmann, calling her his "hero."

The Spanish have a proverb, Dime con quien andas y te dire' quien eres - which, basically, means that you're judge by the company you keep. In Chris's case, as he tends to pal around with the likes of Howard Fineman and Bill Maher, I'd have no compunction in calling him a hack.

And as for the last clip shown above, you can well imagine a debate between Rush Limbaugh and his former protege', Ed Schultz. There'd be an hour of posturing, screaming, name-calling and near-myocardial infarctioned red faces ... and then the Drugster and Mr Ed would retire to the nearest bar to laugh all the way to bank, at their dittoes' expense.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Lil' Boy Bill Eats His Foot

This morning, I kicked a foul-mouthed woman off my Facebook page. She was a totally unreconstructed PUMA, who posted this article from the UK broadsheet, The Telegraph.

I've nothing against foul mouths. I can swear with the best of them and in four languages. Hell, I live in Britain, where foul mouths are created at birth; but she was presenting the information given in this article as Gospel fact, when it was exactly what I called it: bullshit.

I pointed out to her that The Telegraph was the official mouthpiece of the Conservative Party (read: Republicans, the way they used to be). It stood for the England of flowery meadows, quaint little towns full of Tudor houses, and cricket on the village green. In other words, white Britain - the same white Britain where the sun never set on its empire of oppressed brown and black people.

She was quick to point out to me that I didn't know what I was talking about. (Really? I've only lived in England for 30 years with a husband who's worked directly for every Prime Minister from Maggie to Gordon Brown. I think I would know a little bit more about that newspaper and its agenda than she).

But n-o-o-o-o-o-o, as the late John Belushi would say. She had to inform me that no less than The Huffington Post, Salon, and Bill Maher said the same as the article: That Democrats were tanking on Obama, that they didn't think he would win. The article even quoted Bill Maher as having buyer's remorse re supporting the President.

And those people, this woman pointed out smugly, all had brains.

Well, so do I; and better brains than they. They just have more money, a lot of which has been made off the stupidity of people like this talking-point PUMA.

First, we all know about the proprietor of The Huffington Post, Her Serene Highness Queen Ratfucker Omnipotent of Medialand and how she ratfucked the deluded Progressives into thinking she was their friend; but if this woman thinks the Media Whoreanna is a friend of Hillary's, she's sadly mistaken. And as she reads HP and takes its word as truthful, I suggest she check out this article, or this one.

And Joan Walsh has been rooted our for her white privilege and racist slips since Ta-Nehisi Coates started calling out her behaviour in early 2008. You can check out Joan's articles here and here, with TNC's rejoinders here and here.

The person who values Joan's talking points can even see here that Joan's still conflicted on racial issues and still in denial about her problem.

Not that she would be convinced by any of this. I got the impression that this particular woman loved Hillary, loved Bill even more, and just like Harriet Christian, considers the President of the United States to be just an "inadequate black man" who displaced an entitled white face.

So the banished person also is taking Bill Maher as an expert voice on this as well? That's as reliable as asking the Pope to bless an abortion. Bill follows political fashion. When it was OK for everyone to criticize George Bush openly* (*meaning after he won his second term and effectively became lame duck), Bill led the charge. Prior to that, his jokes were lame and he actually supported the Iraqi surge. But Bill's a moral coward, and he'd already been rendered unemployed once during Bush's tenure because of his mouth.

First, during the primary campaign in 2008, Bill and his bumchum, Chris Matthews, discussed both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, before rounding on Hillary's problems. Matthews was often criticized for his overtly sexist remarks concerning Clinton's campaign, whilst Maher, earlier in the year, had referred to her as by the c-word:-

Hold Bill's "orange juice and gin" remark in your mind now.

Here's Bill in 2010, on ABC's This Week, where, during a discussion about immigration, interjected his opinion about Republicans and racists and how they're related:-

Not all Republicans are racist, but if you are racist, you're probably a Republican!

Yet, later that same month, when Anderson Cooper posited that Islam was a religion of peace, Bill blew off on Islamic violence as par for the religious course.

Later,in October 2010, he actually expresses fear that Islam is taking over the world and wonders if that makes him racist. (Actually, Bill, that exposes your prejudice and intolerance, which are, technically, not supposed to be liberal or progressive traits, although we know that they can be.

But in between these two incidences, we had this remark about the President, which is not only ignorant, it's distinctly whiffy:-

Blogging on, the blogger Emperor, spoke about a confrontation earlier this year on Bill's show, when Bill got into an argument with Tavis Smiley about women's rights in the Middle East, and presented some details as facts which, clearly, were not. I leave it to Emperor to set the record straight:-

How long will Bill Maher get a pass on his racism and anti-Muslim Islamophobia? Is it acceptable because the targets are Arabs and Muslims and because Maher is a comedian from whom outrageous things are expected?

On his last show Bill Maher went on a speel undermining the Democratic character of Revolutions sweeping across the Arab world. Amongst his ludicrous statements he claimed “women can’t vote in 19 of 22 Arab countries,” that “women who have dated an Arab man, the results aren’t good,” that “Arab men have a sense of “entitlement,” etc. He also went onto forward the argument that “we are better than them,” justifying it by implying he is not a “cultural relativist.”

No, Bill might not be a “cultural relativist” but he sure sounds like a “cultural supremacist.” His factual accuracy about the Islamic and Arab world is akin to Robert Spencer’s. It is patently false that “19 of 22″ Arab states don’t allow for women to vote, a brief trip to Wikipidea would have disabused him of that false fact:

Women were granted the right to vote on a universal and equal basis in Lebanon in 1952[46], Syria (to vote) in 1949 [47] (Restrictions or conditions lifted) in 1953 [48], Egypt in 1956[49], Tunisia in 1959 [50], Mauritania in 1961[51], Algeria in 1962 [52], Morocco in 1963 [53], Libya [54] and Sudan in 1964 [55],Yemen (Partly)in 1967 [47] (full right) in 1970 [56], Bahrain in 1973 [57], Jordan in 1974 [58], Iraq (Full right) 1980 [57] Oman (Partly) in 1994 and (Fully granted) 2003 [59], and Kuwait in 2005 [57].

The reality, (what is lost on Maher) is that even though nearly all Arab states allow for voting for men and women, their votes didn’t matter in the autocratic kleptocracies that littered the Middle East, and this is what Arabs — men and women — have been fighting against these past few months. It seems Maher just can’t handle all the myths he’s been pushing being shattered.

Bill Maher goes onto talk about how Arab men are bad spouses and boyfriends, to buttress his points he brings up “anecdotal” evidence and his opinion that Arabs have a “sense of entitlement.” How does Bill know? Has he dated Arab men? This is one of those things that is so ridiculous and patently unsubstantiated that it is beyond being laughable, you almost cringe with embarrassment for how stupid it makes Maher look.

Maher also seemed to use “Arab” and “Muslim” interchangeably, perhaps not knowing that a significant number of Arabs are not Muslims. While there are certainly problems in the Middle East and the Muslim world regarding the treatment of women, Maher judges Arabs and Muslims by their lowest common denominator. Ignoring countries such as Turkey, Indonesia, Malaysia, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Tunisia, Lebanon, Jordan and others that have progressive legislation regarding women and which have had women presidents, prime ministers, parliamentarians, business leaders, sports icons, journalists, etc.

At the end of the day Maher needs to have someone on his show who can push back against the myths that he indulges in and propagates. Someone of the caliber of As’ad Abu Khalil or Juan Cole might be a good start.

And, finally, here's a clip from his March 2011 interview with Rep Keith Ellison, where he literally attacks Ellison on Islam's message, along with a stereotypically racist quip about where Ellison was converted.

So, for my banished Facebook PUMA, I'd think twice before I cite either Huffington or Walsh or certainly, Maher as impeccable sources of imparting fact-checked information. Huffington has her own agenda (ratfucking and the return of the Republicans) as does Walsh (Hillary running for President and replacing the "inadequate black man"). Bill's agenda is just to follow whatever the political fashion is, but like Walsh, his racism in general and his intolerance of Islam in particular are distinctly at odds with the Leftwing credentials he pushes relentlessly.

Insert foot in mouth and shove.