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Thursday, December 31, 2009

Prayers Of The Right

The use of prayer, no matter what religious dogma you identify with, has always fascinated me. Some people pray for safety, success in an endeavour, or even wealth and prosperity. In more ways than can be enumerated at present, the bulk of "Christians" within America often are quite selfish in their prayers, though they believe that these will be off-set by offering prayers that would potentially benefit someone else.

Fox"Nation" is a crystal-clear example of not only conservative hypocrisy, but of how "christian prayer" is used as a blessing of life a prosperity as well as a literal summons for death upon a person.

The later would seem to run counter to the very nature of conservatives, that they stand for the what is right and just in God's eyes. More often than not you will here a conservative reference scripture, or at the very least the will of God and what it means to obey the Bible. But when you see and hear them pray for the death of Obama, and attempting to rationalize biblical scripture that they obviously know nothing about, it's rather difficult to accept their plea that people should pray for the health and safety of one of their own.

As for me, I will not pray for Rush to be safe or to fall prey to any illness. I don't think anyone should simply because he has never shown that he is capable to offering a prayer to anyone but himself. If he succumbs to an illness, a heart attack, or death by any other means, it will surely be stated that liberals/progressives wished this upon him and will rejoice in his passing. And to a small margin, that may be true. But the overriding factor is that Rush Limbaugh is more of a God in the eyes of conservatives than the God they claim to have pledged their life to.

For those that believe, prayer is a very powerful thing. For those of use that are skeptical, that are more grounded in the reality of life as it is, we see people using prayer now more than ever as a malevolent style of hate-speech designed to divide and not unite as the God in the bible would have it be used for. So for conservatives to complain that liberals/progressives aren't praying that Limbaugh remain healthy, I would ask them this - why should we pray for someone such as him? What has he done in the eyes of his God that would grant him favor in Heaven?

Cinema Reactionarium

Films are quite powerful in their own right. From Westerns to Action-Adventure, Comedy to Sci-Fi, each genre has a way of capturing an emotion within each of us that no other medium can. But films can also be quite innocuous, and even bland to the eye and ear. These are primarily the "straight-to-dvd" fare that we see en masse at our local Hollywood Video or Blockbuster chains lining the walls like filler between movies that actually have something to offer.

The film reviewer, in many respects, is someone who should never be taken at his/her word fully. Their primary job is pretend that they understand the art and style of cinema and string a few sentences together in order to make the particular piece they are reviewing something it isn't - be that for good or ill. And when personal agenda is attached to this, the reviewer almost literally becomes a whole new form of entertainment themselves.

For example, Jonah Goldberg's recent review of James Cameron's magnum opus "Avatar" quite mirrors his take on Pixar's family flm Wall-e, as he proves once again that there's always room to read way to much into a piece of fictitious entertainment. This time it's not the creeping spectre of "fascism", but the injection of "religion" into the material:

The film has been subjected to a sustained assault from many on the right, most notably by Ross Douthat in the New York Times, as an "apologia for pantheism." Douthat's criticisms hit the mark, but the most relevant point was raised by John Podhoretz in the Weekly Standard. Cameron wrote "Avatar," says Podhoretz, "not to be controversial, but quite the opposite: He was making something he thought would be most pleasing to the greatest number of people."

What would have been controversial is if -- somehow -- Cameron had made a movie in which the good guys accepted Jesus Christ into their hearts.

Of course, that sounds outlandish and absurd, but that's the point, isn't it? We live in an age in which it's the norm to speak glowingly of spirituality but derisively of traditional religion. If the Na'Vi were Roman Catholics, there would be boycotts and protests. Make the oversized Smurfs Rousseauian noble savages and everyone nods along, save for a few cranky right-wingers.

But it isn't just Goldberg that is riding this train of the thought, the theory that Hollywood is secretly implanting racism, anti-colonialism, and religious persecution into films. Some conservatives are actually seeking to implant this bizarre notion that certain films espouse "conservative values" that others lack. And what they come up with is rather odd at times.

Over at HotAir, Allahpundit highlights a statement from Telegraph film critic Nile Gardiner where he takes a giant, headfirst, leap into the shallow end of the pool:

Every movie in Nile Gardiner’s top ten deals with war in one way or another except for one, and that one — The Dark Knight — is often read as allegorical about the war on terror and enhanced interrogation. Gardiner’s reasoning: “A central theme that runs through several of my top ten picks is the eternal conflict between good and evil, and why the forces of tyranny and despotism must be confronted and defeated. They include films that Barack Obama should watch as he contemplates appeasing the likes of Iran and North Korea, or turning a blind eye to mass murder in Burma, Sudan and Zimbabwe.”

Ah yes, if only Obama would watch 300, he would see that he's acting like the King of Persia and that the tea-partiers are the brave men that fought to defend Sparta. Then maybe he would stop being a tyrannical leader. Typical reactionary wing-nut fare. But more so than Gardiner's laughable assertion that liberal/progressive Democrats can't seem to discern between good and evil is his complete lack of understanding of films that he deems "conservative" in theme.

The problem lies within Gardiner's claim that conservatives mirror the lead character(s) being portrayed in the film(s) he has cited. To say that modern conservatives can readily identify with Batman ( and it has been stated that George W. Bush was just like the Dark Knight ) or "Hoot" in Black Hawk Down, or even Maximus in Gladiator is to completely misrepresent the modern conservative.

Over the past year, we have seen people like Glenn Beck, Michelle Bachman, and a host of fringe members of the conservative movement completely take their ideology into an entirely new realm of paranoia and conspiracy. In the films that Gardiner references, if you looked at the traits of the lead character(s) in his top ten, none of the "leaders" of the conservative movement share these. The answer is quite clear, though many may not realize it.

Conservatives are so wrapped in this "what if" world, the fictitious world, that they have used it to rationalize their actions and words on a daily basis. From Jack Bauer in "24" to Batman and beyond, what Gardiner doesn't comprehend is that the modern conservative is about falling prey to fear, and spreading that fear like The Scarecrow's poison in Batman Begins. They shriek and howl like The Ring Wraiths in The Lord Of The Rings, seeking to regain that item of power that turned them into the beasts that they now are. This isn't to say that characters in certain films don't display conservative traits, but that the modern conservative has lost sight of what it really means to be a conservative.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Greatest Films Of The Decade

Here's part II in my end of the decade series about all the things I think made the last 10 years worthwhile.

In the catagory of greatest films of the decade, the winners are:

Donnie Darko

O Brother Where Art Thou


Mulholland Drive

Lost In Translation

Almost Famous


Le Pacte De Loups

The Wrestler

Hedwig And The Angry Inch

Context, Revisionist History, And A Maddow Retort

In more ways than one, Racheal Maddow has the chops and the know-how than anyone on MSNBC, sometimes even Olbermann, and this segment highlights why this is so.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

The way in which conservative politicians, former officials of the Bush administration, and their mouth-agape followers use the spectre of terrorism to tilt the playing field is quite spectacular at times.

Some people are trying to campaign off of terrorist attacks much in the way Bush did in 2004 while others are attempting to show that since Obama didn't immediately make a grand, theatrical statement that this means he is soft of terrorism and putting our country at great risk.

And while context, honesty, and an acceptance of even recent history is a foreign concept to most conservatives, it still boggles the mind how so many in our country can fall for even a portion of what they attempt to pass off as fact.

In many ways, conservatives rely on manipulating people's perceptions of events. Does anyone remember all the Jack Bauer "24" references that seemed to be endlessly streaming in from Fox"News" and various other conservative media outlets? That's how they want you to perceive that American intelligence agents work, that everything is just like a fictitious spy film or television program. They want you to believe that everything can be wrapped up in a tight timeline with action, intrigue, and the good guy nabbing the al Qeada operative and getting the girl at the end. They molest people's perceptions to such an extent that the perspective is shifted and that person suddenly has no idea where they are anymore.

This is the mission of the conservative and the media actors that carry their message into millions of homes every day.

Ms. Amos Goes To Washington?

I've always been a fan of Tori Amos. He wit and ability to capture an emotion or moment is more powerful than most female musicians of her era. But would that make her a good politician? Moreover, would she be accepted - as a Republican?

American singer TORI AMOS has vowed to run for office if former U.S. Vice President candidate SARAH PALIN ever tries to get elected again.
Republican Palin's role in the 2008 White House race divided America, with many questioning her credentials - and the Spark hitmaker insists she'll run alongside the Alaskan if she ever eyes the vice presidential candidacy again.
She says, "If Palin runs again, I'm going to run on a Republican ticket. What I know about Middle Eastern policy could fit on a thumbnail, but I still know more than she does. You have to ask, how could a nation nearly vote in somebody who isn't qualified for the job?"
But Amos feels more positive about the future of her country now U.S. President Barack Obama is in power: "I'm a lot more hopeful. The (George W.) Bush years were really difficult times if you were an American who loved your country. Having someone now that so many people respect doesn't mean there aren't going to be problems, but so many problems have been left behind."

Even though Tori Amos is more extensively travelled and knowledgeable of the world around her - as well as being an activist for multiple causes for many years - it's far more likely that that Cubs would win the next two World Series than her gaining political office.

And this is just the type of statement that the fine folks over at Fox"Nation" just love. It gives them a chance to make fools of themselves again while defending Sarah Palin without being able to enumerate even one aspect of her that would be beneficial to the American public. Not only that, but a lot of these people don't even know who Tori Amos is. But that's the least of their problems.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Documented Deception

More times than not, it seems as if some of the lesser stars of the conservative movement are ones that are making more declarative statements regarding President Obama’s foreign policy. This isn’t to say that they are well-thought-out plans, but you can at least understand what they are trying to say. It’s not incessant prattling that is grounded in conspiracy as much as it is a bloodthirst for another war.

Charles Krauthammer keeps upping the ante day in and day out.

So that makes two countries that conservatives want to strike preemptively, if you count Lieberman’s call to send forces into Yemen. But is all this bluster from Krauthammer actually valid? The reason that this should be asked is because of new information that shows that a recent Iranian document purportedly showing that country’s desire to build a “neutron initiator” to aid in building a nuclear weapon has been forged:

Philip Giraldi, who was a CIA counter terrorism official from 1976 to 1992, told IPS that intelligence sources say that the United States had nothing to do with forging the document, and that Israel is the primary suspect. The sources do not rule out a British role in the fabrication, however.

The Times of London story published Dec. 14 did not identify the source of the document. But it quoted "an Asian intelligence source" - a term some news media have used for Israeli intelligence officials - as confirming that his government believes Iran was working on a neutron initiator as recently as 2007.

The story of the purported Iranian document prompted a new round of expressions of U.S. and European support for tougher sanctions against Iran and reminders of Israel's threats to attack Iranian nuclear programme targets if diplomacy fails.

With as much passion as conservatives are putting into accurate intel, one would think that something like fake documents would set off sirens with people like Krauthammer. But does this really matter, since this does tend to fit into conservative’s personal view of who and what Iran truly are. The one reason that you’ll likely never hear any within the conservative movement talk about this forgery is solely because Isreal is attached to this in more ways than one.

Timeline Of A Response

Much is being made about President Obama's actions in the fact of the failed Christmas Day terrorist attack on the NorthWest air-bus headed for Detroit. One of the main talking-points making the rounds is that Obama waited far too long to make a declarative statement.

For a little context, which conservatives normally fail to understand the concept of, George W. Bush never mentioned Richard Reid ( the Shoe-Bomber ) except in a passing moment during the end of a press Q & A in Crawford, TX during one of Bush's famed "vacations". This was over a week after the incident had occured. Conservatives didn't seem to have a problem with that response.

Conservativism In Action?

Not only is a conservative behind the lack of leadership within the TSA, but it has come to light that the Bush administration released Muhamad Attik al-Harbi and Said Ali Shari, two Guantanamo detainees, in November of 2007. And while this clearly falls into the laps of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, you can't mention that at all - well, to conservatives anyway.

Recidivism amongst released prisoners by the Bush administration appears to be quite the problem. It's been reported by conservative media outlets and been a major talking point against the release of any more prisoners by the Obama administration to even moving remaining detainees to Illinois in the near future.

There's plenty of blame to go around for what happened Christmas day, but when one takes a look at it, some of the ones that have some serious explaining to do are conservatives. As much as I don't agree with his point of view, Allahpundit over at HotAir makes a rather valid point:

This reads like the plot of one of those over-the-top David Zucker attack ads against the left — except it wasn’t the left that presided over this one. The next interview with Dick or Liz Cheney should be pretty interesting, huh?

But what of the other prisoners that Robert Gates is wanting to return - some of them to Yemen, the place that's now being portrayed as the new Afghanistan? It's safe to say that no one really knows just yet, and that's why commenting on it would be beyond foolish. However, have the Uighurs that were released early this year had US eyes on them? There was a massive uproar from conservative media outlets initially, but now the Uighur story is all but gone. Did the Obama administration take special actions to insure that recidivism wouldn't happen?

Teabagging American's Safety

While speculation runs rampant about "what could happen next" after the failed terrorist bombing on Christmas day, many people ( primarily the paranoid conservatives leading the charge of "do we now go into Yemen ) aren't realizing that the TSA is without leadership. And you'll never guess who's holding that process up.

The post remains vacant because Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., has held up President Barack Obama's nominee in opposition to the prospect of TSA workers joining a labor union.

That's right, one of the Teabagger's favorite Senators is solely responsible for the complete lack of leadership within the TSA all because he thinks that organized workers will be harmful to American's safety. The irony is quite delicious, isn't it.

The very idea behind the Teabagger movement is government is the problem, not the solution. But I wouldn't be holding my breath in the hopes that one of their paid spokespersons will be coming out with a statement decrying DeMints actions.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Absent From Their Eyes Means Absent From Duty

After the failed Christmas Day terror attack on the NorthWest airline in Detroit, conservatives have been complaining about Obama being in Hawaii on vacation. A Washington Times article has been referenced as a centerpiece posting on Fox Nation and people there are having a field-day.

The only problem with this line of thinking, that Obama is ignoring important national security measures, is that it is patently false and only serves to rally the fringe elements within the conservative movement. Once again, no basis of fact is no obstacle for them.

Perhaps they should remember all the vacations that Bush took prior to Sept. 11th 2001, in which one of those days he had delivered to him the paper that should have helped prevent the worst terrorist attack on America - had he actually paid attention to it.

But to conservatives, if the President doesn't leap when they tell him to then something must be wrong - he's "strangely silent" as many conservatives have said on Twitter lately. The flip-side is that if he speaks continually and consistently then he's "campaigning" an not focusing. Obama can't win with conservatives so why should we be expected to meet them even halfway?

Is He Or Isn't He

Jake Tapper, while hosting "This Week" on ABC, asked Mitch McConnell if the GOP were going to campaign in 2010 on repealing healthcare reform. And even though Tapper usually plays it soft with Republicans in order to curry favor with them from time to time, he didn't exactly let Mitch off on this one:

More from Think Progress.

I could be reading more into this than I should, as it's often difficult to read someone like McConnell, but it appears to me that he is leaving just enough room in his statements to allow him to switch once healthcare reform is shown to be effective. The only problem with that course of action is that he and every Republican in both Houses of Congress are going to have to explain their consistent opposition to reform, more precisely their "no" votes. But I have a fairly good idea of how they will do it.

Moreover, it should be noted that the more paranoid within the GOP have already called for not only campaigning on repeal but implementing it at the first opportunity.

Revisions And Projections

I often wonder how James Carvelle can live with this woman.

Is this the new talking-point, that Sept. 11th 2001 didn't happen on Sept. 11th 2001? Dana Perino did this same thing on Sean Hannity's Fox"News" program and went unchallenged - would you expect otherwise?

But to claim that it was the Clinton administration that started the recession is somewhat of a resurgence of an old talking-point that had died out several years ago. March 2001 was the exact date of the start of Bush's first recession. And that's something that you're never going to hear from conservatives - that Bush was President during two recessions that started while he was in office.

Ignorance Of Intellegence

While taking a break from blogging over the holiday weekend - oops, I mean "Christmas" - I took to my Twitter account during downtime. A new conservative meme is that Obama has suddenly given Interpol sweeping and unprecedented diplomatic immunity that has actually given them more power than our own CIA or FBI. To bad this isn't true in any sense of the word.

After reading the paranoid ramblings of HotAir's Ed Morriessy, as well those from ThreatWatch, I was filled with the sense that this change wasn't nearly the hammer-fall of tyranny that it was being portrayed as.

Mark Leon Godlberg, who worked for Interpol's bureau in Lyon, France pointed out that the apparent source of this hysterical ignorance has no clue what Interpol is.

Interpol is also not an "international police force." This would imply that Interpol is composed of units of officers that can chase criminals across the world, Jason Bourne style. In fact, there is no such thing as an "Interpol officer," as such. Rather, law enforcement officers from Interpol's member states are seconded to the organization from national law enforcement agencies, like the FBI, U.S. Marshals, Royal Canadian Mounted Police, ect.

This is not just a semantic distinction. Officers seconded to Interpol do not have any sort of transnational executive arrest power. Rather, officers seconded to Interpol do things like coordinate busts of international child pornography rings. The people actually making the arrests, though, are members of the national law enforcement of the country where the crimes are committed. They are not "Interpol Officers" -- because there is no such thing as an "Interpol Officer." Further, "Interpol" can't arrest an American on American soil, a Canadian on Canadian soil or a Rwandan on a Rwandan soil. Only national law enforcement can do that.

The point that Goldberg makes is quite interesting. Have we, as American consumers, been so instilled with the image of James Bond, Jason Bourne, or any other secret-agent-for-the-govt, that we actually believe that this is how it works in the real world?

I think the more serious aspect of this is that people like Morrissey and and the conspiratorial folk at ThreatWatch attempt to pass themselves off as credible sources of information on literally every topic imaginable. Would you ask your local coffee-shop attendant to do your taxes? Or would you allow the girl working the drive-thru window at McDonalds to change the exhaust manifold on your new Acura? No, you wouldn't, because you would find someone that actually knew what they were doing.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Best Of The Decade: Music Edition

I'm normally inclined to do this type of list just after Jan. 1st and it's primarily confined to media insanity and stories about political trickery and nonsense, but something tells me that I need to partition this out into a variety of catagories.

First up - music. In no particular order, here are what I believe to be the greatest tracks of the decade.

System Of A Down - B.Y.O.B.

The Killers - All These Things That I've Done

Cold - End Of The World

Tool - Parabola

Wilco - Ashes Of American Flags

Sigur Ros - The Nothing Song

Coldplay - Yellow

Mushroomhead - 43

Radiohead - Everything In Its Right Place ( Hybrid Remix )

Tool - The Pot

My Morning Jacket - Come Closer

Allison Kraus & Robert Plant - Trampled Rose

Korn - Here To Stay

Grizzly Bear - The Knife

Karen Overton - Your Loving Arms

Terry Grant feat. Jennifer Horne - I'll Kill You

PQM - You Are Sleeping ( Luke Chable Vocal Pass Remix )

The Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Maps

This is not a complete list of my favorite tracks of the past 10 years, but it's rather close. Check my musical postings here and you'll likely see more from 2000 until now. Please play loud and often.

I Don't Have Powers, But I Can Kick Your Ass

I've been waiting with shivering anticipation for these trailers for some time. Quite possibly one of the greatest storylines from the Marvel Universe in a decade.

And if you'd like to see some of director Matthew Vaughn's film "Layer Cake", the film that likely landed Daniel Craig the roll of the new James Bond.

It's The Holidays: Comedy Edition

There are always bizarre twists to classic holidays meant as humor, satire, or just to be odd for the sake of being odd.

A classic for the modern generation would have to be George's father's own interpretation of a winter holiday - Festivus. In my opinion, the only redeeming facet of the entire Sienfeld series, save the Soup Nazi.

Adam Sandler's original Hanukkah song is now a staple of the holiday season across the US. While the second was equally as funny, the third fell rather flat but is still far better than anything Burl Ives or Perry Como recorded.

But the penultimate Christmas song, and one of the two signifiers that people still recognize true comedic holiday masterpieces is if this gets played on modern commercial radio, is Bob and Doug McKenzie's version of the 12 Days Of Christmas

What are some of your favorite comedic holiday moments?

Random Video Action

They Know A Lot About A Little Of Nothing

In another Facebook proclamation, Palin goes chasing her favorite windmill, the ever illusive "death panel". But there's one problem, she's now changing her story:

...Democrats are protecting this rationing “death panel” from future change with a procedural hurdle. You have to ask why they’re so concerned about protecting this particular provision. Could it be because bureaucratic rationing is one important way Democrats want to “bend the cost curve” and keep health care spending down?
The Congressional Budget Office seems to think that such rationing has something to do with cost. In a letter to Harry Reid last week, CBO Director Douglas Elmendorf noted (with a number of caveats) that the bill’s calculations call for a reduction in Medicare’s spending rate by about 2 percent in the next two decades, but then he writes the kicker:
“It is unclear whether such a reduction in the growth rate could be achieved, and if so, whether it would be accomplished through greater efficiencies in the delivery of health care or would reduce access to care or diminish the quality of care.”

Though Nancy Pelosi and friends have tried to call “death panels” the “lie of the year,” this type of rationing – what the CBO calls “reduc[ed] access to care” and “diminish[ed] quality of care” – is precisely what I meant when I used that metaphor.

That's not precisely a lie that this is what she initially meant, but it's far from the solid truth as Palin's initial "death-panel" meme was spoon fed to her by her handlers. The phrase "death panel" was initially coined by Betsy McCaughey in relation to "end of life" or "hospice" care that was mentioned back in the early stages of the legislation. And while rationing was essentially an ancillary character within the overall "death-panel" fear-tactic, it's primary focus was on a person(s) visiting an elderly or invalid person's home and helping them die. Aside from that, the CBO never stated that rationing had to be done, just that there was enough gray-area there to make rank speculation. And that's precisely what is being done.

Never-the-less, Palin feels that she can celebrate as if she has discovered this evil secret that Obama is out to destroy the entire country via "rationing". But she's not alone in her imagined victory. Ed Morrissey, who fancies himself an expert in all things, not only proceeded to suckle at the metaphorical teet of Sarah Palin, but to decry then excuse rationing within the same paragraph.

All health care gets rationed in one manner or another, as does every commodity (except air, although with cap-and-trade, that would change). Insurers ration, and so do consumers in a fully free-market system such as the Lasik or cosmetic-surgery industries. The difference is that those systems involve free choice, especially the latter. With insurers as third-party payers, there is less free choice, but the solution to that is more competition and better ability to be completely portable — or better yet, the removal of third-party payers for normal health care services.

At first blush, Morrissey seems to think that rationing is by insurance companies is just fine, as it is part of his precious "free-market capitalism". But outside this invisible and poorly defined system that Morrissey and Palin claim to know so much about, what would they quantify as "rationing"? Would they consider it rationing that there is only one MRI machine in a three county area in rural Western Kentucky? Could it be rationing is non-essential services like cosmetic surgeries be moved from one area of a state to another? How about a reduction of a surplus of medicines or services in order to assist another region of a state? There's lots of things that would be considered rationing but are nothing more than improved business practices that will, in the end, reduce cost and waste.

But beyond all this, one has to ask the question - if people like Palin and Morrissey continually tell people that no one has read the bill, then where are they getting this information? Virtually every Republican Senator and Congressman has said the same, that no one knows what's in the bill. So how can they make such outlandish claims. By and large, these are nothing more than speculative statements that serve no greater purpose than to inflame, confuse, and distort.

Palin and Morrissey may think they have been vindicated, but the truth is that "death panels" don't exist.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Power Of Prayer

This has my vote for greatest call-in to CSPAN for 2009.

Praying for someone to fail, someone to die, someone to not wake up in time, or for someone to look like a blithering idiot does tend to go against the very nature of Christian prayer, doesn't it? But, that's the the observations of a neo-Christian progressive that happens to be living in one of the reddest areas of America.

I'm actually wondering what this caller has gleaned from his "prayer circles" over the years. Has he had his fridge mysteriously restocked with Bud-Light every Friday night without having to go to the store? Has his wife kept the kitchen clean and had dinner hot and ready once he unstraps his boots? Moreover, what and whom was this man praying for to begin with?

Of course, the spin on this at the moment is that the "prayer" was that someone would miss their alarm-clock warning on this, but the subtle implications range from death to accidents to even falling prey to a seizure and losing the ability to be present to vote. Sure, the words "let's all prey that Senator Byrd dies so his vote is lost" weren't used, but asking people to pray so that the legislative process can end doesn't exactly polish the image of Christianity.

Misplaced Rage

With all the ranting and twitching anger from conservatives about Nelson getting Medicade money for Nebraska and Landrieu garnering some $300,000,000 for Louisiana should look at where one of their heroines in the teabagger army gets her family farm money.

data compiled from federal records by Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit watchdog that tracks the recipients of agricultural subsidies in the United States, shows that Bachmann has an inner Marxist that is perfectly at ease with profiting from taxpayer largesse. According to the organization’s records, Bachmann’s family farm received $251,973 in federal subsidies between 1995 and 2006. The farm had been managed by Bachmann’s recently deceased father-in-law and took in roughly $20,000 in 2006 and $28,000 in 2005, with the bulk of the subsidies going to dairy and corn. Both dairy and corn are heavily subsidized—or “socialized”—businesses in America (in 2005 alone, Washington spent $4.8 billion propping up corn prices) and are subject to strict government price controls. These subsidies are at the heart of America’s bizarre planned agricultural economy and as far away from Michele Bachmann’s free-market dream world as Cuba’s free medical system.

Some of the loudest shrieks from within the conservative movement are rather misplaced. The reason for this is because this is what politicians do - get benefits for their states. There's always been ego massaging and secret deals cut to gain even the smallest of voting numbers for the greater good of American. Now, had this been a threat to close a military base in order to gain a vote, then that would be another story entirely - but it isn't. But conservatives are acting like this sort of political maneuvering never existed until the last 30 days.

But back to Bachman - the very fact that she has benefited from this ( a form of Socialism that she claims to be staunchly against ) brings a whole new meaning to the phrase "Republican Hypocrisy".

Random Video Action

Conservatives Wet Their Collective Pantaloons

I have one question for Ed Morrissey as he fervently strokes his flaccid thesis - this matters how, exactly?

Since he has been marching in lockstep with the Republicans since his start, I don't see this as being anything more than a poor career decision on his part.

Someone Needs Some Learning

A recent highlighted article over at Fox"Nation" ( that bastion of good will, American spirit, acceptance ) asks the question - "what have the tea-parties learned this year"?

I would ask the same question.

For starters, they have likely learned that spell-checking their picket-signs is probably a good idea. They learned that gathering people together in Washington and around the country is a lot easier if you have an astoturfing organization bus you in. I would like to think that they learned that the 9/12 march on DC really didn't grow to the alleged 1.2 million people that Glenn Beck claimed it did. And more than that, I would hope they learned that Beck isn't much of a tea-party leader as he literally "phoned-it-in" from the studio on that day - he didn't even bother to show up.

Then again, I'm guessing that they didn't even learn that. Come to think of it, the tea-baggers really don't "learn" anything, they simply accept what they are being told as gospel truth. That's what it means to be a tea-bagger - to blindly follow every statement no matter how preposterous, how ridiculous, nor how conspiratorial. Learning seems to be something that is beyond their capacity, and that is unfortunate.

So what have learned from the tea-baggers this year? Aside from the fact that they are mere sheep, we have gleaned a wealth of knowledge regarding the power of conservative media and what it does to the national conversation. It does, without equivocation, destroy the very ability for many to exercise any form of intelligent conversation. "The Mob" as they like to refer to themselves, are being controlled, molested, and contorted into creatures of reflex, not reflection. And we will continue to learn from them and hope that one day they will be able to learn for themselves.

Adventures In Tweeting: Pt II : Losing Their Religion

I find religion, whether organized or not, to be quite fascinating. As a Christian myself since the age of 9, I have sought to learn as much as I can about the Bible, about other religions, and about how people in America practice it. I enjoy conversations with atheists, agnostics, catholics, Jews, Buddhists, anyone that sees religion from a differing perspective. But when fervent religion dogma collides with politics, the conversation gets a little tilted.

Last night on Twitter, someone by the name of Unalienable Rights claimed that they would be forced to chose between God and the Federal Government is healthcare reform passed. Moreover, their bio on Twitter reads:

My God said abortion is murder. The gov'mnt plans 2 force me 2 fund abortion, thus making me complicit, it violates my 1st amendment rights!

Not only is this a preposterous statement to make, but it leads one to ask why they think their 1st amendment right has been violated. Are they exercising that very right with their Twitter account? Also, if they have health insurance through a private company and that company has abortion coverage as an option - as many insurance companies do - do they feel this same complicity by giving that company profit? And what of the Stupak, Hyde, and Nelson language in healthcare reform that assures no public funds will be used to pay for abortions? Are they forgetting this as well?

But back to this notion that they will not be able to practice their religion is healthcare reform passes. It's a rather unique and interesting concept within the context of the anti-reform movement. So why do they think this way? Religion is based on faith, not fact. So is this person claiming that their faith that they have clung to for years and years will suddenly evaporate once Barack Obama signs his name to the bill? Or is it that they believe that they will be barred from attending religious services?

To read their Twitter timeline is to not get a real sense that they understand what they are attempting to espouse.

Is there this hidden language in healthcare reform that says "by accepting insurance through this reform you are hereby from this day forward denying God"? Absolutely not. Religion, and the practice thereof, is a choice, a free choice. Freedom of choice, of speech, of religion, is still here and will always be here no matter what reforms are put forward.

Monday, December 21, 2009

The First Three Of The Last Name Say It All

Can we even believe Joe Lieberman anymore? Could we ever?

When he says things like "Obama didn't press me on the Public Option", can we even take this with the most minuscule grain of salt?

No. We simply can't.

Lieberman likes to frame himself as an independent, like he has no party affiliation. But, history shows that his votes are primarily in line with Republicans. He's even stated that he's not ruling out running for President with an "R" after his name in 2012. Does he really expect to get any votes? He's not even polling at all in the variety of "theoretical straw polls" that show that Palin, Romney, and even Mike Huckabee are more popular than him amongst Republicans.

He should be summarily dismissed from the Democratic Caucus and lose his chairmanship. He's not acting like a real independent, he's acting like an opportunistic hack who craves the spotlight more than the needs of the people he was elected to represent.

Not As Smart As A Cartoon Character

It was recently documented that Glenn Beck's roots of paranoia and reporting go back to a man called W. Cleon Skousen who thought everyone in Eisenhower's administration was a communist. In that regard, Beck and he are kindred spirits. But there is someone else that Beck seems to have modeled himself after - Dale Gribble from King Of The Hill.

First, let's take a look at Beck in his newly bestowed honor as Media Matters misinformer of the year. I would have voted him as misinformer of the decade.

So how do Beck and Gribble compare?

Gribble's political views are described as such:

Dale is highly suspicious of all levels of government and ardently defends his Second Amendment rights, once remarking, "Guns don't kill people; the government does." Dale also refuses to pay taxes, does not vote ("The Perils of Polling"), and occasionally prints his own currency (Hank Hill typically appearing on the "Hundred-Gribble bill"). He runs away and sweats a lot when the IRS comes knocking on his door. In the episode "Movin' On Up", he refused to give Hank his social security number so the quartet of friends could rent a house on the block to use as a clubhouse. In another episode, he believed the government had tested "deadly placebo drugs" on Bill, supposedly made by "Puh-fizer"

Let's take stock here.

- Suspicious of all gov't - check

- Second Amendment defender - check
- Refuses of pay taxes - Glenn is very anti-tax but hasn't yet said if he pays or not

- Does not vote - Beck hasn't ever stated whether he voted last November or not

- Prints his own currency - Beck loves gold above the dollar, so to that end he seems very anti-currency

- Runs away from the IRS - considering Beck's stance on taxation, it's a fair assumption he wouldn't want to have dinner with them

- Protective of personal information - check

- Gov't tests drugs on people - Beck's been quoted as being very anti-H1N1 vaccine, so that's an affirmative to that one.

Considering the vagueness of a few of these, I'd say that Beck and Gribble are a pretty good political match.

From completely misunderstanding things like internet, medicine, as well as both being purveyors of wild conspiracy theories, and talk-radio hosts ( thought Gribbles fizzled out after some time ) it's almost like these men are brothers of a sort. Also, the two like to draw American flags and are obnoxiously patriotic.

But the part where the two deviate is key to the reason that Dale Gribble - a cartoon character - is actually smarter than Glenn Beck - allegedly a real person. Dale usually doesn't let his hubris get the best of him. Many times, after realizing the full impact of what he is doing, he can quite honest and forthcoming - often trusting his friends more than his own judgement. Beck isn't like that at all.

There is, however, a sense that Glenn Beck knows what he's doing, that it's all just an act. It's been alleged that Sean Hannity is this same way. Keith Olbermann even stated on his program that Hannity once approached him laughing and stated "people actually think we hate each other". Is Beck this same way - is it all just smoke and mirrors? If it is, then millions of people have been duped. If it's not, then Beck will go down in history as the Right's version of Alex Jones.

As an after-thought, wouldn't it be great to see an episode of King of the Hill where Gribble watches Beck's Fox program and listens to his radio show and has some life changing experience where he suddenly sees he's not a crazy as people think he is - that Beck is the mecca of insanity.

The Man Comes Around

I have been doing some serious considering as to whether, as a voting Democrat and a liberal/progressive idealist, I could get behind healthcare reform as it stands at this point.

After the public option was tossed to the side to appease conservatives that are going to vote against this anyway, I was afraid that Democrats had lost their spine, their will to fight. And then here came Obama saying that it had to be done, to move forward, to pass it. That's the main issue that I take with Barack Obama, he's too willing to compromise with the conservatives when he just needs to tell them to fuck off and let us get this done the way it needs to be, the way a plurality of Americans want it to be.

And when Howard Dean said to kill the bill, I wasn't sure what was going on. Now it seems that he's coming around to how most of us progressives are seeing this. It's imperfect in the Senate version, but there's still work to be done and tweaks to be made.

Think Progress has more.

From my perspective, the way that the Senate approaches legislation is quite dysfunctional. The very idea that there has to be a super-majority just to prevent filibuster is ridiculous. Also, the procedural aspects of the Senate allow conservatives to stall and delay debate for any number of reasons. It's a childish game that the Republicans are playing and they can get away with it.

Does there have to be a super-majority when we elect officials? No. So why is this rule in place to begin with?

Lastly, Republicans have refused to take up the issue with healthcare costs for nearly two generation. Why? Because it's actual legislative work that they don't want to have to do. Democrats have failed multiple times - most recently when Clinton was in office, and that was because Republicans simply didn't want us to win. That is what is driving Republicans on virtually every issue Democrats take up - they don't want to be the ones on the losing end of an important battle. If they are, and it's looking like they will be this time, and healthcare is a success, like it will be, Republicans are done for.

Shorter Conservative Film Reviewers

When Will White People Stop Making Movies Like Avatar

Haven't you guys figured out that when a movie is popular like this we're just going to say it's racist, anti-capitalist, anti-imperialsm, or just tree-hugger nonsense so we can get some face time in the media? You really think our original writings are even noticed or really matter?

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Concern Trolling The Native American

It seems that conservatives are more than willing to convince people that some specific sub-set of Americans are going to be systematically killed off by healthcare reform should it pass. Erick Erickson over at RedState has formulated a new plan of attack - claim that Indians can abort their babies because Ben Nelson and a "pro-death" President like Barack Obama will allow Federal dollars to be used.

Under Nelson’s compromise, abortion access will fluctuate based on who the President is. A pro-life President will have the power to make it more difficult. A pro-death President like Barack Obama will make it exceedingly easy. The only constant will be federal abortion funding for Indians.

I guess Ben Nelson has no problem with the multi-century history of the feds trying to exterminate Indian populations. Surely Ben Nelson knew what he was agreeing to. The issue with abortions on Indian reservations is related to the reauthorization of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, which is tied to the health care legislation and about which Nelson was fully aware of its implications.

This poorly constructed argument suggests that abortions are going to be forced upon Native American women or that because federal dollars may be used as supplementary funding for Native American healthcare that women are going to suddenly have the urge to abort their unborn children.

I can't think of a single grouping of people that want to preserve their race any more than the Native American. And Erickson essentially calling Nelson a "baby killer" - and wasn't the thinly veiled racial component in there a nice touch? - is kind of par for the course for commentary from the far-right.

But this all goes back to the central issue behind abortion - no one is "pro-abortion" or "pro-death". No one wants to have an abortion simply because they are available, no woman in America is like that. But conservatives paint liberal/progressive women as sitting around their houses telling their friends "hey, I just really want to get pregnant so I can have an abortion" and the reality is that it simply doesn't work that way. It's nothing more than a style of speaking that makes the conservative feel morally superior to everyone else.

I'm no expert in how insurance companies work, but I do know that they operate off of a profit-driven business model. You pay into insurance whether you use it or not and when you finally do, you pay in a set amount and the insurance company covers the balance based on the specific plan that you have chosen. It seems to me that all monies that are taken in by an insurance company make up not just the profits but also the pool of money that the company uses to cover the balance of bills from the procedure you have done from your particular choice in hospital. So, doesn't it stand to reason that you are giving money to an insurance company that is potentially used by someone else? What if that person has chosen to have an abortion? After they pay their portion of the cost and the insurance company has to cover the balance, who's to say that the money taken from the companies pool isn't your money?

Sure, it's not your tax dollars going directly to insurance companies to provide abortions, but the process is essentially the same since you pay your monthly premiums to go into the companies pool. Of course, this is "capitalism", as the insurance company is a private organization and not tied to the Federal Government. And there's nothing that conservatives love more than good ole-fashioned American capitalism.

Giving Voice To Right-Wing Extremism

The rabid, mouth-breathing followers of Ed Morrissey of HotAir and the reactionary, drooling, prattle-heads that are the collective commenting populous at Michelle Malkin's blog are, once again, calling for death of a person in government.

On December 19th, 2009 at 12:09 pm, southdakotaboy said:

What needs to be done is the people of Nebraska need to meet Nelson at his home in Nebraska at Christmas time. They need to bring rocks, torches, and signs. They then need to tell him that if he votes to break the next fillabuster for any reason he won’t have a home to come back to and that if he does come back they will use the rope to decorate a tree with him.

We need to get blunt with these traitors. They need to be put if free of their lives to remind them that they work for us or we reserve not only the right to vote them out but the right to kill them.

Anyone here know how to build a missile? We need to wipe out this congress and start over.

UltimateBob on December 19, 2009 at 11:46 AM


Praying the angel of death would come for Senator Bryd and perhaps a few other Senators. Praying for a massive spirit of choas and confusion to reign over the Senate. God sent a snow storm to try slowing this down, God bring the next wave to stop this. This bill is evil as are the people voting for it.

Godis2good on December 19, 2009 at 11:31 AM


After their trial for Treason, there will be plenty of room for RINOS, whether they are proud of not, on the Gallows.

Mussolini’s fate was piano wire.

blaque jacques on December 19, 2009 at 12:49 PM

And this from the people who used the term "Bush Derangement Syndrome".

Conservatives are actually validating the claims they were being labeled as - domestic terrorists. They are proving the DHS report on the potential of escalated Right-Wing extremism is on the rise.

But don't tell them that, because that would be fear-mongering.

An Interesting Year

A great deal has happened in just 11 short months. So much has happened, in fact, that it's hard to keep track of all the insanity coming from conservatives.

I had jokes with several of my friends prior to Obama's inauguration that this was going to be an interesting year for conservatives, as they hadn't had to face any form of reality for 8 years while they were in power. All that time in control of America and it's future and they squandered our surplus, tarnished our image abroad, let our middle class shrink and the lower class expand, abused the use of our military, and did far more to repress liberties and freedoms than at any time in our nations history.

Conservatives had the bully pulpit and used it to talk more about themselves, how great they were, what a fantastic job they were doing while ignoring the needs of the nation and creating a climate of fear within their base, because who knew if we would be attacked again. And now that these people find themselves removed from the reigns of power, a whole new class of conservative has been born. The fringe, once small and largely ignored by the establishment conservatives, have increased exponentially since Jan. 20th. They make up more of the conservative movement, and it's easy to tell.

The teabaggers have successfully split the modern GOP and any chances of making substantial gains in the 2010 midterms have been reduced significantly. This isn't to say that partial gains aren't attainable, but the literally flipping of power from Democratic to GOP is most certainly off the table. But Democrats face challenges themselves, so now is not the time to rest on one laurels.

Every aspect of the Obama administration has been criticized as radical, anti-American, and growing a government that was out to destroy everyone it could. This has lead to emboldening and radicalization of militias and former members of the military. This is clearly illustrated by blogger and author , David Neiwert who's been tracking this activity and how threats against government officials and the President have increased to unheard of levels.

If you ask the average conservative, they would have you believe that within 11 short months all of our liberties and rights have been removed, even though they can't name one that has disappeared. They would have you believe that Obama is guilty of treason, that they have always opposed government spending, that hoping and even praying that Obama fails in every aspect of his presidency is patriotic. Conservative hypocrisy has increased to such massive levels that it's almost hard to keep up.

I wonder what next year holds for us?

Your AOL Hotseat Poll w/ Commentary On Polling Questions

The question itself demands some serious investigation to begin with. While members of both Houses of Congress already enjoy Federal health insurance coverage, this question is designed to make the reader, the person being polled, think that members of Congress and the Senate have the same style of coverage as you and I and that they would not benefit from a public option. The question is severely misleading, like many poll questions are about healthcare reform.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

The Distractionary War

There's been lots of attention paid to openly vocal disagreements within the Democratic party by the conservatives who are doing all they can to prevent those same Democrats from succeeding. The current line of thinking from them is that Democrats are even more divided than the GOP at this point. Ultimately they are more wrong than they will ever admit.

One of the leading voices in this charge is the mouth agape queen of distractionary tactics, Michelle Malkin, who insists that the GOP is as solid as ever while Democrats are falling apart at such an increasing rate that there is no way the party can survive:

It's the left, not the right, cracking up. It's the party donkey, not the elephant, now in a rabies-crazed frenzy. Funny, though, how internecine rancor on the right always puts conservatism in its last, final, permanent death throes (again and again), but internecine warfare on the left is merely a matter of healthy, principled disagreement.

While Malkin is clearly attempting to draw her readerships attention away from it, the fact is that she got that last part right - this is about Democrats of all stripes attempting to find common ground. The problem that conservatives have is not being able to discern between debate and an all-out brawl that ultimately means that there is one party that is cast into irrelevancy. Essentially, conservatives can't understand how real debate works as they are more concerned with showing they have the ability to destroy something or someone. There is no common ground with them, it's their way or no way at all.

When you see people like Chris Matthews trying to say that netroots progressives are just bitching, that's hardly the death toll that Malkin claims it is. By and large, this is just Tweety playing to the camera. When you see people like Dylan Ratigan and Debbie Waserman-Schultz having a vigorous exchange over healthcare reform, this isn't the Left eating its own, it's liberal/progressive Democrats trying to find a way to get this done as cleanly and efficiently as possible. Yes, the voices are loud and the sense of urgency is as present as ever, but the main difference between this impassioned debate within the Democratic party and the reality of a splintering GOP is that Democrats have a goal to reach that is in the best interest of everyone, not just them.

What goals do conservatives have? I can't think of one, aside from assuring that the Democrats fail. And this is illustrated quite when in Michelle Malkin's piece. She has no real insight into the needs of the American people, only what the conservative movement demands of her - to be an obedient mouthpiece that will tow the party line at all costs, even if it makes her look like a blithering disgrace. And when you belong to a group of people that are more concerned with destroying the opposition than strengthening the world you live in, it's clear that you are far weaker than those you oppose.

Absurdist Humor Lost In Translation

I don't think it can be said enough that conservatives either don't have a sense of humor of have one that is so remarkably dull that they can't tell the difference between satire and reality.

Such is the continued case with Ed Morrisey at HotAir who thinks that this piece of absurdist comedy from the folks at Funny Or Die is an actual ad telling people how to show support for healthcare reform.

And while it is clear that this is satire, although the ending makes the point that getting out a message is important, Ed Morrissey honestly thinks that these comedic message tactics are actually what Rock The Vote are intending to implement:

Finally, the irony of this campaign is that young adults would probably remain healthier if they abstained in the first place. Maybe sleeping with cougars and hot Colombian women sounds good, but promiscuity in practice means greater transmission of disease, especially during flu season. Don’t tell Joe Biden, but it’s even more risky than public transportation!

And not only has Morrissey been completely duped by this blatantly silly ad, he's even using it as a rationalization for inflammatory and ultimately conflated attacks against Kevin Jennings.

It could be hard time for cougars, poachers, and others looking to hook up or try out some of the more exotic menu items from GLSEN’s curriculum if RtV succeeds

In the end, people like Ed Morrissey are so intent on marginalizing the younger generation or casting them in the role of stoned, adle-brained, zombies, that they have completely lost the ability to differentiate from fantasy and reality, fact and fiction, and when people are being silly and when people are being serous.

Friday, December 18, 2009

A Real Review Of Star Wars: The Phantom Menace

I'm sure we all - those of us that were fool enough to see them in the theatre on opening day - remember the utter joy followed by soul-crushing disappointment in the Star War prequels that started to destroy the very fabric of our childhood just 10 short years ago. Now here's a real review of what The Phantom Menace has actually done to not only the movie industry and we, the viewers.

The rather ironic thing with part one in this review series is this is precisely the argument that I posed when confronted with fellow SW fans that told me that it was not only piss-poor, but an overt assault on the senses and a blasphemous distortion of all that was just and true in the world. I tried to convince my friends that the characters had to have time to develop, to grow on us, that this was setting the scene.

How monumentally stupid was I? I realize, considering hind-sights ability to be a rather clear-eyed bastard, that I had invested so much of my childhood into this mythology that I wasn't about to let go of those fantastic memories without a fight. I realized just after the second film was released that I should have let my true feelings be known from day one.

Even though the mundane and utterly preposterous plotline that was designed to set up the birth of the Galactic Empire was completely lost of people that went to see this - the fanboys and girls wanted to see something akin to Empire and the final half of A New Hope - this was something that never occurred to me. The bulk of the storyline of Phantom Menace reads like a poorly constructed explanation of the tax code by Glenn Beck and Cookie Monster. I'm still embarrassed that I paid to see this twice.

In terms of story structure, this is a classic example of what not to do.

I never realized it until watching this portion of the review, but the plot-holes that are allowed to exist simply within the first half of the first act of this film should have made it a contender for the Razzie back in 2000.

Recently, at a friends house who love Star Wars more than just about anyone I know, we were discussing the fact that Lucas, prior to Phantom Menace, had not directed a SW film since A New Hope in the late 70s and had only acted as Executive Producer and story writer for Empire and Jedi. His control over the final two parts of the story were lessened by not being in the directors chair and being a primary screenwriter and the films were ten times better and more cogent than Phantom Menace. Well, even though Jedi was polluted by fuzzy muppets in the final half of the film, its still better than what came 16 years later.

Here's something about the Star Wars saga that has always fascinated me: it's blend of science fiction theology and classical battle sequences. By that, I mean the light-saber duels and how they have always seemed rather out of place in the speculative fiction genre yet oddly comfortable and honest. The extension of that is where Lucas seems to have lost his ability to create a cogent and thought provoking series. What I mean is that he relies far too much on computer generated effects than what can be done with rudimentary and ultimately believable movie magic.

Not many people know this, but Martin Scorcese and George Lucas had an on set conversation while Marty was shooting principle photography for Gangs Of New York when Lucas looked around at the constructed sets and told Marty, "you know you can do all this CGI". I'm sure that Scorcese was about ready to look Lucas in the eye and tell him that he was no longer a filmmaker but a slave to the lowest common denominator.

My question is what happened to George Lucas? This man created some of the greatest films of a generation. From THX 1138, American Graffiti, and A New Hope and Empire Strikes Back, this man was a pioneer a rebel, someone that made thousands of kids want to go to film school and create something just as powerful. But in the end, George Lucas has done nothing but molest our childhood into a computer generated vision of more zeros to left of the decimal point in his bank account.

Shorter John McCain

Someone Seems To Have A Bad Memory

In all my years here in the Senate being all mavericky, I don't recall someone objecting to a few seconds more time. But my far maverickier brain should have reminded me that I was being uber-mavericky back in 2002 when I objected. See, I'm mavericky right now for not listening to my brain. MARVERICKY!

Paying Attention To Detail

Sarah Palin, the woman who seemingly can't finish anything at this point in her life, has released a statement regarding the silly and slightly over-hyped "sun visor" story and why she decided the family needed to end their Hawaiian vacation a little early:

In an attempt to 'go incognito,' I Sharpied the logo out on my sun visor so photographers would be less likely to recognize me and bother my kids or other vacationers.

"I am so sorry if people took this silly incident the wrong way. I adore John McCain, support him 100 percent and will do everything I can to support his reelection. As everyone knows, I was honored and proud to run with him. And Todd and I were with him in D.C. just a week ago.

"Todd and I have since cut our vacation short because the incognito attempts didn't work and fellow vacationers were bothered for the two days we spent in the sun. So much for trying to go incognito.

Straight away, I'm calling complete bullshit on this rationalization on two counts. First, considering her thirst for the spotlight and the very touristy nature of the Hawaiian islands, she was going to be recognized anyway. After all, she's one of the most visible women in politics that has had more media coverage than just about anyone this year - save Obama - so to think that donning an altered visor was going to prevent people from recognizing her was a poorly conceived plan anyway. She must have thought that since no one recognizes Clark Kent as Superman because he wears glasses then her trick was sure to fool everyone.

Secondly, and this is the part where her statement really falls apart, why not just buy a new visor that doesn't have anything written on it? The answer is simple - she wanted to be recognized. It's almost as if she wanted to start this story up so that she could make some absurd proclamation on Facebook and have all of her pals at Fox"News" and on conservative radio talk about how her privacy was violated or to twist this into some sort of liberal conspiracy showing that people are somehow afraid of this woman, or that liberals are trying to show Palin has nothing but contempt for McCain.

Make no mistake, she knew she was going to be seen and this was a great opportunity for her to get some more face-time and manipulate the media into paying attention to her.

Attention whoring at it's best.

Objection Versus Obstruction

This is apparently the hot story of the moment, and it's fair to say that people on the Right are inflating this into more of a controversy than it really is. But progressives and liberals seem to be crowing a bit to much as well.

In terms of parliamentary procedure, Franken is most certainly in right in voicing his objection. And whether John McCain likes it or not, Franken didn't break the rules simply because he alleges that this hasn't happened in the entirety of his time in the Senate. And it obviously didn't bother Lieberman at all, as he laughed it off.

But liberals/progressives are missing a big point on this. While it's great that Franken is utilizing his right to object to Lieberman's incessant and ultimately pointless blathering, where have all the other Democratic Senators been? Why are they allowing members of the opposition to take control of this debate by being pure obstructionists? It's fine to laud Franken for his ability to speak with the voice of the majority that not only want but need affordable healthcare, but it's sad that not enough people within the Democratic caucus have the same passion and willingness to tell people like Lieberman to basically shut the fuck up.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Procedureal Politics And The Death Of Healthcare Reform

While watching Keith Olbermann give his special comment last night on healthcare reform I noticed a few things. Firstly, it was the second night in a row where he dropped some "blasphemous" language on live television. Secondly, it showed that he's not this "tow the line at all cost flaming liberal hack" that far too many conservatives accuse him of being. And while the first part will only offend a limited number of viewers to his show, I thought it showed some real honesty on his part.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

But who and what is really sounding the death knoll for healthcare reform? Is it the American people? I hardly think so, as they have been continually fed misinformation and blatant lies from conservative Republicans on virtually every aspect of the proposed legislation. Is it members of The House Of Representatives? I think not, as that body passed their portions of reform largely along party lines without much obstruction. Is it the Senate? Is it Obama? Is it the media at large? The answer is divided almost evenly between those three most certainly.

While the bulk of the media is more than willing to latch onto anything inflammatory in order to gain a larger audience share, conservative media outlets, their employees, and their enablers continually have distributed information that does nothing but confuse and enrage their followers and thereby creates and air of ignorance within the voting populous. One of the major problems that our country faces is that people are far too willing to accept what they see on television. Conservativism thrives because many people aren't willing to do their own research, to fact check, to listen to differing opinions and come to their own conclusions.

But what about Obama? Is he far too invested in this issue that he is willing to sign this legislation simply because it has the title "healthcare reform" attached to it? I'm not entirely certain on that, but one thing is clear - he demands reform that will help American families, not hurt them. This is something that Congressional and Senate Republicans have been doing their best to disprove even before healthcare reform was started. And while the House passed their version of the bill, it's the Senate that poses more of a problem.

With Senate Republicans using what are traditionally defined as acceptable parliamentary procedures, they are nothing more than tactics devised to muddy debate, slow the legislative process to a crawl ( or end it completely ) and to insert amendments that would cause Democrats to distance themselves from the proposed legislation. But there is one small hope that still rests in the hands of Barack Obama. If this bill even passes through the Senate, the hurdle that it wasn't able to jump during Clinton's first term, it would still have to go through committee and be bundled with the House bill for final vote. And if it makes it to the President's desk with no public option, no medicare early buy-in, or even and opt-in/pot-out provision, there is still the veto. The question is now is this: will Obama use it?

Obama's singular weakness that will kill this reform is his desire to show that he can compromise with Republicans, his greatest enemy within America. He seems to be telling those that elected him in order to get away from the conservative belief structure that has literally been tearing away at the very foundations of this nation that he will extend a hand to them, give them a voice in his time as President, and even meet them half way no matter what. The problem is that these people don't care about Obama or the country that he was tasked to lead. They are more concerned with their own personal ratings amongst their most rabid followers. They could care less what Obama does or does not do, it's all about improving their own Q score. The average American, by and large, is irrelavent to conservatives. These people are out for blood and they are willing to do any and everything within their means to get it.

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