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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Brain Leakage

The completely unchecked hubris being vomited from Sarah Palin is truly something to marvel at.

Here ghostwriter took to Twitter immediately after the WikiLeaks document drop and made Palin look like a fool in under 140 characters:

Inexplicable: I recently won in court to stop my book "America by Heart" from being leaked,but US Govt can't stop Wikileaks' treasonous act?

Too bad that that doesn't make even the slightest bit of sense. Not because it's equating Palin's hardbound idiotic drivel with "classified" cables from world embassies is laughably preposterous - and it is - but because excerpts from her book WERE leaked and they were still available across many corners of the internet right up to when the book was released.

But Palin's "tweet" was only the start, as her writing staff decided to pen a longer op-ed piece that took the standard route of over-simplification that Palin and her mouth-agape followers crave.

We all applaud the successful thwarting of the Christmas-Tree Bomber and hope our government continues to do all it can to keep us safe. However, the latest round of publications of leaked classified U.S. documents through the shady organization called WikiLeaks raises serious questions about the Obama administration's incompetent handling of this whole fiasco.

First and foremost, what steps were taken to stop WikiLeaks director Julian Assange from distributing this highly sensitive classified material especially after he had already published material not once but twice in the previous months? Assange is not a "journalist," any more than the "editor" of Al Qaeda's new English-language magazine Inspire is a "journalist." He is an anti-American operative with blood on his hands. His past posting of classified documents revealed the identity of more than 100 Afghan sources to the Taliban. Why was he not pursued with the same urgency we pursue Al Qaeda and Taliban leaders?

What, if any, diplomatic pressure was brought to bear on NATO, EU, and other allies to disrupt WikiLeaks' technical infrastructure? Did we use all the cyber-tools at our disposal to permanently dismantle WikiLeaks? Were individuals working for WikiLeaks on these document leaks investigated? Shouldn't they at least have had their financial assets frozen just as we do to individuals who provide material support for terrorist organizations?

Exit question: Since when are conservatives concerned with the integrity of diplomacy? They don't seem to understand how it works, or feel the need to equate diplomacy with coddling to terrorists.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Palin Is Like Reagan?


You'll notice that McCain, immediately after comparing the two, isn't so eager to say "yes" but is more than willing to call her a "force". So "mavericky" of him, isn't it.

But look for more people in the modern conservative movement to equate the person who can't hardly finish a task her constituency has charged her to with the man who is essentially the conservative version of Jesus. Although, Reagan did offer amnesty to illegal immigrants, tuck tail and run from a terrorist attack on American troops, engage in "back room deals" with terrorists, fund both sides of the Iraq/Iran war, have less than honest dealings with releasing the Iran hostages, have almost literally nothing to do with the emerging AIDS crisis in America until it was literally too late, preside over a massive increase in poverty and homelessness, and see the national debt almost literally explode into massive purport ions.

Is that whom Sarah Palin wants to be equated with?

Sarah's Sliptastic Spin

In which I ultimately have to dive into this issue.

And while I was somewhat shocked that the conservative spin on this didn't somehow use the verbal gymnastics and trickery they normally employ to show that, in point of fact, we do have "allies" in North Korea in order to show that Palin knows something about what lies to the north of the DMZ - or at least try to make the case that she can see those allies from Wasilla with the right set of binoculars - I think they are missing the larger point that Palin's knowledge of foreign countries and foreign policy in general aren't exactly on par with her liberal/progressive opponents.

I'll cut her enough slack to openly and honestly admit that anyone of any prominence that speaks to large audiences on a daily basis is going to make some verbal stumbles, but when one looks at the broader picture Palin versus Obama, it's a fair statement to say that our President not only knows how to utilize the English language but actually has substantive remarks in regards to policy - both foreign and domestic - without having to rely on glittering word-salad-ism that do nothing more than create the illusion that you know what you're talking about.

If you need any further proof, take any Obama speech about healthcare reform and play it side by side with one from Palin and you'll get a clearer picture of who knows more about what's going on.

Holiday Breaks And Monday Morning Revelations

I did a couple of brief pieces over the long holiday weekend and did my best to stay away from as many news sources as possible. It's a drying out period that I think was long overdue.

However, I did spend quite a bit of time reflecting on all that has happened this year - and not just in politics. What I came away with is a sense that America, by and large, is even more divided now than the day after Obama was elected. From my perspective, this is due in no small part because of most American's laziness to research.

I've thought this way for a long time, yet I didn't realize the intensity of the sloth-like behavior of those that constitute some of the loudest and more extreme voices on both the left and right. The sad part of all of this is that those on the right are the ones that seems to have the upper hand in controlling the message.

This isn't just an "ignore them and they'll go away" issue, nor is it a "if you talk about them you're just legitimizing them" issue either. The problem the left - both liberals and progressives alike - has is that we tend to play too much defense rather than focusing on an offensive strategy. To put it into more simplistic terms, we can't seem to be focused enough on our goals because we feel the need to debunk any and everything coming from the conservative noise machine.

More on that later on though.

Here's what has been gracing my computer screen since I awoke this morning:

- WikiLeaks has dropped more documents that reveal some interesting, if not ultimately predictable, information about American diplomatic practices. I'm still on the fence in regards to this type of distribution of information, as it can cut both ways. That aside, it is reported over at Crooks And Liars that Fox"News" is formulating the narrative that WikiLeaks should be classified as a terrorist organization:

This makes one wonder if they have some dirt on Republicans that they are nervous is about to come out.

The Times, Der Spiegel, and The Guardian have had these docs for several weeks, so I'm curious as to how the vetting process was conducted and who was deciding what pages to reveal to the public. Certainly there's more in there than what will appear in your media outlet of choice. You can sift through the entire document dump here.

- When the former director of the OMB under Ronald Reagan, David Stockton, says the the modern GOP has abandoned fiscal responsibility in favor of deifying the Bush Tax Cuts, I'm wondering how deafening the silence will be from the right.

It's this sort of statement that will likely be ignored in favor of cranking up the volume on the "highest tax increase ever" meme. I'm immediately reminded of how so much of what the modern conservative movement is against, their sainted Ronnie actually accomplished during his tenure as President.

- The rhetoric from war hawks like Liz Cheney is going to get exponentially louder since North Korea launched artillery shells onto a disputed piece of land largely considered to belong to South Korea.

It's people like Cheney, Palin, McCain - and their media masters at Fox"News" - just aren't going to be happy until we launch a preemptive strike against North Korea, or Iran, or maybe even both at once. And considering they have been declaring "victory" in Iraq after the draw down of soldiers there, one has to wonder what they would consider "victory" in those countries should America actually use military force.

It certainly wouldn't be like fighting in the desert, that's for sure. This is something that conservatives simply aren't considering - the implications of attacking countries far more developed than Iraq and Afghanistan.

And Monday's just started.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Turkey Day Thoughts

With people like John Stossel attempting to connect on-existent dots between "socialism" and the first recorded Thanksgiving feast, to Congressman Todd Akin talking about the Pilgrims coming to the new world to get away from Unbiblical Socialism, on down to Glenn Beck issuing a talking points memo to use at the dinner table today in between helpings of cranberry sauce and slices of pecan pie, I am actually thankful that these men are doing what they are doing.

By that, I am glad for the Freedom of Speech - and it's counterpart - the right to use your freedom of speech to completely refute ( or as the woman who's reality show has recently seen nearly half her audience disappear, yet ends up having her complete and unblushing butchering of the English language recognized as ground-breaking would say - "refudiate" ) the nonsense that these same men spout.

But the things I am thankful for don't end there.

Here's a brief list of what I am truly thankful for this past year:

- That my grandmother is still with us. She's the true embodiment of what it means to be a southern conservatives that lived during two World Wars, survived the Great Depression, and doesn't take her religion to the utmost extreme where she is more concerned with telling people they are evil in favor of sharing her love for who they could be.

- My job. I am lucky enough to have a great job with healthcare benefits that mysteriously are going to be slashed or have costs increase like the bulk of the modern conservative movement claims they will be.

- My friends, both in the liberal/progressive blogging community and those I interact with in real life. I think, no matter who we are, we should be thankful that we have those select people in our lives that are willing to stand by us in tough times, yet show us the error of our ways or even correct us when we are wrong. I think that this is a fantastic signifier of how liberals/progressives differ with conservatives, as the later is more than willing to defend their "friends" when they are wrong more often than when they are right.

- My education, both on a traditional and non-traditional level. By that, I mean that I learned just as much - if not more - in college from what I didn't have to read, memorize, or was tested on. More often than not, as Einstein once rightfully pointed out, it is the aspects outside that traditional definition of scholastic learning that are our true education.

- Technology. It will never cease to amaze me that it is so easy to divine the truth from a statement or be able to destroy a specious claim through the use of technology. I think that this more than anything should be an aspect of the modern conservative movement- that technology is available to everyone that is willing to use it - and that the things you say are going to stay with you forever, no matter how inconsequential you feel they are at the time.

- Lastly, at least as far as this post is concerned, I am thankful that our democracy allows people like Rand Paul, Sharron Angle, or Christine O'Donnell to not only run for elected office but actually have the potential to win. And on that same token, I am glad that when those people win that most sacred of positions of power, I'm thankful that I - and others like me - will be here to shine a bright and cleansing light on who and what they are.

There are many other aspects of my life that I am happy and thankful for, but these are some that immediately came to mind. And, despite who you are, what you believe in, where you are, what you do, or why you do it, I hope that your Thanksgiving is filled with what makes you happy. While we may all not agree on that at this particular moment in time, I think I should point out that I'm not so heartless that I can't hope that you have at least one day of happiness.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Consumer Impact Indicators

While some conservatives approach Thursday economic information from what can only be described as "bragging", there's always that voice in the back of me head that asks, "where were these masters of economic analysis when Bush was in office"?

True, the American economic recovery is sluggish - to put it as gently as one can - and the vast amount of Americans are having their perceptions distorted by theories and conspiratorial ramblings of conservatives that understand the modern economic landscape about as much as I understand how to re-slipper the valve plate on a drill pump. To put it another, more simpler, way - you really need to question the source of your economic information.

And while unemployment claims dropped and "durable goods" sales dropped - when leaving out the entire transportation sector - coupled with the decrease in sales of "new" homes, it wasn't all bad news.

Americans earned more and spent more last month, and the number of people applying for unemployment benefits dropped last week to the lowest level in more than two years. At the same time, demand for long-lasting manufactured goods and new homes fell off.

All told, the latest government data released the day before Thanksgiving suggest an improving picture of the economy. Income and spending are rising, and layoffs are slowing. This comes amid a decline in manufacturing activity, which had been a source of strength for months after the recession ended, and a struggling housing market.

Analysts question whether incomes can continue to grow at a consistent pace and keep consumers spending enough to invigorate the economy.

While I think it's a bit disingenuous to home in on one particular aspect of the broader economy in order to place blame for a problem or even use it as an excuse for policy that might not be as good for the country as you would want us to believe, the fact that incomes and spending by consumers are both increasing while lay-off are declining shouldn't be overlooked by anyone.

But when I hear about "new" home sales I think about fiscal responsibility. Are people opting to rent or purchase "pre-existing " homes? Are they staying in their current home in order to save money? On the same token, are companies opting to repair equipment rather than purchasing new? Again, it's a question of how are people saving their money and does that ultimately have a negative impact on the economy?

The answer is, I really don't know - though it does seem at least marginally plausible.

The Company He Keeps

Here's a segment from conspiracy theorist Alex Jone's program "Thought Crime USA" where Rand Paul postulates, pontificates, and generally uses seriously hyperbolic rhetoric to talk about everything from healthcare reform, the swine flu vaccine, to questioning politicians - a stance he later reverses in rather dramatic fashion while on the campaign trail - to even comparing Obama to Hitler.

There's a lot of ground that Paul attempts to cover with as little substance as possible, but I think it's important to point out the fact that Rand Paul is completely comfortable with aligning himself with a man like Alex Jones, a man that has never been a friend of the Right.

Will the modern conservative movement ignore the fact that Rand Paul associates with Jones My guess is yes, considering they just elected the man to represent Kentucky in the Senate, that he is given an open and unchallenged platform on Fox"News", and is staunchly defended at every turn by the same people who have continually and vigorously decried Alex Jones as nothing more than a nutjob.


Reframing The Story

In typical fashion, Fox"Nation" creates a connection between Barack Obama and an alleged sexual predator where their wasn't one.

In the headline to a report about former chief of staff to Rep. Steve Rothman, Fox"Nation" uses the headline "Former Obama Advisor Arrested On Child Sex Charges".

While Decheine was employed as an advisor to the New Jersey wing of the Obama campaign in 2008, he was not - at the Fox"Nation" and even TPM headline suggests - a direct advisor to Barack Obama himself.

Among those backing up U.S. Rep. Steve Rothman (D-Fair Lawn) at today’s press conference on the eve of Sen. John McCain’s (D-Ariz.) visit stood Bob Decheine, Rothman’s chief of staff.

Decheine was in the running to be Obama’s state director, a contest he ultimately lost to union leader Tricia Mueller.

But as chief of the only member of New Jersey’s congressional delegation who endorsed Obama in the Democratic Primary, Decheine landed a position with the campaign as senior advisor.

"This is a big job we have to get done," Decheine told

He said he appreciated the opportunity to meet Mueller for the first time when the new state director went to Washington last month to meet with Decheine in person.

"We’ve known each other from past campaigns, but that was the first time we ever met face to face," he said.

He downplayed the politics behind Mueller’s selection.

"We are now focused on bringing everyone together - Clinton backers and Obama backers, north and south - for the purpose of electing Sen. Obama president," said Decheine. "This movement will continue to build. We have half a million new registered Democrats, and many volunteers who are eager to get to work."

Part of the organizing in this election, said Decheine, will have the important effect of establishing a ground game for the coming - in his words - re-election of Gov. Jon Corzine.

The Obama campaign has plans to open its New Jersey general election headquarters next week.

It's this sort of "reporting" that fuels the ignorance of the modern conservative movement. What Decheine did was beyond disgusting, but directly linking him to the President is not only dishonest, but shows a lack of credibility.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Facing Their Ultimate Ends

Here's an update from Middle Tennessee on a subject that David Neiwert has reported on for quite some time, and more in depth than just about anyone.

And while the Fox"Nation" group of conservative commenters are more interested in claiming that the SPLC is the real danger in America, it was the very first comment in regards to this video that typified what the "Patriot Movement" is all about:

I know alot of liberals, that are going to meet their maker, if this country falls apart, and that is coming quick. They've flapped their mouths, when they should have stayed quiet, now they've been exposed.

Many conservatives in America think that this is something new, a movement that blossomed due to the election of Barack Obama, but the reality is that these people have been around for quite some time. Anyone recall Timothy McVeigh? You know, the guy that Sean Hannity's fans think it's great to cheer.

Make no mistake, these are domestic terrorists - just don't expect conservatives to admit it. In all honestly, look for the entire modern conservative movement to ignore them, or even possibly embrace them.

The Sorry State Sarah's In

In this truncated clip from Hannity, Sarah "I Have A Communications Degree But Have Yet To Use It" Palin is still bitterly clinging to that grudge against Katie Couric for asking her what she reads.

Despite the fact that conservatives are framing this as "media outreach" since she's obviously going to be running for President, I'm wondering if she really wants to start talking about "cleaning up" media. Conservatives have a well recorded history of late in calling everyone but Fox"News" nothing more than "state run media". Is this what Palin is talking about doing? I think it falls just short of that and well within the confines of an approach somewhat akin to to inverse of The Fairness Doctrine. By that, I mean that Palin is wanting more people within various media platforms to essentially play patty-cake with her and her ilk rather than asking relevant questions.

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Wrench In The Works

While the modern conservative movement is more than happy to indulge in conspiracy theories regarding Obama's birth, his upbringing, his religion, his family, where and what he studied in school, as well as his behavior as president, it appears that conservatives are more than willing to mock a theory that is more grounded in reality than they might be willing to accept.

the paranoia meter swung fully into the red when Steve Benen teamed up with Matt Yglesias to explain one current phenomenon to a public thirsty for answers. You see, Republicans are currently working on further trashing the United States economy and driving us into a depression so that Barack Obama won’t win reelection in 2012.

And even though I can almost come to somewhat of a moderate understanding with the skepticism from the modern conservative movement in regards to this theorem, one has to but look at the economic realities in our country, coupled with how the "anti-business" rhetoric from the Right doesn't quite mesh with the numbers conservatives claim to hold dear.

- Corporate profits increase in 2010

- The Dow surges upward in 2010

- Despite conservative claims, the Economic Stimulus was a success according to the CBO.

Those three things alone - for me at least - show that the conservative narrative and the reality of our current economic realm simply do not mesh.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Fox-core Photo Shoot

So, are we about to see a partnership between Fox"News" and Cinemax where Fox's "hottest" women do softcore in order to get even bigger ratings? Well, it won't make their message any more accurate, despite what their palm-chapped fan-base will say.

TVNewser learns that “America Live” anchor Megyn Kelly is in the 2010 GQ Men of the Year issue, which hit newsstands this week. Kelly is the only tvnewser to be selected for the 2010 media personality.

Last year, the only tvnewser in the issue was “The Daily Show”’s Olivia Munn. Remember when you look at Kelly (in GQ, right), she recently announced that she was expecting her second child this April

And the Fox"Nation" followers go nuts and delve directly into the predictable realm of bashing Rachel Maddow. Wait, isn't that what conservatives call "sexism" when it's directed at Palin? Ah, I love the smell of hypocrisy in the morning.

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Art Of Misdirection

Conservatives love a good "flag issue". It's been their new gig since Obama won the White House and Democrats took control of both Houses of Congress. You know, that moment where every registered Republican in America had all their synapses firing simultaneously due to overt stimulation from Fox"News", conservative talk radio, and the likes of Freedomworks and Koch Industries. That moment where the noise overpowered reality.

But do conservatives really want to get into a argument like this?

What’s wrong with this picture?

That's Michelle Malkin's blog partner and fellow reactionary prattler Doug Powers attempting to show that the man that legally rented a house next to the Palin's while writing a book about them is somehow "less of an American" than Palin and other conservatives.

If you’re going to put out a flag because you know you’re going to be filmed and want to prove that you’re just as patriotic as the neighbor you’re spying on, don’t hang it backwards. If the same rules apply for hanging the Alaska state flag vertically, that one’s backwards too.

And while the average conservative that supports Palin, at least the ones that haven't printed out the "Flag Code" out of a desperate attempt to feel politically relevant with their Tea Bagging brethren, and have it dangling from their refrigerator door with those tacky little magnets like you find at flea markets because, it should be pointed out that their "holy mother" doesn't seem to understand that same code.

But make no mistake, this isn't the first time that Palin has used the American Flag in an "inappropriate" fashion as determined by the Flag Code.

Anyone recall this picture?

That's Palin using the flag in an "inappropriate" fashion as determined by the US Flag Code. And while these "improper posturings" that utilize the iconography and tools of the modern conservative movement are shown to be in complete contrast with that which they claim to hold sacrosanct, one has to wonder how Palin would present herself in her Presidential campaign which is obviously ramping up as I type this out.

The broader point - don't pretend to show reverence to the Flag Code while your "messiah" is trashing it at every turn.

The "Papal Option"

Seems that the leader of the Catholic Church and I have something in common - imagine that:

The pope lamented the great inequalities in health care around the globe. While people in many parts of the world aren’t able to receive essential medications or even the most basic care, in industrialized countries there is a risk of “pharmacological, medical and surgical consumerism” that leads to “a cult of the body,” the pope said.

“The care of man, his transcendent dignity and his inalienable rights” are issues that should concern Christians, the pope said.

Because an individual’s health is a “precious asset” to society as well as to himself, governments and other agencies should seek to protect it by “dedicating the equipment, resources and energy so that the greatest number of people can have access.”

There's more than a handful of Catholics that have Fox"News" shows - most notably O'Reilly and Hannity. Wonder what they will have to say regarding their "Holy Father's" statements on healthcare and how access should be granted to all?

Is The Pope a "Socialist" now?

A Thesis Drafted From Ignorance

Tony Perkins continues to amaze. How can one man who never served in country in uniform be so certain on the issues of openly gay men and women in the military?

There's a small part of me that actually believes that there will be those who currently serve in the American military that would opt not to re-enlist, or even go AWOL, if DADT is repealed. How would conservative media outlets and people like Perkins and the FRC receive them? Would it be seen as a new form of "patriotism". Considering how the modern conservative movement defines the word, I'm guessing that I'm not too far off the mark in postulating that.

David at Crooks and Liars has more.

And speaking of "patriotism", do people like Perkins - and whomever this blitheringly ignorant clown he's speaking to is - think that only straight men and women are capable of having such a deep connection with their country that they would be willing to lay down their lives for it? My guess is yes.

Off To The Races

Every time I hear conservatives talk about how they aren't racist, are against Obama because of his actions and words and not his race, or insist that it's really the Democrats that have a problem with race, I have to really restrain myself from doubling over with laughter.

And now, "Mamma Grizzly" Sarah Palin seems to think she could use a dose of Limbaugh-speak in her pre-presidential campaign rhetoric. Her target - Michelle Obama.

Certainly his wife expressed this view when she said during the 2008 campaign that she had never felt proud of her country until her husband started winning elections. In retrospect, I guess this shouldn't surprise us, since both of them spent almost two decades in the pews of the Reverend Jeremiah Wright's church listening to his rants against America and white people.

Despite the fact that much has been made of Jeremiah Wright because Fox"News" and conservative talk radio have decided to use truncated clips from, what are essentially, classic "fire and brimstone" sermons - ever been to a Southern Baptist revival in Kentucky? - and used those context free moments to formulate a narrative far too juicy for any conservative to pass up.

Do I agree with Rev. Wrights positions? Not particularly, considering I'm not a religious person and he ultimately latched onto the new found fame he was given and attempted to capitalize on it - with pretty poor results.

That aside, what are the potential repercussions that Palin could face because of this blatantly race-based and unfounded attack on Michelle Obama? The reality surrounding these statements in her book is that Palin will never have to answer for this - from her conservative supplicators, at least. She will, in all actuality, be praised by the modern conservative movement. Either that, or people will claim that this never happened, just like Beck fans claiming they never heard about him calling Obama a racist or simply stated that he would never say such a thing.

I truly hope that Sarah Palin runs for President. It will be a wonderful campaign to watch, as I'm sure that there will be more and far worse instances than this where she can be coached into making herself look like an even bigger failure as a human. That, and the fact that it will be interesting to see if modern conservatives are so blitheringly ignorant to cast a vote for a person that is more concerned with her own image than those she had been tasked to represent in the past.

Racial animus is, and will always be, part of the conservative ideological construct. No matter how often and how loud they scream it isn't, you should always remember that it's still there.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Decision Flexible

It's not surprising that Bush's book has themes and passages lifted from previous writings that lauded him as a great leader.

It also comes as no surprise that Bush's book - was it even written by him? - is being recognized as a "best seller", considering conservative authors rely on bulk purchasing to further the narrative the America actually buys into such nonsense.

And it should come as a shock to no one that Fox"News" is going to give Bush a multimedia handjob as often and as fervent as they can. But when they say he's "the boss", then one has to look at what they consider a successful "boss" to be.

Here's Hannity offering yet another dose of his man-love for W.

Seems that Fox, and apparently their viewership, think a "real boss" displays these qualities and runs his "business" like this:

- Taking credit for the successes of others

- Failing at literally every level of his private sector business attempts

- Ignoring a glaring warning of a threat against our nation

- Isn't concerned with the leadership of those that attacked us on Sept. 11th

- Presided over an administration that is responsible for a "bailout" that is now attributed to Obama and Democrats

- Increased the national debt by trillions in less than 10 years

Is that the type of "boss" you want?

Courting A Different Mistress

While this may be an over-simplification of how conservatives are viewing the prosecution of captured "terrorists", I still have to wonder why they have absolutely no faith in the American justice system.

With the recent civilian court trial of Ahmed Ghailani resulting in successfully rendering a sentence of no less than 20 years, conservatives are not pleased - at all.

And while all this noise from conservatives that Holder is an abject failure and is putting the country in danger each and every day, one has to wonder why military tribunals a) aren't used more often - even dating back to Bush's tenure in office and b) why conservatives would favor them over open trial in civilian court.

The first reason is one that is at the heart of every argument against Holder, the Obama DOJ, and civil trials in general

in the very few cases of captured terrorists being tried in tribunals, the defendants were given lighter sentences than comparable cases in the criminal justice system.

And that's exactly what conservatives are upset with - they feel that all charges against terrorists should stand without question and the maximum sentence be imposed. So if military tribunals often result in lighter sentences, if those on trial there have the right to an appeal - much like in civilian courts - why all the fuss?

I think this all comes down to a concept that I have spoken of at length before - perception vs. perspective.

Conservatives feel comfortable with the "perception" that military tribunals are something akin to this, when that's not even remotely the case. They believe that a tribunal, in general, is nothing more than a sentencing phase in which the prisoner is going to be given the harshest sentence possible. And that, most certainly, is NOT the case.

Despite the successes of civilian trials in relation to terrorism charges, the American legal system - despite the distractionary noise from conservatives - has been a success. Then again, success is measured quite differently dependent on where you sit on any given day. But, conservatives demand instant gratification to the fullest extent possible - and that is why they will never be pleased with the outcome of anything they don't have a hand in engineering.

And here's a final thought in regards to the complete disconnect in how conservatives want to fight terrorism and how they are approaching the prosecution of terrorists. After the rhetoric, the flag waving, and shouts of "smoke 'em out of their caves", "stay the course", and "no retreat, no surrender", conservatives are more than willing to hand those same people they are fighting a victory - and one that is none to small. Conservatives, with all their love of country and all that makes it so great, are simply afraid of bringing the terrorists to face trial in American because they might "say something nasty" or might "make a mockery of our legal process". That's the thinking here.

That's the crux of it - conservatives are simply afraid.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Tower Of Babbling

Yeah, Beck is totally off the rails now.

Let's take stock -

-- Encouraging those that likely can't afford to buy that house - despite the fact that the modern conservative movement blamed that exact thing on the financial crisis in America.

-- Telling people to buy cars so they would have to spend all that money on expensive gasoline that is driven up by those evil empires who control all the oil

Wait, didn't Beck just tell us to sell off all the "stuff" we don't need, to become as "minimalist" as we could to benefit ourselves or something? Oh well, another day, another conspiracy.

Also, look into Rabbi Lapin's history and you'll find some interesting tid-bits that Beck won't tell you about.

The Realities Of "Reality"

I honestly expected this to happen much earlier.

For weeks, I have been joking on Twitter that the reactionary Right - in all their mouth agape worship of all things "Palin Family Oriented" - would find some way to blame liberals/progressives and non-Fox media if Bristol were voted off Dancing With The Stars. It was jeering and satirical and really didn't have any sort of noticeable impact on those that follow my "tweets", and that's really what a many Americans think about not only Bristol, but her entire family - that they are so fame hungry and mind-numbingly inane that they have become as culturally relevant at the Kardashians; unless you REALLY love reality TV

I fully expect Bristol to win. I expect her to win based solely on who she is an not because she has any sort of discernible dancing skill. I expect this because of the natures of "reality television". By that, I mean that it is in no way, shape, or form grounded in "reality" whatsoever.

Can any of you recall when the concept of "reality television" first took hold in America? It was almost as if, overnight, quality programming disappeared from non-cable channels. Then again, the quality had been diminishing for a while, but with the inception of programs like "Survivor" and "American Idol", the death of American television began to take shape.

Certainly, there are great programs out there now - Modern Family, 30 Rock, and Criminal Minds are three that I can think of that have blasted into our living rooms since "reality" programming vomited it's first intellectually devoid narratives. So where are the truly thought provoking, provocative, and stimulating programs? Not on "The Big Three", that's for certain. But let's not get off track here.

Bristol will win DWTS, Fox"News" will do endless interviews, conservative talk radio with encourage their easily lead fanbase to verbally masturbate to honor her "success" and the Palin family will try to find some way to show that this proves they are "real Americans". That's how this thing works - the gimmick wins.

I can honestly recall a time when ABC was a source for information, not an outlet for non-stories best left to grocery store magazines and TMZ. Then again, uber-commercialism is the new god in American pop culture - and you get to share in that spotlight right now so long as your last name is Palin

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A Set Of Beliefs : Pt. I - The Constitution

I am working on a short blog series directed at the Tea Baggers and a group called Declaration Entertainment whom believes that Hollywood - in conjunction with shadowy, foreign investors - have been launching a massive and unchecked propaganda and attack campaign designed to make Americans believe their country is "evil".

In a multi-part series hosted by Bill Whittle, Declaration attempts to show that the Tea Baggers aren't filled with radical, reactionary, or even violent, uneducated, and especially not racist, people. In point of fact, Whittle - in a rather holier-than-thou bit of posturing - attempts to portray the Tea Baggers as people of compassion and caring who have nothing but the best in mind for their country.

While I will debut the first part in my rebuttal to this marginally interesting approach to damage control next week, I have been inspired to do a bit of clarification of my own. And while this is largely predicated on a rather intense, and often heated, debate that I have been having with a friend I had lost touch with soon after he left the college he and I both attended, I should point out that what I have to say will come into play with Whittle's attempts to burnish the image of the Tea Baggers he claims to represent.

I guess I should start with the basics - the premiere Founding Document of our country: The Constitution.

There's a common misconception amongst conservatives and libertarians that liberals/progressives have nothing but abject hatred and disregard for The Constitution. This, for lack of a more apropos term, is complete and utter bullshit.

Where we, and our detractors, differ is that we - myself very much included - see The Constitution as a "living document", so did those that amended The Constitution to end slavery and grant women the right to vote. Those people knew that the socio-political time that they lived in required that our country go through what virtually all conservatives and libertarians have openly and irrationally feared sine the Obama administration was put into power - a fundamental change.

However, the interpretation of The Constitution - by all sides of the ideological spectrum - can be a very contentious issue. From the "Tenthers" to those that wish to repeal the "14th Amendment", The Constitution is - by and large - seen as more of a "living document" by the modern conservative movement and their libertarian counterparts than most liberals/progressives. I say this based on the fact that they wish to "fundamentally transform" it more than anyone.

In terms of interpretation, here is a brief list of what I feel The Constitution says about modern America.

- We are all granted freedom of speech, not freedom from consequences of said speech

- We are granted freedom of religion, and freedom from government telling us what part religion plays in our country

- We are granted freedom of the press - no matter if you are a member of Fox"News", MSNBC, or a blogger such as myself. We all have an right to ask the questions we feel are important to us from elected officials or the ordinary citizen of our country and report on them.

- We are granted freedom of assembly - even if your group doesn't agree with another. This goes back to the "speech" issue, I believe, as it is not free from the consequences resultant from your gatherings intent.

- We have the right to challenge our government, to support our government, and to rally support for or against. This freedom, just as much or even more so - considering our current socio-political climate - is filled with contentious debate and attacks that have quite literally challenged all previous freedoms listed.

- I support the right to bear arms, though I believe that stringent and realistic regulation is necessary. Any non-military personnel has no real and discernible "need" for an automatic weapon. I also believe that there should be a rigorous background check prior to purchasing a firearm or being one that sells firearms. That being said, I believe that all permits for "gun shows" should go through a multi-level vetting process, as most of the illegal firearms in America are purchased in such environments.

- To add to a previous bullet-point, I believe that church and state are completely and explicitly separate. This is, for many liberals/progressive, clear not just because of the First Amendment, but because many of the "framers" and "authors" of The Constitution were - in point of fact - not Christians. Several of these men, most notably Thomas Jefferson, wrote on multiple occasions about the separation of Church and State. Though many who do not agree with this as I do will often reference who specific states within the original union had formed their own "religion" prior to the authorization of The Constitution, it is a logical extension that government - of any level - should not venture into the realm of religion.

- And in my view that The Constitution is a "living document", I feel that recent Supreme Court decisions regarding "speech" ( Citizens United vs. The FEC ) has completely distorted the First Amendment, as I believe that money is not speech, merely a way to purchase influence. If I hold a five dollar bill in the air, it doesn't speak for me. If I give five dollars to a think tank or PAC that espouses a particular belief, I am not speaking myself, but allowing someone else to speak for me so that I may be anonymous. Essentially, I would be paying for someone else to speak louder than another, as well as removing myself from being held accountable for my actions.

The "framers" and "founders" - whom conservatives and libertarians continually reference without regard to how time directly effects life - had no idea that advances in the sciences would transform our country. They had no clue that one day people would travel through the air in planes, or move form place to place in cars, trains, cycles, or motorized transportation of any fashion. Their initial document was written to reflect their time. While it's general concept is still applied today, it was not written for the multitude of advancements that we have seen since.

To look at The Constitution from a "static" or "strict" perspective is not only foolish but short sighted.

Highschool Locker Questioning

I was immediately invaded with the image of two girls after chemistry class standing next to their lockers when one says to the other, "O! M! G! Lisa! What's up the you and Sarah?!"

While Couric's framing of the question was leaned heavily towards the amateur, the intent was at least clear enough that I could divine what she wanted Murkowski to answer. And her answer was, from my perspective at least, a perfect example of what Sarah Palin most certainly is not.

I won't go so far as to say that Sarah isn't "curious", but she most certainly isn't so on an intellectual level that would be a benefit to her in that particular leadership position. One has to be able to ask the tough questions about how your decisions on policy are going to have a broader impact on the country, not just your personal q-score. The later is what Palin is more concerned in - why do you think she quit as Governor of Alaska?

The Palin/Soros Chalkboard Connections

Oh, this is just too sweet to pass up.

Glenn Beck spent the past week denouncing the liberal billionaire and philanthropist George Soros as a "puppet master" who is orchestrating a coup "to bring America to her knees."

Given Soros' alleged role plotting to destroy the United States, Beck and his Fox viewership might be surprised to learn that one of Sarah Palin's top aides has been on Soros' payroll for years.

That would be Republican lobbyist Randy Scheunemann, Palin's foreign policy adviser and a member of her small inner circle. He runs a Washington, D.C., consulting firm called Orion Strategies. Scheunemann and a partner have since 2003 been paid over $150,000 by one of Soros' organizations for lobbying work, according to federal disclosure forms reviewed by Salon. The lobbying, which has continued to the present, centers on legislation involving sanctions and democracy promotion in Burma.

Scheunemann's client is the Open Society Policy Center, a DC-based advocacy group founded and funded by Soros. The Open Society Policy Center says on its website that it "encourages Congress and the Administration to press the military dictatorship in Burma to restore political rights and democracy."

( h/t to Ed Brayton )

And while I'm not even going to be so naive to expect Beck to broach this subject from even a damage control perspective - as it's these sorts of revelations that are summarily ignored by conservatives - I do believe this should be blasted from all corners of the liberal/progressive blogosphere.

Here's a little "conspiracy bait" for Beck - Palin actually recommended Randy Scheunemann to do debate prep for a Tea Bagger candidate that Palin and her media masters at Fox"News" were literally drooling over for weeks - Christine O'Donnell.

I can almost sense Beck's chalkboard hand twitching with confusing and horror.

Beck's "Stuff" Sale

In which Glenn Beck thinks a country wide "yard sale" will better our lives.

Before anyone claims that that's not what Beck is advocating, just take a look at what people do on EBay, Craigslists, and local a regional print media every day - they sell "stuff" they don't need.

Yeah, really ground-breaking idea there Glenn.

Aside from that, I'd really like to know where he gets his dollar figure from, as I have had many yard sales over the past 5 years and I haven't made much more than $800. Who is really considering while he is putting forth this "action plan"? Certainly not the "average American" of whom he is allegedly speaking. And do you really expect people that do have all that extra "stuff" to sell it off? Neither do I.

What really bothered me about this whole half-baked idea, is that it's not only NOT based on encouraging people to do away with the waste in their lives and create some sort of minimalist paradise or even have a "safety net" of sorts when times get tough - this is all about Beck's next "special event". Moreover, framing the story around Katrina and those that didn't or were unable to leave doesn't shed a very pristine light on Beck. He might as well have started out by saying "Do you want to be just like those lazy black people"?

Glittering Economic Generalities

I've always had a good laugh when listening to conservatives that were pretty much mum on economic issues for 8 years now fancy themselves masters in economic theory.

And while Palin was absent from the socio-political scene in the lower 48 until John McCain sealed his own fate by choosing Palin as his running-mate, you get the same sense from her - that she has no clue what she's talking about.

During the 10 years the Bush Tax Cuts were in place, incomes actually decreased by $2.7 trillion dollars, so to say that that the Obama administration is responsible for money not being about to be invested is to ignore even recent economic realities.

Secondly, in terms of "job creation", the unemployment rate during the Clinton era - when the marginal tax rate was reset to 34% - and that same group after the implementation of the Bush Tax Cuts is quite clear. So, to that end, I would ask Palin where were the jobs "created" during the tax cuts she is championing to extend?

This isn't to say that investment wasn't possible during Bush's tenure in office, just largely ignored or even muted by those that were able to invest and "create" jobs.

As an aside that I think should be hammered home by everyone that responds to allegations such as these by Palin - or any conservative the pretends to even marginally understand the complexities of the modern economic realm - what happened to those same conservatives complaining about Democrats engaging in "class warfare"? It's pretty obvious that that is precisely what she is doing and what Fox"Business" does on a daily basis.

Economics aren't cannot and should not be viewed through a conservative or a liberal lens. I think that that is where many people get off track when debating this topic.

Exit Question: If conservatives really wanted these cuts to be permanent, why did they set them to expire in 10 years?

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Consequences Of Free Speech

While reading this piece from Tulsa World, I immediately recalled Rand Paul's words to Rachel Maddow about how private businesses should be allowed to discriminate:

Shortly after finishing their protest at the funeral of Army Sgt. Jason James McCluskey of McAlester, a half-dozen protesters from Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kan., headed to their minivan, only to discover that its front and rear passenger-side tires had been slashed.

To make matters worse, as their minivan slowly hobbled away on two flat tires, with a McAlester police car following behind, the protesters were unable to find anyone in town who would repair their vehicle, according to police.

While I doubt that people like Rand Paul would even begin to consider instances like a liberal business owner who operated a local restaurant denying entry to local and regional Republican politicians, I find it quite interesting what an entire town did to the Westboro Baptist Church. I think that this, more than anything as so now, shows us that "freedom of speech" doesn't come with "freedom from consequences".

That being said, I in no way condone the actions of anyone destroying property in order to make a socio-political statement. But, is there any nuance here? Was the van purchased with tax-free donations to the church? Sure, that might be a reach, but the larger point here is that these people should be realizing that their message - if they even have one - is not one reciprocated by the average American.

Come to think of it, it would be interesting to hear what both Maddow and Paul have to say about this.

What Mandate?

Here's a brief piece on the results of a Gallup Poll and what the what the "Tea Bagger Tidal Wave" really amounts to.

Though it became clear early on that the 2010 midterm elections would likely favor the GOP, it was unclear whether Americans would be giving Republicans a mandate if their party became the majority party in Congress. Gallup data from the late summer and early fall suggested that Americans were more likely voting to register their frustration with the Democrats than as an endorsement of the Republican Party. Now that the elections are over, Americans are no more positive toward the GOP than they were before, further suggesting the public is not necessarily embracing the Republican Party.

To break it down to a more simple formula, conservatives voted the way they did in order to continue their strategy of "no" rather than finding a way to fix the problems that plague this country. And now that it's "morning again in America", those same people seem to be having that tingle that many drunks feel the morning after a full on bender - oh shit, what did I do last night?

No Sense Of Satire Or Their Own Position

Once again, Fox"Nation" relies on a truncated clip from a larger discussion, coupled with a healthy dose of misleading reporting to suggest that Paul Krugman is calling for a government oversight panel to decide who lives and who dies.

However, even within the clip that they chose to highlight, it's clear that Krugman is openly mocking the idea.

I find it rather interesting that while conservatives continually call for the Medicare program to either be overhauled or completely dismantled aren't seen as a "death panel" in and of themselves.

Tea Bagger astroturfer Dick Armey says the program is tyranny.

Prominent Fox"News" personalities, most notably Hannity and Beck, have nothing but disdain and contempt for what Medicare is. And these are the same men that pushed the "death panel" meme nightly prior to passage of healthcare reform.

Even Tea Bagger favorite Sean "I'm A Lumberjack And I'm OK" Duffy called for Medicare to be dismantled.

I just don't see the logic in being against reforming Medicare and then shouting "death panels" when you want to do away with the program all together. Do these people not realize that many elderly Americans rely on Medicare?

This is what happens when you try to play both ends of the spectrum, you end up looking like you don't know what you're doing.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The New Narrative Takes Shape: UPDATED

By now was have likely all seen the video of the 3-year-old girl being patted down at a TSA screening check-point. It's rather difficult to watch, as the girl is clearly distressed and can be heard screaming "stop touching me".

I'm not so proud that I won't admit at least tacitly agreeing with Ed Morrissey that searches at airports have really gotten out of hand. Where he loses me is with this:

Minnesota Majority presents a montage of images and video from TSA inspections, along with a heavy dose of Barack Obama and Janet Napolitano, set to The Who’s “See Me, Feel Me” from their rock opera Tommy. This problem actually predates the Obama administration, but they’ve been in charge for almost two years and they seem to be reinforcing the problem rather than solving it.

That's right; with one breath conservatives talk about the willingness to sacrifice in the name of national security and the fight against terrorism, but when their ideals reach their logical ends, it's all about blaming Barack Obama.

Could Napolitano take steps to lesson restrictions and to prevent something like what happened to Steve Simon's daughter? Sure they could, but it would only lead to the recognizable screams from conservatives that the Obama administration isn't taking the threat of terrorism seriously. To be blunt, there is no middle ground with conservatives, only that there is a point in which their own wishes are carried out to such an extent that they won't claim responsibility for them any longer.


Michelle Malkin takes this issue into her sad, pathetic, and utterly predictable purse-lipped rage by essentially saying "It's all about illegal immigrants, non-whites, Arizona, and Obama appointees. All this while pointing out a photo featured by Drudge today was taken during Bush's tenure without holding him, his DHS director, or the head of the TSA then to the same scrutiny at all.

While it is ultimately sad and shows a lack of honest objectivism, what else did you expect from such an unchecked hack.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Open Mic Legislature

Conservative voters and prominent Tea Bagger pontificators are glossing over the fact that the incoming Freshman class of "patriots" are actually being considered for "leadership" positions.

In a nod to the strength of their newest constituency, House Republican leaders will grant incoming freshmen more say in the party’s direction than most first-term lawmakers receive.

House Republican Leader John Boehner and his No. 2, party Whip Eric Cantor, will notify newly elected Republicans Tuesday that one member of their class will get a seat at the leadership table and another two will be given spots on the Steering Committee, which decides committee assignments and chairmanships in the new Congress.

Members of the class will run for these positions, along with those of class president and freshman representative to the policy committee, on Nov. 17 after the entire Republican caucus selects its leaders for the next two years, according to the letter.

I, and many others, actually expected this to happen. However, it seems that Boehner is looking for a political angle to play, considering this idea is likely to backfire. Not in the sense that the Tea Bagger class will attempt to push legislation that makes them look even more unqualified to lead, but that when the inevitable investigations and lack of forward momentum take center stage, Boehner is going to have the sacrificial lambs to offer up to the masses.

Allahpundit hints at this idea, but it is overshadowed by the gimmick that is Kristi Noem:

Kristi Noem, who’s frequently compared to Palin, is reportedly interested in the leadership position and has the support of Boehner, Cantor, et al. Makes sense for the GOP brain trust: She has tea party cred, knocked off a high profile Democratic up-and-comer in Stephanie Herseth-Sandlin, and is plenty telegenic and well-spoken enough to serve as a spokesman for the new Republican class in TV interviews. More importantly, though, as the Times puts it, Boehner wants to ensure that the new crop is “not tempted into immediate acts of rebellion.” That is to say, they don’t want freshmen tea partiers wandering off and becoming a thorn in the leadership’s side, either by forming their own caucus or joining Bachmann’s tea-party caucus; giving them a voice in the top group is a way to reduce that pressure, and of course to purchase some political cover on tough votes. If they end up bringing something to the floor that makes tea partiers howl, now they can point to Noem or whoever and say, “Hey, she’s partly responsible too.”

So who is Noem?

Here's a clip that Hot Air highlights in an apparent attempt to show that she has the skills and ideas to be an effective representative.

She certainly has her "Palinese" down pat. I didn't hear any specifics, though.

Considering that Sarah Palin's favorability rating is down to roughly 40% as of last week, I'm wondering if conservatives' desire to deify Pailin are backfiring on them. Sarah Gallup results were also the subject of a piece at Hot Air where Allahpundit seemed to infer that Gallup was "cooking" their numbers to reflect badly on Palin. After all, it surely wouldn't have anything to do with her inability to vet those that she endorsed - and those that lost big - in the recent midterms.

But as we all know, "Sister Sarah" can do no wrong.

Let's get back to the incoming Tea Bagger class.

Rand Paul is already starting to look like a complete flop, considering his backpedaling on key fiscal issues that he championed on the campaign trail. From the perspective of the big names that were in play before election day, it's looking like Rand is going to have all the light shining on him. With the losses of Angle, O'Donnell, and Miller, the quartet of unhinged voices is now reduced to a solo performance. Rand, most likely, is well aware of this and likely isn't going to be too comfortable being what his easily lead voting block expects him to be - a game changer.

I think it's fair to say that the spin coming from conservatives in the media and across the country is going to be quite dizzying after January gets under way. Have your Dramamine ready, it's going to be a bumpy ride.

Exit Question: Is Sarah's Facebook Syllabus" for incoming Freshman on Capital Hill going to be seen as a positive or negative for her? Despite the fact that Palin likely has these posts ghost-written, I would have to say that this is more of a preemptive dose of damage control rather than actual encouragement. After all, when things don't pan out exactly the way Palin and her handlers want this to, they are now going to be able to fall back on the "why didn't you do what mommy told you to" narrative.

Limited Speaking Engagement

Considering that conservatives are doing their level best to formulate a narrative surrounding Nancy Pelosi's eminent departure as "speaker", her hopes to become Minority Leader in the House, as well as continuing with the "San Fransisco Values" talking points sheet, I am actually thinking about whether or not all this Pelosi prattling is worth my time.

Essentially, it's not.

To borrow a phrase that Republicans and many Libertarians that I have recently debated don't like - Let Me Be Clear.

Most of Nancy Pelosi's critics are her critics simply because she is from San Fransisco. Can you recall all the times that the name "the San Fransisco Speaker" was battered around Fox"News" and talk radio? Despite what conservatives will claim until their final breath, they might as well be saying "OMG! Teh Gay is in Congress!!!!".

Rather than waste time with that poor line of attack on Pelosi, here's what I think she should do........

..............whatever she wants.

Why is that? Regardless of what she does - be that running for minority leader or leaving Capital Hill all together - Republicans are going to go after her with all they have. And honestly, this shows that they are more than willing to put aside all that they claim to be "pressing issues" for the country simply because they have a temporary upper hand of sorts.

Has Nancy Pelosi been a perfect example of what it means to be Speaker Of The House? I would have to say no, but that is predicated on the fact that she seems to have no cared all that much about refuting the deluge of criticism that has been leveled at her. That being said, did she really need to take on all her detractors? I'm fairly sure that had she done that that she would have been labeled "unhinged", or "unfit to serve", or even "whining". After all, responding to conservative complaints never does people any good in the modern socio-political climate.

The noise machine is fully prepared to shift the narrative as needed, and the bulk of media is more than eagerly lap it up.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

History Lessons

For Democrats: past is prologue.

For Republicans: "why you bringin up old shit"?!?!

Gov. Christie, while serving as U.S. attorney, billed taxpayers for luxury hotels on trips and routinely failed to follow federal travel regulations, according to a report released Monday.

The report, released by the U.S. Department of Justice's inspector general, found that while many U.S. attorneys and their subordinates approved their own travel and expenses, the vast majority complied with the approved government lodging rate.

While conservatives will highlight that "it wasn't just Chris" that did this - as the article reports, this doesn't shine be best of lights on the "fiscal powerhouse" of Christie.

This sort of thing, much like how the national debt falls more at the feet of Republican administrations than Democratic, will either largely be ignored or become a talking point about the "need to get one's message out through travel".

I suppose we'll wait and see. The "waiting" part will likely take a great deal of time I would imagine.

Patriotic Force

So now conservatives are for educators forcing their children to act a certain way?

A controversy over the Pledge of Allegiance at an elementary school has divided a small New York town and resulted in the resignation of a school board member.

Rosemarie Troidl told Fox News Radio she resigned as a member of the North Collins School Board after her fellow board members refused to order students to recite the Pledge of Allegiance together.

“We were raised to respect the flag,” Troidl said, suggesting it was an issue of patriotism. “There’s no excuse for the board to have allowed this.”

She said around 250 people have signed a petition asking the school board to change the policy and direct children at North Collins Elementary School to recite the Pledge in unison.

Troidl "pulled a Palin" so she is obviously qualified to be the next President I suppose.

This is yet another example of how conservatives are more than willing to turn anything in to a controversy and make it seem like public schools are destroying our children.

Operational Ineptitude

Found this over at Cesca's Awesome Blog and thought I would elaborate on it.

This is how Sarah Palin approaches healthy eating for school children:

Hmm...may bring cookies to my PA school speech tmrw to make a pt "PA mulls ban on cake/cookies/candy@ school parties..

Because nothing says you support nutritious foods for school children like dosing them up with baskets full of Star Crunches and Swiss Cake Rolls. Maybe for drug awareness week she would have brought an ounce of China White and showed the kids how to "chase the dragon".

The modern conservative movement is so eager to degrade Michelle Obama's healthy kids initiative that they are willing to go to any extreme.


Profits, Prophecy, And Preposterous Notions

Here's a heaping helping of Glenn Beck doing his best impersonation of Jack Van Impe, complete with "Soros Doomsday Clock".

Despite the fact that all Americans benefit from "socialism", Beck feels that Lawrence O'Donnell's admission that he is a "socialist" while debating "Glennzilla" Greenwald on Morning Joe was clearly a a send-up of conservative fear of the word, those same conservatives - including Beck - have latched onto this like this is the missing puzzle piece in a grander puzzle that is going to rend the fabric of space/time in two.

I will, however, have to pause a moment and say that Beck's concern that Mark Penn saying Obama "needs another Oaklahoma City" incident is actually grounded in reality. But using this as a jump-off point to claim that liberals/progressives actually embrace this idea isn't grounded in anything at all, as liberals/progressives have clearly expressed their outrage at such a suggestion.

Beck is quite adept at taking completely disparate moments in time and connecting them in his chalkboard style to create a deceptive web of intruige. And adding George Soros to the mix isn't exactly a new tactic - he just goes a lot further than O'Reilly has ever done.

The part that really gave me a great laugh is Beck's claim that people on Facebook or Twitter who point out the ignorance of those citing him as a credible source are all too often paid operatives of Soros. And while it would actually be nice to get paid for doing this blog, I have yet to receive a check from George Soros.

But while Beck completely brushes off the very real aspects of what he does and how it has affected certain viewers of his program, I think we are beginning to see the culmination of what Beck wants - a conservative, preemptive strike against a foe that really isn't there.

Likely, Beck will also talk about this segment from the Dylan Ratigan program on MSNBC:

This is already something that conservatives are already claiming that Ratigan, his guest, and the entire network are advocating violence. The trouble with that, is that these people obviously didn't pay attention to the interview and will likely not read the book.

And this guy is clearly not a fan of Obama - just in case Michelle Malkin decides she's going to cyber-stalk this guy and find out who is "really is".

Beck does make one claim that is so off the charts that I think I should end with it, as it is something the entire Fox"Network" loves to tout without fulling realizing it's complete irrelevance.

The fact that a large number of people watch his show has no correlation to it being even remotely accurate. It's a lot like saying that since more people went to see Avatar in theatres instead of The Hurt Locker, that James Cameron's film is more factually accurate than Kathering Bigelow's film. The next time some conservative points to Fox's and Beck's ratings as a signifier of accuracy, hit them with that movie reference and see what happens.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Interpretation of Text

My Grandmother gave me the full-on guilt trip recently to start going to church with her. I acquiesced not out of a sense of need, but that I realize that I'm not going to have much more time to spend with her, as her health has been taking a more drastic turn for the worst recently.

But yesterday, I actually got something from the "message" that was presented by the Baptist pastor. Had time permitted, and had I thought the pastor would have actually wanted to discuss this with me, I would have loved to have talked about what it means to be a "living document". The sermon, book-ended with prayers that called for a return the to the "founding values" of our country, brought to mind how conservatives view the Bible and the Constitution in drastically different ways.

To be brief, conservatives do not think the Constitution to be a "living document" that can and should be interpreted based on the time a particular action or piece of legislation happens. Not only that, but conservatives - now more than ever - are calling for that most precious of founding documents - to be changed in ways that will affect all Americans.

So, why don't conservatives view the Bible in the same way?

They see Biblcal text as "living", a text that is interpreted in thousands of different ways - or completely ignored based upon the issues at hand - and a text that often goes against what conservatives like to call "traditional American values".

I find it quite troubling that conservatives are all too eager to embrace modern analysis of text allegedly written thousands of years ago that reference mythical acts as a means by which to govern a modern United States, while holding a staunch and unflinching standpoint on "strict Constitutionalism". This should actually trouble many in the country, regardless if you are able to vote or not.

The Constitution, much like many of the books in the Bible, was written during a time where women were persecuted and slavery was encouraged. Ironically, while Biblical text has been translated a multitude of times - and losing a great deal of context and meaning through the ages - conservatives have often called for amending the Constitution while accepting each and every translation as the "inspired work of God".

Ask most "Constitutional Conservatives" if they believe biblical text to be definitive and something that cannot be "unchallenged" and you will get a picture of the fractured mind of the modern conservative.

The Voter As Consumer

Because after all, don't we all look to Dana Perino for honest analysis of edited clips from a much larger 60 minutes interview?

I'll forgo the preposterous notion Perino put forth that we are a "center-right" nation and just get right to the meat of the issue.

Obama made a very valid point about how it's much easier to talk about your ideas and your vision for improvement of the nation while on the campaign trail. This is what brought out the vote for him in 2008. But it's a totally new day once in office.

The reason that he finds it more difficult to implement his administrations plans is the completely unchecked - and often unchallenged - ignorance from the collective Right. This isn't, my any means, to say these people aren't educated, aren't aware of their surroundings, or lack the mental capacity to decided what is and what isn't beneficial to them. However, one must look at where many of these people - particularly the Tea Baggers - get their "facts".

And isn't that the point that Dana is ignoring. It's not that she is missing it, considering who she is currently employed by, but she is not admitting that conservative voters across the country voted in large part on how Fox"News" and their mouth agape throngs that aggregate it to them to.

As stated before, it's a matter of perception versus perspective. If you lack the accuracy of the later, a distortion of the former by an outside source is all too easy.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Post Election Quote Of The Day

Karl Rove doesn't seem to confident in the Tea Bagger wins this past week either.

Let's not kid ourselves....The Republicans are on probation. That's why they've got to do in office what they said they would do on the campaign trail when it comes to these big issues.

Funny that all these cheers of a Tea Bagger Tidal Wave are starting to end up with cries of "do we have flood insurance"?

Clarifications From Those That Lack Clarity

Glenn Reynolds, over at the Washington Examiner says that Republicans should now seek "clarity" from those they just elected.


But wasn't it the Republicans that were providing "clarity" to the Tea Baggers that voted them in this past week?

Oh, this is fucking rich.

With the deficit and the debt ballooning, with the economy remaining in the tank, and with tough choices on the horizon, what Americans need more than anything is clarity about what those choices involve, about who is making them, and about who is avoiding them.

Sometimes clarity will mean confrontation.

I find it hard to believe that Republicans have even the slightest notion of how to clarify anything. They have spent the better part of two years being anything but.

From wildly misrepresenting TARP, healthcare reform, and the multitude of success stories provided by the stimulus, it seems that Republicans - at least those that carry their water without asking the question "what would happen if we were actually in a position to do something" - are having to face the fact that if they don't provide specific examples of how to fix issues like rising debt and deficit spending then the Tea Baggers are going to turn on them faster than they did with their original messiah Scott Brown.

And in terms of confrontation, Republicans have a rich and storied history of being just that - confrontational - but lack the sand to actually throw the first punch. Well, if you're a Rand Paul donor, you tend to use your feet rather than your hands. But we already knew that.

ASIDE: as I - and many liberals/progressives - have stated before, the Democrats haven't been as confrontational as they should have been - especially with healthcare reform. While they aren't afraid to throw a punch, it all too often comes off like Ed Norton punching Brad Pitt in the ear in Fight Club - clumsy, yet effective to a fault.

More from Glenn "Instapundit" Reynolds:

A move for clarity will meet much resistance. First, of course, from Congress itself -- including many Republicans. Virtually the entire superstructure of today's legislative branch is designed to minimize clarity, and hence accountability.

The survival instincts of politicians involve the avoidance of taking stands, and Republican politicians aren't immune from them any more than Democrats are. Republicans just have more to worry about in terms of Tea Party primary challengers.

I think we just saw Glenn admit what us Democrats already know, that the Republicans that rode headlong into election night victories are going to have to find a way to actually legislate in the completely unrealistic ways that the average Tea Bagger expects them to.

But in terms of resistance, it's already being met - and from within the GOP itself.

...from the administration, which despite its promises has never been much for transparency regarding its policy initiatives, and from its in-the-tank allies in the press -- which is to say most of the press, aside from fine institutions like this one. They will do their best to make the issues about race, about personalities, about class warfare, about anything at all except about the actual choices involved.

Republicans in Congress -- and the more elevated institutions of the press, like this one, that are not in the tank -- will have to fight such efforts and make sure that the facts come out.

Naturally, Reynolds has to point out that all these bad things you've been hearing about the Tea Baggers are nothing more than creations from the "liberal media". It has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that there are widely recorded instances of racism, violence, how the "non-wealthy" in this nation are responsible for the financial crisis, how Christianity is being attacked, and general hatred toward all people who's voter registration card doesn't have the "R" checked on it. I'm thinking Glenn should change his blogger handle to "ProjectionPundit".

And saying that the Obama administration has completely renounced their desire to be a more transparent governing body is simply laughable. There is transparency, it's just that the Republicans like to call it "propaganda" because it sounds fancy and was instrumental in the Tea Baggers coming out to the polls for the mid-terms.

Could there be more transparency? Without question. But it's quite clear that anything short of having everyone in the Obama administration fitted with tracking devices, and cameras that would broadcast a live feed to every news channel in the world just isn't going to cut it.

But it's the closing paragraphs that really put this piece into perspective:

By listening to voters at town hall meetings, Republicans can not only show that they care, they can accomplish something else. They can actually learn something.

By not listening to voters, and not being straight with them, Democrats committed political suicide. Republicans should take a lesson, and promote clarity. In these times, voters will reward that.

The problems with Reynolds closing statement is that it is completely divorced from the reality of how the Tea Baggers got their information, how the Republicans that latched onto that misinformation, and how the Democrats lost as much as they did last Tuesday.

Democrats did, despite what you may have heard from people like Glenn Reynolds and his media masters at Fox"News", listen to the voters in America. The problem is that they didn't take it far enough.

Conservatives love to tout that the average American wants a complete repeal of healthcare reform, when in reality they want it to be furthered more towards a "public option" system. Conservatives will shout that financial regulation doesn't tackle Fannie and Freddie, while not taking into consideration that they need to be addressed as a single issue. From what Net Neutrality is, to clean energy initiatives, on down to "Don't Ask, Don't Tell", Republicans have never been about clarity, and the call for such at this point tells me that they aren't ready for their renewed responsibility.

Over at Hot Air, Ed Morrissey seems to be backing away from the use of the word "mandate" - something that the Tea Baggers were claiming from the very first win on Tuesday night.

Did voters give the GOP a mandate for a complete reversal of direction, or did they deliver an ultimatum to the White House to start compromising with Republicans. Reading that mandate correctly will be the great challenge of the next few months, and for both parties, the stakes could not be higher for success and failure at reading it correctly.

Here's something that's not difficult to read - Republicans are starting to show that they aren't too sure they are pleased with what they have done. But make no mistake about it, they are going to find a way to blame Democrats for their own inadequacies and failures right up to election night 2012.

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