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Monday, January 31, 2011

Because Of Who They Are

It has long since surprised me that the modern American Right will go to any length to use members of the American military to further their narrative of the moment. But now that their ultimate media boogeyman has been removed from his post at MSNBC - and desires to exercise his right to free speech - the wingers are ready to morph the two together.

The object of Olbermann's disaffection was one Ed Driscoll who was quite pleased by the former "Countdown" host's departure from MSNBC......

Is this really the dumbest letter to the editor of the century, or is Olbermann's kingsize ego so starved for attention that he doesn't feel the slightest inclination to show respect for a veteran voicing his opinion in a forum specifically designed for such a thing?

So are we to believe that simply because a person wears a uniform - whether it be a member of the armed forces, a police officer, a fireman, or even a judges robe - that their opinions are not to be questioned or challenged?

Palinisms In Polling

Read this closely and then tell me how reliable Rasmussen's polls are:

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 46% of Likely Republican Primary Voters who favor Palin say they are at least somewhat likely to vote third-party if she isn't nominated. That includes 22% who say it is Very Likely.

What this is saying is that less than half of people who still use landlines as their primary phone that are considering not voting for Obama in 2012 because they think Palin is "cool" aren't sure whether or not they would actually cast a vote that matters - including a minority of people whom, with a sufficient amount of prodding, would get off the couch and just push any button that caught their fancy at the time that wasn't Palin or Obama.

That's how Rasmussen results read - completely and utterly pointless.

Look for the modern American Right to get all in a tizzy over this, complete with Fox"News" doing their best to ensure that she does get the nomination.


Figured I would weigh in on St. Ronnie - since the modern American Right are all too eager to fellate his corpse live on Fox"News" - with some information that you are not going to hear from those that worship him as the second coming of Christ.

One thing that you will NEVER hear from the Right Wing in this country is that Reagan committed what has become the unpardonable sin of "cutting and running" after the terrorist attack on the Marine barracks in Lebanon that killed nearly 300.

Why would he do such a thing?

To hear the Reagan sycophants of today, you would think that leaving such a grim deed going unpunished would place you firmly in the category of "un-American terrorist enabler". But that just isn't the case here. The reason being is that the Wingnuts of today can't let the slightest blemish be seen on the face of their precious Father.

While some will claim that it had to do with the collapse of President Amin Gemayel's government, one can't but see the shift in the Right Wing narrative towards a "let's roll" mentality that favors shooting first and asking questions never.

On This Day In Reactionary History

This still makes me laugh.

The Bonnaroo List : Pt. III

Reliable sources over at InfoRoo have all but put the official stamp on what has been wished for by Bonnaroo visitors for some years now - Massive Attack will join the festival.

Here's the track Teardrop from their seminal album Mezzanine:

If the song is familiar to you, you more than likely recognize it as the title sequence track from House.

Don't forget to check in with Katie Reed for more clues, and they are getting more and more difficult.

A Question Of Leadership

While conservatives "aren't letting a crisis go to waste" in regards to the socio-political unrest in Egypt, Chris Matthews posed a question to his panel yesterday that many within the modern American Right are calling a disaster for the Obama administration.

While the question is a legitimate one, I hardly see how Matthews asking this is any way detrimental to Obama.

Let's look at the data in reference to Bush's response to Sept. 11th 2001.

Rather than send a sufficient force into Afghanistan to capture/kill Bin Laden, he sent in fewer military than there are police officers in Manhattan. Also, his focus - and ultimately that of the entire Right Wing in this country - was shifted to Iraq where he sent precious lives on a fools errand in some vain attempt to finish the job he thought his father wanted him to complete.

The larger point is this - does the modern American Right think we should invade Egypt now? That does seem to be their answer for everything in the Middle East.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Modern American Right Hates Kids

I'm not sure of any other way to title this latest piece of uber-reactionary clap-trap from Jim "Gateway Pundit" Hoft.

After two years of these radicals in the White House we know one thing for sure…. They have no idea how the private sector operates. Michelle O’s latest scheme is a doozy. She wants businesses to allow employees to mentor children during part of their work week.
After all, they have nothing better to do, right?

Hoft - who is quite often linked at the Fox"News" hate-site Fox"Nation", doesn't bother to fact check sources, and thinks that talking about the US beating Russia to the moon is actually lauding their success - seems to think that giving children responsible role-models and offering help in a variety areas is tantamount to taking a shit on the American Flag.

But, such is the life of someone who is one of the louder voices in the modern American Right.

And Hoft's source, an allegedly "Christian" organization, doesn't seem to think this is a great idea either. After all, ensuring the safety and stability of children is so "anti-Jesus", isn't it.

Naturally, the ultimate mentor for a child is their parents. But considering that not all children are blessed with parents that give time to them, or that some children don't even have parents, are we to believe that Hoft and CNSNews think these children are so below them that they require no attention and caring?

It would appear that that is, in point of fact, precisely the point.

Foxes Targeting The Captain, Again

I can recall hearing stories about Fredric Wertham ( PhD? ) and his book called Seduction of the Innocent which was published in the early 50s and highlighted what he perceived to be anti-American/anti-family/anti-values messages in comics.

The modern American Right has kept up Wetham's traditions and helped to burnish his legacy in recent years by claiming that Hollywood - the ever present "boogyman" for all the reactionary lot who look to place blame on other people rather than examining the environment they live in - and the larger comic producers in America are, in essence, pushing anti-American propaganda on our children.

We've seen this in conjunction with the last Superman film and with an issue of Captain America where he and The Falcon witness an "anti-tax" ( Tea Party ) rally.
And now that the later is slated for a world-wide feature film release in the near future, the modern American Right are concocting the latest "controversy" because of how the film will be marketed outside the US.

How do you sell a movie called "Captain America" to an overseas market? In South Korea, Russia and the Ukraine, apparently, the answer is you don't even try.

The film "Captain America: The First Avenger" will have its title truncated to, simply, "The First Avenger" in those three overseas markets, according to Marvel Studios insiders. The choice was made by Marvel, Paramount Pictures' international team and distributors in those three countries based on market research results. Those involved in the decision are being careful to frame the move as a matter of brand management and consumer awareness and not as a decision tilted by cultural or political winds.

Seems that "capitalism" and a successful business model take a back seat when the word "America" is involved. Nevermind the fact that the comics have referenced Steve Rogers as "Cap" - leaving off the "America" last name - for longer than I and many of the comics new found Right Wing detractors have been alive, but the very message behind the Captain America film and what he was created to stand for will likely mesh quite well with the comics, as did the Superman films - even the last one. And while that a message was one of hope, equality, justice, and truth, it all takes a back seat in favor of pushing a failed ideology.

For anyone that has read either of the above mentioned series or seen any of the Superman films, the heroes in question don't aid and comfort American exclusively. Superman has saved many many foreigners and I can recall Captain America being part of a crew of superheroes that were quite responsible for helping save the entire universe during the Infinity Gauntlet storyline. And for any twitchy wingnuts reading this, that included people of ALL socio-political ideologies.

For the modern American Right, in order for any character in any story ( regardless of medium ) to be of any intrinsic value, it must be painted in Red, White, and Blue, sing the National Anthem - complete with hidden verse - read the Bible, attended only a "Christian" church service, vote Republican, and carry around a picture of Sarah Palin in their back pocket which they will ultimately look upon and ask for guidance in a time of distress.

I'm looking forward to the film, but also know that the producers and on-air personalities at Fox"News" are waiting with baited breath for their time to offer "thoughtful commentary" on the Captain American feature once it makes it's debut.

It's pretty much a given that Glenn Beck will have a nice "chalkboard session" on how Fredrick Wertham predicted the "evils" of to Stan Lee, director Joe Johnston and will somehow tie this all back to Frances Fox Piven.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Floating The Understudy

I noticed early on that Palin was already being used as a "comparison metric" for the incoming Tea Bagger class of Congressional Representatives, and now it seems like Fox"News" is pushing the American Right prerequisite of "you must be pretty" in order to be taken seriously.

Yeah, and I'm guessing that most people on Fox think that Micheal Bay films are great simply because there are lots of "special effects".

Here's an early prediction - Noem will be offered a show on Fox"News" before the next Congressional elections, or maybe as a result of.


With word having already been spread since last Fall that Justice Samuel Alito will opt out of attending tonight's State Of The Union, considering his clear violation of protocol and decorum expected from a sitting Supreme Court Justice as well as his childish actions in clear response to Obama's election, it's no surprise that the Right are once again going to bat for Alito as well as making a none to convincing case that a sitting President shouldn't question/warn of the far reaching implications of the "highest court in the land", especially in light of Scalia's own, and more recent, ethical infractions.

In the best of all possible worlds, the Supreme Court would decide as a group whether to attend or not and then unanimously follow through on that decision. Obviously, we don’t see a lot of unanimous decisions on the law from the court, but this question deserves some thought not just for this presidency but as a tradition. Roberts is right that the State of the Union has long since become a political pep rally, something that started long before Obama, and as the one ostensibly non-political and non-partisan branch of government, the captive presence of the Supreme Court among the partisan cheers is quite unseemly.

Here's the problem with this sort of logic - thinking that the Supreme Court is "non-partisan" and "non-political".

I'm not so naive to think that there are at least 3 liberal-leaning members on the SCOTUS, and the modern American Right would be wise to admit that the "activism" they so often decry has been more present in the SCOTUS over recent years, most widely recognized by the disastrous Citizen's United decision - which the above mentioned author tried none-to convincingly to minimize:

Last year, President Obama publicly upbraided the Supreme Court during his State of the Union speech for its Citizens United decision, claiming — incorrectly — that it reversed “a century of law.” In fact, it reversed the McCain-Feingold law that barred corporations from spending money on political advertising within a certain period of time before an election, not the “century of law” that barred corporations from donating to political candidates, which is still very much in place. Justice Samuel Alito knew the difference, which is why he shook his head and mouthed the words “not true,” which so offended Obama that the White House continued its ignorant attack on the Supreme Court for another few days rather than picking up the decision and reading it.

True, corporations have always been allowed to donate a "maximum" amount to political campaigns within a pre-determined time-frame, but that also disappeared with McCain/Feingold. Obama was right to question the decision - which fell clearly across partisan lines - but that only provided ammunition to further the specious and poorly structured claims of the Right that "The Fairness Doctrine" would be reinstated or that the Obama Administration intends on censoring "conservative speech". The only thing that Obama, the Left, and more than a handful of "centrist" and "independents" called for was "disclosure" - the ultimate victim of the Citizen's United case.

If Roberts can’t get unanimity, though, the members of the court who are in town at the appointed time of the SOTU should make an appearance. Having just the liberal judges show for Obama and then presumably just the conservative justices show for a Republican President would be even more unseemly. Having been the target of the White House political team after last year’s SOTU, Alito can certainly be excused. And perhaps the members of the court can at least agree that an explicit attack on one of their decisions by a President in a State of the Union speech in the future will result in the entire court walking out on the rest of the speech, in what would be the only rebuke that the court’s members can deliver in that setting.

And here's where the continuation of the "Right Wing as perpetual victim" meme comes full circle. The only problem is that Alito was not called out by name, as Obama warned against what were the systemic risks of such a decision to allow undisclosed donors and unchecked amounts to be donated to ANY political figure - it was a clearly non-partisan statement that should have given the Right as much pause at it did the Left. And while there were the equivalency arguments put forth by members of the Right - that labor unions ( read: evil, far-left, mafia types ) were granted unlimited donation status because of this decision - the money and power is clearly more tilted to corporations with an unhinged Right Wing directive.

The question is ultimately if the SCOTUS should be present during a State of the Union speech. Naturally, and what should be clear to anyone within the modern American Right, is that it has always been about presenting the prime directives, initiatives, and successes of the administration in power, so having what should be a "non-partisan"/"non-political" judicial body present makes no sense at all, regardless of who occupies the White House. To me, it has always seemed like a contest of who can be the most stone-faced during the speech. Alito failed in that venture last year and was the sole person responsible for injecting himself into the debate over Citizen's United - NOT Barack Obama.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

A Teaching Moment

The modern American Right have - over the course of the last decade - slowly moved closer and closer to stating point-blank that higher education is completely worthless.

Seems that they are just moments away from claiming that, in light of this report featured in USA Today:

Nearly half of the nation’s undergraduates show almost no gains in learning in their first two years of college, in large part because colleges don’t make academics a priority, a new report shows.

Instructors tend to be more focused on their own faculty research than teaching younger students, who in turn are more tuned in to their social lives, according to the report, based on a book titled Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses. Findings are based on transcripts and surveys of more than 3,000 full-time traditional-age students on 29 campuses nationwide, along with their results on the Collegiate Learning Assessment, a standardized test that gauges students’ critical thinking, analytic reasoning and writing skills.

After two years in college, 45% of students showed no significant gains in learning; after four years, 36% showed little change.

Students also spent 50% less time studying compared with students a few decades ago, the research shows.

And right on cue, one of the biggest Right Wing blogs pushes exactly that question - do kids really need college?

But the author - AllahPundit - doesn't stop there, as they make a none to thinly veiled accusation that there has to be some sort of bias ( read: liberal ) at all colleges that causes students to put emotion and political alignments before "critical analysis", based on an article from McLatchy - then following up with this:

If you think false media narratives are easily absorbed now, wait until the Leaders of Tomorrow graduate and take their place in society. I keep thinking that the combination of a poor economy and ludicrous higher-education costs will solve this problem to some degree by re-normalizing the idea of entering the labor force after high school. If you’re a kid who’s unenthused about incurring a mountain of debt for the privilege of four more years of study with no guarantee of finding a job afterward to fund the repayment, why not pound the pavement for an entry-level/trainee position somewhere instead? The pay will be rotten to start and the lack of a diploma will make some future employers think twice, but in the meantime you’re debt-free and building skills — and if I’m right about re-normalization, the “no diploma” stigma will fade a bit culturally over time.

And there's the money shot - are conservative parents going to stop what they did when I was young, to urge that their children get a higher education so that they can end up better off in the world than they are?

Certainly, the world is a different place than it was in 1989 when I started high school, but have we come so far as a nation that we are willing to buy into this notion that a college education simply doesn't matter?

The first argument that any parent has with their high school senior is of the "cost" of the school of their choice. And while not every child is lucky enough to get that grant or scholarship, it is one of the obstacles with sending a student to college and will be a conversation that a plurality of parents will have with their kids. But should that be the rationalization for telling them they don't need any further education after high school? Should that be the reason that a kid give up their dreams of being a doctor, a lawyer, geologist, or an architect, or even a teacher?

I still owe a fairly large sum of money for my college education. Was it worth it? Every last penny. Could I have made some better choices after I graduated? Most certainly. But are we to believe that the modern American Right think that they could fair better without a college education? Are we to operate under the assumption that college is as outdated as cassette tapes, VHS, and CB radio? Are we to believe that the value of higher education in the eyes of employers will disappear in a sufficient enough timeframe to satisfy Right Wingers like the above mentioned author?

What the study shows, and what most within the modern American Right will ultimately ignore, is a lack of motivation by the students in the percentiles highlighted. This isn't about what classes are offered, where the school is located, or how much it costs - it's the students' desire to learn.

I'm not so naive to think that there won't be temptations at college, as I took part in my fair share of ribaldry and class skipping - but I knew that in order to make the grade I had to do the work. The person that is ultimately responsible for your grade is you, regardless of what the author at HotAir has to say about "grade inflation".

College isn't for everyone. I had this same talk with my nephew after he dropped out of a regional University and thought his parents would be mad at him for the rest of his life. But if you opt to skip college, don't think that you will have the same job opportunities as those with a college diploma, even if you don't have that debt hanging over you.

Constitutionally Speaking

Tea Bagger Freshman Senator Mike Lee is no stranger to telling people that just about everything the Federal Government does is "unconstitutional". His latest rant about what he believes our "Founding Document" really means has to do with relief given to states after a natural disaster: issue with flood and disaster relief--should that be a federal prerogative or is that a state power? I think a compelling point can be made that that's one thing that states historically have focused on...and I think that's one area where we ought to focus--one of many areas where we ought to focus -- on getting that power back to the states, keeping that money in the states to begin with.

Living in Western Kentucky - one of the areas hardest hit by a monolithic snow/ice storm 2 years ago - I can attest that the state wasn't at all powerless in getting aid to people, and the Federal response, while lauded by Gov. Beshear, was widely panned by conservative commentators as "not being enough".

Lee's continual assertions that things are "unconstitutional" only serves one purpose, to make his base operate under the assumption that he has not only a working knowledge of what The Constitution does and doesn't allow, but that he doesn't have to prove it because he's invoking the perception of The Constitution - and that's a BIG piece of iconography that the modern American Right doesn't want to question.

Who's To Decide

Just remember, that the modern American right are above making it about race.

Considering that this sort of language is quite commonplace within the confines of the Right Wing, it should be no surprise to anyone.

While the topic at hand was abortion, and ultimately a question that Obama was never asked, this blatant inference that black people aren't capable of making decisions that could affect the lives of others is not only a glaring example of the racial animus that flows like water from the modern American Right, but a signifier that it's speech acceptable by an alleged "Christian" organization.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Relevant Quote Of The Moment b/w Prophecy In Song

And you knew that it was going to come from Glenn Beck:

....They believe in communism. They believe and have called for a revolution. You're going to have to shoot them in the head. But warning, they may shoot you.

They are dangerous because they believe. Karl Marx is their George Washington. You will never change their mind.

Now certainly, the modern American Right will say that he was speaking metaphorically, that "votes" are bullets. Yeah, right.

Immediately, this song from Corrosion of Conformity came to mind. I'm honestly surprised that Sharron Angel didn't have this as a campaign theme song, even though Pepper Keenan and crew wrote this track to reflect the state of the Right Wing in America - in 1991.

Blaming the music that Loughner listened to is something that is not exactly a new strategy from the modern American Right. They've been doing it in conjunction with violence and Marilyn Manson for years.

Check out the barrage of comments this video got in light of Loughner's rampage.

Let's Talk About Me

It was a given that Palin would do this, because it's ultimately all about her anyway. And just a tip for Sean, it's hardly an "exclusive" when she's practically sitting in everyone's lap at Fox"News" on any given day.

So let's get started:

Just to get this out of the way, and as I've said it before, if conservatives don't want this to be about Palin, then they should stop pushing the narrative that it is about her. Also, the Left in America should also be prepared to listen to her clearly coached and couched responses in the metaphorical game of "T-Ball" that she is playing with Sean.

In classic form, and has been the Right Wing narrative du jour in light of what Loughner did in Tuscon, Palin has to make the equivalency argument. If anything is intellectually more dishonest than ignoring the fact that heated and even violent rhetoric - from any side - is without consequence, then that point of view absolutely is. But to follow that canted form of logic all the way through, you didn't hear anyone on the Left talking about "Second Amendment solutions", or have seen anyone from the Left take a gun to a political rally, or even talk about "the blood of tyrants". Those instances are true exclusivities for the modern American Right.

There is something that Palin said - which she initially mentioned in her "blood libel video sermon" - that it's about the message. But that was ultimately lost when she insisted that if her, or Rush, or Hannity were to go silent then America would surely fail because of the loss of "civil" debate. Civility and the modern American Right are mutually exclusive creatures, as anyone who has listened to the noise being vomited up by them can surely understand.

One of the most prominent traits of the modern American Right is that it's never about what they say, but about who does and who doesn't report on it in the fashion that they feel entitled to. Certainly, Palin has come out against violence - as virtually every big name within the Right Wing does when something like this happens - but those reasonable intonements are always drowned out by the bombast and platitudes that boil back up to the surface within days, or even hours, of an event like Tuscon being over.

More to the point, this really isn't about what Palin claims to want, or even what her mouth agape followers claim she believes; nor about what Olbermann, Maddow, O'Reilly, Hannity, or Beck report on, as it's about how Right Wing themes are processed and rationalized by a person as mentally unstable as Loughner. These types of violent actions never happen in a vacuum, something Palin either doesn't understand or isn't willing to admit.

Now we finally see where Palin is uncomfortable - as she rightly should be - when even lightly pressed about her misuse and historical ignorance of the term "blood libel". Rather than speak about why she - or her writing staff, actually - would use such a term, Palin fumbles straight into a diversionary tactic of talk about "timing", and Congress, and what this country "needs". The "timing" of her statement - to my knowledge - has never been an issue with the Left in America, as we are more focused on the message itself.

Moreover, it was apparent to many that Palin's handlers got the "blood libel" talking point directly from the Wall Street Journal - not exactly the bastion of liberalism that Palin seems to be hinting that it is.

Palin seemed less prepared toward the end of the interview. Did she know, or even consider, that Hannity would ask about the "blood libel" portion of her speech? He even read the part where Palin admitted that violent acts can be spurred by the catalyst of heated and violent rhetoric, but she wasn't at all troubled with that being repeated. But in the end, the goal was achieved - at least in reference to those who watched the interview for some sort of validation that Palin is somehow this morally incorruptible and superior creature. Conversely, if you watched this hoping that there would be some new revelation about Palin, her tainted socio-political history, and what will clearly be her future, you didn't get much of anything.

As an aside, I noticed that not once did either Palin or Hannity mention Glenn Beck - a fellow employee at Fox"News" who makes a considerable living doing the things that they claim that the modern American Right doesn't. Was this an unconscious act or do they know that Beck needs to be swept under the carpet right now so people don't pay that much attention to him?

At the end of the day, nothing has changed - not Hannity, not Rush, and most certainly not Palin. I don't want any of them to "sit down and shut up", as they are doing such a wonderful job of proving our points for us.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Shaping The Study

Seems that the modern American right doesn't like gray areas, as they see the world in black and white terms - literally and figuratively.

This is no less true for studies regarding healthy eating. After all, the Right has to rail against healthy eating too since only Commie, Hippie, Marxist, Liberal, Gays opt to eat a salad over a deep fried slab of bacon covered in gravy.

The study in question is from TIME with the following title:

Study: Calorie Counts in Restaurants May Not Curb Eating Habits

But if you venture over to Fox"Nation" - who links to the study - the title reads a little differently:

Study: Calorie Counts at Restaurants Don’t Change Eating Habits

The modern American Right could certainly use a lesson in the use of English language, as there is a world of difference between a definative word like "Don't" and one that is suggests nuance like "May".

But then context and Right Wing ideology never really meshed all that well to start with.

A New Form Of "Truther" Is Born

Just when I thought Jim Hoft couldn't be even more preposterous and mind-numbingly stupid, there's this:

We already knew that with this administration everything is staged…
…But, someone please tell me the Obama regime is not this manipulative:

Barack Obama’s mood hair in pictures.

....Reader Dennis O. noticed that Obama was obviously more youthful looking in his Saturday Weekly Address before the Tucson pep rally.

Surely there’s a reasonable explanation for all of this?… Surely there is.

Not only does Hoft not understand how Closed Captioning works, but he doesn't seem to understand that people look different under varying styles of lighting. But hey, that's surely going to be the excuse given, that the "lighting Czar" is there to make Obama look older or younger based on the situation.

You People Could Learn From That

While sifting through some links posted by various bloggers I link on my site, I was immediately drawn to the irony of Mark Steyn attempting to wax philosophical about memory and society.

If anything, the modern American Right have done more just within the last 12 months to remove widely and accurately recorded American history in order to further some of the most specious and head-scratching narratives in my lifetime. From the level of religious fervor of the Founding Fathers, how Roosevelt was solely responsible for the extended length of the Great Depression, to reasons why Sarah Palin quit her elected position as Governor of Alaska, the Right could really use an American history lesson in the worst way.

This is no less clear than in a recent rebuttal to one of the Right's favorite "boogeymen", Bill Maher:

While Maher delivers a rather accurate portrayal of the Founders, this doesn't stop reactionary Right-Wingers from standing up an doing their best NUH-UGH !!!.

I hate to break it to you, Bill, but the majority of the Founding Fathers were religious. And those who weren’t orthodox in their beliefs, at least had a healthy respect and appreciation for religion. They didn’t want to force others to believe as they did – certainly – but they respected religion, and the Bible, nonetheless. Even those more critical, such as Thomas Jefferson, believed the Bible contained important lessons – lessons wise men should take to heart. There may have been a few, like Thomas Paine, who held religion in less high esteem, but they were the minority, not the majority.

It's clear that the author uses the word "religion" to imply "Christianity", but what they don't seem to understand is that Maher never once claimed that all the Founders thought there weren't at least a few good ideas in the Bible. As a fairly non-religious person myself ( I grew up in a strict Christian-conservative home ) I do think there are more than a handful of interesting ideas in Biblical text that could actually make the modern American Right more palatable if they actually abide by them rather than insisting they either don't apply or just apply to everyone else but them.

The realities surrounding the Founders is that the majority of them espoused - to varying degrees - a religious bent that would in no way mirror what the modern American Right would agree with. That is the point of Maher's monologue, but is lost on anyone too afraid to step outside of their clingy nature of King James text and what they perceive are it's messages to the modern world.

But then the author at HotAir's "Green Room" takes his "message" in a completely different direction:

Furthermore, unlike what Maher seems to believe, the Founding Fathers weren’t big fans of a welfare state. At all. In fact, they considered the government the greatest potential threat to freedom. They understood that an intrusive, activist state always limits a people’s freedom. That’s why they wrote the Constitution in the first place: they wanted to guarantee Americans specific rights, the government could not take away.

Funny, I never once heard Maher mention "welfare" of any kind in reference to the Founders. But, that is the nature of a Tea Bagger, to insist that anyone outside their limited sphere of understanding - whether of the history of this country or that of others - as they are more interested in claiming that all liberals/progressive are more interested in a handout than actually earning what they have.

Beyond that, I think this is a glaring example of how reactionary Right Wingers think that a strict interpretation of the Constitution and what they believe the Founders believed takes precedent over careful analysis of both. After all, do you think that Jefferson, Madison, Hamilton, Hancock, or Franklin could have envisioned what America would become even 100 years after the Constitution was written? To hear a Tea Bagger prattle on about it, you would think that they believed the Constitution was expressly written with multi-media election advertisements in mind.

The rest of the authors poorly constructed thesis reads a lot like a slightly longer and less interesting version of Pee Wee Herman shouting "I know you are, but what am I ?!?!?!"

The Tea Party continues this tradition. They too stand for individual liberty, over collectivism and social engineering. They want the government to get out of the people’s business – out of their health care and out of their pockets. If there’s one thing they demand, it’s to be left alone to live their lives as they please. Not as it pleases Maher and other cocky liberals who mess up their own lives in virtually every respect, but who nonetheless believe it’s up to them to tell others how to live.

Perhaps that Maher can do what he seems to value so much – get a good education – before spouting his mouth off again about things he has little to no knowledge of. If not, he’d do us all a favor if he’d just keep his deliberately humiliating mouth shut.

How has Marher messed up his life? He's a successful comic and host of a great show on HBO that has a wider variety of guests than any Fox"News" program that the author most likely would attempt to reference. Also, it seems that the author - and pretty much everyone within the blinding confines of the American Right Wing - think that just because someone from the Left responds to them means that they are jealous of how successful someone else is.

This isn't to say that the Founders would have agreed with the Left in America either. But then again, we don't operate under the delusion that the Founders are "just like us", as we can differentiate between the 1700s and today.

An Injection Of Race And Reagan

Call me insensitive, but I could care less that it's close to the 100th anniversary of Ronald Reagan. I'm sure that there will be more than enough Zombie Reagan deification on Fox"News" and their sister hate-site Fox"Nation" to satiate even the most ardent of Gipper-lovers. But this piece by Reagan's adopted child Micheal is a classic representation of the memes of the modern American Right - make Reagan look on par with Jesus and frame stories about Obama within the context of race.

the past two years have made one thing clear: Ronald Reagan was a far better friend to black Americans than Barack Obama has been. Just compare the Reagan and Obama records. Under Obama, black unemployment rose from 12.6 percent in January 2009 to 16.0 percent today. This means that black unemployment has increased by more than one-fourth since Obama took office.

And the Reagan record? African-American columnist Joseph Perkins has studied the effects of Reaganomics on black America. He found that, after the Reagan tax cuts gained traction, African-American unemployment fell from 19.5 percent in 1983 to 11.4 percent in 1989. Black-owned businesses saw income rise from $12.4 billion in 1982 to $18.1 billion in 1987-an annual average growth rate of 7.9 percent. The black middle class expanded by one-third during the Reagan years, from 3.6 million to 4.8 million.

Before he was elected, in speech after speech, my father said that his economic plan would improve the lives of African-Americans. In a February 1977 CPAC address, he said, "The time has come for Republicans to say to black voters: 'We offer principles that black Americans can and do support. We believe in jobs, real jobs; we believe in education that is really education; we believe in treating all Americans as individuals and not as stereotypes or voting blocs.'"

The first thing any reasonable reader will notice is the Michael is comparing almost the entire Reagan Era to one year of Obama's Presidency. The phrase "gaining traction" also leads one to understand that economic policies aren't ones that give instant gratification.

Aside from that, Michael's claims are grounded in ham-fisted representations of the realities of the 80s, relying on his citation of a "African-American" columnist to burnish his claims not on value, but on the fact that he is referencing a black man.

But moreover, this piece shows the bizarre set of standards that the modern American Right has when speaking of race, the American economy, and Presidents. Any mention of black and Obama - in regards to policy, proclamations, or initiatives - immediately results in people like Fox"News" and their talk radio allies shouting "Reparations", "Favoritism", or "White Slavery". And this piece also echoes Erik Rush's claim that Obama's "blackness" should be called into question.

At the end of the day, this is one of three things that the modern American Right only has in their rebuttal arsenal: Fear, Race, and Ignorance. While the first can work across all platforms and the later ultimately has a cure, the incessant prattling about Race from the Right will either be denied or amplified depending upon whether or not they can get any non-whites to agree with them.

The Bonnaroo List: Pt. II

The second clue released regarding this years festival in Manchester, Tennessee was pretty tough. But after some careful consideration and internet research, I feel comfortable in saying the act is likely Bright Eyes:

More rumored acts can be found here, and don't forget to get your clues from Katie Reed to see if you can guess the next act.

Steeping The Spin

The modern American Right are certainly doing what they claim liberals/progressives do exclusively - not letting a crisis go to waste, and certainly making sure that they are seen as the helpless victims.

Naturally, I'm speaking of the aftermath of the Tuscon shooting and how people like Fox"Nation" and their fellow compatriots are not only attempting to rearrange the narratives surrounding the actions but are ultimately smearing the victims in the process.

The story du jour over the last 48 hours is an alleged "death threat" leveled at Tuscon Tea Bagger Figurehead Trent Humphries during a live ABC Townhall event that aired over the weekend. The threat came from none other than one of the victims of the shooting - Eric Fuller

Here's the relevant video from Mediaite:

It's a rather muffled, and you'll have to jack up the audio a tad just to hear it, but something is certainly there that sounds like "you're dead". And if that is the case, it's wrong - period.

And while the Right are going all in trying to show that this is a shining example of the "unhinged Left" in action, there are lots of variables in play that have likely put Fuller into this position and also placed him into involuntary psychiatric care.

But there's something that the modern American Right aren't talking about in relation to Humphries - the fact that he blames Gabby Giffords for getting shot:

t’s political gamesmanship. The real case is that she [Giffords] had no security whatsoever at this event. So if she lived under a constant fear of being targeted, if she lived under this constant fear of this rhetoric and hatred that was seething, why would she attend an event in full view of the public with no security whatsoever?” he said. “For all the stuff they accuse her [Palin] of, that gun poster has not done a tenth of the damage to the political discourse as what we’re hearing right now.

Regardless of whom you side with, threats of a physical nature against someone you disagree with only serve to fuel the opposition. The Right is taking full opportunity in every conceivable aspect of what happened in Tuscon before, during, and after the shooting simple to score cheap political points and increase the volume on their "victim status". If they want to be honest about this particular story, it should be about the two men involved and all the facts, not about whether or not the Tea Party is being picked on or whether or not ABC is filled with "liberal bias".

Sunday, January 16, 2011

For The Intellectually Impaired

While killing some time this weekend, I decided to do a little research on the ridiculous narratives that conservatives are pushing since the Tuscon memorial service.

This one is not only ridiculous, but hilarious.

On Thursday, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said that they were surprised by the applause at the memorial pep rally on Wednesday for the victims of the Tucson shootings.

I will say that I read the speech several times and thought that there wouldn’t be a lot of applause if any. I think many of us thought that. But I think there was a celebration, again, of the lives of those who had been impacted. Not just at that grocery store but throughout the country. And I think that, if that is part of the healing process, then that’s a good thing.

Oh really?
Then why was it printed on the Jumbotron?

Seems that Jim Hoft and several other wingnuts - including the Purse Lipped Princess, Michelle Malkin - were so eager to frame this entire memorial as a "staged event" that insisted that the Closed Captioning on the jumbotron were "directions".

Sadly, yet predictably, lots of conservatives swallowed exactly what they were fed - a heaping helping of bullshit. And not even well thought out bullshit at that.

Friday, January 14, 2011

The Bonnaroo List

As the 4 of you that actually read this space will know, I have been venturing to the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival since 2006.

In honor of the upcoming event this summer - and Second Tier Tickets are going on sale soon - I am going to be doing a recurring series of musical posts regarding those who will appear at the Manchester, Tennessee event this year.

As the clues are being released starting this week, I'd like to post what I feel are the best answers.

First up - and I hope this is correct, based on the first clue - David Bowie:

The clip below is Halo Spaceboy, from the Bowie/NIN tour back in '95.

The next clue dropped in less than one hour.

Defending The Tan Man

I was waiting to see how long it would take conservatives to defend the new Speaker of The House from doing something incredibly dumb. Sad that it took the death of innocents and the assassination attempt of a Democratic Congresswoman for them to go full steam ahead.

This obnoxious meme began last night when word got out that House Speaker John Boehner didn’t travel with Barack Obama to Arizona for last night’s memorial in Tucson. Boehner snubbed Obama! He snubbed Giffords!......

Well, guess what - he did.

The above quote is from none other than Ed Morrissey, recent "Blogger Laureate" of last years CPAC and someone that is more than willing to bend the fabric of reality in order to prop up even the most ridiculous meme from the modern American Right.

His laughably insipid validation actually comes from TPM, a site that usually has something of value to add to the national discussion.

Yesterday, House members attended a vigil for victims of the Arizona shooting spree in an auditorium underneath the Capitol Visitor’s Center. As they trickled in, a House aide provided reporters, including me, a glimpse of the program of events and list of speakers. There was one small revision to the schedule, though: Minority Whip Steny Hoyer would be reading Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s portion of scripture, because she was on her way to Tucson with the President.

If Boehner had accepted the invitation, then the leaders of both parties would have missed the Wednesday vigil.

Yeah, because if Boehner's tears weren't present in Washington, then all semblance of reverence would have disappeared, Congressional interns would have been sacrificed to Aqua Buddah, and gays would have been allowed to marry.

Is that really the argument that the Right wants to make at this point, that Boehner - the man who was allegedly elected by his fellow House members to bring order and stability to not only the Lower Chamber, but America - couldn't be bothered to do what any decent member of the electorate should do?

Sure, there was a vigil on Capitol Hill, but I'm fairly certain that it would have went off without a hitch had Orange McMaudlinDrunk got on a plane with Pelosi and Obama to pay respects to the dead in Tuscon.

But everyone needs a story, don't they......

No, Please, Keep It Up

The modern American Right isn't so much afraid of losing their freedom of speech as they are afraid of admitting the obvious - that there are actually people out there that can, will, and have taken what they have said as gospel and gone on to perpetrate heinous acts of violence.

Whether they are gnashing their teeth over unrealistic fears of a reimplementation of the Fairness Doctrine - something I would think that the modern American Right would welcome, as they are always eager to shout that there is consistent and clear bias against allowing any conservative/libertarian point of view be shown in the media, as it is obviously controlled by evil liberals - or that the FCC will begin shutting down stations that carry Limbaugh, Beck, or Hannity, there hasn't been a hush given to Right Wing rhetoric as it has actually amplified since Tuscon.

And to that, the modern American Right is proving the point of the Left.

Ever since word broke that a Democratic Congresswoman was shot, that a Federally appointed Judge was killed, the modern American Right has been in full damage control mode. From insisting that all violent acts against political figures in America, that all murders in America that even hint at the final solution of an anti-government activist, were carried out by members of the Left to continuing to stoke the fires of "they're coming to get you" by people like Beck, Limbaugh, and Fox"News", the modern American Right can't seem to see the irony in what is transpiring.

They are increasing their anti-government, anti-democratic, pro-uprising language.

Not only that, but we are beginning to see their rising stars begin to diminish. Take a look at modern conservative messiah Chris Christie on Palin and Obama:

In the weeks and months prior to Tuscon, Christie was being heralded as a solid Presidential candidate, and how he's the RINO Messiah?

To all this, I say "keep going" to the modern American Right.

But what are the far reaching implications of all this?

Has Palin increased her chances of getting the nomination from the Republican Party for President?

Are other aspiring Presidential candidates, like Pawlenty and Romney - the later soundly crushing her in early polling - going to use this against her?

Is the modern American Right going to split in two by using what happened in Tuscon between now and election day 2012.

Keep it up, guys.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Some Thoughts On The Loughner Timeline

Conservative are all in a twitchy rage that Jared Loughner became disgruntled with Gabby Giffords back in 2007 - before Palin and before the Tea Baggers.

Well, then why didn't he take after her then?

Seriously, what has transpired in the past 3+ years that would have amplified his already apparent rage?

- The rise of people like Palin and Beck who continually stoke the fires of anti-government sentiment

- The creation of the Tea Baggers ( funded/promoted in virtually exclusive fashion by conservative, corporate interests in order to stoke the aforementioned anti-government sentiment )

- Arizona becomes hot-bed of conservative rage in reference to immigration

- Fox"News" perpetuates specious claims about Democratic officials on a daily basis

- Conservative talk radio returns to Clinton era narratives and cranks up the volume to 11.

All this BEFORE the creation of Loughner's YouTube clips on a page that was created less than four months ago.

Is anyone else not noticing this or even talking about this?

This notion that recent events within the American socio-political landscape had nothing to do with Loughner's actions don't mesh with reality in the least.

Caribou Barbie's Sermon - or - Palin Just Agreed With Us

Perhaps Todd has some extra wood lying about the back yard with which to fashion a cross for Sister Sarah.

Sarah Palin: "America's Enduring Strength" from Sarah Palin on Vimeo.

Wait, am I the only one that just caught that Palin said that words can incite violence? Nope.

I'm guessing that Fox"News" and their sister hate-site Fox"Nation" aren't going to like the fact that the woman they are doing their best to defend has just validated the concerns from the Left.

But wait, what's that reflecting in her glasses? Could that be TELEPROMPTER!!!!!!!

Shark, You Have Been Jumped - Again

I would say that this is shocking, unheard of, or even unexpected - but it is Limbaugh we are talking about.

Talk about someone completely missing the point.

Have you heard anyone on the left call Lougher a victim, claim he should get a lesser sentence, or even say that "America" is to blame? The only person I heard those claims come from was Rush.

While highlighting Sarah Palin as the "figurehead" of all violent Right-Wing rhetoric isn't exactly productive, this tirade from Limbaugh makes that look small time and easily ignorable.

But, the damage is done, and now a majority of conservatives in America are going to go to work, school, church, Wal-Mart, or anywhere they can find someone to listen that Democrats are prepared to give Jared Loughner a lesser sentence simply because Rush Limbaugh said so.


A Tale Of Two Arizona Sheriffs

Strange that I haven't seen anyone mention this yet, but has anyone else noticed that the Right have embraced an Arizona Sheriff with noted Far-Right ties while attacking an Arizona Sheriff for claiming that Far-Right rhetoric is dangerous?

The current headline at Fox"Nation" - where a plurality of posts since Saturday have either been about protecting Palin or demonizing anyone that wants to look at how Right Wing violent language could be to blame - is about a call to have Sheriff Dupnik resign. Fox"News" is also on the beat, calling him a Far-Left Sheriff.

Odd that the same people that chastise this man for doing his job - that is to look into every possible option, even ones that don't sit well with some of the voting public - are openly defending Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

( Aside: while the links in question do book-end one another quite nicely, considering they are from the same sources, it would appear that O'Reilly is attempting to justify and excuse the actions of the Right - where like threats are certainly being leveled at Sheriff Dupnik - by saying "hey, the other side does this too". Equivalency is such a stupid game. )

Where's the logic in a Sheriff in Arizona that is linked with Neo-Nazis gets a pass from the Right and Fox"News" while Sheriff Dupnik gets bombarded by the Right for insisting that violent rhetoric has consequences?

What Do You Read?

I had a friend on Facebook ask me this morning how anyone - regardless of political stripe - can determine whom reads what.

Do only Leftists read Marx?

Do only people on the Right read Ayn Rand?

While considering ways to approach this topic, I was reminded of David Fincher's film Seven - particularly the scene where Morgan Freeman employs the skills of an FBI friend who can get him a list of books checked out by people in the New York area. This list is of "flagged" text like Mien Kampf, one the books on Loughner's "favorites" list from his YouTube page.

In the scene, Brad Pitt's character mentions that they could end up catching a college kid doing a research project. To me, that rang true when looking through Loughner's list. Not in so much as I thought he was trying to learn from texts by Plato, Orwell, or Marx - as he is almost certainly not interesting in the actual context of these works so much as he is searching for validation.

But the question still stands - if you walked into someone's home and glanced over at their bookshelf and saw books on Communism, books on the possible cover-up of events prior and leading up to Sept. 11th 2001, as works by Mark Twain, Ayn Rand, and Glenn Beck would you be able to determine whether or not they were aligned politically Left or Right?

Most certainly not.

What is evident from the reactions of pundit, journalists, and even the average citizen in America that is actively following the continually unfolding events surrounding Loughner is that they either have little interesting in learning about him and what transpired between his first meeting with Rep. Giffords in 2007 and his assassination attempt last Saturday, or they are wanting to know everything about those years and those prior.

As much as many on the Left are far too focused on making this simply about Palin, those on the Right are equally as - if not more - guilty of making themselves the "victims" while ignoring Loughner's motives.

It is true that books hold power, but it's a power that can be used for good or for evil. Highlighting the Communist Manifesto as proof positive that Loughner was a Leftist is pure folly without careful consideration and analysis of all the elements that surround what happened before to Loughner before he pulled the trigger.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Because He Knows

Pay close attention to this clip, because Beck lets us all know that he is finally becoming "aware", but then jumps right in and does what he's paid to do.

Yeah, who is "using" Giffords, Glenn?

His first reaction - "send someone to protect the kids". If nothing else, this shows that Glenn immediately knew that someone that disagreed with him was going to come after him because of what he is paid to do - create mistrust, fear, confusion, and distort accurately recorded history in order to push conservative narratives. He wasn't concerned with who was shot, if they were alive, dead, if there were more victims - he first thought that this would ultimately be about him. Thinking about the safety of others and to "pray" always comes second to someone like Glenn.

But it didn't stop there, as that's when his "professional" ( read: how can I use this on my show to blame the Left ) instincts kicked in and he thought "let's wait and see what everyone else does so we can use this against them, to make us look reasoned. Let everyone else report on/react to the story and once the dust starts to settle we will talk about how not reacting to/not reporting on the story is what makes us superior from a moral/journalistic/patriotic perspective.

This is nothing more than conservatives wanting others to do the heavy lifting, to jump through the hurdles that one faces during a quickly evolving story such as this. It's the perils of reporting to make quick decisions and make corrections on the fly when necessary.

And what the hell does Van Jones and Francis Piven and Communism have to do with what happened in Tuscon? Nothing. But that's how Beck's show works, to create connections between persons/actions that completely alter reality in order to create a new story designed to disorient and redirect attention - to cause fear and mistrust.

In classic form, Beck attempts - without any shred of evidence which he claims the Left lacked also - to have his viewership believe that Bill Sparkman, Joseph Stack, and Clay Duke are all characters of the Left. Of course, he is disregarding that it was an insurance company that claimed Sparkman committed suicide while disregarding evidence. Stack's own manifesto was anti-government agencies/anti-tax. Duke hated both political parties and referred at the mainstream media as "government sponsored". Do these sound like Leftists to you?

And what of Palin's map? If it really isn't the problem, why was is almost immediately scrubbed from the SarahPAC site, and why were her handlers claiming that those were actually "surveyor symbols" and not gun sights?

But credit where it's due - though I only think that Beck does this to cover his own widely documented instances of eliminationist rhetoric - Beck does state that Loughner didn't specifically mention Fox, MSNBC, Palin, himself, or anyone in particular as a person that he identified with even in a tangentical sense; at least not yet.

One can't but get the sense that Beck knows that he should admit that his words can/have/and will continue to inflame the rage within people - and words like those most likely had a part in what pushed Loughner close to his ultimate goal. One can't but realize that Beck will do one of two things once a few weeks or months have passed - that Loughner will become yet another example of "left wing offenders" that he can equate with Sparkman, Stack, and Duke in order to distort, confuse, and redirect his audience that are looking to be spoon fed a new set of talking points or that he will never speak of this story again, as it comes just a little too close to looking like a pure manifestation of his own anti-government rhetoric.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Independent Voices

While conservatives have continually and unflinchingly used the word "independent voter" to talk about how the Tea Party is made up of those with little to no political knowledge, experience, or alignment, it seems that this could ultimately pose a problem for the modern conservative movement - even though they are already calling Loughner a "satanic, truther, pot head".

Loughner registered to vote for the first time in 2006, said Chris Roads, Pima County's registrar of voters. He registered as an independent and last voted in the 2008 general election.

While whom Loughner voted for cannot be revealed, the reactionary Right will insist that he was an Obama supporter. That aside, fact remains that the "patriotic" folk at Fox"Nation" have provided a platform for fellow conservatives to distort this information regarding Loughner, and seem to be allowing people to apparently show disappointment that Harry Reid wasn't the victim of Loughner's unchecked rage.

Perhps I'm reading a little too much into this, but the way in which Fox and their easily lead audience are approaching this shows that the conservative/Tea Party message is likely to shift due to what happened this weekend.

Placing Blame And Absent Accountability

While prominent conservatives like Michelle Malkin attempt to cobble together disparate "examples of left wing hate" - keeping in mind that her particular definition of "hate" shifts multiple times throughout her meandering and seemingly endless preamble - it should be pointed out that what happened Saturday in Tuscon is clearly a direct act of violence against a specific target perpetrated by a person who has far more in common with the modern anti-government movement in America than a person whom is simply a Palin fan or one that reads Saul Alinsky.

But while it is all too easy to try and pin this on one particular person, there is a shared responsibility within the modern anti-government movement; both on the LEft and Right. This isn't specifically about Palin, Angel, Glenn Beck, Fox"News", or any Right Winger on AM talk radio. This also isn't about those on the fringes of the Left either, be they the Black Panthers, Code Pink, La Raza, or any anti-war group still railing against our continued presence in Iraq or Afghanistan. There are people unstable enough on both sides with the potential to perpetrate heinous acts of violence against anyone with whom they disagree.

The problem on the Right is that they are more concerned with removing themselves from being accountable on any level, no matter how innocuous it may seem to them. The problem on the Left is that they are going to try to make the Right understand that there are consequences to violent rhetoric.

Let's examine this from both sides of the socio-political spectrum, based on the information on Loughner that we have that is of a verifiable nature. I think it is important that regardless of the incident being discussed that the data used can be accurately sourced. Much of what is being used - primarily by conservative outlets across multiple media platforms in order to blur issue - is what could be described as specious. A good example of this is the heavy usage of opinions from people who once knew Loughner but have not had contact with him in a number of years. Recent accounts from fellow students at the community college where he was ultimately dismissed from do paint the picture of a "strange" person that caused others to be concerned for their own safety do have a more credible tone to them.

So, let's take a look at the message coming from the Right.

Despite the fact that virtually all conservative - and more than a handful of self-identifies Libertarian - commentators, bloggers, television, and radio hosts have the same information available to them, there is so much noise being generated around this story that the line between accuracy and speculation has been completely erased.

A good example of this is how, despite a much larger list of books being highlighted on Loughner's YouTube page, conservatives are focusing solely on The Communist Manifesto.

Phillip Klein at The Spectator pontificates.

Liberals who have attempted to exploit the tragedy in Arizona for political gain by trying to connect Sarah Palin to the shooting should be ashamed of themselves. At this point, we have more reason to blame the revolutionary writings of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels for what happened....

From a pure journalistic perspective, there is absolutely no evidence that alleged shooter Loughner had ever seen Palin's famed target map, let alone that he was motivated by it. Yet in a YouTube page believed to be created by Loughner -- and widely cited in the media as such -- the alleged shooter actually names the Communist Manifesto as one of his favorite books and, unlike the subliminal message liberals attribute to Palin's map, Marx and Engles explicitly advocated political violence.

But when one takes a look at Loughner's "favorites" as a whole, there isn't so much a cogent theme, but a picture certainly taking shape of a person that is attempting to make connections between a variety of belief systems in order to validate an apparent world view.

Here's the list:

Animal Farm, Brave New World, The Wizard Of OZ, Aesop Fables, The Odyssey, Alice Adventures Into Wonderland, Fahrenheit 451, Peter Pan, To Kill A Mockingbird, We The Living, Phantom Toll Booth, One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, Pulp,Through The Looking Glass, The Communist Manifesto, Siddhartha, The Old Man And The Sea, Gulliver's Travels, Mein Kampf, The Republic, and Meno.

What immediately jumps out is that there are books that both the Right and Left have used as validation tools for a variety of social and political issues. To say that one book, and one book only, was the catalyst for what happened in Tuscon is quite the stretch.

Secondly, the Right are making this more about how there shouldn't be ANY accountability for any rhetoric coming from their side. This is the ultimate narrative that comes from the modern conservative movement - the perpetuation of the culture of their own victimhood status. Rather than focus on the motives behind what Loughner has done, the Right are attempting to shift focus from the crime to what they perceive will be direct attacks against their "freedoms".

I can't but wonder how anyone aligning themselves with the modern conservative movement would be more concerned with the specter of unwritten legislation they perceive will take away a "right" in light of a tragedy of this scope rather than show active concern over the fact that a man deemed too mentally unstable to be in college or be accepted into the Armed Forces could walk into a retail outlet and - despite a background check that didn't even pay attention to Loughner's arest record - could legally purchase a gun.

Moreover, this assassination attempt was motivated by political mistrust, as Rep. Giffords was the intended target. Documents found at Loughner's residence reinforce this. But the discordant noise is beginning to drown out what should be the central focus of this tragic event. From speculation that Loughner was a "Truther" to recent assumptions that he was involved in the occult the Right is gaining more leverage to push their own pre-formatted narrative.

But what of the Left? Are they no less guilty of using what happened to Giffords?

One of the problems of the liberal/progressive movement is that they try to put a very sharp focus on a variety of issues while not realizing that this has always been used against them. This is in direct contrast to the American Right, whom distort and blur better than anyone. The problem with placing direct responsibility on a person like Sarah Palin, Sharron Angel, or even Glenn Beck, is that many on the Left ultimately ignore the fact that they weren't the ones that perpetrated the act. Are they complicit in any way? I am comfortable in saying that they nurture an environment of governmental distrust and are more than capable of understanding that there may be those out there that take what they say to the utmost extreme. But this takes us directly to the second problem that the Left in America face - that they think the Right will stand by what is allegedly one of the keystones of their ideology; calls for accountability.

I'm reminded of a scene from Mark Pellington's film Arlington Road, where Jeff Bridges' character Micheal Faraday - a teacher obsessed with Right Wing extremism - tells his class about how America has a "need" to find "one person" to blame for an incidents that are so large and so evil in scope that we can't seem to bring ourselves to reconcile them on our own. To me, this reflects the consumerist nature of modern Americans. We need a set of iconography to define whom we are and to rationalize specific acts by others. What the Left needs to understand - and this is something that I have struggled with as I have become more and more involved in the modern American socio-political discussion - is that things that fall in parallel with what transpired in Tuscon are much bigger than Palin or Beck or anyone that the Right identifies with. There are those within the Left that realize this, but they aren't going to be the voices you hear on CNN or even MSNBC and most certainly not on Fox"News" - though the later will certainly be sure you don't pay attention to those voices either. They are out there though.

I keep asking myself why the Left continually think that the Right are going to own up to the fact that "free speech" is not without consequence? I also keep asking why the true voices of the Left simply can't make it out there while those that harm our cause more than help it get all the attention. Does the LEft really believe that each and every time they hold a mirror up to anyone on the Right think that they are going to admit that it is, in fact, their own reflection they are looking at?

So who is Jared Loughner?

Is he a Right Wing extremist? Maybe

Is he a Left Wing radical? Who knows.

Who is to blame? Well, Loughner is, of course.

People like Loughner are precisely the ones that succumb to anti-government sentiment and fear-mongering. To this, the modern American Right should be given pause if they wish to continue to deify people like Palin and Beck as "leaders" of their movement. But the Left faces just as many challenges as they are more often than not particularly religious or read and research topics from a variety of sources to gain a deeper understanding of how certain groups act. To that end, the Right has a tool to make almost any Democrat who posts on Daily Kos and doesn't go to church look like a potential violent offender. Both sides will claim that Loughner belongs to the other.

But there are other questions we should look at.

Was Giffords targeted because of who she was politically or simply because of the proximity she had to Loughner? I doubt that her legislative stance had nothing to do with it, as Loughner could have gone after a number of governmental figures in his region.

Why did Loughner wait over three years to enact his "vengeance"? Is it pure coincidence that this happened in a state that has so dominated socio-political discussion over the last year? For those claiming that his original contact with Giffords back in 2007 exempts Palin, Beck, or any highly vocal member on the right should really look at the timing of this incident.

Will this happen again?

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Their Own Tactics Against Them

Seems that conservatives aren't pleased when the tactics they have employed in referencing "costs" since Obama took office are used against them.

Vanity Fair has the relevant data:

It would seem that in an era of Fiscal Responsibility™, a performative rendition of the Constitution might have been one such eliminated endeavor. For an estimate on just how much the Republicans would have saved if they had decided against the tedious exercise, VF Daily checked with Peter Keating, the co-author of “The Cost of No” and’s resident expert on Congressional wastefulness.

“The amount I get is nearly $1.1 million. $1,071,872.87, to be exact, though of course this is more back-of-the-envelope than exact.

“When one chamber of Congress is in session but not working, we the people still have to pay for members’ salaries and expenses, and for their police protection, and for keeping their lights and phones and coffee machines on. Even Eric Cantor (R-VA) and Mike Pence (R-IN) combined don’t blow enough hot air to heat the Capitol in January.”

And while conservative "concerns" about use of tax dollars have clearly fallen on partisan lines, it's those same conservatives that cry foul.

Ha ha! Yes, we can tell that this analysis is strictly non-partisan. Say, how much did Nancy Pelosi’s speech, complete with its rambling partisan defense, cost us? Wait, Vanity Fair and Keating are too busy venting outrageous outrage over the reading of the foundational legal document that members of Congress swear to uphold and defend.

How do VF and Keating reach their conclusions? They take the cost-per-minute of the House being in session, complete apparently to the cost of cleaning staffs, and apply that to the time needed to read the Constitution. Of course, this is simply bunk. The House did not come to session to read the Constitution, so those fixed costs — including salaries — would have been spent already regardless of whatever gets said on the floor. The cost doesn’t come from the reading; it comes from the existence of Congress itself.

There isn’t even any opportunity cost involved, since the reading of the Constitution won’t prevent any other business from being conducted. It will take much less time to read the Constitution than to, say, name post offices and hear debate over whether to designate February as National Toothpick Month, complete with testimonials to the toothpick industry and how it contributed to the greatness of America by removing the remains of porkchops from the teeth of red-blooded Americans. There actually isn’t much extra cost in those efforts either, except for the paper needed to publish the bills, because once again, Congress would already be in session. Those cases matter because politicians like to use those resolutions to claim productivity, when in fact they’re wasting time — but not much money.

One can literally sense that Ed Morrissey is really stretching the limits of his own rhetoric to validate what is ultimately attention whoring to the conservative base.

But one has to ask why Republicans didn't offer this up before. Oh, that's right - we didn't have a President with a funny sounding name that was more intent on a Domestic agenda that included ALL people prior to 2009. Silly me.

So here's my next question for Morrissey - and any other conservatives that have a new found love for our "sacred documents". What else is going to be read in the Lower Chamber now that the GOP/Tea Baggers/Koch Industries have a louder voice and a higher vote count?

- The Emancipation Proclamation?
- Declaration of Independence?
- Any of the letter of Thomas Jefferson or Benjamin Franklin?
- Atlas Shrugged?

There's always going to be a cost related to anything done by members of Congress, and it's always going to be footed by the tax payer. It's just that Little Eddie can't stand it when someone points out that the logic used by him and his compatriots is just as "bunk" as what Vanity Fair did. Had he the intellectual honesty to realize that that is what Peter Keating and Juli Weiner were attempting to accomplish - at least that's how I read it - then perhaps he and others like him would seek to be just a shade more serious now that they have a modest majority in Congress.

I'm not looking for that to happen though.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

And So It Begins

This is sure to make Fox"News" ratings soar, but also sure to make conservatives even more volatile and unpredictable:

Forget the fervent chatter speculating that Tea Party favorite Rep. Michele Bachmann is considering launching a campaign to challenge Sen. Amy Klobuchar for the Minnesota U.S. Senate seat in the next national election cycle. Think bigger.

ABC News has learned that Bachmann, R-Minn., also is seriously weighing whether to seek the Republican nomination for president in 2012.

A source close to the three-term congresswoman said Bachmann will travel to Iowa this month for multiple meetings to seek advice from political forces there and party elders close to the caucus process before coming to a final decision regarding a potential presidential run. Bachmann, a native of Waterloo, Iowa, also is set to deliver a keynote speech at an Iowans for Tax Relief PAC fundraiser Jan. 21 in Des Moines, Iowa.

While a trip to Iowa is certainly not a trip to Jerusalem, it's certainly enough of an indicator to get prominent conservative bloggers foaming at the mouth, if but for the buzz it would generate within the modern conservative movement.

I'm guessing Bachmann will attempt a run, but would likely end up dropping out when her fan base ends up insisting that she's spending too much time ignoring her "duties" as Congresswoman. Still, she's made enough noise about how "experience" is necessary that people will likely start comparing her acumen to Palin's. Not that I would ever consider supporting either of these right-wing loons, but at least Bachmann hasn't quit yet.

Get your popcorn ready kids.

No Narrative Too Ridiculous


Scooting around Hawaii last week, President Obama broke one more historic barrier by setting a new benchmark for the limits of presidential casual wear.

He was wearing flip-flops.

Historians agreed it was the first time they could remember seeing the leader of the free world snapped in a public setting, wearing nothing more than a flimsy strip of rubber on his feet.

While Ronald Reagan was famously snapped strutting on his way to Camp David in his cowboy boots and John F. Kennedy was no stranger to sailing in his deck shoes, the picture of Obama tooling around an ice-cream shop with his toes on full display seems be a first for the presidency.

Holy Shit!!! You can actually see a black man's toes!!!!

Now while I will freely admit that there have been some pointless jabs at modern conservative politicos like Sarah Palin, but doesn't it tell you something about the state of widely circulated conservative media ( and the upper tier reactionary bloggers that repeat it ) that think this is "newsworthy"?

This does, however, continue the easily debunked and laughably ignorant claims that all Obama does is go on "vacation". While Bush spent the majority of his time in actually "recreational" settings prior to this country being confronted with the worst domestic attack since Pearl Harbor, conservatives have gone full tilt in doing any and everything they could - including bending the very rules of reality - to insist that Obama has spent little to no time acting as President.

Their laughably sophomoric antics have, in recent months, been no better than this.

Bring In The Jew Special Effects Team

As if on cue, Palin is allegedly set to make Jerusalem an giant conservative stage prop - all just in time to announce her 2012 presidential bid.

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin is planning a trip to the Holy Land sometime this spring, New York Post columnist Cindy Adams reports.

Palin’s Jerusalem visit will occur before the April 29 wedding between Prince William and Kate Middleton, presumably to avoid the international media’s obsession with British royalty, the Page Six gossiper says.

Adams speculates that it may be the first of several international trips for Palin, who was Arizona GOP Sen. John McCain’s vice presidential running mate in 2008.

A high-profile visit to Israel could help bolster Palin’s foreign policy credentials in advance of a possible 2012 GOP presidential run. There’s no word yet on Palin’s specific itinerary, or which VIPs she’ll meet there.

It’s not the first time a possible overseas tour by Palin has grabbed headlines. In December, The Daily Beast site reported that an overseas trip was in the works for Palin to visit England and Israel.

And while the timing of the trip is given a healthy does of spin from Rupert Murdoch's tabloid rag The NY Post, I don't doubt that Palin and her handlers wanted all eyes to be on her when and if this goes down.

It does make a great deal of sense, as her Fox"News" employers are certainly ramping up the "Holy War" talking points in relation to the Middle East and a potential escalation of American involvement. Of course, as I've stated before, conservatives and Fox want this to be an American Jihad. What better way to rally the reactionary conservative base than to have Palin "on the ground" and then ask "why didn't Obama go to Jerusalem before then?"

Theatre of the Absurd at it's best.

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