Obama: “But I Like You Anyway, Bill.”

Dana Milbank pointed out a few facts about Bill O’Reilly’s pre-Super Bowl interview of President Obama:

The Fox News host and purveyor of anti-Obama sentiment was given 10 minutes to question the man he decries to millions nightly. O’Reilly devoted nearly 40 percent of his time to the attacks on U.S. facilities in Benghazi, 30 percent to the Obamacare rollout and 20 percent to IRS targeting.

Along the way, he interrupted the president 42 times, by my count — although, given the amount O’Reilly spoke, it may be more accurate to say Obama was interrupting him. Sometimes he argued with Obama as though the president were a guest on “The O’Reilly Factor.” Of the 2,500 words uttered during the interview, O’Reilly spoke nearly 1,000 of them.

Dang. O’Reilly only spoke about 40% of the time? I thought it was more than that.

Billo actually did two interviews that day. The second interview was aired on Monday night. In that second interview, O’Reilly actually spoke only 35% of the time (810 out of 2290 or so), so his jaws must have been tired or else the Secret Service was giving him the evil eye.

In any case, I will post the entire second interview transcript below (the video is here) partly because not only does it show again that Bill O’Reilly thinks he is president, but it also demonstrates the tried-and-true Fox formula: use false assumptions and incomplete information in order to draw preordained conclusions and make erroneous declarations.

But the real reason I post the interview transcript is because it shows the personability of Barack Obama and his easy-going nature, even as he pushes back against the stuff floating around in Bill O’Reilly’s head and as he tirelessly corrects all the things O’Reilly thinks he knows but doesn’t:

BILL O’REILLY – One of my, uh, points on the Factor is that poverty is driven by the dissolution of the American family, that is the prime mover, okay. On your watch, median income has dropped seventeen percent among working families in this country. That’s not a good record, it’s not all your fault, part of it was this terrible recession, we all know that. Everybody knows that.

PRESIDENT OBAMA – Okay.

O’REILLY – All right. But 72 percent of babies in African-American community are born out of wedlock.

PRESIDENT OBAMA – Yeah.

O’REILLY – Why isn’t there a campaign by you and the first lady to address that problem very explicitly?

PRESIDENT OBAMA – Actually, Bill, we address it explicitly all the time. I-I’ll send you at least 10 speeches I’ve made since I’ve been president talking about the importance of men taking responsibility for their children. Talking about the importance of, uh, young people, uh, delaying gratification. Talking about the importance of, uh, when it comes to child rearing, paying child support, spending time with your kids, reading with them. So, whether it’s getting publicity or not is a whole different question.

O’REILLY – But —

PRESIDENT OBAMA – This is something that we focus on all the time.

O’REILLY – Would you say it’s been a hallmark of your administration to make that issue, because I don’t believe it has. I know you’ve given the speeches, and I know you know — understand the problem, because you’re a community organizer from Chicago.

PRESIDENT OBAMA -Yes.

O’REILLY – All right? But I don’t see the pressure from the Federal government to go in and say, this is wrong, this is — this is killing, um, futures of babies and children.

PRESIDENT OBAMA – Well first of all, I’ve just got to say, Bill, we talk about it all the time, we’ll continue to talk about it, we’re convening, for example, philanthropists and business people, city by city, who are interested in addressing these kinds of problems at the local level. There is an economic component to it as well, though.

O’REILLY -Sure.

PRESIDENT OBAMA – Because — because what’s interesting, when you look at what’s going on right now, you’re starting to see in a lot of white working class homes, similar problems — when men can’t find good work, when the economy is shutting ladders of opportunity off from people, whether they’re black, white, Hispanic, it doesn’t matter. Then that puts pressure as well on the home. So you’ve got an interaction between the economy that isn’t generating enough good jobs for folks who traditionally could get blue-collar jobs even if they didn’t have a higher education, and some legitimate social concerns, uh. That compound the problem and so we want to hit both. We want to make sure that we’re putting folks back to work and making sure that they’re well-paid —

O’REILLY [OVERLAP] – But this is —

PRESIDENT OBAMA [OVERLAP] – We also want to make sure that we’re dealing with some of the social issues that you’re addressing.

O’REILLY – The secret to getting a je — good job is education. And in these chaotic families, the children aren’t well-educated because it isn’t — it isn’t, um, encouraged at home as much as it is in other precincts. Now, school vouchers is a way to level the playing field. Why do you oppose school vouchers when it would give poor people a chance to go to better schools?

PRESIDENT OBAMA – Actually — every study that’s been done on school vouchers, Bill, says that it has very limited impact if any —

O’REILLY – Try it.

PRESIDENT OBAMA – On — it has been tried, it’s been tried in Milwaukee, it’s been tried right here in DC —

O’REILLY [OVERLAP] – And it worked here.

PRESIDENT OBAMA – No, actually it didn’t. When you end up taking a look at it, it didn’t actually make that much of a difference. So what we have been supportive of is, uh, something called charters. Which, within the public school system gives the opportunity for creative experiments by teachers, by principals to-to start schools that have a different approach. And —

O’REILLY [OVERLAP] – You would revisit that? I-I just think — I used be, teach in a Catholic school, a-and I just know —

PRESIDENT OBAMA [OVERLAP] – Bill — you know, I — I’ve taken, I’ve taken — I’ve taken a look at it. As a general proposition, vouchers has not significantly improved the performance of kids that are in these poorest communities —

O’REILLY [OVERLAP] [INAUDIBLE] -

PRESIDENT OBAMA – Some charters — some charters are doing great. Some Catholic schools do a great job, but what we have to do is make sure every child —

O’REILLY [OVERLAP] – I got three more questions.

PRESIDENT OBAMA – Go ahead.

O’REILLY – All right. Keystone pipeline, new study comes in, environmental impact, negligible. Forty-two thousand jobs. You’re gonna okay it, I assume.   

PRESIDENT OBAMA – Well first of all, it’s not forty two thousand. That’s — that’s not, uh, correct, it’s a couple thousand to build the pipeline, but —       

O’REILLY [OVERLAP] – Forty-two all told.   

PRESIDENT OBAMA – Well, that, bottom line is what we’re gonna do is to, uh, the process now goes agencies comment on what the State Department did, public’s allowed to comment, Kerry’s gonna, uh, give me a recommendation, uh —        

O’REILLY [OVERLAP] – All right, so I assume we’re gonna do that, after five years —

PRESIDENT OBAMA [OVERLAP] [INAUDIBLE] -

O’REILLY – Okay. I’ll take that as a yes. Little Sisters of the Poor, come on, give them the little waiver that they don’t have to —

PRESIDENT OBAMA [OVERLAP] – They have, you know —

O’REILLY [OVERLAP] – Come on, the Little Sisters of the Poor? Give them what they want.

PRESIDENT OBAMA – Bill, I —

O’REILLY – Right now. Let’s-let’s just do this.

PRESIDENT OBAMA – Bill, take, here-here’s the way this thing works. All they have to do is sign a form saying they don’t — they are a religious institution —

O’REILLY – And then they get what they want, right?

PRESIDENT OBAMA – And — and they get what they want. What they — the problem is they don’t want to sign the form —

O’REILLY [OVERLAP] – Well, we’ll —

PRESIDENT OBAMA – Because they think that that somehow, uh, uh, makes them complicit.

O’REILLY – I’m happy now that the Little Sisters are going to get what they want. Uh, now. Um. FOX News. Uh, I can’t speak for FOX News. All right, but I’m — I’m, you know, the table setter here [INAUDIBLE] -.

PRESIDENT OBAMA [OVERLAP] [INAUDIBLE] -

O’REILLY – Do you think I’m being unfair to you, do you think I’ve been giving you —

PRESIDENT OBAMA [OVERLAP] – Absolutely. Of course you have, Bill. But, I like you anyway, Bill.

O’REILLY [OVERLAP] – Okay, but — give me how I’m unfair.

PRESIDENT OBAMA [OVERLAP] – It-it-but — look —

O’REILLY – Give me how I’m unfair. Come on, you can’t make that accusation without telling me.

PRESIDENT OBAMA – Bill — we’ve just run through an interview in which you asked about health, uh, health care not working, IRS where-where we, uh, wholly corrupt, Benghazi —

O’REILLY – All right.

PRESIDENT OBAMA – Right, so the list of issues that you talk about —

O’REILLY [OVERLAP] – But these are unanswered questions —

PRESIDENT OBAMA – Yeah, but-but-but they’re defined by you guys in a certain way. But this — look, this is okay. This-this is —

O’REILLY [OVERLAP] – Do you not —

PRESIDENT OBAMA – If you want to — if you want to be President of the United States, then you know that you’re going to be subject to criticism, and —

O’REILLY – But if it’s unfair, I-I want to know if it’s unfair. Is it un — criticism is criticism. It’s my job to give you a hard time.

PRESIDENT OBAMA [OVERLAP] – Here — here — here’s what I would say. I think regardless of whether it’s fair or not, uh, it has, uh, it has made FOX News very successful.

O’REILLY – But if I’m unfair, I want —

PRESIDENT OBAMA [OVERLAP] – Here’s what — here’s the thing you guys — here’s what you guys are gonna have to figure out is what are — what are you gonna do when I’m gone? I’m telling you —

O’REILLY [OVERLAP] [INAUDIBLE] [LAUGHS] -

PRESIDENT OBAMA [OVERLAP] [INAUDIBLE] -

O’REILLY – Ah-ha-ha — ask President Clinton. Ask President Bush. I gave President Bush a real hard time. Are you the most liberal President in US History?

PRESIDENT OBAMA – Probably not.

O’REILLY – Probably not?

PRESIDENT OBAMA – Probably not. That’s-that’s fair to say.

O’REILLY [OVERLAP] – Who-who would be?

PRESIDENT OBAMA – You know, the truth of the matter is, is that when you look at some of my policies, um, in a lot of ways, Richard Nixon was more — more liberal than I was. Started the EPA. You know, uh, you know, started, uh, uh, a whole lot of the regulatory state that, uh, has helped make our air and water clean. Um.

O’REILLY – That’s interesting — Nixon — that’s interesting. I thought you were gonna say FDR.

PRESIDENT OBAMA – Well, FDR — Johnson. But I tend not to think about these things in terms of liberal and democrat — or liberal and conservative because at any given time, the question is what does the country need right now? And what — right now what the country needs is, uh, roads, bridges, uh, infrastructure, we-we got 2 trillion dollars worth of, uh, unmet needs. We could put — be putting construction workers back to work right now, folks that you like to champion. Why aren’t we doing it? That’s not a liberal or conservative agenda —

O’REILLY [OVERLAP] [INAUDIBLE] -

PRESIDENT OBAMA [OVERLAP] – Well, why-why aren’t we funding it? The, uh, when it comes — comes to something like basic research to keep our innovation edge. That’s the thing that sent the man to space, that’s the thing that created the internet. Why aren’t we — why aren’t we funding —

O’REILLY [OVERLAP] – Because we have a seventeen trillion dollar debt. We can’t do these things.

PRESIDENT OBAMA – No, the uh — but the reason we don’t do them is because we’re not willing to make decisions, for example, uh, our tax code is rife with loopholes —

O’REILLY [OVERLAP] – That’s true, you can’t —

PRESIDENT OBAMA [OVERLAP] – And for us to close those loopholes, we could put people to work right now. Is that a Democrat — is that a Democrat, Republican, conservative, liberal thing? It’s neither. It’s common sense. That’s what we should be doing.

O’REILLY -All right.

PRESIDENT OBAMA – In fact, you and I, if we sat down, we could probably agree on —

O’REILLY [OVERLAP] – Well, I’ve said that on air. We don’t disagree on —

PRESIDENT OBAMA [OVERLAP] – Raising the minimum wage, something that you —

O’REILLY [OVERLAP] – But one — one thing we do —

PRESIDENT OBAMA [OVERLAP] – Yes, right.

O’REILLY [OVERLAP] – I support this.

PRESIDENT OBAMA – I know. And that’s —

O’REILLY [OVERLAP] – You have to do it.

PRESIDENT OBAMA – And that’s —

O’REILLY [OVERLAP] – You want to get people off welfare, you raise the — minimum wage.

PRESIDENT OBAMA [OVERLAP] – That’s not a liberal or a-a conservative agenda.

O’REILLY [OVERLAP] – No, fine. But I think that you are much more friendly to a nanny state than I am. I’m more of a self-reliance guy, you’re more of a big government will solve your problems guy.

PRESIDENT OBAMA – And I — and I —

O’REILLY -That’s it.

PRESIDENT OBAMA – And I disagree with that because I think that what used to be considered sensible we now somehow label as-as liberal. Think about this — Social Security, Medicare —

O’REILLY [OVERLAP] – But you pay into that. It’s the freebies that are the problem.

PRESIDENT OBAMA [OVERLAP] – Is it? What-what freebies are we talking about? Welfare, actually is worth less now than it was 20, 30 — it’s worth less than it was under Ronald Reagan. And the uh —

O’REILLY [OVERLAP] – Take a look at the disability explosion. I mean, it’s insane. The workplace isn’t any more dangerous now than it was it was 20 —

PRESIDENT OBAMA [OVERLAP] – Well —

O’REILLY — years ago, it’s through the roof. You know people are conning you.

PRESIDENT OBAMA [OVERLAP] – You know, Bill, the point is, we have not massively expanded the welfare state. That’s just not true. When you take a look at it, actually, that-the-the levers of support that we provide to folks who are willing to work hard, they’re not that different than they were thirty years ago, forty years ago, fifty years ago. You and I took advantage of certain things. I don’t know about you, but I got some loans to go to college.

O’REILLY [OVERLAP] – Nah, I painted houses, I didn’t get any —

PRESIDENT OBAMA [OVERLAP] – The, uh, well, I, no —

O’REILLY [OVERLAP] – See, that’s who I am. I —

PRESIDENT OBAMA – I painted houses during the summer too. It still wasn’t enough. So, the, uh, so my point is is that that’s not a nanny state. That’s an investment in the future generation. G.I. Bill — is that a nanny state? My grandfather came back for World War II, you’re about to write a book on World War II. Smartest thing we ever did was make an investment in the American people. When those guys came back from war, that’s what created our middle class. We-we suddenly trained up and created skills for folks. We gave ‘em subsidies so they could go out and buy homes. Through the FHA, those things weren’t giveaways. We-we understood that what that would do would create a base middle class of folks who were able to, uh, work hard and get ahead.

O’REILLY – The work ethic was different then than it is now.

PRESIDENT OBAMA [OVERLAP] – Well —

O’REILLY – All right, last questions.

PRESIDENT OBAMA -We’ll have to improve the work ethic.

O’REILLY – And here’s something that you and I agree on.

PRESIDENT OBAMA – What’s that?

O’REILLY – And I’ll tell everybody. You helped the Veterans. Now I believe the VA should be doing a lot more than it’s doing. But you, I have come to you four times, and every time you have, uh, done what I have asked, and we have raised more than twenty million dollars for wounded veterans and their families. And I — you know, so when they say that you don’t care and all of that I know that’s not true. But fundamentally, the self-reliance thing in America I think is going down, and the nanny state is going up. Last word. You get it.

PRESIDENT OBAMA – Here’s-here’s-here’s what I believe. First of all, biggest honor I’ve ever had and will ever have is serving as Commander in Chief, and when you meet our military families and our men and women in uniform, they-they, uh. They are so outstanding. You just have to want to help. And you have done great work, Bill, uh, on behalf of our veterans. Number two, I think self-reliance is alive and well in America. I think the problem is people don’t see as many opportunities to get ahead. My job as President, as long as I’m in this office, is to give them the tools to get ahead. They gotta work hard, they gotta be responsible, but if they are, let’s make sure that they can make it in America. That’s what it’s all about. That’s how you and I ended up sitting here talking.

O’REILLY – Mr. President, thanks, always a pleasure to talk with you.

PRESIDENT OBAMA – I enjoyed it, Bill. Thank you very much.

Why Liberals Should Thank Bill O’Reilly

You gotta love it. First President Obama tells the truth about Fox “News” and then Hillary Clinton follows it up. Now, when CNN, NPR, The New York Times, The Washington Post, NBC News, ABC News, and CBS News start telling the truth about Fox, then we will be getting somewhere.

In any case, Bill O’Reilly’s interruption-plagued ObamaCare-Benghazi-IRS interview (come on, what did you expect? Billo has to eat, ya know) with Obama ended with this:

I think — I — you know, I know you think maybe we haven’t been fair, but I think your heart is in the right place.

That moment of lucidity, I knew at the time, would get Billo in trouble. One commenter on the Fox “News” site said what a lot of right-wingers were thinking:

oreilly interview

“I’m DONE with you Bill!” When they start shouting, look out!

What you should know is that, as incredible as it sounds to liberal ears, Fox “News” is now seen by many right-wingers as part of the problem. Yes, Fox isn’t conservative enough! Over at Glenn Beck’s “The Blaze,” we find this comment attached to an article on O’Reilly’s interview with President Obama:

oreilly interview

O’Reilly and Huckabee traitors? Yikes. But look at his one:

oreilly interview

Nice folks, no? But what I really want you to see is this comment:

oreilly interview

When Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity, and Karl Rove aren’t conservative enough for you, then the political dementia on the far right is worse than we thought. And speaking of dementia, try this:

blaze

It seems that Glenn Beck, Mark Levin, and Sean Hannity, who apparently have been feuding (who knew?), are now teaming up for a kind of mischief they apparently can’t accomplish as free agents. The article reports:

Beck said he, Levin and Hannity all have a different skill set, all of which are important to bring the country together and focus on real solutions.

Yes. These guys think their brand of right-wingery will “bring the country together.”

Hey, don’t laugh. Beck is serious:

“Something big is happening. Something good is really happening,” Beck concluded. “Well, I mean, unless you’re a progressive then I don’t think you’re going to like this. It’s not good news for you.”

Oh, yes it is, Glenn! It is always good news for progressives when the reactionaries are fighting so fiercely among themselves, and if Beck and Levin and Hannity want to join forces to give their extremist followers more power to attack the Republican establishment, I say, bravo!

And they aren’t the only ones bashing the establishment. Just this afternoon, I received an email from a Tea Party group that was asking for dough. After bashing unions (“who are working diligently to pervert our system of government”), the appeal continued in bold letters:

For too long we have allowed the political establishment of both parties to drive our country into the ground. Today is the day that we stop the political elite and return America to greatness. 

Yes, Democrats and Republicans are just one big elite group working together to destroy the country! Of course!

Today on his show, Rush Limbaugh, the king of the talk radio dung heap, himself spent a lot of time attacking the Republican establishment. He has a theory about what they are up to, and it goes something like this:

By pushing immigration reform (“amnesty”), Republicans are blowing their chances of winning the upcoming election “in a landslide.” Oh, sure Republicans want to win in 2014, but they want to do it without the Tea Party. Why? Because if the Tea Party delivers another landslide election to the Republicans like it did in 2010, then the Republican establishment is in deeper trouble when it comes time to nominate their presidential candidate in 2016. Teapartiers would demand that the GOP candidate come from their ranks. That is why the establishment is trying to get rid of Tea Party influence in the House and get immigration reform passed, Limbaugh said. They want to marginalize teapartiers, eke out a victory this year, and then get their establishment guy ordained as the party’s front man against Hillary.

I know, I know. It’s nuts. But it helps our side when these folks get this way. And I personally want to think Bill O’Reilly and Fox “News” for playing their part in the chaos.

_______________________________________

limbaugh and immigration

Bill O’Reilly, Jason The Surfer, And The End Of American Civilization

Bill O’Reilly likes to talk about race hustlers and parasites. Well, it takes one to know one. Using his own standards of judgment, O’Reilly is a race-hustling parasite himself.

His show, a tribute to narcissism, has lately found him doing the race hustle in front of race-anxious whites, those who find it a bit unsettling to have someone other than a white man occupy The White’s House and who find it depressing that America is browning. O’Reilly exploits white angst and makes money off that exploitation.

But I’m particularly pissed off about the latest Fox-inspired attempt to put the blame for our financial and cultural troubles on those O’Reilly calls “parasites.” Billo once again brought up a guy now known as “Jason the Surfer“—no relation to Joe the Plumber—whom Fox managed to unearth in California, and who spends some of his monthly SNAP money (reportedly $200) on, Jesus forbid, sushi and lobster.

O’Reilly said,

This guy is a parasite. And my contention is that the Obama administration is encouraging parasites to come out and, you know, take as much as they can with no remorse and this is how a country declines. This is how we become a weak nation.

Now, if you’re like me, you find it hard to imagine that President Obama or anyone in his employ has spent a millisecond trying to figure out how to get California surfers to avail themselves of food stamps.Jason-Greenslate

And, if you’re like me, you also find it hard to believe how a kid on a surf board with a belly full of taxpayer subsidized sushi and lobster—even if it’s only a rare treat (at these prices)—can lead to the decline of American civilization, especially when all those Romney types are still out there hard at work practicing vulture capitalism, described famously by Republican Rick Perry during the 2012 campaign:

They’re sittin’ out there on the, on the tree limb, waitin’ for the company to get sick, and then they swoop in, they eat the carcass, they leave with that, and they leave the skeleton.

Newt Gingrich also famously said during that campaign the following:

I think we have to be honest about this. One of the reasons people who like free enterprise do not like Wall Street is that they see very rich financiers who rig the game, so the taxpayer loses, the worker loses, and somehow the rich guy does okay…If we identify capitalism with rich guys looting companies, we’re gonna have a very hard time protecting it…Is it fair to have a system, is it right, is it the kind of country you want to live in to have a system where somebody can come in, take over your company, take out all the cash and leave behind a wreck? And they go off to a country club having a great time and you go off to the unemployment line.

I remind you that people who do such nasty things in this country are essentially subsidized by everyone else. Many pay a lower rate of taxes because they have talked (via ca$h) the establishment into believing that all of what they do is essential to the economy and the nation’s well-being. That scam goes on while the race-baiting, cultural-angst-exploiting Bill O’Reillys of the world focus on a mixed up 29-year-old kid in California who gets a couple of hundred bucks a month in food help.

As I have said many times before, if we go down as a civilization, I’d rather it be by trying to make sure folks have enough to eat—even if a few folks game the system for a few bucks—than by making sure Mitt Romney’s vulture-money can vacation comfortably in the Cayman Islands.

“Jus Niggaz Bein Niggaz”

Last night, while watching a segment on “All In With Chris Hayes,” I heard a reference to Nat Turner.

Now, these days, you don’t often hear references to the slave Nat Turner, so a little history is in order before we get to the reason his name was invoked on MSNBC last night.

Nat Turner—the surname being the name of his owner—was born in 1800. He became a religious zealot, who believed, essentially, that God had put it upon him to lead an uprising against slave-owners, starting in Virginia. His rebellion, which began on August 21, 1831, lasted no more than 48 hours, and resulted in (the estimates are problematic) the brutal deaths of 55 to 65 white folks, including women, the brutality, presumably, meant to “strike terror and alarm,” as one newspaper reported at the time.

When the slave-loving establishment was finished with its form of justice, an estimated 100 to 200 blacks were dead, including some who were executed by the state for allegedly being part of Turner’s rebellion and some, including some who had nothing to do with the revolt, who were summarily killed by reactionary white mobs with guns, affectionately known as militias. As Wikipedia put it:

Blacks suspected of participating in the rebellion were beheaded by the militia. “Their severed heads were mounted on poles at crossroads as a grisly form of intimidation.”

Turner was eventually caught and tried for his ill-conceived rebellion. He was quickly strung up and killed, his dead body then flayed and ripped apart like an animal. As American Heritage.com put it:

His skin was made into a purse, his flesh turned to grease, his bones divvied up as souvenirs. His head was permanently separated from his body and made the rounds as a curio, reportedly spending much of the twentieth century at the College of Wooster, in Ohio.

Nice. Good Christian Justice.

I said all that to say this: since Nat Turner’s rebellion there has been a fear among many whites, sometimes open and sometimes not, that there is a sort of unruly animal spirit residing in black folks that is just waiting to rebel at even the slightest provocation, just waiting to get even with whites for the sin of slavery, for the disgrace of systematic and ongoing oppression.

Enter Fox’s Bill O’Reilly.

Billo was in typical form on Tuesday night, commenting on the George Zimmerman murder trial (which I have watched fairly religiously and about which I will likely have something to offer, if I can stomach writing about it).

Naturally, O’Reilly claims, journalists are responsible for distorting racial issues and for causing “racial division.” He cited a Rasmussen poll that purported to show that more than one-third of Americans—including almost one-third of blacks!—believe that blacks are the most racist group in America (one-half of the conservatives and one-half of Republicans surveyed believe most blacks are racist). He then, also following form, predicted:

If George Zimmerman is acquitted, there will be racial animus.

By “racial animus,” of course, Billo means Niggas Gone Wild. Blacks, being filled with the spirit of Nat Turner, ain’t gonna tolerate Zimmerman getting away with shooting to death an unarmed black teenager for the crime of being, among other things, a suspicious-looking black kid.

To be fair to the unfair Bill O’Reilly, he’s not the only one sounding the Nat Turner alarm. In Florida, the Broward County Sheriff’s Department “has coordinated a response plan in anticipation of the verdict.” The response includes the enlisting of “basketball star James Jones of the championship Miami Heat.” This is James Jones:

As you can see, Mr. Jones is well-qualified to urge certain pigmented “young people not to let their emotions get the best of them.”

This is the Sheriff of Broward County:

Scott J. Israel

As you can see, he is not necessarily well-qualified to urge certain pigmented “young people not to let their emotions get the best of them.”

The Blaze, founded by Glenn Beck, is no stranger to racial issues. It weighed in recently with an article with this header:

‘IF ZIMMERMAN GET OFF, IMA GO KILL A WHITE BOY’: TRAYVON MARTIN SUPPORTERS MAKE SHOCKING THREATS AHEAD OF VERDICT

The article consisted of stupid tweets from stupid people promising to do something violent in retaliation for an acquittal. Here was just one example among many:

Trayvon Martin Fans Tweet Death Threats If George Zimmerman Is Found Not Guilty

You get the point.

Naturally, a Glenn Beck-inspired outlet is going to document and promote such trash because doing so, predictably, results in a robust expression of the white angst that fuels so much of the subtle racism that flows through parts of conservative White America. Here is a sample of the nearly 700 responses the article received:

  • some of those tweets sound a little similar to the reports of what martin was saying the night he was shot. didn’t work out so well for him, but hey…
  • Well one more reason to own a gun and have a CCW permit. My father always said this country was ripe for a civil war of blacks vs whites and he would not live to see it. My father dies in 2011 [...]
  • The apes are throwing threats again what a surprise. All I can say is BRING IT BITCHES I have some lead pie filling for ya.
  • Wow, who knew Obama had so many “sons”?????
  • Negroes are all judging Trayvon based on the color of his skin, while ignoring the content of his character. It’s sad that 95% of negroes are racist.
  • Truth be told, the WORST racists in this country are blacks….taught to be that way by the constant divisive BS pounded into them by the democrats. I figured that out when I worked at Ford in the Detroit area for 32 years.
  • It is crazy, sick, destructive and evil and it emanates from the Oval Office “design team”. Maybe martial law enacted just prior to the 2016 election………
  • You have to recall that these are the descendants of the ex-slaves that missed the free boat ride to return to Africa and they are still angry.
  • Let them try. I’m not worried about these creatures. The gun I carry is bigger and carries many more rounds than Zimmerman’s little Kel-Tec PF9. Let them try. Let them die.
  • He will be found not guilty of course and many many folks will be waiting for you boys to misbehave.
  • Ok all you afro heroes, talk your sh+t, I’ve got lots of rounds, magazines, and replacement barrels. I wonder how quick you will run when your homies bodies are being stacked like wood,eh.
  • You boys are outnumbered, even if you add the bleeding heart lib whites to help you. The race war that you yearn for won’t end the way you want so by all means let’s get this party started.
  • Civil war anyone?
  • Even these animals can see that this pig star witness is a big time failure! Hehehehehehe!
  • why aren’t these douchbags all arrested for death threats?? Come on NSA you afraid to go after them because they’re black?? As for you black punks threatening to kill a whitey, I say bring it on MF. Bring your black ass on!!
  • A Cracke_r is a person who works for a living in the hot sun herding cattle. Black MOFO’s are lazy parasites..
  • Big word from behind a computer. I am a white guy and I will be ready for that day.

As I said, that kind of stuff went on for pages and pages. Tough talk from keyboard-courageous gun-toters. But there was one particularly insightful commenter on the Blaze story, who went by the name of “BANNEDFROMCNN,” who wrote:

Jus niggaz bein niggaz.

When you think about it, that’s not much different from what Bill O’Reilly, the most popular TV conservative in America, said on Tuesday night.

Congratulations, Billo.

No Apologies Necessary, Bill

Bill O’Reilly told the world he would “apologize for being an idiot” if ‪the Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act.  Nah, Bill. Being an idiot means never having to say you’re sorry:

Lou Dobbs and Bill O’Reilly Are Nazi Pigs

Lou Dobbs and Bill O’Reilly are fascists. No, they are fascist pigs. No, no, no, they are depraved fascist pigs. In short, they are Nazis.

Since I am using the same logic they employed in the following clip, in which they declared Robert Reich a communist, I dare anyone to contradict me:

Sex, More Sex, And Nothing But The Sex

From the Huffington Post Saturday morning:

From the Huffington Post Saturday night:

On Friday I listened to Limbaugh explain why his “illustrating absurdity by being absurd” dodge was sufficient to cover for his calling a young woman a slut and prostitute and desiring to see her perform sex on Internet-posted videos.

The left wants to pretend they have no sense of humor,” the GOP spokesman said yesterday. It was all a big joke that chumps like us don’t get:

If anybody doesn’t realize that we are illustrating absurdity here by being absurd and that that is the trademark of this program…  But oh! No! “Oh, of everything else you’ve said, that’s the lowest of the low. Demanding sex video? Who do you think you are?” Lighten up.

While Limbaugh has used this dodge for years to get him out of some tight spots, this time some of his advertisers, who have made him wealthy, aren’t finding the humor in his comments. They are abandoning his leaking ship of hate.

But I also listened to Sean Hannity, a Catholic Obama-hater, explain on Friday why Rush’s “illustrating absurdity by being absurd” ruse was simply misunderstood by the Democrats and (guess who?) the Liberal Media.  Of course Rush “did not mean it” when he said he wanted to wildly masturbate while watching porn videos of young plaid-clad Catholic college girls.*

Then I found out that Bill O’Reilly had his own, uh, more restrained, plan of attack against law student Sandra Fluke:

Let me get this straight, Ms. Fluke, and I’m asking this with all due respect. You want me to give you my hard-earned money so you can have sex?

The sex angle, which seems to fascinate conservatives, is one that Limbaugh just couldn’t get away from. Here was Limbaugh on Friday:

Obama just called Sandra Fluke to make sure she was all right? Awwww.  (kissing sound)  That is so compassionate! What a great guy.  The president called her to make sure she’s okay.  What is she 30 years old?  Thirty years old, a student at Georgetown Law, who admits to having so much sex that she can’t afford it anymore.

“So much sex that she can’t afford it anymore.” As if the amount of birth control pills a woman takes is commensurate with the amount of sex she is having.  That kind of mentality is what we are dealing with here, whether it be talk radio or Fox “News.” Rachel Maddow destroyed Limbaugh on this point on Friday night.

Limbaugh continued:

The president tells Sandra Fluke (chuckling), 30-year-old Sandra Fluke, that her parents should be proud.  Okay.  Let me ask you a question.  I might be surprised at the answer I would get to this question.  Your daughter appears before a congressional committee and says she’s having so much sex, she can’t pay for it and wants a new welfare program to pay for it. Would you be proud?  I don’t know about you, but I’d be embarrassed.  I’d disconnect the phone. I’d go into hiding and hope the media didn’t find me…

By the way, if he had said that about my daughter, hiding might be a good idea.

More:

It’s no different than if somebody that I don’t know knocked on my door and said, “You know what? I’m outta money. I can’t afford birth control pills and I’m supposed to have sex with three guys tonight.”

“Well, why are you coming to me?”

“Well, because you’ve got the money.”

“Well, have you ever thought maybe you shouldn’t? If you can’t afford it, you can’t do it.”

Now, all of that is bad enough, but what is worse is that not a single word of it addresses what it was that Sandra Fluke actually testified to in the hearing arranged by Democrats. Most of her testimony involved third-person accounts of women who couldn’t get access to the healthcare they needed to treat, say, polycystic ovarian syndrome, which is a hormonal disorder. She relayed the account of her friend who has the condition:

For my friend, and 20% of women in her situation, she never got the insurance company to cover her prescription, despite verification of her illness from her doctor.  Her claim was denied repeatedly on the assumption that she really wanted the birth control to prevent pregnancy.  She’s gay, so clearly polycystic ovarian syndrome was a much more urgent concern than accidental pregnancy.  After months of paying over $100 out of pocket, she just couldn’t afford her medication anymore and had to stop taking it.  I learned about all of this when I walked out of a test and got a message from her that in the middle of her final exam period she’d been in the emergency room all night in excruciating pain.  She wrote, “It was so painful, I woke up thinking I’d been shot.”  Without her taking the birth control, a massive cyst the size of a tennis ball had grown on her ovary.  She had to have surgery to remove her entire ovary.

Not a word about wanting to have unlimited sex without consequences and have conservatives mystically pay for it. And speaking of that, here are some statistics from the Kinsey Institute relevant to this issue:

_____________________________

I’m just using Limbaugh’s not-so-clever “illustrating absurdity by being absurd” trick.

 

The War On The Poor

Every liberal in America who is mad at President Obama should have watched Bill O’Reilly’s show on Wednesday.  Not only was his opening “Talking Points” segment a shallow, misleading, disgusting look at welfare in America, it was a sad example of how Fox “News” is the prime mastermind of the so-called class war that it accuses Democrats of waging.

The segment began with a lie:

As just about everybody knows, America is broke.

The government owes more than 14 trillion dollars. So, spending has to be cut, possibly including some welfare payments to the poor.

In 2002 the poverty rate in America was about 12%. In 2009 it was about 14%, up two points despite—despite—more than $4 trillion in welfare spending over that period.

O’Reilly then shows this graph:

That’s the redistribution of income,” O’Reilly says, helpfully.

He then says something remarkably strange, even for him:

Welfare spending is 15%—15%—of the entire federal budget. But that is deceiving because Medicare and Social Security account for 33% of all spending. If you take those mandated expenses out of the equation, then welfare payments account for 22% of the total budget and that’s a big number.

Why would O’Reilly exclude Social Security and Medicare from “the equation”? Obviously to make the welfare number look worse, which he thinks makes his class war offensive more devastating.

But the class warfare was just heating up. He then quoted a Republican Rasmussen poll that purported to show that Americans think there are “too many people” on welfare:

And a graphic that raised, of course, the “illegal immigrant” issue:

Noting that most of those “illegals” were children, he then said,

The democratic party in general does not want to cut government assistance programs to the poor or even to illegal aliens. The basic philosophy of President Obama’s party is to redistribute income, as we said, to those who do not have very much regardless of their status.

A fair system would hold those receiving government assistance accountable. That is, if they turn things around in their lives, they would have to pay back a portion of what they received.  And they would actively have to look for work, if they don’t, the benefits cease.

President Clinton signed the Welfare Reform Act in 1996, and that slowed the “entitlement industry” down a bit, but over the past few years it has picked up steam again. The feds must—must—impose discipline here and in every other federal spending situation.

No mention of why the “entitlement industry“—notice how he conflated welfare with Social Security and Medicaid?—might have grown or “picked up steam” “over the past few years.”  No mention, that is, of the Bush years and the Great Recession he bequeathed to America as one of his parting gifts, which caused many Americans to scramble for help from their government.

Now, match that horrific and sickeningly graceless O’Reilly segment with what is going on in Florida.  The governor, Rick Scott, a multi-million dollar Medicare cheat, signed a law that required welfare recipients—who receive a stunningly low $134 in average monthly benefits—to  undergo annual drug tests—which cost $30 each— (we had the same thing proposed in Missouri) in order to collect benefits. (Some claim that Scott benefits from the forced drug testing.)

Scott argued that ,”studies show that people that [sic] are on welfare are higher users of drugs than people not on welfare.” But the preliminary data from the new drug testing contradicts that claim.  From Tampa Bay Online:

 TALLAHASSEE – Since the state began testing welfare applicants for drugs in July, about 2 percent have tested positive, preliminary data shows.

Two percent.  The problem is that, according to the Office of National Drug Control Policy, the number of “illicit drug” users in the entire population of the state of Florida happens to be around 8%.  Whoops.

The ACLU, which is threatening a lawsuit, says that the measly “apparent” savings associated with the program— the benefit cuts for those who test positive minus the cost of drug testing—has yet to be determined because administrative costs have not yet been calculated.

Derek Newton, a spokesman for the ACLU in Florida, said this:

This is just punishing people for being poor, which is one of our main points. We’re not testing the population at-large that receives government money; we’re not testing people on scholarships, or state contractors. So why these people? It’s obvious– because they’re poor.

Yes, it is obvious, but only to those who have eyes that are willing to see.  But Bill O’Reilly, Governor Scott, Fox “News,” and the entire conservative movement’s leadership are blind to the truth—no, actually they are trying to blind others to the truth.

As a final example: On Tuesday morning I watched Fox News’ “America’s Newsroom,” which follows the incomparably dumb Fox and Friends.  “America’s Newsroom” is supposed to be straight news on the Republican News Network.  If you believe that, I have a FEMA trailer to sell ya.

In any case, the guest host, Gregg Jarrett, said near the beginning of a segment on Warren Buffett’s recent argument that the super rich weren’t taxed enough that, “I did a little digging and here’s what I came up with…”  In other words, the news host was about to take on Warren Buffett.

What he came up with were a series of graphics, two of which were quite deceptive:

As you can see, Mr. Jarrett tried to make the point that the very wealthy were paying more than their fair share of taxes and, as he told his sycophantic guest, Stephen Moore, “more Americans are paying nothing [his emphasis].”  The problem was that his chart didn’t let viewers know that he was only talking about federal income taxes. A very different picture develops when all taxes are included.

Thus, we know that Jarrett’s overall claim is grossly false, as Citizens for Tax Justice pointed out and I wrote about a couple of weeks ago:

As the chart demonstrates, the total tax burden—which includes not just income taxes—but payroll taxes and gas taxes and sales taxes and so on, is only slightly progressive, in terms of the tax burden as a percentage of income. 

The truth is that the rich earn most of the income and thus pay a majority of the taxes in America.  But it’s simply not the case, as Mr. Jarrett tried to claim, that “more Americans are paying nothing.”

So, yes, we have a class war in America.  Conservatives started it just after the New Deal was born, and finally succeeded in taking real ground in 1980 with the election of Ronald Reagan, and have steadily taken a greater share of the country’s wealth ever since.

And now, after gaining so much ground, after decimating the middle class, they are hungry for more and have declared war on the poor.

Juan Willliams Plays The Race Card, Why Isn’t Rush Limbaugh Outraged?

I haven’t noticed any criticism of Juan Williams from the right-wing since he indicted NPR as “an all-white operation,” which had “more success with white women” than black or Hispanic journalists.

Hmm. Usually, any African-Amerian who points out the pale-faced composition of an organization and accuses them of color bias is excoriated by conservatives for “playing the race card.”  But not the Right’s favorite black “liberal.”

Not that Mr. Williams offered any other evidence for his charges than his messy termination by NPR, after the comments he made on his real home, Fox “News.”  That firing, of course, had nothing to do with his pigmentation, but the company he was keeping. And for some of the things he was saying while he was with that company.

If Mr. Williams has other evidence of discrimination, let’s hear it. NPR is not exempt from accountability for any uncivil actions.

But the wisdom of that decision by NPR to fire him seems to be confirmed by Williams himself, who told HuffPo:

What you see is there a real reluctance to, despite 10 years of success…deal with me as a journalist,” Williams said. “For them, I think the fact that I was a journalist who was not being pigeonholed as just a black journalist, but something larger and sometimes even conservative in a point of view, made them have great difficulty with me.”

Not being pigeonholed as just a black journalist, but something larger and sometimes even conservative in a point of view.”  That reference to his employment at Fox is perfect. Because that’s exactly the kind of “liberal” commentator Fox “News” wants on its payroll, black or white. One with a “sometimes” conservative point of view or one who will softly spar with Bill O’Reilly or Sean Hannity, so as not to land any damaging blows.

NPR was right to can him, because obviously now he can say anything he wants on the network that hires only people—pale faced or not—who don’t stray too far from the Fox Nation Reservation.

The Real Bill O’Reilly

Bill O’Reilly called MSNBC “anti-American.”  Last night, MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell hit back and captured Bill O’Reilly and Fox exactly—and I mean, exactly—right, and it is a pleasure to watch:

It’s About Time NPR Fired Juan Williams

The buzz this morning on Morning Joe was over National Public Radio’s firing of Juan Williams.

The consensus was that NPR acted irresponsibly and with great political correctness over Williams’ comments to Bill O’Reilly regarding O’Reilly’s spat with a couple of The View girls over his statement that “Muslims killed us on 9/11.”  Billo had asked Williams what he thought about that statement, to which Williams replied,

I mean, look, Bill, I’m not a bigot. You know the kind of books I’ve written about the civil rights movement in this country. But when I get on the plane, I got to tell you, if I see people who are in Muslim garb and I think, you know, they are identifying themselves first and foremost as Muslims, I get worried. I get nervous.

Williams went on to try to explain to the hard-headed O’Reilly that it was dumb to blame all Muslims for the actions of a few extremists and it appeared that Williams, a regular on the Republican “News” Channel, was trying to “reason” with the unreasonable host.

Joe Scarborough, Pat Buchanan, and other Morning Joe regulars were beside themselves over NPR’s reaction, spouting the usual conservative line about political correctness and other nonsense and suggesting that NPR should hire him back.  They blamed left-wing bloggers (who, by the way, blog in their “underwear,” according to someone on the show) for starting the wave that ended in Juan Williams’ departure from NPR.

But while I agree that Williams’ comments in this case weren’t in themselves worthy of dismissal, the truth is that any regular listener to NPR, no matter one’s political affiliation, recognizes that NPR is merely protecting its brand of journalism, a brand that has behind it a steadfast commitment to the profession, as opposed to some of the stuff one witnesses on cable news channels day in and day out. 

Juan Williams, while still affiliated with NPR, decided to forsake his credibility as a journalist and associate himself with the mostly faux-journalism practiced on the Republican “News” Channel.  Good for him.  I’m sure he is paid well for his trouble.  NPR’s problem was that it didn’t fire Williams when he first made his move away from NPR’s brand.  NPR waited too long to cut him off and the exchange yesterday with O’Reilly was just a way to do something it should have done long ago.

Just recently, NPR issued a directive to its employees not to participate in Jon Stewart’s “Rally to Restore Sanity” or Stephen Colbert’s “March to Keep Fear Alive.”  Participation in those events, which NPR will cover as a news outlet, would violate NPR’s Ethics Code.  Here are just two restrictions from the code:

1. NPR journalists may not run for office, endorse candidates or otherwise engage in politics. Since contributions to candidates are part of the public record, NPR journalists may not contribute to political campaigns, as doing so would call into question a journalist’s impartiality.

2. NPR journalists may not participate in marches and rallies involving causes or issues that NPR covers, nor should they sign petitions or otherwise lend their name to such causes, or contribute money to them.

The point is that journalism is a profession and journalists ought to act professionally.  News reporting should be as free from personal prejudice as possible, even if a reporter does have strong feelings about the issue on which he or she is reporting.  Prohibiting its employees from associating with the Stewart-Colbert rallies is an important example of NPR protecting its reputation as producing reliable journalism.

On the commentary side, NPR listeners, me included, who have listened to Juan Williams’ contributions to NPR  for years, were dismayed by his moonlighting at the Republican “News” Channel, particularly his association with Bill O’Reilly, where he has sometimes filled in for the blowhard.

In fact, in 2009, after Williams said some things about Michelle Obama that were right out of the right-wing nut playbook, NPR asked the Republican “News” Channel to stop identifying Williams as an “NPR news political analyst,”  even though many long-time NPR listeners believed, rightly, that he should have been fired for that appearance and those comments.

It’s been a long time coming, but NPR has finally done the right thing by getting rid of Juan Williams, who with every appearance on O’Reilly and other right-wing shows, tainted NPR’s brand name.  I know most conservatives believe NPR is a “liberal” news source, but then again those same conservatives think the Republican “News” Channel is “fair and balanced,” so it really doesn’t matter what they think. 

What matters is that NPR doesn’t succumb to the tendency these days of abandoning real journalism in favor of what passes for journalism today on cable “news” networks, particularly one that has an unapologetic and symbiotic relationship with the Republican Party.

Remarks And Asides

Howard Fineman reports that Christine O’Donnell, Delaware’s answer to a very strange question, is irked at Republican bigwigs for not sending her more moolah to continue her crusade against reality.  Neither the National Republican Senatorial Committee nor the Rove-ish undercover funders want to waste resources financing a campaign that even Don Quixote would abandon.

But the real interesting thing about her pleas for more dough is that we found out that Sean Hannity is her pocket-sized bitch:

Specifically, according to two top GOP insiders, she said at a strategy meeting with DC types last week: “I’ve got Sean Hannity in my back pocket, and I can go on his show and raise money by attacking you guys.”

Finally, Ms. O’Donnell has said something with which we can all agree.

____________________________________

Tea Party candidate for governor of New York, Carl Paladino, said this week,

We must stop pandering to the pornographers and the perverts, who seek to target our children and destroy their lives.

Unfortunately for him, he said this after he had scattered a number of e-mails around that are not suitable for review via a blog connected to a family newspaper.  However, WNYMedia can direct you to them, if you want to see examples of how pornographers and perverts and Republican gubernatorial candidates are targeting our children and destroying their lives:

If you are just being introduced to Carl Paladino through various TV or radio stories or the 1,000 published stories on his love for hot, hardcore, barely legal pornography, we’d like to welcome you.  You’ve got a lot of catching up to do! 

If you’re here to learn more about the salacious and offensive emails he admitted to sending out to his friends, follow this link.  Or, this new one with new and improved Carl approved images from sites like FistFlush.com and TeachMyAss.com

If you want to see more coverage from WNYMedia writers about the Paladino campaign, then follow this link.  This post is particularly interesting.  So is this one.

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Someone in Jerry Brown’s campaign for governor referred to his opponent, Meg Whitman, as a “whore.” Then the California president of the National Organization for Women qualified the term a bit by saying that Whitman was a “political whore.”  Okay, then. That’s better.  Now I understand. But Democrats really should stop calling Republicans names.  I mean, after all, Republicans never call the anti-colonialist Kenyan Marxist Muslim racist Barack Hussein Obama names do they?

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Kudos to Whoopi Goldberg and Joy Behar, who walked off The View in protest of The Flatulator, Bill O’Reilly, passing gas on the set.  The man has no manners.  It’s one thing to let a little poop smoke slip out while you’re at home, but when you’re someone’s guest you really should try to hold it in.

Most people didn’t notice that pretty little Republican Elisabeth Hasselbeck didn’t mind the stink.  In fact, she joined in with a butt bomb of her own, something nice girls don’t do on television. Here is Lawrence O’Donnell giving her a little advice on broadcast etiquette:

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What A Waste It Is To Lose One’s Mind

The secular-socialist machine represents as great a threat to America as Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union once did. 

Newt Gingrich

Newt Gingrich is obviously trying to dethrone Bill O’Reilly as the five-star general of the Army of American Culture Warriors. 

No doubt the right-wing suffers from many delusions, but looming large among them is the idea that the soul of America is in danger of damnation from the likes of evil secularists and socialists like Barack Obama.

Never mind that for a radical God-hater, Obama is a rather outspoken Christian, who prays out loud and everything.  Plus, apparently he takes seriously the swear-to-God oath he made to his one and only wife, unlike some prominent non-secular conservatives.*

Never mind that for a Marxist revolutionary, Obama has a lot of nice things to say about capitalism and is going so far as to try to preserve our capitalist system before the capitalists completely destroy it.

Look, I understand that to some extent the otherwise bright and “scholarly” Gingrich knows he can put stuff like “secular-socialist machine” in a book and call it, “To Save America,” and frothing conservatives will buy it.  I understand that reality.

But, damn!  A mind is a terrible thing to waste.  Or, no, I like this better:

Dan Quayle, our former Republican Vice President and the Sarah Palin of his time, once said:

What a waste it is to lose one’s mind. Or not to have a mind is being very wasteful. How true that is.

Couldn’t have said it better myself.

God, I miss Dan Quayle.

______________________________________

*Here are two paragraphs from Wikipedia that would serve to make most people hesistate before they call other folks names:

Gingrich has been married three times. He first married Jackie Battley, his former high school geometry teacher, when he was 19 years old, and she was 26 years old.[54][55] They had two daughters. The couple decided to divorce after Gingrich told his wife of his extra-marital affair while she was recovering from cancer surgery.[56] In 1981, six months after his divorce was final, Gingrich wed Marianne Ginther.[57] He remained married to Ginther until 2000, when they divorced.

Shortly after his second divorce, Gingrich married Callista Bisek, who is 23 years his junior. He began his relationship with Bisek while he was still married to his second wife. Ironically, this extramarital affair started during the Congressional investigation of Bill Clinton‘s perjury relating to his affair with 23-year-old intern, Monica Lewinsky, which led to Clinton’s impeachment.[58]

Republican Adventures In Wonderland

It’s Official: Republicans Lied

The Frank Luntz-inspired “bailout” mantra, applied to the Democrats’ financial reform proposal by Republicans like Mitch McConnell, can now officially be called a “lie.”

PolitiFact’s Truth-O-Meter has rated as FALSE McConnell’s (and by extension Luntz’s and all Republicans’) comments that “new financial regulations under consideration in the Senate” “will lead to endless taxpayer bailouts of Wall Street banks.

…we base our ruling primarily on the legislation. It clearly states that the intention is to liquidate failing companies, not bail them out.

Mr. Luntz, no doubt, will generate other ways to sabotage the efforts to reform Wall Street, but let’s hope the Democrats will not bend on this one.

 Aloha To Your Campaign Donations

Another example of how in-touch Republicans are with reality, not to mention with “regular folks,” the GOP filed FEC reports indicating that its semi-annual meeting, held in January in Waikiki, cost Republican donors a mere $340,000. According to the National Journal‘s Hotline On Call:

The $340K documented in FEC filings does not include airfare for each staffer, which could amount to tens of thousands more.

I wonder how far 340 grand would go here in Republican Southwest Missouri?  Heck, with that kind of money invested in local Republican politics, the party would never have to worry about competition from Democrats.  Oh, wait—there’s no competition from the Democrats now around these parts, so Aloha! to all you Republican donors!

 Let Me See Your Papers, Comrade!

Arizona Republicans have finally figured out a way to deal with illegal immigration: make racial profiling a state lawAccording to CNN:

Under the bill, police would be required to question anyone they suspect of being undocumented.

You have to love the way Tea Party Republicans interpret our Constitution, which they claim Obama is trashing.

Sadly, John McCain, who once championed sensible immigration reform, seems to have lost not only his soul, but his sense.  Here is an exchange he had with Bill-O:

O’REILLY: Now, next week, the governor is going to sign, we believe, a very stringent state law that gives the police in Arizona very, very broad authority to question people. And a lot of people say it’s going to be racial profiling. You’re going to look for Hispanics, question them, to see if they’re here legally or not. And it’s just not fair. And you say why?
MCCAIN: I say that the federal responsibilities have not been fulfilled. Therefore, the states are acting — the state of Arizona is acting and doing what they feel they need to do in light of the fact that the federal government is not fulfilling its fundamental responsibility to secure our borders. Our borders must be secure.
O’REILLY: But what about the racial profiling? You know that’s going to happen has to happen.
MCCAIN: I hope — I would be very sorry that if some of that happens. And I regret it, but I also regret the — really, it’s not just the murder of Robert Krantz. It’s the people whose homes and property are being violated. It’s the drive-by that — the drivers of cars with illegals in it that are intentionally causing accidents on the freeway. Look, our border is not secured. Our citizens are not safe.

Don’t ask me, I don’t know where you go to get both your integrity and your sanity back.

 Go Ahead, Make My Day And Say You’re Gay!

Finally, at a South Carolina Tea Party (where else?), we have a Republican struggling with decorum, but finally giving in to bigotry.  From HuffPo:

William Gheen, head of the conservative, anti-“amnesty,” anti-illegal immigration group Americans for Legal Immigration PAC (ALIPAC), spoke at a Greenville, S.C. Tea Party rally this weekend and called for Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) to “come out of that log cabin closet.”

Mr. Gheen said he “thought long and hard” about bringing up the rumors about Sen. Graham’s alleged homosexuality, but finally he just couldn’t help but call him on it. 

You see, because Lindsey Graham doesn’t want to act like Arizona Republicans on the immigration issue (he favors a more sensible approach, something like the old John McCain’s), he must be motivated by something else.  Mr. Gheen said:

Sometimes I wonder what it would take to sell their own country out like that, and there’s one thing it could be that I’m gonna put out in the open here today… Senator Graham, you need to come forward and tell people about your alternative lifestyle and your homosexuality.

When they say this about fellow Republicans, no wonder they don’t blink at calling President Obama a Marxist.

Rita, Bill O’ And The Necessity Defense

An AP story in the Globe this morning examined an interesting legal question surrounding the upcoming trial of Scott Roeder, the “pro-lifer” charged with the murder of George Tiller in Wichita.

Roeder has confessed to the crime (to the AP, no less), so his guilt is not in doubt, but his apparent defense will be to contend in some way or another that the murder was “necessary” to prevent the killing of unborn “babies.”

Now, even though such a “necessity defense” or “choice of evils defense” will likely fail, I understand why someone like Roeder would raise it. In fact, I’ve written before about the difference between those people in the anti-abortion movement who are “serious” about the rhetoric they use and those who are not.

Many months ago, I criticized our own abortion foe and Globe letter-writer, Rita Crowell, who had submitted a letter to the paper in which she compared President Obama to King Herod, one of the worst figures in Christian history:

A vote for Obama is a vote for dead children and an attack on God Himself. Let us not elect a Herod in this forthcoming election.

I wrote in response:

…the real problem with Ms. Crowell’s position on abortion is that she isn’t serious. I mean really serious. Imagine if, in Springfield, Mo., there were hundreds of elementary schoolchildren being systematically slaughtered every year. Imagine Ms. Crowell knowing where such slaughter was being perpetrated. Imagine her finding out who was doing the killing. And then imagine her merely writing letters to the Joplin Globe about it.

No, what she would do, hopefully along with others who share her convictions about murdering schoolchildren, is go to the slaughterhouse and put a stop to it, even if violence against the perpetrators were necessary.

In the case of Scott Roeder, merely protesting in front of George Tiller’s clinic wasn’t enough for him.  He is one anti-abortion true believer who takes his beliefs seriously, who really believes that abortion is tantamount to murder, thus justifying his actions.  His beliefs, as abhorrent as they are, are buttressed by almost the entire “pro-life” culture, whose members, like Rita Crowell, routinely say and write things like the following:

The No. 1 issue for the forthcoming Nov. 4 election should be the elimination of abortion. Abortion is a grave sin, an unspeakable crime against God and nature. Elimination of abortion supersedes and overshadows all considerations of the economy, poverty, health care, war and illegal immigration. Abortion is concerned about whether an innocent child lives or dies.

Whether local people like Rita Crowell or national figures like Bill O’Reilly realize it or not, their extreme, Manichean rhetoric makes the world safe for Talibanic extremists like Roeder, who see themselves as God’s instruments to accomplish the “elimination of abortion.” 

To be sure, Ms. Crowell, despite her hate-filled missives to the Globe, is not directly responsible for Roeder’s actions. His decision to shoot Dr. Tiller at point-blank range was his and his alone.

But I certainly don’t remember the frequent letter-writer ever submitting a letter condemning the murder of Dr. Tiller, whose gruesome killing really did remind one of the King Herod of old.

The AP story indicates that Roeder’s attorneys probably won’t  use the necessity defense, a legal long shot, but instead:

Legal experts and others close to the case have suggested his public defenders may actually be aiming at a conviction on a lesser offense such as voluntary manslaughter — defined in Kansas as “an unreasonable but honest belief that circumstances existed that justified deadly force.”

Part of any “unreasonable but honest belief” would certainly include being persuaded by the incessant extremist rhetoric pervasive throughout the anti-abortion culture, even if most of those who author such rhetoric—hopefully that includes Rita Crowell—don’t take it as seriously as the Scott Roeders of the world.

Saint Rachel

George Bush the Elder even had me suckered.  It turns out that he is as sly as a Fox “News” story, masquerading all this time as a nice guy, when he was at heart a Roger Ailes-inspired pit bull. 

Saint RachelLast Friday the ex-CIA director-cum-President of the United States called Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow (“Saint Rachel,” as far as I am concerned) “sick puppies.”  But in doing so, he accidentally triggered something that Ms. Maddow explored in an interview with Ron Suskind. 

She noted ( in the video posted below) that as Fox “News” has gone deeper and deeper into extremism, people often accuse her of growing more extreme, so that there can be a nice and comfortable narrative about what’s happening  on cable television.  In other words, it helps people to understand and deem acceptable the quasi-journalism on the Fox “News” Channel, if it can be shown that the same thing is going on across the cable news street.  But this analysis, claiming that there is “extremist symmetry” between Fox “News” and MSNBC, is flawed, even if it makes some folks feel better.

As I have tried to point out, MSNBC does bend  to the left, but it doesn’t “push” the news like Fox unquestionably does—throughout its broadcast day.  And there is no comparison between what Rachel Maddow does and what Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly, or other ringmasters do under the  Fox “News” circus tent. 

One may not like Rachel’s liberalism, or the issues she chooses to highlight each night, but she is very smart (and educated) and painfully fair (for some of us who want her to skewer the “opposition”).  She isn’t paranoid like Beck; she doesn’t talk over her guests or monopolize their air time like Hannity; and she doesn’t yell at her guests or otherwise act like the ego-bloated and insufferable O’Reilly.

Now, granted, Keith Olbermann’s MSNBC program is a bit different.  His show does comes closer to  typical Fox fare, but to insist that he is as much of an extremist as, say, Glenn Beck, is another example of the false symmetry syndrome.  

Watching Glenn Beck is a lot like watching what one might imagine a talented but disturbed patient at the old Nevada State Hospital might have done with a couple of cameras, a blackboard, and an eager research staff.  Or, if Lyndon LaRouche had daily access to a high-tech TV studio, and a case of VapoRub, one imagines that his show would look a lot like GB’s. 

In any case, Olbermann’s show is well within the bounds of civilized commentary, and the idea that Fox “News” Channel is just a mirror image of MSNBC must be challenged, and hopefully that is what is behind the Obama administration’s attempt to expose Fox’s phony claim that it practices authentic journalism.

Here is the segment from the Rachel Maddow show:

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