Hanoi Huckabee And Hanoi Hannity

In 1972, actress Jane Fonda, at the height of her youthful popularity, went to North Vietnam, against whom we were still warring, and toured the country for two weeks. While there, she denounced U.S. military policy and did something she later said “was the most horrible thing I could possibly have done.” That something was posing for pictures on an anti-aircraft gun outside of Hanoi. “I will go to my grave regretting that,” she said in 2005, adding,

The image of Jane Fonda, Barbarella, Henry Fonda’s daughter—just a woman—sitting on a enemy aircraft gun, was a betrayal. It was like I was thumbing my nose at the military. And at the country that gave me privilege. It was the largest lapse of judgment that I can even imagine. I don’t thumb my nose at this country. I care deeply about American soldiers.

Fonda did not apologize, though, for being photographed with seven American POWs and for making broadcasts for Radio Hanoi:

Our government was lying to us, and men were dying because of it. And I felt that I had to do anything that I could to expose the lies, and help end the war. That was my goal.

Obviously her trip to Hanoi earned her the lasting ire of many veterans, who would refer to her as “Hanoi Jane” forevermore. Many still consider her a traitor and many lies have grown up and multiplied around that trip in 1972, including a vicious lie, still circulating on the dark side of the Internet, that some POWs passed to her notes to take back home that she allegedly turned over to the North Vietnamese, who then supposedly beat to death some of those POWs.

Fonda’s trip to North Vietnam also made her a legend in the conservative movement, if only as a poster child for all that was wrong with liberals and leftists, all that was wrong with radicals who did not necessarily embrace the idea that if America was doing it, it must be right. Many conservatives over the years have used Fonda as an example of someone who portrays their own country as the “enemy,” and who is either unpatriotic or treasonous for doing so.

Now we come to Mike Huckabee. By now you have heard him say the following, uttered this past weekend at a gathering of Obama-hating right-wing extremists called the New Hampshire Freedom Summit:

Freedom of speech in this country, that for which the men grabbed their muskets off the mantel, did never mean that we’re to have fewer voices, but more voices…My gosh, I’m beginning to think that there’s more freedom in North Korea sometimes than there is in the United States…

Especially in context, those remarks should offend and outrage any American, whether you like Barack Obama or not. I don’t think that Jane Fonda ever said anything as offensive or outrageous as comparing the United States unfavorably with a despotic shit hole like North Korea.

But before he said those offensive and outrageous things, Huckabee said something that I find even more outrageous. Read the following demagogic commentary the law-and-order-loving Huckabee gave on the dangerous drama going on in Nevada—where a delusional rancher has been illegally grazing his cattle on federal government land for twenty years and who says he doesn’t “recognize [the] United States Government as even existing” and who is essentially leading a group of crazed people with guns who are willing to kill federal authorities trying to enforce the law:

There is something incredibly wrong when a government believes that some blades of grass that a cow is eating is so an egregious affront to the government to the United States that we would literally put a gun in a citizen’s face and threaten to shoot him over it. [Interrupted by applause.] Here’s what I’d have to ask: Is this government more interested in some cows eating grass in Nevada than they are as to why Brian Terry was murdered with guns that our government provided drug dealers in Mexico? [More applause.] Somebody help me understand that? Is this government more concerned about a few hundred head of cattle grazing on some land than they are as to why four Americans were murdered in Benghazi? And nobody answered the phone at three o’clock in the morning! [More thunderous applause.] The threats and affronts to our liberty today are so incredibly frightening…

Let’s take a moment to reflect on what Mike Huckabee is saying here. Besides his attempt to appeal to the worst elements of the Republican base—those who think Barack Obama and Eric Holder and Hillary Clinton are essentially murderers or complicit in murder—he is essentially saying that the government should ignore a freeloading lawbreaker in Nevada, a freeloading lawbreaker who has become a folk hero on the right, because that lawbreaking rancher’s crimes aren’t worth enforcing the law. When Huckabee made those remarks he knew that right-wing groups, including Americans for Prosperity, had been championing rancher Cliven Bundy’s cause to the point that reactionary militia members from all over the country were on the scene in Nevada with their guns in order to provide an “armed response” to what the Bureau of Land Management was trying to do. Huckabee knew that. And yet he ignored all that and focused on Fast and Furious and Benghazi. I remind you that besides being a former governor, the man is a bleeping Baptist minister, for God’s sake.

Now enter Sean Hannity. After the Bureau of Land Management decided to wisely back down and not get into a shootout with hysterical reactionaries at this time, Hannity offered the Bundy family yet another opportunity to make their case against the federal government’s authority over the land in Nevada, the land that the Bundys had been profiting from by grazing their cattle on it for free (some dare call that welfare). I will provide you with part of the transcript of that disgusting Fox “News” segment, a transcript that appeared on Fox Nation under the headline:

Cliven Bundy on Harry Reid: ‘I Don’t Think There’s Any Hope for Him, He Needs to Be Kicked Out of Office’

HANNITY: This is a “FOX News Alert.” The federal government has caved to public pressure in the battle against Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy over cattle grazing rights. Now, in just a moment, Cliven, his two sons will join us for their first exclusive interview since the siege ended.

But first, the government surrendered this weekend after tensions escalated in the week-long standoff between Bundy family, supporters, and of course, federal agents. Now, the Bureau of Land Management released the 400 cattle that it seized from Bundy and removed its heavily-armed agents from the ranch.

Get that? The federal government “caved” and “surrendered.” Hannity was siding with the armed resistance. He was siding with the lawbreakers who believe the federal government is their enemy. And it was as if Hannity and Friends were cheering for a different outcome, one with, say, blood and death. Hannity even went so far as to claim that Democrats were involved:

HANNITY: …From my perspective, as somebody that follows politics very, very closely, I think that they — I think the politicians were watching this, Democrats in particular, and that they knew if something bad happened here, and they were the ones ratcheting this up – - I mean, we have rapist and murderers and bank robbers and pedophiles out there, and they’ve 200 agents, you know, surrounding your ranch because your cows are eating grass on land that they don’t even want or need and that you’re arguing isn’t even theirs.

So they realized, I think, at some point, politically, that this was going to backfire on them. So I think this was done for political reasons.

As outrageous as Hannity’s promotion of these right-wing extremists was, as outrageous as his claim that Democrats, presumably in Washington, surrendered to gun-toting lawbreakers in Nevada to avoid bad publicity, there was another outrageous thing that happened on his show. Cliven Bundy, the man at the center of this right-wing sanctioned freeloading and lawbreaking, had the following exchange with the Fox host:

HANNITY: Well, let me ask you, because Harry Reid just spoke earlier tonight and he said that, well, it’s not over. He said, quote, “We can’t have American people that violate the law and then just walk away from it. So it’s not over.”

What is your response to Harry Reid?

CLIVEN BUNDY: I don’t have a response for Harry Reid, but I have a response for every sheriff across the United States, every county sheriff across the United States. Disarm the federal bureaucrats. Take the federal United States bureaucrats’ guns away. That’s my message today.

What? “Disarm the federal bureaucrats?” Take their guns away? Sheriffs are suppose to walk up to federal agents and take away their weapons? Huh?bundy ranch sniper

Now, one would expect that Sean Hannity, who thinks people here without citizenship are lawbreakers who should pay fines and not get federal subsidies and should be forced to learn English and suffer other penalties for not being legal Americans like him, one would expect him to tell Cliven Bundy that he was out of his mind for thinking that sheriffs could and should disarm federal officials. One would expect Hannity, who refers to President Obama as lawless, to tell the disturbed rancher that this is a nation of laws and that no law gives a sheriff the right to take a gun away from a federal official who is authorized to possess it, and certainly no law gives people the right to get into a gun battle with government agents carrying out their official duties. But no. Our law-loving conservative host responded with this:

HANNITY: You said that to the sheriff, Cliven. You said to disarm the Park Service, meaning the Bureau of Land Management. I mean, there were, what, 200 people surrounding your ranch and there were snipers and — I mean, it was really a precarious situation there all weekend up until this got resolved, right?

CLIVEN BUNDY: Yes. And if the county sheriff had have taken away the weapons from the BLM, those pickets (ph) would not have to march before these guns. And that was — that’s a terrible thing to put American people in that situation, and — but they did.

And we didn’t have a county sheriff. We didn’t have a state government. And we the people marched, and the BLM backed down. Now, they backed down — let me tell you how they backed down. They backed down. They run. They got on the freeway and went to Mesquite and grabbed their stuff and moved out of the state. Now, the state — towards the state of Utah. Utah County sheriff’s finished this job that Gillespie didn’t do, take the guns away from these federal bureaucrats.

HANNITY: Is your contention that this is state land and that they have no authority or business being there?

CLIVEN BUNDY: They have no authority.

HANNITY: All right, let me ask you about…

“All right.” That’s it. No lecture to Mr. Bundy about the need to obey the laws. No admonition that he and his family were putting government officials in danger. No scolding him for picking and choosing which laws he would like to obey. No moral sermon about how awful it is for the Bundy family to be part of Mitt Romney’s 47% who are mooching off the federal government. No, none of that. In fact, Bundy later spoke again of disarming the enemy, the federal officials trying to enforce the law:

CLIVEN BUNDY: …They might have took over our Clark County sheriff, but they never took over we the people, the sovereign people of this nation. We’re standing and we’re going to stand until we take the guns away from those bureaucracies, and then we’ll start making America great one more time.

To that, I swear to God, our Constitution-loving, Obama-is-a-lawbreaking-radical-who-pals-around-with-terrorists Fox celebrity said:

HANNITY: Did you lose many cows? I understand that some of your cows died.

It’s all about the cows.

Conservatives, those who tacitly defend or openly promote what the Bundy family and their gun-packing fellow travelers are doing in Nevada, at the very least owe Jane Fonda an apology.

In the mean time, if you want a look at real stupidity and lawlessness and mob mentality, I suggest you watch the following video in its entirety (beware: the reactionaries call federal officials some vile and profane names), a video recorded by someone who is proud of what happened in Nevada:

bundy headlines

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.

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limbaugh and immigration

Sometimes Liberals Overreact Too, And Miss The Real Problem

So, I tune in to HuffPo today and on its famously sensationalistic front page I find this:

richard cohen headerWow! I thought. Who the heck did that at The Washington Post? So, I clicked on the link and found this headline:

Richard Cohen Writes Yet Another Racist Column

Dammit, Richard! Can’t you behave? Didn’t you learn anything the last time, and the time before that? Liberals are very sensitive about such things and you should know better.

Because I don’t often read Cohen’s columns, I thought I would at least pay him the courtesy of reading his “racist column,” before I pronounced him a racist. That’s fair, isn’t it? I mean, even though the mothership of left-leaning news and opinion aggregators has pronounced him a bad guy, I want to be fair and see why that is. I’m funny that way.

It took me only one sentence to find out how HuffPo missed the boat on Cohen’s column. The most offensive thing in the piece had to be the parenthetical in the opening sentence:

The day after Chris Christie, the cuddly moderate conservative, won a landslide reelection as the Republican governor of Democratic New Jersey, I took the Internet Express out to Iowa, surveying its various newspapers, blogs and such to see how he might do in the GOP caucuses, won last time by Rick Santorum, neither cuddly nor moderate.

Chris Christie is a “cuddly moderate conservative”? Are you kidding me? Can you see how awesomely awful that description is? There’s not really much of anything cuddly or moderate about Christie’s ideology, as we have previously discussed on this blog, but compared to a non-cuddly and non-moderate nut like Rick Santorum, he looks that way to some observers. I sort of understand the reason for that spasm of false relativity among straight news reporters—they like the guy a lot—but for left-leaning columnists, calling Christie a moderate conservative represents an unacceptably distorted view of the landscape.

Just because the right-wing of the Republican Party is moving further and further into both absurdity and obscurity, doesn’t mean that rigid conservatives like Chris Christie get to be called “moderate.” I’ve also recently heard people refer to Ronald Reagan as a moderate conservative, a description that is also false. Trust The Erstwhile Conservative on this one, richard cohenbut as one of the Gipper’s biggest fans in the old days, I didn’t cheer him on because he was a moderate. Just the opposite. Even though he had to, of necessity, make deals with Democrats, he remained a die-hard conservative at heart. So, it’s just plain wrong to put the word moderate in the same sentence as either Reagan or Christie. And the editors of HuffPo, if they wanted to go after Cohen, should have criticized that gaffe.

But nope, the focus of the sensational headlines was Cohen’s alleged racism. Well, let’s take a look at the offending passage, cited in the HuffPo story (and, by now, widely excerpted and criticized all over the leftish sites):

Today’s GOP is not racist, as Harry Belafonte alleged about the tea party, but it is deeply troubled — about the expansion of government, about immigration, about secularism, about the mainstreaming of what used to be the avant-garde. People with conventional views must repress a gag reflex when considering the mayor-elect of New York — a white man married to a black woman and with two biracial children. (Should I mention that Bill de Blasio’s wife, Chirlane McCray, used to be a lesbian?) This family represents the cultural changes that have enveloped parts — but not all — of America. To cultural conservatives, this doesn’t look like their country at all.

These comments were labeled “incendiary” by HuffPo. Huh? Incendiary? Hardly. The worst thing about this paragraph, when it is read in the context of the entire column, is that he definitively, without any qualification, says, “Today’s GOP is not racist.” We know for a fact that some fraction of the GOP is racist, although no one thinks the entire party is. But that’s not the point. Some liberals, as far as I can tell, are calling Cohen a racist mostly because of his use of the phrase, “People with conventional views,” which, they say, is wrong because conventional views on interracial marriage have changed. The HuffPo piece cites a Gallup poll showing 87 percent approval for such marriages (30 years ago it was at 43 percent; 50 years ago it was less than 10 percent).

Now, I don’t see how misusing the term “conventional” makes one a racist, and even a cursory reading of the column should have made it clear to anyone that Cohen is attacking the Tea Party and its anachronistic views: “If this is the future of the GOP, then it’s in the past.” And Cohen ends his piece with some advice to Chris Christie about not becoming a Tea Party guy who could win the rabidly conservative Iowa caucuses because then the “Joisey” governor would become “anathema to the rest of us.”

There wasn’t a damn thing racist about Cohen’s column. Essentially he is discussing what I have often labeled “white cultural angst,” the feeling among conservative Christian palefaces that they are losing their traditional stranglehold on the country. When Cohen says these folks don’t much recognize the country these days, he’s right about that and he’s not a racist for saying so.

But even though there was no racism in the column, there was something very offensive about it, at least for anyone who has looked at Christie’s conservatism objectively, without comparing it to the worst elements of his party. The offense is in assuming that a President Christie would hold policy positions that would be all that different from your average teapartier. Besides Christie’s record, as evidence for my claim I submit to you the following famous quote uttered in 2011 at that annual gathering of wingnuts known as the Conservative Political Action Conference:

If we don’t run Chris Christie, Romney will be the nominee and we’ll lose.

That wasn’t some milquetoast moderate who said that. It was the female version of Rush Limbaugh, the mean-spirited, liberal-hating Ann Coulter. She later told Fox, her home away from home, “I don’t care if [Chris Christie] wants to run, his country needs him, it appears.”

That was in 2011. Now, I admit that it is hard to take Ann Coulter seriously as a pundit, but many right-wingers love her, which is why they have made her wealthy by buying her books, and why Fox frequently books her as a guest on TV and radio. Thus, she makes noise in the right’s echo chamber that some hear as music, even if it’s mostly chin music. In any case, Coulter’s love for Christie wasn’t just a whim in 2011. In May of this year—this year, after the 2012 Christie-Obama love fest that pissed off nearly every teapartier in the country—she had this exchange with Sean Hannity on the radio:

COULTER: I’ve told you before: I have eyes only for Chris Christie.

HANNITY: Your buddy Chris Christie is out there sucking up to Obama this week. Don’t defend him.

COULTER: There seems to be a concerted movement by both liberals and conservatives to lie about Christie and make him seem more liberal than he really is.

Ann Coulter may be a lot of things, a lot of unseemly things, but she knows that Chris Christie, should he get elected president, would favor the kind of conservatism that Ted Cruz would love, especially if Christie governed with a Republican House and Senate. Oh, I know that lately she has fallen out of love with the New Jersey governor (she tweeted in June, “@GovChristie’s dead to me”) and withdrawn her support, but to further prove my point, look who she supports now:

coulter on cruz

Case closed. If Ted Cruz and Chris Christie are both suitable candidates for a liberal-hater like Ann Coulter, then obviously there are no significant ideological differences between them. And if Richard Cohen deserves any criticism from the left for his recent column, it is for assuming Chris Christie is some kind of moderate conservative we can all live with.

Because a lot of folks would find it very hard to live under President Christie and a Tea Party-dominated House and Senate.

Echo, Echo, Echo, Echo, Echo, Echo

Here is a headline from The Washington Post:

Poll: Major damage to GOP after shutdown, and broad dissatisfaction with government

The elements in this headline, the damage and the dissatisfaction, point to two things, two important things, that every American should understand about the conservative movement, as it is now constituted, in our country:

1) Conservatives have designed their own parallel universe, one in which facts like “Major damage to GOP after shutdown” can’t exist.

I think it is fair to say that Ann Coulter and Sean Hannity represent very well the core constituency of the conservative movement, don’t you? Well, here is what Sean Hannity said to Ann Coulter on Monday night:

All those people that were doomin’ and gloomin’ Repubicans for the shutdown were wrong.

And the classless Coulter said:

The shutdown was so magnificent, run beautifully. I’m so proud of these Republicans, and that is because they have branded the Republican party as the anti-Obamacare party.

So, it’s that easy. There was no damage done to the Republican Party. Poll? Poll smoll.

2) Creating “broad dissatisfaction with government” is the entire mission of the conservative movement.

In their parallel universe, conservatives rejoice over the second finding in that poll. They want people to be dissatisfied with government because they believe government is, as Ronald Reagan famously said, “the problem.”

One would have thought that anti-government, laissez-faire conservatism could never have come back after the 1929 stock market crash and the subsequent Great Depression. It should have been dead forever. But it wasn’t. It came back in 1964 after its adherents forcefully took over the Republican Party, a feat that resulted in the shellacking of their uber-conservative candidate, Barry Goldwater, in the presidential election that year. The movement should have been permanently dead after that. But it wasn’t. As Thomas Frank wrote in The Wrecking Crew: How Conservatives Ruined Government, Enriched Themselves, and Beggared the Nation:

The conservatism that made such a huge comeback in the seventies and eighties was a mutation specifically adapted to survive a disaster of the 1929 variety. By which I do not mean that conservatism abandoned laissez-faire, its raison d’être, but that from now on it would present itself to the world as a form of opposition to the established order…It would wallow in preposterous theories about the secret treason of the ruling liberals and encourage the darkest imaginable interpretation of the government’s every deed…

Even as he presided over that hated federal government, Ronaldus Magnus, the tutelary deity of movement conservatism, said at a news conference in 1986:

The nine most terrifying words in the English language are, “I’m from the government and I’m here to help.”

So, you can see why that headline in The Washington Post doesn’t bother zealous conservatives one bit. They deny the first fact, that much damage has been done to the Republican Party, and fully embrace the second.

Posted below is the conversation between Hannity and Coulter I referenced, in case you make a healthful habit out of not watching these folks live. But I think you should watch this five-minute segment because it tells you so much about why these people do what they do. Not only will you hear them denying reality and inventing their own, you will hear Sean Hannity repeating the lie about Consumer Reports, claiming that it is “telling people to stay away” from the ObamaCare website. That lie became so widespread—it even found its way into “straight” reporting—that Consumer Reports published an article titled,

Obamacare opponents have misrepresented Consumer Reports’ position

HealthCare.gov problems do not negate benefits of new health law

So, with that in mind, hear the echoes in the chamber:

Woodward On Hannity–UPDATED

It was bad enough that Bob Woodward, once an esteemed reporter, told a falsehood about President Obama (which everyone but the right-wing now clearly sees was a falsehood). It was even worse that he then strongly implied that someone in the White House threatened him (which, now that we can see the email in question, we know was not true).

But Thursday night Woodward made it all completely intolerable by going on Sean Hannity’s show, once again. Hannity, a man who never misses an opportunity to slander President Obama, or pour gasoline on the fire of Obama-hate that rages throughout the wing-nut right, or feed the white-man angst so prevalent in our politics, was up to the task of sullying, just by being himself, the reputation of a once-proud reporter.

On Hannity’s show, Woodward continued his claim that he was a victim of an intimidation play, by a man, Gene Sperling, who by all accounts couldn’t intimidate Pee Wee Herman. But never mind. Woodward, now a fool, was very comfortable—smiling and laughing—in the presence of one of the most despicable personalities in the history of Milky Way broadcasting.

To give you an example of the kind of shtick Hannity gets paid to do every night, and to show why any journalist with Woodward’s reputation should avoid him at all costs, I give you this: Just before the first commercial break, Woodward sat and listened to Hannity tell viewers that Ann Coulter—humanity screeching across a chalkboard—was coming on the program to help him “expose the countless other examples of how the Obama White House has obstructed the freedom of the press for more than four long years.”

Then, Hannity told viewers that his feud with congressman Keith Ellison—the first Muslim elected to Congress—was still ongoing and that he was “going to investigate his radical background,” blah, blah, blah.

I waited with some anticipation, maybe hope, that when Hannity came back from the commercial break Woodward would tell him that his appearance on Hannity’s show was all a big mistake and that he did not know what he was thinking and that, yes, Sean Hannity was certifiably nuts.

Ah, but that didn’t happen. Woodward was all smiles when Hannity came back, especially after Hannity flattered him, telling the journalist, who had earlier noted his advancing age, that he didn’t look “a day over fifty.” How sweet. How perverse.

Woodward went on to equate Fox “News” and MSNBC (“a lot of people who support Obama who just believe he can do no wrong”), a notion that is as false as his claim that Gene Sperling threatened him. There is nothing, I repeat, nothing, comparable to what Fox does every hour, every day, every week. Nothing. Nothing. Nothing.

I get calls and emails from people telling me I’m insane to come on your show,” he told Hannity. Those weren’t just people, Bob. Those were your friends, who were trying to save you from yourself, from perhaps your advancing age. At one point, Woodward seemed to praise Hannity’s, uh, journalistic reflexes (“you dig into things”). Oh, my.

It’s one of those times where you had to see it to believe it: a man who has had a mostly sterling career in journalism laying his credibility, his integrity, on the altar of a man who makes a titmouse look like an intellectual giant.

It was sad is what it was.

______________________________

UPDATE: On Friday’s Morning Joe, Woodward once again claimed that he did not say Sperling’s email contained a threat, that others interpreted it that way. He refused to admit that he in any way suggested or implied that he was threatened. He had nothing but good things to say about Gene Sperling.

Yet both CNN and Politico, after interviewing Woodward—before the actual email in question was released—reported Woodward’s comments as suggesting he was threatened. If you watch his appearance on CNN, you can see for yourself that he wanted everyone to draw the conclusion that an attempt was made by the White House to intimidate him, something he reiterated on Sean Hannity’s show.

Woodward also continued to defend the falsehood he has been promoting, that the deal in 2011, which produced the sequester, essentially took revenue increases off the table and that President Obama was “moving the goal posts” by insisting on those increases now. Yet on Morning Joe this morning, the only one who attempted to hold Woodward accountable for his false reporting was David Axelrod. Joe Scarborough and company were in defensive mode on behalf of Woodward. That is how tribal Washington works.

Now we know that Gene Sperling’s suggestion to Woodward, that he would regret his false reporting, was prophetic.

Senator Rand Paul’s Blueprint For Debt-Ceiling Turmoil

Yesterday morning I wrote a depressing post largely about the upcoming fight over the debt ceiling. I said,

I believe that there is a contingent of Republicans in both the House and Senate who believe the thing to do to fix the country is to ruin it first.

Oh, I know some of you thought that was a bit of hyperbole, a little overstatement for effect. Oh, yeah? Last night, on Sean Hannity’s show on Fox, I watched this exchange between a very strange Sean Hannity and a very strange but also dangerously strange, Senator Rand Paul:

HANNITY: Where do we go with the debt ceiling? Are Republicans gonna take the stand, that I don’t see any Democrats taking, are they gonna be willing to shut the government down, really take a stand and demand that Washington be responsible?

PAUL: There is a way to do it without scaring the markets, and we tried to do this last time and we’re gonna try again. And what we do is we need to pass legislation that says, “the tax revenue that comes in will go to pay for the interest on the debt, pay for Social Security, pay for the soldiers’ salaries,” but it won’t fund all of government. So we will continue to pay our bills, but we may be able to extend that deadline then, the longer we extend it the more pressure we would put on the President to say he would come to the table with us and help us fix entitlements.

But the only way he’ll ever do it is if we actually go through the deadline but give him instructions that he takes tax receipts and he doesn’t default on the debt. Then we wouldn’t scare the markets, and I think then we would increase our leverage with every day we went beyond the deadline.

If that kind of ejaculatory talk doesn’t scare people—talk that comes through the lips of a United States Senator for God’s sake—if it doesn’t scare “the markets,” then the country is in a very bad way.

But besides trying to get your head around the fact that a sitting U.S. Senator would be willing to play such games with the fiscal fate of the country, think about how delusional is the Republican senator from Kentucky. His plan to force the president—excuse me, “give him instructions” was the language Paul used—involves an act of Congress. Paul said, “what we do is we need to pass legislation,” and presumably, unless Paul has yet another plan to suspend the Constitution, any legislation passed (forget that the scheme would not get through the Democrat-controlled Senate) must be signed by the President to become law.

Now, surely even Sean Hannity is sharp enough to figure out that the President, even if the 55 members of the Senate Democratic Caucus were hypnotized and voted for Rand’s plan, would not sign such a bill, right? Surely, Hannity was ready to challenge Senator Paul on his ridiculous scheme, right?

Come on, you know better than that. Hannity was himself ready to ejaculate at the prospect of such a thing:

HANNITY: But for that to happen, Senator, that means every Republican in the House and every Republican senator is going to need to be united—and I would argue to save the country…so, will the Republicans go through with it?

PAUL: Well, there are going to be repercussions if we don’t do anything, and I hope we will wake up and come to our senses and do something. I for one will stand firm. I will not vote to raise the debt ceiling unless we get a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution because so far I’ve seen no objective evidence to trust these people. They blow through all of their caps; they set spending limits, but they go beyond them. They are not trustworthy with money or very good with it, so we shouldn’t give ‘em more money. We should cut spending and make government smaller.

HANNITY: Alright. Well, Senator, I’m with you. Hold strong. If we’re gonna save America, save this country, and stop robbing from our kids, that’s the only way to do it, so, we’re gonna need people that our leaders like yourself, so keep up the good work.

PAUL: Absolutely.

Ejaculations complete. In order to save America, we have to ruin it first.

What Rand Paul did was reveal the thoughtlessness and recklessness behind the Republican’s debt-ceiling threat, not to mention the utter disregard for the nation’s well-being behind their threat to shut down the government.

Paul also revealed how dishonest a man he is. He first said the exercise of shutting down parts of the government were meant to put “pressure” on President Obama so that,

 he would come to the table with us and help us fix entitlements.

Isn’t that nice? These caring Republicans just want to “fix” Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid, that’s all. They care about these things deeply, as their vote two years ago on Paul Ryan’s kill-Medicare-as-we-know-it-and-cut-the-hell-out-of-Medicaid budget demonstrated. To the extent this whole thing is even about these so-called entitlements, what Republicans want, of course, is for Democrats to get in bed with them and undertake a bipartisan screwing of the beneficiaries of these programs.

But fixing entitlements is not what this is really about for people like Rand Paul. And he said so himself, not only by revealing that he would not vote to raise the debt limit without a balanced budget amendment—which he knows is not going to happen—but also by revealing, perhaps in a spasm of passion as he reached his climax with Hannity, his real purpose:

We should cut spending and make government smaller.

That’s it, you see. Making government smaller, a lot smaller, is the real goal here. That’s what all the fuss is about. That’s what Rand Paul’s and other Republicans’ call for a balanced budget amendment really means. They would simply slash government spending in order to balance it with the pint-sized revenues that Republicans are willing to accept.

Rand Paul knows that any real reform of Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaid would not make “government smaller.” Genuine reforms would only slow the growth of the programs. They and government would still, of necessity, get bigger, as the boomer population ages and as ObamaCare insures more poor Americans.

What Senator Paul and Sean Hannity together demonstrated was just how unhinged right-wingers are, as they stroke each other on television for their own pleasure and for the pleasure of other radicals who have become the heart and soul of the Republican Party.

Fox Gets Thwacked

In what can only be considered one of the sweetest dope slaps Fox “News” has ever received in real time on its own air, I present to you the appearance of Thomas Ricks, who today set the record straight on Fox’s hyper-partisan coverage of the tragedy in Benghazi.

Although Ricks is no Sean Hannity, he is a Pulitzer Prize winning reporter who has spent considerable time covering military conflicts around the world and reporting on defense issues. He has also written several books, including books on the Iraq war. And he apparently knows a little about professional wrestling, as he executes a perfect spinning headlock elbow drop on a Fox host:

Why Trayvon Martin Hit George Zimmerman, In Zimmerman’s Own Words

I don’t know what was worse, George Zimmerman picking Sean Hannity and Fox for his one and only television interview, his lawyer allowing him to do it, or Sean Hannity pretending this was a real interview and not merely an extension of Zimmerman’s legal defense, which, by the way, he appeared to have actually harmed (read the whole thing and you will see).

In any case, despite Hannity’s embarrassing performance, it is fairly easy to see why Trayvon Martin felt threatened by Zimmerman. After calling police and then pursuing Martin (Zimmerman initially said he wasn’t following him and said he only moved “approximately 100 feet” from his car, but even from this interview it is clear he was following him—he eventually tells Hannity he doesn’t regret doing so and then contradicts himself later), Zimmerman made it sound like Martin just materialized right before his eyes and he revealed just why Martin felt the need to punch him:

HANNITY: OK. And so at that point, Trayvon is — all of a sudden you turned around and there he was?

ZIMMERMAN: Yes, sir.

HANNITY: What happened next?

ZIMMERMAN: He asked me what my problem was.

HANNITY: Expletive problem?

ZIMMERMAN: Yes, sir. And I was wearing a rain jacket, and I had put my cell phone in my jacket pocket, as opposed to my jeans pocket where I normally keep it. And I immediately went to grab my phone to this time call 911 instead of a non-emergency, and when I reached into my pants pocket — because that’s where I keep it out of habit — it wasn’t there, and I was shocked. I looked up and he punched me and broke my nose.

HANNITY: One shot?

ZIMMERMAN: Yes, sir.

HANNITY: One shot?

ZIMMERMAN: Yes.

HANNITY: So he said to you, you have expletive, you have a problem. Those are the exact words used. You remember it?

ZIMMERMAN: “Do you have a problem? What’s your problem?”

HANNITY: What’s your problem.

And you said to him, “I don’t have a problem.”

ZIMMERMAN: Yes, sir.

HANNITY: You reached for your phone?

ZIMMERMAN: I reached for it as I was saying, “No, I don’t have a problem.”

HANNITY: And at that point you just got hit?

ZIMMERMAN: He was already within arm’s length from me.

Now imagine Trayvon Martin’s mental state through all this. At one moment he was walking in a place where he clearly belonged, minding his own business, and the next moment this big guy starts following him. At some point, Martin asks this big man what his problem is, which causes the big man to reach into his pocket.

I can only tell you what my reaction would be at that point: I would have done the same thing Trayvon Martin apparently did. I wouldn’t wait to see if it were a gun Zimmerman was reaching for. I would have hit him square in the face and I would quite likely have attempted to disable him in some way. In that sense, it is Trayvon Martin who deserves the benefit of the stand your ground law in Florida, not Zimmerman.

So, it is clear to me from Zimmerman’s own mouth that at the very least he deserves blame for escalating what should have been a non-event into the death of a teenager, if not a conviction for second-degree murder. And it is also clear to me that any normal person would at least have second thoughts about his role in this tragedy. But, incredibly and bizarrely and outrageously, Zimmerman doesn’t:

HANNITY: Is there anything you regret? Do you regret getting out of the car to follow Trayvon that night?

ZIMMERMAN: No, sir.

HANNITY: Do you regret that you had a gun that night?

ZIMMERMAN: No, sir.

HANNITY: Do you feel you wouldn’t be here for this interview if you didn’t have that gun?

ZIMMERMAN: No, sir.

HANNITY: You feel you would not be here?

ZIMMERMAN: I feel it was all God’s plan and for me to second guess it or judge it –

HANNITY: Is there anything you might do differently in retrospect now that the time has passed a little bit?

ZIMMERMAN: No, sir.

God’s plan? Not for him to second guess his own actions? Even those of you out there who think what Zimmerman did was perfectly okay have to concede that a brain that could utter the words above, given what happened to Trayvon Martin, is a sick brain, one in need of some serious rehabilitation.

Now, it is true that later in the interview, after much time had passed, Zimmerman was obviously told by someone, either Hannity or his ought-to-be-fired attorney who was present, that his answer above would not play well with the public or with a potential jury:

HANNITY: I asked you if you wanted to — if you could speak to Trayvon Martin’s family. I asked you if you could speak to even the American public, there’s so many people that have so many opinions that vary so much. You know, if you wanted to look into that camera and tell the American public something about George Zimmerman and about — this case with Trayvon Martin that has gotten such media attention, what would you want to tell them?

ZIMMERMAN: First, I would like to readdress your question when you asked if I would have done anything differently. When you asked that I thought you were referring to if I would not have talked to the police, if I would have maybe have gotten an attorney, if I wouldn’t have taken the CVSA and that I stand by, I would not have done anything differently.

But I do wish that there was something, anything I could have done that wouldn’t have put me in the position where I had to take his life. And I do want to tell everyone, my wife, my family, my parents, my grandmother, the Martins, the city of Stanford, and America that I am sorry that this happened.

I hate to think that because of this incident, because of my actions it’s polarized and divided America and I’m truly sorry.

Go back and look at Hannity’s original question. It was clear what he was asking and it remains clear that Zimmerman still doesn’t get it. In his revised answer he states,

But I do wish that there was something, anything I could have done that wouldn’t have put me in the position where I had to take his life.

To anyone, even the most ardent Zimmerman supporter, there was plenty he could have done that night to avoid what happened. And the fact that he, and his legion of mostly right-wing supporters including Sean Hannity, won’t simply come out and admit that obvious if disturbing fact, tells us much about the state of their minds and their level of decency as human beings.

“Of Course I Want To Sell Books!”

Obama-hate is a lucrative business, let’s face it. Lots of conservatives make money off the President, and if he didn’t exist, they would have to invent him in order to keep the money rolling in.

I want you to do me a favor and watch the following three segments, which in 20 minutes will make you an expert on the phenomenon of Obama-hate.  In fact, if you watch all three, you can then claim to hold a PhD in Obamanation, the gut-wrenching pathological loathsomeness afflicting conservatives everywhere, and you will be able to speak authoritatively about an execration epidemic that has not only infected the minds of millions, but has made the infectors millions.

The lessons I present below involve two prominent Obama-haters, David Limbaugh—yes, Rush’s brother, who proves that Obama-hate has a genetic component—and Sean Hannity—who proves you don’t have to have a brain to hate—who managed, in the course you are about to see, to rhetorically masturbate each other to the point of ideological orgasm.

Permit me to put it crudely:  the real point of spewing their Obama-is-a-narcissist-who-hates-America jism is to spread their seed to receptive takers, those who are willing to pay for having this stuff smeared all over their willing minds.

The course:

Congratulations! You now have your degree! And not a drop on ya!

Sick stuff? Yes, I know. That is the point.

No Brag, Just Fact

Just to show you how the brains of Obama-haters get all tied up in knots when they are forced to utter one syllable of praise for our president, here’s a comment Sean Hannity made yesterday as part of his attack on Obama for making a “political” and “spiking the football” trip to Afghanistan on Dead bin Laden Day:

So, we got the one-year anniversary of the killing of bin Laden and I, I, I do give Obama some credit. He made a pretty gutsy decision. Although I don’t really see it as that gutsy because I think any president would have done it.

Yep, any president would have done it because all presidents are equally “gutsy” or, uh, not.

Gotta appreciate the mind that hatched that piece of dazzling commentary.

Speaking of Obama’s Dead bin Laden Day celebration, how can Americans of all stripes not admire the give-’em-the-finger attitude of President Obama, who traveled to Afghanistan—where a breathing Osama bin Laden first met Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and heard about and then later approved his plan to train pilots to crash planes into American buildings—to sort of rub it in a little bit.

Now, that’s proper American chutzpah.

What’s Wrong With The Country

As we wait for Mitt Romney to condemn Ted Nugent…

In the following two-minute clip, we can see what is wrong with the right-wing in this country, and by extension what is wrong with the country.  In 2007, before Barack Obama was the Democratic nominee, Ted Nugent held up a couple of machine guns and screamed at a concert:

Obama, he’s a piece of sh*t. I told him to suck on my machine gun! … I was in New York, I said, ‘Hillary, you might want to ride one of these into the sunset, you worthless bitch!’”

In the clip, from Hannity and Colmes on Fox, you will not only see and hear Nugent’s unhinged, NRA-poisoned rant, but you will see and hear unhinged, Obama-hating commentary from the disgusting Sean Hannity, who said he liked Nugent and that he was a friend of his.

As I said, this is quite revealing of just what ails us as a country and how much damage Fox “News” has done and is doing to us:

A Collective Hallucination

A collective hallucination is a sensory hallucination induced by the power of suggestion to a group of people. It generally occurs in heightened emotional situations, especially among the religiously devoted.”

The Skeptic’s Dictionary

ow that conservative evangelicals have lost their favorite Catholic, Rick Santorum, who was essentially crushed by Mittens’ money-guzzling campaign bus, the logical question becomes: will the right-wing evangelical movement ever fully embrace their Mormon champion?

That question was posed today to a leader of the movement to bring Christian sharia—complete with transvaginal probes—into your life, Tony Perkins, president of the Dobsonian Family Research Council.  If anyone would know what contemporary right-winging Bible thumpers are thinking, he would.

But before we get to the question he was asked and his answer, let’s look at Perkins. He was born and raised just about half an hour west of Tulsa, the epicenter of cocksure Midwestern evangelicalism.   He ended up in Baton Rouge where he won a seat in the state legislature and where he began his sharia crusade.  Here’s how Right Wing Watch characterized his earlier career in politics:

Perkin’s Louisiana legislative background includes:

  • author of legislation requiring public schools to install filtering software.
  • author of American History Preservation Act, which “prevents censorship of America’s Christian heritage in Louisiana public schools.”
  • authored legislation providing “a daily time of silent prayer in Louisiana public schools.”
  • author of the first Covenant Marriage Law.

In 1998, Perkins founded the Louisiana Family Forum due to his concern for “increasing influence of the homosexual community on public policy issues.”

So, you can see why the Family Research Council—a Christian sharia lobbying group—hired Perkins to be its president.  And if you bother to check into it, you can also see why the Southern Poverty Law Center famously labeled the FRC as an anti-gay hate group.  The short of it is that Perkins has, among other things, promoted the idea that gay men are a threat to children. Taliban, anyone?

In any case, Luke Russert on MSNBC asked Perkins if conservative evangelicals would embrace Romney or “stay home.” The Christianly Perkins, bearing false witness, said this:

No, I don’t think they’re gonna stay home. That’s not the question. I mean, you have the backdrop of Barack Obama, which clearly when you look at his policies—not theoretical but practical—that he has imposed upon this nation, both socially and economically, that is an anathema to social conservative voters, so they’re gonna vote for Mitt Romney. There’s not a question there.

The question is the level of enthusiasm and intensity. It’s turnout…will people be voting in great numbers for Mitt Romney, will they be working for him…that’s going to be the key in terms of who’s going to win this next election.

Now, that’s not exactly a Hallelujah Chorus endorsement of Mittens, but it suggests how most conservative Christians will likely approach the polls in November: with a Bible, a nose clip, and an I-hate-Obama-more-than-I-hate-the-Mormon-cultist determination.

But I want to return to what Perkins said about a fellow Christian:

…you have the backdrop of Barack Obama, which clearly when you look at his policies—not theoretical but practical—that he has imposed upon this nation, both socially and economically, that is an anathema to social conservative voters…

Obama “imposed” his policies on the country?  Imposed? That word was no accident. Perkins didn’t just misspeak.  He meant to suggest that Obama is forcing his will on the American people. He meant  to use that word because it reinforces the arch narrative about the President that conservatives never tire of pushing. Try something: type in “Obama is a dictator” into your search engine. See?

Here is one example that comes up:

THE MAN IS A DICTATOR’: BECK BLASTS OBAMA’S MOVE TO CIRCUMVENT CONGRESS 

Think that is just an extremist website pushing that headline? Nope. The Blaze is now mainstream conservative journalism.

Another mainstreamer, Rush Limbaugh, routinely uses the loaded term “regime” to describe the Obama administration. Sometimes he calls it “The Lawless Obama Regime” for spice. Here is a gem from that monologue:

Folks, it is clearly lawless. If you regard the Constitution as law, this is lawless behavior by an out-of-control, rogue executive. This is what happens in banana republics, tinhorn dictatorships.

Sean Hannity regularly—and without complaint from conservative Christians—refers to the President as “The Anointed One,” a term for the Messiah. Hannity defends himself (and misses the point) by saying that he “respects the office of the president,” but that those nasty liberals called Bush bad names, too.

Dick Morris, a very regular contributor to Fox “News,” published a video under the title,

Obama Assumes Dictatorial Powers

Introducing that video he said,

In this video commentary, I discuss how, in a March 16th Executive Order, Obama asserts his power to socialize America, even in peacetime!

What can explain this hysteria? I never much believed in the explanatory power of the term “collective hallucination,” but what else explains a movement that far and wide believes the President of the United States, whether he be a foreigner or a marginal American, whether he be a Muslim or a nominal Christian, is a despotic socialist with a Messiah complex?

Obama The Whitey Hater

The right-wing will not rest until President Obama is seen as an angry black man who hates white people.

Thinking they have a smoking gun—footage of a young Harvard Law Review president, Mr. Obama, defending Derrick Bell, the first tenured black law professor at Harvard—they apparently didn’t know that the gun has been smoking for almost four years, since PBS’s Frontline broadcast it in 2008 and has made it available online since then.

But folks like Sean Hannity really think they’ve got whitey-hating Obama this time. Except they don’t, as the following interview done by Soledad O’Brien on CNN makes clear:

Here is part of the 1990 video that has the right-wing so jacked up:

And here is a segment from the Frontline story:

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.

 

Obama: A Man Of Privilege, Says White Guy From Texas

Rick Perry is an even bigger bundle of malicious glop than I imagined. He told another Fox glop, Sean Hannity, the following about President Obama:

It reveals to me that he grew up in a privileged way. He never had to really work for anything. He never had to go through what Americans are going through. There’s 14-plus million Americans sitting out there, some of them watching this program tonight, that don’t have a job. This president has never felt that angst that they have in their heart…

And we need a president who has been through their ups and downs in life and understand what it’s like to have to deal with the issues of our economy that we have today in America. And that’s what this election is going to be about, Sean…

We have a white man from Texas, intimating to another white man on a white man’s television network that our black president was a man of privilege, a man who never had to work for what he achieved, a man who knows nothing of American angst, who, really, when it comes down to it is not one of “us.”

Now, that tells you everything you need to know about the state of today’s Republican Party and its public relations department, Fox “News.”

David Brooks Goes Far, But Not Far Enough

David Brooks, noted conservative columnist (although not many current conservatives note him or claim him, such has been the deterioration in conservative taste since the Age of Limbaugh), has put into words what most old-timey Republicans surely know in their hearts:

If the debt ceiling talks fail, independent voters will see that Democrats were willing to compromise but Republicans were not. If responsible Republicans don’t take control, independents will conclude that Republican fanaticism caused this default. They will conclude that Republicans are not fit to govern.

And they will be right.

The joke, of course, is on David Brooks.  Other than himself, “responsible Republicans”—once part of a respectable class of politicians in this country—have shipped away not just American jobs but American common sense from our political shores.

The Republican Party may no longer be a normal party,” Brooks observes.  It has been “infected by a faction” we all know as the Tea Party, members of which:

“…do not accept the logic of compromise, no matter how sweet the terms.” (And, as Brooks points out, the terms are very sweet indeed, thanks to less-than-stellar Democratic negotiating.)

“…do not accept the legitimacy of scholars and intellectual authorities…” (Brooks was speaking of the gazillion economists who have told the GOP that their stance on the debt limit is nuts, but I prefer to think of how some teapartying folks disregard the intellectual authorities regarding evolution and climate change and other such “hoaxes.”)

“…have no economic theory worthy of the name…” (But they do have what Brooks calls a “sacred fixation” on tax policy, which is important, but not all important, and certainly not important enough to ruin our economic future.)

“…have no sense of moral decency…” (They are willing to “stain the nation’s honor,” Brooks says, by not acknowledging ” the “sacred pledge” we made when borrowing money.  That pledge, in case anyone with teabags hanging from their foam ballcaps has forgotten, has to do with paying the lenders back.) 

The problem with Brooks’ analysis here is that it doesn’t go far enough.  He says, obviously referencing the Tea Party, the faction that has infected the GOP and that is responsible for the irresponsibility of Republicans, happened “over the past few years.”  Not so.

The Tea Party movement is just the latest incarnation of the kind of distorted, perverted conservatism practiced for a generation now by wildly popular Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck and promoted by Fox and the Murdoch empire. 

Talk radio and later Fox enabled those who infected the Republican Party and continues to push the idea that compromise—especially with a “socialist” in the White House—is a dirty word;  that scholars and intellectuals have a hidden “liberal” agenda and are not to be trusted; that during this era of historically low taxes, taxes are still too high; that moral decency means gays can’t get married, but fiddling with the full faith and credit of our country is okay.

Brooks claims the Republican Party is infected, when, really, the entire country—from “sea to shining sea,” as the ubiquitous Limbaugh says on his three-hours-a-day-five-days-a-week radio show—is to some degree or another ravaged by the disease.

Oddly, Brooks himself demonstrates just how far the sickness has spread, when he makes this point about Democrats:

Republican leaders have also proved to be effective negotiators. They have been tough and inflexible and forced the Democrats to come to them. The Democrats have agreed to tie budget cuts to the debt ceiling bill. They have agreed not to raise tax rates. They have agreed to a roughly 3-to-1 rate of spending cuts to revenue increases, an astonishing concession.

Astonishing, indeed. And what have Democrats received for giving up so much ground to Republicans?

Nothing.  Nothing except more Republican irresponsibility, as they push Democrats, and more important, the economy to the brink of collapse.

Obama And The Economy: Going The Way Of The Timid

The President should advance ideas that work, and go to battle for them. 

—Robert Reich

Today’s Joplin Globe featured a column by Robert Reich in which the former Clinton cabinet member scolds President Obama for not being bold enough in “spurring growth of jobs and wages.”

Saying that Obama is embracing ideas that appeal to Republicans, including “a corporate tax cut, accompanied by the closing of some corporate tax loopholes,” Reich makes the point that all economists this side of Sean Hannity are making:

Can we get real for a moment? Businesses don’t need more financial incentives. They’re already sitting on a vast cash hoard estimated to be upwards of $1.9 trillion… The problem isn’t on the supply side. It’s on the demand side. Businesses are reluctant to spend more and create more jobs because there aren’t enough consumers out there able and willing to buy what businesses have to sell… The reason consumers aren’t buying is consumers’ paychecks are dropping, adjusted for inflation.

Now, that’s a pretty standard analysis of the situation. Yet, mainly because of the fact that Republicans control the House and essentially control the Senate—the filibuster now gives the minority party veto power over everything—Obama can’t successfully act boldly to do what needs to be done.

Reich offers some ideas on how to solve the problem of the “continuing crisis on the demand side,” which includes:

♦ Exempt the first $20,000 of income from payroll taxes for a year.

♦ Create a WPA for the long-term unemployed.

♦ Allow distressed homeowners to declare bankruptcy on their primary residence, thereby giving them more clout with lenders to reorganize their mortgage loans.

♦ Lend federal money to (rather than bail out) states and cities that are now firing platoons of teachers, fire fighters, and other workers because state and local coffers are empty.

Of course, there is about the same chance of Newt Gingrich becoming president as there is of seeing the kinds of things Reich proposes getting passed through Congress.  And part of the reason why is demonstrated by today’s editorial from the Joplin Globe, which—back to its usual conservative line—spurted the following falsehood:

Voters have rejected the liberal approach to spend our way back to prosperity. That approach has not worked as the economy teeters on the edge and unemployment seems to be unsolvable, at least in the short term.

The stimulus bill passed in 2009 was a relatively moderate approach to the problem of a severely damaged economy and, thus, it had rather moderate results.  But it did have results.  Now that the money from the stimulus has mostly made its way through the economy, what we have is an obvious need for more short-term stimulus to keep the recovery going. 

As was proved in 1937 here in America and in Japan in 1997 and as is being proved in the United Kingdom and Ireland and Greece and elsewhere in Europe today, cutting back government spending and emphasizing debt reduction in times like these is a recipe for stagnation, or worse.

Unfortunately, as Paul Krugman and others have pointed out, the Obama administration has bought into the idea that worry over deficits is more important than worry over jobs and wages. David Dayen notes that,

Republicans theorize that a deficit deal would increase confidence in the business sector and financial markets, spurring economic growth all by itself.

You hear that all the time from Republicans.  Business hates uncertainty.  Business needs confidence.   

Sadly, Mike Konczal, of the Roosevelt Institute, relays this:

Someone noted that with Goolsbee leaving all of the big names surrounding economic policy are no longer economists but lawyers and people associated with Wall Street. And it is also telling that, with the Larry Summers editorial from the weekend, all of the economists you’d recognize who have left the administration are calling for more stimulus, while it is those there now calling for confidence.

Confidence it is, I suppose. A Democratic administration, in the face of a turtle-like economic recovery, with a game-changing election on the horizon, appears to be going the way of the timid, embracing the tried-and-failed economic theories of the Republican Party.

Perhaps the administration and fanatical Republicans in Congress can come up with a way for challenged consumers to spend that magical business confidence at the grocery store or at the appliance store or at the car dealership.

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.

A Sickness Unto Death

And Jesus said unto him, Forbid him not: for he that is not against us is for us.

—The Gospel of Luke, 9:50

 

By now you have heard about the focus group of Iowa Republican caucus voters put together by GOP message-meister Frank Luntz, which was featured during a segment on Sean Hannity’s Comedy Hour on Monday.  

In what can only be seen as a criminal indictment of the blessed concept of democracy—these people are voters!—a full 40% of the pale-faced folks admitted to the world that they were simpletons, when they volunteered to Luntz that they believe the President is a Muslim. 

And one got the impression while watching the segment that even those who don’t think Obama is exactly a Muslim believe he is “sympathetic” to Muslims, whatever in Allah’s name that means. Did I mention that these Hannitized folks vote?

In a recent column by George Will, extolling the god-awful Rick Santorum, I learned that 60% of Iowa caucus voters are “born-again and evangelical Christians.”  I’m only guessing—going way out on a limb—that most of those who think Obama is a Muslim are washed-in-the-blood, born-again and evangelical Christians.   

Now, that’s kind of strange when you think about it, isn’t it?  I mean, Obama has repeatedly acknowledged his Christian faith—even describing Jesus as his “Lord and Savior,” which is the standard formulation for those who advertise their heaven-bound eternal security. One would think that people who claim that belief in Jesus is the entire point of existence, would at least be able to put political partisanship aside long enough to call the President, Brother Barack.

But because I know evangelicals—I used to be one, remember—it’s not so strange to me.  In his column, George Will referred to Rick Santorum, an ultra-conservative Christian, as a “relentless ethicist“—and he meant it as a compliment!  What that goofy characterization demonstrates is that right-wing Christians are given way too much credit for their allegiance to morality.  I suppose since they talk it about it all the time—relentlessly—that people confuse the talk for the walk.

But in Frank Luntz’ Iowa caucus sample, we have the truth revealed: when it comes to evangelicals and politics, morality be damned.  Conservative Christians cannot call the President of the United States a liar—without having any evidence whatsoever to back it up—and then claim they value morality.  It’s one thing to claim Mr. Obama is a Muslim and present an interview or a video or some other evidence that shows him saying the equivalent of, “I believe in Islam.”  It’s another thing to claim he’s a Muslim despite an ark-load of evidence—including his own statements—that he is a Jesus-is-my-Savior Christian, something that would be impossible for a Muslim to utter.

I heard Andrea Mitchell say today, after reviewing the “Obama is a Muslim” idiocy from Hannity’s show, that it shows “just how conservative” those Iowa Republican caucus voters are.  No, it doesn’t.  While it’s tempting to conflate ignorance and bigotry with conservatism, that’s not the case here.  There are plenty of conservatives who don’t believe that Obama is a Muslim. 

What the Luntz segment shows is the pathology of fundamentalist-evangelical belief, when it is mixed with politics. This pathology is so profound that people who purport to believe in Truth and in “speaking the truth in love”* are willing to tell lies about Barack Obama and essentially call him a Christian impostor, a fraud, a phony, a fake, a Muslim.

And if conservative Christians continue to mix their theology with their political ideology, their theology will die, even if their politics survives.

___________________________

Here is the cringe-inducing segment:

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*Ephesians 4:15:

Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.

Egypt: The View From The Paranoid Right

Since nearly every sensible thing that can be said has been said this weekend regarding the upheaval in Egypt, I thought I would look in on what the right-wing is saying.

John Boehner and Mitch McConnell are so far playing it safe, essentially approving of the Obama administration’s cautious response to the crisis. But it’s only Monday.

Unfortunately, Egypt is not observable from Wasilla, so Sarah Palin hasn’t yet tweeted her foreign policy advice to the world.  But it’s only Monday. I’m sure after she catches up on her weekend reading, she will offer up some profound analysis.

Bill Kristol, a Fox “News” neocon who agitated for war against Iraq as early as 1998 and who has urged the U.S. to launch a military strike against Iran, has not yet called for invading Egypt and ousting Mubarak.  That’s always a good thing, but it’s only Monday.  

Kristol, who always knows what we should do in every tricky situation, did say the Administration was “a little slow in reacting to events and said a couple foolish things.”  Apparently, patience and deliberation is not a virtue in the Kristol family.

Speaking of a lack of patience and deliberation: The Glenn Beck News Service, The Blaze, featured this headline:

The story, written by Jonathon Seidl and complete with a Goldline ad, is one of those “connecting the dots” specials, which are the forte of the paranoid Right. It seems that the American Left, some of whom rallied this weekend in support of the Egyptian people, is encouraging the uprising because,

the power vacuum that would result from a government collapse would make the country a prime target for a socialist takeover.

Even though the protests in Egypt have been decidedly unrelated to Western politics, that’s not the way it is seen through the eyes of fearful right-wingers, at least when it comes to the motives of those Americans who support Egyptian freedom:

Is it really about democracy, then, as some of the signs suggest?

Not really. The reality seems to be closer to something like this: when a revolution opposes a leftist dictator, leftists and socialists ignore it. When a revolution opposes an American ally (particularly an ally as pivotal to U.S. security as the Egyptian alliance is) leftists and socialists support it. Succinctly put, the groups have a vested interest in the current American system being defeated (a goal shared by leftist dictators). That’s why they can support Chavez, Ahmadinejad, and even Hussein, but rally against someone such as Mubarak.

In the same vein, Red State, a popular right-wing site operated by Erick Erickson, now a CNN commentator, featured this headline:

The story takes the Beckian view one step further and involves the Obama administration in the plot to make Egypt and the Middle East a socialist paradise:

For all the lack of clarity on where the Obama administration stands, one thing is becoming more and more clear: Signs are beginning to point more toward the likelihood that President Obama’s State Department, unions, as well as Left-leaning media corporations are more directly involved in helping to ignite the Mid-East turmoil than they are publicly admitting.

Meanwhile, Dick Morris, another Foxinating right-winger who sees an Islamic terrorist hiding behind every crisis tree, is urging the U.S. to “send a signal to the military that it will be supportive of its efforts to keep Egypt out of the hands of the Islamic fundamentalists.He wrote:

The Obama Administration, in failing to throw its weight against an Islamic takeover, is guilty of the same mistake that led President Carter to fail to support the Shah, opening the door for the Ayatollah Khomeini to take over Iran…

Now is the time for Republicans and conservatives to start asking the question: Who is losing Egypt? We need to debunk the starry eyed idealistic yearning for reform and the fantasy that a liberal democracy will come from these demonstrations. It won’t. Iranian domination will.

It appears that some on the Right, who night and day lie and stoke fear about Obama’s imaginary disregard for the freedoms of Americans, don’t mind if he helps squash the yearnings of Egyptians who want liberty—and jobs—in their own land.

We really run the risk of some Iranian style regime emerging in the end here,” foreign policy expert Sean Hannity said on Friday.

And even though the real experts discount that possibility (the Muslim Brotherhood reportedly represents around 20% of the population), it doesn’t matter. What matters is that however the situation in Egypt ends, Obama will have either done too much or too little.  He will either have sided with the Egyptian dictator or sided with the Muslim Brotherhood or engineered a socialist revolution.  

And to think it’s only Monday.

 

Glenn Beck: Billy Long Must Be A Democrat

Not only did the stars of right-wing media, Drudge and Sean Hannity and Alex Jones, get wind of and make wind of the Clay Bowler-Billy Long-FBI issue, but perhaps the biggest (I mean, nuttiest) star of all did too: Glenn Beck.

On Friday’s radio show, Beck led with this:

Clay Bowler has become active in politics. Starting last year, he didn’t support Billy Long, the Democrat running for Congress in his Missouri district, so he started a website, he began attending campaign events.  He even started asking the candidate tough questions.  But when Long eventually won, Bowler and his website, Long is Wrong, went away.  So, when the FBI showed up at his door recently, saying he was perceived to be making threats to the congressman, he was shocked.

Get that?  Long is a Democrat!  A bleeping Democrat!  No wonder he trampled the Constitution!

Now, anyone can get a name or a party affiliation wrong, but it’s not surprising that Beck assumed Long was a Democrat because Long, along with Greene County Sheriff Jim Arnott, were apparently worried about a Tea Party conservative blogger.  What else could Long be?  If you’re not from southwest Missouri and you’ve never heard of Ozark Billy, you just assume he’s a Democrat because Democrats routinely ignore the Constitution to do things like sic the FBI on right-wing bloggers. Right?

Even Clay Bowler found it necessary to correct Mr. Beck:

Glenn Beck led off yesterday’s show condemning Congressman Billy Long for abusing his powers and launching an FBI witch hunt of a blogger who simply disagreed with him. Beck told his large radio audience, “American citizens are being investigated for simply asking their congressmen questions.” If you listen to the audio, Beck assumes because of Long’s actions that he is a Democrat. No, Long, who has been telling the Washington DC Press Corp, he was Tea Party before Tea Party was cool, abused his federal powers to come down on a Tea Partier who criticized him and is a Republican.

Whew! I’m glad we got that cleared up. 

Here is the Glenn Beck audio, courtesy of Mr. Bowler:

The New Negrophobes

Way back in March, I wrote about the “Tea Parties and The Southern Strategy,” mostly quoting from an article written by Bob Cesca.  To give you the flavor of that piece, here is a sample:

________________________________________________________

Discussing the use of the N Word, Cesca reminds us of Lee Atwater—the Republican political guru of the 1980s—and the once-infamous but now increasingly respectable Southern Strategy.  Atwater had told on himself in a 1981 interview reported by Bob Herbert of the New York Times:

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

Cesca comments:

From the beginning, with their witch doctor imagery, watermelon agitprop and Curious George effigies, the wingnut right has been dying to blurt out, as Lee Atwater famously said, “nigger, nigger, nigger!”

________________________________________________________

Last night, the sainted Rachel Maddow, whose show is always packed full of information, ran a long segment on the new birth of the Southern Strategy. She began with the Southern political shift from Democratic to Republican loyalties, which we saw happening first in the 1964 presidential election between Goldwater and Johnson. 

Here is a series of maps showing that shift:

 

As you can see, the shift of conservative loyalty was fairly dramatic. Goldwater’s appeal to Southern white conservatives, of course, was based on his opposition to the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and his failure to attract legions of black supporters and his “success” in attracting conservative whites sent a message to other Republicans, including Kevin Phillips, who was back then a Richard Nixon political strategist:

From now on, the Republicans are never going to get more than 10 to 20 percent of the Negro vote and they don’t need any more than that… but Republicans would be shortsighted if they weakened enforcement of the Voting Rights Act. The more Negroes who register as Democrats in the South, the sooner the Negrophobe whites will quit the Democrats and become Republicans. That’s where the votes are. Without that prodding from the blacks, the whites will backslide into their old comfortable arrangement with the local Democrats.

Maddow connects this old Southern Strategy with the new Southern Strategy, which is not just confined to the South and not just confined to the dynamics of white versus black. And although Maddow didn’t explore this idea in much depth, this new strategy involves at least partly a view of restoring the dominance of white culture, a culture allegedly threatened by the ascendance of a black man named Obama and the “invasion” of illegal immigrants from Mexico.

Now, I’m not saying that all of the Tea Party anger, or all of the angst over the state of the country, is due to a this defensive tribal posture, so don’t even get on that horse and ride. As I have said many times, there are legitimate concerns over our national debt and the long-term stability of our fiscal health. There is legitimate unease over unemployment and the uncertainty of near-term improvement.

But the fact that there doesn’t appear to be much that can’t be said about President Obama or his wife, the fact that there doesn’t seem to be any price paid on the right for the outrageous charges spewing from the mouths of people like Limbaugh and Beck and Hannity—all remain comfortably popular and comfortably rich—and the fact that Republican politicians all over the country have had moments that would have doomed them in any other election year, indicates something beyond agitation over the state of the economy, at least for an uncomfortably large slice of the electorate.

Just as one example, Carl Paladino, a multimillionaire, Tea Party-backed Republican candidate for governor of New York, trounced Rick Lazio in the GOP primary last month, even though shortly after Paladino entered the primary, some very nasty e-mails were released that Paladino had forwarded to his “friends.”  Some of those e-mails were blatantly racist, including one that featured a video of African tribesmen doing a traditional tribal dance. The video was titled, “Obama Inauguration Rehearsal.” 

Another featured this photograph:

Now, most people interested in politics know all that stuff about Paladino.  But what we sometimes forget is that even after these things were known—after the obviously racist e-mails had been made public knowledge—Paladino still received an astonishing 62% of the Republican vote in the primary.  He got more than 273,000 votes.  In New York.

So, although there is a lot of angst and anger out there, much of it about the economy, there’s no denying that part of that angst and anger has to do with something akin to, but beyond, the Negrophobia that Kevin Phillips talked about so long ago. There are some white folks in the land who not only don’t care a whit about whether Paladino sends racist e-mails, but find the fact that he does culturally comforting. 

And although I know that Republicans and tea partiers don’t like to hear any accusations about condoning the kind of bigotry we see on display these days, until someone in the Republican Party—the home of tea partiers—stands up and renounces those among them who traffic in the supposedly “fringe” politics of subtle and not-so-subtle racism, then those of us on my side will wonder just how fringe this stuff is.

[Original maps courtesy of Wikipedia]

Sean Hannity Is A Filthy Racist Pig

A short time ago, I went against my doctor’s orders and tuned in to Sean Hannity’s radio show while in the car. 

Not thirty seconds into my drive, a grandmother called in and expressed her concern over the New Black Panthers, which she no doubt heard about because Fox “News” has created and shamelessly promoted a phony controversy around the group,  and she informed the nation that her grandchildren were very “pale faced.”

Should I be worried?” she asked Mr. Hannity.

To which a normal, patriotic American with a relatively large national audience might respond with something like this:

Ma’am, you have nothing to worry about. I bet there aren’t a hundred authentic supporters of the New Black Panthers in the whole country, and I’m sure the FBI has its eye on every one of them.  This is America, ma’am. Black folks don’t want to harm your grandchildren any more than you want to harm their grandchildren. Like white people, black people want good jobs, nice homes, nice cars, good friends, and the freedom to pursue all those things.  So, don’t you worry about King Samir Shabazz or any other hatemonger.

But no, no, no.  Hannity, a hatemonger himself, responded to this woman’s inquiry with an attack on the Obama Justice Department.

Shameful stuff, but it is Hannity’s modus operandi: use smear and fear all the way to the bank.

And because I am so pissed off about what I just heard, and because I am so pissed off about the way the right wing has been race-baiting lately, likely stirring up more unhinged hatred of Barack Obama, and because our side has refused to fight back with fury, from now on—until Hannity repents of his sins—I will use Hannity’s own tactics of smear and fear and refer to him as a filthy racist pig.

There, I said it.  Sean Hannity is a filthy racist pig.

Doctor, I feel better now.

_____________________________

[photo actually from RadioLeft.com]

Orgasmic Conservatives Spew Impeachment Talk

Over the last 30 years, our country has been governed by Democratic presidents about one-third of the time.  Clinton served eight years and Obama is in the middle of his second year.

From the beginning of Clinton’s term as president, the right-wing had it out for him.  The worst of the lot, including the Reverend [sic] Jerry Falwell, claimed Clinton was a cocaine smuggler and a killer.

The best of the lot impeached him, essentially for trying to hide his unfaithfulness to his wife.*

Now, comes the inevitable and hysterical talk of impeachment of President Obama. It seems that this ideologially-sick generation of conservatives has never met a Democratic president they couldn’t impeach.

Darrell Issa, a Republican congressman from California and a frequent visitor to the brothel at Fox “News” Channel, had intercourse with Sean Hannity last night over the allegation that someone at the White House offered Joe Sestak (D-Pa.) a government job in exchange for not challenging Sen. Arlen Specter in the Democratic primary in Pennsylvania.

Now, you know you’re in for a treat when Sean starts reading from the United States Code to make a point and uses the old line, “what did the president know and when did he know it.”  It is a little like foreplay for these folks.  So, naturally, given such titillation, threats of impeachment were soon ejaculated during Hannity’s interaction with Issa. 

The congressman is seeking a special prosecutor—that, of course, is how the Clinton impeachment fiasco began—to determine if any laws were broken.

Meanwhile, the rest of the sane world, including George F. Will, realizes that some government jobs have always been a sort of currency in the world of politics.  Heck, Roy Blunt once offered me a job as Ambassador to the Joplin Spook Light, if I would stop writing bad things about Jack Abramoff.  I was too scared to take it, though.

On ABC’s This Week, this brief conversation between Jake Tapper and George Will just about says it all regarding the seriousness of Issa’s and Hannity’s talk of impeachment over the “Sestak Affair“:

TAPPER: So, first of all, let me ask you a question, George. This — this — the Republicans are trying to make hay over this alleged deal that the White House made to Sestak. If you don’t run against Specter, we’ll give you this other job. A big deal or not a big deal?

WILL: Not a big deal. It’s — politics is a transactional business. They offered him a transaction — if they did, and I don’t see a thing wrong with it.

TAPPER: They are trying to make a big thing out of it, though.

WILL: I don’t care what they’re trying to do. It’s a small thing.

UPDATE:

During Obama’s long-awaited press conference today—which understandably was dominated by the BP oil disaster—none other than Major Garrett of Fox “News” thought he would earn his Fox “News” bonus this week for asking the president about the  allegations surrounding Joe Sestak. 

Obama said “nothing improper took place,” and that an official response would be forthcoming, and soon, too.  That answer should keep Sean Hannity busy tonight on his show.

___________________________

*Newt Gingrich, Speaker of the House at the time and cheerleader for Clinton’s impeachment, admitted he was having an adulterous affair while he publicly ridiculed Clinton and urged his colleagues and the country to condemn him.  See here Jake Tapper’s piece on Gingrich’s interview with James Dobson, an evangelical promoter of family values conservatives like the thrice-married Gingrich.

Surprise! Cro-Magnon’s Opposed To Elena Kagan

For those interested, Media Matters has a long post addressing every possible objection to the nomination of Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court.

Now, I was hoping that Obama would pick Diane Wood, a liberal jurist beyond any doubt, but, alas, our side is not as willing to defend liberalism as I would wish.

The troubling thing about Kagan is that so many conservatives seem to praise her, which makes me suspicious of her liberal credentials, but there are the usual conservative suspects, the Hannitys and Limbaughs and their Cro-Magnon constituencies, who will twist and distort her bona fides until they are unrecognizable.

In any case, here is a list of links to Media Matters research:

Myth: Kagan’s policies on military recruiters make her “an anti-military zealot” and an extremist on social issues

Myth: Kagan is “radical”

Myth: Kagan’s thesis shows she’s a socialist

Myth: “Kagan Standard” means Kagan must answer questions about issues that will come before the Supreme Court

Myth: Kagan’s Goldman Sachs role taints her nomination

Myth: Conservative opposition is based on the substance of Kagan’s nomination

Myth: Obama used “empathy” standard rather than fealty to law in choosing Kagan

Myth: Kagan is unqualified because she hasn’t been a judge

Myth: Kagan has said judicial experience is an “apparent necessity”

Myth: Kagan’s record shows that she will rubber-stamp war-on-terror policies

Myth: Republicans would be justified in opposing Kagan because she lacks a judicial paper trail

Myth: Kagan’s 23-year-old statements about the Establishment Clause suggest she’s hostile to religion

Myth: Kagan’s recusal obligations would be “extraordinary”

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