The Fact Burner

If you woke up this morning feeling sorry for Sarah Huckabee Sanders, you should probably just get back in bed and continue your rest from reality. Because if you do have sympathy for the woman who lies for Tr-mp each and every day, after she was “ripped” by a comedian at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner on Saturday, then your sympathy is hopelessly misplaced.

Michelle Wolf, the comedian who, among other things, highlighted Sanders’ truth-slaying skills—“she burns facts and then she uses that ash to create a perfect smokey eye”—did what she was hired to do: she told jokes. Some of the jokes were good, some not so good. But there was much truth running through her jokes, including that Sanders, Tr-mp’s press secretary, really does burn facts for a living. And it wasn’t Wolf’s fault that Tr-mp didn’t have the guts to show up for the dinner, like other presidents did until he came along, and defend his propagandist in person.

All day Sunday and continuing into today, journalists have been beside themselves trying to apologize for, or demand apologizes from, Wolf and those responsible for hiring her. NBC’s Andrea Mitchell tweeted, “Apology is owed to and others grossly insulted [by] Michelle Wolf.” Maggie Haberman, of the New York Times, tweeted:

That sat and absorbed intense criticism of her physical appearance, her job performance, and so forth, instead of walking out, on national television, was impressive.

Hooey. Double Hooey. Nobody “owes” Sanders an apology. Nor should anyone praise her for sitting and absorbing personal insults. She knew what was coming. It couldn’t have been a surprise.

But Sanders does owe us an apology. And she should praise us for not walking out of the Tr-mpian nightmare she so proudly lies for nearly every time she opens her mouth.

Sanders should apologize for vigorously defending the narcissistic anarchist sitting in the Whites’ House. She should give us a shout-out for not fleeing to Canada, as we still dare to dream that America will come to its senses and rid itself of the parasite feeding on, and quickly depleting, the norms of our democracy. She should apologize to and heap praise upon all those folks who are genuine victims of Tr-mpism and the policies associated with it.

And as for journalists, how about Andrea Mitchell apologizing for endlessly focusing on Hillary Clinton’s emails during the last campaign, while Tr-mp was robbing the country of its dignity? How about Maggie Haberman, who has done good work since the 2016 election, apologize for her paper’s front-page obsession with the Clintons’ every flaw, all the way down to butt pimples, while a crass, corrupt demagogue was tearing down the press and other vital American institutions?

And speaking of obsessions, how about journalists apologizing for focusing on “Tr-mp voters” and their feelings almost to the exclusion of the rest of us? Or how about journalists realizing that there is more to America than those places that voted for Tr-mp? Look at the way Jake Tapper addressed John Kasich yesterday, appearing for the gazillionth time on Sunday morning television, on CNN’s State of the Union:

So, I want to ask you about the midterms. Republican congressional leaders increasingly worried that a Democratic wave is coming, that they will lose the House, they might even lose the Senate. President Trump doesn’t agree. He’s confident in his abilities. He’s confident that the Republicans are going to hold the House and Senate.

You’re out there in real America in Ohio. How concerned should Republicans be, how concerned should President Trump be?

Huh? Ohio is “real America”? Okay. Let’s agree that Ohio is real America. But when is the last time you heard a journalist address, say, a senator from a blue state by saying, “You’re out there in real America in Oregon”? Or how about a journalist introducing the mayor of a large city by saying, “Here’s Bill de Blasio, mayor of New York City, which is in real America”? Have you ever heard Maxine Waters addressed as the congresswoman who represents people out there “in real America in the 43rd District of California”? No. You haven’t. For some reason, real Americans only live in states Tr-mp won and has the potential of winning again.

It’s effing ridiculous.

I will be the first one to call on Michelle Wolf to apologize to Sarah Huckabee Sanders on the day Sarah Huckabee Sanders, with or without smokey eyes, goes to the Whites’ House briefing room, stands proudly behind the podium, and tells the world she is sorry for the damage she, and her boss, have done to the country.

“By Keeping Republicans Together,” John Boehner Did “The Country A Favor,” So Says Mark Halperin and Andrea Mitchell

I thought I was hallucinating. But I played it back on my DVR and it was all too real.

Wanna know why Republicans believe they can take the country to the brink of catastrophe and not pay a price for doing so? Because Beltway journalists like Mark Halperin and Andrea Mitchell will, without laughing, have this exchange on national television, on “liberal” MSNBC:

HALPERIN: The second guessing about Republicans, not just strategy but tactics throughout the last several weeks, are really gonna be extraordinary. There’s gonna be a lot of questioning about how to go forward. It’s gonna be interesting. I think Speaker Boehner has handled this in a way where he can put this on the floor, get a lot of Democratic votes. My hunch is that there are a lot of Republican votes in the Senate, which we expect. We could get a lot of Republican votes in the House and questions about his speakership, questions about his own leadership, I think may be put off.

And I think this agreement is not bad in the sense that it gives both sides a chance to try to deal with some of these bigger entitlement issues and tax issues over the next few weeks and averts the crisis. And John Boehner may have done himself and the country a favor by keeping Republicans together long enough to say, we tried a lot of different things; we made some mistakes. This is the best we can get at this point to avoid what he has said all along and believed all along was essential, which was to avoid a default by the federal government.

MITCHELL: Fair points all.

Anyone who has watched this debacle knows one thing for certain. John Boehner hasn’t handled this in any way that deserves one jot or tittle of praise. That he gets it from two Beltway reporters tells us so much about why right-wing zealots believe in their bones that they can hold the country hostage and get away with it.

He’s In Over His (Black) Head

First, look at this image, which I found on the Rush Limbaugh website the day after the first presidential debate:

See that determined white guy whippin’ that black man’s ass? That is the image that Obama-hating conservatives, particularly Obama-hating quasi-racists like Rush Limbaugh, have been begging for from their suspicious paleface champion, Mittens “The Truth” Romney.

The jubilance over Romney’s debate performance, for some on the right, is rooted in the fact that somebody finally put the Uppity Negro in his place.

Limbaugh explained on Thursday why the President lost the debate:

The guy’s a community organizer, an agitator.  He had no experience. He wasn’t prepared for this job ever.  He’s not prepared for this job now…Obama hasn’t been prepared ever for this job.  He’s not qualified.  It’s above his pay grade.  He is in over his head. 

I will translate the above: That trouble-making Negro is too dumb to be president.

Romney, who has never found it in him to criticize anything Limbaugh has said or done, has offered a version of the same thing several times:

…we’ve learned who Barack Obama is, what he’s capable of doing, that he’s over his head and he swimming in the wrong direction.

He too thinks the Negro is too dumb to be president. If you doubt me, read the context: “we’ve learned who Barack Obama is…”

John Sununu, the co-chair of Romney’s presidential campaign, a man who, if there is a hell, will have an entire ego-roasting chamber to himself, had this exchange on Thursday with Andrea Mitchell:

SUNUNU: What people saw last night, I think, was a president that revealed his incompetence, how lazy and detached he is…

MITCHELL: Governor, I want to give you a chance to maybe take it back. Did you really mean to call Barack Obama, the President of the United States, lazy?

SUNUNU: Yes. I think you saw him admit it the night before when he delivered the pizzas. He said, “You know they’re making me do this work.” He didn’t want to prepare for this debate. He’s lazy and disengaged.

So, President Obama is not only a dumb and incompetent Negro, he is a lazy and dumb and incompetent Negro, a charge Sununu has made before.

Thus it is that our president, a man who graduated from Columbia University and Harvard Law School—and another prominent if cartoonish Romney supporter, Donald Trump, has also openly questioned Mr. Obama’s education credentials—a man who was the first African-American to head Harvard’s Law Review, a man who taught constitutional law as a professor at the University of Chicago, a man who got into politics at the bottom and worked his way up to become the most powerful leader in the world, is really just an incarnation of all the stereotypes that racists harbor about black folks: they aren’t very bright, they don’t want to work hard, and they want to make life more difficult for whites.

And Romney’s loudest supporters have openly appealed to the angst behind those stereotypes without so much as a peep from him. And as his “over his head” comment suggests, that may be because Romney needs to use that appeal to racial angst to get whites to vote for him in historic proportions. Otherwise he has little chance to win.

As Ron Brownstein wrote:

Romney’s camp is focused intently on capturing at least 61 percent of white voters. That would provide him a slim national majority—so long as whites constitute at least 74 percent of the vote, as they did last time, and Obama doesn’t improve on his 80 percent showing with minorities.

That 61% “would equal the best performance ever for a Republican presidential challenger with that group of voters,” Brownstein says, which is why Romney can’t afford to alienate one single white voter, not to mention a buffoon like Limbaugh, who is a spokesman for white cultural angst.

But as sad as that reality is, there is coming a new one, albeit one that will be forced on the GOP:

Republican strategists clearly feel the weight of trying to assemble a national majority with so little support among minorities that they must win three in five whites. “This is the last time anyone will try to do this,” one said. A GOP coalition that relies almost entirely on whites could squeeze out one more narrow victory in November. But if Republicans can’t find more effective ways to bridge the priorities of their conservative core and the diversifying Next America, that weight will grow more daunting every year. 

It Wasn’t Just A Joke

Mark Halperin is Time magazine’s senior political analyst and also a regular “contributor” on MSNBC. His job at the “liberal” network, as far as I can tell, is to tell liberals things they could hear on, say, Fox.

Today was no different. He told Andrea Mitchell:

I think Mitt Romney was making a joke. We’ve seen, particularly when he’s in Michigan, when he jokes about the heights of trees—and the left is gonna say I’m making a huge excuse for him.

Well, at least he got that last part right. And for her part, Andrea Mitchell, interviewing Jen Psaki, Obama’s traveling press secretary, compared the Romney birther appeal to President Obama’s real joke about Romney strapping his dog to the top of his car for a 12-hour ride:

He made a joke about Seamus the dog the other day…that was another ad-lib kind of thing…

Yeah, I suppose you can compare a joke about a dog crapping on himself in a crate on top of Mittens’ car to, uh, the black President of the United States not being a proper American. I can see the similarity there, can’t you?

Look, the truth is that Romney, after jumping on the Throw Todd Akin From The Train bandwagon this week, has to show the many crackpots in the GOP some love.

Their feelings have been hurt and there’s nothing like a racist joke to raise their spirits.

About the Romney birth certificate reference, king of the crackpots, Rush Limbaugh, initially said, “Right on! Right on!” and then later got a little more nuanced:

As you can imagine, the media is in a tizzy. The media is in a tizzy…Romney gets up to the microphone. It’s his turn to speak, and he test-drives that line about nobody’s ever had to ask to see his birth certificate…I’m going to tell you what. You know, I’m gonna make a prediction for you. It’s going to be fascinating to watch. The Obama-bashing at the Republican convention is going to be delicious. It’s going to be five-star-restaurant type stuff. I mean, you’re going to love it. You are going to eat it up, all the Obama-bashing. And I’ll bet you what’s happening right now is the networks are trying to figure out how they can avoid airing any of it.

So, to Limbaugh, Mr. I Hope He Fails, what Romney did was no joke, but a test-drive of “all the Obama-bashing” that will go on at the Republican convention.

You’re going to love it. You are going to eat it up,” said the beefy, bigoted broadcaster.

And that, my friends, is why what Romney did was not merely a joke.

Akin And Blunt Embarrass Missouri

Ah, to live in Missouri.

First, there’s one of our state’s zaniest Republicans, Rep. Todd Akin, who is trying to become Claire McCaskill’s replacement as U.S. Senator. (By the way, as The Washington Post reported, “Independent conservative groups have already spent more than $3 million on television and radio ads” against McCaskill.)

Akin had the distinct pleasure of being the butt of a joke by the President of the United States involving the issue of increased interest rates for student loans. From HuffPo:

“I’m always interested in how folks talk about this issue,” he said. “You’ve got one member of Congress who compared student loans — I’m not kidding here — to a stage three cancer of socialism.”

Obama tried to repeat the phrase but broke up laughing.

“I don’t know where to start? What do you mean? What are you talking about? Come on!” he implored, eliciting loud applause. “Just when you think you’ve heard it all in Washington, somebody comes up with a new way to go off the deep end.”

Yes, it’s true.  Todd Akin, who has been endorsed by Michele Bachmann and Iowa’s goofy representative, Steve King,  did say this:

America has got the equivalent of the stage three cancer of socialism because the federal government is tampering in all kinds of stuff it has no business tampering in.

Now, Akin isn’t the only Missouri politician making news about student loans. Roy Blunt, who is Mitt Romney’s front man in Congress, told a whopper about the Affordable Care Act and the interest rates charged to students taking out loans. He told Andrea Mitchell:

Why is that rate as high as it is? Because it was one of he pay-fors in the President’s health care plan. If the health care plan goes away, as the court very well might decide, there’s no longer an argument about this loan rate because it was used to take money from students and pay for health care, and largely health care for people who aren’t students.

Of course this is a complete lie. The law that lowered interest rates (from 6.8% to 3.4%) was signed by President Bush in 2007 and it is set to expire on July 1 of this year, which is what the current fuss is all about.

Some people think Blunt got that law confused with the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act, which was attached to the ACA. That Act cut the bankers out of the student loan loop (which pissed off Republicans bigtime), thereby saving the government tons of money that Democrats then reinvested in low- and middle-income students via grants. (Presumably, that is what Todd Akin meant by “stage three cancer of socialism“!)

In any case, confused or not, what Blunt did was stand in front of a television camera and tell a falsehood—without immediate challenge from Andrea Mitchell. Thankfully, though, The Ed Show exposed Blunt’s tall tale later that night in the following segment:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

A Voice In The Wilderness

Finally!

I wrote a piece this morning about the mainstream media’s “both sides are to blame” reflexes over the supercommittee failure. Lo and behold, up pops Gene Sperling from the Obama Administration taking on one of the Beltway’s most prominent journalists, MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell:

Andrea, you know, sometimes you gotta just call it. You can’t just sit there and say, as you said…”Why aren’t both sides moving?” Democrats did move. Democrats since the spring have been willing to take on some of the most difficult entitlement issues. They’ve been willing to put Medicare and Medicaid savings on the table. The President did over the summer. You know that—everyone knows that.

What didn’t happen this year was that Republicans never were willing to come to the table—for a political pledge that has nothing to do with what is needed for our country, to bring down our deficit, get debt sustainability in a way that meet our values.

And you simply need two to tango; you need two to compromise. And right now the single thing that is holding us up is the refusal of too many Republicans to come to that table and compromise, when Democrats have been sitting their waiting.

And you have to at time be willing to assign fault where it exists and not simply say, “It’s al equal.” It’s not all equal.

Take that, Beltway media. Get the story right.

Pakistani Paranoia

Thursday on MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell Reports, Pervez Hoodbhoy, a prominent Pakistani professor in Islamabad, said a couple of things that Americans should pay attention to, particularly those whose foreign policy philosophy amounts to, “We are Americans, and nothing else matters.”

Travelling with Secretary of State Clinton in Pakistan, Ms. Mitchell was questioning the professor about Clinton’s three-day “charm offensive,” the purpose of which is to improve relations between the U.S. and Pakistan, and to gain some degree of trust among the Pakistani people.  Professor Hoodbhoy, who has previously written, “Pakistan is probably the most anti-American country in the world,” replied to Mitchell’s question:

The purpose of the charm offensive is to reduce the level of anti-Americanism in Pakistan, which is at a very high level.  And one sees all kinds of conspiracy theories.  In fact even the suicide bombings that are carried on—people say, “Ah, it’s really the Americans who are trying to destabilize Pakistan,” and so forth.

On the one hand, it is somewhat comforting to know that the Beck-Hannity-Limbaugh phenomenon isn’t just a distinctly American affliction, and that paranoid conspiracists are not limited to jobs as Fox “News” commentators or bombastic blowhards on American radio. 

On the other hand, it is rather dispiriting that a country—so vital to our success in rooting out and destroying al Qaeda—largely doesn’t trust American intentions.  We must ask ourselves, just what kind of opinion do average Pakistanis hold of Americans, if they can entertain the notion that we are behind the suicide bombings in Pakistan?

Professor Hoodbhoy laments the state of his society:

What we see today in Pakistan is paranoia, and I think that we’ve got to the point where it’s become ridiculous where all of our ills are being blamed on America.

I’m sure the professor would find little solace in the fact that here in America, the right-wing is blaming all of our ills on Barack Hussein Obama, and is steadfastly resisting our president’s efforts to improve our country’s image around the world.

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