Saturday, August 28, 2010

Glen at the Mall, My Father and Manipulating the Masses

    ...Ricky Thomas, 43, a SWAT team police officer from Chesapeake Beach, Md., brought his 10-year old son Chase to the Beck rally. "I wanted my son to see democracy in action," Thomas said.
    He said he wants government to stay out of people's lives. He acknowledged that he works for government, but said it's "a part of government that helps people when they are in trouble."
    Beck has given voice to those angry and frustrated with President Barack Obama and other Democrats this election year, especially members of the tea party movement.
The Angry voices at the mall remind me of the failures of my father in the last ten years of his life and his inability to accept reality.

Dad was a white collar man and a graduate of Rutgers University who spent his life as a stock broker/insurance salesmen, and he was very good at it. But like most of the TEA Party followers (White, Old, Angry), he was also good at spending more then he earned, and eventually it caught up with him.

Sometime in the '98 do to the financial shenanigans of his second wife and his own stupidity, he found himself divorced and bankrupt at the age of 65 (sound familiar). Unable to accept that it was his own fault, he desperately sought a scapegoat and got involved with the John Birch Society (yeah, I know. A hellava coincidence) and the whole anti-government movement and thus susceptible to crap like this. In other words, my Father went a little bit mad, but he believed his own insanity. Nothing I said or did could convince him that he was crazy, so I stopped trying. He passed away 3 years ago, less then a year after his third wife left him.

So an ex alcoholic Rodeo Clown (his words) with a Messiah Complex (Good article. Read it if you get a chance) captivates a group of ideological, ultra-conservative Republicans who will never admit they are ideological, ultra-conservative Republicans. They consider Beck an "educator" who teaches people history (more like his story).

Like my father, these people refuse to accept that the money men funding AstroTurf groups like the TEA party were responsible for destroying their comfortable middle class lifestyle:

    Yet inexorably the Koch agenda is morphing into the G.O.P. agenda, as articulated by current Republican members of Congress, including...John Boehner, and Tea Party Senate candidates like Rand Paul, Sharron Angle, and ...Joe Miller. Their program opposes a federal deficit, but has no objection to running up trillions in red ink in tax cuts to corporations and the super rich...
    The Koch brothers must be laughing all the way to the bank knowing that working Americans are aiding and abetting their selfish interests. And surely Murdoch is snickering at those protesting the “ground zero mosque.”
The manipulation of the country's economy is a complex subject that does not lend itself to soundbites (case in point). It is easier to blame scary brown people:

or big guvment:

Unable to deal with the truth, they choose to rage against the other.

And the "Liberal Media" will continue to give Glenn Beck a free pass and refuse to call him on his BS.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Possibilities, the Poor and Right Wing Populism

On this glorious 4th of July weekend, I am reminded of one of my top ten Favorite Movies (h/t M. Winship at Huffington Post) 1776 the Musical. In the restored, directors cut version of the film is the song Cool Cool Considerate Men:

From this song we get dialogue spoken by John Dickinson of Pennsylvania (actor Donald Madden) that best sums up the success of the Tea Party:

    "...don't forget that most men with nothing would rather protect the possibility of becoming rich, than face the reality of being poor."
It is the reason that right Wing Populist consistently support politicians who vote against their (the Tea Party's) economic interest. It is also the reason that real wages for working people have gone down:

even as the incomes of the top 10% have risen dramatically:

Unfortunately for the these United States of America in CE 2010, I fear that the line from John Hancock (actor David Ford) may no longer apply:
    Fortunately Mr. Dickerson,there are not enough men of property to dictate policy.
Or maybe not? We shall see if Mr. Sloan's article from the Huffington Post trumps the conventional wisdom about the November 2010 elections.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

A Reporter Who Does Not Do Stenography

Rolling Stone reporter Michael Hastings:

    The writer whose Rolling Stone article brought down Gen. Stanley McChrystal said he never thought his reporting would bring about the effective end of McChrystal’s career, as well as a crisis for the Obama administration...

    But, Hastings told Lauer, he did receive pressure from the general’s staff to change some of his intended reporting.

    “They tried to pressure me not to write about some things that were on the record. I told them I can’t really play that game,” Hastings said.

    A generation ago, Rolling Stone gave America the “gonzo” reporting of Hunter S. Thompson. That tradition has continued today with the unfettered reportage of a new generation of writers who do not operate by the conventions of the mainstream media, including Matt Taibbi and Hastings.

    “One of the things that happens in journalism, especially with powerful figures, is that they give journalists access in exchange for favorable coverage and future access,” Hastings said. “That dynamic didn’t apply to me and the story I was writing, or just my general style of journalism.”
OMG, a reporter who actually reports instead of simply doing stenography. No donuts from you Mr. Hastings:

And do not expect to be invited to any Beach party's:

From the Right or from the Left, sucking up to The Powers That Be is equal opportunity B*LL SH*T.

Update - 25 June 2010

As always, the master Political Satirist John Stewart nails the Beltway Presstitutes to the wall:

Mr. Stewart, the American News Media started to "kind a suck" 15 years ago at the start of the Hunting of the President, on to the War on Gore and fininally mutating into the Lapdog press. The problem is NOBODY but you and Colbert had the guts to call them out.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Family Values and the Fantasy of the Village

Parker’s Fantasy World of the village:
    In Canteyville, USA, a warning for Washington lawmakers
    By Kathleen Parker
    Sunday, April 4, 2010; A13

    If thy name is Incumbent, you might want to start packing up those D.C. tchotchkes.

    November is likely to be a cruel month.

    That, at least, is the view from "Canteyville," which you won't find on a map. There is no town by this name in South Carolina, though there ought to be. Canteys are as common as front porches in this part of the country.

    For these purposes, Canteyville is a state of mind, a late-night invention born of spirited conversation at a sporting clay club in the state's unfortunately dubbed "Midlands."

    ...The Obama administration and the Democratic-controlled Congress have acted on the conviction that they know best and that citizens eventually will come around. This may sometimes have been historically true, but here's another truth: If you can't convincingly explain the beauty of a policy to the educated, hardworking people of Canteyville, you might have a policy problem.
Meanwhile, back in the Reality Based Community:
    Steele, strip clubs and the GOP's family values
    By Yael T. Abouhalkah, Kansas City Star Editorial Page columnist

    Poor Michael Steele. In the latest line of "when did you stop beating your wife" questioning, the RNC Chairman is having to deny that he spent any funds at a high-cost strip club.

    The Republican National Committee went on the offensive Monday, saying it will investigate the expense by an unnamed RNC official of $1,946 at the Voyeur West Hollywood strip club in February.

    Here's the media report that started the ruckus Monday.

    And here's part of the RNC's response about Steele's potential involvement in the strip club spending:

    The chairman was never at the location in question, he had no knowledge of the expenditure, nor does he find the use of committee funds at such a location at all acceptable.

    Take that.

    Still, the use of Republican National Committee funds for that kind of expense would appear to violate one of the GOP's cardinal rules:

    Don't do anything that makes us look hypocritical when we talk about good old American values.
The Community’s #1 Spokeswoman (Spot on as ever Ms. D):
    Ersatz America

    by digby

    …But contrary to Parker's romantic view of what life is like outside the green room, there are actually a whole lot of Americans who aren't white, conservative Republicans. And they actually are far more indicative of "salt-of-the-earth-hardworking-regular folks" since virtually none of them are wealthy southerners living on faux farms playing at being good old boys on the week-end.

    When these Villagers make one of their anthropological treks out into the country and come back with their report, the Real Americans they seek are always either white midwestern conservatives, white western conservatives or white Southern conservatives --- usually rural, always "small town" and often sitting around a table eating and and complaining about how the world has gone to hell and a handbasket. It's like they all set out to find Real America based on their memories of 1960s TV Mayberry --- a world that never really existed and certainly doesn't exist now except among wealthy land-owners trying to create a bucolic vacation spot to entertain their urban socialite friends.

    Her America is a nation that exists only in the Villagers' and Disney Imagineers' minds. But it ends up infecting the politics of this country because these people all reinforce each others' fantasies when they get back to the "greenrooms and talkshows" and give a completely skewed impression of who "Real Americans" are and what "Real Americans" think. Oddly, it turns out they always think exactly the same way the villagers do. Go figure.
Go Figure Indeed.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Governor Gay Basher and Grandpa Munster

One of the celebrity's I most admire in the liberal progressive wing was an actor named Al Lewis, who's most famous part was that of Grandpa Munster. He was an uncompromising leftist from the old school, and in an interview with the underground NY Newspaper Shadow on October 21, 1997, he gave the following quote:
    "We used to have a saying: "If you don't get the asses of the masses out in the street, forget it." And you get enough of them out there, the ruling class gets scared. That's the only thing they're afraid of, is numbers. Numbers!"
Flash forward some 12 years later to the Virginia Governor's Office, and an executive order issued by Gov Bobby Mac that Rolls Back Non-Discrimination Protections for gay state workers. Not to be out done, the Gov's equally homophobic Attorney General Kenny "Cooch" Cuccinelli sent out a memo advising the state's public colleges that they don't have the authority to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation.

The response these right wing A-holes received validated the quote from Al "Grandpa Munster" Lewis:
    The protest began with the Pledge of Allegiance, but the emphasis was on "justice for all."

    More than 1,000 people rallied at Virginia Commonwealth University yesterday against an attempt by the state attorney general to negate anti-discrimination policies that protect gays.

    "VCU is not a place where you can bring bigotry and expect not to be challenged," said Cameron Hunt, a senior who after the rally led about 150 students on a march to the state Capitol in protest of Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli...




But does the Ruling Class get scared. Hell yeah:
    As Virginia's college campuses experience an uproar over gay rights, Gov. Robert F. McDonnell has now issued a directive to all 102,000 state employees Wednesday that prohibits discrimination in the state workforce, including on the basis of sexual orientation. In his directive, the Governor warns he will fire anyone who engages in such discrimination."
    Because of the outrage among students, college presidents and others, the Governor seemed forced to address discrimination in his formal statement.
    Gov Bobby Mac has the joy of being squeezed by two opposing forces, the small minority of Christian Creeps social conservatives from the Family Foundation who want to turn Virginia into a Theocracy and the Majority of Virginians who do not like their state to become a segment on The Daily Show, ex specially if they are trying to lure high tech Company's like Northrup Grumman. In the words of the Blog Bacon's Rebellion:
      ...Who's running the store? Both McDonnell and Cuccinelli are...die-hard, right wing social conservatives who want to cash in on the backlash against Barack Obama...McDonnell ran a smart campaign by downplaying the extreme views of his political past. The rumor was that he was trying to keep Cuccinelli on a tight leash...Do we really buy McDonnell's excuse that he has had to rein in "Cooch" when he was the one that set the whole thing up in the first place?

      Meanwhile, McDonnell has extended lots of corporate welfare offers to get Northrop Grumman to locate in Virginia...has threatened to drive the defense contractor away with these homophobic policies.

      So, we are left with two rather frightening questions. Is the McDonnell gang simply incompetent? Or is there a much broader agenda?
    The agenda was to legally equate homosexuality with drug abuse and pornography as evils that "the government must restrain, punish, and deter." The incompetence was believing that his election in 2009 gave him a mandate to actually implement this policy.

    The Asses of the Masses proved him wrong.

    Sunday, January 31, 2010

    Susan, Scott and Stealth

    About 13 Months ago, an ex News anchor and board member of the Seattle based Discovery Institute lost an election For King County Executive, home of the Liberal city of Seattle.
    About 13 days ago, a onetime Nude model and Lieutenant Colonel in the Army National Guard took a seat in the US Senate that was held by the Liberal Lion Ted Kennedy for over 40 years.
    As noted by Ms. Tarico at Huffington Post, Susan Hutchison and Scott Brown were part of the not so new Republican strategy called the stealth campaign:
      As the Right Wing base sinks to new levels of insanity taking the Republican brand with it, “going stealth” has become the campaign strategy of choice in districts where an all-out, Teabagger Town Hall, Palin-Beck, froth-mouthed feeding frenzy would just turn stomachs. The Right’s agenda isn’t evolving, just its tactics…

      They still want to drown government in a bathtub…They still think that some hubba hubba god made women “separate but equal"—men with brains and biceps, women with vaginas…They still think we can teach creationism in schools and…They still think we can end drug use by jailing addicts. They still think that guns don’t kill people..They still think the problem with their marriage is my brother. And they still think that you can give the free market absolute power without it corrupting absolutely.

      But in some of the best run Republican and Religious Right (Rebiblican) campaigns in the country, you’d never know it.
    Scott Brown and his counterpart in Virginia Bob McDonnell succeeded. Susan Hutchison and TEA Bagger extraordinaire Doug Hoffman went down in Flames. And the Main Stream Media (with the exception of McClatchy Newspapers) stuck to its script (AKA Republican Talking Points):
      Brown said his win in a solidly-Democratic state, along with the interest in the Q&A session President Obama and House Republicans had on Friday, is proof that voters want more transparency and less backroom dealing.

      "What it means is that now there will be full and fair debate," Brown said of his 41st Republican vote in the Senate that erased a Democratic supermajority. "And there will be no more behind-closed-doors actions."
    Transparency? Yeah right. Ms. Hutchison and Mr. Hoffman received a lot of transparency, but it sure as hell was not from Gods Own Party (the blog, yes. The GOP, not so much) or the media lapdogs. Again from Ms. Tarico:
      What’s interesting is that the same stealth strategy failed miserably in Washington State. Palin-wannabe Susan Hutchison was defeated by fourteen points after being ahead in the polls just weeks ago.

      What happened? It’s very simple: Word got out about who she is, and it made King County’s voters a bit queasy... By November 3, the voting public knew who Susan Palin Hutchison is, and for a stealth campaign, that’s lethal…When Rebiblicans pose as moderates and change agents, they have just exposed soft tissue.
    But can those of us who dream of a more progressive society cut the rotting tissue away? With Less then 11 months to go before the midterm elections of 2010, I will not give up hope, but I will equally not succumb to self-delusion: the Corporate Bastard's funding the GOP/TEA Party/Anti Health care ads have won big bidness a number of victory's.

    The Supremos have handed the Corporates the ability to buy any Candidate of their choice (Chief Justice Johnny the Robber is a lying corporate hypocrite shill. Strip search Sammy is the same; and with his behavior at the SOTU he is now a political (rather than judicial) hero to Republicans and a political enemy of Democrats [hammer on the nail Mr. Greenwald]).

    And finally we have the greatest asset toward a GOP sweep in November, a 24 hour News Channel that has dropped all attempts at impartiality and is now a fundraising Political Action Committee of the Republican Party.

    The D's are running scared, the R's are crowing, and it's 1994 all over again (at least according to my local paper). Meanwhile, those of us in the reality based community are pissed off that my Democratic Party has the power, but is afraid to use it. Stinks.