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History Repeats

August 25th, 2014 1 comment

A week ago, I made the case that Republicans should not be rewarded for trying to turn the country to crap so people would be unhappy with Obama and vote Republican more:

When one party is merely lame and unwilling to act forcefully, but the other party is going batshit insane, you don’t vote for the batshit insane people! When a president has gone too far trying to accommodate diehard hacks bent on ruining the country to make that president look bad, you do not reward the ones who have driven us into the ground just because they can make you unhappy. …

Rewarding Republican politicians for any reason is the most disastrously insane solution anyone could possibly dream up. They are dying anyway; put them out of their misery now before they add to the astonishingly catastrophic devastation they have already wrought upon this nation. The sooner we stop their policy of ruin, the more we can salvage.

I just saw a post along almost exactly the same lines come up on my “This Day Past Years” list. Two years ago, I made effectively the same case:

The key point: Republicans have been far more destructive to the economy, even openly stating goals which work against economic recovery, again openly admitting their goals in this are to gain political power.

The answer to this is not to reward them with more power.

The answer is to give that power, definitively this time, to Democrats, even just for two years, so we can see what Democratic policies would reap without Republicans poisoning everything.

Unfortunately, the American people will probably wind up giving the GOP even more power.

At least, if they do, and if Republicans take control of the Senate, it won’t make too much difference. The Senate is hardly passing laws at all right now, and the president still has his veto power. Democrats would still have the filibuster, which Republicans will no doubt immediately vilify once again, as always completely unabashed in their barefaced hypocrisy.

So the Republicans will have a few more committees to investigate their fictional “scandals.” So they’ll have a few more podiums from which to rant. Otherwise, things will stay the same—and conservatives will continue to call it Obama’s fault.

At some point in the future, demographics will begin to undo what Republicans have done with gerrymandering and Jim Crow. The problem is, what will be left of the nation by then?

With all that we will have lost by then, at least we’ll have the comfort of knowing that conservatives are certain that it was all the Kenyan Socialist’s fault.

Rick Perry Indicted for Abuse of Power, Threatens to Punish Those Involved

August 17th, 2014 1 comment

So a Democratic Texas D.A. did something stupid: got drunk, and then drove. She was arrested and served time, but refused to resign under pressure. She was within her rights under law: she is under no obligation to resign.

Rick Perry pressured her to do so anyway. His motives were not just for show; if the D.A. resigned, Perry would get to appoint a replacement.

That’s no small deal, as the D.A. in question, Rosemary Lehmberg, is the D.A. for Travis County, home to Austin, the state capital.

Why is that a big deal? First of all, Austin is one of the few counties in Texas with a Democratic majority. Second, the D.A. for Austin, it being the state capital, runs the state’s public integrity unit. The public integrity unit is kind of the like ethics committee: it investigates government corruption. And it’s run mostly by Democrats, in a state where most politicians are Republicans. And Texas Republicans have a long history of corruption.

Naturally, Republicans would like nothing more than for the public integrity unit to shut up and/or go away. They have tried to defund it in the past, but failed. Getting a Republican appointee in there could potentially throw off all current investigations and damage the unit, even if the appointee were replaced by a Democrat in the next election.

So, when D.A. Lehmberg was arrested, and, as a bonus, acted like a tool on camera in jail, Republicans saw this as a big political opportunity. Unfortunately, the position is locally elected, and so Republican politicians couldn’t touch her. A grand jury set on her by Republicans refused to indict her. Lehmberg refused to resign, but said she would not run for re-election in 2016.

Unwilling to accept that, Perry decided to play hardball: he demanded that Lehmberg resign, or else he’d cut the funding for the public integrity unit.

She refused, so Perry defunded the unit.

Normal hardball politics, right?

Except for one small detail: Perry, like so many Republicans, was so used to getting away with illegal crap that he forgot that he could still be prosecuted for it. And he had committed an abuse of power: he threatened to defund a legally operating government office if a legally elected public official who was not under his authority did not resign so he could appoint a political ally to that seat. What’s more, he didn’t try to hide it: he made it quite clear what he was doing.

Well, you’re not supposed to do that, it turns out. The governor is not supposed to get involved with county business, he’s not supposed to coerce public officials, and he’s not allowed to use his office or powers as governor to do so.

Think it’s no big deal? Well, imagine if Obama, citing Perry’s corruption, demanded that Perry resign, or else Obama would cut the $1 billion-plus federal Transportation Equity Bonus funds for Texas, citing a corrupt governor’s inability to disperse those funds honestly.

Do you believe that, if Perry refused and Obama actually cut those funds on the basis of his threat, that Republicans would not immediately impeach him?

Of course they would. They would call it the foulest, basest, most despicable act of illegal “Chicago politics” imaginable. And they would see no irony in defending what Perry did at the same time, claiming they were totally different.


Perry, predictably, is not taking this sitting down. He is, however, kind of going over the top.

“This indictment amounts to nothing more than an abuse of power and I cannot and I will not allow that to happen,” Perry charged. There’s your standard conservative move: accuse those you are against with exactly what you have done wrong.

However, he went much further:

I intend to fight against those who would erode our state’s constitution and laws purely for political purposes and I intend to win. I’ll explore every legal avenue to expedite this matter. I am confident that we will ultimately prevail, that this farce of a prosecution will be revealed for what it is. And those responsible will be held accountable.

So, what is his evidence that this is a political attack? Nothing, of course.

Michael McCrum, the special prosecutor appointed to the case, is a respected attorney from San Antonio, and was actually backed by both Republican Senators for the U.S. Attorney position in Texas. Hard to call him a flaming political hack.

The grand jury who indicted him, on the other hand, consisted of residents of Austin—a county with more Democrats than Republicans. While not his “political opponents,” they potentially could have bias. On the other hand, the grand jury was selected by Special State District Judge Bert Richardson—a San Antonio Republican, appointed by Bush.

So, all in all, it does not look especially like this is a political witch hunt; a Republican-backed prosecutor convinces a grand jury selected by a Republican judge from a county which is roughly 60% Democrat and 40% Republican.

What really sounds over-the-top in Perry’s response is that “those responsible will be held accountable.” Really? Will he be holding the Republican judge who seated the grand jury responsible? Or the highly-regarded prosecutor who received Republican backing, will he be “held responsible” for playing politics? Or maybe the governor intends to track down and punish the members of the grand jury who voted to indict?

And what will Perry do to them, exactly? He calls it an “abuse of power”—what, did any of those people threaten Perry with the indictment unless Perry resigned? Nope—nobody involved said or did anything remotely political—so exactly what will Perry do to “hold them accountable”?

Perry’s bluster is not just game-playing, however: he levied a rather serious charge and a threat of retaliation, in a case where he very clearly demonstrated that he does follow up on such threats.

I’m sure it will play well with the home crowd, but from a distance, Perry sounds even worse than he did when he started.

What’s a Jobs Bill? Who Cares, SUE OBAMA!

July 13th, 2014 3 comments

Boehner’s petition to sue the president included this claim:

After years of slow economic growth and high unemployment under President Obama, they are still asking, ‘where are the jobs?’ The House has passed more than 40 jobs bills that would help. But Washington Democrats, led by the President, just ignore them.

Wow! More than 40 jobs bills! Why haven’t we heard of this before? Must be the Liberal Media just trying to make the Republicans look bad.

So, what were the bills he’s talking about? There’s a list of 46 “pro-growth jobs bills” on this page.

One thing you notice right away is that six of the bills listed here were either signed into law or are supported by Obama. We know that because Boehner’s list itself makes this clear. So, exactly how are “Washington Democrats, led by the President” just ignoring them?

But hey, that’s still 40 jobs bills that Democrats haven’t approved! They must be anti-jobs!

Let’s look at the list, starting at the top. Right there is the Keystone pipeline bill that Democrats refuse to pass in the Senate. They’re preventing oil from being more easily delivered from Canada!

Umm, wait. That’s a jobs bill?

Ah.

A piece of legislation called a “jobs” bill should be first and foremost focused on creating jobs. If it is focused on a very different task, even though it results in some jobs being created, then it’s not a “jobs” bill.

For example, let’s say I write a bill proposing that all businesses must submit 100 extra pages of forms every year for some purpose or another. Those businesses will obviously need to hire more people to collect that information, confirm it, and submit the forms. Arguably tens of thousands of new jobs must be created to accomplish this task.

Did I just write a “jobs” bill? No.

No, a “jobs” bill is one that is at the very least mostly about creating jobs, and should be directly about creating jobs. For example, in 2012, Obama was pushing strongly to pass a bill that would give tax incentives to companies which would bring jobs now outsourced overseas back to the United States. That’s clearly a “jobs” bill, as creating jobs in the United States is the primary objective. Republicans opposed it because it would make it less advantageous to hire cheap foreign labor.

Then there was the “American Jobs Act” in 2011, which Obama was also pushing, and Republicans also blocked; Obama split the bill up and got a few elements passed, but Republicans stopped most of it. The bill called for suspending some payroll taxes for employers and employees; unemployment benefits and jobs training; spending for creation of infrastructure, construction, teacher, firefighter, and police jobs; prohibiting discrimination against the unemployed; and loosening regulations on creating capital for new business projects. Again, the theme of all of this is clearly to create jobs, both directly and by economic stimulation.

So, how is the Keystone pipeline a “jobs” bill? The primary objective for the Keystone pipeline is to support the production and sale of controversial tar sands oil. It’s kind of hard to argue that approving an oil pipeline to profit oil companies—one of which is not a United States firm—is somehow primarily an American “jobs” bill. It is, however, part of a distinctly partisan pro-corporate agenda.

In fact, an estimate of the impact of the project says that the project would create only 2,000 short-term construction jobs over two years, with as many as 40,000 “indirect” jobs (providing food services for workers as one example) which are just as if not more temporary. That’s a job increase worth just 15% of last month’s job increases—and those are temporary jobs that would expire after two years, creating a jobs lurch whenever that happens.

Remember back in 2009 when Obama was really pushing the economic stimulus, and a big part of that was to create jobs on infrastructure projects? At the time, Michael Steele and the GOP claimed that these weren’t “jobs” because they were not permanent:

Steele: “You’ve got to look at what’s going to create sustainable jobs. What this administration is talking about is making work. It is creating work.”

Stephanopoulos: “But that’s a job.”

Steele: “No, it’s not a job. A job is something that a business owner creates. It’s going to be long term.”

Stephanopoulos: “So a job doesn’t count if it’s a government job?”

Steele: “Hold on. No, let me finish. That is a contract. It ends at a certain point, George. You know that. These road projects that we’re talking about have an end point. As a small-business owner, I’m looking to grow my business, expand my business. I want to reach further. I want to be international. I want to be national. It’s a whole different perspective on how you create a job versus how you create work.”

So, if Keystone passes, how many “actual,” that is to say, permanent, jobs would be created in America? About 50. More jobs that that would be created—but in Canada. The real profit from this would not be in jobs, it would be in the source of oil. This oil must be refined, but there is no new refining going on, we’re just using a different source. Which means no more new jobs on that end, not in the United States.

But wait a minute. The pipeline delivers oil, but is not the only delivery method. Is this oil that would never be delivered without the pipeline? No. It’s not like we’re not getting the oil—we’re just transporting it by less cost-effective measure, namely rail, truck, and/or barge. Which creates jobs for people running those lines of transportation. Which are currently well-paying, permanent, full-time jobs—which will be killed by the pipeline.

Then there is the fact that the pipeline will lead to higher fuel prices in the midwest, which will have a negative impact on jobs. Oil spills kill jobs over time. The costs for the pipeline will have an opportunity cost on investment in green energy, an industry which has been a true job creator and source of economic value for the United States.

According to various reports, Canadian oil companies would be the biggest winners for this project, with a few jobs spilling over to the American side, which will probably be offset by job losses created by the pipeline. Oh, and tar sands oil is incredibly polluting. In contrast, look at clean-energy car technology initiatives—which created 150,000 long-term manufacturing jobs in the United States. But that’s the kind of industry Republicans mock and deride.

So, no, Keystone is obviously not a “jobs” bill. It’s an oil-industry bill, aimed to mostly profit oil producers and refiners, mostly in Canada, with a minimal or negative jobs impact.


But hey, maybe they just really like the Keystone project, so they topped the list with it. Maybe the 39 other bills on the list are actually “jobs” bills.

How about the “Offshore Energy & Jobs Act” which will “revitalize manufacturing, create jobs, and restore our nation of builders”? That’s offshore drilling with the word “jobs” attached to it. There are other bills for “onshore drilling,” and for deregulating fracking, and other general “drill anywhere” and “get rid of all environmental protection regulations.” Essentially, most of the energy-related jobs bills are “drill & pollute as much as you like” legislature—which, like the Keystone project, is about energy interests making tons of money, and oh yeah, some jobs may be created in the process. Those are not jobs bills.

In fact, nearly half of the “jobs” bills are actually let’s-give-billions-to-morbidly-profit-rich-energy-corporation giveaways, mostly bills which attack Democratic policies to keep air & water clean and not completely wreck the environment.


But hey, maybe the other two dozen or so bills on the list are actually “jobs” bills.

The first non-energy bill listed: kill Obamacare. Which would result in millions losing the first affordable healthcare they have seen in a long time, and in many other greatly beneficial policies getting struck down. But hey, the CBO said 2 million jobs would be lost!

No, the CBO said that the equivalent of 2 million jobs in hours worked would be reduced, mostly from people working themselves half to death to pay for pre-ACA health care, which now they don’t need and so can work less but still get the same benefits. Overall, the ACA is probably more job-neutral than anything else—primarily because it’s not a jobs bill. Killing it will not create jobs, that’s GOP fantasy politicking.

So, what’s next on the list? Oh, the next three “jobs” bills are also about killing Obamacare. Go down the list, and you’ll see that they are mostly of this stripe: partisan laws trying to get Republican political agendas signed into law and Democratic political agendas repealed. Privatization of schools, half a dozen limits or prohibitions on government regulation, importing cheaper labor in high-tech industry, more attempts to get rid of the ACA, defunding welfare, spending cuts (which ironically fund jobs), cut food stamps (which are actually job-stimulative due to increase sales business), tax cuts & credits for corporations—stuff like that.

You can read it on the list. Once you get past the hyperbolic “jobs, jobs, jobs!!” titles & language adorning the proposals, you will see that none of these bills are in fact focused on creating jobs, but depend on side effects (many of them fictional) to create the jobs. But the bills themselves are all about something other than jobs.


So, essentially, John Boehner and the Republicans are complaining that Obama is not passing their partisan legislative agenda which is not about jobs, but instead is about rewarding Republican constituents and breaking down Democratic ones.

Of course, since then, the Republican “justification” behind the alleged lawsuit has been revealed as a delay in enforcement of the ACA for some businesses—a move which Republicans not only approved of at the time, but actually pressured the president to do in a different form—until they realized they could use it as a way to attack Obama, at which point they suddenly opposed such delays.

I can imagine that a lot of Americans who are not favorably inclined towards Obama will believe that there is something to the lawsuit, but only because they do not listen, think, or study the issue seriously. They will hear Boehner and other conservatives saying something like, “Obama blah blah blah failed blah blah blah killing jobs blah blah blah shameful blah blah blah destroying America blah blah blah gerbils blah blah blah fluoridation blah blah blah therefore we must [ sue / impeach ] him.”

Apparently, in conservative politics nowadays, this is what is referred to as “Thursday.”

Conservative Projection Syndrome

June 25th, 2014 4 comments

This out of Wisconsin:

Robert Monroe, a 50-year-old Shorewood health insurance executive, was charged Friday with 13 felonies related to his voting a dozen times in five elections between 2011 and 2012 using his own name as well as that of his son and his girlfriend’s son.

… Monroe was considered by investigators to be the most prolific multiple voter in memory. He was a supporter of Gov. Scott Walker and state Sen. Alberta Darling, both Republicans, and allegedly cast five ballots in the June 2012 election in which Walker survived a recall challenge.

According to the John Doe records, Monroe claimed to have a form of temporary amnesia and did not recall the election day events when confronted by investigators.

Amnesia. Right. Because forgetting that you cast your vote in one state five times causes you to vote in two other states. Under different names.

I’m pretty sure something else caused this, and I’m pretty sure I know what it is. There’s a phenomenon amongst conservatives to accuse liberals of a wrongdoing, claim it’s destroying the country—and then proceed to do that very thing yourself, to an extreme. Conservatives feel justified in doing this along a specific train of thought: Democrats did it, they got away with it, so why can’t I do it in spades?

We’ve seen this a lot of times before. Democrats used the filibuster—in what was truthfully a limited fashion—to stop Bush’s most extremist judicial nominations, which he repeatedly nominated for court seats. The Republican response? Claim that Democrats are abusing the filibuster, call that the worst crime in history, and then, once they lost power, use the filibuster to block every last thing in sight.

Republicans accused Democrats in 2006 of being so adamantly hostile to Bush that, if elected to power in Congress, they would hold endless investigations of Bush and would try to impeach him, all of this being a dire threat to America. Democrats won and did not investigate or impeach—but in 2010, when Republicans won the House, they began exactly that process, to extremes.

They claim that Democrats are on a campaign to “annihilate” the Republican Party, despite no evidence to support that—and then launch campaigns to destroy traditional Democratic power bases, such as unions and teachers, vilify liberal causes, deny any compromise for the purpose of destroying any chance of opposition success, and even attempt to destroy the very names for the other side—“liberal” becomes “The ‘L’ Word,” and “Democratic” becomes “democRAT.”

They claim that Democrats are reckless spenders responsible for the debt, and then go on a spending spree that takes a budget surplus and transforms it into a (second!) Republican-generated record-breaking national debt. They claim that Democrats are “takers,” a then acquire more government handouts for red states than the more-productive blue states are given. They claim that Democrats voted for Obama just because he is black, and then vault men like Michael Steele, Herman Cain, and Alan Keyes to high-profile roles in the shadow on Obama. They cry “class warfare!” and say it’s tearing the nation apart, and then seek to destroy the minimum wage and actually raise taxes for poor people even in light of a supposedly inviolable “no tax hike” pledge.

And then, on the issue of election fraud itself, Republicans claim Democrats steal elections, their claim based on nothing more than rumor and conspiracy theories… and then launch the grandest, most thinly-veiled nationwide campaign for election fraud imaginable.

The list goes on and on and on. This is what conservatives do.

So why did this Robert Monroe guy think it was perfectly fine for him to commit exactly the kind of voter fraud that conservatives claim, without any evidence whatsoever, is rampant amongst liberals? My guess is, this exact phenomenon: conservatives make up ludicrous false claims about liberals, believe their own fairy tales, and then feel perfectly justified to do exactly what they have railed against, only to more egregious extremes than they imagined liberals were doing.

We already have ODS (Obama Derangement Syndrome); what we see here is another conservative malady—call it “CPS”: Conservative Projection Syndrome.

“Good News … I Guess”

June 18th, 2014 2 comments

Conservatives are now officially chronic hypocrites. Obama announced the capture of the ringleader in the attack on Benghazi. Considering how Republicans have been raging about how important it is to catch these people, you’d think that they would at least show a modicum of interest.

Remember, however, that these are the same people who actually complained when Obama took out Osama bin Laden, something that would have earned George W. Bush apotheosis, had he even been interested in catching the man. They rather pointedly thanked everybody except Obama, and grouched about how every detail of the operation was somehow handled the wrong way.

So, when Obama nabbed Ahmed Abu Khattala, conservatives concluded:

  • The capture was timed to sell Hillary Clinton’s book;
  • The capture was timed to distract from the IRS scandal;
  • The capture was timed to best benefit Obama politically;
  • Obama should have caught him earlier;
  • Obama should have caught more terrorists;
  • Obama is going to Mirandize the guy (which Bush/Cheney did all the time);
  • Obama is going to try him instead of putting him in Guantanamo;
  • Obama was bad for allegedly going golfing when the guy was captured; and
  • it’s not significant, who cares?

You know that the movement has gone way too far around the bend when they get really excited about things that hurt America, and really turned off by anything that is good for the country.

Update: One can only imagine how they will react to reports that the Benghazi attack was, in fact, spurred by the anti-Islamic Internet video.

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Spitting on Returning Soldiers

June 6th, 2014 3 comments

For years, we have heard the stories about how liberal protestors of the Vietnam War spat on returning veterans on the tarmacs of airports. Everybody accepted that as truth. Even I did.

However, it wasn’t true. It was made up.

In the first place, such a thing would have been impossible. Anti-war protesters were not allowed on military bases to spit on veterans on tarmacs. Nor were they allowed on civilian tarmacs, nor would they have been able to know when any veterans returned on civilian jets. What about elsewhere? Columnist Bob Greene solicited for and collected dozens of letters telling of stories where soldiers were spit upon, but upon closer investigation, these stories always fell apart, being second- or third-hand reports that could never be corroborated. The stories only started cropping up after the mythical image had been spread via media, such as the first Rambo movie, and records one would expect, such as police reports of brawls that erupted or narratives from studies at the time, simply do not exist.

The fact is, liberal protesters during the Vietnam War generally were supportive of the soldiers, not antagonistic. This explains why 94% of returning Vietnam vets reported “friendly homecomings from their age-group peers who had not served in the military.” The protesters opposed the policies and actions of the administration, but wanted soldiers to come home safe—which explains why many veterans were among the protesters, something that would be inexplicable if those protesters treated soldiers that way.

So, how did we get the myth of spitting on soldiers? Primarily, it was a way for conservatives to discredit the anti-war movement, and later, as a convenient narrative to paint liberals as unreasonable, or even traitorous. Since the 80s or even earlier, conservatives have used soldiers and veterans as weapons or shields to protect themselves from scrutiny or to attack their opponents. Reagan, on the spot for having put U.S. Marines in harm’s way in Lebanon, was in deep trouble politically when so many were killed. His response? That critics and reporters were attacking the soldiers, suggesting that they “died in vain.” George W. Bush continued that tradition, constantly spinning any criticism of his lies or mismanagement as “attacks” on the troops.

However, the truth remains: liberals or anti-war protesters did not spit on or, as a general rule, otherwise disrespect returning soldiers for political, ideological, or any other reasons.

Well, now we are in a different situation. For the past several years, an American serviceman has been held captive by the Taliban. Conservatives have consistently, over that time, made an issue out of his captivity; they called him a hero, and demanded that he be brought home. Republicans even said that we should trade the five Taliban leaders in Guantanamo for him. We do not leave soldiers behind.

So Obama did exactly that.

So naturally, conservatives went apeshit, calling the return—something they supported until just a few days ago—illegal, unethical, dangerous, even traitorous.

But here is the disgusting, despicable, hypocritical part: they have decided, for political and ideological purposes, that it serves them to spit on this returning soldier.

Conservatives are now in full attack mode. The man they called a hero before, now that Obama was the one to arrange his release, is now characterized as a deserter. A traitor. He speaks the language of the Taliban. His father looks like a Taliban. He got other soldiers killed. His return puts others in danger. He is not worth it. He is scum.

Now, I have no idea if any of the stories and rumors about Bergdahl are true. Nobody does. And that’s the point. The man served in the armed forces, spent five years in captivity, and is not even out of the hospital yet. We have no idea what is or is not true.

For conservatives, it doesn’t matter. They don’t give a shit. All they know is, they can attack Obama over this. For that, Bergdahl gets spit upon. For political and ideological reasons.

He didn’t even get to an American tarmac yet.

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Enforcement and Bias

May 27th, 2014 1 comment

Despite their constant cries of being persecuted, the fact remains that when conservatives protest, even disruptively and sometimes threateningly, they get more or less a free pass. When liberals protest, however, then the hammer comes down. Paul Waldman at The American Prospect details one rather notable example:

The latest, from the New York Times, describes how law enforcement officials around the country went on high alert when the Occupy protests began in 2011, passing information between agencies with an urgency suggesting that at least some people thought that people gathering to oppose Wall Street were about to try to overthrow the U.S. government. And we remember how many of those protests ended, with police moving in with force. …

If you can’t recall any Tea Party protests in 2009 and 2010 being broken up by baton-wielding, pepper-spraying cops in riot gear, that’s because it didn’t happen. Just like the anti-war protesters of the Bush years, the Tea Partiers were unhappy with the government, and saying so loudly. But for some reason, law enforcement didn’t view them as a threat.

He cites the more recent example of Cliven Bundy’s ranch, when protesters actually pointed guns at law enforcement officials—and got away with it. Liberal protesters sit quietly, and they get doused with pepper spray. Maybe they should have all brought AR-15s.

Nor is this the only example. When liberal protesters did literally the least offensive form of protest possible—wearing T-shirts—they were singled out by the secret service, detained, or even arrested. When Obama became president, conservative protesters went armed with handguns and semiautomatic rifles at presidential events. Nothing happened to them, aside from being “closely watched.”

Nor is it just when arms are present. When liberal churches had guest speakers, not affiliated with the church, whose speeches at the pulpit had a political tone, the IRS went after them rather assiduously. When leaders of conservative churches outright endorsed Republican candidates to their congregations, even when the Catholic church itself publicly inserted itself into the presidential campaign by condemning John Kerry, not a thing happened. When the IRS went after all political groups but, for a while, only the Tea Party tags were known, it became a full-blown scandal still pursued today, even after being disproven. But when the IRS clearly discriminated against liberal groups in favor of conservative ones… not a peep.

It is one aspect of the IOKIYAR mentality. Which perhaps is one reason that conservatives play up being persecuted all the time. Aside from rather common right-wing projection, it helps to deflect attention from your faults if you can claim that the real victims are doing it to you.

Categories: IOKIYAR, Right-Wing Hypocrisy Tags:

Age and Health

May 19th, 2014 4 comments

Between Benghazi, Brain Damage, and everything else, the GOP is either relentless in its attack on any potential Democratic candidate, or they are scared to death of Hillary Clinton:

Reince Priebus, the chairman of the Republican National Committee, insisted on Sunday that Hillary Rodham Clinton’s health and age were fair targets for inquiry ahead of a possible 2016 presidential run, as both he and Karl Rove, the Republican strategist who injected those questions into the debate, suggested that such scrutiny might dissuade her from running.

Are health and age fair game? Sure. We should not ignore the health of a candidate who could be in office for as long as eight years.

Do they have any bearing on Hillary Clinton? No. Instead, it’s just another smear campaign.

Remember when John McCain was running? He was not just 72 years old, he was a cancer survivor. As it turns out, he stayed healthy through much of what could have been his two terms (knock on wood—that he wasn’t elected, that is). But it was wholly acceptable to be worried about a man who could be in office beyond the average male life expectancy (77.4 for males in the U.S.), and whose vice president would be a raving lunatic.

In contrast, Hillary will be 68 in 2016, and the female life expectancy is 82.2 years, meaning she would still be six years shy of that age were she to complete two full terms. In terms of how far she is from reaching life expectancy, she also beats out Mitt Romney, Bob Dole, George H. W. Bush, and Ronald Reagan when they all ran for a first term of office.

So, what exactly is the “age” issue with Hillary supposed to be?

The answer (whisper it, now) is that she’s a woman!

If you don’t think the GOP is going to play the sexist angle, you’re naive. Of course they are.

And the market is prime for it. Remember when Chelsea announced she was pregnant, and many in the media wondered (a) if it would matter that a grandmother was running for office, or (b) if Chelsea had gotten herself pregnant so Hillary’s chances in office would be improved? Forget that both points contradict each other, they were both speculating negatives about Hillary.

When Mitt Romney ran for president in 2012, he had some twenty grandchildren. Aside from the publicity photos in which this fact was played up as a positive, the fact was never even mentioned in the race at all. McCain had four grandchildren when he ran—did anyone even know that?

As for health, what have we got? While dehydrated suffering from the flu, Hillary fell and hit her head. She had a concussion, and a blood clot developed (outside her brain), which was dissipated and caused no stroke or other neurological damage. Aside from possible slight, temporary double vision, there appear to have been no lingering or permanent effects. While the clot could have caused a stroke, it did not, in the same way that it could have caused death, but it did not. In fact, at the time, Republicans actually scoffed at Hillary’s medical issues, claiming she was faking it all so she could avoid testifying about Benghazi. And when she did come to testify, double-vision or no, she wiped the floor with them. But in deference to Karl Rove and Rance Priebus, maybe the Republicans on the committee were even more brain-damaged.

In short, what she had is something one can recover from. You know, like McCain’s cancer.

In the meantime, you know that they will play it up. Determined to stay classy, Fox News ran an article from—I kid you not—The National Enquirer:

HILLARY CLINTON has secretly decided to run for president in 2016, but doctors have warned that pursuing her dream of becoming America’s first female commander in chief could kill her!

In a bombshell world exclusive, The ENQUIRER has learned Hillary wants to spurn her doctors’ advice and announce her candidacy on June 4, 2014 – the day her late mother would have turned 95. …

“Hillary’s doctors have painted a grim picture of her health,” said a close source. “Behind the scenes, they’re telling her, ‘Running for president will kill you.’

But Hillary wants to ignore her doctors because she’s so desperate to be America’s first female president.

Omigod Omigod Omigod!!! You don’t SAY!!!

I’m sure that those who consume Fox’s usual crap will have no problem accepting ”journalism“ told in a narrative mimicking a feeble-minded 12-year-old.

The Utter Hypocrisy of Republican “Investigations”

May 8th, 2014 5 comments

So, what are Republicans doing, since they’re certainly not passing laws to help the American people?

House Republicans on Wednesday will take the first in a series of steps intended to spotlight what they are convinced is a pattern of cover-up and political whitewashing by the White House, but what Democrats contend is an election-year stunt.

The House will vote late on Wednesday to hold in contempt Lois Lerner, a former Internal Revenue Service official who is at the center of multiple investigations into possible acts of political retribution.

Then, on Thursday, the House is expected to formally approve a resolution to establish a select committee to investigate the 2012 attack on American facilities in Benghazi, Libya.

Through multiple congressional investigations in both chambers, Republicans have sought to link President Obama and his former secretary of state, Hillary Rodham Clinton, to a politically motivated effort to obscure what really happened in Benghazi when the American ambassador to Libya and three others were killed.

At the same time, parallel investigations on Capitol Hill have tried to show that the president and his aides used the I.R.S. to persecute Tea Party groups in the hopes of muting their political effectiveness during the 2012 elections.

Hmmm… the IRS “scandal” in which the IRS actually targeted liberal organizations more than conservative ones? Yes, what a terrible scandal. And we know that when political favoritism is in evidence, Republicans always begin years-long investigations.

Like in the following cases from ten years ago:

In 2004, before the election, a liberal-leaning church in California called Bush’s doctrine of pre-emptive war a “failed doctrine,” and urged parishioners to take all they knew about Jesus into the voting booth. The IRS responded by threatening the church with taxation, that it would lose its tax-exempt status and be virtually destroyed by the IRS if it did not apologize and cease any such talk in the future. …

In fact, a Baptist pastor in Arkansas praised Bush for his performance while slamming Kerry for his views, while showing photos of both candidates on the church’s AV system–the Bush portrait flattering, the photo of Kerry degrading. The IRS declined to investigate or take any action. Furthermore, the progressive church in California which is under siege by the IRS did not endorse either candidate, nor did the man who gave the sermon, who was just a guest speaker and not formally attached to the church. The Arkansas pastor was formally attached to the church and was far more blatant in his politicization. So why leave the Arkansas church alone, and go full-blast after the California church? According to reports, the California church was not even given the usual obligatory initial warning; the IRS came after them, guns blazing, from the very start.

In fact, the IRS has gone after other left-leaning churches as well as the NAACP for political speech, but not Pat Robertson or a host of other tax-exempt conservatives. Even the Catholics, famous for their intervention against Kerry during the 2004 elections, at the very same time called for the IRS to go after a liberal church in Florida. This article [link broken] demonstrates two churches with heavily political speakers, one liberal (with Bill Clinton), one conservative (with Jerry Falwell and invited Republican representatives)–but only the liberal church was investigated by the IRS. Falwell was not investigated or punished even though he openly endorsed George Bush in a ministry newsletter.

Republicans, who ran Congress back then, despite open evidence of IRS political targeting, did not even consider an investigation.

And how about after 9/11, when there was clear evidence of massive failures by the Bush administration to detect and stop the terror attacks? Republicans dragged their heels for years before allowing even a ridiculously gentle investigation, which treated the president and vice-president with kid gloves. How about the staggeringly disastrous and knowing lies the administration told to sell the Iraq War, which cost untold amounts of money, lives, and damage to the country’s reputation? The massive intelligence failures involved in that debacle? The use of torture? The unwarranted wiretapping of American citizens? The political retribution exposing a national security agent when some of these lies were exposed? Did the Republicans investigate any of these?

I will let a Republican from 2004 explain:

When President Clinton was in office, Congress exercised its oversight powers with no sense of proportionality. But oversight of the Bush administration has been even worse: With few exceptions, Congress has abdicated oversight responsibility altogether.

Republican Rep. Ray LaHood aptly characterized recent congressional oversight of the administration: “Our party controls the levers of government. We’re not about to go out and look beneath a bunch of rocks to try to cause heartburn.”

In fact, when the 2006 midterm elections loomed, Republicans started issuing hysterical warnings about what Democrats would do if they gained control of Congress—from the Republican National Committee:

The Democrats’ plan for 2006? Take the House and Senate, and impeach the President. With our nation at war, is this the kind of Congress you want? … Democrats should to be focused on winning the War on Terror, not undermining it with political axe-grinding of the ugliest kind.

And:

This year, we face another momentous choice. Fight and defeat the terrorists, or retreat from the central front in the War on Terror. Live up to our calling as Americans to stand for freedom, or choose Democrats, who are being as clear as they possibly can that they will censure and impeach the President if they win back Congress.

That’s right: Republicans’ greatest fears for the security of the United States was that Democrats, if given power over the Senate or House, would start partisan investigations of the president, which would lead the country to ruin.

Did the Democrats, who in fact gained power of both houses in 2006, do that? No. They utterly failed to start any such investigations, despite a constellation of powerfully convincing reasons to do so, in the name of calming inter-party enmity.

But now? With Republicans controlling only the House, and that despite losing the popular vote, only having control because they clearly gerrymandered their way into office? Are they showing restraint of any kind?

Of course not. They doggedly investigate the IRS despite evidence that the opposite of what they charge is actually true.

And Benghazi? There is little question that if Hillary Clinton were not the clear Democratic front-runner for 2016, Republicans would not be so interested (although any chance to smear Obama is hard for them to pass up). Even at that, it has been clear for some time that Republican charges of al Qaeda being behind the attacks are patently false, and while it was a security failure, it pales before the monumental failures of the previous administration, and does not seem to have any of the elements Republicans charge—including the charges of a cover-up. It was a tragic situation that happened more than a dozen times under Bush, when none of the incidents were ever investigated like Benghazi is now. Did Republicans investigate after clear evidence emerged that Bush used terror warnings to undermine Kerry’s momentum in 2004? Did Republicans investigate when the Bush administration failed utterly to provide U.S. soldiers with sufficient armor and protection when we sent them to Iraq? Hell, no.

Both Benghazi and the IRS are, without any doubt whatsoever, patently political attacks being carried out by Republicans in hopes of gaining advantages in the next two elections.

It is an absolutely hypocritical abuse of government power for rankly partisan attacks.

Which, of course, Democrats will never even consider investigating. Because that would cause enmity.

Categories: Right-Wing Hypocrisy Tags:

No, They’re Not Equivalent

April 26th, 2014 7 comments

After hyping Cliven Bundy for more than a week as being some kind of outstanding folk hero, conservatives were sent scrambling into damage control mode when Bundy suddenly started spouting rather racist comments on camera. Most of them loudly condemned what Bundy said—good for them!—but they are complaining even more loudly that liberals are taking advantage of the situation, unfairly smearing conservatives and the Republican Party in general.

One tack is to complain that liberals get away with such statements all the time, and are never criticized in the media when they go racist. Republican National Committee spokesman Sean Spicer:

[W]hat I find fascinating as the chief spokesman for Republican Party is when a guy with a problem with cattle grazing and discussion about the size of government and overreach of the federal government makes a comment, every reporter calls the Republican National Committee asking for comment. But yet when similar incidents happen time and time again on the left, there is zero coverage, absolutely zero.“

”Just this week Gov. Pat Quinn, the Democratic governor of Illinois, president’s home state, made anti-Semitic Jewish and black comments and there was zero discussion until last night when CNN picked it up,“ he continued. ”But, the rest of the national media, a sitting Democratic governor does anti-Semitic comments that were offensive to Republicans and blacks and there was no coverage. So, while I’m willing to call out time and time again anyone who uses inappropriate language and RNC has gotten — time and time again we’re asking from student council elections to county officials … but when similar instance have happened on the left – zero, zero, zero coverage….

His key example is Democratic (kudos to Spicer for getting the adjectival correct!) Gov. Pat Quinn, who, according to Spicer, “made anti-Semitic Jewish and black comments.” These are supposedly more or less equivalent to Bundy’s comments.

So let’s see if this is true. What comments did Quinn make?

Umm, actually, he made no such comment. The incident being reported was about a tweet made by his campaign staff, in the campaign’s Twitter account (separate from the governor’s). So, what was the racist, anti-black, and anti-Semitic tweet?

“If Rauner is willing to throw his own money away like this, what’s he going to do when he gets his hands on ours?” http://t.co/a1vAS0cChl

Umm… doesn’t seem really racist. Who is Rauner? A white Republican candidate running against Quinn. But hey, maybe the article is totally racist. The tweet does not endorse the article, just quotes from it, but I suppose it could be considered and implied endorsement. Click on the link, and you’ll find an article in the Chicago Sun-Times written by Neil Steinberg, which contains the quote. The quote is the last sentence in the article. So, what’s the article about?

The article is a scathing criticism of a woman named Hermene Hartman, a woman who publishes a periodical for the African-American community. According to Steinberg, Hartman was given $51,000 from Republican gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner, and, allegedly, wrote a glowing piece about Rauner in exchange for the money.

It’s certainly a serious charge, albeit one of relatively minor importance. But how is that anti-black, and anti-Semitic?

It is because of this part of the article, in the first three paragraphs:

“The machine,” political guru Don Rose said, years ago, “could get 30 percent of the black votes for George Wallace over Martin Luther King.”

Though we don’t have to raise hypotheticals. When the actual Dr. King actually did bring his open occupancy marches to Chicago, there was no shortage of black aldermen willing to rise in City Council and denounce King as an unwelcome outsider, their strings pulled by Richard J. Daley.

Let me be clear: As a general rule, individuals will sell out the interests of their groups in return for personal benefit. It isn’t just a black thing. Jews collaborated with the Nazis during World War II, helping them to round up their own people in the hopes they’d be the last to go.

Ah! OK, there’s the Jewish connection. If you read conservative comments, the conclusion is that the emphasized statement above from the article is saying that blacks are like Nazis, and the whole thing is anti-Semitic.

Umm, really? First of all, Steinberg did not say that black people are like Nazis, but rather that in any community, you will find people who will sell out their own, as some Jews did in WWII. And, sadly, it did happen—some Jews did indeed collaborate with the Nazis (examples here, here, and here).

What, exactly, is anti-black and anti-Semitic about that? It’s a scathing indictment of one woman and allegedly some unspecified others, but not of black people in general. The writer is careful not to label this as only a black issue. And while pointing out that Jewish Nazi collaborators existed is not exactly the most politic thing to do during Passover, it is not false, either.

So, what do we have here?

On the one hand, Cliven Bundy, which most of the conservative community was hyping as a hero to their cause, giving him massive coverage and a national platform few every enjoy, standing in front of a camera and saying that “Negroes” who got abortions and “put” their young men in jail never learned to “pick cotton” and would be happier as slaves. When asked later if he really meant that, he repeated it.

On the other hand, you have, not even the Democratic governor of Illinois, who is little-known and not highly-praised, but a campaign staffer for the governor, tweeting a quote from an article which was not racist at all, but in the opposite end of the article, a statement was made which said that every community including the African-American community has sell-outs, and used Jewish collaborators from WWII as an example.

Yeah, I totally see why it’s reasonable to be outraged at how the national media did not treat these two stories in a similar fashion.

This is what happens when you delve into claims of equivalency made by conservatives when they get all defensive: the truth is nothing like they portray it to be. They just lie, and hope that nobody looks too closely at their claims.

The Republican Mindset

April 20th, 2014 1 comment

This article crystallizes the mindset of the Republican party extremely well.

Common Core is a set of K-12 educational standards that would delineate what any student should know at the end of a grade level in English and Math. It was created by the National Governor’s Association as a state-driven initiative. It had bipartisan backing and strong Republican support. Only a few crazies on the wingnut fringe opposed it.

Then Obama got behind it too, offering a few incentives for states to adopt it.

Suddenly, conservatives have abandoned it en masse and now call it “Obamacore,” saying it is a vile overreach by the federal government to warp the minds of youngsters.

Like Obamacare itself, and so many other ideas that actually were conservative to begin with and had major right-wing support, all it takes is for Obama to voice support for it, and suddenly the bulk of the Republican Party and conservatives everywhere make a 180-degree turn and call it treachery.

The Republican revolt against the Common Core can be traced to President Obama’s embrace of it, particularly his linking the adoption of similar standards to states’ eligibility for federal education grants and to waivers from No Child Left Behind, the national education law enacted by President George W. Bush.

The comparison to Obamacare is not coincidental; now that the ACA has flopped as a political war cry, conservatives appear to be desperate for anything they can grab ahold of to win elections with, and if that means sabotaging what they believed was an important improvement to children’s education, well, so be it.

A few Republicans stand in defense of the program, but are kind of being drowned out by the rush of Republicans turning tail.

Jeb Bush said the pivot seemed more like pandering. In remarks this month during an event at his father’s presidential library, he affirmed his support for the Common Core. “I guess I’ve been out of office for a while, so the idea that something that I support — because people are opposed to it means that I have to stop supporting it if there’s not any reason based on fact to do that?” he said. “I just don’t feel compelled to run for cover when I think this is the right thing to do for our country.”

With a knowing grin, he added, “Others that supported the standards all the sudden now are opposed to it.”

Some other former Republican governors who pushed the adoption of the Common Core agree with Mr. Bush. “There is a great deal of paranoia in the country today,” said Sonny Perdue, a former governor of Georgia, who was also instrumental in creating the program. “It’s the two P’s, polarization and paranoia.”

“Polarization and paranoia,” well-put. But there’s one more P: Politics.

Supporters of the Common Core, which outlines skills that students in each grade should master but leaves actual decisions about curriculum to states and districts, say that it was not created by the federal government and that it was up to the states to decide whether to adopt the standards.

But opponents say Mr. Obama’s attempt to reward states that adopt the standards with grants and waivers amounts to a backdoor grab for federal control over what is taught in schools.

The only meager silver lining I see in this is the generation of idiotic utterances to support a completely hypocritical and empty opposition to something purely on political grounds. Cue Ted Cruz:

“Standards inevitably influence the curricula being taught to meet those standards,” Mr. Cruz said.

Ya think? Never mind that educational standards were a big Republican idea until just recently.

Or, if you recall, this dilly from a Republican candidate for governor of Arizona:

Melvin’s comments led Sen. David Bradley, D-Tucson, to ask him whether he’s actually read the Common Core standards, which have been adopted by 45 states.

“I’ve been exposed to them,” Melvin responded.

Pressed by Bradley for specifics, Melvin said he understands “some of the reading material is borderline pornographic.” And he said the program uses “fuzzy math,” substituting letters for numbers in some examples.

Stay classy, Republicans.

No Matter What

March 24th, 2014 2 comments

Not a shock, I know, to realize that no matter what Obama does, Republicans will castigate him as weak, ineffective, or worse. Republicans even thrashed Obama when he killed Osama bin Laden; if they can’t appreciate that, you know that nothing he does will meet with their approval.

Now, Mitt Romney is calling Obama “naive” for failing to foresee the annexation of Crimea:

During an appearance on CBS’s “Face the Nation” Sunday, the former Republican presidential nominee said Obama should have been more proactive prior to the Russia’s annexation — and should have threatened the Russians with the possibility of sanctions before they took action to take over the region.

“There’s no question but that the president’s naiveté with regards to Russia, and his faulty judgment about Russia’s intentions and objectives, has led to a number of foreign policy challenges that we face,” Romney declared. “And unfortunately, not having anticipated Russia’s intentions, the president wasn’t able to shape the kinds of events that may have been able to prevent the kinds of circumstances that you’re seeing in the Ukraine.”

That’s right! Obama was naive because he was not threatening Putin with sanctions right before he invaded Crimea. Like a real leader, John McCain, was saying we should have threatened Russia with sanctions—this just days before Putin made his move against Ukraine:

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) reemphasized his calls for sanctions against the Ukrainian government for the ongoing violence against protesters while criticizing President Obama for his “naiveté” towards the situation.

Oh. Whoops.

Interesting how Obama was “naive” before the Russian invasion for not threatening sanctions against Ukraine, while now he’s naive for not having threatened sanctions against Russia.

Oh, and by the way, Obama was threatening sanctions at the same time Republicans were calling him naive for not threatening sanctions. Nor would the threat of sanctions, before, during, or after, have made any difference.

In the meantime, while the Obama administration did not specifically spell out sanctions against Russia, it hardly failed to take notice; a few days before the invasion, the administration’s rhetoric turned tough against Putin, warning that it would be a “grave mistake” if Putin moved in Crimea.

As for foresight, Bush 41 did not foresee Saddam Hussein invading Kuwait, although there were just as many clues in that regard. Bush 43 did not foresee 9/11, despite getting rather urgent warnings. Nor did Bush foresee Hussein not having WMD (though it could be argued that that was a pretext and therefore there was nothing to foresee), nor did he foresee the Russia’s similar invasion into Georgia. Romney never criticized those failures, of course.

When Russia was moving on Georgia, in fact, Bush expressed “grave concern” towards Russia’s actions. Sounds strangely familiar—and yet, I do not recall Romney saying Bush was “naive.” Nor did Obama.


There’s another small point that needs to be cleared up.

Romney appears to have some swing amongst conservatives on this issue, since in the 2012 election, he named Russia as America’s greatest “geopolitical foe.” His people have been trying to paint him as astute and prescient; “Romney’s analysis of the Russian threat was actually spot on,” noted one of his former advisors.

You have to admit, it does kind of sound like he was on the ball.

However, if you check back, Romney’s actual 2012 statements did not predict Russia would start annexing former satellite states—quite the opposite, in fact:

“There’s no question but that in terms of geopolitics — I’m talking about votes at the United Nations and actions of a geopolitical nature — Russia is the No. 1 adversary in that regard. That doesn’t make them an enemy. It doesn’t make them a combatant. They don’t represent the No. 1 national security threat. The No. 1 national security threat, of course, to our nation is a nuclear Iran. Time continues to pass. They continue to move towards nuclearization. This is more and more disconcerting and dangerous to the world. But Russia — particularly look at a place like Syria. Russia has supported the Assad regime even as it has been attacking its own people. Russia likewise has been slow to move to the kinds of sanctions that have been called for in Iran. Russia is a geopolitical adversary, but it’s not an enemy with, you know, missiles being fired at one another or things of that nature.” [bold emphasis mine]

As you can see, Romney actually thought that Russia would not be a threat militarily, just in their tangential support of nations we wanted to exert control over.

Here’s the thing: if you predict that the roof will spring a leak in the rain, and then it collapses in on you on a sunny day, you do not get to claim prescience. Yes, you predicted something would go wrong with the roof. But you were way off on that prediction.

And that’s a big part of what we’re seeing here: the massive oversimplification of issues like these. If all you needed was some sense of opposition coming from Russia’s direction, you would have been able to handle it completely differently. As if Obama had not been aware of the fact that Putin was aggressive towards us, or that he underestimated Russia any more than Romney did. As if all Obama needed to do was to threaten Putin specifically with sanctions instead of sending grave warnings, and that would have stopped Putin cold. As if we know everything that happened at diplomatic level that the public is not aware of—it’s possible, perhaps even likely, that Obama did threaten Putin with sanctions privately. There is a whole world of activity that happens outside of public view.

In short, Republicans are doing what they do best: trying to pummel Obama and make themselves look good. As usual, it’s all hype and no substance; all politics, and no gravity. It has nothing to do with how well Obama is handling anything. Obama could have kicked Russia’s ass, wrestled Putin to the ground, and then rode home on a Bengal tiger; Republicans would still be bashing him on whatever pretense they could think of.

Recently, In Fundie Land…

March 23rd, 2014 1 comment

Creationists are demanding equal time on TV to refute Neil deGrasse Tyson’s Cosmos episodes which discuss evolution.

I find it fascinating that people like this make demands of this sort. It highlights a common conservative shortcoming: they rail and scream about how bad something is, then they try to do the thing they railed against but even more so, and then they freak out when they meet any resistance to it.

You see, these are the same kind of people who detest the very idea of “equal time,” especially in the context of the Fairness Doctrine. They spend a great amount of time decrying the very concept, acting like it is some kind of socialist fascism, and just an excuse for liberals to take over Fox News and conservative radio. (This is interesting on another level, because it shows up how they know that the media is in fact conservative, else the Fairness Doctrine would benefit them!)

But when they see some documentary or news report that says something they don’t like, their knee-jerk reaction is—naturally—to demand equal time.

They don’t call it the “Fairness Doctrine,” which they hate, but that is exactly what they are asking for. What we call the “equal time rule” is limited to political candidates in a campaign (not to mention, documentaries were exempt from the rule). The Fairness Doctrine is about allowing equal time in the media for opposing views on important issues—which is exactly what is being called for now. Neither the rule nor the doctrine is still in force, though; equal time was done away with not too long ago, and the Fairness Doctrine was scrapped in 1987.

Another aspect to the creationist demand is the idea that somehow, creationists aren’t getting equal time in the media. Which, of course, is laughable—there are all kinds of fundamentalist religious TV shows and even whole networks running 24-7; should scientists be able to demand equal time on their channels? Again, the hypocrisy and double-standard are thick and deep.


The Westboro Baptist Church remains clueless after the death of their former pastor, Fred Phelps. As the church members protested a music concert, a group of people across the street held up a banner that read, “Sorry for Your Loss.” Poignant, and to the point—it expressed sorrow for anyone’s death, sympathy for those in grieving, and served as an example of how one reacts properly to those who have lost a loved one.

A member of the Westboro group responded, “I don’t even know what they’re saying.”

That response speaks volumes.


And, for the really low-hanging fruit, let’s just note that Sarah Palin recently chastised women who wear a “symbol of death around their neck.” She was referring to women who wear a necklace with a tiny coat hanger in protest of the campaign to criminalize abortion. As usual, she did not think two inches beyond her immediate words, or else she would have realized that she herself has worn a symbol of death around her neck all of her adult life.

How about chastising anyone who wears the cross as a symbol for the love of Jesus and yet consistently campaigns against that which Jesus actually stood for?

Breaking the Nazi Barrier

March 16th, 2014 3 comments

I know that this is probably obvious to anyone who reads this… but still, it is hard not to observe the massively hypocritical hyperbole we get now from the right wing. It used to be that people didn’t equate everything they disagreed with to Nazis. Then there was the rule of thumb that the first one to use the word “Nazi” lost the argument. But now? To hell with political correctness! Nazis away!

“Political correctness” is so oppressive, that the U.S. is now “very much like Nazi Germany,” and we are living in a “Gestapo Age.” And if the people dare criticize the rich or object to the gap between rich and poor, it is akin to Kristallnacht, and we’re again well on our way to becoming Nazi Germany.

On the other hand, the ideal fair and “free market” is a society where workers are locked into a store and commanded not to use the emergency exits unless the building is literally burning down–and workers like the guy with a crushed ankle follow those commands because they cannot afford to lose their minimum-wage jobs. We’re lucky to live in a country where paying someone a wage which will not even let them approach the poverty line is seen as unthinkable largesse. No, that’s not fascism.

And a society where denying gay people not only the right to marry, but trying to force through laws which would make it so that any doctor could leave them dying in an emergency room, or any policemen could leave them abandoned to a horrific crime–well, that’s simply religious freedom at work. Not allowing us to abuse homosexuals or to deny women access to contraceptives, that’s Nazi Germany.

You see, when a billionaire is criticized for luxuriating in massive opulence and wealth after crashing the economy, it’s like sending a Jew to the concentration camps.

But slashing billions of dollars of food stamps needed by families with children on the edge of starvation, and calling anyone who uses them a parasite, well, that’s just good old common-sense American Christian morality. And the billions then lavished on corporations already awash in unimaginably astronomical profits, well, who could blame them for taking what’s being offered?

The class war is being vociferously fought, but not by the poor. Religious intolerance abounds, but it’s not coming from the areligious.

But hey, I’m just being a Nazi by bringing this up. Shame on me.

Fox News Reports That Arizona Law Is an Attack on Homosexuality, and That God Is Dead

February 27th, 2014 2 comments

Foxhl-2Fox News has reported that a Mississippi woman tried to get Bible scriptures copied at Walgreens, but the clerk at the shop refused to do so on copyright grounds, in an act which is characterized as an “attack on Christianity.” In doing so, Fox is clearly suggesting that denying service to a class of people is equivalent to an attack on those people; thus, the proposed laws in Arizona and Ohio to refuse service to gay people is, by inference, an “attack on homosexuality.”

Furthermore, Fox appears to dismiss the copyright claims baed on the statement that “Copyright law typically covers books for the life of the author, plus 50 years,” clearly indicating that Fox News believes that God is dead, and has been for at least half a century.

Fox News has so far not commented on its new atheist, pro-gay policy.


Seriously, though, this article is a bonanza of bias. First of all, what the hell is a major “news” outlet reporting on a woman having difficulties with the copy clerk at her local Walgreens? Is it that slow a news day? This reads more like an article from The Onion.

Second, the clerk actually had a valid point: it was not just Bible scriptures, there was artwork involved, and the clerk had no way of knowing if those images were copyrighted or not.

Third, the issue has already been resolved, with Walgreens simply asking the woman to sign a waiver to take care of any potential copyright issues.

Fourth, this has nothing whatsoever to do with religion, unless someone has evidence that the clerk was acting on grounds aside from the purely reasonable legal grounds claimed; none whotsoever is presented.

And lastly, acting like any of this is somehow an “attack” on anything is hysteric hyperbole.

In short, this can be safely classified as “Wednesday at Fox News.”

The Difference Between Private and Public

February 12th, 2014 4 comments

Let’s say there are two financial managers you might trust with your money. One has a sterling record as a manager of other people’s money, but you find out he kept some of his own money secret from his wife and spent it on expensive nights out with the boys. The other manager also had the exact same personal misdeeds—but his reputation as a financial manager was terrible, to the point where he seemed downright antagonistic toward his clients. Who would you choose?

Ran Paul is trying to make points in a few areas by attacking Bill Clinton recently. He’s trying both to sully Hillary’s reputation with Bill’s, and he’s trying to combat the impression that Republicans are waging a war on women:

“He took advantage of a girl that was 20 years old and an intern in his office,” Paul told host David Gregory. “There is no excuse for that, and that is predatory behavior.”

On Newsmax TV Thursday, Paul – reportedly considering a presidential run himself – tried to connect Clinton’s past to 2016 front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton.

“What if that unsavory character is your husband?” Paul asked. “What if that unsavory character is Bill Clinton raising money for people across the country, and what if he were someone that was guilty of sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior at the workplace – which, obviously, having sex with an intern at the office is inappropriate by any standard.”

Then he came back to it in a pre-taped C-SPAN interview to be broadcast Sunday.

Said Paul: “The Democrats can’t say, ‘We’re the great defenders of women’s rights in the workplace and we will defend you against some kind of abusive boss that uses their position of authority to take advantage of a young women’ when the leader of their party, the leading fundraiser in the country, is Bill Clinton, who was a perpetrator of that kind of sexual harassment. Anybody who wants to take money from Bill Clinton or have a fundraiser has a lot of explaining to do.”

In one sense, he is correct: Bill Clinton’s sexual antics in the White House were, without question, inappropriate. However, his attempt to label Clinton a “sexual predator” and thus his fundraising activities for Hillary are an unacceptable affront… well, that’s stretching it a bit. To further claim that personal dalliances somehow rise to the level of public policy is an even bigger stretch.

First off, the claim that Lewinsky proves Clinton to be a sexual predator ignores the fact that Lewinsky was herself a predator; her friends reported that she said she would be getting her “presidential kneepads” at the White House. Which sort of makes Paul’s claims fall a bit flat. It’s a bit difficult to call something sexual harassment if Lewinsky showed enthusiasm for entering the relationship before ever arriving at the scene. It’s standard conservative revisionist history, alas—Clinton got into trouble for the affair and for the testimony he gave, not for victimizing Lewinsky. An affair can be overlooked; rape cannot. That’s why Paul and others are trying to smear Clinton as a “predator,” because what he actually did can be forgiven.

To then further say that since Bill had workplace affairs, Hillary is under suspicion for having Bill campaign for her just does not ring true. And the claim will fall flat—people have had fifteen or more years to form opinions on this, and most see Bill Clinton as a cad, but not an egregious one. They saw Hillary as the victim, and accepted the fact that she and her husband worked things out, however they may have done it. It will be difficult to get past such a long-held conclusion. Moreover, this is a party which sports the likes of Newt Gingrich, who not only had affairs before leaving two wives, but cheated on and left one while she was being treated for cancer, all while he was criticizing Clinton and trying to get him impeached. Kinda makes Clinton look like an amateur.

However, there’s another reason Paul’s assertions fall flat: nothing Bill Clinton did sexually had anything to do with public policy. Clinton did not force rape victims to be violated by the state with an ultrasound wand when they wanted to abort a pregnancy caused by the rapist. Clinton did not try to redefine rape. Clinton did not fight tooth and nail to deny women equal treatment in the workplace. Clinton did not do everything he could to deny women access to contraception or access to reproductive health care.

Indeed, whenever conservatives try to point the finger at Democrats regarding the “war on women,” it is always accusations of having sexual affairs, something conservative politicians do just as often. Democrats do not push any public policy issues that are antagonistic to women, which is a huge contrast with Republicans.

Women may or may not choose to forgive any politician’s personal transgressions, but trying make laws which would hurt millions of women nationwide is simply on a completely different plane.

So, no, Paul’s criticisms and similar ones by other conservatives are essentially meaningless.

It’s Important Only When It Suits Us

February 7th, 2014 1 comment

The Wall Street Journal, November 2009:

Grim Milestone as Jobless Rate Tops 10%


Bad news for then. Today, we hear that the unemployment rate fell yet again, to 6.6%, the lowest it has been since Bush exploded job losses in 2008.

So, what’s the Journal’s headline today?

Ignore the Unemployment Rate


Not that I expected anything different. Conservatives almost gleefully pinned the unemployment rate to Obama, making a huge deal of it, even before he entered office. Now that it’s getting back down to more reasonable levels, they’re acting like it’s no big deal. The current WSJ article doesn’t even say what the rate is now.

And in truth, the numbers are in fact deceptive. However, the issue is not how accurate the numbers are; it’s how baldly conservatives claim they’re vital when they can use it as a political weapon.

Grilling the President

February 3rd, 2014 1 comment

Whatever you might think of the actual content of the interview between President Obama and Bill O’Reilly, what it represents is unquestionable: Obama’s willingness to take on such interviews, the manner in which O’Reilly conducts the interviews, and the right-wing media’s reporting of them, all place excruciating light on the massive hypocrisy of conservatives and the breathtaking contrast between Obama and Bush II in terms of what they were willing to take on.

Do you remember how Bush allowed Keith Olbermann to interview him, multiple times? How Olbermann mercilessly grilled him? How Bush was treated with such blatant disrespect and disregard? And how the conservative media took a pass on commenting on the treatment?

Of course not, because—obviously—such interviews not only did not happen, the very idea of them having happened is ludicrously impossible.

Bush never would have had the balls to let someone even close to him who would challenge him like that. And if any reporter had treated Bush with even a fraction of the roughness O’Reilly did with Obama, they would have had a screaming shitfit about what a traitorous louse the reporter was, how they had no respect for the office, so forth and so on.

Remember how conservatives have, over the years, tried to claim that Obama is “afraid of journalists”?

It boggles the mind how hypocritical their entire paradigm is.

Not that I object to this kind of interview; I think it is much better than most. I think all presidents, in fact, all politicians should open themselves up to interviews by journalists (of which O’Reilly is only questionably a member) who will grill them with tough questions. Preferably non-partisan, fact-based questions instead of what O’Reilly was hurling.

Obama is willing to do that. Bush, in contrast, was a cowering sissy.

Categories: Right-Wing Hypocrisy Tags:

Obama Should Apologize for the New Jersey Bridge Scandal

January 11th, 2014 2 comments

CNN, CBS, ABC, MSNBC, the NY Times, and USA Today all have multiple headlines, and all at least have one large and prominent story, near the top of their pages regarding Chris Christie’s New Jersey bridge scandal.

Guess how Fox News is handling it? Not hard to predict: way, way down near the bottom of the page:

Foxbridge
Obama’s apology? The link leads to a video of a Fox talking head showing Christie apologizing and the mayor of Fort Lee accepting the apology—and therefore, the scandal is over. But Obama? He never made multiple, formal apologies for Fast & Furious, Solyndra, etc. etc.—so that’s the real scandal the media should be focusing on.

The Wall Street Journal—also owned by Murdoch—took an almost identical approach, focusing on Obama’s IRS “scandal,” and how he never showed contrition for that.

Not that closing the bridge lanes was an earth-shattering event. It was not insignificant, either; it may have had serious impact on some emergency responses to medical crises, and may even have led to a death. But why is the story deserving of such great attention on non-Murdoch media?

For the same reason why we should have paid attention to stories about drug abuse, desertion, and the drunk driving charges regarding George W. Bush back in 2000: it would have alerted us to the character and behavior patterns of a presidential candidate who could potentially be disastrous for the nation.

Conservatives have worked hard to try to make it seem like there was actual abuse by Obama or anyone near him in the IRS brouhaha; it turned out that there was no such thing.

However, Christie’s bridge scandal is an excellent example of how Christie is far more likely to abuse power in exactly that manner.

Which brings up another interesting point about the abuse of power:

“It’s not obvious what laws may have been broken,” says Stuart Green, law professor at Rutgers School of Law-Newark in New Jersey. “I mean, there was undoubtedly an abuse of power, but in the federal context, there’s no general prohibition on abuse of power.”

Maybe there should be. Unfortunately, as with a lot of other good ideas, it is one that conservatives would instantly begin to abuse, wielding it as a political weapon to spark fishing-expedition investigations, begin witch hunts, and generally harass their political opponents.

Which is what conservatives tend to do. They’re definitely Slytherins to the liberals’ Hufflepuffs, intent on the acquisition of power and completely comfortable with use any means to achieve it.

You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

December 20th, 2013 12 comments

Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty voiced his personal opinion about homosexuality:

Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men. Don’t be deceived. Neither the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers—they won’t inherit the kingdom of God. Don’t deceive yourself. It’s not right.

Robertson was “indefinitely suspended” by A&E over his remarks. Sarah Palin, who I usually ignore because of the Ann Coulter Rule, made a public statement on Facebook which is noteworthy because it is a conservative meme far overused:

“Free speech is an endangered species,” Sarah Palin wrote on Facebook on Wednesday night. “Those ‘intolerants’ hatin’ and taking on the Duck Dynasty patriarch for voicing his personal opinion are taking on all of us.”

That’s the conceit: when a person speaks out and is criticized or punished in some way, their “free speech” rights are being violated.

And that’s the problem: free speech is about saying whatever you want (so long as it does not harm or endanger others) without fear of punishment by the government. The actual text in the First Amendment is “Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech.” First Amendment freedom of speech says nothing about how others in society are suppose to lay off you no matter what you say.

Nor is this view by Palin and other conservatives based upon a principle. Imagine, for example, if someone on a popular TV show said hateful things about Christianity, maybe that it is a genocidal cult subscribed to by idiots and liars, which promotes the abuse of children and the killing of women. Do you think that this person would not be similarly treated? Would Palin be as ardent about protecting their right to say that and upset if they lost their job? Hell, no—she and other conservatives would be the ones calling for them to get the exact treatment that Robertson got.

For example, Palin called on MSNBC to fire Martin Bashir for calling her a “world class idiot” for her comparison of the national debt and slavery, and because he suggested, after noting a particularly cruel punishment meted out to a slave, that Palin was an “outstanding candidate” for such punishment for making the remarks she did.

Palin also called for Obama to fire Rahm Emanuel for using the word “retarded” as an epithet.

The term to describe this is “hypocrisy.”

But let’s just see if we can get one thing straight: getting criticism and losing a high-profile job in the media as a result of hateful remarks is not in any way a violation of anyone’s free speech.