Tag Archives: Republicans

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The enemy you know

If you wanna know where the most serious challenges lie for the Republican Party, don’t look to the White House or the offices of California senators. Instead, look to National Harbor, Maryland, specifically the Gaylord National Hotel.

That’s where you’ll find the Conservative Political Action Conference, better known by journos as CPAC, which is not to be confused with C taps or even CPAP, although if you’re anything like me, you may need the latter if you tune listen much to CPAC.

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Today was opening day of the annual confab. There’s the usual bunch of inane speakers. Current darling Marco Rubio, past darling Sarah Palin, Sir Filibuster Rand Paul, Palin’s male doppelganger Ted Cruz, Rick “the hair” Perry, Wayne “guns in schools” LaPierre, Newtie, Mittens, Sick Rantorum, The Donald and the king of krazy, Allen West.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie wasn’t invited. Neither was Muslim hater Pamela Gellar, although she got un-uninvited by the Breitbart crew who was invited.

You remember Andrew Breitbart, don’t you? He died, you know. They had a special memorial for him at CPAC.

There was a gay rights panel too, not called by that name of course. “Rainbow on the Right: Bringing Tolerance Out of the Closet” used enough gay dog whistles to get the point across.

The conserverati spent a lot of time talking about Benghazi. You remember that, don’t you? That’s the incident the Republicans used to keep Susan Rice from becoming secretary of state. Instead, she’s likely to become national security adviser, which doesn’t need Senate confirmation.

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Really? Weird? Considering that the main thrust of conserverati argument is that Obama is out to destroy America, I think their focus on Benghazi makes sense. They think there was some big cover-up, or some big lack of concern for the security of Americans, or something that led to the death of the ambassador. And it’s all Obama’s fault. If it doesn’t look to you like they’re looking for some reason to impeach, then maybe you need a bigger scope.

Another Republican whack job, Jim Inhofe, spelled it out, although he allowed as how the president is “charming:”

This is the same guy that is … over-regulating all of our businesses, he has a war on fossil fuels, he is keeping us from being energy independent, he is defunding the military. So he’s destroying this country, but yes he’s charming.

Isn’t that sweet?

CPAC represents everything that’s wrong with the Republican Party. The Tea Party hold-outs, the knuckle-dragging mouth-breathers sucking the very life out of everybody who wants to move forward. Hell, even Rick Perry got booed. Know why? Because he said this:

Now, the popular media narrative — is that this country has shifted away from conservative ideals, as evidenced by the last two presidential elections. That is what they say. That might be true if Republicans had actually nominated conservative candidates in 2008 and 2012. That might be true. But now we are told our party must shift appeal to the growing Hispanic demographic.

He won ‘em back though, talking about winning the Hispanic vote with a economic message and not one about immigration.

But look at what else he said there — John McCain and Mitt Romney weren’t conservative enough to win the election, because, you know, not being conservative enough causes conservatives to vote for more liberal people.

But here’s what these folks don’t seem to understand: The more conservative Republicans — and I assume he’s talking about people like himself, Mike Huckabee, Sick Rantorum, Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann — they couldn’t even win a Republican primary. How the hell does he think they’d ever win a general election?

And yet, there it is, for all to see. Even Rubio knows you can’t stay at the bottom of the barrel and ever expect to get out of it. Rand Paul filibustered Obama’s CIA pick over DRONE STRIKES, which probably will guarantee he’ll never win a Republican nomination for president but almost certainly made his daddy proud.

CPAP, in case you were wondering.

CPAP, in case you were wondering.

For every step a young Republican makes toward progress, there’s two Jim Sensenbrunners to drag him back. But it’s not just the old white guys. When the two Sensenbrunners get tired, there’s a couple of Erick Ericksons or Allen Wests to do the job. And if that’s not good enough, then there’s three or for Marcia Blackburns and a Palin wannabe.

These are the guys Obama and Congressional Democrats have to deal with to get anything done — the ones in Congress, and the ones outside Congress running their mouths on Ayatollah Limbaugh’s radio show or Faux News. The same ones who have over and over and over again stopped any real progress from happening (See Obamacare, compromises of or Kerry, Secretary of State John). 

And yet, today I’m encouraged by one thing. Obama, speaking to Democrats today:

I’m not Charlie Brown with a football,

he said.

That may be true. One question remains, however: Are we?

Loser

Here’s why Republican pollster Glen Bolger says Mitt Romney lost the elections:

Mitt Romney put together a coalition that just eight years ago would have won the presidential election (hence the data comparisons to George W. Bush). However, instead of whites being 77% of the electorate, they were 72% of the electorate. Instead of Republicans and Democrats being equal, Democrats far outnumbered Republicans, and washed out Romney’s advantage among Independents. Bush kept it close with younger voters (under age 40), while Obama won them decisively….Underscoring that there are considerably more Democrats than Republicans, Romney was the first national candidate in exit polling history to decisively win Independents and lose the election (John Kerry won Independents, but by just one point).

Thus, to have a chance, Republicans have to appeal to Hispanics. It’s simple math, but it’s hard to do. We have to start today.

The Fix’s Chris Cillizza says he’s right. But they’re both wrong.

They’re both stuck in what I like to call “Dualistic Thinking.” Either/or. It’s doomed as an advanced society since Adam and Eve. Either Adam, or Eve.

It’s just not about demographics, which is the only thing pollsters understand, or think they understand. It’s the only thing politicians understand. Saying the right thing to get the right group of people to touch the box by your name on the electronic voting machines.

I have a better idea. How about we get our dualistic, either Republicans or Democrats to think about saying the right thing to get a human being to vote for them.

I know, I know. Wishful thinking. But focusing on demographics is so short term. What’s changing right along with the make-up of the electorate is how that electorate thinks. And THAT, my friends, is something Republicans have absolutely no clue about (and Democrats have only a slightly better clue about).

I will give you that both sides do it. But there’s a difference. Just to give you an example, here’s a little sampling of a political disagreement between a conservative and a liberal, from the comments section of an article on Politico.

E Be Rose · Top Commenter
Isn’t it interesting, how easily everyone over on Fox lies? As if people will not call them out on it, especially a real journalist like Ricks? Not an “on-air personality.” Right now, Baier, Celmente, Klinghoffer, Ailes & Murdock are all working on a response. It will be brilliant, for sure. It will somehow blame Ricks for making Fox lie in the first place. It’s never their fault.

Brett Richard · Top Commenter
ROFL! Like it’s NEVER obama’s fault!! His little, pointy blame finger must be getting worn down to a NUB by now!!!

E Be Rose · Top Commenter
People like you amuse me

Brett Richard · Top Commenter
Glad to be of service!
People like you disgust me…

Just so you know, the conversation was about a journo who was on Fox who said that Fox was an arm of the Republican Party and the Fox exec who said that said journo apologized for saying it, except the journo said he didn’t.

My point is found in the last two comments. “People like you amuse me” and “People like you disgust me.” If you see no difference in those two comments, you might be a Republican. I’m just sayin.

Or you might be like the dumbest of dumb Republicans, Erick Erickson — who runs RedState and sometimes spouts his idiocy on CNN — who wrote an entire column about how Republicans just needed to convince 6 percent or so of the population to vote for them in order to win. Of course, he used the wrong figures, beginning with the population of the United States.

Excuses, excuses. These guys all thought Mitt Romney was gonna win in a landslide. He didn’t. It wasn’t even close, and he even ended up with 47 percent of the vote. How’s that for a sign?

What these guys really need to understand is that they’re being left behind by the steady march of progress. Get on the clue bus, boys, or think long and hard about Neanderthals.

 

The Delusional Party

A Facebook friend of mine — a young man I once thought was bright and thoughtful for a Republican — turned out to be a drama queen on Wednesday, when he posted this:

With a heavy heart, I announce that I will be shutting down my family’s 32 year old small business. We have suffered plenty under an Obama economy and it’s not fair to my young family for me to expect them to endure another 4 years of struggling to keep our heads above water. I close up shop with zero debt and a new job waiting, so I have plenty to be thankful for, but I am sad. I love what I do. What I did. God help us all.

I wanted to reply, I really did. Plenty did, most telling him they knew God has a plan for him. But I just couldn’t. I wanted to say

I’m really sad that you’ve drunk the bullshit Koolaid the conservative media’s been laying on you all these years. It breaks my heart to see you blame Obama for the economic downturn that has screwed with your business instead of Republican policies, starting with the Reagan administration, that finally came into their own during the GWB administration. I remember, you see, your talking about the drop in business you were suffering six years ago, a bit before Barack Obama came into office. I’m sorry you don’t.

I didn’t say it though. I just didn’t want to get into it with another delusional conservative. And so many of them are very, very delusional. Karl Rove, for example, had a meltdown on Fox News when their decision desk called Ohio for Obama. He later said Obama won  because he suppressed the vote. Mitt Romney waited way too long to concede, and he actually already had his transition website live when the voting started on Tuesday. It was taken down late Tuesday night, but I guess he just liked seeing himself called “President-elect” online.

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A sucker punch? Yeah, I guess when you’re completely deluded, it would come across that way.

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Haley Barbour announced before the election that Hurricane Sandy cost Mitt the election, but if you ask me, conservatives need to re-think that one. If God uses hurricanes to express his wishes, then She was endorsing Obama with this one. Others have been a little less celestial about it, blaming New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie because he dared to compliment Obama’s handling of Sandy. And then there’s Donald Trump.

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I remember way back in 2008, when Obama/Biden beat John McCain and that paragon of political perfection Sarah Palin, the Republicans weren’t quite so shocked. They did, however, immediately jump into a very short round of soul-searching, trying to figure out what they did wrong and how to fix it. When no answers came, they stopped trying.

They’re doing that again. The tea party is again saying that Romney wasn’t conservative enough. The Donald Trumps and Steve Forbeses are saying Romney didn’t push his business acumen and the free market enough. The punditocracy says the Republicans need to emulate the Democratic election “machine.”

Liberals were certain the Republican Party would split in 2008. It didn’t. Quite a few are certain that’s gonna happen now. It might. It will, sooner or later. Because here’s the thing: The one constant in this world is change. Conservatives, by their very definition, are all about the status quo, not changing, and, if possible, reversing any change that has happened.

It’s a fear-based ideology. The future is scary. Change is scary. The unknown is scary. A black president is scary. It’s also an unrealistic ideology. And if one insists on holding fast it it, it’s a delusional one.

Change happens. I like thinking of myself as progressive because it’s about, well, progressing. Anything else is regression. Change isn’t always good, but it’s only not good when it’s resisted and altered in a vain attempted to keep it from happened.

More women than ever will serve in the Senate this next term. One of them is a lesbian. And for the first time, voters supported same-sex marriage — not in one state but in four. Hell, Colorado and Washington legalized marijuana, although that promises to run afoul of federal drug laws.

So, in the social realm, Republicans need to ditch the conservatives. If they want to have any chance of enacting any of their fiscal policies (not all of which are terrible, by the way), they must jettison the crazies. Quit pandering to them. Let them go. If they want to form their own party, let them. They’re pretty damn delusional themselves, thinking that the rest of the world revolves around their narrow world view.

And yeah, that probably means the Republican Party will be a little smaller for a while. But it can grow once it drops the dead weight that is holding it back from the 21st Century.

Democrats, you should probably stop counting on your crazies too. You remember them — the ones who voted for Ralph Nader and gave us George W. Bush for eight years. They’ve been hatin’ on Obama almost as long as the racists have. He isn’t liberal enough, y’know, as if a president can just waltz into office and completely change the mindset of Washington by waving his Jedi hands in front of the faces of all the politicians. Doesn’t work that way. I’d love it if it did, but reality is quite different from idealism.

Sergey Brin, one of the co-founders of Google, had a great idea. On election day, he posted on Google + a call for all election winners to abandon their parties and govern as independents. Damn, that’d be swell. That’s idealism. Not gonna happen. That’s reality. I think I’ll just hate all the politicians for not doing that. That’s crazy.

House Speaker John Boehner is promising to cooperate with Obama. He says immigration reform is “long overdue” and Obamacare is “the law of the land.” It won’t be long, though, before we’re right back to business as usual politically. And if John Boehner keeps yacking like that, his tea party colleagues will pick somebody else as speaker. Maybe Michele Bachmann, since Allen West lost his re-election bid.

I just don’t have much faith that the Republicans will do any kind of useful soul-searching. Too many of them are just too far afield from reality. Republitarians are threatening revolt in a variety of manners, from secession to shunning Democrats to armed insurrection. Brit Hume is still spouting that “America is a center right country.” No, it’s not. America is progressing, slowing and steadily. It’s progressing toward adulthood, a country where the people don’t take all their toys and run home when things don’t go their way. A country where people who believe different things don’t believe the others are anti-American, traitors or worse.

One day, we may progress into something that I’ll find too hard to grasp and then I’ll dig my heels in and try to prevent change. But this is a progressive country. Just like life.

And the earth is more or less round.

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It’s delusional to deny it.

 

Shark jumping

After this week, anyone who thinks this current batch of Republicans has an ounce of legitimacy left is either a rich asshole or a damn fool. That’s it. No other choices.

I just read a tweet that says … well, here it is:

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Seriously? So Paul Ryan lies all through his speech at the convention, Todd Akin goes on about “legitimate rape,” and now this? “Debunked and selectively edited?”

OK, so it turns out he’s only talking about the part where he said Palestinians have no interest in peace and that peace in the Middle East is impossible. Seems Mother Jones, in its initial posting of snippets of the whole little chat Mittens had with his rich friends, left out the part where he said that peace was actually possible, but only if the United States got in there and showed those Palestinians who’s boss.

But I always keep open: the idea of pushing on the Israelis to give something up to get the Palestinians to act is the worst idea in the world. We have done that time and time and time again. It does not work. So the only answer is show them strength. American strength, American resolve, and the Palestinians will some day reach the point where they want peace more than we’re trying to force peace on them. Then it’s worth having the discussion. So until then, it’s just wistful thinking.

Yeah, Mitt always keeps open that the United States will someday have another belligerent idiot president who is ready to start Armageddon.

Oh, and Anne Romney says Mitt’s remarks about the poor are taken out of context.

Audience member: For the last three years, all everybody’s been told is, “Don’t worry, we’ll take care of you.” How are you going to do it, in two months before the elections, to convince everybody you’ve got to take care of yourself?

Romney: There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe that government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it. That that’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what. And I mean, the president starts off with 48, 49, 48 — he starts off with a huge number. These are people who pay no income tax. Forty-seven percent of Americans pay no income tax. So our message of low taxes doesn’t connect. And he’ll be out there talking about tax cuts for the rich. I mean that’s what they sell every four years. And so my job is not to worry about those people — I’ll never convince them that they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives. What I have to do is convince the 5 to 10 percent in the center that are independents that are thoughtful, that look at voting one way or the other depending upon in some cases emotion, whether they like the guy or not, what it looks like.

Hard to figure how that’s out of context. Only people who pay no income tax vote for Obama. That’s weird. I will vote for him. I pay income tax. Then there’s the whole implication about who it is who’s dependent on the government, you know, like veterans, the elderly. And about 4,000 really rich people who don’t pay income taxes.  And never mind that there are plenty of other taxes everybody pays (including actual PAYROLL TAXES, which contrary to popular belief are not the same as taxes on income).

The New York Post had some kind of headline on this about “the truth hurts.” And in a really odd sense, this is the truth. It’s the truth about how these greedy motherfuckers really feel about the rest of us. The unvarnished truth.

And just in case, Matt Drudge dredges up a 14 year old audio of Obama saying something about believing in “redistribution,” which is conservative code for dirty commie and which Mitt himself is talking about, most likely to (a) confuse the issue and (b) make more inroads with his rich friends. I don’t need to tell you that a guy like Mitt Romney really shouldn’t be talking about what somebody else said he believed in 1998.

They’re not even pretending anymore. They’ll tell ya flat out that facts don’t matter, just the lies they keep on telling, the lies that way too many keep on believing.

But have they jumped the shark this time? And more to the point, will my beloved colleagues wake up from their stupor and realize what’s been going on?

If this election isn’t a landslide, I give up. We really are doomed.

 

This is war

Suit up, ladies. There’s a war going on, apparently against us.

Now, some say that’s not true. Or it is true, but it’s the liberals waging it and not the right-wing throwbacks to the caveman era.

Just more of that up is down shit we got from the Bush administration for eight years.

The Republicans wanna have it both ways too. The Obama administration is bad for women, but women are doing great in this economy! Yahoo! Helps, of course, that their base apparently can only consider one statement at a time, and so any contradictory statements are not considered when a new one comes along.

So when an Ed Gillespie says on Meet the Press “The U.S. economy is a hostile workplace for women under President Obama … It’s still the economy, and women aren’t stupid,” the Republican sheeple don’t remember that women have always been at the bottom of the heap. Women make 77 cents on the dollar compared to men, and that didn’t just happen since January 20, 2009.

So what does presumptive nominee Mitt Romney and the rest of the cabal intend to do about it? I’ll let Joan Walsh answer that.

It’s undeniable that Romney and the GOP support policies that disproportionately hurt women. They want to cut back the Earned Income Tax Credit for low-wage workers; most recipients are women. They want to slash Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security; women make up most of those programs’ beneficiaries, too. To the extent that they, as well as GOP governors, are pushing public worker layoffs, those hit women harder too, since they’re more likely to work in the public sector than men.

They wanna do other things too, like put restrictions on abortion that lock the doctor’s opinion out of the matter. That’s Georgia, where the legislature has passed a bill that bans abortion after five months — regardless the health of the fetus, the health of the mother or even if the fetus is dead. Because? One of the bill’s prime sponsors says that he’s delivered calves and pigs dead and alive, so it should be ok for humans too.

But it’s not all about women it seems. The Tennessee legislature has been trying for a while now to ban use of the word “gay” to mean homosexual. They’ve not been successful … yet, but they did manage to pass a vague bill requiring sex education to preach against “gateway sexual activity,” without explaining what that means. Kissing? Holding hands? Running your fingers through someone’s hair? Got me.

And then of course there’s the myriad politicians who don’t think it’s a good idea to ban bullying against gay people. Gay journo Dan Savage, speaking to the National High School Journalism Convention in Seattle, ran into a little of this in high school students. From David A. Graham:

In the course of his talk about bullying, Savage pointed out anti-gay activists sometimes cite the Bible to justify their beliefs and behavior. He then went on to point out that the Bible sanctions any number of activities we don’t allow today, including slavery and the stoning of women who are not virgins when married (the full text, if you don’t want to watch the video, is here), strictures he referred to as “bullshit.” In protest, some (presumably) Christian members of the audience walked out. As he wrapped up the inflammatory section of his remarks, Savage apologized for offending anyone, but undercut that apology somewhat by adding, “It’s funny, as someone who’s on the receiving end of beatings that are justified by the Bible, how pansy-assed some people react when you push back.

Here’s the video in case you do want to watch it:

And before you start whining about how do you know they’re Christians and weren’t just upset about the foul language — they’re journalism students, ferchrissake. If “bullshit” upsets them, they’re in the wrong business.

So really, it’s not just a war on women. It’s a war on everything good and decent, despite attempts to characterize it as something dirty and bad.

 

Hail and farewell, Andrew Breitbart

The crazies are already accusing President Obama of having Andrew Breitbart killed, much like they accused Hillary Clinton of having Vince Foster killed way back when. Insane conservative radio dude Michael Savage called Breitbart’s death an “assassination.” I’m thinking it was just too much cocaine for the heart.

A “suspicious package” near the home of Rush Limbaugh that brought the bomb squad running and my lovely colleagues making immediate connections to Limbaugh’s foul contraception comments probably cemented the idea that the liberals are out to silence conservative voices, at least by the Twitter reponses I’m seeing. The liberals, in case you’re wondering, are tweeting either ridiculous jokes about what the package might be (forgotten Chinese take-out, a blow-up doll, more Viagra) or cautions that we shouldn’t be wishing anyone dead, which no one save a couple of losers is doing.

Turns out it was an electronic plaque commemorating the assassinations of Abraham Lincoln and John Wilkes Booth (assassination?) sent by a fan who was offering the fat guy a “business opportunity.”

Still, these conservatives will go to their graves believing Breitbart was killed. Why? Because Breitbart himself, and people like him, poisoned them. They believe that liberals, progressives, Democrats are the most vile, wicked, evil, dangerous people on the planet, who will stop at nothing to impose their will on the poor helpless masses because that’s what Breitbart et al have told them.

And Breitbart goes to his grave unrepentant because, as we don’t seem to want to believe, it’s the conserverati who will stop at nothing in their fight to return the United States to We, the White Christian Straight People.

Now, some say Breitbart really wasn’t a white Christian straight supremist, and maybe he wasn’t. They say he just delighted in the fight, was single-minded in his hatred of Barack Obama and used every tool he could gather to attack him, including the racist ones. They say he’d use different tools if it were somebody else.

I say if you use racist tools, you’re a bigoted asshole, just by virtue of your willingness to do so. Or, you’re just a run-of-the-mill soulless asshole of the first degree. Which would you prefer?

Either way, Andrew Breitbart was an asshole. And because he went after Obama and the Obama administration with racist attacks, he gained the support of the racist right. They heard what he said. They knew what he meant. And they agreed, just like they agree with Rush Limbaugh, another soulless asshole of the first degree, says the same type stuff.

Or perhaps you’ve not heard Limbaugh’s latest. He’s going after Sandra Fluke, a Georgetown University law student who was barred from speaking at Rep. Darrell Issa’s hearing on contraception. Fluke subsequently spoke at a Democratic House Steering Committee meeting. Women who use birth control are sluts, Rush says. But Limbaugh, like Breitbart, doesn’t generalize like that. Limbaugh, like Breitbart, makes it personal.

What does it say about the college [sic] co-ed Sandra Fluke, who goes before a congressional committee and essentially says that she must be paid to have sex? It makes her a slut, right? It makes her a prostitute. She wants to be paid to have sex.

He kept it up a day later, demanding that Fluke post sex videos online.

Here’s what makes this kind of behavior so very bad: They make it personal. Breitbart didn’t slam the Department of Agriculture, or the Obama administration, or even the NAACP as racist when he ran edited video of remarks made by Ag Department employee Shirley Sherrod to the NAACP. He painted HER as racist. Trouble is, the full video revealed that her point was the complete opposite.

ACORN. Again, Breitbart with James O’Keefe and edited videos. ACORN was screwing up by paying people to register voters and not putting in place any safeguards to prevent their registrars from sitting at the kitchen table and filling out all the forms, but it wasn’t voter fraud. It was registration fraud — and it was stupid and preventable. But Breitbart/O’Keefe/the Right went after ACORN anyway with lies and distortions and the only organization in the country that actively works to register poor people to vote was decimated. And afterward, no fewer than three investigations, complete with views of the entire tapes, revealed that no one had broken any laws.

In both cases, here’s what happened: Breitbart made a big push with his edited videos, Republicans ran with them and started calling for heads to roll, and Democrats served those heads up on a silver platter. Then we found out it was all bullshit. A triumvirate of wrong, with the driving spark provided by Andrew Breitbart.

I could go on and on detailing Breitbart’s crimes, but there’s no reason. Breitbart targeted the innocents. Some of the innocents may not have been all that smart, and he got plenty of help from both sides of the aisle. But none of that detracts from what he did, repeatedly. And the results were invariably damaging to individual people who lost jobs, lost valuable services provided by organizations, lost the willingness to stand up for anything out of fear something like this could happen to them.

OK, so he was right about Anthony Weiner. Even a stopped clock is right twice a day.

It’s all part of the conservative game plan. Smear, lie, distort, ruin. Fast and hard hits that make it highly likely there’ll just be some sort of reaction before the truth comes out. The attack on Planned Parenthood didn’t work out as planned.

But that hasn’t stopped the Republicans from running with the lies, nor has it stopped their Democratic enablers from cowering and looking for fresh heads to offer as sacrifices. Hence, contraception is now controversial, and conservatives have gone all out in their once underground war to bring women back under the thumb of the patriarchs, back to the good old days when men were men, women and children were property and queers were something that only existed in pulp magazines and true crime stories.

I’m not one to gloat over a death, not even someone like Breitbart. He was, after all, a human being. I think he had children. I’m sure they loved him. But when your life is infused with such poison, well, what you do will eventually come back and bite you, sometimes really hard.

Why Breitbart and not Limbaugh, who’s been so full of the poison for so much longer? I can’t answer that. The hows and whens and wheres and whos of karma are beyond me.  All I know is what goes around comes around. You reap what you sow.

That’s not to say that Breitbart was punished for his deeds by death — because death isn’t a punishment. But what you do comes back to you. Always. Somehow, somewhere, some way, sometime. Not on your time or my time, but when it should. Breitbart is dead. Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.

And for those of you who think we shouldn’t speak ill of the dead, who’s speaking ill? I’m just speaking the truth. Besides, Breitbart had no qualms about speaking ill of the dead. He called Sen. Edward Kennedy a “villain,” a “duplicitous bastard” and a “prick” on the day he died.

I’m more than willing to go off decorum to ensure THIS MAN is not beatified. Sorry, he destroyed lives. And he knew it.

Destroyed lives. Sounds like he was talking about himself.

 

 

 

 

 

In a world of blithering idiots …

Can it really be true that half this country is a bunch of blithering idiots? They’d have to be to believe the drivel the Republican presidential candidates put out constantly.  Look at Wednesday night’s debate, if by debate you mean “Yet another chance for grown-ass white men to lie with impunity.”

If you believed everything you heard that night, you’d think that Barack Obama is a merciless child killer (“legalized infanticide,” from Newt Gingrich). Mitt Romney said president is a godless tyrant (“attacking religious tolerance”). The worst attack on religion in history, he said. Really? After all the direct attacks against Muslims and Islam that have been so blatant over the last decade?

Kinda reminds me of my days in the gay press, when the gay boys were all up in arms because the paper I worked for wouldn’t run sex ads and actually reported on the community outside the bar culture — including lesbians! “The Lesbian Home Journal,” they called us, derisively, just because we were inclusive and not exclusive.

The candidates use these talking points like they have a basis in reality. But ask them to back ‘em up — something no one ever does during these debates, which is why you so rarely see NPR anchors moderating — and they come up with nothing. That’s because they are lies.

What kind of presidential race is this? In 2008, of course, they did all these same things, but then they denied it. No, we didn’t say Obama is a traitor. No, we didn’t say he was Muslim. No, we didn’t say he was unAmerican. We can’t control what some of our supporters say.

But now they are saying it, right out loud. No denial possible, it’s all on tape. But I don’t think they want to deny it. They’re gunning for votes from the blithering idiot crowd.

More from that debate: Newt the Historian says this is the most dangerous time the world as ever seen and that Obama is the most dangerous president as regards national security we’ve ever had, with Mitt Romney chiming in that the president has done nothing (other than take out Osama bin Laden, end the Iraq war and send military help to end Gaddhafi’s reign of terror, to name a few) to make the world safer.

Obama is shrinking the military, too, these guys say. Making us less safe (be afraid, be very afraid). Yeah, that’s kinda what happens when you end two wars. Not to mention budget cuts agreed to by Republicans in Congress.

That dreaded “Obamacare” is costing jobs! And money! Well, yeah, if you’re counting insurance executives. But in the long run, the Republican plan to repeal the Affordable Healthcare Act will cost nearly twice the billions keeping it in place will save. A couple of weeks ago, I was visiting family, and my dad and my cousin’s husband started talking about Obama being the Worst President Ever. And my cousin chimed in that it was just horrendous that Obama would want “us” (we taxpayers) to pay to educate the poor so they can get better jobs, and, y’know, not need welfare. “They just don’t want to work,” she said. “Do you even know any poor people?” I asked. No answer.

Meanwhile, the husband started whining about “Obamacare” and how he resented paying for it. Really? And who do you think pays for it when people who have no insurance go to the emergency room for general health care? Again, no answer.

Rising gas prices, too, are the president’s fault. Interesting that when bad things happen under a Democratic administration, it’s the president’s fault. But when the same bad things happen under a Republican president, the president has no control over it.

There’s a number of factors pushing gas prices up, not the least of which is butane. Butane, you say? Yes, butane. It’s a common, and dirt cheap, additive used in gasoline — but only during colder winter months. Once it starts warming up, butane starts evaporating, and the oil companies replace it with other, much more expensive additives. There’s also the demand coming from India and China pushing the prices up, not to mention our own love affair with wasting gasoline known as spring and summer vacation time.

And there’s one other thing, along with the Republican plan to drill the hell out of everything that can be drilled. Even if if that were to provide enough oil to make a dent in the US dependence on countries that actually have enough oil to use, there’s this one tiny problem: American refineries are already running at capacity.

Rep. Allen West, Insane MF-Florida, is a black guy who hates the president.

[blackbirdpie url="https://twitter.com/#!/BuzzFeedAndrew/status/172784413564878850"]

I have a better question. Why are you driving a Hummer?

And let’s not even get started on this birth control thing. I said 40 years ago that if the conservatives manage to get Roe v. Wade overturned, they’d set their sites on contraception. Looks like they’ve decided not to wait.

Rick Santorum’s the queen of that deal. Plus he says Obama is running the country with a theology that is not based on the bible. First, I hope he’s not running the country based on any theology. That’s kinda unconstitutional. And if Little Ricky thinks his theology is not based on the bible, what does he think it’s based on? The Quran? Newt Gingrich is in on this too. The Obama administration thinks the president is superior to the pope. Hey, Newt, in the US government, he is!

Here’s another from Newt. He blasts Obama for apologizing to Afghanistan for the accidental burning of Qurans “on a day when an Afghan soldier murdered two American soldiers.” Apparently, we’re supposed to behave abysmally and never apologize for being ignorant assholes because that would be “surrendering.” Or taking the high road.

And it’s not just presidential candidates going all out. In Virginia, they tried to require “transvaginal” ultrasound — that’s one with penetration — before a woman could have an abortion. Now why would they want to do that? Think about it.

Virginia and other states are pushing this “personhood” thing too — that a fetus is a “person.” Yeah, and so is a corporation. Just let me know when one dies for the country. But a fetus — y’know, if birth control and sex education were a little better here (and sex education is another thing these bozos hate) then there just wouldn’t be that many abortions. And remember — making abortion illegal (or making a fetus a person) won’t stop abortions. It’ll just make ‘em more dangerous.

See, these Republican creepos are vindictive bastards. They’re gonna punish you — torture you — if you don’t fall in line and worship at their altar. Especially if you are anything but the straight white Christian guys they are. Are you listening, Mitt Romney? You too, Newt and Little Ricky. The evangelistas you’re after don’t really see you as any more Christian than they do Mitt. So it really doesn’t matter how many letters Cardinal Dolan writes urging the Catholic bishops to push for some kind of conscience act, allowing people to not do anything if it violates their Christian beliefs (somehow I’m betting that no other beliefs will count in this), you’re still gonna be a heathen.

Just like the rest of us.

I suspect they’ll keep going. They’ll keep calling us names, vile and vicious names, and tell us we do the same. Really? Show me a Democratic presidential candidate who’s said the equivalent of any of the above. Show me a Democratic state senator who’s done the equivalent of refusing to honor the Girl Scouts because he thinks they’re the operative arm of Planned Parenthood, supporting abortion and homosexuality. Show me a liberal religious sect that is in Africa persuading governments to impose the death penalty on Christians. And, oh yeah, the Obama administration demanded that Iran reverse the death penalty on that Christian pastor — not that demanding Iran do anything ever works. I suppose you think Obama should bomb them for it? Oh wait, but you’ve already said that if we keep Obama in office, we’ll be using nuclear weapons in no time. Mmm. Project much?

And to answer my own question, yeah, it indeed appears that half the country is a bunch of blithering idiots. With no shortage of monsters ready and willing to take advantage of that.

Rick rolled

It had to happen sooner or later. Sick Rantorum made the trifecta this week, winning in three states in one day and become the latest in the GOP’s desperate attempts to find a presidential nominee who is Not Romney.

Newt Gingrich sure didn’t last long. Not a surprise. I guess the only thing worse in these bigoted bozos’ eyes than Romney is Ron Paul. Somehow I’m just not expecting a Paul surge anytime soon. Not that the Texas congressman hasn’t tried. He’s pulled out all the backwards nonsense he promoted in those newsletters he denies having any responsibility for. Funny that he still backs the concepts though.

He’s gone all anti-gay and anti-minorities of any kind. But unless he drops the anti-war stuff, he is going nowhere in this Republican Party. And if he drops the anti-war stuff, then he loses all the fake progressives who ignore his bigotry and prejudice to fall in line behind him on the peace platform.

But Sick Rantorum. I just don’t seem him as the nominee though. He’s just not … he’s not manly enough. The guy wears sweater vests, for christ’s sake! Who does that? Mr. Rogers at least wore a button up cardigan! Seriously, a sweater vest?

I think he may have gotten a pity vote in Colorado too. He tried to go all Ben Nighthorse Campbell there with a bolo tie. Took it off for the next stop, though. Guess they told him it looked stupid. But they coulda at least told him why. It looked stupid because he was wearing it with a button down Oxford.

And Minnesota? Hell, that’s Michele Bachmann’s state. He’s the only one left to the right of her both politically and mentally.

Rick’s Catholic, and unlike Newt Gingrich, who converted to try to shore up his religious cred, has always been. But he’s a Catholic of the Vatican variety and not the more liberal American variety — you know the type. No abortion, no birth control, no gay sex, no gay marriage, no masturbation. No fun.

That is one thing about the Catholics though. They’re honest about everything they don’t want, unlike American evangelicals who prefer to take it one or two issues at a time. Like abortion, they’re into that, but they haven’t gotten started on contraception yet. Don’t worry though. They will. They’re all about controlling the women. And so far they’ve stopped at making us queers second or maybe third class citizens. They’ll get to jailing us or killing us later. Well, killing us is tacitly OK, of course. I mean actually executing us, the way they’re setting up several African countries to do. It’s the evangelicals, y’know. They’re behind that.

In fact, they (and the former senator from Pennsylvania) would be delighted if we had an extremist Christian regime every bit as limiting and barbaric as the extremist Islamic regime in Iran. It’s just that Christianity is right, y’know, and Islam is wrong. At least that’s what they they. Personally, I think they’re all wrong.

But I digress. Sick Rantorum is the new belle of the ball. Will he be the Not Romney who actually wins? I kinda doubt it. Cracked me up the other day when he said that neither Newt nor Mitt could beat Barack Obama, as if he could.

Honestly, though, we live in a country that elected George W. Bush twice. Anything is possible.

So, progressives, don’t get all giddy because the GOP voters are toying with possible nominees you think are way too out there to possibly pose a challenge to Obama. Anything could happen.

And besides, there’s still all those anti-Obama “progressives” out there who are bound and determined to do what Mitch McConnell could never do on his own — prevent a second term. I understand McConnell. But the progressives? That didn’t work out so well back in 2000 as I recall.

And it’d be even worse now, because if somebody doesn’t pull away and win this thing soon, the Republicans might have themselves a brokered convention, and that could mean the whole thing’s up for grabs.

I’d really prefer not to find out who the whackadoodles at the convention might pull out of the wings to run if they can’t decide. But I can guarantee it won’t be pretty.

 

War and money

Some things I just do not understand. OK, I don’t understand a lot these days. I try, I really do. But it takes so much effort to understand why people cannot see what is perfectly clear to me.

On Wednesday, for example, GOP senators unveiled their new tax plan. They’ve dropped their objection to the payroll tax cut extension, but they’re still holding firm on their opposition to taxing the people who can actually afford it. But they’ve got a plan, they do, to pay for that extension, and here it is:

New “class war” battlefield: instead of taxing millionaires, Senate GOP would strip their eligibility for unemployment comp, food stampsWed Nov 30 22:23:31 via Twitter for BlackBerry®

Whoa. Now that’s just a terrific plan. The other part of the plan is to “allow” the filthy rich to “voluntarily” give some of their hard earned cash to the government.

Yeah, that’s gonna happen.

Just makes me want to pull out my hair. And then I remember that I’m not going to understand it because I just don’t think like that. I think that as human beings we should be in the business of helping each other, not making a profit. I think that if one of us is oppressed or bullied or stigmatized or ostracized or hated or hunted or killed then we all are. I think that money is an artificial construct that causes more problems than it solves, especially the way we handle it — treating it as if it has value in and of itself instead of its original intent, to make exchange and barter a little easier. And I think that excessive amounts of money in the hands of a tiny few is insane.

Call me crazy. You won’t be the first.

But here’s something I’m not crazy about. War is illegal. It’s true. The United States and several other countries made it illegal in 1929. Seriously. I kid you not. Of course, since then, we and those other countries have worked hard to make it only “aggressive” war that’s illegal, but that’s not what the Kellog-Briand Pact says. Also known as the General Treaty for the Renunciation of War and the World Peace Act, here’s what it says:

ARTICLE I

The High Contracting Parties solemly declare in the names of their respective peoples that they condemn recourse to war for the solution of international controversies, and renounce it, as an instrument of national policy in their relations with one another.

ARTICLE II

The High Contracting Parties agree that the settlement or solution of all disputes or conflicts of whatever nature or of whatever origin they may be, which may arise among them, shall never be sought except by pacific means.

ARTICLE III

The present Treaty shall be ratified by the High Contracting Parties named in the Preamble in accordance with their respective constitutional requirements, and shall take effect as between them as soon as all their several instruments of ratification shall have been deposited at Washington.

This Treaty shall, when it has come into effect as prescribed in the preceding paragraph, remain open as long as may be necessary for adherence by all the other Powers of the world. Every instrument evidencing the adherence of a Power shall be deposited at Washington and the Treaty shall immediately upon such deposit become effective as; between the Power thus adhering and the other Powers parties hereto.

It shall be the duty of the Government of the United States to furnish each Government named in the Preamble and every Government subsequently adhering to this Treaty with a certified copy of the Treaty and of every instrument of ratification or adherence. It shall also be the duty of the Government of the United States telegraphically to notify such Governments immediately upon the deposit with it of each instrument of ratification or adherence.

IN FAITH WHEREOF the respective Plenipotentiaries have signed this Treaty in the French and English languages both texts having equal force, and hereunto affix their seals.

DONE at Paris, the twenty seventh day of August in the year one thousand nine hundred and twenty-eight.

The signatories “agree that the settlement or solution of all disputes or conflicts of whatever nature or of whatever origin they may be, which may arise among them, shall never be sought except by pacific means.” They “solemly declare in the names of their respective peoples that they condemn recourse to war for the solution of international controversies, and renounce it, as an instrument of national policy in their relations with one another.”

Sounds pretty clear to me, but then, as we’ve already established, I don’t seem to think like an awful lot of people. I do seem to think like David Swanson, whose latest book is When the World Outlawed War.

The thinking of the peace movement of the 1920s comes out of a different world, and getting back into it may be difficult for a lot of people. One doorway in, I am hoping, is through realization that a law still on the books outlaws war. While banning war may be unimaginable, war is in fact already banned. Every war since 1929 has been illegal. Every act of war has been illegal.

Laws are, of course, what we make of them. Some laws are forgotten, others expanded to completely alter their meanings. The Bill of Rights now applies to corporations, while the Kellogg-Briand Pact is considered archaic — but that is purely for cultural reasons; the Pact has actually never been repealed.

Creating awareness of a law will not lead to its immediate enforcement, of course, but the Outlawrists of the 1920s didn’t believe they would end war in their lifetimes. They believed that Kellogg-Briand would begin to delegitimize war, to stigmatize it. In fact, after Kellogg-Briand, territorial gains through war were no longer recognized, and following World War II the act of making war was prosecuted as a crime for those on the losing side. But the process of delegitimization of war has stalled and back-tracked. The body of law and the world court that the Outlawrists envisioned have never been attempted. It is time we picked up where they left off.

Back then war could be seen as something that backward Europeans had dragged the United States into, albeit with help from greatly resented propaganda that had been produced by President Woodrow Wilson’s PR team. If you ask someone in the United States if they are for peace today, they may tell you that they like peace but wouldn’t want to oppose wars. Even in the 1920s, the United States was making war in Nicaragua and threatening it in Mexico, but peace was still considered the norm. Then wars were imperialistic or humanitarian or racist, and conceivably avoidable. Now wars are necessary to protect us from evil. In other words, they are defensive. This is a result of the twisted interpretation of the Kellogg-Briand Pact that was used to prosecute Nazis. A treaty intentionally created to avoid banning “aggressive war,” in order to ban all war, was transformed into a ban on aggressive war at Nuremberg. Every war since has had to be “defensive.”

Pro-war attitudes today are not insurmountable. Popular opinion turned against the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars fairly quickly and never got behind the Libyan War nor our various drone wars. But there is a more important difference that you mentioned between the 1920s and today: the rise of the military-industrial complex. It had been around since the Civil War. The Navy was being built up at the same time that the U.S. Senate was ratifying Kellogg-Briand. But the weapons companies were not pulling Congress’s strings in the 1920s. Farmers, who wanted Europeans to buy more corn and less weaponry, had more influence than arms merchants. In addition, congressional districts were smaller, bribery was illegal, newspapers were fairly diverse and credible, television didn’t exist, gerrymandering had not been perfected, and it was common for members of the House and Senate to oppose the positions of their political parties. Women got the vote in 1920. Jim Crow laws prevented many African-Americans from voting, and eighteen to twenty-year-olds still couldn’t vote, but the robber barons didn’t run the whole show — and some of them invested heavily in peace activism.

The deck is stacked against us today, and we know it. Outlawrists in the 1920s didn’t imagine they’d live to see success, but they did believe success would likely come in a future generation, step by step. They believed that outlawing blood feuds and dueling and slavery pointed the way toward outlawing war. They believed in cultural progress, even if it came slowly. So, they happily worked for what they believed to be a just cause, for what William James called “the moral equivalent of war,” and they seemed in my reading to go through fewer cycles of optimism and pessimism than do most activists today. They seemed to exhibit, in fact, less interest in what their cause could do for them than in what they could do for the cause.

Read the rest of what Swanson has to say here, in an interview conducted by Bruce Levine. And think about it.

What if we cut through the bullshit fearmongering of the right and the left, of frightened people who believe that someone, somehow, from somewhere is out to get us and we have to be prepared to stop that from happening? What if we turned the other cheek to those who were out to get us? What if we made it clear that violence of any sort is shameful and wrong?

What if the rich didn’t feel they had to amass huge amounts of money to protect themselves from the rest of us? What if they felt all that excess would create a world in which they didn’t need it to feel good about themselves?

What if, indeed.

The chains that bind us

You didn’t really think all that brouhaha over funding the government back in the summer was the end of it, did you? Of course it wasn’t. Super Committee aside, this Republican Party is going to take every opportunity it can find to strangle the government and force it to bend to the will of its rich benefactors.

And Democrats seem powerless to stop it. I suppose that’s only natural, liberals being prone to compromise in a way that conservatives are decidedly not. But what it’s done is leave us with a far right party and a center right party, while the nation as a whole — its people, that is — keep moving forward.

All this talk of a third party, something in the middle, is completely ridiculous. Democrats are already there. What we really need is a truly progressive party. We’re out of balance because we’ve accepted the right-wing meme that they represent the true position of Americans and Democrats are far to the left, when in the opposite is actually true.

Yes, boys and girls, the wishy-washy Democrats are pretty much the party of moderation, the party that represents what most Americans are looking for. The Democratic party we have now — wholly unsatisfying to progressives — is America. But my beloved colleagues are too wrapped up in their beltway bubble to see that or even understand that things might not be as their Republican overlords tell them it is.

This is frustrating. It’s so fucking obvious to most of us and yet so beyond the grasp of those who tell us on the nightly news, and 24/7 on the cablers, what it’s all about.

What they, and conservatives, don’t understand, is that the center moves. It progresses. The center used to be in that backwards-looking, archaic place the Republicans thrive in. It isn’t now, and no amount of wishing it were so will make it go back.

But we’re stuck in this ugly place until my colleagues learn to tell the truth, until they know that the Republican party in general, and the tea party specifically, are behind the curve and will soon be left to the mites of history’s dustbin.

And journalists will be left there too, if they don’t wise up soon. Americans are unhappy with the direction government is going, not because it’s led by Democrats in the Senate and the Oval Office, but because those Democrats consistently forego their positions of power to give an old way of thought fresh power. But in the black and white world of Washington, it’s all an either-or proposition. Either you go with the Republicans or you don’t.

Frustrating, and sickening. How far back will this regressive suction pull us before the line finally snaps and we are jerked into a new world wholly unprepared?

When that happens, and it will, we’d best be prepared to help our new arrivals understand where they are and why. They’ll need it.

It’s hard now, but keep this in mind: The pull of progress has left the Republican Party dragging its heels in the past. It can decided to move itself forward with the rest of us, still representing a conservative viewpoint, but one grounded in reality instead of a drive to survive.

That’s where we are now. Neither Democrats nor Republicans have the leeway to consider the rest of us anymore. Their decisions are wholly based on what they think will get them elected or re-elected. And since our storytellers keep telling an old story that no longer has any basis in reality, too many people remain caught up in that polarizing position. Either-or. This or that.

This is the way things work. Conservatives resist change. They drag their heels. They dig in. They hunker down. And they fight back with the viciousness of a cornered dog, one that realizes its entire world is about to change completely. Liberals and progressive pull us forward. It all works quite well when conservatives inch forward, bringing up the rear and discarding the outworn ideas that no longer have any purchase on the real world.

Right now, though, those outworn ideas are still holding on, and the Republicans are giving them voice. Be gentle with them, my friends. It’s going to be a shock when the change finally comes, as it must.

Republicans are stuck, and Democrats can’t move forward without them. Republicans are entrenched in an extreme ideology that has no place here. Their good ideas are tarred with the bad from the past.

Until they let go of that, we’ll stay right here, caught in an uncivil war of someone else’s choosing.