The Weekend Watering Hole, December 3rd-4th, 2016

As George W. Bush so eloquently stated all those years ago, “There’s an old saying in Tennessee — I know it’s in Texas, probably in Tennessee — that says, fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can’t get fooled again.”

There are countless numbers of people who should have taken to heart even Dubya’s garbled version (perhaps he had been listening to The Who on his way to that day’s event) of the saying, “Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me”, during this past Presidential campaign and election. The vast majority of those people belong in that huge conglomeration known as “The Media”. Subgroups include, but are not limited to: cable and other news channels, their corporate owners and news division heads, “journalists”, “reporters”, newspundits aka talking heads, political strategists, and official spokeswhores for political candidates. I’m not even going to bother going into the internet “media”, that would be like peeling away every layer of the world’s largest onion (and would bring tears to your eyes, too.) Better to focus on the main offenders.

On Thursday, a “postmortem session” was held at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, attended by representatives of several of the above subgroups. Apparently this is a traditional event that’s held following Presidential elections. As described in general in this article in The Washington Post, this year’s event quickly devolved into a “shouting match.”

A lot of lies were told, and false narratives put forward; too many for me to address all at once, so I’ll limit myself for now and add further commentary as the weekend progresses and time allows.

Clinton communications director Jennifer Palmieri condemned [Steve] Bannon, who previously ran Breitbart, a news site popular with the alt-right, a small movement known for espousing racist views.

“If providing a platform for white supremacists makes me a brilliant tactician, I am proud to have lost,” she said. “I would rather lose than win the way you guys did.”

Kellyanne Conway, Trump’s campaign manager, fumed: “Do you think I ran a campaign where white supremacists had a platform?”

“You did, Kellyanne. You did,” interjected Palmieri…”

Yes, you did, Kellyanne. Trump’s rants freed the voices and actions of a legion of bigots, including and especially white supremacists. But you and other Trump campaign spokeszombies denied, deflected and disowned reports of rising anti-Muslim anti-immigrant, anti-minorities threats and violence, along with Nazi-related graffiti, etc., often in Trump’s name; you did everything but denounce it in the strongest of terms. Forfuckssake, your candidate actually gained ground when he refused to tone down his violence-condoning rhetoric.

“Do you think you could have just had a decent message for white, working-class voters?” Conway asked. “How about, it’s Hillary Clinton, she doesn’t connect with people? How about, they have nothing in common with her? How about, she doesn’t have an economic message?”

Well, Kellyanne, Secretary Clinton DID have a “decent message for white, working-class voters” – the problem was that Trump’s unsubtle dog-whistle message stripped away the veneer of decency from certain segments of “white, working-class voters.” Maybe if Clinton had couched her economic message and policies in lurid hyperbole instead of measured, factual terms, the “media” would have given her more coverage, and more “white, working-class voters” might have paid attention. Or not. I think that once Trump opened his campaign with his lying anti-Mexican slurs, the inner xenophobe in too many Americans sat up and proclaimed “now, that guy speaks MY language.” (Yes, when your language is ‘limited vocabulary/poor grammar’ Americanese.) Trump’s angry shouting drowned out any more mundane, pragmatic offerings from Hillary Clinton. And “the media” simply ran with the loudest “monster-shouter” (H/T Stephen King’s “The Stand.”)

Trump officials said Clinton’s problems went beyond tactics to her weaknesses as a candidate and the deficits of a message that consisted largely of trying to make Trump unacceptable.

[Clinton campaign manager Robby] Mook posited that the media did not scrutinize Trump’s refusal to release his tax returns as intensively as the issue of Clinton’s private email server.

Conway retorted: “Oh, my God, that question was vomited to me every day on TV.”

First the only weaknesses candidate Clinton had were that she’s center-right (which means dangerously left to the impaired judgment of the right-wing), her name is Hillary Clinton, and she’s a woman. She was not “the most crooked politician ever to run for President”, or anything even close to it. She did not murder anyone, despite all of the “body count” conspiracies. And, despite millions of dollars and thousands of hours of fruitless investigations, she did not cause the deaths in Benghazi. Hillary stayed on message the majority of the time, but how could she NOT point out all of the myriad reasons why Trump made HIMSELF unacceptable? Especially since “the media” wasn’t doing a damn thing to inform voters of those reasons?

Second, yes, Kellyanne, you were asked about Trump’s tax returns every day, because neither you nor Trump ever answered the fucking question. As with so many other important questions, you were the one who was projectile-vomiting nonsensical talking points, redirecting the interview right back to Hillary and her emails, or Benghazi, or whatever the current Clinton faux-scandal was on your agenda.

“Conway accused Clinton’s team of being sore losers. “Guys, I can tell you are angry, but wow,” she said. “Hashtag he’s your president. How’s that? Will you ever accept the election results? Will you tell your protesters that he’s their president, too?”

Well, ‘hashtag’ FUCK YOU, Kellyanne, would Trump have accepted the election results if he had lost? You know the answer to that one, you slimy harpy twat. And fuck every goddamned Republican who dares to demand that we kowtow to Donald Trump and his minions, after every word and deed from the right wing for the last eight years were meant solely to stop duly-elected President Obama from actually acting as the American President. Donald Trump is incapable of giving any dignity or credence to the Office of the President of the United States; IMO, he doesn’t even aspire to do so. “Sad.”

Kellyanne, you’re a paid professional liar, and you sold your shriveled, empty soul to an amoral selfish greedy disgusting excuse for a human being. If there really is a Hell, I’m sure that you’ll eventually end up being the spokeswhore for Satan.

There was so much more that I hope to address eventually. Plus, there’s a more detailed account of the discussions at the Harvard event here.

“The media” seemed to feel that its job was to sit back and let Trump be his deplorable self, almost idly marveling in wonder as to how Trump got away with telling the out-and-out lies that he did. It took until the last month or so before the election for “the media” to, to a small degree, come out of its collective catatonic state and finally challenge some of the lies, but there were too many and it was too late. “The media” owns a yuge chunk of the blame for this election’s horrific outcome. But that’s a topic that also needs more time than I have at this moment. But an important part of that discussion involves both Jeff Zucker and CNN’s endless and usually uncritical coverage of all things Trump, along with the insidious, duplicitious role of Trump campaign advisor/CNN political “pundit” Corey Lewandowski and his current role in the Trump transition.

This is our Weekend Open Thread – discuss whatever you’d like.

The Watering Hole, Monday, November 28th, 2016: Warning Signs of a Dictatorship

From November 23rd in Foreign Policy Magazine, “10 Ways to Tell if Your President is a Dictator”, by Stephen M. Walt, here’s a brief [believe it or not] summary. (You’ll need to register in order to be able to read the entire article. Registration is free, and allows you access to five articles per month.)

An excerpt from the opening:

“…if you live in the United States, what you should really worry about is the threat that Trump may pose to America’s constitutional order. His lengthy business career suggests he is a vindictive man who will go to extreme lengths to punish his opponents and will break a promise in a heartbeat and without remorse. The 2016 campaign confirmed that he has little respect for existing norms and rules — he refused to release his tax returns, lied repeatedly, claimed the electoral and political systems were “rigged” against him, threatened to jail his opponent if he won, among other such violations — and revealed his deep contempt for both his opponents and supporters. Nor does he regret any of the revolting things he did or said during the campaign, because, as he told the Wall Street Journal afterward, “I won.”[**] For Trump, it seems, the ends really do justify the means.

[**Tweet from WSJ: “When asked if he thought his rhetoric had gone too far in the campaign, Donald Trump told WSJ: “No. I won.”]

“Given what is at stake, one of the most important things we can all do is remain alert for evidence that Trump and those around him are moving in an authoritarian direction. For those who love America and its Constitution more than they love any particular political party or any particular politician, I offer as a public service my top 10 warning signs that American democracy is at risk.”

1) Systematic efforts to intimidate the media.

A free, energetic, vigilant, and adversarial press has long been understood to be an essential guarantee of democratic freedoms, because without it, the people in whose name leaders serve will be denied the information they need to assess what the politicians are doing.

If the Trump administration begins to enact policies designed to restrict freedom of the press, or just intimidate media organizations from offering critical coverage, it will be a huge (or if you prefer, yuge) warning sign.

Trump has already proposed “opening up” libel laws so that public figures can sue the press more easily. This step would force publishers and editors to worry about costly and damaging lawsuits even if they eventually win them, and it would be bound to have a chilling effect on their coverage.

His administration could deny access to entire news organizations like the New York Times if they were too critical of Trump’s policies or just too accurate in documenting his failures. Just because the First Amendment guarantees free speech doesn’t mean some parts of the media can’t be stampeded into pulling punches or once again indulging in “false equivalence.”

2) Building an official pro-Trump media network.

“…While trying to suppress critical media outlets, Trump could also use the presidency to bolster media that offer him consistent support. Or he could even try to create an official government news agency that would disseminate a steady diet of pro-Trump coverage.

In Trump’s ideal world, Americans would get their news from some combination of Breitbart, Fox News, and the president’s own Twitter feed…”

3) Politicizing the civil service, military, National Guard, or the domestic security agencies.

“One of the obstacles to a democratic breakdown is the government bureaucracy, whose permanent members are insulated from political pressure by existing civil service protections that make it hard to fire senior officials without cause. But one can imagine the Trump administration asking Congress to weaken those protections, portraying this step as a blow against “big government” and a way to improve government efficiency.

But if the president or his lieutenants can gut government agencies more or less at will, the fear of being fired will lead many experienced public servants to keep their heads down and kowtow to whatever the president wants, no matter how ill-advised or illegal it might be.

And don’t assume the military, FBI, National Guard, or the intelligence agencies would be immune to this sort of interference. Other presidents (or their appointees) have fired generals who questioned their policy objectives, as Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld did during George W. Bush’s first administration when he removed Army Chief of Staff Eric Shinseki, who had the temerity to tell a congressional committee that the occupation of Iraq was going to need a lot more people than Rumsfeld had claimed. Other generals and admirals got the message and stayed out of Rumsfeld’s way for the rest of his disastrous tenure as defense secretary. There have also been fights in the past over control of the National Guard, but a move to assert greater federal authority over the guard would give Trump a powerful tool to use against open expressions of dissent.”

4) Using government surveillance against domestic political opponents.

“This step wouldn’t be entirely new either, insofar as Nixon once used the CIA to infiltrate anti-war organizations during the Vietnam War. But the government’s capacity to monitor the phones, emails, hard drives, and online activities of all Americans has expanded enormously since the 1960s.

As far as we know, however, no one has yet tried to use these new powers of surveillance to monitor, intimidate, embarrass, deter, or destroy political opponents.

…an ambitious and unscrupulous president could use the ability to monitor political opponents to great advantage. He would need the cooperation of top officials and possibly many underlings as well, but this only requires loyal confederates at the top and compliant people below. The White House had sufficient authority, under George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, to convince U.S. government employees to torture other human beings.”

5) Using state power to reward corporate backers and punish opponents.

“A hallmark of corrupt quasi-democracies is the executive’s willingness to use the power of the state to reward business leaders who are loyal and to punish anyone who gets in the way. That’s how Putin controls the “oligarchs” in Russia, and it is partly how Erdogan kept amassing power and undermining opponents in Turkey…

…I know, I know: Corruption of this sort is already a problem here in the Land of the Free —whether in the form of congressional pork or the sweet deals former government officials arrange to become lobbyists once they leave office — so why single out Trump? The problem is that Trump’s record suggests he thinks this is the right way to do business: You reward your friends, and you stick it to your enemies every chance you get.”

6) Stacking the Supreme Court.

“Trump will likely get the opportunity to appoint several Supreme Court justices, and the choices he makes will be revealing. Does he pick people who are personally loyal and beholden to him or opt for jurors with independent standing and stellar qualifications? Does he pick people whose views on hot-button issues such as abortion, gay marriage, and campaign financing comport with his party’s, or does he go for people who have an established view on the expansiveness of executive power and are more likely to look the other way if he takes some of the other steps I’ve already mentioned? And if it’s the latter, would the Senate find the spine to say no?”

7) Enforcing the law for only one side.

“…given the nature of Trump’s campaign and the deep divisions within the United States at present, a key litmus test for the president-elect is whether he will direct U.S. officials to enforce similar standards of conduct on both his supporters and his opponents.

If anti-Trump protesters are beaten up by a band of Trump’s fans, will the latter face prosecution as readily as if the roles were reversed? Will local and federal justice agencies be as vigilant in patrolling right-wing hate speech and threats of violence as they are with similar actions that might emanate from the other side?…If Trump is quick to call out his critics but gives racists, bigots, and homophobes a free pass because they happen to like him, it would be another sign he is trying to tilt the scales of justice in his favor.”

8) Really rigging the system.

“…given the promises he has made and the demography of the electorate, Trump and the GOP have every incentive to use the next four years to try to stack the electoral deck in their favor. Look for more attempts to gerrymander safe seats for House Republicans and more efforts to prevent likely Democratic voters from getting to the polls in 2018 and 2020.”

9) Fearmongering.

“Stoking public fears about safety and well-being is a classic autocratic tactic, designed to convince a frightened population to look to the Leader for protection. Trump played this card brilliantly in the campaign, warning of “Mexican rapists,” foreign governments that “steal our jobs,” “scores of recent migrants inside our borders charged with terrorism,” and so on. He also hinted that his political rivals were somehow in cahoots with these various “enemies.” A frightened population tends to think first about its own safety, and forget about fundamental liberties, and would be more likely to look the other way as a president amassed greater power.

The worst case, of course, would be an Erdogan-like attempt to use a terrorist attack or some other equally dramatic event as an excuse to declare a “state of emergency” and to assume unprecedented executive authority. Bush and Cheney used 9/11 to pass the Patriot Act, and Trump could easily try to use some future incident as a — with apologies for the pun — trumped-up excuse to further encroach on civil liberties, press freedoms, and the other institutions that are central to democracy.”

10) Demonizing the opposition.

“Trying to convince people that your domestic opponents are in league with the nation’s enemies is one of the oldest tactics in politics, and it has been part of Trump’s playbook ever since he stoked the “birther” controversy over Obama’s citizenship. After he becomes president, will he continue to question his opponents’ patriotism, accuse them of supporting America’s opponents, and blame policy setbacks on dark conspiracies among Democrats, liberals, Muslims, the Islamic State, “New York financial elites,” or the other dog whistles so beloved by right-wing media outlets like Breitbart? Will he follow the suggestions of some of his supporters and demand that Americans from certain parts of the world (read: Muslims) be required to “register” with the federal government?

Again, these are the same tactics Erdogan and Putin have used in Turkey and Russia, respectively, to cement their own authority over time by initiating a vicious cycle of social hostility. When groups within a society are already somewhat suspicious of each other, extremists can trigger a spiral of increasing hostility by attacking the perceived internal enemy in the hope of provoking a harsh reaction. If the attacked minority responds defensively, or its own hotheads lash out violently, it will merely reinforce the first group’s fears and bolster a rapid polarization. Extremists on both sides will try to “outbid” their political opponents by portraying themselves as the most ardent and effective defenders of their own group. In extreme cases, such as the Balkan Wars in the 1990s or Iraq after 2003, the result is civil war. Trump would be playing with fire if he tries to stay in power by consistently sowing hatred against the “other,” but he did it in the campaign, and there’s no reason to believe he wouldn’t do it again.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“This list of warning signs will no doubt strike some as overly alarmist. As I said, it is possible — even likely — that Trump won’t try any of these things (or at least not very seriously) and he might face prompt and united opposition if he did. The checks and balances built into America’s democratic system may be sufficiently robust to survive a sustained challenge. Given the deep commitment to liberty that lies at the heart of the American experiment, it is also possible the American people would quickly detect any serious attempt to threaten the present order and take immediate action to stop it.

The bottom line: I am by no means predicting the collapse of democracy in the United States under a President Donald J. Trump. What I am saying is that it is not impossible, and there are some clear warning signs to watch out for. Now, as always, the price of freedom is eternal vigilance. Or to use a more modern formulation: If you see something, say something.”

 

This is our Open Thread – feel free to talk about whatever you want.

Sunday Roast: Lack of Outrage is Killing Democracy

Mike Papantonio is one of the best liberal voices we have in this country.  We should listen to him — ALWAYS.  Especially when he’s mean.

Here’s a link to some text of this talk.

This is the first Sunday Roast of 2015! — Listen to the whole video!

THE Watering Hole, Wednesday, 7/11/12: The New Republican Conspiracy

Tweeter scoops the Mainstream Media yet again.

REPUBLICANS PLAN TO PRIVATIZE THE COURTS

According to Tweeter, The Zoo’s investigative journalist par excellance, a vast Right-Wing Conspiracy is planning an unprecedented assault on the federal judiciary:privatization.

Under their plan all Federal Courts, except for the Supreme Court, will be held privately. There is, however, a raging debate as to whether they will be owned by one or more individuals or a Corporation. A few billionaires are insisting that private ownership is the only way to truly have an independent judiciary, while others extoll the advantages to a publically traded judicial corporation.

“Imagine the thrill of holding stock in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals” one anonymous insider told Tweeter. “Decisions that once were, well, not very interesting for the common folk, suddenly take on a whole new light when the value of your investment is at stake. With publically traded courts, everyone can invest in the judiciary. This takes jurisprudence out of the Court Room and puts it into the Board Room, where it belongs.”

Tweeter contacted a Constitutional Law Scholar for further background on this controversial plan to give ownership of the judicial branch to the public. The scholar, who chose to remain annonymous, said:

Article III of the Constitution states:

“The judicial power of the United States, shall be vested in one Supreme Court, and in such inferior courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish. The judges, both of the supreme and inferior courts, shall hold their offices during good behaviour, and shall, at stated times, receive for their services, a compensation, which shall not be diminished during their continuance in office.”

This means every court below the Supreme Court is a creation of Congress, by statute. So, if Congress wants to privatize the federal judiciary, that will likely pass a constitutional challenge. Let’s face it, if Congress wanted to do away with the federal court system in its entirety, it could do so, as long as it kept the Supreme Court. Come to think of it, if Congress wanted to get rid of the Supreme Court, it probably could – after all, if it got rid of the Supreme Court, there would be no court to say what it did was unconstitutional.

The fact that no one has heard of this conspiracy is proof of its existence, as well as proof of the effectiveness of the security measures it has taken, until now, to keep this plan secret. In fact, this is supposed to be so secret, it won’t even be mentioned at the Republican Party Convention. But according to Tweeter’s sources, this conspiracy gained immense traction these past few weeks, in reaction to the Supreme Court’s ruling on Obamacare.

We here at The Zoo will keep you, are dear readers, informed of any new developments.

THIS IS OUR OPEN THREAD
ANYTHING YOU POST CAN, AND WILL, BE HELD AGAINST YOU

The Watering Hole: Wednesday, June 20, 2012: Does it really Matter?

Ok, so for the next few months, if you’re in a “swing” State, you’ll be inundated with SuperPAC commercials designed to get you to vote against your own best interests. We will also be systematically bombarded with messages from the Mainstream Media designed to influence our thinking.

IT’S ALL A SHOW. IT REALLY DOESN’T MATTER.

If the Powers That Be really want Obama out, all they have to do is raise gas prices to about $5.00/gallon. Instead, gas prices are going down, heading into the summer vacation season. That’s not to say they won’t go up between now and the election – but they are an accurate predictor of where our economy will head. So, pay attention to the pump, not the talking heads.

Ok, that’s my $0.0199 cents. And you?

OPEN THREAD
JUST REMEMBER
EVERYTHING I SAID
DOESN’T REALLY MATTER

 

Guest Blog by TerryTheTurtle: November 2012 – The First Citizens United Election and the Last of the American Democratic Experiment?

I think there’s no secret that as a foreigner, I view the American democratic system with an outsider’s eye. It’s the view of one who has not been taught in school from the first day that the American Democratic Experiment is unique, unparalleled and somehow ‘divinely ordained’. It may have been once, but IMO it now more resembles the last days of the Roman Empire when a horse could be Senator  (or even higher office?) and seats were bought and sold in order to ‘rubber-stamp’ the sociopaths and megalomaniacal dictators who ran the place into the dust while plying the plebs with ‘bread and circuses’.

IMO, The SCOTUS ruling on Citizens United (CU) has delivered a fatal blow to the American Democratic Experiment. I think many of you sense it, but until this November’s election is done and the impact of the unlimited corporate money which is on its way now from the American fascist establishment into the election process, you won’t be able to appreciate just how deadly that ruling is.

At the time it was passed, dissenting Justice Stevens wrote:

[Citizens United] “threatens to undermine the integrity of elected institutions across the Nation. The path it has taken to reach its outcome will, I fear, do damage to this institution.” He wrote: “A democracy cannot function effectively when its constituent members believe laws are being bought and sold.”

And Stevens took a swipe at corporations too:

“Stevens discussed how the unique qualities of corporations and other artificial legal entities made them dangerous to democratic elections. These legal entities, he argued, have perpetual life, the ability to amass large sums of money, limited liability, no ability to vote, no morality, no purpose outside of profit-making, and no loyalty”

Let’s recap briefly the new rules of the game that Citizens United brings.

1. Anyone and that means any person, or corporation (even foreign owned or registered ones like Halliburton) can spend whatever they want to say whatever they want to influence you the voter as to who to vote for. Money equals free speech under Citizens United and it doesn’t matter where the money comes from and it is the money that decides which ‘free speech’ you hear and which you don’t. Spend just one evening watching Fox ‘News’ and you know what this means.

2. The people and corporations who will spend the most money are the ones who have the most to spend and are most likely to gain from ‘buying’ an election – that is the rich, the 1%, who will have their bought-and-paid-for politicians write the rules in their favour so that they will accumulate even more wealth.

3. They don’t have to tell you who they are in some cases (e.g. 501c4s like the NRA and Karl Rove’s patently fascist SuperPAC for some reason), and even if they do, you won’t know who and how much until *after* the election is decided.

St. Ronald Raygun (yes, really!):

“It has been said that politics is the second oldest profession. I have learned that it bears a striking resemblance to the first.”

So welcome America to the ‘Best Democracy Money Can Buy’ – this 8 minute video recaps all I have said here and more and also calls for a constitutional amendment to redefine persons and therefore undermine CU. I for one, have no confidence that an amendment will go anywhere – to start with it would require 67 Senators who do not owe their office to corporate money to be ready to vote and November 2012 is coming first. IMO CU is an irrevocable and fatal wound to the American Democratic Experiment (1776 – 2010 RIP) – it was a good run everyone.

The Watering Hole: Wednesday, 1/11/12: And the Winner is…..

When I think of the commentary on the major networks as they announce the results of the primaries…trying to make the inane exciting…stretching on and on and on and on and… well, you know…. filling the time as they wait for those last few precincts to report (are there some precincts that delay reporting just to mess with the networks?) I am reminded of that most famous of all horseraces:

And the Winner is….!

Open Thread: On your marks; get set; POST!

Watering Hole – Monday August 8, 2011 – Crises of Capitalism

This video is a little more than 11 minutes in length.  It’s an interesting perspective.  Last week was bad news week.  Can it get any worse?

This is our Open Thread today.  My apologies for not having much more to say at this point.  Perhaps you have something to add to the conversation so Speak Up!

The Watering Hole February 7 Back to the mines…

“The first-century CE satirist Juvenal wrote, “Long ago the people shed their anxieties, ever since we do not sell our votes to anyone. For the people—who once conferred imperium, symbols of office, legions, everything—now hold themselves in check and anxiously desire only two things, the grain dole and chariot races in the Circus” (Satires 10.77-81). Juvenal’s famous phrase, panem et circenses (“bread and circuses”) has become proverbial to describe those who give away significant rights in exchange for material pleasures. Juvenal has put his finger on two of the most important aspects of Roman chariot races—their immense popularity and the pleasure they gave the Roman people, and the political role they played during the empire in diverting energies that might otherwise have gone into rioting and other forms of popular unrest.”

Barbara F. McManus, The College of New Rochelle

It’s the morning after this nations most lavish corporate media chariot insurance, soda pop and nachos extravaganza. An early highlight was a temple diva’s botch of the national anthem, for which the media will drag her through the cyber streets for a brief time. How ’bout those legions in Afghanistan, eh?

This is our Daily Open Thread, what’s in your mind?


Chris Matthews STFU!!

MATTHEWS: You know, I was trying to think about who he was tonight, and it’s interesting: He is post-racial by all appearances. You know, I forgot he was black tonight for an hour. You know, he’s gone a long way to become a leader of this country and passed so much history in just a year or two. I mean, it’s something we don’t even think about.

Obviously, President Obama’s blackness was all over Tweety’s mind this evening.

*eyes rolling*

HT: ThinkProgress

Palin on Beck….Beck on Palin?

The things we suffer through for our Zoosters…

At 2:18.

Beck: Who’s your favorite founder?

Palin: You know.. well.. all of them!…

Beck: Bull crap.. Who’s your favorite?

Palin: …because they came collectively together with so much diverse…so much diverse opinion and much diversity in terms of belief, but collectively they came together to form this union. No, and they were led by, of course, George Washington. So he’s got to rise to the top. Washington was the consummate statesman. He served, he turned power to the people. He didn’t want to be a king. He returned power to the people. Then he went back to Mount Vernon. He went back to his farm. He was almost reluctant to serve as president too and that’s who you need to find to serve in government, in a bureaucracy — those who you know will serve for the right reasons because they’re reluctant to get out there and seek a limelight and seek power. They’re doing it for the people, that was George Washington.

*facepalm*

Exactly what she said to Katie Couric about what newspapers she reads, “All of them!”

Founding Fathers, girl!  Come on! Thomas Jefferson!  Ben Franklin!  James Madison!

No, of course, she can’t come up with anyone, and during a long pause scrambles for the name of the first president, who is, of course, a Founding Father, I’ll give her that, and proceeds to give the grade school answer.

A grade school answer, I might add, that she could stretch to its very limits in order to equate herself with George Washington — he did his bit for the country, and then went home to his farm:  Palin did her bit for Alaska, and then quit to make millions giving dumb speeches.

Yeah, I can see the resemblance….uh huh.

Don’t get me started on the “He returned power to the people” bullshit, I’ve got homework to do.

Pay no attention; no wizards here

Neocons and wingnuts hate David Brooks, columnist at the New York Times. “He’s not a real conservative!” is the most common response when Brooks is mentioned, because Brooks is part of a dying breed of conservatives who refrain from knee-jerk responses, and who do not view education and intelligence with disdain. Today’s column is exactly the sort of analysis that will send FoxNews and the wingers into a frenzy–so you know it has to be good.

Recently, we’ve seen a number of conservatives criticizing Glenn Beck as a nutcase, but Brooks goes one step further: he critiques the “giants” of Right Wing media not for being out of touch, not for being loons, but for being seriously overrated, by the Right and the Left.

After recalling the period leading up to the 2008 primaries and elections, he writes:

So what is the theme of our history lesson? It is a story of remarkable volume and utter weakness. It is the story of media mavens who claim to represent a hidden majority but who in fact represent a mere niche — even in the Republican Party. It is a story as old as “The Wizard of Oz,” of grand illusions and small men behind the curtain.

Continue reading

Rachel Maddow: The truth about the lies about ACORN

The myths and lies about ACORN abound.  Rachel is joined by Peter Dreier of Occidental College, who wrote a story about the made-up crap about ACORN, which the lazy-assed mainstream media has fallen for — hook, line & sinker.

Rachel promises to keep a close eye on this on-going story.

Of Missile Shields and Missive Spiels

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Predictably, the minute President Obama announces a policy shift from the Bush Administration, NeoCons reflexively denounce Obama using the tried and true tactic of lying and altering history. Last night on Real Time with Bill Maher was no exception as Matthew Continetti, (a new face/stand-in for Bill Kristol, also of the Weekly Standard) made the unrebutted assertion that Poland and the Czech Republic wanted the “Missile Shield” that Obama recently discontinued. Did they really?

Not quite, according to an excellent article written in the Spring of 2008:

Concerned that hosting a US missile base will put them on the frontline of a new confrontation with Russia, the majority of Poles now oppose siting the interceptors in their country.

The same was true of the Czech Republic. However, as long as Bush was willing to pay any price, their governments were willing to go along with the deal, even though it was causing great divisions amongst NATO allies.
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Ralph Peters continues to slime Pfc Bergdahl — with the help of Bill O’Reilly (updated)

ThinkProgress

Ralph Peters is very certain about what he “knows,” and completely oblivious that he knows nothing.

All Peters “knows” is that some mythical “very senior military leader” answered “yes,” when asked if Bergdahl was a deserter.  This was Ralph Peters looking in the mirror and hearing voices again.  I “know” this because I asked a really smart neighbor about it, and he said “yes.”

So here we have Bill O’Reilly, who proudly proclaims that he has been to Afghanistan, but who has never served in the military, and Ralph Peters, who admits on this video that he has no combat experience, trashing the mental state a young man actually serving in the military, in a war zone.  Naturally, they have no facts to back up their assertions that Bergdahl is “crazy” or “out of his mind,” but they don’t mind making it up as they go.

Here’s what the military has to say about Bergdahl being a deserter:

Appalled at Peters’ original comment, CNN’s Rick Sanchez reported yesterday that Bergdahl is not a deserter. “Is the military saying that he’s a deserter in any way? We have checked. No, not at all,” Sanchez said.

NBC Pentagon correspondent Jim Miklaszewski also reported yesterday that “senior Pentagon and military officials have ruled that out entirely, they say there is no evidence that he is a deserter.” Miklaszewski added that “they also point out that remarks like that are not the least bit helpful and in fact could endanger Pfc Bergdahl.”  (Emphasis added)

The important thing to remember is that Ralph Peters is getting his exposure on Fox “News,” which has no relationship with truth or integrity.

Whatever happened to “Support the Troops?”  Or even “innocent until proven guilty?”

The previous post on Ralph Peters’ insanity is here.

UPDATERep Eric Mass (D-NY), who is a retired Navy Commander, is demanding that Fox News fire Bill O’Reilly and Ralph Peters for their comments about Pfc Bergdahl.

“Words cannot express how furious I am at Fox News, Lt. Col Ralph Peters and Bill O’Reilly for suggesting that we should leave a prisoner of war behind and allow him to be executed by the Taliban to save us the trouble of trying to intervene” said Congressman Eric Massa. “Last night I joined with a bipartisan group of 22 other Congressional veterans in demanding an immediate apology to the family of PFC Bergdahl from Fox News, but I don’t think that goes far enough. I want to see Mr. Peters and Mr. O’Reilly fired immediately for their inexcusable attacks on a prisoner of war. Their comments aid and abet our enemies during a time of war and the burden is on Fox News to prove that they reject this by taking the tangible action of issuing an apology and firing both of them.”

You can read the whole letter here (PDF).

Move Over Britney, Here Comes Sarah

It wasn’t too long ago, that Britney Spears was covered by the media on a daily basis.  We knew when Britney Spears went shopping and where she shopped.  There were constant stories about her marriage and her babies.  Nothing was secret.  We heard it all, on a regular basis.  Occasionally, the media would update us on the affairs of a young woman named Paris Hilton.

Sarah Palin

Sarah Palin

Then we had the “Runaway Bride,” the “Diaper Woman” and of course, Anna Nicole Smith.  All of these women kept our media busy.   In the meantime, George W. Bush and Dick Cheney were trashing our Constitution, bankrupting our nation, and sending Americans off to die in a war based on lies, but the media never took their eyes off of these women.

Now it’s time for Britney and Paris to step aside.  There is a new woman in town and she will do and say anything to get the attention of the media.  Why just the other day, she single handedly re-directed the media’s attention away from its constant coverage of Michael Jackson and right to her.  Since John McCain yanked Sarah Palin out of Alaska and into the view of the lower 48, a week hasn’t gone by without someone from the media placing the spotlight on Sarah.  Last Friday, Sarah Palin announced that she is aborting her position as Governor of Alaska and moving onto a “higher calling.”   She claimed that she was resigning for the good of Alaska.  If this were true, she would quietly leave the scene.  Instead, Sarah Palin has been on the news every day.  On Friday, she announces the abortion of  her responsibilities to the citizens of Alaska; Saturday, she threatens to sue anyone that spreads rumors about her; Sunday, she again announces to her supporters that they should stay tuned; on Monday, she appeared in front of the cameras wearing fishing waders; and today, another stay tuned day.

Oh Sarah, we are waiting with baited breath.  When will you announce your true intentions?  Stay tuned.  There will be more tomorrow.  Are you bored yet?

(Image source)

(This post is a “Point of View” by Cats r Flyfishn and may not represent the opinion of other Zoo Critters.)

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Swift Boating Health Care

Rick Scott’s is the former CEO of Columbia/Hospital Corporation of America. He was forced to resign in 1997, and Columbia/HCA agreed to pay $1.7 billion in fines and penalties. The hospital corporation pleaded guilty criminal and civil fraud charges including lying to the government about how sick patients were so they could collect larger fees.

Now Rick Scott is using his personal wealth accumulated by violating patient interests to attack health care reform and has formed a group called Conservatives for Patients Rights. They airing attacks on President Obama’s proposals on national cable outlets like Fox and CNN.

Fortunately the group Health Care For America Now is fighting back with this ad campaign. And there is a letter to be sent to these media outlets asking them to cease airing these ads. You can sign here.

Working with them is the organization Healthcare-NOW! that is an education and advocacy organization that addresses the health insurance crisis in the U.S by advocating for the passage of national, single-payer healthcare legislation. They have a petition to sign as well.

We call on our members of Congress to pass HR 676, non-profit Medicare for All, so our people and our nation can have the excellent healthcare system we deserve. Healthcare is a human right, and we call on our members of Congress to recognize that right.

If we do nothing the bad guys like Rick Scott win. It’s time to stop the people working against the public interest.

TeaBagging: The Arch-Capitalists’ Pseudo-Popular, Pseudo-Democratic, Pseudo-Patriotic Assault On Real Democracy

The following is by Guest Blogger, 5thstate.  Enjoy!

Modern Times Teabaggers

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The Adventure Begins: From to Tea to Teabags.

Supposedly, from a single “Howard Beal”-like rant on February 19, 2009, from trader, turned CNBC “on-air editor,” Rick Santelli about how the Homeowner’s Affordability and Stability Plan promoted the “bad behavior” of foreclosed homeowners, a “grassroots” nationwide anti-tax “Tea Party” movement was born.

Well, not quite.

It was the ardent Libertarian supporters of Republican presidential hopeful Ron Paul who revived the “Tea Party” banner (under which to protest government fiscal policy) that was first applied by proto-revolutionary American colonials in 1773.

The spirit and efficacy of the “Tea Party” slogan was however severely diminished when the genuinely grassroots “Paultards” publicity scheme to dump tea into Boston harbor from a Ron Paul-emblazoned blimp literally never got off the ground.

The cost of the blimp hire was $100,000.  Strangely not even 10,000 supposedly fiscally responsible Libertarians could pony up the ten dollars-each needed to change American political history forever!

So the “Tea Party” as the Libertarians had envisaged it retired, deflated, to a rusty shed at the edge of the political scene — much like Ron Paul himself, actually.

The Gathering Storm in a Teacup.

But as the summer of 2008 entered its last months, the political winds changed dramatically:  unregulated free-market teacups began rattling as the cucumber canapés of finance suddenly went limp and soggy.

Dark clouds burst over the laissez-faire Republican picnic whilst ants of despair invaded the egg-and-watercress sandwiches of certitude!  The stock market headed for the basement like a half-dressed slasher movie teenager, and the housing market collapsed like an outsourced KBR deck-chair.

As the Republicans demanded that the band play louder to drown out the noise of breaking capitalist crockery and tried to calm the panicking masses by pointing out that the picnic hadn’t been attacked by swarms of killer bees lately, a dark-skinned community organizer (who the Grand Old Party-ers had assumed was there to serve sandwiches) stepped forward with ideas on how to clean up the mess and get the party swinging again—and to the Republicans’ dismay the people listened.

Desperate to distract the crowd from the smooth-tongued party-crasher, the Republicans tried throwing cream cakes and cocktail sausages at him, but none of them stuck.

Then they shoved an Alaskan Hoochie-Coochie dancer onto the stage but, whilst easy on the eyes, she couldn’t sing or dance and she was obviously just a prick-tease — for all her winking and sassiness she wasn’t going to put out for anything less than designer clothes, a swank apartment, an armored limo, and a private jet.

For the frat-house Republicans, the party was over.

Their atomic-wedgie antics and beer-binging on the family credit card had run their natural course.

Dad’s classic Ferrari was backwards in a ditch; Mom’s lingerie was scattered around the garden; half a dozen girls were knocked-out on ‘rufies’ and knocked-up; someone had puked on the dog; the record player was skipping on “Where Eagles Soar”; and the Skull & Bones had run out of freshman “pledges” they usually could force make the place look respectable again.

Meanwhile everyone else had gone next door with the cool black kid and partied with the wonks, the mathletes, the A/V club with their cool viral videos, and their rockstar/Hollywood friends — and had the best party ever!

Then the cool black kid was voted Prom King, and the wonky chick the Jocks had been calling a bitch and a lesbian since her freshman year became President of the Student Council, and everyone clapped and cheered — except the Jocks and their blond-haired pep squad who began slapping each other in an epic blame snit.

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UPS dumps Billo

HT TP:

Today UPS announced it will stop advertising on O’Reilly’s show. Here is the statement UPS emailed out just moments ago:

Thank you for sending an e-mail expressing concern about UPS advertising during the Bill O’Reilly show on FOX News. We do consider such comments as we review ad placement decisions which involve a variety of news, entertainment and sports programming. At this time, we have no plans to continue advertising during this show.

After ThinkProgress’ Amanda Turkel was stalked and ambushed by Bill O’s hitmen, TP fought back with an email campaign to Bill O’s sponsors.

Bill O responded by calling those who post on Think Progress “insects.” Well, those bugs can bite!

UPS’s announcement that it will discontinue advertising on Bill O’s show is a perfect example of the free market at work. We, the consumer, have a right to spend our money with companies we support. This right has been exercised in the recent past, most notably by boycotting companies that exploit child labor overseas.

Boycotts are effective in bringing about social change.

A big THANK YOU goes out to UPS. Next time I have a package to deliver, I’m going to look to the Brown as my first choice.

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When the Right’s Proved Wrong, They Go Apoplectic

Watch Sean Hannity lie through his teeth about President Clinton leaving us a recession before George W.. Bush rescued us.  Watch him lie about the state of the economy (well, the economy for us, the little people, compared to Hannity who rakes in millions a year).

This is an embarrassment – for Hannity.

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Intensify the nationalism, quick!

If it wasn’t enough to thoroughly trash our country, now they expect us to fix it…by working til we die!

Is retiring early unpatriotic?

If boomers all turn in their keys at age 55, 62 or 65 and head for the Tuscan hills, that great sucking sound you’ll hear is untold amounts of taxpayer dollars being leached from the economy. That is money heirs will have to replace or do without.

It’s an act Yarrow calls “profoundly selfish and unpatriotic.”

You can’t make this shit up! Who would have thought it, its us who are being selfish. They suggest in the article working until you are 75- for your country. 

I also would like to call out a shout to just plain lying to the people. From this statement, emphasis mine.

The debt currently stands at $9.3 trillion and is largely driven by rising Medicare and Social Security costs.

Huh? And I thought is was the war and all the supplemental spending for the war. I guess I am just ignorant.

Here is another gem from this article.

Today, the average life expectancy is 78, and if you make it through your 50s, you’re likely to live into your 80s or beyond.

Cool, I might have 5 years to relax before I die! Won’t be able to do much on my walker, but hey, what does that matter?

So pleas Critters and others, please let me know I am not the only one that thinks this is WAY over the top and ridiculous! There is even more crap if you can stomach the article in it’s entirety.