• Tips gratefully accepted here. Thanks!:

  • Recent Comments

    Ivory Bill Woodpecke… on Who gets their stuff?
    Ivory Bill Woodpecke… on Who gets their stuff?
    Ivory Bill Woodpecke… on Who gets their stuff?
    Niles on Who gets their stuff?
    William on Who gets their stuff?
    William on Who gets their stuff?
    William on Who gets their stuff?
    William on OooOOOoooo, Snap! That’s going…
    Catscatscats on OooOOOoooo, Snap! That’s going…
    Ivory Bill Woodpecke… on OooOOOoooo, Snap! That’s going…
    bellecat on OooOOOoooo, Snap! That’s going…
    bellecat on OooOOOoooo, Snap! That’s going…
    Kathleen A Wynne on The reason I won’t be voting f…
    Ivory Bill Woodpecke… on The reason I won’t be voting f…
    Ivory Bill Woodpecke… on The reason I won’t be voting f…
  • Categories


  • Tags

    abortion Add new tag Afghanistan Al Franken Anglachel Atrios bankers Barack Obama Bernie Sanders big pharma Bill Clinton cocktails Conflucians Say Dailykos Democratic Party Democrats Digby DNC Donald Trump Donna Brazile Economy Elizabeth Warren feminism Florida Fox News General Glenn Beck Glenn Greenwald Goldman Sachs health care Health Care Reform Hillary Clinton Howard Dean John Edwards John McCain Jon Corzine Karl Rove Matt Taibbi Media medicare Michelle Obama Michigan misogyny Mitt Romney Morning Edition Morning News Links Nancy Pelosi New Jersey news NO WE WON'T Obama Obamacare OccupyWallStreet occupy wall street Open thread Paul Krugman Politics Presidential Election 2008 PUMA racism Republicans research Sarah Palin sexism Single Payer snark Social Security Supreme Court Terry Gross Texas Tim Geithner unemployment Wall Street WikiLeaks women
  • Archives

  • History

    June 2019
    S M T W T F S
    « May    
     1
    2345678
    9101112131415
    16171819202122
    23242526272829
    30  
  • RSS Paul Krugman: Conscience of a Liberal

  • The Confluence

    The Confluence

  • RSS Suburban Guerrilla

    • Broken heart
      I never really had a broken heartYou don’t believe me, just look at my chestThe way some people like to run and hideI never really, reallyI never really had a broken heart. Dr. Dog:
  • RSS Ian Welsh

    • Bernie Sanders vs. Elizabeth Warren
      Many supporters of Sanders or Warren have become rather vicious to each other. The claim from the Warren supporters is that their candidate is the candidate of ideas, having put out tons of policy proposals. (Sanders has 25 last time I looked, so he’s not shy on this.) She’s younger, and it’s important to some […]
  • Top Posts

  • Advertisements

Whineter, and other stuff

Make it stooooop!

************************

In other news, from another parallel universe, Bill O’Reilly, international man of danger, lies about yet another story he “covered”, this one on the post Rodney King riots in LA. Apparently, he was so obnoxiously abusive and narcissistic that he provoked someone into throwing something at him. I know the feeling.

Oh, wait, that was yesterday’s lie. Today’s lie is about how he covered The Troubles in Ireland and went mano a mano with Irish terrorists.

(All the church ladies swoon)

Anyway, Jay Rosen says that Bill O’Reilly is really performance artist, not journalist. That’s what Fox News hired him for. That makes sense. Certain kinds of confrontational art is supposed to provoke a response in the viewer. Think Piss Christ. O’Reilly just aims his spray at anyone who isn’t laughably pious and deliberately ignorant.

Here’s Rosen’s take on O’Reilly and why Fox isn’t likely to hold him accountable.

Advertisements

Fox News viewers are perfectly OK with being lied to; they really just hate non-conservatives

In the morning, he’ll be talking in word salads and punching the unemployed.

That’s really what this comes down to.

According to Gawker, Fox News doesn’t feel it needs to defend Bill O’Reilly anymore:

Update, 5:40 p.m.: Two hours after this post was published, Fox provided the following statement to Mediaite (without addressing the substance of the Media Matters report):

Bill O’Reilly has already addressed several claims leveled against him. This is nothing more than an orchestrated campaign by far left advocates Mother Jones and Media Matters. Responding to the unproven accusation du jour has become an exercise in futility. FOX News maintains its staunch support of O’Reilly, who is no stranger to calculated onslaughts.

Bill has addressed the lies about the Falklands, although there are new lies now about his involvement in the JFK assassination conspiracy. Plus, he claims he witnessed nuns being executed in El Salvador when records show he wasn’t even in the country at the time the events happened.

It’s more important to fling poo at those institutions that are trying to keep Bill O’Reilly honest than to force Bill O’Reilly to actually be honest.

But no matter. I never expected Fox would censure O’Reilly in the same way that NBC disciplined Brian Williams. Part of this is because NBC still clings tenaciously to the concept of being a news organization while Fox News does not.

Come to think of it, wasn’t it Fox News that won a Supreme Court victory several years back that made it Ok for it to lie? Yeah, it was something like, it doesn’t have to tell the truth. There’s nothing in the constitution that says that a media outlet that purports to report the news has to do so honestly or something to that effect. They all might lie but Fox News takes pride in being audaciously dishonest and getting away with it. It’s that audacity to flout the rules, while demanding everyone else adhere to some purity test, that I suspect is the real attraction for the Fox News viewer. It’s the thrill of making everyone else march to Fox’s drummer.

So, it doesn’t really matter what you throw at Bill O’Reilly, Fox is going to stand by him and they’ll pretend that they have addressed all of the accusations adequately and it’s only the left wing media and enemies that are going for Bill.

But it would be wrong to assume that it’s only MMFA or some radical Decembrist faction of a commie left that wants to bring down Bill O’Reilly and Fox News. Hey, I didn’t vote for Obama-twice! I have been called a racist for not sticking with my tribe when what *I* saw in 2008 was an inexperienced but ruthlessly ambitious opportunist hired to carry out the wishes of the financial services industry that was about to lose its shirt in the worst financial crisis since the 1930’s. My objection to Obama is he is really a country club moderately conservative Republican and he’s governed like one. So, how does the Fox News conditioned viewer handle people like me? I’ve seen the confusion in their eyes when they try to reconcile what they’ve been told with the fact that I am standing there saying I am a liberal who loathes Obama for purely non-racial reasons. It’s like watching Fembots about to explode. They can’t quite grasp it.

(Now that I think of it, I’ve seen some lefties have the same reaction. There’s a nugget of a problem there that the left has not accepted about its own side.)

No, the fighters against Fox extend beyond the usual suspects. It includes anyone who has to sit with brain dead relatives at dinner who have become mean spirited, crotchety, vile, bigots robotically spitting ultra-conservative nonsense in a garbled illogical word salad. Those people go out and vote, because they’re angry, and they don’t sound like they know what they’re supposed to be angry about. Nothing they say makes any damn sense. And it’s very difficult to want to be around them because they behave as if they’ve had a lobotomy. You can’t construct a logical argument with people who have had conditioned responses and thought-stopping reactions to anything you say. Seriously, they can contradict themselves several times in the same sentence and never even realize it. They are operating in pure fearful, emotional, enraged mode, thinking there is a child molester behind the potted plants and that the Muslims are going to kill them in their beds while they unknowingly support the most regressive economic theories the conservative right has to offer because God, or something.

The John Birch Society ain’t got nothing on Bill O’Reilly and Fox News. John Birch was fringe until Fox came along. And Bill has a single talent. He is extremely effective at turning perfectly ordinary people into obnoxious right wing Archie Bunker types who actively celebrate their willful ignorance and call themselves holy. That is a gift to the ultra wealthy. The rich and powerful will fight tooth and nail to protect Bill O’Reilly. He is their golden goose. His distortions and ability to provoke irrational anger keeps his audience in a state of poised suspension, ready to hurl themselves like zombies at the first fresh brains O’Reilly shakes in front of them. As informed citizens, they’re useless to the rest of us and, in most cases, actively harm their families and friends by their inability to see when they’ve been flimflammed. It’s pure gold to the small evil group that runs the world and to whom no one we know belongs.

The true Fox News watcher will joyfully accept their role as a minion to the corrupt. They will tell you that there is nothing you can do to change a corrupt system except pray for the second coming. How this justifies joining the army of corruption, I’ll never understand, unless it is to bask in the glory of being on the side of the powerful, especially those corrupt powerful who masquerade as godly. It sort of reminds me of the people who are flocking to the middle east to join ISIS. We all know ISIS is brutal, totalitarian and mindless but some people are attracted to that. Fox News only beheads people metaphorically. Its enemies still suffer the same fate, and the meanness, misogyny and cruelty is still there, but there’s less blood.

Oh sure, things were different when the typical Fox News view was younger. People were more helpful, there was a real sense of community, labor was stronger and public education was better and well funded. But they seem incapable of figuring out how we got to this place where we have gone back to the economic conditions that lead to the Great Depression. They do not see the role of Fox News in the process.

And that’s just the way Fox likes it. So, no need to draw further attention to itself. Defending Bill is just going to make it look like it needs to defend Bill and that’s not the kind of face Fox wants to present to the world. That shows a sense of vulnerability. The Fox News viewer doesn’t want to feel vulnerable. Fox wants to look impregnable, a mighty fortress against the commie left even if it’s more like a prison for the gullible.

Ok, we all know it. There are things we can not change in this world. So we must continually chant the serenity prayer as we watch Fox, and media like it, tear the fabric of our country apart. There’s nothing we can do about Fox News and it’s ability to lie, distort, mislead and destroy. We can only wait until the vulnerable reduce in numbers and the younger, less religiously motivated internet era demographic matures. Fox News will just become another niche channel for the unhinged. Then we will start the long, hard slog to recovery, reversing all the crap it has flung at us.

More on religion

The Publican and the Pharisee

My post on religious narcissism is getting a lot of hits.  The hits come and go.  It’s clearly hit a nerve probably because it feels truthy.  But I’m not the only one who has made the connection between some religious people and narcissism.  And I’m not condemning all religious people, not by a long shot.  I have no problem with those people who know their boundaries and can coexist peacefully without insisting on sticking their beliefs into our heads.  I’ve long been a proponent of God 2.0, that is, a new kind of experience that is independent of bronze age mythology.  In other words, god needs a rewrite and a makeover but I can live with the metaphorically minded in the meantime.

We can not rule out the possibility that the right, seeing a potential push back against their ramming religion down our throats, is going to fight dirty.  I’m not Frank Luntz or Karl Rove and I am not employed by Fox News (or I would be a lot wealthier right now) so I can’t tell what form their coming attack is going to take but I’m pretty sure that there are agents out there combing the blogs looking for trigger words and memes. I’m not being paranoid or inflating my influence.  It’s just something they do and they wouldn’t be doing their jobs if they didn’t scour political and cultural blogs for potent memes.  It happened in 2008 and it’s going to happen more and more leading up to the 2014 and 2016 elections.  There’s a lot at stake.

This meme has legs so I expect them to start conjuring a response.  No one likes to be called a narcissist, even if they only think that it has something to do with vanity while they miss the bigger personality disorder.  It might put the religious off their kibble if they start looking undesirable or if they start to sense that the rest of us are on to them.  It could trigger narcissistic rage, which is Bill O’Reilly’s forte, or it could mean that the rest of us can gain a toehold to resist them.  They’re not going to like it in any case so I’d keep my eyes and ears open for a response.

I’m trying to put together a post that explains how to deal with people with narcissistic personality disorder but it’s not an easy one to write because there is no magic bullet that will make these people stop behaving the way they do.  It’s harder in America because the critical mass of “nones” hasn’t been reached here that would be a more powerful counterweight to the religious narcissists.  The “nones” category is growing rapidly (I suspect there are many god 2.0 people among them) but our culture still reveres the religious and because these people have a powerful microphone right now, they will get a greater amount of attention than they are entitled to.

So, I’m going to punt for awhile while I continue gathering my resources and instead recommend a podcast from Mormon Stories.  Mormon Stories is hosted my John Dehlin, a Mormon on the liberal end of the spectrum, who is studying for his PhD in psychology.  I highly recommend this podcast in general because Dehlin’s interview style ranks right up there with Terry Gross, IMHO.  Where has this guy been??  He should be way more famous.  Another great podcast host is Seth Andrews of The Thinking Atheist, whose warm, resonant radio voice reassures thousands of disaffected new atheists that they’re not alone.

Anyway, what I really love about Dehlin’s podcast is he is documenting the struggle that modern Mormons are having with their church in terms of gender equality, homosexuality and the history of their church.  These Mormons want to stay connected to the culture they grew up with for many good reasons but they need the church to recognize their concerns.  Dehlin takes a rigorous approach to religion in general and some of his podcasts have explored the types of religious believers that exist in this country as well as why religion is so compelling from  a social psychology perspective.  Here are a couple episodes from that latter category.

Episode 417: Dr. Ryan Cragun on his new book, “What You Don’t Know About Religion (But Should)”

Episodes 339-342: The Psychology of Religion with Dr. James Nagel

One of the things I took away from these podcasts, as well as Seth’s podcast, is the importance of knowing you are not alone.  Just because your entire family, neighborhood, culture appears to be spouting anti-birth control nonsense or is obsessed with the pedophile that is lurking behind every tree, doesn’t mean everyone is going nuts.  If you speak up, you may find you have a lot more people on your side than you thought.  They tend to keep quiet when they think they are outliers.

The other thing I learned, that Ryan Cragun confirmed, is that it is a LOT harder to organize people on the left side of the spectrum because they don’t consider themselves to be joiners.  This will always be an advantage to the right.  Now, we might want to try to figure out why the left and the skeptical community don’t join forces in the same way the right’s disparate communities do but I suspect that it might go back to our childhoods.  If you are forced to join a religion or social structure that you may not feel affinity for, you may resist any attempts to join a sympathetic one in the future.  That’s just one working hypothesis.

One final thing, Cragun says that religious fundamentalists are a lot more unpopular than they or we are lead to believe.  He says the problem with popularly reported surveys is that the participants are rarely asked to rank fundamentalists in the same way they are asked to rank atheists.  Consider those surveys in the same light as the ones commissioned by WaPo where people are asked to rank taxes, the budget deficit and every other thing except unemployment as the most important things that government should tackle.  So, yeah, fundies are living in denial when they think they are universally loved and admired.

Gotta go now.  Get your headsets on and enjoy.

 

Saturday: Obama Epic Fail on Slutgate #standwithsandra

Edna St. Vincent Millay

This is going to be a stream of consciousness post because I’m still trying to sort out what’s going on here.  But I think what we are seeing is something like what happened with Occupy last fall.  I’ll get to that in a moment.  Let’s address where Obama has gone drastically worng.

The NYTimes Caucus blog reports that Obama placed a call to Sandra Fluke last night to let her know, well, you decide:

The White House press secretary, Jay Carney, said the president told Ms. Fluke that he stood by her in the face of personal attacks on right-wing radio. Mr. Obama believes, Mr. Carney said, that Mr. Limbaugh’s comments about Ms. Fluke were “unfortunate attacks,” and Mr. Carney called them “reprehensible.”

Ms. Fluke, 30, also drew support from the president of Georgetown University, who has differed with her in the past over the university’s refusal to provide insurance coverage for contraception.

The university president, John J. DeGioia, said in a statement: “One need not agree with her substantive position to support her right to respectful free expression. And yet, some of those who disagreed with her position — including Rush Limbaugh and commentators throughout the blogosphere and in various other media channels — responded with behavior that can only be described as misogynistic, vitriolic, and a misrepresentation of the position of our student.”

Mr. Obama phoned her just before she was to appear on MSNBC.

“He encouraged me and supported me and thanked me for speaking out about the concerns of American women,” she told the program’s host, Andrea Mitchell. “And what was really personal for me was that he said to tell my parents that they should be proud. And that meant a lot, because Rush Limbaugh questioned whether or not my family would be proud of me.”

Where to start?  First, the president didn’t do this at a press conference and condemn Rush in no uncertain terms for being a evil bully.  He places a personal call to Sandra.  Secondly, he calls the remarks “unfortunate” and “reprehensible”.  This is incorrect.  The remarks were unacceptable, evil and not representative of the values and behavior we expect of a good American citizen.  (You might want to take notes, Barry)  Thirdly, he says that Fluke’s parents should be proud of her.  Jeez, can you get any more patronizing?  This is a third year law student ferchristsakes.  That’s like saying that although the Flukes made a tragic error by letting Sandra out without her duena, they should at least be proud that their damaged goods has the courage to speak up and show her face in public.

But the worst thing Obama did here was assume that Fluke is the only intended target here.  Rush’s comments, and now Bill O’Reilly’s, have *two* intended targets.  Well, three, actually.  The first obvious target is Sandra and all women in America who have ever had sex outside of marriage.  That would include pretty much every woman in America.  We’re all sluts to Rush.  To women my age and younger (I came of age in the 70’s-80’s), we just don’t see it that way.  We don’t spend our days wringing our hands about all the guilt and shame we’re supposed to feel.  Many of us reasoned it out in our adolescence that those biblical rules didn’t apply to those of us born in the latter half of the 20th century.  So, Rush can say slut, slut, slut til the sun comes down.  Frankly, we don’t give a shit.  We are angry though that he feels like he can degrade us in the minds of his second and third intended targets and get away with it.

Rush’s second intended target is men who listen to his show, and men who are like them but outwardly have too much class to listen to his show.  It’s empowering to see their champion go after women who they have to deal with on a daily basis.  You know, those bitches who are at work who they have to compete with for salaries and promotions.  Life would be so much better if they weren’t sucking up all of the valuable resources that men used to have all to themselves a few decades ago.  So, Rush is feeding this misplaced anger about economic conditions and putting the blame on the feminazis.  And Rush’s beta male listeners are too cowardly to go after the real culprits, the alpha guys in the top 1% who are sitting on piles of cash and have not been rewarding working people for their productivity gains of the past 40 years.  It is much easier to pick on what they consider to be weaker.  It is beyond me why they haven’t asked themselves why Rush isn’t going after the guys in the boardroom.  Not only are they cowards, they’re stupid.

Rush’s third target, and this is where O’Reilly comes in, is senior women.  This is where the slut comments and characterization are really hitting home.  As I was reading Rush’s comments yesterday, something about them didn’t seem right.  Well, ALL of it didn’t seem right.  But gradually it became clear to me what seemed off about them.  Rush was saying that women like Sandra were having sex in the backseats of cars.  Now, Rush isn’t THAT old so he should know by now that women Sandra’s age wouldn’t be caught dead having sex in a car.  Ok, maybe once or twice for fun.  But this is not the way we shameless hussies arrange our illicit assignations anymore.  Oh, and the vast majority of women do not do drugs before sex.  Most of us don’t have to get drunk either.  No, adult women who are not married who enjoy sex do so on a regular basis in the privacy of their own bedrooms or their partner’s bedroom or somewhere in the apartment or in the shower.  But very, very rarely in the backseat of a car.   That would indicate that the woman in question was either very young, and hardly a slut, or didn’t have a place to go where they would feel comfortable.  And I had to think to myself, when would that have been a normal thing?  When was it the case that non-marital sex was occurring on a regular basis in cars, I mean, once you grew out of your teens.

Then it hit me that this might have been the situation back in the 50’s and early 60’s.  There were probably quite a lot of women who were resorted to the backseat of the car because they had nowhere else to go.  Young, working class women didn’t usually have their own apartments and if they lived at home where pre-marital sex was absolutely verboten, there were few alternatives.  Not only that, but if you got caught, you really would be called a slut, sometimes by members of your own family.  And they could be vicious about it too.  Not only were you a slut, you were dirrrrrty.  That’s another thing Rush goes on about.  He makes a fun romp in the rumble seat with someone you love sound dirty, filthy and degrading.

Oh and here’s another telltale sign in O’Reilly’s defense of Rush:

…Now the progressive colossus is demanding payment for Sandra Fluke so that she can go through Georgetown Law School with an active, healthy social life.”

The words “go through” sounds like she’s going to “go through the football team”.  In other words, because a woman like Sandra may have sex, it is a logical conclusion that she is indiscreet enough to take on multiple sex partners, at the same time or one at a time.  It doesn’t matter, because she’s slept with the entire law school and they all talk about her and how she can’t get enough.

Like I mentioned before, the outrageous hyperbole doesn’t faze those of us who grew up guiltlessly having sex because we came of age in the right decade.  Very few of us have ever slept with a football team or an entire college.  We might have had our “Sex in the City” days but the fact that we even had a series called “Sex in the City” shows that this kind of slut shaming language has no meaning to us.  But to women who watch O’Reilly, it’s like we came from another planet.  The shaming doesn’t work on us, it works on THEM.

Now, why would Rush and O’Reilly put out all of the stops to call our mothers sluts and whores?  Because that’s what they’re doing.  They are calling our mothers sluts.  They are saying to those women who are in their 70s, “If you had non-marital sex, you are a slut, you are dirty, you should be ashamed”, and digging up all of those humiliating memories that these women should have chucked decades ago, and hoping that those women will project those feelings onto their younger cohort.  And it just may work.

I don’t know why they think it is necessary to do this to our mothers.  Maybe they fear that our mothers will start feeling just s teeensy-tiny bit of sympathy for women who without access to contraception will have more children than they want and will miss some opportunities.  Maybe it’s because the people who will get their sympathy are not the UNmarried women.  Maybe the senior women have sympathy for MARRIED women.  After all, a married woman has the legal document that allows her to have as much sex as she wants with her husband anywhere she wants and therefore, no church, state or pharmacist shouldn’t be restricting birth control from those women.  Just because a senior evangelical female in her 70s is against sex between unmarried partners and is totally against abortion, that doesn’t mean she is against contraceptives for married women.  That’s where the GOP has a weak spot.

So, the right wing is going to come down hard on unmarried women having sex with the expectation that senior women will be persuaded to join in and bash them for wanting to have sex and as a result, they will suddenly be on board restricting contraceptives in insurance policies and that will affect all women.

Now, the question is, who benefits? Well, there are several beneficiaries.  Who would have an interest in making sure that insurance companies do not have to pay for contraceptives for any woman, at all? First thing that comes to my mind is – insurance companies!  If some of them weren’t paying for it before and now they suddenly have to without any policy increase, well, that decreases the amount of money going to bonuses and stock values, right?  Can’t increase shareholder value if some of the profits are being eaten up by a zillion women all getting their pills for free.

Who else benefits?  Anyone who wants to make sure that no one sympathizes with the 99% or its constituent groups.  If it looks like women might be gaining some sympathetic ears, the right will just make them look dirty like they did with the Occupy movement.  Somewhere I read that the intended target of the smears against the Occupiers was not the Occupiers themselves.  The targets were the young families with kids in strollers who might go to an occupy event or an average middle class female.  The idea is to make the Occupiers look so unwholesome and dirty that the target audience would feel a visceral disgust with them.  That would keep the curious away from Occupy events and stem the swelling crowds at marches and rallies.  It worked.  It kept the 99% from getting together in a unified force and exchanging notes.  Characterizing women as dirty sluts keeps them at arms length from the very women who should be joining with them to push this nonsense back.

Who else benefits? The right wing keeps their crazy base and feeds them even more red meat.  This makes the right wing base even more dangerous.  I’m talking bordering on pre Third Reich crazy.  If there is no push back, the crazy will just keep ratcheting up.  If you want to see how this works, read the book, In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror and an American Family in Hitler’s Berlin by Eric Larson.  It’s an account of the last ambassador to Germany, William Dodd, before WWII.  Starting in 1933, Dodd and his family witnessed  the unraveling of society in Berlin and with each fresh outrage thought that surely the German people would push back vigorously and re-establish the rule of law. The Dodds were to be sorely disappointed. With each new law against Jews and each new beating in the streets and with average Germans feeling powerful in everyday life to report on each other and take what they wanted, Germany devolved to the point where political enemies could be assassinated without much uproar.  Each new event just made ordinary people more fearful and less likely to take action.

So, here’s where I think we are.  The longer it takes for Obama to step up and punch Rush in the fucking nose, the more likely it will be that the next outrage will also go unchecked.  Right now, Rush and his listeners are rabid dogs who are just barking.  But let this go and the next time, who knows what will happen.

I already can’t believe what I’m seeing from the Obama administration.  Barry’s call to Sandra was about the most tepid, ineffectual move he could ever make.  I can’t wait to see Amanda Marcotte get back on her bandwagon and salivate all over Obama’s brave defense of Sandra Fluke.  You know it’s coming.  You know who Obama reminds me of in this situation?  Michael Dukakis.  Remember the SNL skit where Jon Lovitz played Dukakis and was asked the infamous question about what he would do if Kitty Dukakis was raped?  And Lovitz came back with the most cerebral, weak and passionless, “I’m outraged” response.  I wish I could find this on youtube but damn the copyright crap, the clip is gone.  But here’s the transcript.  Just try to imagine Jon Lovitz saying these words as if he were ordering more toast with his feta cheese and spinach omelet:

Sam Donaldson: [ waving frantically ] Governor Dukakis!! Governor Dukakis!!

Michael Dukakis: Sam.

Sam Donaldson: Your leadership style has been described as technotronic, cool, emotionally dead. Even your closest admirers admit that sometimes you are distant and aloof, a bit of a cold fish. Pundits are saying that one of the reasons you trail in the polls is that you are uninspiring, and seem totally devoid of passion.

Michael Dukakis: What’s the question?

Sam Donaldson: Well, I suppose the question, Governor, is do you have the passion necessary to lead this country?

Michael Dukakis: [ unemotional ] Sam, that kind of asperation to my character, quite frankly, makes me – well, there’s no other word for it – enraged. Maybe I shouldn’t say that in the heat of the moment, but I can’t control myself. I apologize for flying off the handle. And I’m just sorry my kids had to see me like this.

What exactly is the problem with Barry?  Is it that he benefitted from using misogyny and sexism in 2008 so he can’t credibly quash Rush and O’Reilly now?  Is he still trying to thread this needle, trying to do just enough for women while retaining some of the evangelical vote?  The possible political ramifications are becoming clearer.  The right wing is going to continue to ratchet up the attack on women’s rights and ping Barry to take a stand.  And they know that he won’t do it because a.) he has about as much passion to defend women as Dukakis did to tear apart Kitty’s rapist  b.) he thinks he has the women’s vote in the bag and c.) he’s afraid to piss off the religious.  That leaves the right open to inflict an awful lot of damage to women before the election, damage that might come back to bite Barry in the ass at the polls for being fucking useless in the face of extraordinary national bullying of over half of the population.

The right isn’t going to stop with contraceptives.  If you don’t smack them in the nose on this issue, even if the policy remains the same, they’re going to pick on something else next, like protecting the jobs of pregnant women or the family leave act.  Yeah, I can see the family leave act getting some unusual attention next.  It will be something like, “In these tough economic times, businesses need to have the flexibility to hire workers when they need them.  They can’t be burdened with these regulations. Women who decide to have children will have to weigh whether that is in the best interest of their family or their jobs. And anyway, what’s wrong with women who don’t want to stay home with their babies?  Their sweet, precious babies who need them.  What kind of cold-hearted bitch goes to work and leaves her most valuable possessions in the care of strangers?”

You can’t see it coming?  You aren’t imaginating hard enough.

Anyway, Obama has an Epic Fail on his hands right now.  When Rush took to the airwaves on day two of Slutgate, Obama should have come out swinging and made absolutely sure that Rush was down long enough that he wouldn’t be able to get up.  Obama could have called his connections to put pressure on Rush’s sponsors.  He could have had a press conference and said he was clearing his schedule because this matter affected more than half of the population and it was that important to him.  He could have said that adult men and women are not accountable to Rush or anyone else for their sexuality.

He could have done those things.  But he didn’t.  And so the problem escalates.  The right starts calling out its second string and circles the wagons around Rush.  And now its RUSH who is untouchable.

{{facepalm}}

*****************************

This sonnet by Edna St. Vincent Millay goes out to all women, young and old.  I stand with Sandra:

Friday: Your Hell doesn’t scare me

Jon Stewart declared war on Christmas the other night.  Bill O’Reilly said he was going to hell.  Jon’s not scared.

Check it out here.

Come to think of it, none of the right wing haka should scare you.  Or left wing haka, for that matter.  We’re not children.  They can try to use fear to get us to fall in line but if it doesn’t make sense from a personal values point of view, then we shouldn’t give in to fear or intimidated into silence.

I’ve heard that the Occupy Movement is over and was a failure.  I disagree.  I think the Department of Homeland Security, in conjunction with local police, have used overwhelming force in order to scare people into shutting up and becoming invisible again, like that’s going to work.  The parties have been complicit in painting occupiers as dirty, lazy and criminal, but we have the pictures that prove otherwise.

Zuccotti Park Occupation, October 2011

And just because the camps are gone, that doesn’t mean the movement is gone.  The movement is not tied to a specific locale.  The movement is us and anyone who regards economic and social injustice as unacceptable for America and the world.

As far as I know, 2 + 2 still equals 4.

For those of you who weren’t with us in 2008, let me bring you up to speed.  The parties and minions of the 1% are going to try very hard to instill in us a sense of “learned helplessness”.  That’s what the overwhelming use of force was all about when the police evicted the Occupy camps.  The evictions were coordinated and we can assume that Obama was onboard with them.  They *want* the 99% to  helpless and overwhelmed.  They also want the 99% to feel like the acquisition of obscene gobs of money is the only measure of success and without it, you’re nothing.  You’re lazy, stupid and immoral.  And some of these people, like David Brooks, are not only getting paid to talk to us like the Mouths of Sauron, they actually believe that their success is the result of some kind of special personal virtue.

They believe that the person who makes money by playing with money is of more worth to society than someone who teaches kids how to read.  Can we give it up for the reading teachers here, whether they are professionals or parents?  I can’t imagine a more valuable individual in society today than a reading teacher.  You can’t go anywhere without that skill.

Or how about garbage collectors.  Are you kidding me?  You can live without a stock broker for days.  Try to live through a week of no trash pickups.  Those of us who recently lived through Irene can tell you what that’s like.

Or welders.  A good welder is invaluable.  And mechanics.  Who doesn’t appreciate the person who can get your only car running and back on the road so you can get to work?

Or drug designers and biologists and chemists.  WE make the substances that get you through an infection or help you live with cancer and AIDS.

Today, find someone who did a good job for you and sincerely thank them for doing it.

Is someone like David Brooks or Bill O’Reilly or Glenn Beck (they’re all versions of the same thing), going to tell the rest of us that we’re bad people and worthless and lazy because we don’t have a duplex on the upper east side or a second home at the shore or even a job?  That we’re going to go to hell if we don’t kiss the asses of the fanatically religious, mean spiritied Fox viewer with Acquired Stupidity Syndrome?

Am I going to let some Democratic party asshole blame me for his party’s losses next year because I refuse to accept the tepid surrender of his party to learned helplessness, especially when there is plenty of time for his party to avoid a catastrophe?  No, I am not.

It’s rough out there.  Some of us are living through that roughness.  And we may be materially poorer but we don’t have to be poor in spirit.  We can still be defiant and demanding and not give in.  We’ve done nothing wrong and we have as much right to respect and justice as any arrogant rich jerk whining about how we blame him for everything he does.

This is not about envy.  This is about dignity.  I won’t be cowed into thinking I’m going to some earthly or non-existent religious hell just because I won’t be a good peasant and defer to my betters.  There aren’t any betters.  This is not an aristocracy.

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent”, said Eleanor Roosevelt.  And no one can tell you to give up on your ideal of justice and prosperity for everyone.  Be careful of people on TV and newspaper columns and in blogs and comment threads who tell you all is lost or pronounce a movement over.  They don’t have the power to declare any such thing.   We must never give into despair because finishing the task is the most important thing we will ever do and if we don’t find a way, no one will.

Tuesday: Hack this

Would you sell an American citizenship to this man?

The phone hacking scandal in Britain is getting pretty hairy.  It turns out that investigators for Scotland Yard who were looking into reports of phone hacking by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp outlets were in turn phone hacked (NYTimes, limited free articles):

The disclosure, based on interviews with current and former officials, raises the question of whether senior investigators feared that if they aggressively investigated, The News of the World would punish them with splashy articles about their private lives. Some of their secrets, tabloid-ready, eventually emerged in other news outlets.

Those damaging allegations, about two of the senior officers’ private lives, involved charges that one had padded his expense reports and was involved in extramarital affairs and that the other used frequent flier miles accrued on the job for personal vacations.

“If it is true that police officers knew their phones had been hacked, it is a serious matter that requires immediate investigation,” said John Whittingdale, the chairman of the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee, which investigated phone hacking. “It would be shocking.”

The lead police investigator on the phone-hacking case, Andy Hayman, left the Metropolitan Police in December 2007 after questions were raised in the news media about business expenses he had filed and the nature of his relationship with a woman who worked for theIndependent Police Complaints Commission.

At the time, Channel 4 News reported details of 400 text messages and phone calls that Mr. Hayman had sent to her.

400 text messages.  Holy Hemiola.  Someone must have been bored out of their gourd sifting through all that minutiae:

Him: Where R U?

Her: At Macy’s

Him: I can’t find the remote

Her: It’s on top of the bookcase

Him: My wife is out for the afternoon.  Where should I meet you?

Her: Ahem, I’ve decided NOT to go out this afternoon.  How about we meet in the kitchen -over my knife?

Remember when we thought that someone had the goods on the Democrats in the past 11 years?  Maybe we weren’t just imagining it.

Meanwhile, Murdoch’s deal to buy up the controlling shares in BSkyB has been put on hold for a few months and his shareholders are shocked, SHOCKED that such shenanigans could be happening right underneath Rupert’s nose.  They’re filing a lawsuit to get to the bottom of it:

Among the lawsuit’s complaints: the company’s purchase of Elisabeth Murodoch’s Shine Group has harmed the shareholder value; the board as it is comprised has numerous conflicts of interest; and the phone-hacking scandal has hurt the company’s reputation and investor value.

{{snort!}}

You’ve GOT to be kidding.  When Fox was bailing out Bill O’Reilly because he was phone sexing one of his producers and Glenn Beck became a raving lunatic, the shareholders were pretty OK with the company’s reputation.  Fox News has made a name for itself as being fast and loose with the truth (perfectly legal, so saith the courts) and fellating Bush administration officials on a regular basis.  So, why the big deal NO

There’s more stunning hypocrisy:

The egregious conduct triggering this stunning turn of events was not limited to reporters.  Former News Of The World employees involved in the phone hacking have indicated that at least two editors-in-chief of the paper were aware of and condoned the hacking in order to obtain news stories that would  drive readership.

Rebekah Brooks (“Brooks”), a very close friend of Murdoch and his family who has repeatedly been promoted by Murdoch (most recently to the position of Chief Executive Officer of News International), and Andy Coulson (“Coulson”), a Murdoch political ally and a close friend of Brooks who became an aide to British Prime Minister David Cameron, both were editor-in chief of the paper while the illegal hacking was on-going and have been linked to explicit knowledge of the practice.  Coulson, in fact, has been arrested on suspicion of phone hacking and making payments to police and faces criminal indictment for his conduct.

These revelations should not have taken years to uncover and stop. These revelations show a culture run amuck within News Corp and a Board that provides no effective review or oversight.

Oh, I don’t know, Fox has been extremely effective in undermining the social safety net and standard of living of hundreds of millions of people in North America, Britain and Iraq.  Chaos and lack of oversight appear to be key factors in the success of News Corps winning management style.  Let’s not forget it owns the Wall Street Journal and it’s compassionately conservative editorial page.

And what kind of culture has been damaged?  The kind that stops at nothing to ram ultra conservative ideology and farfetched conspiracy theories down the throats of unsuspecting senior citizens and treats the working class like a bunch of parasites?  Or is it the culture that hour after hour, day after day, terrifies its viewers with stories of abductions and child abuse and murders of innocent young white girls to the point where every adult, male or female, is a potential pedophile?  Or is News Corps culture the kind that stampedes the governments of two nations into a stupid and costly war in Iraq?  Where were the shareholders back then?  Having their pedicures in the back of the limo on the tedious drive to Hamptons?

Rupert Murdoch sounds like an authoritarian sociopath to me and from what I can tell, he’s been one for a long time.  I’m guessing that the shareholders *liked* the ruthless bastard just as he was as long as the stock prices of insurance companies, the security industry, armaments dealers and mercenary merchants were increasing. It’s only now that Britain is turning on him that the shareholders find his company distasteful and his culture uncouth.  What I want to know is who these snobs are that brought us to the brink of global economic catastrophe over the financial system deregulation and the ongoing debt ceiling debacle and now think they can slither away unscathed.  Names, I want names.

I predict this scandal is going to spread and have already cornered the market in popcorn.  Where, Oh, Where, will the Republicans go for sympathetic, soft ball interviews?  Ok, I mean *other* than the rest of the American news media?  And can we get a list of the politicians that have shown up on Fox the most?  Or is this just a ruse by the shareholders to ditch Murdoch, make it look like the cesspool is being cleaned up and then party on under new management?

Butter, please.  Lots of it.

Liberals open minds, brains fall out over Juan Willams’ firing.

I shouldn’t be surprised over the lefty reaction to Juan Williams’ firing.  Ok, I’m not surprised.  Some people seem to think this is a free speech issue.  It’s not.  Allow me to insert my humble opinion as a former dedicated NPR listener.

Juan Williams parked himself on NPR during the Bush years.  That’s when I really started to notice him on NPR.  It was about that time that Congress appointed some Republican operative to the head of the corporation for public broadcasting and severely cut the budgets of CPB programming.  Eventually, NPR was pretty much on its own, getting underwriting from companies that specialize in ‘Wealth Management”.  The tenor of the reporting changed and Juan Williams was one of the leaders of that change.

In order to not offend the Republicans who might be listening in, the reports became more “on the one hand, on the other hand”.  Both sides were presented equally as if there was nothing at all wrong with any batshit crazy thing a movement conservative might say.  Mara Liasson and Steve Inskeep joined in.  Some of the interviews of Democrats became downright hostile.  I can remember one that Inskeep did with Rahm Emannuel that was inexplicably aggressive and nasty and I don’t even like Rahm.  In other words, NPR became just like every other media outlet: afraid to tell the truth without couching it in terms that conservatives wouldn’t find offensive.

Over time, instead of getting a quality news program that I had listened to for over 20 years, NPR became dependent on its donors – those wealth management people.  The reporting definitely suffered.  I used to write NPR diaries at DailyKos documenting the sad demise of NPR.  Juan, Mara and Steve lead the way, along with a generous dollop of Cokie “Tokyo Rose” Roberts.  The Village had gotten a grip on Morning Edition and All things Considered and it began to specialize in High Broderism.

Fast forward to 2010.  Now we are in the midst of a fall fund raiser and maybe the corporate donations aren’t as abundant as they used to be.  And maybe listeners aren’t ponying up either.  Then Juan Williams agrees with O’Reilly that muslims going all jihad is the greatest threat to this country.  Are you going to donate to NPR after you hear that?  Because O’Reilly is clearly looney toons and if Juan is agreeing with him, that means that Williams might also bring that perspective to NPR.  Listeners can come to two possible explanations for Wiliiams’ statements: 1.) he shares some of conservative O’Reilly’s bigoted beliefs about muslims or 2.) he has no problem pandering to the viewers’ base emotional responses for money.  If I am a listener of NPR, I pride myself that I am also NOT a listener of Bill O’Reilly, no matter how soft and squishy the reporting has become.  I start to make calls to the NPR member station and threaten to withhold my contribution.  (Actually, I’ve done this in the past over Mara and Steve).

The head of NPR, Vivian Whatshername, has had enough.  Juan is hurting the NPR brand name and threatening the credibility of the station. Is he a secret conservative shill who lets his sympathies for Fox viewers cloud his reporting on NPR?  If he isn’t fired, would any listener contributors believe anything Williams has to say after this point?   He was warned several times before about this.  He crossed the line.  He has to go.

Here’s my take on this: no matter how far NPR has fallen from its zenith in the nineties, it still has a reputation to maintain as a genuine news organization.  Journalism is what it does.  Once that mission is threatened by the possibility that some of your staff are not above demogoguery and pandering, the whole enterprise is threatened.  Money and budgets disappear as do the rest of your staff.  Juan undermines NPR’s news credibility.

Now, some of you may argue, unsuccessfully IMHO, that NPR violated Williams’ free speech when it terminated his contract.  That’s nonsense.  Williams can say anything he damn well pleases.  He landed on his feet and will get 2 million bucks for selling his soul hook, line and sinker to Fox.  He will now become just another emasculated “liberal” on Fox.  What NPR did was protect itself from accusations of extremist conservative bias.

Yep, there’s still a lot of cleaning up to do on aisle nine at NPR.  Their journalistic standards have fallen significantly since they decided to throw away excellence in reporting in order to make the conservatives comfy.  But that’s not the mission of a news organization.  They are supposed to “comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable”.  It wasn’t NPR’s liberal reporters that gave them the reputation of being liberal in its heyday.  It was that NPR was so effective at reporting the truth with high standards and integrity.  And as we all know from Stephen Colbert, “the truth as a strong liberal bias”.  That is why Republicans tried so hard to bring CPB down during the Bush era.  When you hear the truth, extremist conservatism ala Fox starts to sound really stupid.  So, I applaud NPR for taking this step.  They did the right thing in order to start on the long road to recovery.

If Juan were working for any other outfit other than a news organization, I’d probably agree with the people who felt he was being singled out for sharing unpopular views.  This is not the case here.  The guy just has no integrity when it came to journalism and it was going to reflect badly on NPR.  He had to go.