media

webuzz: obama, racism, media and other stuff

Posted by on Jul 24, 2009 | 0 comments

Weekend reading list….

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Jon Stewart destroys Lou Dobbs and the “birthers”

Posted by on Jul 24, 2009 | 0 comments

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
The Born Identity
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political Humor Joke of the Day
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The Birther Movement is Racism

Posted by on Jul 23, 2009 | 2 comments

The “birther” movement is an extreme right wing disinformation campaign that proffers the idea that President Obama is not a US citizen, and was born abroad in Kenya. Here’s the rub: there are no actual facts to support this claim, rather the disinfo subsists on a form of cognitive dissonance – denial – and is propped up by a series of logical fallacies, from burden of proof to sweeping generalizations to just plain old bullshit.

It’s eliminationism in its purest form: marginalize your opponent to the point that they are a non-citizen,  illegitimate, then cut off the discussion by dismissing any introduced facts as untrue. (Or made up, imagined, crazy, over sensitive, etc.)

For example, when the State of Hawaii confirmed that Obana’s birth certificate was indeed real and official, the birther movement simply denied it to be true and then went one better and denied that the birth certificate has yet to be provided as proof! Brilliant in a way. But, also, the very definition of a lie. Here’s the simple true logic: denying a fact (or its existence) does not create a new fact. (IE: Denying Obama’s birth papers are real does not mean he is not a real citizen.) That’s just crazy.

As an emerging issue it’s a double edge sword and difficult to discuss since it’s clearly a disinformation campaign with one aim: to stoke the racial hatred and undermine Obama’s legitimacy as President. And, its proponents love nothing more than to keep the hate fires burning.

Yet, in reality, Obama’s citizenship is a non-issue, it’s been proven beyond a doubt according to standards that have been suitable for every US President who has been elected prior. (But of course, to the racist, those standards are not good enough for a black person, let alone a black person named Barack Hussein Obama.)

FactCheck does a superb analysis of the “scandal” and analysis of the original certificate. The allegations are so  completely incorrect and fabricated that it deserves nothing more than ridicule. The problem is that it’s wrapped in hate and irrationality, thus, there’s simply no middle ground from which to establish a coherent debate. Any introduction of fact is dismissed outright. That’s why hate based tactics are so difficult to fight against. Those who wage this type of tactic, (and those who believe it) simply deny the facts, deny the existence of the hate and the racism. It’s a figment of the imagination. Those looney Liberals!

There will always be those who want to believe what they believe, damn the facts. And, that is how “conspiracies” live and breath. That is how hatred and racism gain a foothold. If they don’t really exist, then why are they a problem? Neat, right?

In the past few days the birther movement has slithered into new territory. It is now being disseminated by traditional outlets on TV and radio – Lou Dobbs of CNN and Rush Limbaugh have both lent their “support” – and that means it should be dealt with properly. No longer simply a  fringe issue spun in dark dank dive bars, afluent suburb BBQ’s and hidden corners of the internet by nut job conspiracy theorists, it’s now being lent “credibility”. While it’s true that neither Dobbs nor Limbuagh are known for their objectivity or adherence to the facts, and they both clearly suffer from a deeply rooted hate based approach in their worldview and broadcasts, the fact remains that their broadcasts are swallowed whole as the gospel truth by millions. Sad, but true.

Interestingly, the birther movement can be traced back to the Obama campaign itself during the 2008 election. It’s a public relations effort gone bad. Apparently, a decision was made, in the spirit of transparency to release Obama’s birth certificate. Historically, presidential candidates have not released such information. Rather, it was presented during qualification of the candidate, but not made public. So, by releasing the birth certificate the Obama campaign opened a Pandora’s Box. Once it was made public, it meant it was open to intense scrutiny – most of it incorrect – that would be passed around the internet as fact and eventually make it’s way to less discerning minds, like Dobbs and Limbuagh, and those who listen to them.

At it’s root the birther movement is racism. It’s meant to create the impression that Obama is illegitimate, lower than a US citizen, not one of us. It’s meant to stoke the fires of suspicion and hatred towards immigrants and people of color. It’s not unlike the “Obama is a Muslim” meme. Same thing.

So, next time someone says to you that Obama’s opponents are not racist, cite the birther movement. Cite the Obama is a Muslim meme. And, if that doesn’t get their attention, show them this picture. (scroll down)

If they still don’t get it, call it as you see it.

The only way we will defeat racism is to make it unacceptable. And, those who make excuses for it are just as unacceptable as those who are openly racist.

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“they’re stealing our best tricks!”

Posted by on Jun 16, 2009 | 0 comments

Don Surber on the (obvious) White House health care PR push…

A real debate would be between Obama and someone on the other side. Maybe Sarah Palin. Maybe Fred Thompson. Maybe Mitt Romney. There is no shortage of people who would love to clean his clock on this issue.

Mighty impressive list there. Nearly choked on my bagel.

Amusing how conservatives get their underwear in a twist when the Obama Admin uses the public relations tactics that the Bush White House perfected to a razor’s edge.

This is a close second:

When liberals write “faux outrage” they mean that conservatives have a legitimate concern.

Actually, no. When liberals write “faux outrage” they mean to call conservatives on their use of “paranoid style” and other mock forms of propaganda that are solely meant to incite an emotional response devoid of real facts.

It’s telling that Surber feels it entirely necessary to downgrade the point initially, since it does come from the king of right wing disinformation, Matt Drudge… Surber writes:

I was not going to bother with this issue. I saw the headline on Drudge — “ABC turns programming over to Obama; news to be anchored from inside White House” — and figured Matt was having a little fun with the news. A little summertime hype.

Always trust your gut Don. You had it right, then dropped the ball.

But, then… it’s all about us versus them, isn’t it?

Yup.

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webuzz: right wing disinfo watch

Posted by on Jun 16, 2009 | 0 comments

While conservatives can’t seem to govern, they know who to sling propaganda with the best of them. The current theme is twofold: right wingers are the victims, and anything bad that happens, liberals are to blame for it. A few examples plucked from the interwebs…

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conservative vs conservative

Posted by on Jun 11, 2009 | 0 comments

You can’t make this stuff up…. mixed messages from the once mighty wurlitzer.

Karl Rove: Maureen Dowd is  “twisted, deranged“.

Former White House adviser Karl Rove lashed out at New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd on Fox News Channel Wednesday, saying Dowd was a “nasty, snarky person” with a “twisted, bitter little heart.”

“I think Maureen Dowd is a bitter, twisted, deranged columnist for The New York Times who misses no opportunity to show her disdain for the conservative side of the aisle,” Rove said on Fox News Channel.

“I actually went to an editorial board meeting at The New York Times and wasted a couple bucks on some flowers to give Maureen Dowd … give her a smile on her face. And that didn’t even work,” he recalled. “This is a dour, downbeat liberal.” (emphasis added)

Don Surber – “Why the left ridicules women” :

Too many American liberals cannot handle a strong, good-looking, intelligent, independent woman who disagrees with them — and so they make the crude, cruel and sexist remarks — including those about raping them or their 14-year-old daughters. […] They are like little boys who cannot handle a strong woman. These women dare challenge them intellectually, and so we get crude counterattacks.

Rove is obviously angered that Dowd rebuked his effort at wooing her with flowers… which is kind of creepy and he’s shocked she didn’t kiss his bald pate? Hilarious.

Tbogg makes a good point.

More at Memeorandum.

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crisis as opportunity

Posted by on Jun 5, 2009 | 0 comments

Douglas Rushkoff on how to take back our world by seeing the current economic crisis as a great opportunity.

Life Inc. Dispatch 01: Crisis as Opportunity from Douglas Rushkoff on Vimeo.

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media humps own knee over “obama vs cheney”

Posted by on May 22, 2009 | 0 comments

And,  Obama covers Bush’s Greatest Hits…. and more… from The Daily Show. (via The Nation.)

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Life Inc. The Movie is out!

Posted by on May 11, 2009 | 0 comments

Over the past several months, I’ve helped shoot a short film that does an excellent job of introducing the important ideas in Douglas Rushkoff’s new book Life Inc.: How the World Became a Corporation and How to Take it Back.  The first chapter of the book is over at Boing Boing, where Doug is guest blogging. Watch the movie!

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math is hard

Posted by on Mar 27, 2009 | 0 comments

Best quote on the GOP’s budget shell game debacle:

It’s hard not to notice that there are no actual numbers therein.

From Charles Johnson, king of the stink pile over at Little Green Footballs.Here’s the link, but Chuckie has a bad habit of diverting links to his mistakes.

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blogroll amnesty day!

Posted by on Feb 3, 2009 | 0 comments

We’ve come to that time of year when we celebrate the web traffic challenged amongst us, and we spread the love. What’s it all about? As Jon Swift puts it, Blog Amnesty Day is…

” a day when we salute all of the great smaller blogs that don’t get the recognition they deserve. […] So skippy the bush kangaroo and this modest blogger, with help from Blue Gal and many of our friends in blogtopia (a word I believe skippy coined back when blogs were still being etched on clay tablets) decided to turn this day on its head and transform what had been an attempt by some A-list bloggers to shut out the smaller blogs into a celebration of all the great talent that is just waiting to be discovered out there. Now it has become an annual tradition.”

Head on over to my Blog Amnesty page, and click on a blog you’ve never read. Go say hi.

I’ll be adding to that list all week, so if you want to be added, leave a comment.

The list of blogs I am promoting today:

EvolutionBlog
Motorman Mark
The Wacky World of Food
Orthodox Anarchist
Justin Ligreci
Diologic
Julian Sanchez

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Rush Limbaugh: Pied Piper of the GOP

Posted by on Jan 30, 2009 | 0 comments

The Conservative media icon is leading his brethren to their demise.

Last week on Campbell Brown’s show on CNN, Republican Strategist Ed Rollins was asked about Rush Limbaugh and the perception by the public that the GOP is a “bunch of white guys”, and that Obama won, according to Limbaugh, because he was black, and Rollins  replied:

“The reality is Rush is an entertainer. “

It’s a point that is overlooked and needs to be brought to the fore, most especially  since Limbaugh (by the weight of his ego and because a huge power vacuum exists in the Conservative movement at the moment), is the de facto leader of the GOP. But, he’s only a media visage. Not a policy maker.

Rush Limbaugh is an entertainer, a clown, an angry white guy with an axe to grind. There is no delicate way to put it. And, like Sarah Palin, he is only a partisan media image, an anti-intellectual icon created in order to stir anger and hatred amongst the GOP base. Limbaugh is not interested in actually solving problems or offering any workable solutions. He is a propagandist, and a symbol of a power structure and media tactic that is on the decline and inherently detrimental to the work of restoring public confidence.

Take for example Limbaugh’s recent Op-Ed in the Wall Street Journal. His importance to the current debate on the economic crisis is non-existent and ill-informed. Limbaugh’s “economic proposal” is nothing of the sort,  it is only more of the same policies that have already failed.  As neo-con pundit David Frum presciently noted  last fall when assessing the reaction that most Conservatives would embark upon after an Obama election victory:

One thing that will certainly happen is a fundamentalist response…”‘If only we had been more consistently conservative, none of this would have happened; there’s still a conservative voting majority out there, and Bush alienated them with his too-centrist policies and various deviations from conservative orthodoxy; McCain was obviously unacceptable and if the voters turned down ham and eggs, it’s because they wanted double ham and double eggs.(emphasis added)

Rush Limbaugh has shown Frum’s prediction to be true. And, one has to ask: given Limbaugh’s obvious hatred for all things Liberal, and his public statement that since Obama’s policies are “socialist” he wants Obama to fail, if Limbaugh’s Op-Ed is even on the up and up.  Is Limbuagh to be believed? Who is to say his ultimate goal isn’t to sacrifice economic recovery for an Obama slide in popularity and the return of GOP dominance once again? His partisan goals have to be considered. He is obviously more interested in his ideological pals getting back into power than seeing the country regain it’s economic footing. The question for Limbaugh is: If economic recovery meant implementing policies you did not agree with, could you see beyond your ideological blinders? Because as it stands, not even Nobel Laureate’s in Economics have any clear answers as to how to solve the economic crisis. And, it’s hard to believe that Rush Limbaugh is the one who figured it all out.

Beyond this, there’s the sheer ridiculousness of an entertainer like Limbaugh hoisting himself into the economic debate and the political process. Via Skippy, John Cole over at Balloon Juice puts it quite succinctly:

to put this into perspective, imagine the reaction if rhandi rhodes was penning editorials in the ny times dictating the course of policy for the democrats, and the democrats were embracing her pearls of wisdom. i can’t believe the republicans are going to gamble their future like this, but then again, nothing they do surprises me. and, in fairness, considering i voted for bush twice, i am not really in any position to say the country won’t be stupid enough to fall for this. i am living breathing proof that yes, we are that dumb.

And, I have to think it’s more than that. Is political sabotage in the works? Digby writes it seems more than plausible, and I have to agree. A quote from Limbaugh that shows his inner thoughts on Democrats:

I mean, if there is a party that’s soulless, it’s the Democratic Party. If there are people by definition who are soulless, it is liberals — by definition. You know, souls come from God. You know? No. No. You can’t go there.

Continues Digby:

That sure sounds like your garden variety unhinged terrorist to me.Sirota reminds us why it’s not a good idea to negotiate with terrorists, especially one with little power. It tends to do the opposite of what you want it to do.

And, the zeal to see Obama fail apparently extends to GOP House members. From the David Sirota post that Digby refers to:

How do you know House Republicans aren’t negotiating in good faith and are acting as legislative terrorists? Because their rantings are verifiably crazy (h/t Steve Benen):

Representative Virginia Foxx, Republican of North Carolina, said that former President George Bush’s signature tax cuts in 2001 had created years of growth but that the nation’s problems started when Democrats regained majorities in Congress in the 2006 elections.

Again, only legislative terrorists desperate to sabotage the economy would make such deliberately insane statements. Only legislative terrorists would insist that the economy was Teh Awesome under George W. Bush. Only legislative terrorists would ignore the basic facts that most Americans innately know, and that were perfectly summarized by Washington Post.

As I’ve said previously: extremists (or legislative terrorists)  need to be marginalized and kicked to the curb with cogent policy and intellectual integrity. Non-partisan exchanging of ideas is democracy. Holding the process of government hostage and working for failure of policy that could work when you have no alternatives goes by another name.

Go sign the petition and let Rush Limbaugh know that his voice is heard but if he chooses to place ideology before the real debate and the process of implementation of policy that could work (while offering no viable alternatives) then he will be met with ridicule and contempt.

Entertainers and charlatans have a role, but when they become obstructionalists purely to ensure that their ideological power structure (that has been proven to be devoid of any further role) remains in power, then they’ve crossed a line. How we deal with it properly within the rule of law and our democracy will be the test of our mettle.

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obama nation or abomination

Posted by on Jan 22, 2009 | 0 comments

Those are the two competing perspectives. It says a lot about where the USA is at, and where it is headed in the days to come  It should be said though that those who support the new president are being positive, and forward looking. Those who do not support President Obama are being negative and whining a good deal. Draw your own conclusions.

While the media treats the economy like it treated the Iraq war – swallowing disinformation whole -there’s also plenty of advice for the new President floating around. What not to do, what to do. There’s hopeful statements that look forward to success, and statements hoping for failure. (Hard to believe, but true.)

And, there’s a lot of petty nonsense being proffered as well. A lot.

It’s important to remember a few things: If we are going to climb out of the hole we are in, we have to be united. We can’t do it splintered. Yet, there are factions among us who plan to do nothing but stoke partisan divisions. They aren’t interested in solutions, only power, and the way they obtain power is by creating hatred, fear and divisiveness. It’s what they do. They know nothing else. They are incapable of seeing past their hatred and ideological blinders.

After 9/11 George W. Bush had a golden ticket to unite and rally the nation behind him. But, he and his Administration and the GOP chose instead to divide the nation through fear, intimidation and disinformation in order to solidify power. They chose bipartisan bully tactics  rather than solve problems. They chose to dismantle government, and when that government was needed to do the peoples work (Katrina for starters) it was unable to do the work. And, today, we need the government to work.

So, the road ahead is pretty plain: Those that do not join the discussion, engage the process and participate should have the temerity to take the bench. But, they do not. So, they must be marginalized, because that is the only language they understand. If you don’t have the intelligence and insight to pull yourself from the game when you’ve fumbled the last two plays and it’s 4th and long, the coach will do it for you.

That’s life. And, whining about it only solidifies just how incompetent and marginal you’ve become. So, bitch away. We’re listening.

And, when you’re ready to rejoin the world of ideas, problem solving, non-partisan discussion and negotiation, and hard work that lay ahead, we’ll welcome you back.

But, no one is holding their breath.

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start your whining early, avoid the long lines

Posted by on Jan 19, 2009 | 0 comments

Sure to be the main theme of all right wing intellectual thought the next four years (and beyond) the jingosphere gets to whining early and often so as not to be caught without forks and knives once Obama is duly sworn in. The current completely made up scandal du jour?

“What recession? The $170 million inauguration”

Except it’s untrue. Eric Boehlert has the ugly truth. In a nutshell:  The costs quoted and compared – Bush spent 42 million, Obama spent 170 million  – are incorrect:

” …the unsubstantiated Obama cost of $160 million (inauguration + security) compared with the Bush cost of 42 million (inauguration, excluding security). Those are two completely different calculations being compared side-by-side, by Fox & Friends, among others, to support the phony claim that Obama’s inauguration is $100 million more expensive than Bush’s”

Sadly, it will be stated as the 100% truth within the hour and at a thousand dining room tables by supper tonight.

(via Digby, who notes how it’s part of the larger “big spending liberals” meme that conservatives will be peddling ad nauseum.)

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u2 at the lincoln memorial

Posted by on Jan 19, 2009 | 0 comments

It was kind of cool to see the boys from Dublin up on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial playing “Pride (in the name of love)” and “City of Blinding Lights” at the pre-inauguration event, televised on HBO. Pretty amazing performance, considering how cold it was… The juxtaposition of a rock band in front of so many flags feels a little jingoistic, but it’s great television… and catch what Bono says about the dream towards the end…. classic.

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