Two days ago, Kevin Drum over at Mother Jones made a prediction on Sen. John McCain’s (R-AZ) probable reaction to President Barack Obama’s policy approach on the unfolding situation in the Ukraine:
“John McCain will appear on a bunch of Sunday chat shows to bemoan the fact that Obama is weak and no one fears America anymore.” (Emphasis added)
Two days later, like clockwork, John McCain, as reported by The Washington Post:
Sen. John McCain sharply condemned President Obama on Monday, blasting the administration’s foreign policy as “feckless” and partially responsible for the mounting crisis over the advance of Russian forces into Ukraine. […]“Why do we care? Because this is the ultimate result of a feckless foreign policy in which nobody believes in America’s strength anymore,” McCain said to the annual gathering of Jewish leaders in Washington. (Emphasis added)
As the saying goes: “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.”Read More
A bit of historical revisionism occurred recently. Dozens of news outlets, including Fox Nation, and dozens of conservative blogs were repeating the same inaccurate headline verbatim (or nearly): “Obama Administration to Ban Asthma Inhalers Over Environmental Concerns“. Little Green Footballs debunks the story handily. But, it’s emblematic of a larger problem, a culture of lying, and revising established fact-based history.
Oliver Willis catches one conservative trying to backtrack without admitting the error and calls it as he sees it:Read More
The jobs problem in the USA is one of our most pressing issues, it affects us all very deeply, and President Obama’s speech on the issue was one of the most important of his presidency. Here’s Dana Milbank in his article titled “The Irrelevancy of the Obama Presidency” in the Washington Post today:Read More
“Imagine what it would be like if you didn’t know that the evening news was funded primarily by Big Pharma. You would actually believe the stuff that they’re saying. You might even think those are the stories that matter. ” – Douglas Rushkoff (Source)
Once upon a time, political observers fretted that the free press, the government and the democratic process itself were under threat of being overwhelmedRead More
Running Scared has an item speculating that the “Mission Accomplished” banner will be on display at the George W. Bush Presidential Library. I think it’s a good idea. It really encapsulates Bush’s presidency, it’s a moment in history. It got me thinking.
Here’s my list of things that should also go into Bush’s Presidential Library:
The Presidential Briefing that warned that an attack was “imminent”.
The dress that this little girl was wearing.
Glenn Beck is one cynical and desperate dude. The upcoming “Restoring Honor” rally at Lincoln Memorial is meant to re-brand the sullied and racist image of the Tea Party into the rainbow coalition just in time for the fall election. But, Beck’s decision to blatantly ride on the coat tails of Martin Luther King Jr. and the Civil Rights movement is nothing except a badly orchestrated and cynical effort to co-opt the gravitas of MLK and the rights movement in order to replace the glaring lack of it in the Tea Party movement. They are that desperate.
It gets even better though. From the Atlanta Constitution-Journal:
On the air, Beck has asked attendees not to bring signs or come in anger, but to come in a peaceful spirit akin to the one espoused by King. “Don’t bring your signs,” he said on TV. “Bring your hearts … bring your open minds.”
Not bring signs? It’s a rally! Of course you bring signs! But, Beck is obviously concerned. It’s an admission that something went astray last time. He’s worried the same thing may occur this time. The Tea Party 9/12 rally last year was a smörgåsbord of racism and allusions to racist themes. Some examples for historical context:
The Tea Bag Party faithful brushed the documented claims of racism off as untrue, even in the face of the photographic and video evidence. Perhaps they simply can not see the racism. Perhaps they don’t want to see it. But, America knows what it saw.
To be clear, I’m not saying all Tea Baggers are racist. Yet, it can’t be denied that there is a strong racist element within the Tea Party ranks, and that a great deal of the motivation behind the entire platform (such as is is) is of a nativist, racist, hateful and eliminationist nature. Historically, fear, hate and racism have been great allies. And, they continue to be such. The Tea Party is the current day Nativist party, a modern version of the Know-Nothings. The platforms and ideas espoused are practically identical. No one disuptes that the Know-Nothings were a racist and eliminationist movement. The question remains who will claim the mantle of leadership of the Tea Party. Who will speak out against the racism?
The signs above tell the story. Will it happen again? Time will tell.Read More
The more things change, the more they stay the same:
Mayor Vaughn: [to reporter] I’m pleased and happy to repeat the news that we have, in fact, caught and killed a large predator that supposedly injured some bathers. But, as you see, it’s a beautiful day, the beaches are open and people are having a wonderful time. Amity, as you know, means “friendship”. – From the movie “Jaws“.
But we haven’t had, really, any impact. I mean, we haven’t had enough oil hit Mississippi’s beaches to fill up a milk jug. Now, we’re prepared and we’re prepared for the worst. But thus far, we haven’t had any kind of incursion, except the news coverage is killing our tourist business. – Gov. Haley Barbour of Mississippi.
More on Barbour’s links to big oil over at Think Progress.Read More
Monday link dump…
- Cheney: Waterboarding should have been an option for underbomber – “I was a big supporter of waterboarding. I was a big supporter of the enhanced interrogation techniques,” he said. Of course, for years the CIA has maintained that torture does not produce actionable intel. And, of course, the public practice of torture (they went public with this remember) is more PR than anything. I am of the opinion that Cheney understands that torture does not create actionable intel. But, the propaganda value is simply too great in his view. This is the discussion we should be having…
- Cheney Struggles To Explain Terror Contradictions – Dick Cheney has never been one for consistency of message, nor of adhering to the established facts. It’s unfortunate that he now feels comfortable undermining a sitting president (no matter his political affiliation) in order to secure his own personal legacy and save his ass.
- Biden: Cheney ‘not entitled to re-write history’ – See above.
- A Terrorist Tried In Federal Court: The Case Of Aafia Siddiqui – When we examine the facts, it becomes clear that the GOP is using terrorism as political fodder. So, facts such as this get brushed under the carpet. It’s bad for the coutnry and it’s bad politics. But, they are a party in decline after all…I am for trying terrorists in civilian courts. So is the Pentagon.
- Critical Mass: Dem Agenda Opens Right-Wing Doors – Mandatory reading…
Is health care a right or a privilege? Here’s the answer:
May 12, 2009
Dear Mr. President,
I wanted to write a few final words to you to express my gratitude for your repeated personal kindnesses to me — and one last time, to salute your leadership in giving our country back its future and its truth.
On a personal level, you and Michelle reached out to Vicki, to our family and me in so many different ways. You helped to make these difficult months a happy time in my life.
You also made it a time of hope for me and for our country.
When I thought of all the years, all the battles, and all the memories of my long public life, I felt confident in these closing days that while I will not be there when it happens, you will be the President who at long last signs into law the health care reform that is the great unfinished business of our society. For me, this cause stretched across decades; it has been disappointed, but never finally defeated. It was the cause of my life. And in the past year, the prospect of victory sustained me — and the work of achieving it summoned my energy and determination.
There will be struggles — there always have been — and they are already underway again. But as we moved forward in these months, I learned that you will not yield to calls to retreat — that you will stay with the cause until it is won. I saw your conviction that the time is now and witnessed your unwavering commitment and understanding that health care is a decisive issue for our future prosperity. But you have also reminded all of us that it concerns more than material things; that what we face is above all a moral issue; that at stake are not just the details of policy, but fundamental principles of social justice and the character of our country.
And so because of your vision and resolve, I came to believe that soon, very soon, affordable health coverage will be available to all, in an America where the state of a family’s health will never again depend on the amount of a family’s wealth. And while I will not see the victory, I was able to look forward and know that we will — yes, we will — fulfill the promise of health care in America as a right and not a privilege.
In closing, let me say again how proud I was to be part of your campaign — and proud as well to play a part in the early months of a new era of high purpose and achievement. I entered public life with a young President who inspired a generation and the world. It gives me great hope that as I leave, another young President inspires another generation and once more on America’s behalf inspires the entire world.
So, I wrote this to thank you one last time as a friend — and to stand with you one last time for change and the America we can become.
At the Denver Convention where you were nominated, I said the dream lives on.
And I finished this letter with unshakable faith that the dream will be fulfilled for this generation, and preserved and enlarged for generations to come.
With deep respect and abiding affection,
It’s come to this: the need to explain the difference between booing during a presidential speech, or shouting “No! No!”, and shouting “You lie!”
From the New York Times:
It was a rare breach of the protocol that governs ritualistic events in the Capitol.
His eruption — in response to Mr. Obama’s statement that Democratic health proposals would not cover illegal immigrants — stunned members of both parties in the House chamber.
Democrats said it showed lack of respect for the office of the presidency and was reminiscent of Republican disruptions at recent public forums on health care.
Right wing bloggers are trying to make the case that since Democrats booed loudly and shouted “No! No!” during George W. Bush’s 2005 SOTU speech, it’s okay for Rep. Joe Wilson to shout “You lie!” at Obama during his speech.
Now, it’s a real shame this has to even be clarified: there’s a huge difference between booing or yelling “No! No!” during a speech and shouting “You lie!”
Yelling “No! No!” or booing during a speech is merely an expression of disagreement with the speech itself. It’s a time honored form of disagreement in such circumstance, even within the walls of the capitol. It may be a breech of protocol, but one that is practiced nonetheless, from time to time.
But, shouting “You lie!” is more than an expression of disagreement with the speech by the president.
Shouting “You lie!” is an accusation. And, it was directed squarely at the president.
It’s a historically important moment that would have provoked riotous wailing from conservatives if done by a Democrat to a Republican president. Since when are accusations of lying okay?
The fact that conservatives simply do not get that is yet one more example of how deep down the rabbit hole they have crawled.
Rep. Wilson was right to apologize, even if he did so and then tried to immediately back pedal.
Steve Benen at Washington Monthly really sums this one up nicely:
There are a few important angles to this. The first is substantive. When Wilson accused the president of lying, Wilson was, in fact, lying. Even in Congress, facts should matter, and the right-wing Republican wasn’t just obnoxious with his idiotic interruption, he was also wrong.
The second is personal. Joe Scarborough, a former Republican member of Congress, said, “Whoever shouted out that the president was lying is a dumbass.” John McCain denounced Wilson’s outburst as “totally disrespectful.” While right-wing blogs were thrilled, Republican lawmakers have been entirely unwilling to defend Wilson’s behavior.
The third is contextual. President Obama couldn’t have been more magnanimous last night, highlighting a plan that “incorporates ideas from many people in this room tonight, Democrats and Republicans.” He made frequent references to Republican lawmakers and even George W. Bush. Obama even talked up medical malpractice reform. It was in this context that Wilson decided to lash out? As Gail Collins noted this morning, “Let me go out on a limb and say that it is not a good plan to heckle the president of the United States when he’s making a speech about replacing acrimony with civility.”
The fourth is practical. While Dems have been divided of late on policy specifics, they were unified last night — they loved Obama and they hated Joe Wilson. Indeed, I’ve seen reports that Wilson’s Democratic opponent next year, Rob Miller, suddenly saw a wave of new campaign contributions in the wake of Wilson’s conduct.
It’s striking that Wilson, unable to find any support from his allies, quickly apologized. He said his emotions got the best of him, and issued a statement that said, “While I disagree with the president’s statement, my comments were inappropriate and regrettable. I extend sincere apologies to the president for this lack of civility.” He spoke directly to White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel last night to express his regret.
But the damage has been done. Indeed, Wilson’s outburst is an almost perfect summation of 2009 — President Obama appears big, Republicans appear small. Democrat show class, Republicans act like children. One side is serious, one side is shrill. The White House says something true, Republicans lash out with falsehoods.
To be sure, Wilson is a buffoon, from whom very little is expected. He’s hosting Glenn Beck minions at his office this weekend, and is a reflexive, right-wing clown masquerading as a congressman. He embarrassed himself, his party, and his institution last night, but it’s unlikely Wilson actually cares whether he’s a disgrace or not. Bruce Bartlett noted this morning, “He’s become the new Sarah Palin of the Republican Party, where one’s popularity is in inverse proportion to one’s stupidity — the stupider a Republican is these days the more popular he or she becomes.”
What will be interesting to see if there are any real consequences. There’s been some talk of censure, or demanding that Wilson deliver a formal apology to the House itself.
Any return to civility is a good start. Whether we can carry such civility farther and get health care reform on track again, remains to be seen.Read More
If you haven’t watched Bill Moyers on Real Time with Bil Maher, it’s worth watching. The point that conservatives are simply employing a scorched earth campaign to insure that Obama fails is important, and has to be confronted. And, he covers corporatism as well.Read More
Not a mob obviously. The term has been tossed around in some cases, accurate in others. It’s like dealing with a bunch of hecklers. And, Al Franken does well. People do want to know the facts. But, it’s so heated out there, as you can see, it’s not easy. There’s a lot of work to be done.Read More
Apparently, a guy named William Rice had his finger bit off by a pro-health care protester. It’s gross and idiotic obviously. It went down like a bad comedy sketch.
What struck me was Rice’s comment: (emphasis added)
Although he did not plan to protest Wednesday, Rice said, he’s opposed to government involvement in general, except for mail service and the military.
“It doesn’t have any business in anybody’s healthcare,” he said.
Rice acknowledged he used the Medicare he gets as a senior when he went to the hospital Wednesday. He said it was the first time he used the program, to which he remains adamantly opposed.
“If I had any other options, I would not have used it, even though I pay for it,” he said.
Shorter: William Rice uses medicare because he has no other options, but wouldn’t if he had another option! Wow.Think about that. Mull it around in your mouth like a fine wine:
Rice is enrolled in medicare which takes care of his health care needs – since he obviously can’t afford to pay into the corporate insurance system or is uninsured because of health reasons – thus, it can be deduced that he has no other health care options, and yet he still says he doesn’t want medicare, YET will use it!
The word hypocrisy is beginning to lose all meaning. Stupidity on the other hand is doing quite well.
This is what it’s come down to: Ideology trumps everything else. Nothing survives the black hole that has become conservative ideology.
We’re in big trouble.
Update: Skippy has a link to an eye witness account of the “scuffle” that led to the finger incident. Skip notes:
as jesse @ pandagon points out, the hardly-ever-right wing is already spinning this to make it sound like moveon was looking for trouble and ready for blood.
but the truth is far from that. the anti-reform guy (who, ironically, is on medicare and is having his finger-re-attachment surgery paid for by the us gummint) is the guy that started trouble. the anti-reform guy is the guy who threw the first punch. the anti-reform guy is the guy that kept getting in people’s faces. the anti-reform guy is the guy who continued the screaming when the other guy was down on the ground.
the anti-reform guy is the guy who picked a fight. and lost.
moral of the story: don’t start something you can’t finish.
Pretty much nuff said.Read More
Links of the day:
- Who is paying for the Iraqis to have universal single payer health care? You are.
- Glenn Beck Watch: ‘Is Obama The Anti-Christ?’ – An oldie but goodie. Glenn Beck wondering aloud if Obama is the Prince of Darkness come to end the world. Fear of a black planet at play.
- Johann Hari: Republicans, religion and the triumph of unreason – “The election of Obama – a black man with an anti-conservative message – as a successor to George W. Bush has scrambled the core American right’s view of their country. In their gut, they saw the US as a white-skinned, right-wing nation forever shaped like Sarah Palin.” Read the entire thing…
A few links worth reading:
- Five Symptoms of Republican Schizophrenia – Lots of illogical minds out there… that’s what happens when hate dominates….
- Revealing Hate: Inside White Supremacist World – Much of the current political atmosphere in the USA can be traced to the increase in hate based thought…. It’s more common than you think….
- Health Care Reform: Sorting Facts From Fiction…. – Good facts versus fiction… much needed in these times…
- Why the deficit hysteria? I only wish we’d borrow more… – Robert Reich’s interesting take on the deficit…