Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The $60 Billion Solution

I feel like I have written this article before (as has my co-contributor), and yet I can't help but return to the health care debate. Howard Dean was on TV recently and he said that if health care reform does not include a public option, then it would be basically worthless. As I watch our President say that there is no line in the sand in the health care debate, I again wonder aloud what exactly the goal of this administration is on this topic.

The arguments against a public option have basically been boiled down to two positions that are inconsistent with each other and are yet voiced simultaneously. The first position, which is favored by the insurance providers and their lackeys in Congress, is that, they (the insurance companies) would be driven out of business by a government option. The claim is that so many people would chose the public option (because it would be cheaper, better and less cumbersome) that the insurance providers would not be able to stay in business. The President called this point into question yesterday when he said:
" The notion that all these insurance companies who say they’re giving consumers the best possible deal, if they can’t compete against a public plan as one option, with consumers making the decision what’s the best deal, that defies logic..."

The Insurance companies and the members of Congress that they own, will continue to claim that the government option would drive them out of business without stating the real reason why that is the case. As has been stated here before, the companies are in the business of making money. They are not in the business of providing Americans with the best health care possible, therefore it only makes sense that they would not be able to compete with a system that makes the actual health of Americans the top priority. A significant portion of the resources of the insurance companies goes to trying to find ways to deny claims of the people that they currently insure. How could they possibly compete against a competitor who doesn't spend a large portion of their income on trying to screw their own customers? Republicans are constantly arguing for a free marketplace. Why would they now be afraid of a little competition? If, as the insurance companies and the many well compensated spokespeople in Congress claim, we do in fact have the best health care in the world, then having a public option would provide very little competition indeed. Why on earth would people give up their current coverage if they felt like it was the best plan available?

The second claim is that the public option would lead to American getting less medical care than they are now receiving. "We don't want to be like Canada" becomes the clarion call of this particular group of sycophants. So this argument claims (in total opposition to the other one) that under a public plan, the health of Americans would actually suffer. They talk about health care being rationed and long waits for transplants and lack of money for new equipment and fewer doctors being available and government bureaucrats making your health decisions. All of this presupposes that our current options are fantastic and that we are thrilled about insurance company paper pushers making our health care decisions. My question is, which is it? Is the public option going to be so great that it breaks the backs of the insurance providers or is it going be the beginning of the end? I guess it's too much to ask the opponents of the plan for a consistent message.

And if all else fails, they point to the money. How on earth can we pay for this? $1.6 trillion!!!! Inconceivable! Pointing to the money is of course the easiest way to take attention away from the human cost of not getting real health care reform done in the near future. No one talks about the 50 million who are uninsured. No one talks about the tens of thousands who die each needlessly because they could not afford to seek medical attention. No one talks about the millions who are saddled with crippling debt for medical procedures even though they were "covered" by private insurance. No one talks about the fact that our some of our major industries are now big health providers who also happen to manufacture something. No one talks about the fact that in ten years the only growth industries left in the this country will be tied to health care and the insurance companies. No, they don't want to talk about that. Let's just talk about the cost. That will scare Americans into demanding that nothing gets done. I have a simple plan for this. Like the Iraq war (which is going to cost upwards of $2 trillion), let's just claim the same opening figure that the Bush administration did for that endeavor. The cost for complete health care reform that will cover every American is $60 billion.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Dreams Die Hard

This may very well be the last post I do here because I am about to be so disgusted with this president that I may just swear off making any comments at all. From the Vice President to the Secretary of Health to the President himself, the Obama administration officials are all showing signs of giving up a public healthcare option in order to get some semblance of "bipartisanship". This administration is going to be willing to throw the uninsured and under-insured in this country under the bus in order to get a couple of Republican votes (which may or may not actually happen. I doubt that there would be any votes in the House unless the bill was absolutely worthless). The President is willing to protect the profits of the insurance companies, the pharmaceutical companies and the doctors in this country at the expense of the American people.

There was hope when Obama was elected, but in my mind that has quickly crumbled into the most disappointing presidency in my lifetime. I realize that Obama is the better of the options from the last election, but that does not make his actions any easier to stomach. I wrote an article in January which outlined what I thought were the most pressing issues for this president to address. To date, not one of them has been addressed to my satisfaction. There is still no plan for an exit in Afghanistan, education reform has not even been whispered about, healthcare reform is going to amount to nothing and the Constitution continues to be battered by the policies of this administration. This administration has also decided that they are not only fond of the anti-gay, Defense of Marriage statute, they are in fact it's biggest supporters. The lack of support shown to the gay and lesbian community by this administration has been stunning. You would think that there are Republicans running this country.

I no longer believe that Obama was only pretending to oppose gay marriage in order to get elected. I no longer believe that he wants healthcare for every American. I no longer believe that he wants to end the Constitutional abuses that took place under the last administration. I no longer believe that he wants to bring anyone to justice for the torture policy of the previous administration. I no longer believe that he wants to do anything that is even within sniffing distance of radical. He has become Bill Clinton without ever losing a fight. At least Bill had his losses before he decided to throw in the towel. At least Bill tried to get healthcare coverage for every American. At least he tried to stop the dismissal of gay military personnel. At least he tried. I no longer believe that Obama is even going to try. He's just going to try to get along. He doesn't want to piss off too many people so that he can get re-elected in 2012 and then he can go about making lots of money on the lecture circuit. He will leave behind the legacy of being the first African American president (which is no small feat), but I was hoping for so much more.

Those "Change we can believe in" posters are just painful to look at now.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

March of the Plastic Soldiers Part 5


I saved the boldest embodiment of the GOP’s idealogical troubles for last.

If you want to see the best pound-for-pound incarnation of why the Republican Party is continually shedding moderates, and with them, any chance of actually representing an America as it is, not as the late Jesse Helms would’ve liked to have forced it to be; look no further.

Sean Hannity’s smug, arched-eyebrow, theatrical pen-holding faux-anchorman style is one of the things that keeps the Fox News Channel’s veneer and pretense of seriousness going. It’s a laughably thin charade for anyone who doesn’t want to pretend along with Hannity and Rupert Murdoch.

His “Hannity and Colmes” show was a pathetic piece of political theater that could only fool an idiot into thinking there was any real discussion or debate going on. Watching Colmes as the so-called “Progressive,” “Liberal” or “Democratic” side of a issue was like watching an unpopular no-name wrestler going up against Hulk Hogan: You know it’s fixed, you know who’s going to win and if you like this kind of crap, you feel like you actually saw something happen. Sean Hannity played this charade for years in one of the longest running two-man shows on television. Fox eventually realized that nobody cared to see Hannity win a fake argument and Colmes, stage prop that he was, left the show.

Now Hannity’s apearing on his own. Raising the same disingenuous questions and calculated phony doubts about anything that doesn’t fit in with his brand of social Conservatism and his Reagan-era Republican world view. I tuned in for about ten minutes a week ago and could (in a way I can’t do with any other talking head on televison) finish each and every one of Hannity’s sentences. Try it some time, it’s actually fun until you realize you can’t do that with anybody you actually know and then it feels creepy.

Hannity remains partisan to the point of robotic inflexibility: Democrats are just plain bad, wrong and even evil because well, they are Democrats in his view. I don’t think Hannity is just plain bad, wrong and even evil because he’s a Conservative Republican.
I think Hannity is just plain bad, wrong and even evil because he’s just plain bad, wrong and even evil.

Here are some reasons why:

Hannity is a compulsive abuser of the leading question. He’d have no program without it, in fact. He cannot “interview” or engage someone he differs with philosophically without asking “Yes or No” questions with false premises. “Why does [fill in the blank] hate America?” Is one of my favorites. It’s the absolute childishness of the question that always makes me channel surf right past his fake news program.

We’ve all been in relationships so this next stunt should be very familiar to you:
When you know you are factually, objectively wrong, you can only survive an argument by turning facts into a matter of opinion. This is a Fox News Channel standby. Listen to any of his reasoning regarding the Reagan generated deficits and how they, in his opinion, amount to lowered spending practices overall during the period.
Utter nonsense.
If the FCC was worth anything at all to us, they’d fine him for lying.

Arguing two different things at once to ensure that there is no resolution, is another tactic Hannity falls back on frequently. Such as turning the question of whether the government must act or interfere, into a question of whether Socialism is desirable to Americans. Hannity probably would have made the Hurricane Katrina response scandal into a question of government jursidiction versus state’s rights.

Accusing someone of doing what you are about to do, is another great passive aggressive ploy perfected at Fox News. Recent Example: Conservatives oppose the very idea of Judge Sotomayor, a Hispanic who is not Conservative and an Obama pick, on the Supreme Court. In light of her qualifications and experience, the figures in the Conservative opposition know their "objections" might be construed as racist, since they’d prefer a White male by their own admission. Their solution was to open their opposition efforts by taking her remarks out of context and instead branding her a "racist" first.
Nice.
But Hannity got to the bottom of the matter though; by repeating every ridiculous accusation, honoring and airing every absurd question about the woman while providing no answers whasoever. Typical asisnine non-analysis from propagandist and fake anchorman Sean Hannity.
This punk shouldn’t even have a desk to sit behind.

…And that’s it for these clowns who are directing the GOP from the outside. So it appears there are five horsemen of the apocalypse. Ok, ok, it’s not as bad as all that.
Why?
Because even Progressive Liberals such as myself actually want a strong Republican Party to argue with. “Impossible” after all I’ve written you say? Not in the least. I would have voted for Lincoln Chaffee over Hillary Clinton if he’d been living and running in New York. After all he opposed the War in Iraq. He paid for voting his conscience dearly.

It may seem on the surface that I am criticizing the GOP as an entire entity as I’ve taken these five figures to task in this series. I am merely pointing out the most duplicitous, corrupt and useless high profile leaders in the GOP of the moment. Note that these are not people in elected office... yet.

As I have said before on this blog, the Party of Lincoln has to return to its core ideals and philosophic principles. That means that the Party’s future should not be in the hands of the 5 figures I discussed in this series, but in the hands of Republican voters, my fellow Americans. Never forget, the GOP gave us a president who went to war to end Slavery, although you’d never know it today.

For Republicans who may have strayed and actually read these posts of mine, it’s quite simple:

Make a list of ten things in order of importance to you and your family.

Yes, important to you, the Republican voter.
Not big industry, not Wall Street, not the Rich people who were partying it up at George W. Bush’s fund raisers for the past eight years. List ten concerns of yours, no matter how specific they may get in order of importance. Maybe power lines are too close to your house, maybe you have an elderly and infirm parent living with you who needs 24 hour care, maybe not enough tax dollars are going to your child’s school, maybe your job has gone overseas, maybe your neighborhood is falling apart due to foreclosures, maybe your retirement fund has evaporated. Give some real hard thought to just how important social issues like Gay marriage are on your list of top 10 concerns... because “Adam & Steve getting married” is not going to save your house or put food on your table, and “Adam & Steve” have been used to make too many people vote against their own interests for close to 30 years now.

I say to Republicans: take your party back from Rupert Murdoch’s media oligarchy and the massive transnational corporations it serves.

Demand that your politicians actually represent you and not corporations, take them to task for what they have wrought and move forward. Go to their websites every day you get your paycheck or even if you don’t anymore –even if you’ve lost your job and collect unemployment. Look at those tax dollars on your pay check or your unemployment check. Demand that they listen to the things that concern you. Visit their websites and email or call them every time you see them fighting for something on the Senate floor that isn’t on your list.

Do it here:
http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm
Do it now.

You shouldn’t have to change your party; your party should have to change its priorities for you. Make the GOP work for you. They owe you. It’s not American to say one thing and do another. It’s not American to lie.

At least it shouldn’t be.

-SJ

March of the Plastic Soldiers Part 4


Ever get into an argument with a liar who won’t even stay on the point? If you haven’t or need your memory jogged, search online for any and I mean any complete transcripts of Glenn Beck’s radio broadcasts or FNC shows.

Glenn Beck is what we used to call a “bullshit artist” back in the old days when we actually called things what they were, and not what we wanted them to be. This stand-up comedian is being identified and marketed as a news analyst (A cowardly moniker the sponsors and producers of the Right wing TV punditry use to steer clear of having to deal in facts like broadcast journalists are compelled to.)

Of all the dim-witted sophomoric and pretentious notions this particular Fox fat head has floated out to the public, the 9/12 Project is among the most cheap and self-serving.

I live in Manhattan.
I lived in Manhattan on 9/11. I still live and work here among some of the most high priority targets for terrorists. Only an idiot, only an absolute jackass like Beck who experienced the 9/11 terrorist attacks through the TV would want to return to the day after it happened.

Maybe he’d have an idea, an inkling of how terrible a day Wednesday was if he had to argue with a cop who wouldn’t let you below 14th street and watch him burst into tears like a baby, gripping your shoulder, his knees buckling, begging you to please not give him a hard time.

Maybe Glenn Beck would have a clue if he walked into a bar like the Blind Tiger in lower Manhattan a week later only to find many of the regulars, good hardworking people, missing, only to wonder if they were among the dead, and then to find out in the New York Times’ heart breaking obituary section devoted to the attacks, that they in fact were.

Oh?

Glenn Beck doesn’t mean that ugly part of Wednesday September 12, 2001? Well I guess that smiling sanctimonious idiot doesn’t realize that they go together with his fantasies of dust-covered New Yorkers running for their lives. Maybe he’d know that if he’d actually been here in New York City when it happened. Maybe if he’d been here on Wednesday frantically calling friends to see if anybody was still missing he’d know what he was talking about. Maybe he’d have an idea just how horrible Wednesday was when MNN public access channels aired shows of amateur producer’s programs, with superimpositions that read “MISSING, PLEASE CALL.”

Maybe if he’d heard then Mayor Rudolf Giuliani on the radio calling for calm, pleading with New Yorkers to not give in to mob violence and to not go after Arab Americans maybe then he’d know just how stupid his 9/12 Project sounds to me.

Of all the punditry cashing in on the people’s fear and ignorance, Glenn Beck might be among the worst. This buffoon does it with a smile. This idiot proclaims he doesn’t know anything. But he talks on, misinforming people, lying along with the rest of them about things he often says he doesn’t understand, like the economy and climate change.

Frankly, I don’t see the charm.
Conservatives should expect more from their entertainment.

-SJ

March of the Plastic Soldiers Part 3


"We don't retract anything we do here because we never lie and make things up on this program" –Rush Limbaugh, 2005

Dear God in heaven, it is fun reading Blog posts by Rush Limbaugh’s listeners who try to defend him as an actual... well what is he? He’s not a journalist; he’s not a policymaker. Oh that’s right, he’s the de facto head of the GOP. Rush Limbaugh must be the true Chairman of the RNC, since Michael Steele answers to him directly when he’s offended. So I guess they have to defend this compulsive liar no matter what.

I don’t use the word “liar” freely or without cause.
I think it’s a serious judgment to make about someone so I am presenting some of the more recent fantasies promoted on Limbaugh’s talk radio show. I am sticking to lies broadcast by this Right wing propagandist after 2005. This way, it’s easy to highlight the biggest lie Limbaugh tells daily, that he’s not a liar per the quote from him above.
What the hell, we’ll just stick to June 2009 or this post will never end:

This alleged Oxycontin trafficker and confirmed Oxycontin drug abuser said on June 12, 2009 that 88-year-old Holocaust museum shooter James Von Brunn is a “Left wing” extremist and a “Liberal” who was pushed over the edge by the “climate” of "hate" produced by President Barack Obama and the Democratic party…
This one’s a pretty obvious instance of lying by Limbaugh.
It’s not an opinion. It’s not a personal perspective.

This is a lie
.

Von Brunn, who killed security guard Stephen Johns and injured others, is a life-long anti-government, White Supremacist. -Period. Von Brunn is a member of the Extremist Far Right community in America that our Department of Homeland security warned us about in a recent special report. You know, that report Conservatives like Peter King of New York and Fox News got so touchy and defensive about. I guess Peter King and Rush Limbaugh have something to be touchy about after all, eh?

Read it for yourself and make up your own mind by clicking here: http://www.fas.org/irp/eprint/rightwing.pdf

Also on June 12, Limbaugh said that President Obama is taking credit for the election results in Lebanon and the heated debate regarding the elections in Iran.
Neither the President of the United States, nor anyone in his administration has said any such thing.

Limbaugh is a liar
.

Limbaugh went on to make remarks about President Obama’s dangerous narcissistic “complex.” While it’s an opinion, it’s an opinion informed by Limbaugh’s very own lies about our President. Curiously, I don’t hear anyone calling this fat blowhard unpatriotic for lying about the President of the United States.

On June 9, Limbaugh claimed that President Obama is going to be redistributing money from the private sector to unions and civil rights coalitions.

Another lie
.

My favorite lie of all of Limbaugh’s nonsensical babbling in these first 100 hundred days is the Obama recession fantasy from June 9:
Obama "did not inherit a mess. He has created one"
I won’t even dignify this ridiculous lie with analysis. Obama has surely inherited a mess; he inherited a country that was mismanaged by Republicans into a horrid state of weakness and potential insolvency not seen since the Great Depression.
He has inherited another mess as well, a country with too many fat little rich men in booths broadcasting lies. The President has come to power in a country with too many establishment sycophants like Limbaugh who seem to want corporations to continue their stranglehold on people who work for a living. Otherwise why would they listen to a man who defends everything that has gone wrong for the last 30 years and speaks of the last eight with reverence and pride?

That’s Rush Limbaugh to the core; selling out working Americans every day he’s on the air.

I tried to give a broader survey of Limbaugh’s lying but I failed. There is so much already in this current month of June alone, mostly focused on the Obama administration that I didn’t get very far. But I guess that’s the point isn’t it?

Rush Limbaugh is the emerging leader of the GOP and unlike the majority of Republicans in government; all this man does is lie.

He lies daily. He lies for a living.

Anyone who tunes into this liar has to really ask themselves if they truly love their country. These listeners and self-proclaimed "ditto heads" should ask themselves who’s responsible, now that they have to listen to Rush Limbaugh at home, instead of during their lunch break or their drive back to their houses from the job they no longer have.

The answer, like the subject of this post, is simply stomach churning for Republicans who bought into the fantasy of Reaganomics and the last eight years under George W. Bush.

-SJ

Saturday, June 13, 2009

March of the Plastic Soldiers Part 2


What won’t Ann Coulter say to get attention for herself and her “books?” This GOP mainstay uses the word “faggot” as if it’s not a tired, old schoolyard epithet. “Faggot” is the first word people use when they don’t like somebody, but have no legitimate reason why they won’t get along with them. That seems to be her appeal for those in America who are angry about the last 30 years but can’t bring themselves to hold the Republicans who were in charge accountable: call the people who don’t agree with you faggots… or socialists or whatever.

Aside from the painful ironies and hypocrisies plaguing Ann Coulter’s opinions about Democrats, Liberals and Progressives… oh what the hell, let’s beat a not-so-dead horse to drive the point home here shall we?

Mark Foley, U.S. Representative:
Foley sent sexually suggestive and explicit texts, instant messages and emails to teenage boys in the Congressional page program for over 10 years. As “Chairman of the House Caucus on Missing and Exploited Children” he was promoted as the foremost opponent of child pornography in the Senate.
Bottom line: Foley is actually one of the people he was claiming to be protecting children against. But hey, Ann Coulter called John Edwards a “faggot” so no reason to dwell on this right? No reason to dwell on this because there’s more, so much more:

Ted Haggard, Leader of the National Association of Evangelicals:
In November 2006, it was discovered that Haggard was paying male prostitutes for sex (Which I guess is better than not paying for sex, at least the man is responsible and pays his debts.) It was also found out that he was using Crystal Meth.
Bottom line: Ted Haggard preached and taught that homosexuality was a satanic abomination. Haggard and his association actively lobbied against Gay rights and Gay marriage. Haggard also participated in weekly meetings with then President George W. Bush and his top advisors like Karl Rove, to give them “spiritual” advice. But Ann Coulter says Al Gore is a “total faggot,” so I guess Haggard’s glaring hypocrisy isn’t important and his weekly meetings with then President Bush are less important than whatever Ann Coulter alleges about Reverend Wright and Dick Ayers’s associations with President Obama.
Oh hey, there’s still more:

Larry Craig U.S. Senator and Senate’s Liason for the Mitt Romney Presidential Campaign:
On
June 11, 2007, Republican Senator Larry Craig solicited sex from an undercover police officer in an airport bathroom. When I think about it, there’s nothing wrong with making friends and trying to find to love in a country where you can be ran down and killed for winking at the wrong guy, EXCEPT if you happen to be the Senator who twice voted against adding the words “sexual orientation” to the federal hate crimes law, EXCEPT if you happen to be the Senator who voted to give all states the right to not recognize Gay marriage.
Bottom line: All individual state governments already had this right, Craig just wanted to look as anti-Gay as possible… while hunting for blow jobs in airport bathrooms.
Nice.
Wait a minute, something really Gay went down (pun intended) the very next month:

Bob Allen, Member of the Florida House of Representatives and Florida Chairman of John McCain’s Presidential Campaign:
On July 11, 2007 (exactly a month to the day after Craig got busted) Bob Allen paid an undercover cop twenty dollars so Allen could suck him off in a men’s room in a public park. This staunch Republican explained that he only offered to blow the cop because the cop was a “burly black man” and he “didn’t want to become a statistic.” That’s going pretty far to explain why he paid to suck a dick. Some people really will try and blame Black people for anything at times in this country if they think it will save their neck.
Bottom line: Republican Bob Allen really likes sucking Black dick and will pay twenty dollars American.
No seriously, Bob Allen was one of 21 Florida legislators who signed Governor Jeb Bush’s Friend-of-the-Court Brief supporting the Florida ban on Gay adoption. He co-sponsored a bill that proposed harsher sentences and penalties for “offenses involving unnatural and lascivious acts” such as indecent exposure, or sucking a guy’s dick in a bathroom for twenty dollars.
I’m tired of typing at this point, but there’s still more:

Glenn Murphy Jr. Chairman of the Clark County Republican Party and National Chairman of the Young Republicans:
Before the month could end, on July 28, 2007 Glenn Murphy got a fellow Young Republican drunk and then crashed at his house. That’s totally cool right? The other young man woke up in the middle of the night to find Murphy sucking him off. I’m sure Glenn Murphy Senior was real proud, but probably not at all shocked since a 1998 sexual battery report alleges Junior to have done the exact same thing before.
Bottom line: Glenn Murphy Jr. was a Political Consultant for the Republican Party and advised candidates to use Gay marriage as a wedge issue.

There’s yet more, but it actually depresses me that so many politicians are driven by such pathological self-loathing, be they Republicans or whatever-else-have-you. Even more disheartening are the lengths to which they are willing to oppress their fellow Americans for openly being what they themselves are trying to hide. This hypocrite's’s wrinkle is part of a problem that Republicans are trying to transform into a strategy moving forward.

You’d think Ann Coulter would steer clear of using words like “faggot,” but it’s actually a fairly transparent calculation on her part. It is an effective ploy that has been refined in the broadcasts of the Fox News Channel and in the Op Ed pages of the Wall Street Journal during the Clinton administration. I say “effective” because regardless of how Liberal the GOP says it thinks the media is, journalism favors adopting the idiotic pretense of false objectivity over suffering the caustic false accusation of bias.

What is this ploy? Distract attention away from an issue by accusing the opposition of something, even if its something tangential, even if the accusation itself is meaningless, but especially if it’s something the Republicans are actually doing.
E.g. this issue of Republican hypocrisy on Gay civil rights issues. The fact that among the ranks of their most fervent “family values” politicians are many closeted Gay men is diffused by Ann Coulter’s insisting that Liberals are somehow part of a Gay agenda, or conspiracy or whatever nonsense she’s selling this week or the next. When she calls Al Gore a “total faggot” everyone starts arguing about whether it’s appropriate, or unfair, or true, or “hate-speech” and everyone completely forgets that the Republican Party is engaged in a systemic institutionalized hypocrisy, in effect lying to its supporters about itself.

This distraction ploy is part of the wave of the future for the GOP. Ann Coulter is the philosophical leader of what I call “off point debating.” She is “the Thomas Jefferson of bullshit.” I’ve never quite totally believed the story about her having her mouth wired shut late last year. More likely, her mouth was metaphorically “wired shut” by an inability to handle the truth: America had been leveled by all the “rich guy first” policies of the last 30 some odd years. That’s a nasty fact for Republicans: they had the power, and so they own this damn mess, all of it. The Republicans, Ronald Reagan, Newt Gingrich, Alan Greenspan, Trent Lott, Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney and George W. Bush did it. Every rational person in this nation understands how we got into this latest recession and what party got us here: The Grand Old Party.

How do you move on and engage the Democratic opposition without saying you’re “sorry” for what your party did to the country? By distracting Americans with words like “Socialism,”
-The bail outs were proposed and engineered, supported and put forth by Republicans George W. Bush and Hank Paulson, -are they socialists?
By accusing the media of “Liberal bias,”
-The Right wing has infiltrated the mechanism of journalism and created propaganda networks for the Conservative establishment like Fox News Channel, -isn’t this bias?

Ann Coulter is not just some attention-starved hag who lies about her age. This is a dangerously stupid mind at work that has an enormous platform from which to shout. I say stupid, because for all her sound-bite skill, she is as shortsighted as the dumbest 3rd grader: Coulter represents some of the core disabilities that the Republican Party seems destined to crumble under, in the Election ’08 aftermath. The core disabilities she represents are the inability to discuss policy without lying and her dumbstruck powerlessness in the face of her party’s deadly failures. This is why she accuses Democrats of doing all of the things that her dear Republican Party have already done for the sake of their own greed and power: expanding government, spending wildly, corruption, ineptitude, even at times curiously enough, racism. Coulter’s calculated distractions, her baiting on talk shows and name-calling is the new standard in Republican discourse: -preemptive strikes that make the opposition waste time responding to lies and allegations that the Republican Party is in fact already guilty of. This is why she has to call people “faggots” or “Godless,” or “Godless faggots,” or whatever in light of the GOP scandals of the last three years.
It's not irony, it's calculated hypocrisy.

I say: Throw the first stone at yourself, bitch.

-SJ

Thursday, June 11, 2009

March of the Plastic Soldiers Part 1


“Republican political doctrine has been a failure. Look at New Orleans. How can you say that was a success? Look at Baghdad ... We've been in charge for six years and I don't think you can look around and say that was a great success.”-Newt Gingrich, 2006

"It is perfectly "American" to be wrong." - Newt Gingrich, 1984

But apparently not to admit it, if you happen to be a modern-day Republican.

Gingrich was forced to resign from his role as Speaker of the House in 1998 after misguiding his party to disaster with irrational obstructionist postures toward the Clinton administration. He barely snuck past a public crucifixion for an adulterous personal life similar to the improprieties that many Republicans claim are their biggest reasons for hating President Bill Clinton. Many of us who assumed we wouldn’t be hearing from Newt Gingrich ever again didn’t count on the abject disrepair and dysfunction that characterizes the GOP’s structure after John McCain’s loss last November. Many of us were too busy celebrating to really wonder what would emerge from the ruin of the opposition: a concentration of the worst aspects of Right wing policy. We are witnessing the return of “opposition, for opposition’s own sake” inspired and promoted by the most superficial entities of the Republican disinformation and propaganda machine.

Power, it is said abhors a vacuum. Apparently, it can get by with hot air as a substitute.

The Republican Party is today, a talking pile of rubble that is masquerading as a mere shadow of its former colossal stateliness (I refuse to use the word “grandeur,” it’s bad enough that I have to resort to the acronym GOP which has “grand” in it.) Today the GOP is held together and directed by ancillary forces that were formerly just the messengers who banged pots and parroted talking points. The tail is wagging the dog in many respects too numerous to mention in one post… which is why I am beginning a five-part series on what is emerging as the new Conservative leadership in America. Neither Michael Steele, John Boehner nor Colin Powell will appear in these posts; they don’t have any actual influence within the Right wing. John Boehner and Michael Steele just do what they are told by the figures I am about to discuss. I’m not going to devote any more space to Sarah Palin in these particular posts because objectively speaking; she’s just too damn ridiculous. I can handle the topic of Bill O’Reilly simply: the man lies too often to be taken seriously by anybody with integrity. I will discus Tim Pawlenty and Bobby Jindal in individual posts after this series as they are actual elected figures and are a legitimate presence in the Republican Party.

The demagoguery that in the past formed the outermost treads on the rolling Republican machine (-the power and policy historically radiated from the hub, actual elected officials like Ronald Reagan, Trent Lott, Jesse Helms and most recently Dick Cheney) now is the hub itself.

Republicans (and the Right as it is classically identified and understood) is known for marching in tight lockstep. The Right organizes and holds together against everyone on the planet and the Left argues with itself while it argues with everyone else (Which I think is admirable by the way, and it is nothing for Progressives and Liberals to be ashamed of) … that was until last year, and last year was a long time ago.

These pundits; media personalities who rose to prominence during the Monica Lewinsky scandal, are leading the GOP whether Republicans like it or not. Curiously, the man on the street with an elephant pin doesn’t seem to care. Maybe rank and file Republican voters never knew the difference between Talk Radio personality Rush Limbaugh’s position as un-elected radio celebrity and the position of RNC chairman.

I’ve got news for Michael Steele: when you have to apologize to an un-elected demagogue for telling it like it is, you are the chairman of “nothing.”

Which brings us to Newt Gingrich’s sudden reappearance in the news. The Republicans are currently a party in a fatal and desperate panic. They are, compared to their state exactly a year ago, not really a party at all. They are not in transition, they are not rebuilding. The GOP is a leaderless mass that has to contend with how to move past policies that clearly led to global economic disaster, without admitting that they were wrong somehow. If the GOP admits that it was wrong, in essence making a long overdue capitulation to reality, it then has to address how its core Reagan-era deregulation postures, economic trickle down principles, “don’t tax and spend” strategies and foreign policy philosophies are still acceptable. Let’s face it, most Americans never voted on the basis of these issues in any event. Republicans have been swept into office repeatedly over the years by presenting themselves as strong on defense and security (9/11 happened on their watch, the Iraq War was an ill-advised botch job by anyone’s estimation, sorry), and being fiscally conservative (cutting social programs while allowing corporations to engage in no-bid contacts in the ramp up to the War in Iraq is not fiscal Conservatism). Government grew to ridiculous scale during George W. Bush’s administration, the surplus of 2000 evaporated by the time he took his third vacation in office. How can the GOP answer for its Herculean failures without admitting wrongdoing at worst and incompetence at best?

It cannot.

Instead it is desperately turning to the tactics and methodologies of its informal media apparatus: distort, disguise, distract all from the truth. Newt Gingrich, one of the only figures out of government long enough to be not directly stained by the Bush administration’s poisonous aftermath is making his way back to the political stage not as an experienced policy maker with a decade of experience in the legislature, but as someone in the mold of the only figures who Republicans have not entirely abandoned: Right wing talkers and pundits. After all, the talkers “just talk”, so they are not held responsible for the failures and the criminal ineptitude of the policies and politicians they support and promote. Gingrich has been a talker for the last ten plus years of his civilian life, speaking at colleges, association events and the like. He has made a living out of preaching to the converted, occasionally waking them up with out-of-character concessions to the uncomfortable truths facing the Conservative movements. Gingrich doesn’t dwell in the facts for very long however, as his recent “Tweets” about SC Justice nominee Sotomayor bore out.

Feeling the need to chime in as a Republican voice on an issue that required no perspective whatsoever, Gingrich parroted Rush Limbaugh’s disinformation efforts by furthering the smear campaign that the Talk Radio host was pushing on the public by selectively quoting Sotomayor out of context. Gingrich conveniently ran with Limbaugh’s dissembling as if it were information and broadcast his opinion via Twitter:

"Imagine a judicial nominee said 'my experience as a white man makes me better than a latina woman.' new racism is no better than old racism."

And Gingrich followed up with:

"White man racist nominee would be forced to withdraw. Latina woman racist should also withdraw."

Gingrich sent this last statement, only to apologize for it shortly thereafter… sort of.

This is the kind of nonsense people like Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh have made careers out of: Tell a lie, slander an opponent with misconstrued facts, then say the facts were wrong, admit a mistake was made, but allow the spurious allegations to remain by qualifying your apology. Gingrich and the GOP have to adopt the methodology of the punditry because those are the only strategies that will allow them to create fictional distance from the reality of the disasters their policies have created over the past twenty-five years. Gingrich is going to be the first pundit-candidate of our modern age. But he won’t be the last. He went from elected official, to talker. He went from the Senate to the College speaking circuit. Now he is back in politics, possibly disassociating himself successfully from his actual political career and the reality of its failures in the public’s mind. How Newt Gingrich fares will be an indication of the future of this new political animal: the “populist” opinion monger who has more in the way of feelings and convictions than actual informed perspectives or facts as motivations. If you don’t believe it, remember that Chris Mathews also recently considered a run for the Senate.

It’s a bleak picture if the next candidates have to get their start as “news analysts,” which is to say they will have to be people who talk out of their ass for a living. This is sadly the future of the Republican Party: Taking its leadership from the punditry and molding candidates in the image of their flashiest and loudest propagandists.

One more sobering quote from this talker/possible presidential hopeful:

“The greatest leaders in fighting for an integrated America in the twentieth century were in the Democratic Party. The fact is, it was the liberal wing of the Democratic Party that ended segregation. The fact is that it was Franklin Delano Roosevelt who gave hope to a nation that was in despair and could have slid into dictatorship. And the fact is, every Republican has much to learn from studying what the Democrats did right.” - Newt Gingrich

Read it over and over again, it might be one of the last times you see unadulterated and inconvenient honesty from Newt Gingrich as he tries to assert himself as the Republican Party’s frontrunner in 2012.

-SJ