Saturday, January 16, 2010

Bottom Feeders

echidne: Bwahahah! Life Imitating A Cartoon Show
Remember this, from 2003?

Rupert Murdoch's Fox News Channel threatened to sue the makers of the Simpsons over a spoof news ticker, the show's creator Matt Groening has claimed.

Mr Groening said Fox News raised the unlikely prospect of suing a show broadcast by its sister channel, Fox Entertainment, because it wanted to stop the Simpsons parodying its famously anti-Democratic party agenda.

The alleged row centred on a parody of Fox News' rolling news ticker, which included headlines such as "Do Democrats cause cancer?"

Scroll forwards to 2010. Here's Rush Limbaugh guessed it: "Voting Democrat Causes Cancer."

With right-wing radio blowhard Rush Limbaugh and radical TV preacher Pat Robertson leading the way, it's been a painful week for far-right rhetoric, especially relating to the nightmarish disaster in Haiti.

But the offensive disaster-related rhetoric isn't done yet. I'm trying to decide which of these two is more nauseating. Was it this quote from Glenn Beck, blasting President Obama for responding quickly to the catastrophe...

"I also believe this is dividing the nation ... to where the nation sees him react so rapidly on Haiti and yet he couldn't react rapidly on Afghanistan. He couldn't react rapidly on Ft. Hood. He couldn't react rapidly on our own airplanes with an underwear bomber ... it doesn't make sense. [...]

"Three different events and Haiti is the only one. I think personally that it deepens he divide to see him react this rapidly to Haiti."

...or this quote from Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), urging the Obama administration to quickly deport Haitian immigrants who reached the U.S. illegally.

"This sounds to me like open borders advocates exercising the Rahm Emanuel axiom: 'Never let a crisis go to waste,'" Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, said in an e-mail message to ABCNews. "Illegal immigrants from Haiti have no reason to fear deportation, but if they are deported, Haiti is in great need of relief workers and many of them could be a big help to their fellow Haitians."

The Obama administration, fortunately, has no intention of listening to this kind of advice.

Nevertheless, I'm trying to decide which of these truly insulting remarks is more odious. It's a tough call.

  • from the comments:

    Nevertheless, I'm trying to decide which of these truly insulting remarks is more odious. It's a tough call.


    These remarks represent the mainstream norm for about half of the nation. If it didn't then anyone who made such comments would be personally and professionally ruined.

    As it is, both of these guys will see increased success because of their remarks.

    As Don King would say, "Only in Amerikkka."

    Posted by: Winkandanod on January 15, 2010 at 5:08 PM
C&L: There's a reason conservatives shouldn't claim Martin Luther King: When he was alive, they smeared and demonized him

Glenn Beck decided to repeat his asking-black-conservatives-dumb-white-guy-questions show with a new round, this time evidently focused on Harry Reid's remarks. Unlike the last time, there weren't any open embarrassments, except for the moment when Beck agreed that poor people are "like a domesticated animal [that] never learns to hunt."

But again, Beck hijacked the words of Martin Luther King Jr. He opened up the show with a King quote written on a chalkboard.

And it really is shameless. Conservatives nowadays love to claim King as one of their own. And it's a complete joke -- because when King was alive, conservatives were the people he had to combat.

Rick Perlstein described this some time back:

When Martin Luther King was buried in Atlanta, the live television coverage lasted seven and a half hours. President Johnson announced a national day of mourning: "Together, a nation united and a nation caring and a nation concerned and a nation that thinks more of the nation's interests than we do of any individual self-interest or political interest--that nation can and shall and will overcome." Richard Nixon called King "a great leader--a man determined that the American Negro should win his rightful place alongside all others in our nation." Even one of King's most beastly political enemies, Mississippi Representative William Colmer, chairman of the House rules committee, honored the president's call to unity by terming the murder "a dastardly act."

Others demurred. South Carolina Senator Strom Thurmond wrote his constituents, "[W]e are now witnessing the whirlwind sowed years ago when some preachers and teachers began telling people that each man could be his own judge in his own case." Another, even more prominent conservative said it was just the sort of "great tragedy that began when we began compromising with law and order, and people started choosing which laws they'd break."

That was Ronald Reagan, the governor of California, arguing that King had it coming. King was the man who taught people they could choose which laws they'd break--in his soaring exegesis on St. Thomas Aquinas from that Birmingham jail in 1963: "Any law that uplifts human personality is just. Any law that degrades human personality is unjust. ... Thus it is that I can urge men to obey the 1954 decision of the Supreme Court, for it is morally right; and I can urge them to disobey segregation ordinances, for they are morally wrong."

That's not what you hear from conservatives today, of course. What you get now are convoluted and fantastical tributes arguing that, properly understood, Martin Luther King was actually one of them--or would have been, had he lived. But, if we are going to have a holiday to honor history, we might as well honor history. We might as well recover the true story. Conservatives--both Democrats and Republicans--hated King's doctrines. Hating them was one of the litmus tests of conservatism.

I lived in a conservative town in a conservative state at the time, and I remember how deeply and viscerally people hated Martin Luther King when he was alive. And for years after his death, conservatives fought his legacy. They opposed a national holiday in his honor (Jesse Helms, that conservative icon, launched a filibuster against the proposal). Even today, many conservatives believe the old Bircherite smears that King was a Communist.

I thought Beck had a phobia about Communists. After all, the allegations that King had "Communist ties" are about as well grounded as Beck's own charges that Van Jones was a "self-proclaimed Communist."

But I guess when they make for handy stage props for phony discussions about race with a carefully selected audience -- shows which rapidly devolve into whinefests by black conservatives about being pegged as sellouts -- he'll look the other way.

Now, I dunno about sellouts. But anyone who thinks "conservative values" were anything but a hindrance to the black community for most of this country's history is just plain ignorant.

Especially if you know anything about what Martin Luther King Jr. actually stood for when he was alive -- and who his enemies were. They were conservatives. And for them to try to claim his mantle now is a travesty and a joke.

digby: Hating The Troops

Following up on Limbaugh's revolting comments, Turkana at Dkos writes:

Great comment from RichM:


I know now Limbaugh is obviously in a death spiral of "how low can you go". So what the fuck are we going to do about it? My suggestion? This should get his ass off of Armed Service Radio.

Limbaugh is disparaging a humanitarian effort by the U.S. military. He is disparaging a mission that should make our military proud. He is disparaging our military! Why is he on Armed Services Radio?

We've been there before, of course. But this time he really has demeaned the whole US military, not just the badly injured vets he called "phony soldiers."

I recall that during the tsunami the military was on the ground working for weeks, so Limbaugh's claim that they only do this during Dem presidencies is just nonsnese. But I also recall seeing soldiers on TV saying they were very pleased to be able to help. I can't imagine they like being called "meals on wheels" when they are actually being quite heroic and saving desperate people from certain death.

And it's long past time for this smart-ass jerk to be taken off armed forces radio. It's insane that soldiers should have to listen to this crap all day and have to try to keep up their morale. Unless they hate thier country it's hard to see why they would want to. Limbaugh certainly does. He hates everybody.

Update: is it possible that rightwingers actually see a thwarted terrorist attack and a shooting rampage in the US are equivalent to the massive human misery that we are seeing in Haiti?
BECK: I also believe this is dividing the nation…to where the nation sees him react so rapidly on Haiti and yet he couldn’t react rapidly on Afghanistan. He couldn’t react rapidly on Ft. Hood. He couldn’t react rapidly on our own airplanes with an underwear bomber…it doesn’t make sense. [...] Three different events and Haiti is the only one. I think personally that it deepens the divide to see him react this rapidly to Haiti.
Well, Beck and his pals didn't like to see anyone give a damn about katrina victims either. He said they were scumbags. 9/11 families too. He's just a soulless shell of a man.
The inmates are eyeing new ways to seize control of the asylum.

The Tea Party movement ignited a year ago, fueled by anti-establishment anger. Now, Tea Party activists are trying to take over the establishment, ground up.

Across the country, they are signing up to be Republican precinct leaders, a position so low-level that it often remains vacant, but which comes with the ability to vote for the party executives who endorse candidates, approve platforms and decide where the party spends money.

A new group called the National Precinct Alliance says it has a coordinator in nearly every state to recruit Tea Party activists to fill the positions and has already swelled the number of like-minded members in Republican Party committees in Arizona and Nevada. Its mantra is this: take the precinct, take the state, take the party -- and force it to nominate conservatives rather than people they see as liberals in Republican clothing.

It's who these folks consider "liberals in Republican clothing" that's perhaps most striking. Today's Republican establishment is, as far as this crowd is concerned, a bunch of sellouts. Just as the Republican Party has become as far-right and stridently ideological as it's ever been, this still-fringe "movement" insists even conservatives aren't conservative enough.

We're talking about a well-intentioned, passionate, and deeply confused group of people -- the folks who believe Democrats are "fascists," the president is Hitler, and programs like Social Security and Medicare are socialist, unconstitutional boondoggles that need to be abolished -- who are now intent on dragging an already far-right party over the cliff.

There's nothing wrong with passionate citizens getting involved in the political process. But the American mainstream may not appreciate the fact that uninformed crazies -- who think death panels are real, but global warming isn't -- intend to take over the Republican infrastructure, more than they already have.

Under normal circumstances, the American mainstream would see this and repelled in the other direction. A Republican brand that was already in tatters after the extraordinary and spectacular failures of Bush, Cheney, DeLay, et al, would suffer in the eyes of the public as the right-wing fringe gained more influence.

But that's what makes 2010 dangerous -- the mainstream doesn't realize the radical nature of the Tea Party "movement"; Democratic voters feel underwhelmed by the pace of progress; and the electorate may very well reward radicalization.

The consequences of the rise of nihilists are hard to predict, but the possibilities are chilling.

  • from the comments:

    Rep Scott Brown says if elected in Mass, he will vote with the big banks and wall street, who are sending him mega bucks, wonder how the tea bag party likes this?

    Posted by: js on January 16, 2010 at 10:23 AM

C&L: Foxheads love the idea of a Palin-Beck presidential ticket

There's been chatter among the Tea Party classes the past few weeks about the possibility of a Sarah Palin-Glenn Beck presidential ticket -- even though Beck himself has laughed it off.

But the notion popped onto the airwaves the other morning on Fox & Friends, when Gretchen Carlson gushed, along with Steve Doocy and Brian Kilmeade, about Palin's appearance on Beck's show the day before:

Doocy: One other thing I think we should point out, they did challenge Saturday Night Live to put them on as guest hosts -- together.

Kilmeade: They should take that up.

Carlson: Some people are saying they might be on the ticket together, down the road. Maybe Saturday Night Live will be the first stop.

I'm trying to decide if these people's fantasies would be a dream come true, or our worst nightmare.

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