Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Racist? Me? and other Stoopid RW Tricks.

Sully: Waterboard The Christianist Terrorists!
Oh, wait ...
Think Progress: Beck guest host: Vice President Biden is ‘turning Japanese’ and ‘turning into Joe Biden-son.’

Yesterday, the guest host of Glenn Beck’s radio show, Doc Thompson, talked himself into an absurd racial discussion when he declared that a tax on tanning salons makes health care reform “racist” because “most tanning sessions are from light-skinned Americans.” Today, another Beck guest host, Chris Baker, launched into racially questionable commentary, declaring that Vice President Joe Biden is “turning Japanese.” “Look at that cat’s eyes, man, he’s turning into Joe Biden-son,” said Baker. Listen here:

Soon after making the comment, Baker responded to someone off-air, saying, “What do you mean racist? That’s not racist, it’s an observation. He’s the guy changing himself. Not me.”

Amato (C&L): Elisabeth Hasselbeck calls Sarah Palin's "Target Map" Despicable

Elisabeth Hasselbeck was one of Sarah Palin's biggest fans during the 2008 election so it surprising to see her bash Sarah Palin over her over the top "Re-Load" Face Book chart and called it despicable.

In never-thought-you'd-see-the-day news, staunch conservative Elisabeth Hasselbeck went off on The View yesterday, railing against none other than Sarah Palin.

Why? Because Palin, for whom she campaigned during the '08 election, released an ad that put 20 Democratic members of Congress literally in the crosshairs.


The former Alaska Governor's Facebook page features her political action committee's ad targeting the 20 Democratic incumbents, with a SarahPac map marking districts where Democrats voted "yes" for health care reform with guns.


Hasselbeck also opposes health reform, but she's actually far more upset about how people on her own side of the political spectrum are handling themselves.

"I think the way some Republicans are handling this is nothing more than despicable," she said in response to Palin's tasteless ad. "It's disappointing to see this coming from the Party, and I would hope that leaders like Sarah Palin would end this."

The violence that we predicted is taking place and it's even scaring the likes of Hasselbeck.

Ezra Klein: Shelby Steele cannot imagine that other people think health-care reform is important

In a Wall Street Journal op-ed attempting to explain why Obama stuck to "health-care reform when jobs are a far more pressing problem," Shelby Steele uses the word "grandiosity" four times. He uses some variant of "narcissistic" four times. But the word "uninsured" does not appear even once. Nor does the word "deficit." No mention is made of the stimulus, which is a massive jobs bill that passed before health-care reform was even started, nor of the $154 billion follow-up jobs bill that passed the House in December, nor of the smaller jobs bills the Senate has considered in recent months.

For Steele, it is not even worth considering the possibility that Obama pursued health-care reform -- like a half-dozen or so presidents before him -- because it was important, or even because there was not that much more he could do on jobs. In fact, that is such an absurd suggestion that he does not even feel the need to reject it in his op-ed. He just ignores its possible existence. That makes for a model that has a lot of trouble accounting for Nancy Pelosi and Drew Altman and Atul Gawande and Jonathan Cohn and everyone else who fought for this reform but wasn't named "Barack Obama."

Steele also says that "agree with him or not, you knew what kind of society [Reagan] wanted," but that Obama's vision remains "undefined," forgetting (or not knowing?) that the health-care reform Obama signed into law looks very much like the health-care reform Obama proposed during the campaign. Steele further predicts that "Obama is likely to be the most liberal president in American history," a history that includes both Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who signed a socialized pension system into law, and Lyndon Johnson, who created two separate single-payer health-care systems.

I have trouble imagining how someone can be interested enough in American politics to want to write an op-ed on the subject, but so unaware -- or uninterested -- in even basic facts about policy that this is the op-ed they'd write.

Amato (C&L): Unreal Americans

Teabaggers must really believe they are the majority in America and John McCain won the election, but Obama is just keeping the Oval office warm because McCain has to win his Senate race against JD Hayworth first before he can be sworn in. It's just a formality. That's teabagger logic.

Amanda's post rocks!.

Digby is amused/disgusted at conservatives who simply will not accept that having a majority in both houses of Congress and having the Presidency means that Democrats get to pass legislation.

Well, it’s simple, really. They assume, if they don’t state it outright, that large numbers of American voters shouldn’t have the right to vote. That’s the implicit argument when Sarah Palin praises white rural voters as “Real Americans”, when Birthers obsess over the idea that the first black President simply can’t be eligible for office, when tea baggers yell racist and homophobic slurs at politicians, and when they insist that you eliminate black voters from the count if you want to find out how popular a politician “really” is. When Bart Stupak laughed out loud at the very idea that nuns have opinions worth listening to---and listed a bunch of men whose opinions were the ones that counted---you had a similar sentiment being expressed. Universal suffrage seems like a fundamental part of democracy to liberals, but it appears that conservatives think it de-legitimizes the results of elections. And that if you do something without Republicans on board, you’re eliminating those who represent the only people who count.

The irony here is that Republicans are already way overrepresented in Congress. Because of the constitutional rules that give every state two Senators, no matter how underpopulated the state, you see rural, white-dominated areas having way more representation than they deserve. For instance, South Dakota has a little over 800,000 residents, but New York has almost 20 million. New York City has over 8 million people alone, which means that if the Senate had a representational system like the House, just the city of New York would be owed 20 Senators to compete with South Dakota’s two. Think about how irrelevant the Republican party would be---at least the current wingnutty Republican party, since it’s obvious New York can elect Republicans---if representation was actually on

I've been meaning to post this for a few days.

DIGBY: Shoot the Looters

Eric Boehlert asks the right question: what if the right wing media want mob violence?

And yes, it's been the rationalizing that's been so disturbing to watch -- the way the GOP Noise Machine fervently excused last week's violent behavior and eagerly tried to shift the blame onto the victims of the intimidation, and then demanded to know what the big deal was.

I mean, who hasn't had the line on a propane tank outside his house slashed by vandals? This stuff happens all the time, right? Didn't scores of members of Congress, immediately following the vote in 2002 to authorize the invasion of Iraq, find their office windows shattered by flying bricks hurled under the cover of darkness by nasty anti-war libs? Didn't they receive a steady stream of specific death threats and watch as relatives (and even their children) came under attack? Doesn't this kind of harassment and intimidation come with the territory, and hasn't it always been pushed out and legitimized by mainstream media outlets?

Um, not in America. But that may be changing as Fox News fuels the hate and does its best to provide cover and refuge for those supporting the intimidation campaign, as Fox News and the rest of the right-wing media rationalize the wave of political violence and do their best to shift the blame onto the targets -- onto the victims -- while always avoiding responsibility. (Did anyone on the left suggest Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) was to blame when a YouTube nut job posted a threat against his life?)

Note how so many embraced the frightening notion that because conservatives didn't like health care reform, the violence was expected and nobody should have been surprised because Democrats, by passing the bill (i.e. desecrating the Constitution), pushed people too far. "So why are people angry?" asked Fox News' Steve Doocy last week. "Maybe because they didn't want this bill?"

Talk about the rise of tyranny and the minority-rule mob.

And that's where the fear of the perpetual angry mob comes in, and perhaps why Fox News, rather than lamenting the ugly and cowardly eruptions, seems to be encouraging it, or at least rationalizing it. Perhaps Fox News wants that threat of mob intimidation on the table, and Fox News, the de facto Opposition Party, wants Democrats to be thinking about the political consequences of further upsetting that unhinged mob.
This cannot be emphasized too much. Just because you don't like a bill doesn't mean that the government has been undemocratically seized by illegitimate usurpers. It's the way our system works. I certainly understand the frustration when it happens, having just come through the Bush years, but this reaction is simply another manifestation of the right's fundamental problem with democracy itself. They are, frankly, trying to intimidate the majority into "thinking twice" about what might happen if they pass legislation the other side disapproves of. That's obscene.

It's also reminiscent of something I hadn't quite put my finger on. Until I read Boehlert's piece I hadn't seen the echoes of the early aftermath of Katrina, when the right ginned up paranoia and fear of a non-existent rampaging mob to justify their desire to shoot first and ask questions later. Here we had people who were victimized by a once in a century natural disaster and yet the voice of the right were, in effect, blaming them for their misfortune and warning them that if they "misbehaved" they would have to be killed.

I'm sure you recall this from Peggy Noonan:

After the Storm
Hurricane Katrina: The good, the bad, the let's-shoot-them-now.

As for the tragic piggism that is taking place on the streets of New Orleans, it is not unbelievable but it is unforgivable, and I hope the looters are shot. A hurricane cannot rob a great city of its spirit, but a vicious citizenry can. A bad time with Mother Nature can leave you digging out for a long time, but a bad turn in human behavior frays and tears all the ties that truly bind human beings--trust, confidence, mutual regard, belief in the essential goodness of one's fellow citizens.
Of course, there were no pictures of rampaging mobs. There were rumors, many of them propagated by right wingers warning of violence And as it turned out, it was the authorities who were shooting people down in the streets for no reason. There were quite a few incidents, and in the end, it seems the "angry mob" was not the citizens, but the people patrolling the streets living under the misapprehension that they were under siege. And it was once again the right wingers who were claiming then and for a long time thereafter that the victims had been asking for it.

This fear and threat of mob violence is a very useful excuse and tool. There's nothing terribly original about it --- it's the law of the jungle --- but I suspect it would come a quite a surprise to the founders to see that the constitution was being used to justify it.

Read Boehlert's whole post. It's right on the money.

Sargent: Gallup: Majority Says Dem Health Reform Tactics Were “Abuse Of Power”

Yesterday I noted the seemingly odd finding by Gallup that more Americans blame Democrats than Republicans or conservatives for the rash of violence that greeted the passage of the reform law.

Now Gallup has released some new numbers that shed a bit of light on this:

Regardless of whether you favored or opposed the health care legislation passed this week, do you think the methods the Democratic leaders in Congress used to get enough legislation — were [they] an abuse of power, or were [they] an appropriate use of power by the party that controls the majority in Congress?

Abuse of power 53%

Appropriate use of power 40%

No opinion 7%

A surprising 58% of independents, too, said Dem tactics constituted an abuse of power.

This suggests, I think, that the claim by Republicans and conservatives that Dems were going to “ram” the bill through Congress via dictatorial fiat really succeeded in riling up people up a great deal — even though Republicans repeatedly used the reconcilation tactic themselves to pass ambitious legislation.

Never mind government takeovers and death panels. What really scared the bejesus out of folks is…”reconciliation.”

Moral of the story: Message discipline works. The concerted effort by Republicans to paint the Dem move as an unprecedented abuse of power may not have stopped the bill from passing. But it seems to have persuaded a majority that there was something seriously untoward about what Dems did to get reform passed.

C&L: Bill Donohue: Child Molesting Priests Weren’t Pedophiles Because Most Boys Were Post Pubescent

John Amato:

Bill Donohue seemed very proud of the fact that most child molesting priests weren't actually pedophiles in his words, but only guilty of abusing children who had achieved puberty. Doesn't that make you feel better about the Catholic Church scandals? Facts are facts. And he was very concerned that the Pope had been libeled because he said there was no proof in the case in Wisconsin that the Pope knew anything. Here's a good story about the case.

You be the judge. Either Cardinal Bertrone is covering up for the Pope or Ratzinger just couldn't be bothered knowing the what was going on around him. That seems to be the story the Vatican is sticking with. Everywhere the Pope served he really didn't like to be bothered by the small stuff.

As archbishop, Benedict expended more energy pursuing theological dissidents than sexual predators. Already in the early 1980s, one could catch a glimpse of a future pope preoccupied with combating any movement away from church tradition. Vatican experts say there is little evidence that Benedict spent much time investigating more than 200 cases of “problem priests” in the diocese, with issues including alcohol abuse, adultery and, now under the microscope, pedophilia.

Earlier in the show Donohue proclaimed that everybody could learn something good from the Catholic Church now that they are all cleaned up. Hey, they look like all those handsome priests from the Legion of Christ now. Nice and young with their hair parted just right. Larry King's panel was dumbfounded by Donohue's statements as any normal person would be.

Roberts: Bill is good but you cannot link homosexuality to a pedophilia crisis in the Catholic Church.

Bill Donohue: It’s not a pedophilia… most of the victims were post pubescent…

Roberts: You know…

Donohue: You’ve got to get your facts straight. I’m sorry. If I’m the only one that’s going to deal with facts tonight so be it. The vast majority of the victims are post pubescent. That’s not pedophilia buddy. That’s homosexuality.

Roberts: Bill, I don’t think as a person of faith that you really know what you’re talking about when it comes to a victim and a survivor. (crosstalk)

Donohue: It’s not of my opinion. Take a look at the social science data. I never said that most homosexuals are that way.

Roberts: No you just said that cut down homosexuals… (crosstalk).

Donohue: Yes! Practicing homosexuals.
O’Conner: Sorry Larry, at what age does somebody become, you know, post pubescent in America as a matter of ages?

King: What is the age?

Thomas: Ah… I don’t know. Let’s ask Bill. He seems to be the authority on post pubescency.

Donohue: 12, 13 years of age. Look, all I’m saying (crosstalk).

King: We’re out of time. We’ve just touched the surface. Now we’ve got Anderson Cooper coming on.

Heather: Good grief. Larry King really has been a worse wasteland than usual these last couple of nights. Tonight's show ended with Larry King allowing Bill Donohue to get away with saying this to a man who was molested by a priest as a teenager.

King: You want to get in? Sinead, go ahead quickly.

O’Conner: Can I just ask very quickly if that gentleman, sir I don’t know your name… just, I’m not quite sure what post pubescent means. You mind explaining that to me?

Donohue: Explain what?

O’Conner: What does post pubescent mean?

Thomas: Post pubescent…

O’Conner: What does post pubescent…

Donohue: Post pubescent means beyond puberty, okay? In other words you’re an adolescent and that’s what homosexuals do and most of them the molesters have been homosexuals in the Catholic Church (crosstalk).

Thomas: So the boys deserved it because they were post pubescent?

Donohue: Now if you want to take that conclusion, I think that’s scurrilous. I never said that. Why would you say that about homosexuals?

O’Conner: Sorry Larry, at what age does somebody become, you know, post pubescent in America as a matter of ages?

King: What is the age?

Thomas: Ah… I don’t know. Let’s ask Bill. He seems to be the authority on post pubescency.

Donohue: 12, 13 years of age. Look, all I’m saying (crosstalk).

King: We’re out of time. We’ve just touched the surface. Now we’ve got Anderson Cooper coming on.

Unbelievable. Bill Donohue is so desperate to bash gays and defend the Catholic Church that's he's willing to pretend that people who are attracted to 13 year old boys aren't really child predators. They're just gay. And King let him say it unchallenged as though it was no big deal.

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