Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The blame game...

If it wasn't for the government taking all of our tax dollars we would be fine. If it wasn't for those folks on welfare, if it wasn't for the liberals and the socialist, if it wasn't for the unions, if it wasn't for the President or Congress, if it wasn't for illegal immigrants, if it wasn't for the deficit, if it wasn't for the atheist and Muslims, if it wasn't for this nation turning it's back on Jesus and Christianity...

Regarding the economic side of these I wonder how do the Tea Baggers, and the Beck/Palin/Limbaugh crowd, explain the existence of wealthy, happy people?

And to the moral side of these, Christopher Hitchens, in this brilliant piece, asks it better than I can, "What does it take to believe that Christianity is an endangered religion in America or that the name of Jesus is insufficiently spoken or appreciated? Who wakes up believing that there is no appreciation for our veterans and our armed forces and that without a noisy speech from Sarah Palin, their sacrifice would be scorned?"

And then ask the tough question - "It's not unfair to say that such grievances are purely and simply imaginary, which in turn leads one to ask what the real ones can be."

I think some of it is racism, some of it is economic insecurity and fear, but a large damn piece of this is the strings that people like the Koch brothers (profiled here by Frank Rich) want pulled and Rupert Murdoch is more than happy to let the former Morning Zoo radio DJ Glen Beck get the crowds stirred up.

As Mr. Rich concludes, "When wolves of Murdoch’s ingenuity and the Kochs’ stealth have been at the door of our democracy in the past, Democrats have fought back fiercely. Franklin Roosevelt’s triumphant 1936 re-election campaign pummeled the Liberty League as a Republican ally eager to “squeeze the worker dry in his old age and cast him like an orange rind into the refuse pail.” When John Kennedy’s patriotism was assailed by Birchers calling for impeachment, he gave a major speech denouncing their “crusades of suspicion.”

And Obama? So far, sadly, this question answers itself."

I would say it's not just Obama and the Democrats who aren't confronting this lunacy, a large part of the blame falls to those of us, as Joe Bageant in this video says, that didn't give a damn that working folks got a crappy education, we were perfectly content to let them shovel shit and fund their schools at a half of what we fund rich school districts because "those" people could always learn a trade and get a job at the local plant... We are our brother's keeper and we didn't give a damn as long as our 401K was chugging away. Now that our 401K's are tanking, do we have the guts to stand up to the fundamentalist and their robber baron puppeteers? Or do we cower in our McHouse in the burbs and come up with our own list? If it wasn't for the mortgage, if it wasn't for the car payment, if it wasn't for the kids private school, then I'd be willing to take a stand and push for what's right...

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

When was the last time you beat your spouse?

It is easy to pull the strings. 46% of republicans believe that President Obama is a Muslim. Forgetting for a second the big SO WHAT IF HE IS that the question deserves, look at how the story has (re)developed and spread. First some politico makes a half-ass statement like, "I guess we'll have to take him at his word that he's a Christian"... and the demagogues on radio then say, "I don't have to take him at his word, he's no christian"... and the ole' boys who are busting their ass cutting the grass, and pumping shit catch 20 minutes of Rush or Hannity on the radio between jobs and hear something about Obama being a Muslim and then on Saturday night at the VFW somebody says, "I hear Obama's a Muslim, sounds right he's got a name that fits"... and the politicians mission is accomplished.

It's an old political trick... I don't believe my opponent is a _________ or that they ______________... and that's all it takes. It's been this way forever, but with the internet and 24 hours "news" channels, it's a different game with different outcomes. It obviously helps that conservatives have convinced their base that FOX and talk radio are the only news you can trust, then they can blatantly lie and get away with it. Just like I talked about in the previous post - federal salaries, ACORN, Shirley Sherrod, and then like magic the cultural center being built at a Burlington Coat Factory, FUNDED BY THE 2nd largest stock holder of FOX NEWS, becomes a Mosque at Ground Zero supported by our Muslim President...

Timothy Egan at the NYTimes has a brilliant take on the issue, in the aptly titled "Building a Nation of Know Nothings" here.

Rachel Maddow with a recent example of how this works in this video. In this case you have a candidate saying something like I don't endorse spreading rumors that my opponent is gay... hard to believe that this Senate candidate was endorsed by Palin isn't it?

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Monday, August 16, 2010

Adding to the list

Add to the list of right wing propaganda the latest on federal salaries... perhaps even more insidious than how they destroyed ACORN with lies and cost Shirley Sherrod her job, now they broaden their attack started in the 1980's which is essentially - government is not only bad, it's the enemy. In this case if it wasn't for those greedy Federal employee's that make twice what those in the private sector make, we'd all be much better. Of course it turns out their "study" was comparing the salaries and benefits of the average WalMart employee with a NASA scientist... no matter, the damage has been done. Seemingly reasonable people have posted the link to all of their facebook "friends" and Hannity, Rush, and the rest have a couple of weeks of talking points. Facts don't matter, the truth doesn't matter, just get 51% to believe a lie and their mission is complete.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Pigs

So, when those one-issue hawks, McCain and Coburn, list the biggest 'pork' in the ARRA but don't take the time to explain the projects, or even provide links to where the average person can learn more... they're saying, "if it wasn't for all this pork we wouldn't have the problems we've got today"... pig shit. Let's assume for a minute that every dime these guys bitch about is honest to goodness pork that creates too few opportunities in the long run... Well, fella's that's about the price of one day in the wars you support. Now, when they raise issues about what are legitimately decent projects, that have been reviewed by layers of people that know the issue before they're funded... when you slam those projects, you're showing either your ignorance or your penchant for propaganda.

Number 76 on the Senator's list of egregious ARRA projects was a plan to provide Ipod's to students at two schools in Utah. They wanted to paint the picture of lot's of students looking like Gene Wilder in Silver Streak - radio next to his ear, jivin' through the airport... my guess is they had a staffer tell them that an Ipod played music, so they think ARRA funds were used to buy transistor radios. Not realizing all the other applications of said device, especially those that EXPEDITE LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES IN SCHOOLS! Just a little research Senators and you could have figured it all out, but you didn't want to... you're one trick ponies, convincing the Tea Baggers that your serious about spending.

More on Utah's program:
http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2010/02/10/21mtr_stim-tech.h29.html?r=117049298

http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/home/50045606-76/stimulus-students-utah-kearns.html.csp

Kingdom of Survival...

Great clip of Joe talking about "Deer Hunting with Jesus: Dispatches from America's Class War", I'd like to have a drink with him sometime and talk a bit more about the point he makes about racism in the clip, nevertheless, I can't wait to see the film when it comes out.

Glory Days...

If you ask when were the "glory days" of the good ole’ USA, lots of people would argue the period after WWII through the 1950's...

A couple of interesting stats about that era:

- The top marginal tax rate was 91% on income over $300K, today the top marginal tax rate is 35% - but now they’re convinced if we repeal Shrub’s tax cuts for these rich guys it’s somehow going to hurt them?

- In the 1940s, 33.9% of private, non-agricultural workers were members of unions, private sector union membership was at 7.6% in 2008 - but now unions are blamed for destroying our manufacturing base?

Consider - "Economist Timothy Smeeding summed up the current trend of rising inequality on the pages of the Social Science Quarterly:[22]
“Americans have the highest income inequality in the rich world and over the past 20–30 years Americans have also experienced the greatest increase in income inequality among rich nations. The more detailed the data we can use to observe this change, the more skewed the change appears to be... the majority of large gains are indeed at the top of the distribution.”


Yet, we continue to believe that giving more to those who have the most will "trickle down" to the rest of us... perhaps, this was the greatest bit of propaganda ever sold to the people.