Sunday, August 29, 2010

History Lessons ala Beck

The people Glenn Beck has in his thrall are thirsty for knowledge - they see things are going wrong in their lives but they can't quite accept that they've just been voting for the wrong people.  They need their favorite opinion makers to explain how they can let themselves off the hook, and find somebody to blame for their troubles.  Beck is really good at playing the "don't be naive" card.  "Wake up, America!" is something the guy says on his shows a lot.

He draws it out on his blackboard and always presents his doctrine as if he's just eager to share this new-found information with all of his friends.  The visuals and the presentation style are (I think) purposeful and well thought out - they're aimed at evoking a Sunday School feeling in the audience.  Here's good ol' Glenn; all he wants is to help regular people understand some things.

So now he's all about rewriting US History, but of course what the Beckies are actually learning is a Politically Branded version of history; instead of learning the facts or something as close to the facts as possible.

Read this from Will Bunch at CNN.
The revisionist message behind "Restoring Honor" is nothing new for the conservative shock jock. In the year and half since President Obama took office, Beck has led his loyal followers on a journey not just to "reclaim" civil rights but much more audaciously to rewrite the sweeping narrative arc of American history from the time of the Founding Fathers forward.
The backbone of the Tea Party is over-55s and especially retirees -- some planned, some forced -- with the most valuable asset of all, time.
They see studying U.S. history as a powerful reconnection with their youth. Waiting for Beck's "American Revival" show in Orlando, Florida, in March, 70-year-old fan Joseph Cerniglia told me he was way too busy for civics lessons when he was raising kids and working as a stockbroker and then cider-maker. "I have learned more from Glenn Beck -- learned more about American history and government, from Glenn Beck -- than in the previous 40 years of my life," the retiree told me.

After 8-28


Not long after the real thing happened on August 28 in 1963, a young Curtis Mayfield sat down and wrote a tune that would become one of the enduring anthems for people who just need a little hope and encouragement from time to time.

I can't wait to see what some yahoo comes up with after today's clown parade in Washington. Just so ya know, this is a taste of what you're up against. Covered here by Eva Cassidy at one of the joints in Georgetown, this is part of her only known live performance ever captured on video.

Cassidy died of cancer in 1996. (see Wikipedia article)

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Ten Years Of Hell

Ken Mehlman a complete asshole.

He presided over a political party whose platform was openly hostile to the basic principles of equality at the foundation of the USofA.

He led the re-election team for Jr Bush in 2004 which had, at it's core, a campaign strategy of fear and hatred - with one of the main themes being the demonization gays and gay marriage in order to motivate voters.

From Ambinder at The Atlantic:
"It's taken me 43 years to get comfortable with this part of my life," said Mehlman, now an executive vice-president with the New York City-based private equity firm, KKR. "Everybody has their own path to travel, their own journey, and for me, over the past few months, I've told my family, friends, former colleagues, and current colleagues, and they've been wonderful and supportive. The process has been something that's made me a happier and better person. It's something I wish I had done years ago."
What a dick.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

It's The Hypocrisy, Stupid

Whenever you get a politician like Gingrich or Little Quayle preaching "this great nation" or "Family Values" or harpin' on "I was raised right", remember this little tidbit about Leo Strauss and see if you can catch just a glimmer of the truth hiding behind the tower of bullshit.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Krugman Speaks

Under no circumstances should we revert and put the Repubs back in charge - they're either crazy or evil or something else.  When I look back on what was happening all thru the 90s and then especially what was going on with Junior Bush, I feel a little sick.  It's important to remember that it's possible Junior wasn't the fuckup he seems to have been.  There's a fair probability that he did it all on purpose - he didn't really know what was going on; he's just an empty vessel, incapable of fully understanding the damage resulting from his policy decisions.  He did what he was told to do by all those really smart guys he had around him.

Those smart guys are still with us, and Professor Krugman explains a little about what they're up to.
Late last year the conventional wisdom on economic policy took a hard right turn. Even though the world’s major economies had barely begun to recover, even though unemployment remained disastrously high across much of America and Europe, creating jobs was no longer on the agenda. Instead, we were told, governments had to turn all their attention to reducing budget deficits.
Skeptics pointed out that slashing spending in a depressed economy does little to improve long-run budget prospects, and may actually make them worse by depressing economic growth. But the apostles of austerity — sometimes referred to as “austerians” — brushed aside all attempts to do the math. Never mind the numbers, they declared: immediate spending cuts were needed to ward off the “bond vigilantes,” investors who would pull the plug on spendthrift governments, driving up their borrowing costs and precipitating a crisis. Look at Greece, they said.
Don't get fooled again.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Peace Train

It kinda sucks when a US President pulls people out of harm's way and it's like nobody even notices. I wanted to post something the other day when it was all happening, but I'm just now getting to it.

I guess I can hope there's something positive in this kind of non-reaction - like maybe peace is making a comeback(?), but I think it has more to do with trying to avoid having to take some real responsibility for the war if we can pretend we have more important things on our minds.


The Fix Is In

From a story in NYT, Balloon Juice posts this:

 Far from being able to take advantage of market forces, our wheat farmer friends are cowed into inaction because our markets are fickle and unreliable and prone to manipulation. This is fundamentally no different from the average joe trying to invest wisely in stocks- he can’t because the game is rigged. Our current system is anything but a free market. A free market would mean that people would be able to act with adequate information. We’re a nation being held hostage by these Galtian super-geniuses like Rick Santelli at the CME and that idiot blowhard Jim Cramer.

Friday, August 13, 2010


Tea-Partiers may actually be as dumb as we thought.

By way of Dayton Daily News:
DAYTON — About 30 local businesses are participating in a program to link conservative consumers with businesses owned by conservatives to help support the Tea Party.
Donald Hutchinson, a businessman and Tea Party supporter, calls his initiative the Tea Party Exchange Inc.
Tea Party supporters who obtain a TPX-Great American card — similar to a customer-loyalty card consumers can attach to key rings — and show it at a participating business can get a discount on the company’s services. The local merchant then gives 5 percent of the sale revenue to the local Tea party chapter to help fund rallies.
So the business owners are actually willing to drive off some whole-number percentage of their customers and prospects; AND they're willing to pay 5% of what's left of their Sales Revenues in order to support a political party?  They're volunteering to pay an additional tax (cuz a tax is exactly what it is) to an organization that has shown a particular animosity toward good business investments like paving the streets and enforcing the law and educating the labor pool;  and they WANT to pay this additional tax so they can try to avoid paying taxes?

Here's my guess: it's so absolutely counter-intuitive, and the rubes have swallowed so much right wing jiz already, that it's almost automatic for them; they will absolutely eat it up.

Comparing Tax Cut Proposals

Applied Ayn Rand

The logical extreme in Rand's Objectivism is perfectly illustrated by Eric Hague here.
To wit:
When little Aiden toddled up our daughter Johanna and asked to play with her Elmo ball, he was, admittedly, very sweet and polite. I think his exact words were, "Have a ball, peas [sic]?" And I'm sure you were very proud of him for using his manners.
To be sure, I was equally proud when Johanna yelled, "No! Looter!" right in his looter face, and then only marginally less proud when she sort of shoved him.
The thing is, in this family we take the philosophies of Ayn Rand seriously. We conspicuously reward ourselves for our own hard work, we never give to charity, and we only pay our taxes very, very begrudgingly.
Don't let anybody tell you we need to put the Free Marketeers back in charge.  These people are thieves and hustlers who blow the smoke of Ayn Rand's rhetoric in your face while using the implied deadly force of the law to pick your pockets.

As usual, they do almost exactly the opposite of they say they're doing.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Too True

From Mother Jones yesterday:

Seen today on West 93rd Street: a mother in a greengrocer's buying a yellow apple. Her toddler was struggling with the concept. "Apples are RED!" he kept insisting. The patient mom took time and explained, "all apples are not the same. Here is a yellow one!" Clearly uncomfortable with the truth in front of him, the little fellow insisted on the old reality.
The maternal moment reminded me of the current political scene: About 20 percent of the electorate are having a rough time accepting realities that take them out of their comfort zone. Glenn Beck viewers, for example, don't like that we NEED immigration in the United States; you CAN'T cut taxes during wars and depressions; human sexuality is NOT all the same; multinational corporations ARE the Big Brother you think the government is; and they ARE behind global warming, which IS real; Medicare and Social Security ARE government programs; etc.
What Glenn and the Beckerheads need, of course, is a patient mommy to explain reality to them. They used to have this when their media choices were limited to professional outlets. But now, why bother, when with FOX News they can see the "reality" they choose? And all apples can be red for always. 'Night, Mother.

Thursday, August 5, 2010


I'm sending this one around to some folks I know, wondering how long before somebody who misses the whole point rolls into full outrage mode over spending tax-payer dollars teaching monkeys the principles of Market Economics.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Ending The War(s)

Here's the simplest and probably fastest way to get us disentangled from Iraq and Af-Pak.

1)  Take all the operations people who're actually involved with the prosecution of the war efforts, and put them under a new departmental heading - call it the "Department of Foreign Welfare and Security".

2) Tell the Republicans and Fox News that there's a new poll of everybody at 5 different Wal-Marts, 3 Tractor Pulls, and 8 Swap Meets, and the results are overwhelmingly against handouts for ragheads.  (a simple "leak" to MIchelle Malkin &/or Andrew Breitbart should do the trick here)

3) Approach Boehner and McConnell on the sly and propose a secret deal - tell 'em you won't oppose their effort to kill The Dept of Foreign Welfare and Security in exchange for their pledge to hold off eliminating Education and Energy for some number of election cycles.

These guys don't check on much of anything, and when they do, it's pretty obvious that the facts don't really matter to them anyway.

Go ahead - give it a shot.  Let's see.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Time To Get Real

We need to get back to a saner and more common-sensical approach to governing.  The radical policies of Reaganism and Clinton/Rubin Triangulation, the Gingrich Republicans and the Junior Bush Administration have brought us down.

We should start by remembering and admitting that you have to pay for the things you want.

Sunday, August 1, 2010


Click on the image to see larger

Wikileaks re Af-Pak

There's a fair level of agreement that not much that's truly new was revealed about the war efforts in the 92,000 documents leaked to the world via Wikileaks.  The main concern (beyond the usual political theatrics) is that much is revealed about the approach we take putting Intelligence and Policy-making Decisions together; and that means that other countries' intel communities will get a leg up on us.  There's also an argument that says even those countries we consider friends will regard us with greater suspicion because we allowed the leaks without retribution against the leakers and so we're less trustworthy than we were before blah blah blah.

One - were we ever really all that trustworthy?  And did any country (friend or not) ever place any great trust in us to begin with?  This one just tries to perpetuate the myth of "America: The World's Goodguy".

Two - if government is supposed to operate more like a business, then this is actually a great opportunity for improvement.  If you think you're losing the confidence of your customers because of the way you've been conducting your business, then the smart thing to do is to consider making some changes in the way you conduct business.

Just sayin'.

DIY Dentistry

Pure genius.