Sunday, February 16, 2014

Send in the Clowns: Breitbart Plans World Domination

Ambling around the Web this evening, I stumbled upon this headline:

Delingpole quits Telegraph ahead of UK launch of Breitbart.com

Two things immediately jumped out at me.

Delingpole—who, if you’ve never had the pleasure, is one James “I’m right about everything” Delingpole, in his own words “a member of probably the most discriminated-against subsection in the whole of British society—the white, middle-aged, public-school-and-Oxbridge educated middle-class male” who a few years ago earned this very blog’s coveted accolade of Dickhead of the Day, along with the timeless lede “Cretinous British twit,” which is far from the unkindest thing that’s ever been said about him (and I’d like a few props for resisting the obvious Photoshop here ... gnnnn).


Why, he’s even described himself as “James Delingpole — the man so barking even Ukip [the UK Independence Party] wouldn’t have him.”

How to sum up Sucky Jim otherwise? Google is, as ever, your helpful friend:


He’s a self-described rightwing libertarian, an ideologue who in 2010 called for a British Tea Party movement, kind of missing the point of the original Tea Party.

He also fancies himself a satirist, a poor man’s Jeremy Clarkson if you will, failing to see why some might take exception to a passage like this:

... Barack Seamus O’Toole Flaherty Joyce O’Bama is the most Irish US president that ever set foot on the Emerald Oisle, so he is, so he is.

Except, when he’s in Africa, of course, when he disappears into the dry ice and re-emerges with a grass skirt and a bone through his nose and declares himself to be Mandingo, Prince of the Bloodline of the Bonga People, Drinker of Cattle Urine, Father of A Thousand Warrior Sons, Keeper of King Solomon’s Mines, Barehanded Slayer of Lions, Undaunted Victim of the Evil Colonial British Empire.

You could also with some justification call him a minor toff (daddy owned a factory, so he’d never make the major leagues short of marrying a Royal filly, which he hasn’t so far), the minorness no doubt being the impetus for his incessant clamor for attention and Pooteresque trumpeting of his mediocrity.

A polemical left-baiting anthropomorphic climate change denier, his Daily Telegraph blurb reads:

James Delingpole is a writer, journalist and broadcaster who is right about everything. He is the author of numerous fantastically entertaining books, including his most recent work Watermelons: How the Environmentalists are Killing the Planet, Destroying the Economy and Stealing Your Children’s Future, also available in the US, and in Australia as Killing the Earth to Save It. His website is www.jamesdelingpole.com.

His acumen can be gauged if you click on that link to “his” eponymous website.*

read the whole post »

Posted by YAFB on 02/16/14 at 11:42 PM

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Bachmann Down

Is it worth 8 minutes of your time to hear Michele Bachmann announce that she’s quitting her House seat? Probably not, but here it is anyway.

Nope, this is nothing to do with the multiple investigations into her and hubbie’s alleged grifting, including misusing congressional campaign funds for her spectacular 2012 run for president, nor the fact that she only squeaked back into her seat last year and the polls aren’t looking at all good for her at the moment. She’s just past her sell-by date:

The law limits anyone from serving as president of the United States for more than eight years, and in my opinion—well, eight years is also long enough for an individual to serve as a representative for a specific Congressional district.

This will no doubt lead to widespread redundancies among the media’s factcheckers. Unless ...

There is no future option or opportunity, be it directly in the political arena or otherwise, that I won’t be giving serious consideration if it can help save and protect our great nation.

How is this being greeted among the wingnutry? Well, there’s some speculation from the RW blogs that (assuming she’s not in pokey by then) Bachmann might run against Al Franken for his Senate seat, which would certainly be a battle worth breaking out the popcorn for.

Ed Morrissey at Hot Air parses so we don’t have to:

Actually, it might be a stretch to call this a retirement.  Rep. Michele Bachmann announced last night that she would not seek a fifth term in the House from Minnesota’s 6th Congressional district in this nearly nine-minute valediction.  As The Week notes, however, Bachmann doesn’t say she’s retiring from politics or even electoral politics, which means she may have something else in mind already ...

Indeed. If not a run against Franken, there seem to be indications that she hopes to don the mantle of Palin II:

... she promises not to fade away, continuing “to work vehemently and robustly to fight back against what most in the other party want to do to transform our country into becoming, which would be a nation that our founders would hardly even recognize today.”

Over at Big Government, Joel Pollak is busy brewing lemonade:

The announcement that Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) will not run for re-election in 2014 means that the Tea Party will lose one of its most outspoken—and controversial—congressional leaders, just as the movement is gaining new momentum from public discontent with big government and the revelations in the IRS scandal. At the same time, the Tea Party will benefit from the emergence of new, and perhaps more effective, voices.

William Teach at RightWingNews, on the other hand, is in full-on denial and seeking to anoint her with the precious Oil of Victimhood:

NBC Makes Up Quote For Michele Bachmann: “I’m quitting my House seat in 2014″

Nowhere in the story is that headline verified. Nor, if one listens to the 8+ minute video from Bachmann will you hear that phrase. A bit of bias, eh?

For Max Baucus NBC had the headline Max Baucus heeds the call of Nature. And Harkin won’t seek 6th Senate term (for Tom Harkin-D). And Senate banking chair Johnson to announce retirement (Tim Johnson-D). Even most other Republicans were treated decently. Seems that NBC News has a bit of a War On Women going on in regards to Bachmann.

The reception for this news in the comments sections is pretty subdued and mostly philosophical.

Is there enough room for two Divas of Daft on Twitter and Facebook (there does seem to be a vacancy for vacancy on Fox, of course)? Will this spark an entertaining rivalry—Griftzilla versus Michegriftzilla? I guess we’ll have to stay tuned ....

Posted by YAFB on 05/29/13 at 08:00 AM

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Balloon Juiceocalypse Refuge Open Thread


We have a working server, we have bandwidth, we have archives, we have popcorn, and we have sympathy with folks from our sister blog as it goes through this traumatic transformation.

Make yourselves at home if you can’t find a warmer corner of the intertubes to hang out in. No gouging, no biting, no goolie shots.

read the whole post »

Posted by YAFB on 03/23/13 at 06:07 PM

Categories: MessylaneousPoliticsPoliblogs

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Breitbart Memorial Disinformation Site to Change Name to “Friends of Humus”

During last year’s election, we and many others remarked on the possibly disastrous consequences of politicians believing the BS that the rightwing blogosphere and other online media peddle and parroting it in public, where occasionally more stringent evidential standards apply. It cost Mittens dear during the second Presidential Debate when his attempt to bully President Obama about when precisely he characterized the Benghazi attack as an act of terrorism backfired catastrophically and left him scraping egg off his coif.

The latest episode illustrating this syndrome involves our old pals the Breitbartlets, in particular Ben Shapiro. Simon Moloy at Media Matters summarizes:

On February 7, Breitbart.com’s Ben Shapiro reported that Defense Secretary nominee Chuck Hagel (according to “Senate sources”) received money from a group called “Friends of Hamas.” The report spread quickly through the conservative media as damning of Hagel, until Dave Weigel at Slate.com pointed out a salient fact—there’s no evidence that “Friends of Hamas” exists. Now, New York Daily News reporter Dan Friedman is claiming that a joke he shared with a GOP source is the provenance of “Friends of Hamas.” In response to their story falling apart, Shapiro and Breitbart.com—who angrily and self-righteously demand accountability from the rest of the media for every slip-up, real or imagined—are lashing out and refusing to accept responsibility for publishing a report based on a falsehood.

If Shapiro deserves credit for anything, it’s introducing us to a new meme about his oeuvre—”accurate and clearly caveated,” which translates as, “I pulled this out of somebody else’s ass, and I warned you it was probably bullshit at the time.” (It’s also led to much Twitter punnery on the lines of “Friends of Hummus” etc., to which the title of this post is a humble contribution.)

Meanwhile, the unspeakable John Nolte has been wearing out his iPhone in a desperate CYA campaign on Twitter. You can always tell when they’ve screwed up particularly badly because he goes postal.

Malkin’s Twitchyite horde have also been trying to comfort each other, distracting and covering their embarrassment by picking up on a brief minor omission by BuzzFeed’s Cat Correspondent Andrew Kaczynski.

There’s a conspicuous silence and lack of support for Shapiro on this issue from the rest of the RW blogs, some of whom, like Hugh Hewett, were also caught out, the buffoonery also ensnaring Rand Paul. Others are crediting the ‘bartlets et al. for fouling the pitch for their conspiracymongering and virtually ensuring Hagel’s appointment next Monday.

I may be premature and overly optimistic here, but the era of knitting your own reality seems to be drawing to a close. Will Republicans ever learn to factcheck before shooting their mouths off on the basis of the nonsense their online organs churn out? I hope not.

Posted by YAFB on 02/21/13 at 06:51 AM

Friday, November 09, 2012

Trickledown Schadenfreude [Now with Even MOAR]


As the Republicans flail around trying to figure out what the hell just happened and where exactly to point their fingers, wonder of wonders, Joel Pollak at Big Government finally has a bona fide scoop—from “a source within the Romney campaign” who detailed some of the problems with its Orca GOTV system:

It’s easy to point fingers after a loss and I wouldn’t normally do it, but consider what happened.

Project Orca was supposed to enable poll watchers to record voter names on their smartphones, by listening for names as voters checked in. This would give the campaign real-time turnout data, so they could redirect GOTV resources throughout the day where it was most needed. They recruited 37,000 swing state volunteers for this.

I worked on the Colorado team, and we were called by hundreds (or more) volunteers who couldn’t use the app or the backup phone system. The usernames and passwords were wrong, but the reset password tool didn’t work, and we couldn’t change phone PINs. We were told the problems were limited and asked to project confidence, have people use pencil and paper, and try to submit again later.

Then at 6PM they admitted they had issued the wrong PINs to every volunteer in Colorado, and reissued new PINs (which also didn’t work). Meanwhile, counties where we had hundreds of volunteers, such as Denver Colorado, showed zero volunteers in the system all day, but we weren’t allowed to add them. In one area, the head of the Republican Party plus 10 volunteers were all locked out. The system went down for a half hour during peak voting, but for hundreds or more, it never worked all day. Many of the poll watchers I spoke with were very discouraged. Many members of our phone bank got up and left.

I do not know if the system was totally broken, or if I just saw the worst of it. But I wonder, because they told us all day that most volunteers were submitting just fine, yet admitted at the end that all of Colorado had the wrong PIN’s. They also said the system projected every swing state as pink or red.

Regardless of the specific difficulties, this idea would only help if executed extremely well. Otherwise, those 37,000 swing state volunteers should have been working on GOTV…

Somebody messaged me privately after my email and told me that North Carolina had the same problems—every pin was wrong and not fixed until 6PM—and was also told it was localized to North Carolina.

John Ekdahl at Ace of Spades gives further insights into how terribly the whole operation was mismanaged.

Once volunteers signed up, they were invited to take part in daily conference calls, but rather than focusing on training, these tended to be cheerleading sessions, with any tactical considerations reduced to answering questions such as would it be OK to wear a red sweatshirt to the polling place. Then there were other minor problems such as this:

On one of the last conference calls (I believe it was on Saturday night), they told us that our packets would be arriving shortly. Now, there seemed to be a fair amount of confusion about what they meant by “packet”. Some people on Twitter were wondering if that meant a packet in the mail or a pdf or what. Finally, my packet arrived at 4PM on Monday afternoon as an emailed 60 page pdf. Nothing came in the mail. Because I was out most of the day, I only got around to seeing it at around 10PM Monday night. So, I sat down and cursed as I would have to print out 60+ pages of instructions and voter rolls on my home printer. Naturally, for reasons I can’t begin to comprehend, my printer would not print in black and white with an empty magenta cartridge (No HP, I will never buy another one of your products ever again). So, at this point I became panicked. I was expected to be at the polls at 6:45AM and nothing was open. I was thankfully able to find a Kinko’s open until 11PM that was able to print it out and bind it for me, but this is not something I should have had to do. They expected 75-80 year old veteran volunteers to print out 60+ pages on their home computers? The night before election day? From what I hear, other people had similar experiences. In fact, many volunteers never received their packets at all.

It got worse:

At 6:30AM on Tuesday, I went to the polls. I was immediately turned away because I didn’t have my poll watcher certificate. Many, many people had this problem. The impression I got was this was taken care of because they had “registered me”. Others were as well. But apparently, I was supposed to go on my own to a Victory Center to pick it up, but that was never communicated properly. Outside of the technical problems, this was the single biggest failure of the operation. They simply didn’t inform people that this was a requirement.

It’s worth giving Ace of Spades the click and reading the rest of Ekdahl’s article if you’re amused by descriptions of extreme ineptitude, but here’s his signoff:

The bitter irony of this entire endeavor was that a supposedly small government candidate gutted the local structure of GOTV efforts in favor of a centralized, faceless organization in a far off place (in this case, their Boston headquarters). Wrap your head around that..

Let’s hear it for community organizers, huh?

read the whole post »

Posted by YAFB on 11/09/12 at 10:16 AM

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Quite Possibly the Shortest-lived Hostage to Fortune Ever [UPDATED X2]

In the late-election frenzy with only some ten hours of queuing to go, in a fit of preemptive footstamping spite, some of the Borg have their sights firmly trained on the REAL enemy—the messenger, Nate Silver—with the upcoming launch by “a team of GOP techies” of the blockbuster website Nate Silver Wrong!


It’s been slow to catch on so far, just about the only place embracing it at the moment being Free Republic, where the stakes are clear:

To: D-fendr

Not only is NAte finished but we can forever show that PPP, ABC, CBS, WaPo,CNN, NYT, Huffpo, Politico , Kos, DU , etc are wrong.

We will win much more than the WH.

It would be the end of the DNC’s MSM’s campaign arm.

posted on 06 November 2012 07:24:39 by NoLibZone (If the black experience is about being hated, I know more about it than Whoppi does I’m a Republican)


I love that some geek dweeb without a clue is going to help take down the Dem establishment and turn chicago into a smoking heap. Wonder how they’ll reward him when it’s over? Muslim beheading?

posted on 06 November 2012 11:18:36 by gotribe (He’s a mack-daddy http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AV415yit7Zg)

Can I get a HUZZAH!?

A quick Whois search confirms the shadowy entity behind this groundbreaking initiative:

Registered through: GoDaddy.com, LLC (http://www.godaddy.com)


With less than two nailbiting hours before the site goes fully live, you can fill the time by following the excitable @natesilverwrong as he flirts with Dick Morris, or searching the #natesilverwrong hashtag, which was trending heavily with four whole tweets at time of writing, or visit Nate Silver Wrong on Facebook, which currently has 21 “likes.”

Or, I don’t know, have a catnap before tonight, go vote, make some GOTV calls ...

Meanwhile, the ultra-manly Dean Chambers of UnSkewedPolls.com has butchly made “The FINAL Definitive Projection of the race”:

Final Projection: Romney 275 electoral votes to Obama 263 electoral votes

There’s probably not enough eggs to go round.

read the whole post »

Posted by YAFB on 11/06/12 at 01:30 PM

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Standing on the Corpses of Giants Part III: The Transcript Truthers

Having invested so much effort in seeking to exploit the tragic deaths during the 9/11 Benghazi US consulate attack over the past few weeks, Mitt Romney and his followers thought he had president Obama cornered last night during the second Presidential Debate. It ... didn’t work out so well (transcript from TPM).

MR. ROMNEY: ... I think it’s interesting the president just said something which is that on the day after the attack, he went in the Rose Garden and said that this was an act of terror. You said in the Rose Garden the day after the attack it was an act of terror. It was not a spontaneous demonstration.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Please proceed.

MR. ROMNEY: Is that what you’re saying?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Please proceed, Governor.

MR. ROMNEY: I – I – I want to make sure we get that for the record, because it took the president 14 days before he called the attack in Benghazi an act of terror.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Get the transcript.

MS. CROWLEY: It – he did in fact, sir.

So let me – let me call it an act of terrorism – (inaudible) –

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Can you say that a little louder, Candy? (Laughter, applause.)

Now, for some reason, after the event moderator Candy Crowley felt she had to walk back her devastating factcheck of Romney’s claim.* Media Matters has already covered the flailing post-debate pushback about this issue from the usual suspects—Malkin, the Breitbartlets, Fox News, Romney’s own camp—calling them “Transcript Truthers”. Judge for yourself.

No acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation, alter that character, or eclipse the light of the values that we stand for. Today we mourn four more Americans who represent the very best of the United States of America.

read the whole post »

Posted by YAFB on 10/17/12 at 12:43 AM

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Standing on the Corpses of Giants Part II: Politician Takes Responsibility—Republicans Astonished

You can’t wander far online right now without encountering fistpumping jubilation among rightwingers that four diplomats were killed and three wounded in Benghazi last month—just in time for their October Surprise!

Mitt Romney, from the Mother Jones “secret video”:

... in the Jimmy Carter election, the fact that we have hostages in Iran, I mean, that was all we talked about. And we had the two helicopters crash in the desert, I mean that’s—that was—that was the focus, and so him solving that made all the difference in the world. I’m afraid today if you said, “We got Iran to agree to stand down a nuclear weapon,” they’d go hold on. It’s really a, but…by the way, if something of that nature presents itself, I will work to find a way to take advantage of the opportunity.

YAY! Something of that nature happened! Dead Americans! Opportunity!

Form of a human—Mittbot transform!

Romney Chokes Up Recalling Fallen Navy SEAL

Mitt Romney shared a remarkable story at a campaign rally in Iowa today, his voice wavering and cracking slightly as he described the tragic death of a former Navy SEAL he’d met years earlier.  The young man was from Massachusetts; he died in Benghazi during the September 11 terrorist attack against the American consulate that claimed the life of US Ambassador Chris Stevens.  Here is Mitt’s stirring and moving tribute:

Pesky humans:

Romney was visibly emotional during the story, and the video of the speech was repeated throughout the day on network and cable news.

But one of Glen Doherty’s best friends remembered Doherty’s impression of this meeting much differently.
Ellefsen said Doherty recalled meeting Mitt Romney years ago, but the account was much different from what the Presidential candidate retold in Iowa.

According to Ellefsen, Romney introduced himself to Doherty four separate times during the gathering.

“He said it was very comical,” Ellefsen said, “Mitt Romney approached him ultimately four times, using this private gathering as a political venture to further his image. He kept introducing himself as Mitt Romney, a political figure. The same introduction, the same opening line. Glen believed it to be very insincere and stale.”

Ellefsen said Doherty remembered Romney as robotic.

“He said it was pathetic and comical to have the same person come up to you within only a half hour, have this person reintroduce himself to you, having absolutely no idea whatsoever that he just did this 20 minutes ago, and did not even recognize Glen’s face.”

The mother of Glen Doherty, a Navy SEAL who was one of four Americans killed in the Sept. 11 attack in Libya, told a Boston TV station that GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney shouldn’t politicize her son’s death.
“I don’t trust Romney,” she said. “He shouldn’t make my son’s death part of his political agenda. It’s wrong to use these brave young men, who wanted freedom for all, to degrade Obama.”

read the whole post »

Posted by YAFB on 10/16/12 at 08:38 AM

Monday, October 15, 2012

Romney Camp: Standing on the Corpses of Giants

ThinkProgress catches Romney surrogate Rudy “A Noun and a Verb, and 9/11” Giuliani being just a tad too candid from the safe confines of Fox News.

BILL HEMMER (HOST): David Axelrod made the claim Mitt Romney is doing his best to exploit this. Is there argument to be made there? How was this handled on?

GIULIANI: He should be, he should be exploiting it. I mean, there is real chance, there is a cover-up here. They’re trying to run out the clock. Hillary Clinton appoints a commission that will investigate. They will not report until next January or February.

The appropriate course of action would naturally be to come to conclusions before bothering to conduct any investigation, following the lead of Darrell Issa.

Meanwhile, Fox Nation has apparently outsourced its content provision to Babelfish:*

WaPo Juices Another Poll for Another Obama Nothing

In the third-from-the-bottom paragraph in the Washington Post’s article — the 17th paragraph — on its new poll out this morning, showing President Obama leading, 49 percent to 46 percent, among likely voters:

Partisan identification fluctuates from poll to poll as basic orientations shift and with the sampling variability that accompanies each randomly selected sample of voters. In the current poll, Democrats outnumber Republicans by nine percentage points among likely voters; the previous three Post-ABC polls had three-, six- and five-percentage-point edges for Democrats. The presidential contest would now be neck and neck nationally with any of these margins.

Any help on this ... Jennifer Rubin?

Jennifer Rubin @JRubinBlogger

under the Post’s poll manipulator if you go to D +3 (still very generous) Romney is up by 2 where just about every other poll is

Me neither. It seems a rather wordy translation of WAAAAH.

Talking of running out the clock, Mitt Romney is rapidly running out of quiet Fridays on which to drop his tax returns—at this stage, just one full set is obviously far more than you people deserve.

Too much crazy out there for me to cover right now. HALP!

read the whole post »

Posted by YAFB on 10/15/12 at 09:06 AM

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Romney/Biden 2012! Or Even Just Biden 2012?


As the dust settles slowly from the VP debate, the election trundles on regardless, the polls take their own sweet time to give any clear indication of WTF is going on, and Paul Ryan fans feverishly adapt to the abject drubbing their idol took by collapsing onto the crowded fainting couches of denial, Philip Klein at The Washington Examiner twangs his readers’ last nerves by pointing out a quirk of the Constitution:

It might be hard to believe after his assault on Mitt Romney in last night’s debate, but there’s a scenario under which Joe Biden could serve as Mitt Romney’s vice president.

As noted in an earlier post, there are plausible scenarios under which next month’s election could result in a 269–269 electoral vote tie, which would send the presidential election over to the House of Representatives. Such an outcome would favor Romney over President Obama, according to an analysis by the Washington Examiner.

But in such a case, it would fall on the Senate to choose the vice president, with each Senator getting a vote. Given that it’s quite possible (arguably likely) that Democrats will retain control of the Senate, it means that they could vote for Biden to remain on as VP, even if the House elects Romney as president.

In theory, if the election outcome is a 50-50 Senate, Biden could be the tie-breaking vote for himself. This would allow him to remain on as VP and for the Democrats to retain effective control of the Senate. It would also usher in the Romney-Biden administration.

Somebody alert vanguard of the Biden underraters, the unspeakably unfunny aggro troll clown Jim Treacher, last seen emitting a butthurt squeal of a post titled “Last night, Joe Biden was a three-letter word: J-E-R-K,” having greeted news of the Ryan pick back in August with: “Fortunately, Biden wears Depends Or else there could’ve been an embarrassing scene when he heard the news.”

Clear some space around Treacher if you do, since Klein caps his musings with:

If the House ends up deadlocked in choosing a president, then the candidate the Senate chooses as vice president would be sworn in as commander in chief. In other words, this scenario could produce a President Biden.

Here’s an open thread if you want it.

Posted by YAFB on 10/13/12 at 09:19 AM

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

There just ain’t enough pearls to go round (now with a little more)

There’s less than a month to go till the election, and there’s barely room to fit your butt on the fainting couches in some quarters as the MSM derails from its narrative of the moment and doles out yet another gross indignity to the man who would be king.


Tour some of the Borg sites if you want to enjoy the sudden resurrection of their yearning for SOME RESPECT, DAMMIT!!!! for public figures.

Meanwhile, I’m looking forward to the end of this silly week—at worst, for the poll-obsessed, we should have MOAR DATA, and some of the outliers and sample sets from the immediate debate aftermath and a holiday weekend should be diluted by more substantive things to set everyone’s hair alight, woefully misinterpret, and keep the horserace narrative alive into the final stretch. And of course, there’s the hope that ole handsome Joe Biden will gallop to the rescue and serve up the mancrush red meat that some of the daftest public bedwetters I’ve ever witnessed before going back to ignoring them again so obviously crave and turn this thing around. Or not. Whatever.

In any case, his opponent, hottie Dauphin of the Damned Paul Ryan, is evidently feeling the heat. Both he and the campaign, flying in the face of gleeful predictions from the Borg that he’ll wipe the floor with the geriatric hairplug-studded gaffe machine, have been trying desperately to play down expectations for his performance. Though, since we’re talking the Romney campaign here, they’re simultaneously playing up expectations that the understuffed suit of a granny starver will deliver another gamechanger and finish this thing, since if O’Biden doesn’t stride manfully across the stage and deliver the eyewatering wedgie of a lifetime, Ryan WINS IT’S ALL OVER. I think that’s called a spread bet.

Ryan’s even channeled Queen Ann Of The Fainting Couch and issued his own preemptive strike:

Ryan: Dems’ Strategy Is To “Call Us Liars”
Paul Ryan said that Democrats’s strategy through the election is “to call us liars for a month” in an interview with Michigan radio host Frank Beckmann Monday. The day after Wednesday’s presidential debate, the Obama campaign released an ad saying Romney had not told the truth during the debate.

“It seems pretty clear that their new strategy is basically just call us liars, to descend down into a mud pit and hopefully with enough mudslinging back and forth and distortion, people will get demoralized and then they can win by default; sort of a choice of the lesser or two evils,” Ryan said.

There’s one course of action Ryan and Romney could adopt to avoid this “new strategy,” but that’s obviously never going to happen. Maybe Joe’s dug out the thesaurus since the l-word is so offensive to the Romney camp’s delicate sensibilities—they’re so unused to the help answering back—or maybe he’ll find other more subtle but no less devastating ways to convey the message.

read the whole post »

Posted by YAFB on 10/10/12 at 08:18 AM

Friday, October 05, 2012

Romney Abandons Abandonment of the 47%

The wheels fell off Mitt Romney’s Etch A Sketch last night when he appeared on ace racebaiter Sean Hannity‘s show to denounce Mitt Romney for denouncing 47% of Americans a while back as shiftless scroungers not worthy of his time and effort.

This is Mitt Romney doubling down on September 17:

I believe the point I was made is that the president starts off with a large number of the voters, 47, 48, 49 percent, something like that. These are people who are in his camp and, uh, they will vote for him almost no matter what. ...  I point out I recognize that among those that pay no tax, approximately 47 percent of Americans, I’m not likely to be highly successful with the message of lowering taxes. ... And so I then focus on those individuals who I believe are most likely to be able to be pulled into my camp and help me win the 51 or 50.1 percent that I need to become the next President.

Romney said that his remarks were “not elegantly stated,” but added that he won’t back down from them. “It’s a message which I’m going to carry and continue to carry,” he said.

This is Mitt Romney yesterday, not backing down:

“Well, clearly in a campaign with hundreds if not thousands of question and answer sessions, now and then you’re going to say something that doesn’t come out right. In this case I said something that’s just completely wrong.”

This will have come as news to the likes of Mary Matalin, Hannity himself, and the hordes of other rightwingers who’ve been joyfully applauding and amplifying Romney’s secret spiel to super-rich sots:

“There are makers and takers, there are producers and there are parasites,” she said. “Americans can distinguish between those who have produced and paid in through no fault of their own and because of Obama’s horrible policies who cannot get a job or are underemployed. That’s what the campaign is about.”

But Mitt’s running for office, for Pete’s sake!

Erick Erickson and the denizens of RedState, Breitbart.com and all points right are currently desperately scouring their health plans to see whether they cover epistemic whiplash and acute cases of egg on face.

read the whole post »

Posted by YAFB on 10/05/12 at 07:56 AM

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Big Bird, Big Government

Working the graveyard shift is a mixed blessing.  I’m sorry I missed out on the entertaining live-blogging of the debate, but I did have an opportunity to not only hear the debate, but to read some of the post-debate dissection of the debate…

Attention! Your attention, please! A newsflash has this moment arrived from the Sesame Front. The forces of Republicanism in 2012 have won a glorious victory. I am authorized to say that the war against PBS is within measurable distance of its end.

The general consensus among media types is that Mitt Romney “won” the first debate in the 2012 campaign, but my takeaway is that his victory will turn out to be a Pyrrhic one.

Mitt never really delivered any telling blows against President Obama in this general snoozefest of a debate.  Mitt avoided talking about specific points in his tax plan.  Indeed, he avoided specificity on most topics.  The fact checkers will be parsing the debate performances of both candidates, while the public spaces out about the facts and figures.  Romney’s “victory” was due to a largely passive performance on the part of the president… hopefully this was a rope-a-dope tactic on the president’s part, a gambit to make Mitt underestimate him before landing some devastating blows during the foreign policy portion of the debates.

Now, for the main reason why I think that Mitt’s vague “victory” was hollow- the one feature of Romney’s performance that will capture the imagination of wags was his declaration of love for Big Bird (who is just the right height), though said love would best be described as creepy and stalkerish, seeing that Mitt wants to cut funding for PBS, the “home” of Big Bird.  Already, the meme-generators are hard at work generating facetious images of Mitt.  Some of these images are pretty damn devastating.  Who the hell is going to remember Mitt’s evasive generalizations about his fiscal policies once the social media wags start pushing the Big Bird narrative?

Poor Mitt, he may have won a doubleplusgood victory against Barack Obama in debate round one, but he lost the meme war against Big Bird.  It won’t be long before one of Mitt’s team members tells Wolf Blitzer, “We have always been at war with Sesame Street.”

Posted by Big Bad Bald Bastard on 10/04/12 at 06:48 AM

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Battle of the Doughboys: Hannity and Carlson Criticize Obama for Pretending to be Black

Quite a few have opined already on the appearance yesterday of The New Whitey Tape circulated with a fanfare of clown horns by Tucker Carlson of the Daily Caller via Drudge, and unsurprisingly joyously championed by Fox News’s resident race expert Sean Hannity.

Sadly for Drudge, Carlson, Hannity, and their rightwing online allies, when lined up for comment, usually reliable scenters of racially tinged opportunism Allen West and Newt Gingrich greeted it with a resounding “What’s the ‘So what’ of this video? I don’t think it’s going to really go anywhere” from the former, and “I don’t think this particular speech is definitive,” from the latter. “This hurts Mitt,” BuzzFeed reports 2008 Romney campaign consultant Alex Castellanos as saying. “Mitt’s window to turn the economic debate around is [Wednesday.] And his alleged supporters just shit on it. An abysmally selfish and stupid event.”

Even the current Romney campaign is cravenly anxious to distance itself from this well-meaning assist from The Borg:

The Romney campaign, as host Soledad O’Brien noted, recently released a statement saying it is not involved in distributing the video. Cutter responded, pointing out the people she thinks are responsible:

Well, I think allies to Mitt Romney are responsible and I think that the Romney campaign should stand up and do the right thing and say that it was irresponsible to do something like that, particularly on the eve of the debate.

And it was so transparent, what they were trying to do. Mitt Romney has been taking heat for weeks now for his secret comments behind closed doors with his wealthy donors that he didn’t care about half of this country. Their answer to that is to put out an already publicly-released speech that the President gave five years ago where he was talking about the reaction to Hurricane Katrina and the inadequate reaction to Hurricane Katrina. You know what, it’s an interesting strategy by Mitt Romney and his allies that they actually want to defend the Bush administration response.

When O’Brien pointed out that it sounded as if Cutter was holding Romney responsible for the tape’s re-release, Cutter insisted that she thought it was allies to the campaign that were responsible, not Romney or the campaign itself.

We’ve covered for many months now the transparent links and overlaps between the Romney campaign and what I’ve chosen to term in shorthand “The Borg”—the rightwing online echo chamber headed by Drudge that serves as an arm of Romney’s online presence—so Cutter’s just stating the obvious here, as Steve Kornacki and others can confirm:

The connection between the Romney camp and Drudge has been well-known for years: Matt Rhoades, who cultivated the reclusive Drudge while serving as the RNC’s research director last decade and who has been with Romney in each of his national campaigns. In both 2008 and 2012, Drudge’s favorable treatment of Romney and frequently unflattering coverage of them was a source of considerable irritation among rival campaigns. Drudge’s all-out assault on Newt Gingrich after his South Carolina primary victory this year offered a vivid demonstration of the phenomenon.

I’ve said all along that this association would end up with Romney covered in cooties. It’s not my fault they chose to ignore my advice. The fact that this affair gives me yet another legitimate opportunity to link Romney and some of the most blatant racebaiters in current political discourse is just another shot in the foot for Mitt’s disastrous campaign, and a cherry on the cupcake for me.

Which leads me to file the desperate flailing to assert that there is too a valid point in dragging up a five-year-old recording at this precise point in the election cycle over the course of a couple of clips of Carlson’s appearance on yesterday’s Hannity show under “Comedy” rather than “Tragedy.” Desperate to drum up charges of racebaiting, they take it off the scale themselves, but they’re too puffed-up in self-importance, self-absorbed, and plain dumb to realize it.

I’m not going to get into the weeds of arguing about Obama’s comments on shortcomings in the federal response to Katrina, except to say that if Carlson and Hannity want to portray the whole episode as an unflawed triumph of state intervention in a natural disaster and its aftermath, good luck with that. More fun were the repeated attempts to portray Obama as inauthentically black—a subject on which Hannity and Carlson are obviously the ultimate arbiters—along with the resurrection of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright as Bogeyman-in-Chief.

Here’s a clip of the first part of the Hannity/Carlson meltdown:

From which I’ll cherrypick:

Hannity: You notice a change in the way he delivers the speech before a predominantly African-American audience?

Carlson: Well, the accent, let me just be clear, and anyone who just watched it and who’s seen Obama speak in public over the last ten years will note, this accent is absurd. This is not the way Obama talks, at least it’s not the way he’s talked in the dozens, the scores, of speeches I’ve watched him give, or public appearances I’ve seen him make. This is a put-on. This is phoney, that’s what the issue is.

“And I would say whether he was putting on a southern accent or Asian accent, it doesn’t matter. He is playing a role in one of these cases. It is not clear in which one. I assume in the Hamptons speech he is putting on a persona he doesn’t usually occupy to pander to the crowd, but who knows?”

I probably don’t have to point out that many people—not just politicians—change their accent and mode of speech depending on the audience they’re addressing. It’s actually a key skill of rhetoric and a natural way of relating for many. Of course, if your natural style of speech reeks of privilege as much as Hannity and Carlson’s, you’ve probably never felt the need to make such accommodations. Presumably Carlson and Hannity fell for the myth that President George W. Bush was a simple cowpoke never happier than when clearing a curiously persistent stand of brush on his now-abandoned ranch for eight long summers, rather than the Ivy League spawn of generations of wealthy politicians.

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Posted by YAFB on 10/03/12 at 10:53 AM

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Dangers of Snark in a Post-Poe World

Tom Lehrer once observed that “political satire became obsolete when Henry Kissinger was awarded the Nobel Prize.” Despite the urban legend, this isn’t what prompted him to retire, as he explains here, where he also makes some observations on the problems of satire in the modern world, including: “everything is so weird in politics that it’s very hard to be funny about it.”

In recent US election cycles, where even weirder things are afoot and some folks’ grip on reality is extremely tenuous at the best of times, while others of us are having the boundaries of what we consider feasible in the political arena expanded by the hour, perils abound.

For example, some on the left have apparently taken Politico’s Roger Simon’s transparently snarky article from yesterday, “Paul Ryan vs. The Stench”, at face value, and seem to buy into the idea that Hottie McStudMunster is now literally in the habit of referring to his running mate as “Stench.” You can take issue with Simon’s abilities as a satirist, and even his omission of any overt flag to indicate that he wasn’t being entirely serious, but had his words appeared in The Onion rather than Politico, the situation might have been clearer. The fact that people thought this was a plausible story is far funnier than the story itself, but less funny than the absolutely OUTRAGED reactions of some of the commenters at Simon’s Politico article.

Now, there are times when it may suit people to wilfully misinterpret snark as truth. For instance, back in 2008, when Larry Johnson at No Quarter was furiously pushing the “Whitey Tape” fiction for all it was worth, Booman wrote a post that I’ve always interpreted as snark-tinged, which included this passage:

From what I understand, it is a tape of Michelle Obama criticizing the Bush administration.

How you’d write it:

Why did Bush cut folks off medicaid?
Why did Bush let New Orleans drown?
Why did Bush do nothing about Jena?
Why did Bush put us in Iraq for no reason?

How you’d say it:

Why’d he cut folks off medicaid?
Why’d he let New Orleans drown?
Why’d he do nothing about Jena?
Why’d he put us in Iraq for no reason?

How Larry Johnson wants you to hear it:

Whitie cut folks off medicaid?
Whitie let New Orleans drown?
Whitie do nothing about Jena?
Whitie put us in Iraq for no reason?

When I read that, I laughed. But it didn’t stop PUMAs and their ilk and fellow travelers taking it as Booman confirming that the tape actually existed, and posting selective quotes in every comment stream they could find, even while other well-meaning folks on the left quoted it as an explanation that Michelle Obama had been misunderstood, in the process implying that the tape did exist. A lot of good it did them in the end, but I’m sure you’ll still find some who believe it’s only a matter of time before it finally emerges on Fox, given that we’re apparently now at such a desperate stage in the election that the much-maligned Reverend Wright is again featuring in their output.

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Posted by YAFB on 09/26/12 at 12:34 PM

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