Friday, April 04, 2014
Modern conservatism in the US is predicated on a bizarre, ongoing inversion of reality. Item: an addled B-movie actor explodes the national debt and is lionized as a champion of small government. A cowardly, none-too-bright male cheerleader from a patrician clan is packaged and sold as a brush-clearin,’ neo-Churchillian cowpoke.
The party that bankrupted the country through ruinous, pointless warmongering and Wall Street wilding markets itself as the fiscally responsible foreign policy grownups. The party that allows a gun manufacturer flak organization to intimidate it into allowing terrorists and the floridly crazy to purchase unlimited semiautomatic weapons bills itself as tough on crime. Etc.
So it shouldn’t be surprising that conservatives’ perception of their ongoing defeat in the culture wars is exactly the opposite of reality on every level too. But that doesn’t mean we can’t laugh at the ahistorical ranting. Cue the Powertools, lamenting the resignation of erstwhile Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich:
So the liberals claim another scalp. This is something new in our history, as far as I know. Until now, private citizens could hold whatever political beliefs they wanted, and support political causes as they chose.
Ever heard of the McCarthy hearings? Where a wingnut senator persecuted private citizens and destroyed their livelihoods because of their political beliefs? See, when the party of free markets decides to regulate political beliefs, it does so via the government.
What happened to Eich is a free market phenomenon. You can make the argument that the companies and developers who balked at the prospect of working with a CEO who thinks gays are icky should have given Eich a chance. But the companies and developers are independent agents who are free to vote with their feet because freedom.
Over at Heritage.org, they’ve discovered the power of government policy in leading social change:
Policy should prohibit the government from discriminating against any individual or group, whether nonprofit or for-profit, based on their beliefs that marriage is the union of a man and woman or that sexual relations are reserved for marriage. Policy should prohibit the government from discriminating in tax policy, employment, licensing, accreditation, or contracting against such groups and individuals.
Okay, so you guys were for prohibiting the government from discriminating against same sex couples in tax policy, employment, licensing, accreditation or contracting, right? Nope.
Once again, the self-proclaimed anti-nanny state crusaders and champions of free markets are revealed as sniveling hypocrites. Hoocoodanode?
[X-posted at Balloon Juice]
Posted by Betty Cracker on 04/04/14 at 07:31 AM
Wednesday, April 02, 2014
SCOTUS Shows Love for the Rainmakers and Buckrakers
In the home of the brave, free speech comes with a price tag, as the Supreme Court decided in a 5-4 (No! Really?) decision in the McCutcheon v. FEC case, which basically gives rich folks the license to print ballots.
Maybe I’m exaggerating a little, but here’s the deal—if putting your money where your mouth is, is a form of free speech, then some animals on this farm are obviously more equal than others, if laws that try to keep the rich from drowning out the voices of the not-so-much are seen as onerously violating the rights of the people who can afford to pay for this here microphone and mean to use it.
It kind of says, if you can’t afford to pay for the good sound system, you might as well shut up.
There was some dancing around in that decision about whether campaign financing was about quid pro quo—look, I get it. The decision for letting our politicians be bought outright was centered on not making it for each trick they turn out, but letting them perform on a retainer basis. And that’s sweet, but let’s call it what it is. And let’s not pretend that our transactional political system isn’t about quid pro quo because the paymasters don’t give direction when our little dears can figure out what they are supposed to do to please Daddy without all that much direction.
Now, there might be an antidote to the influence of money in the form of a critical, tough, independent media who can cut through the “talk” of money and see to it that “bullshit” hits the road. A lot of our mainstream media might not necessarily recognize that cutting through the bull is their job, though. That’s kind of why I see blogging as important. Maybe this cosa nostra can strike a little bit back at the pezzanovantes that want to make peasants out of us. But otherwise, I encourage everybody to vote the fuck out of the GOP, because, let’s be honest, they are the most boughten and paidest-for. I’m all for kicking the Koch-machine—how’bout you?
(X-Posted at Strangely Blogged.)
Posted by Vixen Strangely on 04/02/14 at 10:08 PM
Sunday, March 09, 2014
CPAC 2014 Selects Rand Paul As Candidate Least Likely To Succeed
Well, it hardly seems possible that it’s already been a year since the last time Rand Paul won the CPAC Candidate Least Likely to Succeed pageant but, there you have it. The straws have been counted and Sen. Aqua Buddha is the overwhelming favorite out of a packed field of conservative firebrands and luminaries and a few leftover kooks for old times’ sake . . .
See for yourself:
Not to burst Sen. Paul’s bubble or rain on his victory parade but the results of the CPAC straw poll mean squat in real world politics. Furthermore, I could have saved the American Conservative Union a whole lot of time and money spent pursuing this meaningless outcome by telling them last year around this time, or ditto the year before, what the result would be.
See, for better or worse, CPAC which started in the early ‘70s, has been converted, over the last few years, into a Libertarian Lovefest.
Notwithstanding GOP pollster Tony Fabrizio’s enthusiastic cheerleading:
This is a sampling of people from all 50 states who are at the forefront of the conservative moment.
Well, sorry Tony but you know, and I know, the CPAC straw poll is no such thing. It is, rather, a barometer of what’s going on in the highly exclusive club of earnest young white men, 18-25 years old, with the inflexible intransigence and uncompromising conviction of fresh converts.
read the whole post »
Posted by Bette Noir on 03/09/14 at 11:42 AM
Thursday, March 06, 2014
Mama Don’t ‘Low No Dreamers Round Here
Meet Rep. Diane Black (R-TN) who is livin’ the dream. According to Black’s congressional bio she has risen from humble beginnings:
. . . the middle daughter of working-class, Great Depression era parents, Diane saw firsthand their efforts to create a better life for their children through their pursuit of the American Dream.
Diane was the first member of her family to graduate from college degree when she earned a nursing degree from Anne Arundel Community College in Maryland, in 1971. She then married a doctor, David Black, who went on to build a drug-testing empire known as Aegis Services.
Diane Black worked as a nurse for a while, then decided to try her hand at legislating because . . . YOLO! Mrs. Black got herself elected to the Tennessee House and served for 6 years, then became a state senator in 2004.
In 2010, Mrs. Black caught the TEA Party wave and surfed into Congress where she insists on being addressed as Congressman and just happens to be one of the wealthiest members of Congress.
How’s that for a success story? Why, I’d go so far as to say that Diane Black personifies what the American Dream is all about.
read the whole post »
Posted by Bette Noir on 03/06/14 at 01:08 PM
Tuesday, February 18, 2014
C’mon Truth, Get Your Damn Shoes On!
“A lie can travel halfway round the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.”
This quote has been attributed to Mark Twain, but it has never been verified as originating with Twain. This quote may have originated with Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834-92) who attributed it to an old proverb in a sermon delivered on Sunday morning, April 1, 1855. Spurgeon was a celebrated English fundamentalist Baptist preacher. His words were: “A lie will go round the world while truth is pulling its boots on.”
Brace yourselves, Roasters, it’s starting early this time around. You know what I mean, right? that goofy quadrennial American reality show called The Making of The President, in which a gang of nattering political nabobs join in a rousing cacophonous chorus of Me! ME!! Look at meeeee!
One of the talking points that seems to be developing legs, on the Right, is the Lawless Obama meme. Rallying round that notion, I expect the pundits of the courtier press to be donning their little amateur constitutionalist thinking caps, any minute now, and letting us in on what their “gut” tells them is unconstitutional. And we the people will commence quivering with fear because . . . ASSAULT ON LIBERTY!!!
read the whole post »
Posted by Bette Noir on 02/18/14 at 10:57 AM
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
Saturday, February 15, 2014
Tom Perkins Makes Some Interesting Points
I have the feeling that Tom Perkins and I don’t have considerable overlap in our personal views or experiences regarding money. It’s okay, and I judge, but, like, I don’t judge, man. He’s made a living knowing things about money, while for me, economics is a neat hobby, but I read poetry in college because my folks wanted me to be a useful citizen and iambs kept me off the pipe and the pole. Kind of. So I am taking his pronouncements with a grain of salt and a spoonful of sugar.
It’s hard to not look at a claim that people should earn votes based on their tax dollars as a form of elitism where wealthy people have more value in a system based on their proportionate capacity to pay more in tax dollars because they have those dollars to pay. I could envision a system where, by virtue of greed and the complicity of the hoi polloi, the wealthy could become disenfranchised by a tax law exempting the 1%-ers from all taxation. Followed by a brief and satisfying reign of terror in the exact year they lose all the votes. But I have long dipped my toes in speculative fiction where justice often follows narrative ends.
I do not suggest that such a future is practical nor probable. But I do note that our popular elections are so run that money does have sway in the ability of candidates, or whole movements, such as the Tea Party, to gain offices. The ability to create issues, generate turn-out, attract donations (by that old black magic called “It takes money to make money”), run ads that popularize a candidate’s name and visage, and so on, are greatly aided by money.
Why, let me introduce you to the Koch Brothers, if you haven’t been introduced! They’ve got a system. They are two guys who can fund a remarkable number of think tanks (thought tanks, I think, because the thinks were already pre-thunk, no?), action groups, and whatever you might call them. This is several different ways to funnel money to campaigns, really. Many ways to soften up voter minds or harden positions for the gullible faithful inclined to seeing things their way. Billionaires can even buy or build whole news networks. They are even owning whole states, in their unpleasant way. With the Citizen’s United decision, dollars pretty well convert to votes. Perkins’ dream is about here.
I think this is why folks of limited resources need to take advantage of voting while we can, because it is regularly being screwed with. (Nope, even today.) And let’s make sure our votes don’t get bought out from under us.
(X-Posted at Strangely Blogged.)
Posted by Vixen Strangely on 02/15/14 at 12:46 AM
Sunday, February 09, 2014
Lazybones . . . How You ‘Spect To Get Your Day’s Work Done?
(Let this sucker play while you read, if you please)
Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Back-of-Beyond), like many of his colleagues, would like to punch Obamacare in the nose, kick it in the balls, stomp it into the Mizzou Mud then scrape it off his Thom McAn wingtips and call it a day. Because Obamacare is making y’all lazy. SLOTHFUL! yahear?
And that’s just unAmerican:
I think any law you pass that discourages people from working can’t be a good idea. “Why would we wanna do that? How does that allow people to prepare for the time when they don’t work?
Like when they get elected to Congress? and their work schedule looks like this?
read the whole post »
Posted by Bette Noir on 02/09/14 at 01:18 PM
Saturday, February 08, 2014
GOP Rebranding Update: Wolverine Edition
Well, it’s my time of the month to take a reading on how the Grand Old Party is doing with its rebranding efforts. They’ve been at it for a little over a year now so I don’t think it unreasonable to expect some quantifiable progress.
Last month we saw a Lady Republican, of all things, delivering the Republican response to the President’s annual State of the Union address. It was a very nice roundup of all the very nice plans that the GOP has to make America wonderful again, if we all vote for them. The Lady Republican didn’t go into detail [Libruls might steal their ideas] but asked us to take it on faith—vote first, find out later.
One big plus was that the Lady Republican turned out to be a natural at “controlling the message.” She didn’t say anything stupid, obnoxious or hateful the whole time she was on-air. She didn’t actually say anything smart, attractive or inclusive, either, but I still think the GOP gets to count the speech as a great leap forward given recent past performances. Now the Lady Republican can go concentrate on her ethics investigation just like one of the guys.
read the whole post »
Posted by Bette Noir on 02/08/14 at 11:47 AM
Tuesday, February 04, 2014
The Last Sanctuary Of The Terminally Inept*
*I have always felt that violence was the last refuge of the incompetent and empty threats the last sanctuary of the terminally inept. Neil Gaiman
Evidently the Republican Party Retreat last week did little to cure the GOP of its compulsion to punch above its weight on increasing the debt limit. GOP “leadership” are planning to spend the week winnowing through their roster of hostages so that they “get something” out of this next round of negotiations. At least someone seems to have had the presence of mind to quietly increase the term of the debt ceiling hike from the GOP-preferred 3 months to one whole year! because . . . ELECTION YEAR.
Hostages at the top of the list, this time around, appear to be either Keystone XL pipeline approval or the temporary “risk corridor” function in Obamacare. There are good explanations of how the “risk corridor” works to keep insurance premiums stable during Obamacare implementation here and here and why eliminating it is an abysmal policy choice designed to cripple the program.
read the whole post »
Posted by Bette Noir on 02/04/14 at 10:30 AM
Thursday, January 30, 2014
One Sh*t Sandwich - Hold The Bread. Coming Right Up!
Evidently, House Republicans were so inspired by President Obama’s SOTU speech that they stayed up all night dreaming up really cool, bipartisan ways to help him achieve the goals he outlined.
Republicans really hate it when people accuse them of being a do-nothing pack of congressional losers because they have binders—they can show ‘em to you—full of really great laws that would fix so many problems if Obama would just put down his veto pen and quit being such a dictator.
So, this morning, House Republican leaders delivered a letter, to the President, promising to pull four of their favorite 2013 bills out of the circular file and toss them across the aisle and give him one more chance to be a team player, because this is an election year and nobody likes a do-nothing Congress.
Without further ado here are their offerings:
read the whole post »
Posted by Bette Noir on 01/30/14 at 04:23 PM
Wednesday, January 29, 2014
GOP SOTU Response: Talking To Myself And Feeling Old
(h/t Ban T-shirts for their inspired design above)
Well, now, I’ll bet a whole lot of women feel much better this morning after Cathy McMorris-Rodgers invited the nation to join her at her well-appointed hearth to feel the love coming from the new outreachy GOP.
Actually she didn’t do too badly, given her mission, but I have to agree with Ann Coulter for once in my life, that Republicans should ditch the voice coaches . . . whatever.
McMorris-Rodgers did pretty much what I was expecting, stopping short of changing a diaper on camera, reading Green Eggs and Ham to her six-year-old or explaining why she votes against things like VAWA, the Lily Ledbetter Act or extending unemployment benefits when her district has some of the highest unemployment rates in the state.
I have to assume that the idea of putting Rep. McMorris-Rodgers forward was to prove that far from waging a War on Women, Republicans are anxious to welcome more women into the fold. I’m not sure who masterminds such strategies but it’s obviously someone who doesn’t realize that nice, white, traditional values, supermom evangelicals already pretty much vote Republican . . .
I suppose that the rest of American women - single career women, single mothers, college students, senior women, women of color, Native American women, Latinas, poor women, lesbians, disabled women—the bulk of women, in other words, are just not that attractive to the GOP. Or, maybe they realize that they just don’t have much to offer women like that and probably never will.
read the whole post »
Posted by Bette Noir on 01/29/14 at 04:36 PM
Tuesday, January 28, 2014
The State Of The Union Is A Cryin’ Shame
Nothing in recent history has galvanized the Republican party more than the back to back presidencies of George W. Bush and Barack Obama. Bush, who has been deemed by historians as arguably one of the worst US presidents in history, did his party no favors in the public image department.
And the very thought of Barack Obama, the United States’ first African-American president presiding over the Oval Office has driven today’s largely white Republican Party to distraction, eliciting characterizations of Obama as a witch doctor, a Muslim, a fraudulent foreign-born usurper, a Nazi, the evil mastermind behind a New World Order and a Communist among other things . . . not that they’re racist.
The aberrational and reactionary TEA Party wave of 2010 led demoralized congressional Republicans to believe that all was forgiven and that they had a popular mandate to kneecap Obama’s presidency by launching a full-out campaign to obstruct and undermine any of Obama’s policy efforts and initiatives.
Unfortunately their nihilistic crusade has done measurable harm to the country and shows no sign of abating any time soon.
read the whole post »
Posted by Bette Noir on 01/28/14 at 03:45 PM
Saturday, January 25, 2014
Disappointed in Dinesh D’Souza
The situation may well be dire for Dinesh D’Souza, conservative public intellectual, film-maker, and Christmas tree salesman. His recent indictment for charges of campaign finance fraud, for allegedly filtering $20K in campaign contributions to a long-time friend, Wendy Long, through “straw contributors”, could very well result in mandated jail time if he is found guilty. As in the picture above, you could say he’s up the creek on this one, but it’s a very odd thing, if you ask me.
Now, I don’t care for D’Souza, as might be evident by how I’ve written about him in the past. His claim that there is something un-American about being opposed to British colonialism, and selling that idea to people in tricorn hats waving stars and stripes, struck me as a tad incongruous and not without some racialist undertones when I first heard it, and I pretty much determined where his head was at when he quite recently made a tasteless tweet using a dead youth to malign the current president. His sensationalization of Barack Obama’s “hidden” life and times in his wingnut welfare hit (job) movie aimed low and didn’t miss hitting a low bar and stumbling right over, failing to actually be in any way a meaningful criticism of the President, even if a meaningful criticism based on policy from a conservative point of view could have potentially been made—but might not have been “sexy” enough for the president of a smallish Christian college who did not realize that not even being divorced from his current wife would look bad if he was kinda shacking up with some other lady.
But if anything, senationalist hot-button books and movies at least have some lucrative value, even if they don’t live up to what an actual intellectual dissection of the target might mean in actual effect. But this indictment is talking about a mere $20k (is that—“That they can prove” or what?) laundered (to use a term of art) through straw contributors (they had to have consented, yes?) to a campaign that lost so very, very considerably. I mean it wasn’t even close. Twenty large would have barely closed the deal on enough media time to make it remotely competitive. Not disrespecting whether he and the former Wendy Stone went way back—but what makes a guy risk jail time and at least four other
suckers unindicted co-conspirators go in for the thing? Sheer ignorance of the FEC and laws thereabout? This is neither brain science nor rocket surgery, friends.
I get that some conspiracy-minded folks are saying this is a biased charge, but I find it hard to think there would be motion on this without any evidence at all. I’m thinking this is out there because the Feds are dead-to-rights on the 20G’s they know about. Anything they shake out besides that is gravy. I just can’t figure out why.
That’s disappointing. What did he think he was doing there? For a public intellectual, he could be more smart.
(X-posted at Strangely Blogged.)
Posted by Vixen Strangely on 01/25/14 at 01:23 AM
Friday, January 24, 2014
GOP Declares 2014 Year of Lady Outreach
(h/t to Down With Tyranny for the stunning portrait above)
Well! it’s that magical time of year when Republicans hole up with the RNC to plot their next moves and this year should be a doozy because . . . REBRAND!
Apparently, Republicans have weighed their many options—Blacks? Latinos? Gays? Poors? Millenials?—and decided that 2014 will be The Year Of The Lady under the GOP Big Top. In keeping with that theme, one of the very first orders of business for this year’s Republican Retreat was to eradicate the notion that there ever was/is or will be a Republican War on Women.
And anyone who thinks there ever was is most likely a Liebrul slut who mistakes Republican core principles for misogyny. Transvaginal ultrasounds, IRS rape audits and forcing women to buy special lady insurance are simply conservative approaches for saving women from their pathetic dependence on Uncle Sugar to regulate their uncontrollable libidos or being lured into servitude by Democrat welfare checks.
To that end, Republicans have proposed the following resolution for 2014, on which they will vote, today:
RESOLUTION ON REPUBLICAN PRO-LIFE STRATEGY
RESOLVED, The Republican National Committee condemns the Democrats’ deceptive “war on women” rhetoric;
RESOLVED, The Republican National Committee will support Republican pro-life candidates who fight back against Democratic deceptive “war on women” rhetoric by pointing out the extreme positions on abortion held by Democratic opponents;
RESOLVED, The Republican National Committee will not support the strategy of Republican pro-life candidates who stay silent in the face of such deceptive rhetoric; and,
RESOLVED, The Republican National Committee urges all Republican pro-life candidates, consultants, and other national Republican Political Action Committees to reject a strategy of silence on the abortion issue when candidates are attacked with “war on women” rhetoric.
read the whole post »
Posted by Bette Noir on 01/24/14 at 01:07 PM