February 23, 2010

I Still Like Obama

I’m with Marc Ash here – I still like President Obama, for a number of reasons, not just the ones he outlines here – personally, I think the President is doing an amazing job, especially against a disjointed Republican party that’s intent on just stopping any positive improvements he can make because they know the whole “saddle him with the problems and then blame him for all of it when he fails to fix it” isn’t going to work. He can fix it, he has the agenda, and he has the people behind him – they have to stop his activity and slow him down at all costs so they can continue to blame him for any negativity in the state of affairs.

President Obama also has to deal with a fractured Democratic party, a good portion of which is too conservative for its own good and unwilling to get in line behind some of America’s most needed priorities, like health care, jobs, and climate change. He’s got a lot of gridlock to deal with, and yet he manages to spend time pushing his agenda – and all without the help of his party, which is so busy defending itself.

Anyone who enrages Republican wing-nuts as effectively as Barack Obama can’t be all bad. In fairness, he does it without trying. In fact, just the opposite, he reaches out to them, which infuriates them all the more.

All of which can be argued to be “business as usual” for the American President. I guess what I like about Obama is that I get the sense that he would like to, for lack of a better word, change things. The missing link here is what kind of pressure is Obama facing behind closed doors? Even in the public realm we’re seeing unprecedented resistance to Obama’s attempts at reform, from conservative Republicans and Democrats alike.

I like the things Obama has tried to do: Health care reform, foreclosure mitigation, his comments on the outrageous decision by the Supreme Court’s five corporate lawyers to essentially duct-tape a for-sale sign to America’s electoral system. All of these things are a departure for an American President. He is indeed trying.

What concerns me are the things Obama has agreed to: An extension of the US Campaign in Afghanistan, an acceptance of the Bernanke-Geithner “Wall Street must be saved,” mantra, a don’t-ask don’t-tell policy on torture past and present.

I guess what redeems Obama for me is that he agrees to these things without losing his disdain for them. I wanted change, and in fairness change really hasn’t come yet. The intriguing thing is that Obama may actually want these changes too, and seems to. My impression is that he is meeting resistance in a number of significant forms.

Ash dives into the nature of the presidency and of how Obama may not have completely met up to the sweeping progressiveness that brought him into office (part of which I think is somewhat imagined frankly – I think a lot of progressives and liberals – myself included – made him into a super-liberal that he really never was, and never sold himself to be) but he’s pushing as hard or harder than anyone else could in this situation.

Ash also calls out a group that I’ve mentioned before too – fellow progressives.

The tea party crowd is merciless and relentless in their condemnation of Obama, but there is another group that stands just as ready to indict and convict Barack Obama: Progressives. Progressives are just as unyielding in their judgment of Obama, just as determined to derail, to thwart, to oppose, what they see as unacceptable governance. Progressive social objectives may be better reasoned and better argued, however, at the end of the day we may be seeing a Faustian synergy developing between two groups with diametrically opposed social agendas. Progressives and tea-baggers working on separate but parallel tracks to discredit the same president. Strange bedfellows indeed.

We now have a bona fide intellectual in the Oval Office – such things are rare. This is a man of understanding and insight, but his power to achieve change for good is not greater than the dedication of his supporters. Obama has to rally his supporters through a visible commitment to action, and his supporters must be willing to stand tall beside him.

[ I Still Like Obama ]
Source: Reader Supported News

Shocking: Tea Partiers Mostly Rich, White, Christian Guys

And by “shocking” we mean “not shocking at all.”

Tana Ganeva, a fantastic writer at AlterNet and an enlightening follow on Twitter, has an interesting tidbit about the so-called “Tea Party” in the wake of their convention and their rabid display of force over the the CPAC event earlier this week. While the media loved all over CPAC and gave top billing to the radical right and its growing cancerous effect within the Republican Party, they were very busy in the halls of their convention proving exactly how unfit they are to lead anyone, much less their own movement, much less the national government as a whole.

Aside from some topics that I’ve mentioned already, specifically the fact that a lot of the Tea Party rage is your standard white male privilege protection, Ganeva points out that – predictably – the people who are so angry about the state of the government are the people benefiting from the old-boy, privileged system the most:

According to a new CNN poll (via TPM), a majority of respondents who had donated to a Tea Party group or participated in a Tea Party event were male, white, and identified as Protestant/Other Christian groups.

…So real, genuine Americans seem to be doing pretty well for themselves.

None of this should be especially surprising. Most poor people scraping by in terrible, low-paying jobs — or with no jobs — probably don’t have the time to don three-cornered hats and scream about communism.

But there has been an MSM tendency to trumpet the movement as an eruption of populist rage by those crushed in the financial crisis. “Populism” liberals just don’t grasp, of course, because they’re all elitist and stuff. Maybe, just maybe, it’s time to reconsider our use of the word “elite” so it at least slightly correlates with things like money and privilege.

Yeah, that’s pretty sad, but again, entirely predictable. The media has been using the word “populist” in so many different ways that it’s difficult to really understand what the word means. When it was about enforcing new rules on Wall Street, the media termed it “populist rage.” Now again, when dealing with an extremely vocal but very certainly a minority group of rich white men trying to change their image to be “one of the people,” they’re using the term again when their agenda is anything but populist.

[ Shocking: Tea Partiers Mostly Rich, White, Christian Guys ]
Source: AlterNet

The Road to Recovery

Take a good long look at that graph up there. The numbers are indisputable too – the kind of turnaround that President Obama has managed to cause in such a short period of time – and with the help of The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (also known as the Stimulus Plan) is remarkable.

The White House also released a handy video to help people get up to speed with the effects of the plan and how much it’s probably helped them without them even knowing it:

The brilliant thing behind the chart and the video is that it shows that the White House is trying to get back in the saddle about shaping and controlling their message.

Almost just as importantly, this kind of message control is good for calling out Republican congresscritters for bashing the White House on the stimulus plan and then greedily sucking up money for their districts and happily spending it — all while lambasting the President and the government for so-called “wasteful spending;” — all while their home districts are profiting off of the hard work and political will of the President and Congressional Democrats. The truth-telling is becoming so loud that even one very prominent Republican is calling out his own party on their hypocrisy.

[ The Road to Recovery ]

February 15, 2010

Privilege and Fear of Multiculturality

This article was originally posted at the Not So Humble AlterNet blog! Head over there for more political commentary and stories to compliment your reading here!

I caught wind of this article over at TruthDig and was immediately drawn to it – partially because I’ve been seeing yet another spate lately (and this happens from time to time) of people who sincerely believe that having the human decency to respect the wishes of others with regard to the labels and terms you apply to them is “political correctness,” a term that’s essentially spat out by folks who believe they should be allowed to say whatever they want about whomever they choose without having to face the consequences of their actions.

Mind you, these people tend to be largely white, middle-class, Christian males (although they’re not exclusively) who have a horrible case of exposed privilege – their privilege shows in spades, and it’s very clear that as soon as you hear someone dare say something like “you shouldn’t put so much power in words,” or “words have the meaning we give them,” and so on (statements which are philosophically true, but…) that they’re of the crowd who believes their personal speech and ignorance should never be impeded by the impact that those words have on others.

Holding this privileged mindset generally requires the kind of “willful ignorance” that Martin Luther King Jr thought was one of humanity’s most dangerous characteristics – the ability to ignore decades; in some cases centuries; of connotation, history, slander, and slur-use of words in order to “ironically” use them whenever they see fit and then place the responsibility of being offended or concerned at the use of the word on the person or group that’s been victimized by its use.

Essentially the silent follow up to “you shouldn’t put so much power in words” is “I can say whatever I want – the fact that you’re offended or it’s hate speech to you is your problem.” Again, this is a tactic from the privileged in order to continually – without blatantly – subjugate anyone different from them. As there usually isn’t a similar dagger-term for the privileged group, they can sit in a place of privilege and “reclaim” a word (see Sarah Silverman’s horrific – but honorable – attempt to reclaim the word “retard” at the TED conference that’s subsequently been defended by the haughty progressive white male who isn’t progressive because they believe in social justice, but because they believe in their own superiority and ability to resolve the world’s problems in their own image) because they – again from a place of superiority and privilege – feel like they’re doing the minority group a favor by liberating a slur-word from it’s negative connotations.

In the wise words of JSmooth, who does amazing pop-culture, music, and politics videos for IllDoctrine.com, “If you’re not the original target of an insult, you can’t reclaim it.”

That brings us to the Tea Party Convention – which as any of you who read Not So Humble know I loathe to call a “convention,” since it’s more a gaggle of political thuggery and name-calling more than it is an actual convention with sessions, working groups, ideas, and solutions to real-world problems – where good old boy himself Tom Tancredo decided to take pot-shots at the so called “cult of multiculturalism” by suggesting that the only reason the President got elected in his landslide win was because there’s no “test” or “gate” to keep people out of the polls.

That’s right – he’s advocating the return of Jim Crow-style poll tests and taxes. Now of course, he’s missing the point – that highly educated people tend to vote overwhelmingly progressive – but as much as “education” and “ignorance” is his guise, what he really wants to do is keep the poor, disinfranchised, and the minorities from the polls because they tend to vote against him and his interests. And people wonder why the Justice Department still monitors elections closely in southern states (those with histories of this kind of poll-gating) to this day.

Marcia Alesan Dawkins, writing for TruthDig, has some excellent points:

Tancredo is wrong. United States political history reveals our long-standing tradition in this area. In “Before the Mayflower,” Lerone Bennett Jr. recounts how literacy tests were first employed at the federal level as part of the immigration process in 1917. Southern state legislatures adopted literacy tests once African-Americans were granted citizenship rights under the 15th Amendment, as part of the voter registration process. As practiced, the literacy test became notorious for denying suffrage to African-Americans. Adopted by a number of Southern states, the tests were applied in a patently unfair manner and were used, along with the poll tax, to disfranchise many literate Southern blacks while allowing many illiterate Southern whites to vote.

The literacy test—combined with other discriminatory practices that kept African-Americans from attending schools, from particular modes of transportation, from attaining mortgages and from careers in public service—effectively disfranchised the vast majority of people of color in the South from the 1890s until after the middle of the 20th century. Southern states abandoned the literacy test only when forced to by federal legislation in the 1960s. This legalized discrimination caused suffering and turmoil for all parties involved, especially during the slavery period and the Jim and Jane Crow segregation era. Tancredo’s call for the return of literacy and civics tests suggests that those (black and brown) who voted for Obama are incapable of making informed political decisions and are influenced primarily by identity politics. Moreover, it denies the fact that the majority of voters who elected Obama were white.

Then there’s the issue of affirmative action. Like many other reactionary politicians, Tancredo has fallen victim to the misperception that affirmative action policies have done away with institutional racism and moved society beyond equal access to opportunity and into an era of “reverse racism” and discrimination. This has resulted in anti-affirmative action legislation such as California’s Proposition 209, Washington’s Initiative 200 and Ward Connerly’s various racial privacy initiatives.

During the presidential campaign, Obama responded to this issue in his “A More Perfect Union” speech when he stated: “… we’ve heard the implication that my candidacy is somehow an exercise in affirmative action; that it’s based solely on the desire of wide-eyed liberals to purchase racial reconciliation on the cheap.” This misperception that Obama is an unqualified leader who benefited unreasonably from such legislation allows many to assert that a heightened focus on diversity is tantamount to a case of the emperor’s new clothes. Also wrong. Statistics on affirmative action show that white women, such as Tea Party Convention keynote speaker Sarah Palin, have been its greatest beneficiaries, while unemployment rates for African-Americans and Latinos, 15.7 percent and 13.1 percent respectively, rival those experienced by these groups during the Great Depression.

As usual, the conservative right and the psuedo-center libertarians are more than ready to shoot themselves in the foot and bury everyone else because of a misguided interpretation of a few pieces of fiction by Ayn Rand about some kind of inherent social equality that exists when you oh-so-conveniently ignore the fact that it simple doesn’t.

I’ll let Marcia sum it up, since she brings it back around to the issue of privilege, which is near and dear to my heart:

Beneath this fiery rhetoric, Tancredo is calling for tea partiers to retain the twin social privileges of being in the company of people like themselves while avoiding spending time with people they’ve been trained to mistrust. These social privileges are, of course, only corollaries to the tea party’s more blatant call to retain economic interests that, according to UCLA law professor Cheryl I. Harris, the law has established and protected through its construction of white identity. In her article “Whiteness as Property,” Harris explains that the legal construction of whiteness defined and affirmed who is white, what benefits and privileges whites enjoy and what entitlements to property arise from their status. Harris’ work reminds us that we must pay attention to claims like Tancredo’s because they show how whiteness can be used strategically as identity, status and property depending on situation and goal. Here’s a quick translation of Tancredo’s message: Privilege needs protecting.

They’re very interested in protecting their privilege, in keeping the veil right over their eyes. How interested are we in removing it?

Teabaggers? Meet the Brownbaggers

Now if this can form into anything like a cohesive movement, I’ll be a very very happy man. It’s no surprise that there’s some progressive rage to match. Personally, my progressive rage manifests because I see the success that the teabaggers are having derailing politics and turning it into an angry, frothing shouting match where the loudest (but most uneducated and ignorant) wind up winning because no one takes them seriously. I was worried about that trend when these folks started burning effigies of politicians and other people outside of their offices, and when I see cameras trolling their crowds for opinions and coming away with blatantly false, ignorant, racist, hate-filled rhetoric.

Remember, these are the forces that are sending these people to the polls – racism, hatred, ignorance. When I use my metaphor of shining a light on the cockroaches in order to make them scurry, I mean it – that’s the only way to deal with groups and people like this – expose them for what they are. And sometimes, if that means you have to meet them with some of their own guerilla, crowd-sourcing tactics, that’s what you have to do. And I’m not alone in that perspective:

n the heels of the lightly attended over-hyped “Tea Party Convention” in Nashville, progressives are preparing to respond with a movement of their own. The “Brownbaggers” will be showing up in front of Congressional offices to demand “healthcare not warfare.”

According to a press release from AfterDowningStreet.org: “On February 17th, Progressive Democrats of America (PDA) will be joined by CODEPINK, AfterDowningStreet, Democrats.com, the California Nurses Assn./National Nurses United, and United for Peace and Justice in holding brownbag vigils outside (or inside) at least 36 Congress members’ offices.

Brownbaggers are demanding commitments to vote against more money for war. Slogans on their posters include: “Healthcare NOT Warfare,” “Corporations out of Politics,” “Bailout Main Street not Wall Street” and “Brownbaggers not Teabaggers.”

PDA Executive Director Tim Carpenter said, “We have to choose between jobs and wars. The American people are on one side, but our so-called representatives in Congress are on the other. The Supreme Court is busy increasing corporate control of our elected officials. We need to be busy enforcing the people’s control before it is too late.”

Amen, brother.

[ Teabaggers Meet the Brownbaggers ]
Source: Reader Supported News

February 8, 2010

White Racial Resentment Bubbles Under the Surface of the Tea Party Movement

Good old white privilege – it rears its head in so many ways. This time, at the so-called Tea Party Convention (hardly a convention, more like a Klan rally or a gathering of thugs with political ideologies – and I say that clearly; the Tea Party can pretend they’re a real party or a real option as much as they like, but they are nothing more than a group of political thugs masquerading as a group with an agenda – their “agenda” is really “burn it all down.” They are not a political party, they have no platform, they have no plans for America.) Tom Tancredo, mister “proud to be a racist,” makes the claim that the only reason Barack Obama was elected was because, “we do not have a civics, literacy test before people can vote in this country,” as he put it.

Funny, that’s a lot like what progressives said when George W. Bush got elected the second time, but the difference here is that it’s not just dismissable rage, this is actually white supremacist, racist rage bubbling furiously. The Teabaggers honestly believe that Black people, Latinos, and everyone else who doesn’t believe and think the way that they do is somehow idiotic and should be stripped of the right to vote so they’re able to take the reins of power.

…and they call Democrats socialist? They try to tie President Obama with Nazis? Oh to look into the abyss and see yourself staring back in the darkness, eh Teabaggers?

Seriously – these folks are claiming that America needs poll taxes and poll tests like the kind that were used in the pre-Civil Rights years to keep Black Americans – who had the right to vote – away from the polls, intimidate them so they wouldn’t vote, or somehow find a way to disqualify their vote so Republicans managed to hold their majorities in the South.

The simmering movement is the whitest phenomenon on the national scene, evident not just in the millions of Caucasians committed to its cause, but in the bedrock beliefs stirring its anti-government contempt.

How fitting, therefore, that Sarah Palin keynote the movement’s first organized confab. Neglected in all the fevered conversation around the movement’s meteoric rise, and Palin’s selection, is any useful reflection on what the cause and this figurehead stand for: white racial resentment. Packed beneath her beehive is a spitfire brew of optimistic, yet aggrieved, whiteness. Palin embodies a bizarre, sometimes alluring, combination of triumph and complaint that many Caucasian Tea Partiers identify with through and through.

Deciphering the racial codes on the movement’s ubiquitous placards does not require a doctorate in semiotics. One popular sign shows the president’s face and a caption: “Undocumented worker.” Another combines Obama’s image with this caption: “The Zoo Has an African Lion and the White House Has a Lyin’ African!”

Oh yes – if you had any doubt that these folks are racist, and that these folks are the cancer that desperately needs to be excised from the Republican Party, read on:

Denouncing government assistance and free school lunches at a town hall meeting in late January, South Carolina Lieutenant Governor Andre Bauer, a Tea Party supporter, said: “My grandmother was not a highly educated woman, but she told me as a small child to quit feeding stray animals. You know why? Because they breed. You’re facilitating the problem if you give an animal or a person ample food supply. They will reproduce, especially ones that don’t think too much further than that.”

At a Tea Party rally in Boone County, Kentucky (roughly 92 percent non-Hispanic white), Congressman Geoff Davis called cap-and-trade legislation “economic colonization of the hardworking states that produce the energy, the food, and the manufactured goods of the heartland, to take that and pay for social programs in the large coastal states.” In Tea Party-speak, “heartland” often means “white” — what Palin calls “the real America” — while “coastal state” means the urbanized communities that teem with racial minorities, doubling as “gateway states” for Latino immigrants.

“Immigrants are 21 percent of the uninsured, but only 7 percent of the population. This means white folks on Medicare or headed there will see benefits curtailed, while new arrivals from the Third World, whence almost all immigrants come, get taxpayer-subsidized health insurance,” gripes Patrick Buchanan on his blog. “Any wonder why all those Tea Party and town-hall protests seem to be made up of angry white folks?”

How about a dose of truth to round us out, eh?

The bar-stool version of the Tea Party canard goes like this: Why should we, self-sufficient small-town whites, pay taxes to support all those welfare queens, food stamp cheats and Medicaid layabouts in the big cities and coastal states? The media’s version, parroted by Palin and other Fox talking heads, commiserates with Americans in the heartland, christened “the average taxpayer,” for unjustly having to subsidize ethnic enclaves that mooch off the national treasury.

Well, not so fast. A disproportionately high share of our federal government’s tax income comes from racially diverse, immigrant-rich, urbanized states, including California, Illinois, New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts; not from extremely homogeneous, conservative, anti-tax strongholds like Idaho, Montana, Utah, the Dakotas and Wyoming.

All of this is not to say that any given rank-and-file member of the movement personally despises racial minorities. Rather, the Tea Party ethos is a direct descendant of the anti-tax segregationist politics that swept the South in the 1950s and ’60s.

There we go. As if anyone with half a mind really needed any additional proof that the Teabaggers are not just maliciously misinformed, they’re actually taking great lengths to perpetuate and maintain their stupidity in the face of overwhelming evidence. They are, quite simply, proof of how far hatred can take you.

[ White Racial Resentment Bubbles Under the Surface of the Tea Party Movement ]
Source: AlterNet

Fiscal Scare Tactics

Here we are, right back where we started from oh so many years ago – Republicans stand in the pulpit complaining that every dollar that Democrats want to spend is somehow wasted, that somehow Republicans would never spend money when in office (even though recent history – and deficits – prove otherwise) and that somehow putting Americans back to work, providing access to health care for everyone, and cleaning up our air and water are all wasted when compared to the incessant need for bombs and guns – which to be clear, is all the Republicans really spent money on when in office, aside from their own interests, friends, and failed programs.

Paul Krugman, in an op-ed for the New York Times, quite accurately takes on the problem of deficit fear-mongering, which has always been one of the Republican party’s staple tactics. Lately the right-wing has been drumming up the media with “doom and gloom” scenarios of massive deficits and budget gaps, which they conveniently blame on the President’s domestic priorities and not at all on the massive escalation of overseas conflicts caused by the previous Republican administration and its majority in Congress.

Even so, Krugman points out that this fear-mongering is ultimately pointless and is designed to make more of a political point than it does an economic point:

These days it’s hard to pick up a newspaper or turn on a news program without encountering stern warnings about the federal budget deficit. The deficit threatens economic recovery, we’re told; it puts American economic stability at risk; it will undermine our influence in the world. These claims generally aren’t stated as opinions, as views held by some analysts but disputed by others. Instead, they’re reported as if they were facts, plain and simple.

Yet they aren’t facts. Many economists take a much calmer view of budget deficits than anything you’ll see on TV. Nor do investors seem unduly concerned: U.S. government bonds continue to find ready buyers, even at historically low interest rates. The long-run budget outlook is problematic, but short-term deficits aren’t — and even the long-term outlook is much less frightening than the public is being led to believe.

Let’s talk for a moment about budget reality. Contrary to what you often hear, the large deficit the federal government is running right now isn’t the result of runaway spending growth. Instead, well more than half of the deficit was caused by the ongoing economic crisis, which has led to a plunge in tax receipts, required federal bailouts of financial institutions, and been met — appropriately — with temporary measures to stimulate growth and support employment.

The point is that running big deficits in the face of the worst economic slump since the 1930s is actually the right thing to do. If anything, deficits should be bigger than they are because the government should be doing more than it is to create jobs.

True, there is a longer-term budget problem. Even a full economic recovery wouldn’t balance the budget, and it probably wouldn’t even reduce the deficit to a permanently sustainable level. So once the economic crisis is past, the U.S. government will have to increase its revenue and control its costs. And in the long run there’s no way to make the budget math work unless something is done about health care costs.

But there’s no reason to panic about budget prospects for the next few years, or even for the next decade. Consider, for example, what the latest budget proposal from the Obama administration says about interest payments on federal debt; according to the projections, a decade from now they’ll have risen to 3.5 percent of G.D.P. How scary is that? It’s about the same as interest costs under the first President Bush.

Why, then, all the hysteria? The answer is politics.

Heaven forbid the conservatives running around like chickens with their heads cut off acknowledge that we’re in the same position as -or better than- we were under one of their own. Instead they’d rather storm the airwaves with stories of excessive government spending, even though that government spending is what’s keeping the economic engine of the country running right now.

[ Fiscal Scare Tactics ]
Source: The New York Times

SCOTUS Corporate Free Speech

Much love for The Far Left Side, a political comic that’s worth reading if you’re of the progressive political persuasion, and much thanks to Papamoka Straight Talk, one of my favorite political blogs with attitude and biting commentary.

It’s sad, but true – expect that the costs of waging political war incurred by corporate America to make sure their friends get elected (and make no mistake, those friends are not friends of the American people, they’re friends of the American CEO) will be passed directly on to the American consumer. When Exxon and Shell need to raise money to fight political candidates who advocate a clean environment and breathable air and drinkable water, they’ll pass that cost right along to you and I to make sure that their dirty air and filthy water friends get into office – their interests will be not only in poisoning the planet to make a buck, but in making sure they make that buck back out of your and my wallets.

February 1, 2010

Republicans Dismayed by Obama’s Strong Performance at Q and A with House Republicans

I’m definitely one of the people who watched the Q-and-A at the House Republican retreat with the President and yearned for that Obama to be the one who governs from the White House. We caught a glimpse of him again during the State of the Union, and we saw him out in full force when he was striking down talking-point-driven Republicans who asked questions that were devoid of substance and designed only to provoke a response – he handled them with class, poise, and dignity, and laid the smackdown when he had to. I was more than impressed.

Shortly thereafter, Republicans were in a tizzy, trying to come up with more talking points to back up the ones that the President had just shot down on national television like so much skeet at an NRA convention, trying to hilariously claim themselves victorious for even asking the questions in the first place. When cornered, they admitted they shouldn’t have let the Q-and-A be broadcast, because the President said he would be candid, direct, and pointed, and he was: shining the light on the cockroaches of the Republican party and their political degeneracy and watching them scurry away from the light was one of the best things I’ve ever seen….and a long time coming.

RUSSERT: Tom Cole — former head of the NRCC, congressman from Oklahoma — said, “He scored many points. He did really well.” Barack Obama, for an hour and a half, was able to refute every single Republican talking point used against him on the major issues of the day. In essence, it was almost like a debate where he was front and center for the majority of it. … One Republican said to me, off the record, behind closed doors: “It was a mistake that we allowed the cameras to roll like that. We should not have done that.”

Additionally from ThinkProgress:

Accepting the invitation to speak at the House GOP retreat may turn out to be the smartest decision the White House has made in months,” writes the Atlantic’s Marc Ambinder. “Debating a law professor is kind of foolish — the Republican House Caucus has managed to turn Obama’s weakness — his penchant for nuance — into a strength. Plenty of Republicans asked good and probing questions, but Mike Pence, among others, found their arguments simply demolished by the president.”


[ Republicans Dismayed by Obama’s Strong Performance, Say it was a ‘Mistake’ to Let Cameras Roll. ]
Source: ThinkProgress

Glenn Beck Assails Obama and Progressives with Holocaust Imagery

I’ve mentioned before that Glenn Beck is a dangerous man (I’ve been talking about him since he got his CNN post, the one that he thankfully no longer has), and not for the reasons that you might think – not because he’s factually incorrect and manages to spew forth the kind of fecal works of fiction that are dangerous to anyone who might happen to be paying attention (seriously, the IQ of people must go down when listening to his ranting, hyperbolistic, hysterial monologues, like the crazy guy in the street who starts shouting and everyone just looks at quietly hoping he’ll just go away) but because he’s funded and heeled by a political organization that’s posing as a media outlet and news organization.

Most recent on the ridiculous list? Glenn Beck’s pompous, self-important “documentary:”

When Glenn Beck aired an hour-long documentary titled “Revolutionary Holocaust: Live Free or Die” last Friday, it marked a major turning point in the annals of television.

The film, narrated by Beck himself, purported to reveal “really disturbing and shocking stuff,” specifically the “dirty little secret” that progressive political beliefs led inexorably to “some of the most horrifying outcomes in history.” With help from interview subjects like Jonah Goldberg, author of the book Liberal Fascism, Beck linked the progressive political movement to such nightmares as China’s Cultural Revolution and Hitler’s gas chambers. Beck alternated images of the emaciated, tortured bodies of the victims he blamed on progressivism with archival footage of Goebbels, Stalin and Mao.

Behold, America, the future of conservative media.

There was a time when such stunningly irresponsible and historically dubious assertions were the province of isolated individuals holding homemade signs at rallies — but no longer. “The Revolutionary Holocaust” was watched by nearly four million Americans. And it was broadcast by one of the world’s largest media conglomerates, News Corporation, which made no effort to disassociate itself from the program’s content.

You hear that? Normally that last bit is where the media company says something like “the opinions expressed here are solely those of XXXXX person and not representative of YYYYY company or its partners,” etc, etc. News Corp decided “you know what? that’s not necessary – they’re pretty much our opinions too.”

This is where the FCC needs to step in. There are regulations for this type of media abuse, and they need to be levvied against News Corp. For a group of people who like to whinge and whine so much about Nazi-ism and rewrite history so their own ills and sins are washed away and anyone they disagree with is somehow painted as “the bad guy,” they have no idea how quickly they walk down the same path as those they’re claiming to protect the American people against.

“Even if you think I’m wildly irresponsible,” Beck said a few weeks ago, “you have to know that News Corp. is not stupid. It’s a company worth billions of dollars. Do you really think this corporation would risk everything on an irresponsible crazy guy?”

Oh yes. Yes they would. Without hesitation, and that’s why they pay you so much, Beck.

[ Glenn Beck Assails Obama and Progressives with Holocaust Imagery ]
Source: AlterNet