December 27, 2010

Sarah Palin is the “Misinformer of the Year”

I can’t really say this is a surprise, but I’m glad to see that someone who pays attention to media agrees with what most of us already know: Sarah Palin wouldn’t know the truth if it came up and shot a moose in her backyard. Media Matters for America has labeled Palin “Misinformer of the Year,” citing everything from Death Panels to her “broad” experience in foreign policy that turned into no experience at all. Here’s what they had to say:

This year, we’ve chosen Sarah Palin — former half-term governor, current Fox News contributor and prolific Facebook user — as our Misinformer of the Year.

This year, Palin stood out for her sheer ability to dominate our national conversation and draw the attention of the entire news media to her factually challenged claims and vicious attacks. She has blurred the line completely between media figure and political activist.

From spreading lies about “death panels” to cropping Obama’s comments about “American exceptionalism,” from her comfortable perch at Fox News to her self-promoting books and reality show, Palin has truly broken new ground in misinformation.

The video really makes the case, check it out:

[ Misinformer of the Year ]
Source: Media Matters for America

November 29, 2010

Motor Trend Lays the Smackdown on Rush Limbaugh

So Motor Trend Magazine voted the 2011 Chevy Volt as car of the year. That’s not a huge surprise, considering the innovative technology that’s gone into the vehicle and has helped bring it to fruition over it’s long long development cycle. The car is, in many ways, another hybrid on the market, which Chevy won’t shy away from, but the fact of the matter is that this hybrid is electric first and gas second; charges really quickly for an electric vehicle, and lays the groundwork for more and better hybrid technologies in the coming years. All that and it gets amazing mileage, doesn’t emit any greenhouse gases as long as you’re driving all-electric, is low-emissions when you use gas, and it great for the environment.

Who wouldn’t like that?

Oh wait, Republicans and conservatives. If it doesn’t destroy the planet, dirty our air and water, and leave behind a barren wasteland for our children to deal with while they line their pockets with our money, they’re not interested.

And who speaks for them? Of course – Rush Limbaugh – regardless of whether conservatives like to think he speaks for them, he does, and he called out the Chevy Volt with a shotgun barrage of half-truths and outright falsehoods that to any half-trained or skeptical ear would prove that he’s never even SEEN the vehicle, much less driven one or bothered to educate himself on its operation, design, and build process. But hey – the far right has never let a little thing like education get in the way of their pontificating.

So what does Motor Trend do? Respond in glorious fashion, making sure that Rush knows exactly where he stands, and that the public knows what the truth about the Volt really is. They pick Limbaugh apart piece by piece in a glorious open letter to him that includes this gem:

Just remember: driving and Oxycontin don’t mix.

I really hope they don’t make him apologize for that – that’s absolutely brilliant.

Here’s some of the meat of the article’s opener, for good measure:

You said, “Folks, of all the cars, no offense, General Motors, please, but of all the cars in the world, the Chevrolet Volt is the Car of the Year? Motor Trend magazine, that’s the end of them. How in the world do they have any credibility? Not one has been sold. The Volt is the Car of the Year.”

So, Mr. Limbaugh; you didn’t enjoy your drive of our 2011 Car of the Year, the Chevrolet Volt? Assuming you’ve been anywhere near the biggest automotive technological breakthrough since … I don’t know, maybe the self-starter, could you even find your way to the front seat? Or are you happy attacking a car that you’ve never even seen in person?

Last time you ranted about the Volt, you got confused about the “range,” and said on the air that the car could be driven no more than 40 miles at a time, period. At least you stayed away from that issue this time, but you continue to attack it as the car only a tree hugging, Obama-supporting Government Motors customer would want. As radio loudmouths like you would note, none of those potential customers were to be found after November 2.

Back to us for a moment, our credibility, Mr. Limbaugh, comes from actually driving and testing the car, and understanding its advanced technology. It comes from driving and testing virtually every new car sold, and from doing this once a year with all the all-new or significantly improved models all at the same time. We test, make judgments and write about things we understand.

Absolutely glorious.

[ Rush to Judgement ]
Source: Motor Week Blog

October 25, 2010

Another Reminder to Get Out the Vote

Like the video description at YouTube says: Seriously. Vote. Or else everybody loses.

[ Everybody Loses ]
Source: YouTube

Eight False Things The Public “Knows” Prior To Election Day

If you read Not So Humble at all, you know what’s at stake in the upcoming elections and how important it is for progressives and liberals everywhere who care about the future and continued progress of our country – incremental as it is – to get to the polls on November 2nd. The far-right wingnuts and Tea Partyists are definitely headed to the polls, and you bet they’re hoping you don’t go because they know full well they’re in the minority.

Do you need more convincing that a lot of the nonsense we’re hearing in the media amount to little more than right-wing talking points? Check out this fabulous list from Dave Johnson over at the Campaign for America’s Future that I have to lift in its entirety because they are, point for point, critical to be read together:

1) President Obama tripled the deficit.
Reality: Bush’s last budget had a $1.416 trillion deficit. Obama’s first budget reduced that to $1.29 trillion.

2) President Obama raised taxes, which hurt the economy.

Reality: Obama cut taxes. 40% of the “stimulus” was wasted on tax cuts which only create debt, which is why it was so much less effective than it could have been.

3) President Obama bailed out the banks.
Reality: While many people conflate the “stimulus” with the bank bailouts, the bank bailouts were requested by President Bush and his Treasury Secretary, former Goldman Sachs CEO Henry Paulson. (Paulson also wanted the bailouts to be “non-reviewable by any court or any agency.”) The bailouts passed and began before the 2008 election of President Obama.

4) The stimulus didn’t work.
Reality: The stimulus worked, but was not enough. In fact, according to the Congressional Budget Office, the stimulus raised employment by between 1.4 million and 3.3 million jobs.

5) Businesses will hire if they get tax cuts.

Reality: A business hires the right number of employees to meet demand. Having extra cash does not cause a business to hire, but a business that has a demand for what it does will find the money to hire. Businesses want customers, not tax cuts.

6) Health care reform costs $1 trillion.

Reality: The health care reform reduces government deficits by $138 billion.

7) Social Security is a Ponzi scheme, is “going broke,” people live longer, fewer workers per retiree, etc.

Reality: Social Security has run a surplus since it began, has a trust fund in the trillions, is completely sound for at least 25 more years and cannot legally borrow so cannot contribute to the deficit (compare that to the military budget!) Life expectancy is only longer because fewer babies die; people who reach 65 live about the same number of years as they used to.

8 ) Government spending takes money out of the economy.
Reality: Government is We, the People and the money it spends is on We, the People. Many people do not know that it is government that builds the roads, airports, ports, courts, schools and other things that are the soil in which business thrives. Many people think that all government spending is on “welfare” and “foreign aid” when that is only a small part of the government’s budget.

If people want to make this a referendum on President Obama, they’d do well to head over to one of our previous articles where we highlight the Obama Achievements Center – where, even if you don’t particularly think President Obama is progressive enough or effective enough, you have to acknowledge the things he’s done so far and ask the question of whether or not you’d get the same from John McCain if he had won the election.

Great example – President Obama participated in the It Gets Better Project. Would John McCain have done that? Would any of these Tea Party nuts who claim to defend the constitution but have never read it (Christine O’Donnel’s “where in the constitution is freedom of religion” and Sharron Angle’s “There’s a second amendment?” comment prove it) have participated? Never – they’re too busy blaming everyone else for the problems they and their financial backers caused while draping themselves in American flags and claiming to be “of the people.”

Be wary my friends, that Trojan Horse is right outside the door, and there are a lot of clueless people willing to let them in.

[ Eight False Things The Public “Knows” Prior To Election Day ]
Source: Campaign for America’s Future

August 3, 2010

Fool’s Gold: Inside the Glenn Beck Goldline Scheme

You’ll have to click the image above to enlarge – it’s really illuminating.

People have been speculating for a long time about Glenn Beck’s associations with Goldline, and how every time he screams insensibly about the coming economic apocalypse that will be of course completely the fault of liberals everywhere, that you should invest in gold and hide under your mattress until it all blows over and only the good Christian conservatives are left.

What Beck doesn’t tell all of us is exactly how closely related he is to Goldline, and exactly how much money he — and they — rake in from his fearmongering.

Over at the blog The Big Picture, this fantastic timeline of exactly how Glenn Beck is fleecing his viewers and listeners came to light, and it’s amazing to read.

July 19, 2010

Keep in Mind, Republicans Fare Worse Than Obama in Discouraging New Poll

For as much as the media is trumpeting up the standard talking points for a mid-term election; that the party in power generally takes losses and that the party in power is generally the one doing poorly in the polls (both of which are indisputably true) it’s also worth pointing out that even though the Tea Partiers and Republicans are frothing at the mouths about repealing everything the government has done for the American people these past two years, they’re not exactly winning any popularity contests themselves:

There were a couple of trends that jumped out at me, though, beyond the obvious numbers. The first is that the public, while discouraged and pessimistic about the status quo, still doesn’t much care for Republicans.

Respondents were asked, for example, how much confidence they have in various leaders to “make the right decisions for the country’s future.” For Obama, the number is 43%. For congressional Democrats, it’s 32%. Congressional Republicans, meanwhile, is a distant third at 26%. Indeed, while support for Obama’s handling on the economy has fallen quite a bit, the poll asked which political party voters “trust to do a better job handling the economy.” Democrats still lead Republicans by eight points.

Dems aren’t faring well in this political landscape, but it’s not because voters are moving in large numbers to the GOP.

Now that’s a level of analysis you probably won’t find in many media outlets – they’ll stick to the top-level talking points, which are all worth discussing, but they’ll completely avoid digging into the details – it’s not that the voting public prefers Republicans or Tea Partiers, it’s that they’re just unhappy with the pace of the economic recovery and the political process entirely, so much so they’re disenchanted with everyone, not just Democrats in Congress or with President Obama.

This is where campaigning really needs to play a role, and incumbent Democrats and the President need to get out in front of this disillusionment and show the country what they’ve done for them, the good it’s doing, and the fact that voting for Republicans and Tea Partiers will not only take the country back in the wrong direction but will likely have abyssal results for the American people – since neither of those two groups care about the average American nearly as much as they both claim to.

One more tidbit that has to do very much with my last piece on the matter:

There was also this:

“Because of the economic downturn, Congress has extended the period in which people can receive unemployment benefits, and is considering doing so again. Supporters say this will help those who can’t find work. Opponents say this adds too much to the federal budget deficit. Do you think Congress should or should not approve another extension of unemployment benefits?”

It wasn’t even close — 62% want to extend unemployment benefits, 36% are more concerned with the deficit. For those who blocked the Senate from voting on this — three times in three weeks — the argument was that Americans, overcome with deficit-reduction mania, want Congress to stop spending. The evidence to the contrary is pretty clear.

Democrats everywhere – the American people just handed you an ace in the hole. Play it.

[ Keep in Mind, Republicans Fare Worse Than Obama in Discouraging New Poll ]
Source: Washington Monthly

July 12, 2010

GOP Rep. Inglis: Republicans Are “Preying on Fears,” Spreading Messages With Hate Radio

Pay close attention to that headline: this isn’t the normal complaints that progressives have about right-wing talk radio, and this isn’t the normal smackdown that the real media and real journalists levy against the nuts who host these shows, lie on the air, and then complain when they’re called out on their fiction, this is someone in their own corner – someone who would be more likely to be asked on one of these shows than not. Here’s the post:

Rep. Bob Inglis (R-SC), who lost recently in his primary run-off for the Republican nomination to keep his seat in Congress, is speaking out about the influence of hate radio and right-wing fear mongering in the Republican Party. In an interview with the AP, Inglis called out reactionaries like Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck for spreading “demagoguery” and hatred in society:

– Noting that Palin had spread the “death panel” smear, Inglis said, “there were no death panels in the bill…and to encourage that kind of fear is just the lowest form of political leadership.”

– Inglis slammed GOP leaders for following hate radio talkers, rather than leading on principle: “I think we have a lot of leaders that are following those (television and talk radio) personalities and not leading […] What it takes to lead is to say, ‘You know, that’s just not right.”

– Inglis on the right-wing’s effort to divide America: “It’s a real concern, because I think what we’re doing is dividing the country into partisan camps that really look a lot like Shia and Sunni. It’s very difficult to come together to find solutions.”

– Although Inglis did not hear the racial slurs hurled at Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) at a tea party protest on Capitol Hill during the health reform vote, he did see threatening and abusive behavior. “I caught him at the door and said, ‘John, I guess you’ve been here before,’” said Inglis, referring to Lewis’ role in the Civil Rights movement.

Like Inglis, Sen. Bob Bennett (R-UT) lost his GOP primary, despite a similarly conservative voting record. Bennett later slammed the GOP for being held captive to far right-tea parties and Fox News, noting, “I find plenty of slogans on the Republican side, but not very many ideas.” Inglis, who stood out as one of the only Republican lawmakers to publicly criticize Glenn Beck, warned that voters eventually will discover that the GOP is “preying on their fears” and turn away.

The thing here is – as simultaneously funny and sad as it truly is – that we’re watching the cannibalization of the Republican party by its far-right, xenophobic, racist, militant elements: you may know them as the Tea Party. The same folks who are short on brains and short on ideas for actually improving the state of the country unless they involve getting everyone on trains gestapo-style and choo-choo-ing us back in time to where their privilege reigned supreme.

Even Republicans I would be more than happy to stand against are calling out the right-wing media for its kowtowing to these same far right elements and legitimizing them through radio and outlets like Faux News.

[ GOP Rep. Inglis: Republicans Are “Preying on Fears,” Spreading Messages With Hate Radio ]
Source: Think Progress (courtesy of AlterNet)

April 19, 2010

Obama’s Nuclear Summit: Invisible for Conservatives?

True to nature, whenever there’s good news to be had or real leadership shown by the Obama Administration, the conservative reaction is to say nothing if at all possible, especially when they know that being negative will just further marginalize them from the rest of American society.

For example, when the President and the Secretary of State both collectively stand behind podiums in front of world leaders and explain that the threat of a Cold War-style annihilation is lower than it’s ever been but the threat of a rogue nuclear attack by a terrorist or non-state organization is higher than ever, conservatives can’t dispute that because to do so would make them look not only crazy, but contradictory to their own policies less than 2 years ago. (Not that they’re any stranger to self-contradiction – these are the same people who yelled down progressives for “not respecting the office of the President even if you don’t respect the person in it” and less than 2 years later are summarily publishing racist cartoons and training for the woods for the “next Civil War.”) At the same time, only the fringiest of fringe conservatives (and they’ve definitely stood up) can bash the President’s vision of a world where the threat of nuclear weapons doesn’t loom large over the populous of every nation around the globe.

So what do the conservatives do when they can’t acknowledge something good is happening? They just ignore it, of course:

On Monday and Tuesday, President Obama convened a historic gathering in Washington to deal with the most urgent threat facing the globe: nuclear terrorism. Never before have so many world leaders gathered to discuss together how to thwart one of the greatest nightmares imaginable; 47 nations were represented. Though no sweeping treaties or agreements were reached, Obama did succeed on two important fronts. He placed the issue of controlling and securing nuclear material that could be used by terrorists (including al-Qaeda and its allies) at the top of the global to-do list. And he encouraged nations to take their own individual steps. Chile gave up its entire stockpile of highly enriched uranium (HEU), the material that terrorists need to produce a weapon. Ukraine said it would eliminate its HEU stockpile, as did Mexico. Canada agreed to do the same with much of its HEU. (Reducing and controlling HEU stockpiles is the key to preventing nuclear terrorism.) China, Japan, India, Argentina, Pakistan, the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam and Italy each announced nuclear security initiatives.

There’s still much that the nations of the world, including the United States, must do to prevent HEU from slipping into the hands of terrorists. (It only takes a lump the size of a grapefruit to make a bomb, and the bomb-building part isn’t so tough. What’s hard is getting the HEU.) But with this summit, Obama did move the world in a safer direction. He nudged it toward policies that could lessen the odds that one or more of our cities are incinerated by a nuclear weapon cobbled together by a band of evildoers. Everyone — even people who believe Obama is a Kenyan-born secret Muslim with a covert plan for imposing socialism on the United States — should be grateful for that, right?

Maybe not. After Obama’s summit was done, I went looking to see how prominent conservatives and Republicans were reacting to it on the Twittersphere. I found a lot of silence. Newt Gingrich tweeted on Tuesday about a meeting where he would “outline 2010 and 2012 big choice themes 2+2 equals 4 is key concept.” (Don’t ask me what that means.) But not a peep about the summit. Sarah Palin, ditto. Same for Karl Rove. These folks are all active Twitterers, ever ready to share their opinions and thoughts in 140 characters or less. But none saw fit to do so regarding the nuclear security summit.

To that list, you can add other conservative tweeters: John McCain, Michele Bachmann, Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty, and John Boehner.

You bet that if this had happened under the Bush Administration (not that Mad King George would ever have been able to comprehend the issue of nuclear weapons, much less have the will to bring so many world leaders together to discuss it, much less be respected enough by any of those leaders for them to actually attend) they’d be shouting from the rooftops about how important and historic the moment was and how it was a turning point in world history – and, if it had happened under their watch, they’d all be right.

But it was all of those things – it was historic, it was turning point, and it was the first time a lot of those leaders had convened in the same place to discuss the same issues and all agree that it was important. And the simple fact that everyone – including the mainstream media that these conservative wingnuts love to hate so much – covered it, does more to destroy their credibility in some ways than anything they possibly could say about any other issue. Sorry guys, you don’t get to pick and choose the news, and you don’t get to pick and choose what’s important and what’s historic.

[ Obama’s Nuclear Summit: Invisible for Conservatives? ]
Source: Politics Daily

March 22, 2010

Outrageous!

I don’t think this deserves much explanation. Art by Adam Zyglis, and originally published in The Buffalo News!

February 8, 2010

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.