It’s Friday…and that means it is time for our weekly “Chaos Theory” installment of the RLF blog, where we gather together links on a variety of political topics ranging from the sublime to the sublimely absurd…
…and there are always plenty of links, so let’s get started…
POLITICIANS BEHAVING BADLY:
- Representative Gregg Harper’s (R-MS) organization, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus, has been recently called “bipartisan” by Senator Ben Nelson (D-NE). When asked by Polico’s reporter, “What in the world does the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus do,” one might reasonably expect would be an answer along the lines of, “we support the rights and interests of sportsmen, fishermen, and hunters, in Congress.“ What one might NOT expect, was Harper’s response: “We hunt liberal, tree-hugging Democrats, although it does seem like a waste of good ammunition.“ Very nice…very responsible…very bipartisan.
- Representative Michele Bachmann (R-MN), known most for conspiracy theories verging on the truly bizarre, has declared that she will not run for the presidency in 2012. Which makes sense…since she may not even be able to win re-election for the seat she currently holds, as the residents of her district have grown more than a bit weary of her embarrassing statements, and the negative attention they attract. However, Bachmann did provide an interesting recommendation for who she thinks SHOULD run: Representative Steve King (R-IA). That’s right…she’s recommending the man who brought us such hits as being the only vote against a resolution stating that it was wrong to use slaves to build our Capitol, sponsoring his own resolution “recognizing the importance of Christians and the Christian faith,” and very recently stating that gay rights are a “purely socialist concept.” Way to really think it through, Michele…he is a winner.
- I guess Republicans just LOVE Twitter. It’s also being reported…that they love setting up fake Twitter accounts and webpages, where they pretend to be particular Democratic legislators and candidates. They then use these fraudulent accounts to misinform and offend voters. Twitter has caught on and is trying to close all the accounts being used by Republicans in this way. I think I may know why they like Twitter more than actual blogs: on Twitter nobody expects you to actually use facts and defend your position…you can get away with just blurting out a few words of nonsense.
- The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has put out an ad, claiming that Republicans have wasted over 1,000 hours in the Senate, through exploitation of parliamentary rules and procedures. The DSCC does little to show how they arrived at this figure…but I would guess that much of what the GOP has fought for in Congress also qualifies as a waste of time. Need examples? This clip, a spoof on the iPhone commercials, has been making the internet rounds, and I think it nicely sums up the kinds of platforms and positions the GOP is using to distract our attention, delay progress, and otherwise hinder real issues from being addressed:
THE MEDIA – HACKS, PUNDITS, AND OTHER INVETERATE LIARS:
- A Telling List: Want to see clips of the “Top Ten Distortions Perpetrated By FOX News?“ Well look no further than this link. It includes such highlights as accusing an Obama czar of condoning statutory rape, editing a clip of Joe Biden quoting John McCain…so that it appeared as if Biden said the quote, editing a clip of Barack Obama so it appeared that he supported a European-style health care system…when he was actually opposing the idea, AND directly repeating, verbatim, GOP talking points as if they were news. Enjoy…
- Glenn Beck, Part 1: A Hollywood charity is mounting a push to encourage more Americans to volunteer. Since Obama has also supported volunteerism as important, Glenn Beck could only imagine one thing: That Obama is using Hollywood…to turn us into Communist China. No, I’m serious…here’s what he said: “Celebrities are coming together to make it cool to volunteer. Disney gives you a free day at the park. This is all fine, but doesn’t it seem a little bit convenient that all of this comes out now at the same time the Obama administration is calling for it? Obama controls the message through the media he holds in his pocket. Or in his little hand. And soon if you disobey, he’ll just go [Beck slaps his hand]. Now the message will be embedded in television shows. Isn’t this great? Aren’t you proud of what we’re doing? Oh, this certainly is change.“
- Glenn Beck, Part 2: Why is it that every time I write about something Glenn Beck said, I feel the need to also say, “No really…that’s what he said?“ Well, Beck was busy this week providing more ammunition for whomever is filling out the civil commitment papers on him, claiming that progressives/liberals…wait for it…have historically tried to take away everyone’s individual liberties, and could also be called “tyrants” or “slave holders.” <<Sigh>>…
- Neocon Frank Gaffney has claimed in the past that Obama was some sort of “secret Muslim,” that there is evidence connect Saddam Hussein to 9/11 and the Oklahoma City bombing (there isn’t, of course, and shame on you if you didn’t know that), that Sarah Palin learned foreign policy just by living in Alaska, that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq (but that the media hid this “fact” from us), and that Democratic officials who criticized former President George W. Bush…should be hanged. I tell you all this…so it will be of no surprise that Gaffney has no more decency than he has sense. In a recent appearance on Hardball with Chris Matthews, he told Ron Reagan…that his father would be ashamed of him:
- John Stossel of the FOX Business Channel recently condemned Lou Dobbs’, of CNN, for Dobb’s ongoing “rants about immigrants wrecking America.“ Dobbs has now responded, and rather unkindly: “Fox Business News - their new hire John Stossel – weighing in with his own brand of myopic idiocy and no information whatsoever sat down with self-described rodeo clown Glenn Beck…what a self-important ass…He doesn’t understand basic economics…He’s just a silly little trick waiting to do some sort of Libertarian flip…Immigrants wrecking America - I’ve never said anything close to that. As a matter of fact, I embrace immigrants to this country, I welcome them, I want more – and as a matter of public policy, we need them. In no way am I restrictionist, and to hear this ass continue his act over at Fox News. I just can’t wait until he starts blowing bubbles in the air – that’s about all he’s equipped to do.“ That’s right Lou, you never said the “immigrants are wrecking America“…oh, except the time you accused them of bringing leprosy here…oh, or the time you claimed they were forming a conspiracy to take back their old national territory…oh, and remember the time you said they were a threat to the entire middle class, and working people everywhere? Dobbs…before you start trying to play “friend to the immigrant,” and “holier than thou” with John Stossel…you might want to watch some your own clips on YouTube.
- How better to wrap up the “Media Gone Wild” segment of the post, than with an Ann Coulter item. During her appearance on Joy Behar’s talk show, she stated that all Presidential assassins have been liberals: “As I have not only witnessed in my own life but described in ‘Guilty’, every presidential assassination or attempted presidential assassination was committed by some kind of left-wing loon, communist, anarchist, communitarian, or they had no politics at all.“ Behar attempts to point out that this statement is indefensible and patently false…but Ms. Coulter has never been the one to stop talking so that someone else can point out HOW WRONG SHE IS:
COURTESY OF THE PENTAGON AND THE MILITARY INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX:
- Apparently, there are at least 220 detainees at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Prison…which have been found to have had no ties to terrorism, 9/11, or to pose any other kind of threat to the United States…but we’re still keeping them in prison. The Supreme Court is preparing to look at this problem…yet another in a list of how Bush’s use of the military prison conflicts with seemingly EVERY aspect of Due Process listed in our Constitution. A reminder: the base/prison is technically “American soil” and the Constitution does not say that it applies only to “citizens” but rather to all “persons.” On a related note, a group called New Security Action, with the support of a number of retired generals and other veterans, has released a series of ads pointing out that Congress should step aside and allow Gitmo, which has come to represent nearly everything wrong about the Bush-Cheney way of thinking, to be closed.
- No surprise: Turns out the Pentagon was engaged in a highly organized program to sell the American people on the Iraq War and other Bush security policies. Big surprise: Well…it wasn’t so much an “ad campaign” or a “public relations program“…as it was a series of psychological experiments being performed on the American citizenry. Bonus surprise: One of the chief architects of this program? He still works at the Pentagon in the same position. Scully…Mulder…where are you when we need you?
- Most people were a bit surprised at the unmitigated gall of the 30 Senate Republicans who voted against Senator Franken’s (D-MN) bill, which would punish government contractors if they tried to keep employees from reporting rape. Turns out, they’ve got company – the Defense Department also doesn’t like the bill…because they would hate to have to do without KBR, Blackwater, and other companies that threaten/coerce/bribe victims of rape to be silent.
THE HEALTH CARE CARNIVAL OF DESPAIR:
- Amidst all the talk about a “public option,” few are paying attention to a development almost as big. Democrats are very close to being able to strip away the anti-trust exemption given long ago to the health insurance companies, which has allowed them to behave as a monopoly. Want to know why this is so important? We know how the free market is SUPPOSED to work…but when a company is allowed to monopolize an industry or a region, then there is no competition to force the company to have fair pricing and offer good service…which leads to our situation today where the health insurance companies have high rates, giant profits, deny service, and mistreat customers. Also…check out this map. Yes, it’s disgusting: most states’ residents, RIGHT NOW, only have ONE or TWO insurers that they are ALLOWED to choose from. “Free Market Capitalists“…are you listening?
- First it was “fat babies.” Then it was “thin babies.” Then it was “spousal abuse.” What new excuse for denying coverage did we find out about now? Yup…insurance companies, almost all of them, will not allow you to purchase a policy with them if you have been treated for RAPE. To them…it’s just another “pre-existing condition.“
- The push for the public option is in full swing, and polls show it is working. More of the public supports it each day, the House is within about EIGHT votes of being able to pass it, and we heard the surprising news today that the Senate may be within TWO votes. Seriously: TWO VOTES. Here’s a new ad, featuring Heather Graham, explaining why the option is necessary:
- Interesting fact courtesy of Representative Anthony Weiner (D-NY): 55 of the Republicans opposing the public option because it’s “government-run” or “socialism“…they’re currently ON MEDICARE. Weiner says, “Even in a town known for hypocrisy, this list of 55 Members of Congress deserve some sort of prize. They apparently think the public option is ok for them, but not anyone else.“ Yes, indeed.
GAY RIGHTS…OR THE LACK THEREOF:
- Wow: It’s rare that someone actually ADMITS that their argument against gay rights and/or gay marriage is hollow and baseless. Ross Douthat, conservative columnist for the New York Times, was asked while sitting on a panel for “young, bright, neo-cons” what he thought about gay marriage. His response: “I am someone opposed to gay marriage who is deeply uncomfortable arguing the issue in public.“ He explained that his reason for feeling “uncomfortable” discussing the subject, was because his argument against it is purely religious, and that it therefore represents “a losing argument.“ He even went so far as to recognize that because he is embarrassed that he has no real, factual objection to gay marriage…and because he is embarrassed to say what his objection really is…perhaps that means he needs to change his position and support gay marriage. Wow. Again…wow.
- Related to the previous item, a mailing sent out in Maine is attempting to persuade residents of the state to vote “Yes” in the upcoming ballot item to prohibit gay marriage. The reasons that it proposes? I happen to have FiveThirtyEight.com’s summations of the reasons…first, the mailing claims that the new law permitting gay marriage “won’t make gay marriage equal to straight marriage. Instead, it will create a new kind of marriage in which gay people and straight people are equal.“ Well, besides not making much sense…that’s certainly not going to “stir up” too many people. The second reason it offers: “…we may not have proven any connection between gay marriage and public education, our opponents haven’t disproven the connection, and it’s their fault that the subject came up.“ Impressive…that doesn’t really say anything, does it. I mean, it sounds like it’s saying something…but then it just…doesn’t. And third, the mailing offers that, “if gay marriage is upheld, then marriage will exist solely to make people happy.“ Well, it’s hard to see how that’s true…would gay people marrying suddenly make heterosexual marriages “meaningless” and about nothing more than “happiness?” And hell, I know some people who will tell you that marriage has nothing to do with happiness at all…I’m sure they were just kidding…
- Meet Philip Spooner: Want to hear a86-year-old man…lifelong Republican…and WWII veteran who fought on D-Day…defend gay marriage with all his heart? Yeah, me too:
- Despite the calls from Republicans that protecting gay Americans was the equivalent of protecting practitioners of pedophilia, bestiality, and necrophilia…the new Hate Crimes Bill has passed.
- The Nation, a well-known progressive magazine, is publishing a “companion piece” to Sarah Palin’s new book, “Going Rogue.” It’s titled “Going Rouge” and features an almost identical cover, to match the almost identical title. Some conservatives have complained that this might lead to some people purchasing The Nation’s book by mistake. Perhaps they’re right…seeing as both books will likely be placed next to each other on a shelve in the “Humor” section…and due to the fact that many of the people seeking Palin’s book might not know how “rogue” is properly spelled.
That about wraps it up for this week in Reality Liberation. Have a wonderful weekend, and we’ll see you on Monday…