Cliven Bundy’s Racist (On Video) Rant Is Nothing New For Conservatives Who Praise Slavery

America’s most notorious welfare rancher and domestic terrorist, Cliven Bundy, has revealed more about himself and his repugnant ideology. In an interview with the New York Times (video below), Bundy volunteers a bit of his prairie wisdom concerning the plight of “the negro”:

“I’ve often wondered, are they better off as slaves, picking cotton and having a family life and doing things, or are they better off under government subsidy? They didn’t get no more freedom. They got less freedom.”

Exactly! Because who wouldn’t prefer being chained up and forced to work for no pay while being beaten, raped, and traded like the cattle that Bundy grazes illegally on land upon which he is trespassing?

Cliven Bundy

Ever since the Bundy affair became a cause celebre for conservative politicians and pundits, Tea Party and militia types have been heralding Bundy as a patriot and a hero for threatening to shoot fellow Americans who were performing their duties as law enforcement officers. It was only a matter of time before his revolt revealed just how revolting he really is. As a result, many of the people who were lauding him yesterday are backpedaling as fast as they can to disassociate themselves from Bundy today.

Rand Paul called Bundy’s remarks “offensive.” Nevada Sen. Dean Heller condemned them as “appalling and racist.” Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus said it was “beyond the pale” and “100% wrong on race.” Not surprisingly, Bundy’s BFF, Sean Hannity, has yet to comment on this turn of events. While it is commendable that some Republican leaders found the moral gumption to denounce this overt expression of racism, it’s interesting that they had no problem with any of this when it was merely an articulated threat to kill federal agents while using women and children as human shields.

Unfortunately, this newly discovered discomfort with hate speech rings hollow when viewed in the totality of the conservative mindset. In October of 2012, I wrote an article on “American Conservatives Who Still Think That Slavery Was A Good Thing.” It unveiled ten prominent right-wingers who feel exactly the way Bundy does. The list includes conservative icons like Pat Buchanan, Michele Bachmann, and Ann Coulter, explaining why African-Americans were better off as slaves. Nobody was denouncing these racists for their hateful outbursts at the time. So it’s hard to accept that they are genuinely disturbed by these recent comments when the same rancid bigotry is so much a part of their political character. Here are the ten slavery advocates from the article:

1) Pat Buchanan
In his essay “A Brief for Whitey,” Buchanan agreed that slavery was a net positive saying that, “America has been the best country on earth for black folks. It was here that 600,000 black people, brought from Africa in slave ships, grew into a community of 40 million, were introduced to Christian salvation, and reached the greatest levels of freedom and prosperity blacks have ever known.”

2 & 3) Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum
Bob Vander Plaats, the leader of the arch-conservative Family Leader, a religious organization that opposes same-sex marriage, got GOP presidential candidates Bachmann and Santorum to sign his pledge asserting that life for African-Americans was better during the era of slavery: “A child born into slavery in 1860 was more likely to be raised by his mother and father in a two-parent household than was an African American baby born after the election of the USA’s first African-American President.”

4) Art Robinson
Robinson was a publisher and a GOP candidate for congress in Oregon. One of the books he published included this evaluation of life under slavery: “The negroes on a well-ordered estate, under kind masters, were probably a happier class of people than the laborers upon any estate in Europe.”

5) Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson
Peterson is a conservative preacher who articulated this bit of gratitude: “Thank God for slavery, because if not, the blacks who are here would have been stuck in Africa.”

6) David Horowitz
Horowitz is the president of the David Horowitz Freedom Center and edits the ultra-conservative FrontPage Magazine. In a diatribe against reparations for slavery, Horowitz thought this argument celebrating the luxurious life of blacks in America would bolster his case: “If slave labor created wealth for Americans, then obviously it has created wealth for black Americans as well, including the descendants of slaves.”

7) Wes Riddle
Riddle was a GOP congressional candidate in Texas with some peculiar conspiracy theories on a variety of subjects. His appreciation for what slavery did for African-Americans was captured in this comment: “Are the descendants of slaves really worse off? Would Jesse Jackson be better off living in Uganda?”

8) Trent Franks
Franks is the sitting congressman for the 2nd congressional district in Arizona. As shown here, he believes that a comparison of the tribulations of African-Americans today to those of their ancestors in the Confederacy would favor a life in bondage: “Far more of the African American community is being devastated by the policies of today than were being devastated by the policies of slavery.”

9) Ann Coulter
Known for her incendiary rhetoric and hate speech, Coulter was right in character telling Megyn Kelly of Fox News that, “The worst thing that was done to black people since slavery was the great society programs.”

10) Rep. Loy Mauch
This Arkansas GOP state legislator has found biblical support for his pro-slavery position. He wrote to the Democrat-Gazette to inquire, “If slavery were so God-awful, why didn’t Jesus or Paul condemn it, why was it in the Constitution and why wasn’t there a war before 1861?”

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That was two years ago. Since then Tea Party types like Ted Nugent, Ben Carson, and Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson have joined their ranks. For Cliven Bundy to criticize African-Americans as lazy moochers on government subsidies while he is exploiting government subsidized land that he refuses to pay for, is monumentally hypocritical. And the right-wing enablers of his criminality should be ashamed of ever having supported him.

[Update] On his radio program today, Hannity finally weighed in saying that Bundy’s “comments are beyond repugnant to me. They are beyond despicable to me. They are beyond ignorant to me. [...] People who, for the right reasons, saw this as government overreach are now branded because of the ignorant, racist, repugnant, despicable comments by Cliven Bundy.”

So Hannity is more “pissed off” for the poor branded wingnuts (i.e. himself) who encourage terrorism, rather than the actual victims of racial hatred. What’s more, Hannity spent more time condemning liberals for a false equivalency on racism than he did rebuking Bundy.

Also, Bundy held a press conference of sorts wherein he actually doubled down on his offensive views regarding African-Americans and whether they might have been happier as slaves.

Dot GOP: The Next Big Thing In Republican Branding?

The Republican Party has been desperately seeking a solution to what they admit are serious problems connecting with the American people. Their sobering losses in 2012 to a president they were convinced had no hopes for victory shook them to their core. The Republican National Committee published an “autopsy” of the election that conceded its failure to appeal to minorities and young voters, among other critical constituencies.

Since the release of the autopsy, it seems that the party has decided to ignore its conclusions and concentrate on what it calls “branding.” So despite the mountain of evidence from their own internal analysis, the GOP still thinks that their only problem is one of poor communication, rather than their strict adherence to policies that voters have rejected.

Dot GOP

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The latest example of this cognitive disconnect comes with Republicans bragging about their new Internet top-level domain “.GOP,” “Your Street Address in the Republican Neighborhood.” Apparently the missing piece in their path to victory was a website domain like vote.gop. Now that they have fixed that problem, they can rest easy as they coast to electoral success without having to bother with addressing issues like the economy, health care, immigration, or international diplomacy. Commenting on this technological leap forward (that Fox News calls a “potential boon for online organizing”), the RNC said…

“The goal here is to really make investments and be on top of all of the newest in technology to compete with the Democrats and move up ahead of them,” Republican National Committee Press Secretary Kirsten Kukowski said.

Exactly! Because having a domain name on the Internet is the bleeding edge of modern communications. It will enable the Party to join such American institutions as “.beer” and “.porn” and “.Walmart.” It has the potential to corral all of the Party’s supporters under a single digital flag. And what could go wrong? Just because anyone will be able to register a domain with the new moniker doesn’t mean that radical fringes of the Republican universe will put sites up on DumpBoehner.gop, or EndSocialSecurity.gop, or KillDemocrats.gop, or SarahPalin2016.gop. And certainly there would no chance of mischievous lefties posting Nazi.gop, or Scumbag.gop, or AmericansAgainst.gop. [Feel to contribute your own suggestions]

It cost the RNC $185,000 to secure this prestigious Internet real estate (plus $25,000 a year). That’s money well spent if it distracts enough low-information voters from focusing on actual issues long enough to steal an election. That is the central goal of the GOP digital initiative. They have even formed a unit called “Parabellum Labs” specifically to advance the state of their technology and to compete with Democrats. But someone should have told them that Para Bellum is Latin for “for war,” and it is also the name that Germans gave to their iconic Lugar pistol.

The GOP really knows how to work branding. Too bad they don’t know how to legislate or govern or develop a platform that people support.

The ‘Fundamental Flaw’ In The Republican Brand According To Fox News

Always on the lookout for ways to help the Republican Party, Fox News published an editorial by Maggie Gallagher, a founder of the anti-marriage equality group, National Organization for Marriage, entitled “Hey, GOP, want to win in 2016? Fix fundamental flaw in Republican brand.”

GOP Rebranding

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Indeed, the Republican brand has suffered of late with even the Chairman of the Republican National Committee, Reince Priebus, conceding that the problem is so serious it required an “autopsy” following the 2012 election to address the party’s tendency to drive away critical constituencies. The RNC’s “Growth and Opportunity” report identified several areas of concern that included poor outreach to minority voters, alienating the youth demo, and too many candidate debates (an admission that the more people see their candidates, the less they like them).

Now Fox News is weighing in with an opinion as to what the “fundamental” flaw holding back the GOP is. The article begins with a premise with which it is difficult to disagree:

“America’s economic problem isn’t just unemployment, it’s the deadly combination of steady mild inflation and stagnant wages that is leading to pervasive declines in middle class working families’ standard of living.”

Setting aside the curious assertion that “mild inflation” contributes to a “deadly” situation, Gallagher’s recognition that stagnant wages lead to a decline in the living standard of middle class working families is spot on – and something that Democrats have been focused on intensely. Republicans, in the meantime, have been staunch opponents of raising the minimum wage; they have drafted legislation to eliminate overtime pay; they support corporate policies that encourage sending American jobs to other countries; and they favor mergers that result in massive layoffs.

The Democratic agenda is squarely aimed at improving the economic status of America’s middle class, while the Republicans drive headlong into crushing it in favor of the wealthy business elites whom the right mistakenly regard as job creators. [This graphic illustrates who the Real Job Creators are] While Gallagher acknowledges that GOP rhetoric is overly focused on the needs of voters’ bosses, she also dismisses the notion of raising the minimum wage as “feeble.” So what is Gallagher talking about when she refers to the fundamental flaw in the Republican brand?

“One obvious place Republicans could show they “get it” is relentlessly focusing on the pay cut ObamaCare means for many middle class working families.”

Of course! It’s ObamaCare. The cause of the entire world’s descent into a dystopic cataclysm that threatens to devour liberty and thrust the planet into eternal depression and tyranny. Never mind that ObamaCare is actually reducing the financial burdens that have plagued middle class families who have suffered either exorbitant and ever-increasing insurance premiums, or worse, devastating medical bills that drive them into bankruptcy. With ObamaCare the middle class no longer needs to worry about being denied coverage or having their policy canceled should they have the audacity to file a claim. Nor do they need to remain shackled to a low-paying and unfulfilling job just to stay insured.

Gallagher’s retreat to ObamaCare as the universal thorn in whatever right-wingers are complaining about at the moment is absurd in the extreme. But her contention that this is the fundamental flaw that the Republican Party needs to fix makes even less sense. Where has she been the last four years? Undoing ObamaCare has been the single most prominent obsession of the GOP since it was introduced. If she thinks that the Republican brand is suffering because they haven’t done enough to oppose ObamaCare, she may need to take advantage of the mental health care benefits the new law has made possible.

Finally, Fox News frequently does stories about how the GOP can improve their electoral prospects. However, they never do stories with similar advice for Democrats. That may not be particularly fair and balanced, but judging by the advice that Fox is giving to the GOP, perhaps the best thing they can do for Democrats is to keep giving advice to Republicans.

Did GOP/Fox News Plan Fort Hood Shooting To Distract From ObamaCare Success?

As the March deadline for enrollment in the Affordable Care Act (aka ObamaCare) arrived, the White House proudly revealed that it had surpassed the goal of seven million enrollments set by the Congressional Budget Office. It was a target that many thought to be out of reach following the technical glitches that plagued the program’s Internet rollout. Under ordinary circumstances, such an achievement would have dominated the news for several days. The positive glow from having succeeded when most predicted failure could have permanently altered the public perception of ObamaCare which was already trending more positively in recent polls.

The very next day there was a horrific reprise of a deadly shooting at the Fort Hood army base in Texas that has sucked up every ounce of airtime across the television dial. Coincidence?

Of course it is. To be clear, there is absolutely no chance that either the Republican Party or Fox News had any part in orchestrating the Fort Hood shooting, despite the admittedly sensational headline of this article. This has been a demonstration of how Fox News would have responded if the news about ObamaCare was negative and some other news event pushed the bad news out of the spotlight. Fox would have objected strenuously to the media giving the President a pass rather than drooling over a potential White House flop.

This is not conjecture. It is precisely how Fox News has behaved in the past when they alleged that everything from the minimum wage to Syria to immigration reform were deliberate efforts to distract the public from the health care law when it appeared to be in trouble. It seemed like it would just be a matter of time before some rightist conspiracy nut (probably Glenn Beck) would come up with an alien baby for Sarah Palin as an excuse to avoid discussing ObamaCare.

Sarah Palin

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The Fort Hood shooting is a tragedy that deserves the attention of the media. However, it is usually the case that the press will fetishize a story to boost ratings, rather than to objectively inform their audience. Consequently, the uplifting success of ObamaCare will get short shrift following the Fort Hood homicides. Also bumped from the news cycle is the previous press fixation on Malaysia’s flight MH370.

One of the more interesting tangents dangling from the ObamaCare story that is now likely to be ignored, is the utter failure of right-wing critics of the law to predict the eventual outcome. Notable among them is former Bush crony and current GOP Super-PACman, Karl Rove who, when asked about the seven million sign up figure, said with complete and delusional confidence that “There is no way they’re gonna get anywhere close. It just ain’t gonna happen.” And he was not alone in mistakenly predicting failure for ObamaCare long before the numbers were in:

  • Investor’s Business Daily: Obama Just Guaranteed ObamaCare’s Failure
  • Human Events: ObamaCare’s ultimate failure
  • New York Times: Obamacare, Failing Ahead of Schedule
  • Daily Caller: New enrollment numbers suggest Obamacare is hurtling toward failure
  • New Republic: Obamacare Failure is a Threat to Liberalism
  • CNN: Opinion: Obamacare and the failure of half-baked liberalism
  • Townhall: Obamacare Is Failing Because The Product Sucks
  • Newsmax: Coburn: Obamacare is ‘A Failure Already’
  • Fox News: Former Gov. Sununu: ObamaCare ‘a complete failure
  • Fox Nation: ObamaCare: A Failure in Progress

As usual, there is no accountability for the media when they are wrong. It simply doesn’t matter how often they screw up, they will continue to enjoy a platform for their pitiful prognostications. As a result, the press gets to rant for months about what an abject failure ObamaCare is, and when all of that is proven to be bovine excrement, they pretend they never said it and hurriedly adopt a new obsession. Either that or they double down on their lies with no push-back from their pals on Fox. Even still, GOP deceivers like Sen. John Barasso go on Fox News and, without any evidence, claim that the administration is “cooking the books.” And Fox News clown-in-residence Jesse Watters alleges that Obama was “straight-up lying” about the sign-ups.

The GOP and Fox News certainly did not plan the Fort Hood shooting, but they gladly exploit it for their own partisan self-interests. So don’t expect to hear any more about the seven million ObamaCare enrollments on Fox, unless it is to claim that the numbers are fake. Ultimately this will leave Fox viewers in the dark again when everyone but them knows the truth about ObamaCare and everything else that actually happens in this world.

Republican Party Officially Re-Christened Tea Party: Sarah Palin Named Chair

In the past five years since Rick Santelli, a correspondent for CNBC, led a bevy of options traders on an anti-government rant, the Tea Party has gained enormous influence over conservative politics and particularly the Republican Party. Despite their small numbers, Tea Party Republicans have dominated the GOP in Congress and beyond. They threaten establishment Republicans with primary challenges and negative media campaigns. And all of this has occurred while appealing to less than a third of the American people and registering their lowest favorability ever.

The GOP today is no more popular than the sagging Tea Party. Following their crushing losses in 2012, the RNC produced a study that they themselves referred to as an autopsy that contained a laundry list of suggestions for reviving their future prospects. High on the list was expanding their outreach to African-Americans, Latinos, women, and young voters. However, in practice they have only further alienated all of those critical groups since the report was issued.

Recognizing the emerging trends, the Republican National Committee has conceded that they are no longer an effective organizational unit. Consequently, insiders are reporting that the party will soon announce a major reorganization, the principle feature of which will be a re-branding of the party of Lincoln with an even older historic reference: The Tea Party.

Republican Tea Party

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This turn of events may come as a surprise to many rank-and-file Republicans, but hints of this fundamental transformation were visible to those paying close attention. Michael Steele, the former chairman of the RNC, addressed this a couple of years ago saying that…

“It’s important for our party to appreciate and understand [the Tea Party] so we can move toward it, and embrace it.”

The current RNC chair, Reince Priebus (whose name without the vowels is RNC PR BS), has also attempted to erase the line delineating the Tea Party from the GOP saying that…

“It’s not Tea Party tactics. This is what the American people want.”

Of course, every poll shows that that statement is not true. Nevertheless, Republicans continue to wrap themselves in Tea Party linens. House Speaker John Boehner joined the choir saying that…

“There really is no difference between what Republicans believe in and what the Tea Party activists believe in.”

The ribbon round the package has to be Sarah Palin’s admonition in a speech she gave to the National Tea Party Convention:

“The Republican Party would be really smart to start trying to absorb as much of the Tea Party movement as possible because this is the future of our country. The Tea Party movement is the future of politics.”

It may be the sentiment in that speech that resulted in Palin being tapped to become the chair of the newly reconstituted GOP. Sources say that she was chosen by acclamation among an elite group of Republican Party leaders during a closely guarded conclave last week at the Florida residence of David Koch, one of the infamous Koch brothers who are responsible for bankrolling the Tea Party since its inception. Others in attendance were said to include Texas senator Ted Cruz, radio politi-vangelist Glenn Beck, outgoing House Tea Party caucus chair Michele Bachmann, and Fox News CEO Roger Ailes (who was sporting a “Draft Putin 2016″ button on his lapel).

The process of converting from Republicans to Tea Partiers will not begin in earnest until after the mid-term elections in November. After that there will be a flurry of activity from construction and furnishing to letterhead and logos. And by 2016 what was once referred to as the “Grand Old Party” (and more recently as the “Greedy One Percent”) will be a footnote in American history.

But don’t expect these changes to be anything more than cosmetic. The all new Tea Party will still be an intolerant, compassionless, science-denying, theocratic, advocate for corporations and the rich. Whether they are called Republicans or Tea Partiers, they are still committed to wealthy interests and opposed to ordinary working Americans. Some things never change.

[Update 4/2/2014] April Fools! But for the record, the first two paragraphs and all the quotes are true. So the re-branding has already occurred in principle.

War Lusters: Why Are Tea-Publicans So Obsessed With War In Ukraine?

For the past few months (years?), the Republican Party has been fixated on a single issue that crowded out any other topic of political conversation. Terrorism, taxes, climate change, abortion, the economy – you name it – was ultimately shoved aside in favor of bashing the Affordable Care Act (aka ObamaCare). Health care has dominated the news coverage on Fox News on virtually every program. That is, until Vladimir Putin sent his troops into the Ukrainian province of Crimea.

This begs the question: What is it about this matter that supersedes the GOP obsession with ObamaCare? Why is the conflict between a couple of former Soviet states such a powerful draw for America’s Tea Party extremists? After all, not too long ago, Crimea was, in fact, a part of Russia. It was just in 1954 that the Soviet Russian Republic ceded control of Crimea to the Soviet Ukraine Republic via a “Decree of the Presidium of the USSR Supreme Soviet” that stated it was…

“…transferring Crimea Province from the Russian Republic to the Ukraine Republic, taking into account the integral character of the economy, the territorial proximity and the close economic ties between Crimea Province and the Ukraine Republic, and approving the joint presentation of the Presidium of the Russian Republic Supreme Soviet and the Presidium of the Ukraine Republic Supreme Soviet on the transfer of Crimea Province from the Russian Republic to the Ukraine Republic.”

This is not unlike the transfer of authority for Ellis Island from New York to New Jersey by the Supreme Court. The Soviet leadership certainly did not anticipate that their country would break up and the newly independent Ukraine would scamper off with Crimea. Sixty years later, Crimea is still a predominately Russian community. Seventy-five percent of its population is ethnic Russian. And while the referendum vote last Sunday was rampant with obvious fraud, it is unarguable that a majority of the Crimean residents still associate themselves with Russia. The map below illustrates how segregated the population is. In the blue areas the residents speak Ukrainian. In the red area, virtually all of Crimea, they speak Russian.

Republican War Lust

If there were ever a regional conflict that the United States had little business poking its massive proboscis into, it is this one. It’s fine to take sides rhetorically and even to organize a coalition of nations to advocate on behalf of sovereignty and independence, but rattling the sabers of war over a regional matter that is of no national interest to the U.S. is irresponsible and dangerous. Repeating the mistakes of the previous administration will only cost more American lives without securing anything of value for the loss.

Ron Paul, in a disagreement with his senator son Rand, asked the key question saying “Why does the U.S. care which flag will be hoisted on a small piece of land thousands of miles away?” That question has yet to be answered by the likes of John McCain, Ted Cruz, John Boehner, or any of the squawking heads on Fox News like John Bolton, who take a morbid glee in castigating President Obama as weak and ineffectual because he hasn’t launched World War III yet.

The hypocrites who assert that Obama’s foreign policy is responsible for inviting Putin’s aggression fail to recognize that Putin has never looked to the U.S. for permission to embark on his military misadventures. If that were true, those conservative critics would need to explain what it was about George W. Bush’s foreign policy that invited Putin to invade Georgia. Was he also weak and ineffectual, even after invading and overthrowing the governments of two nations (including Iraq, never did anything to threaten the U.S.)?

So what could possibly be the incentive for so many conservative politicians and pundits to so adamantly excoriate the President and advance the cause of war? The first thing to consider is that Obama’s critics live for chastising him, whether he deserves it or not. They frequently scold him even when he is promoting their ideas. Which is the case with ObamaCare, which was originally a conservative initiative developed by the Heritage Foundation and adopted by folks like Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney.

More importantly, there is a thread of Apocalyptic fervor that runs through the ranks of the right. They have an intensity that is rooted in deep faith and a conviction in infallibility that stems from the same source. They believe that, with God’s help, they will overcome any adversity and that the deadly consequences are not worthy of consideration. And even if they fail, it would be God’s will and that they would be Raptured into Heaven ahead of the Armageddon they so enthusiastically await (and some seek to provoke).

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Consequently, military conflict with a nuclear-armed Russia over a border dispute that has no significance for the U.S. becomes an acceptable option. Diplomacy is the Devil’s way and must be rejected at the outset. The military response is always the first one considered by these dedicated Rapturists. And why not? They won’t be around to suffer anyway.

This is an argument that has no basis in reality and for which there is no rebuttal. You simply can’t convince someone who believes that he is the Lord’s messenger that the voice he hears is coming from his own dementia – or from a Fox News chicken-hawk.

Lose/Lose: The GOP Hates You If You Don’t Work, And They Hate You If You Work Too Much

For most of the past century, and especially the past five years, Republicans have stood forthrightly against every initiative aimed at relieving the suffering of low-income Americans. From opposition to extending unemployment benefits to slashing the SNAP (food stamps) budget to blocking an increase of the minimum wage, the GOP has exhibited stark insensitivity to the hardships of working families. And their determination to advance the interests of the rich is consistently at the top of their agenda.

Today President Obama signed an executive memorandum expanding the availability of overtime pay to millions of workers whose employers have been exploiting their labor by classifying them as management, despite the fact that they earn less than $24,000 a year. That classification enables the employer to forgo paying these employees when they work more than forty hours per week.

Republicans came out swinging as soon as the White House made the announcement of the change in policy. All of the typical right-wing complaints about stifling economic growth, killing job creation, big government intrusion, and executive branch overreach, gushed from the mouths of GOP politicians and Fox News pundits.

GOP on Overtime Pay

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What none of these partisans bothered to mention is that putting more money in the pockets of working class citizens is one of the most effective methods of stimulating the economy. These are people who, by necessity, recirculate their funds by spending them on goods and services, thus producing more growth and creating more jobs. Also not mentioned is how this policy will reduce expenditures on entitlement programs due to recipients being raised out of poverty and no longer requiring assistance.

Nevertheless, the conservative knee-jerk response to Obama’s directive predictably ignores the benefits while inventing problems that they cannot support with facts. Their determination to advocate on behalf of the ruling class and the wealthy corporations who oppose these measures is paramount to the Republican hierarchy.

What’s more, the GOP is engaging in blatant hypocrisy by making disingenuous arguments against the changes proposed by Obama, although they never had any such complaint when George W. Bush did the same thing in 2004 when he updated the overtime rules raising the minimum threshold from $250.00 per week to $455.00. That was ten years ago and it’s time to revisit the situation taking into account current economic conditions, inflation, and cost of living increases.

However, what was good enough for Bush and the GOP a decade ago, is seen by Republicans as the destruction of the economy by a radical tyrant bent on crippling the nation today. For some reason, when the Bush administration unilaterally expanded overtime rules with the stroke of his pen it was appropriate and beneficial, but when Obama does it, it is treasonous and unconstitutional.

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That’s the level of logic that this President has had to face for the last five years. And if he is finally getting around to recognizing the futility of reasoning with the obstructionist Tea-publicans in Congress, it is about damn time.

Republicans, Racists, And Boycotts, Oh My: And Why MSNBC Should Be Celebrating

When you preside over a political party that is the subject of frequent criticism for the racist rhetoric of its members and supporters, it might be a good idea to avoid bringing attention to that gaping wound of oozing hatred. But never let it be said that the leaders of the GOP are capable of recognizing a good idea.

The chairman of the Republican National Committee, Reince Priebus, went berserk today over a tweet by some anonymous social media intern at MSNBC. The comment that so furiously enraged him was a reference to a commercial for Cheerios that features a biracial family (video below). It is a sequel of sorts to a similar ad that played last year. Here is the offending tweet:

Maybe the rightwing will hate it, but everyone else will go aww: the adorable new #Cheerios ad w/ bi-racial family. http://t.co/SpB4rQDoAR

That was all it took to send Priebus into a frenzy over what he perceived as a deplorable insult directed at innocent right-wingers. His response was to announce that he would order a boycott of MSNBC unless its president, Phil Griffin, made a personal and public apology. He sent letters to Griffin as well as an open letter to “all Republican elected officials, strategists, surrogates, and pundits,” that said that he was “banning all RNC staff from appearing on, associating with, or booking any RNC surrogates on MSNBC,” and asking anyone affiliated with the GOP to join the embargo.

Fox Nation - Reince Priebus

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First of all, how would anyone know that a boycott had been initiated by the GOP against MSNBC? Most Republicans already refuse to go on the network simply because they know they will be challenged when they lie, unlike the friendly reception they get at Fox. But for the RNC chair to feign outrage over such a trivial tweet defies reason. The message conveyed by the tweet was simply that this heart-warming advertisement was likely to irk many conservatives whose intolerance for diversity is well documented. And where would the tweeter get an idea like that? Perhaps from the response that followed the release of the first Cheerios ad with the same biracial family. As reported at the time…

“A new Cheerios commercial that included an interracial family drew so many racially motivated hate comments on YouTube that the video-sharing website shut down the commercial’s comment section. [...] some of the comments made reference to Nazis, ‘troglodytes’ and ‘racial genocide.’”

With that historical perspective, why would anyone doubt that the same right-wingers who spewed such vile hatred at the ad’s charming family last year, would react any differently today? Conservatives who are offended by the tweet ought to look at their own confederates to understand why everyone else regards them as hardened bigots who would hate the Cheerios ad. It isn’t MSNBC’s fault that conservatives openly express themselves in such a thoroughly reprehensible manner. However, the behavior of the rightists when this ad’s first installment was aired justifies the sentiment in the tweet. For some additional evidence of the unbridled bigotry on the right, have a look at…

The notion that MSNBC would be a target of a boycott simply because they recognized the bigotry that is inbred into much of the American conservative movement is especially ironic when you consider that Fox News, the mouthpiece of the rightist agenda in the media, is so brazenly racist. It’s a network that regularly demonizes minorities as criminals or moochers. What’s more, Fox feverishly advocates public policies that are detrimental to minorities, such as voter suppression laws and slashing benefits for low income workers. If any news outlet should be boycotted for insulting broad swaths of the American public it should be Fox

Which brings us to the subject of hypocrisy by the infuriated right. There actually have been efforts to embargo Fox News and persuade Democrats to avoid appearing on the network. During the Democratic primaries in 2008, the Congressional Black Caucus successfully shut down a Nevada debate that was to be broadcast on Fox. The response by Republicans was that the Democrats were either misguided or cowards, and would be afraid to face our enemies if they couldn’t face Fox. Fox anchor Chris Wallace said that “the Democrats are damn fools [for] not coming on Fox News.” Do these criticisms now apply to the boycotters of MSNBC?

This isn’t even the first time that Priebus has floated the boycott balloon. Just last year he sent similar threatening letters to NBC and CNN because they had plans to produce films about Hillary Clinton. However, he didn’t make the same threat to Fox, who also had Hillary projects in the pipeline. It seems that Priebus is just itching for a boycott, unless the offender is his PR department (aka Fox News).

The pitiful part of this story is that MSNBC has already caved in to the demand for an apology. Phil Griffin issued a statement calling the tweet “outrageous and unacceptable,” which it certainly was not. Even worse, he said that he had “dismissed the person responsible.” That is a monumental injustice and overreaction. This merely proves that the network that conservatives like to demean as unfailingly liberal is just a facade that will collapse at the slightest whiff of controversy. It’s why MSNBC issues apologies every other week and fires people for little reason.

Fox News, on the other hand, is far worse when it comes to offending liberals and Democrats, but they will never apologize, nor do they correct their many “errors” of fact. But if MSNBC keeps bowing down to competitors who seek its destruction, they will remain a perennial loser and shed any credibility they hope to maintain. This silly boycott threat should be cause for celebration by MSNBC. It serves as an opportunity to remind people of why Republicans are correctly perceived to be racist. It relieves them of the burden of making excuses for why the GOP is not represented on the channel. And it allows them to focus on expanding their audience among the key demographics that are most likely to tune in.

What this all comes down to is that Priebus is throwing a tantrum to attract attention and donations. The tweet that started the whole thing was provocative, but perfectly justified. But that doesn’t stop the disingenuous onslaught of phony rage that turns into a ludicrous threat that no one will notice should it be carried out. We are witnessing a drama that is more painfully shallow than the typical reality TV tripe that consumes way too many hours of broadcast time. And, sadly, “Keeping Up With The Republicans” has even less reality in it than you’ll find over at the Kardashians place.

[Update: 1/31/2014] Fox News is cashing in on this controversy. So far they have featured it on The Five, Fox & Friends, and the Kelly File. Greg Gutfeld of The Five injected the mandatory Nazi reference by calling MSNBC a “one-stop shop for master-race-baiting.” And Megyn Kelly asserted that liberals have a “kneejerk instinct to accuse conservatives of racism.” In her segment that featured uber-rightist flame-thrower Brent Bozell, she went on to say…

“They [liberals] saw this ad and said, ‘Oh the conservatives will hate it because it’s a black man and a white woman together in a family.’

Wrong Megyn. They said “Oh the conservatives will hate it because that’s exactly the response they had to it when the first version of it came out last year.” What better evidence can you have of how someone will respond to something than their own prior response?

And this morning Fox’s media analyst, Howard Kurtz, called the MSNBC tweet “an outrageous and really disgusting message,” before excreting this BS:

“You do have to wonder about the culture there, and whether there is such a loathing for conservatives that things that are so clearly way, way, way over the line are somehow deemed acceptable.”

Once again I have to say ARE YOU FRIGGIN’ KIDDING ME? The outpouring of loathing by Fox of liberals (and African-Americans, and Latinos, and gays, and women, and the poor) is a daily – even hourly – occurrence. For Kurtz to say that with a straight face is proof of his total devotion to the dishonest promulgation of Fox’s propaganda, hate, and commitment to the corporatocracy they were invented to defend.

Shaking In Their Boots: The Texas GOP Is Scared Witless Of Wendy Davis

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis must be terrifying to Texas Republicans. Why else would they be resorting to some of the most asinine tactics and ludicrous lies in order to defeat her?

In recent days Davis has been attacked by Republican opponents and the conservative press for a variety of manufactured pseudo-scandals. Among them is a claim dug out of a profile of Davis that appeared in the Dallas Morning News. Apparently her official bio said that she was a teenage single mother who struggled to make a better life for her family through hard work and education, eventually graduating from Harvard Law School. The newspaper noted, however, that Davis was not divorced until she was twenty-one years old and thus not a teenager when she became a single mother. Wingnut media immediately jumped on that discrepancy and howled with outrage that Davis was a liar who fabricated her life history.

Setting aside the fact that the difference between nineteen and twenty-one has no relevant bearing on anything, Davis’ critics also ignore the possibility that she and her husband were separated and living apart for a couple of years prior to their divorce being finalized. This is the sort of trivialities that Texas Republicans find it necessary to distort and exploit in order to smear their foes.

Another example of the GOP’s desperation was displayed in Rupert Murdoch’s New York Post where a headline declared that “Wendy Davis has no future in politics.” The article’s author came to this conclusion after learning that Davis’ second husband was granted custody of their children when that marriage ended.

New York Post

The Post falsely wrote that Davis had “lost custody of her children to her ex-husband.” The truth is that Davis agreed to the custody arrangement for the benefit of the kids to minimize any disruption to their lives. What’s more, the media’s characterization of this made Davis out to be an uncaring mother who abandoned her suffering little babies. For the record, her daughters were 23 and 17 at the time. And they apparently were not scarred for life because they are currently working on her campaign for governor and have appeared in commercials supporting her (video below).

[Update: Davis' daughters are speaking out against the lies, negativity, and hatred that has been directed at their family.]

One of the most ridiculous assaults on Davis came when she was responding to these phony attacks on her character. She released a statement saying…

“I am proud of where I came from and I am proud of what I’ve been able to achieve through hard work and perseverance. And I guarantee you that anyone who tries to say otherwise hasn’t walked a day in my shoes”

Unbelievably, the right-wing outrage machine fired up a charge that Davis was mocking her prospective opponent for governor, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, for the disability that put him in a wheel chair. It seems that old cliches about experiencing things from the perspective of others are too harsh for the tender sensitivities of the American Wingnut. No one with a functioning brain could interpret Davis’ comment as a slap at Abbot’s disability. Thus it says something about Abbott that he ran (well, he didn’t actually run) to Fox News where he whined about how wrong it is to belittle someone for their handicaps. Of course, not only did she not do that, she didn’t even refer to Abbott in her remarks.

Is this really all they have? Has the Republican Party of Texas exhausted every other means of communicating with their constituents? In Texas, of all places, you would think they would have a stronger case to make for their conservative brand of politics. If they will sink this low in Texas in order to defeat a liberal Democratic candidate, they are clearly frightened in a major way. They must be aware on some level that they are a dying breed. They have alienated so much of their base that they are finding it difficult to succeed in territories they used to take for granted. And with the demographic shifts taking place in Texas, and the rest of the South, there isn’t much that they can take for granted anymore. And that’s why we’re seeing this sort of desperation play out in a state where not many expected there to be much of a contest.

Good luck, Wendy. You clearly have them on run.

Ted Cruz Predicts ‘Lawlessness On A Breathtaking Scale’ By The Next Republican President

Ted Cruz has distinguished himself as the GOP’s answer to conspiracy theory superstars like Alex Jones and Glenn Beck. His wild imagination and fantastical declarations stretch the boundaries of absurdity. Consequently, it is fitting that his latest attack on President Obama contains a hidden warning about future Republican presidents. It’s a concession to the unprincipled nature of the conservative movement and particularly the Tea Party faction.

Ted Cruz

Cruz spoke at a policy orientation conference for the Texas legislature held by the Texas Public Policy Foundation (TPPF). The TPPF has a conservative pedigree that includes the State Policy Network, the American Legislative Exchange Council, and numerous Koch brothers affiliated entities. Their agenda focuses on cutting government programs and taxes (i.e.Social Security, education, etc.), opposing health care reform, climate change denial, and generally advancing the interests of big business and energy enterprises.

In his keynote address, Cruz attacked Obama as “dangerous and terrifying” due to what Cruz alleged was “lawlessness on a breathtaking scale.” The Statesman reported Cruz as saying that…

“…from giving relief from deportation to some young unauthorized immigrants to enforcement of drug laws to waiving rules for Obamacare, the president has acted by executive fiat in defiance of the rule of law.”

Of course, there has been no legal finding that the President has violated any law with respect to the issues Cruz enumerated, or any other issue. These are nothing more than the typical ravings of a Tea Party extremist who wants very badly to denigrate a president he despises.

However, in the course of his rhetorical assault, Cruz reveals something about his own party’s unethical aspirations when he says…

“My message to all the Democrats and all the liberals is, what do you think about the next president, maybe a Republican, having the power Barack Obama has as a president who is not bound by the law?”

Setting aside for the moment that, as president, Obama has not exercised any executive authority not exercised by his predecessors, the upshot of Cruz’s warning is that, whatever you think of the legality of Obama’s actions, you cannot depend on Republicans to behave any differently. Cruz is confessing that the GOP will resort to lawlessness once they obtain power. That’s not a particularly compelling campaign platform. Just imagine the bumper sticker: Vote Republican if You Like Criminal Tyranny!

The bottom line is that Cruz doesn’t have any evidence, other than his conspiratorial hallucinations, that Obama has broken any laws, but if he has, Republicans will follow suit if given the opportunity. It’s similar to the GOP’s response to Sen. Harry Reid modifying filibuster rules in the senate. They claimed that it was an unprecedented assault on democracy – and that they do the very same thing if they assumed control of the chamber. So much for integrity.

In the end, America is better off with leaders who aspire to uphold the law and the Constitution, even if they sometimes fall short of their goals. At least they have ethical goals and they will be held to a standard of honor that can be measured. That’s far better than the admitted lawlessness that Cruz is proposing because, once you have declared your intention to ignore the law, as Cruz has done, you can dismiss those who criticize you for it. After all, you told them what to expect if they vote for you.

Republican Congressional Candidate Ties Obama To Crack-Smoking Toronto Mayor

There really is no bottom to the well of indecency that Republicans dig for themselves. If they aren’t challenging the citizenship of President Obama, they assert that he palls around with terrorists. Now we have a GOP candidate for congress in New York who has made the incoherent leap from Rob Ford, Toronto’s crack-smoking mayor, to his opponent and to Obama as well.


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The ad features George Demos who is running against Democratic incumbent Tim Bishop. It begins by asking viewers if they are “tired of politicians?” Behind this narration is a picture of Bishop, Obama and Ford. Demos has an peculiar definition of politicians in that it includes substance abusers in Canada, but not himself, even though he is running for political office.

But it’s the juxtaposition of the repulsive Rob Ford with Obama and Bishop, who have nothing in common with him, that is such a heinous act of character assassination. Demos might have been a little closer to the mark had he used a picture of freshman Tea Party Republican Trey Radel of Florida, who was recently arrested for cocaine possession.

Clearly Demos is more interested in slandering his enemies than in being honest or ethical. His behavior reeks of the bitter, tired politics he pretends to denounce. In that respect, he makes a perfect Fox News-style candidate who projects his own flaws onto his opponents. Although Fox has gone even further to mastering the tactic of labeling Republican miscreants as Democrats.

Fox News

Season’s Bleatings: Republicans Suck The Spirit Out Of Christmas

For a political party that is so fixated on forcing everyone in America to observe the Christian celebration of Christmas, regardless of their beliefs, Republicans sure have a repulsive way of honoring the day their savior was allegedly born.

A visit to the website of the National Republican Congressional Committee reveals a t-shirt in their online store that expresses what they must regard as the joyful tidings of the season. The shirt (priced to gouge at $39.99) proudly proclaims that “All I want for Christmas is to be rid of ObamaCare.”

Republicans

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What a blessed exhortation of the season’s festive mood. The GOP (Greedy One Percent) is obviously excited to begin the gaiety (perhaps not the best choice of words) by wishing that all the young people who have already benefited by being added to their parents insurance should now be cast off. And of course the same thing should happen to all the seniors who have already saved more than a billion dollars on prescription drugs; all the patients whose lives were saved by early diagnosis from preventative exams; all the folks with preexisting conditions who were unable to get insurance; all the women who received prenatal care, etc.

And Republicans are clearly looking forward to returning to the prohibitively expensive insurance policies that kept health care away from millions of low-income working people. And let’s not forget the rising costs of health care that were rampant prior to the Affordable Care Act. The GOP isn’t interested in the fact that costs have risen at their slowest pace in a decade since ObamaCare went into effect.

But most of all let’s rejoice in politicizing a holiday that Republicans pretend to hold sacred. After all, burdening the poor and enriching corporations is the real spirit of the season. That’s why Republicans revere Black Friday, a day when people literally assault one another in order to acquire new things, the day after they supposedly gave thanks for the things they have. And the days between now and Christmas day will be filled with consumption and anxiety and the creation of needless debt, while the WalMarts and the Macys grow evermore wealthy.

So Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good deal on a PlayStation 4 – but no Insulin or appendectomies, or alcohol rehab.

THE FILIBUSTING: Did McConnell Trick Reid Into Limiting The Filibuster?

An historic upending of tradition took place yesterday in the United States Senate. The filibuster, a procedural rule that has stood for a couple of hundred years, was limited in a significant way. After five years of abuse, Democrats finally summoned up the grit to put the brakes on the GOP’s deliberately excessive use of the tactic.

Under ordinary circumstances, the filibuster was used by the senate minority as a last resort when they felt strongly, on well articulated principles, that a bill or an executive branch nominee must not advance. But ever since the election of Barack Obama, Republicans have inappropriately deployed it as a backdoor method of nullifying the presidency of a man they viscerally despise. To illustrate the enormity of the problem, there have been 168 presidential nominees that have been blocked by filibuster. About half of those were the total for the 230 years before Obama was elected. The other half were all during the five years since Obama came to office. Gee, what do you suppose would account for that?

Earlier this year Democrats came within a hair’s breadth of triggering the so-called “nuclear option” (a term coined by then-GOP leader Trent Lott when he was considering doing it). But on the eve of the vote, Republicans promised to quit using the filibuster, except under extraordinary circumstances, if Democrats agreed to call off the rule change. Since then, however, Republicans broke their promise by blocking, or threatening to block, virtually every executive nominee and, just in the past couple of weeks, three appointments to the D.C. Circuit Court. They seemed to be openly daring Democrats to enact filibuster reform.

Under the circumstances, Majority Leader Harry Reid had little choice but to follow through on his prior directive. On a party line vote, he passed a narrow limitation on filibusters that only included executive nominees and judges. Legislative and other business would still be subject to filibuster. Of course, even this measured response that Republicans knew would be undertaken was met with furious indignation. Or so it seemed.

The peculiar thing about their melodramatic objections was that there was an underlying hint of celebration. After all, they didn’t stomp their feet and demand that the rule change be voided. They didn’t swear to reverse this assault on senate tradition and decorum, or repeal it as they swore to do with ObamaCare. Instead they reacted to this reform, that they considered to be akin to tyranny, by declaring that they would make it even worse if given the opportunity. That’s right. This was such an awful turn of events that, should they become the majority party in the senate, they would make the Democrats regret their audacity by exploiting the new filibuster-free environment to its fullest extent. Republicans even promised to expand it to include the elimination of the filibuster for legislation.

McConnell FilibusTurtle

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The parallel to this behavior, were it applied to ObamaCare, would be for Republicans to be so outraged by the insurance reform bill that they would push through universal health care just to show those darned Democrats. Or imagine the GOP so incensed at a Democratic increase in taxes on the rich that they swore to raise them even further when they got the chance. And yes, that doesn’t make any sense. But that’s exactly how they are responding to the filibuster reform.

Very little of the Republican response makes sense. They are arguing that Democrats will regret having nixed the filibuster because it will lead to more Supreme Court justices like Scalia and Thomas. Aside from the concession that Scalia and Thomas are obvious extremists, Republicans seem not to have noticed that they made it to the court despite never having been filibustered. They also seem not to have noticed that the reform passed by the Democrats doesn’t include Supreme Court justices, so it won’t affect future nominees to the high court. Nevertheless, this argument appears to be an invitation to filibuster Supreme Court nominees, an act that would certainly draw the ire of the GOP were it to occur. It should also be noted that the super-patriot Republicans are appalled by what they regard as an assault on the Constitution but, as they are so fond of saying, the word “filibuster” appears nowhere in that document.

Another tack that Republicans are taking is to assert that the changes made by Reid and the Democrats will result in an even more severe partisan divide in Congress. One question: How can the GOP get more partisan than it is now, when they even vote against their own initiatives if the President says he supports them? They could not possibly be more obstructionist if they tried.

So why would Republicans be so giddily looking forward to the new senate rules that prevent them from continuing their filibuster fest? Why would they pick this time to goad Democrats into pulling the nuclear trigger by breaking their promise and throwing up blockades to everything that has come down the pike, even after Democrats warned them that this would be the result? Could it be that they have a renewed sense of confidence that they might retake control of the senate in the wake of the post-ObamaCare turbulence? After having shattered every record for legislative obstructionism, senate Republicans may now be contemplating a favorable outcome in the 2014 midterms, as well as the 2016 presidential election. And if that should come to pass, they don’t want a bitter Democratic minority doing to them what they did to Obama for the past five years (even though Democrats generally do not engage in that sort of petulant behavior). So they create a situation where Reid is compelled to implement filibuster reform, and while pretending to oppose it, they are actually plotting to take advantage of it when they assume the control that they anticipate is coming to them.

It’s a devious plot, but one that may rely too much on their over-confidence in regaining the majority. Today, the President’s polling is in the gutter due to missteps in the execution of ObamaCare. But in a couple of months, if the website is repaired, and people are discovering new and better options for insurance coverage, the polls could just as quickly turn around and Democrats will be soaring past a Republican Party that the public resents for working so hard against their interests. Democrats could even sweep into the majority in the House putting them in a position to enact a broad agenda that includes immigration, guns, the environment, taxes, and more. In short, Republican arrogance may lead to the best hope for Obama to ensure and enhance his legacy.

Bottom line: If Republicans were truly upset with filibuster reform, they would be promising to undo it, just as they have done with ObamaCare? You don’t threaten to expand something that you profess to oppose. Therefore, the only reasonable conclusion is that they secretly support the new rules and may have worked covertly to bring them about. Their outrage is as fake as professional wrestling; as John Boehner’s tan; as a Tea Party intellectual. But their fakery is as real as a heart attack – which is covered under ObamaCare, a bill the GOP also tried, unsuccessfully, to filibuster.

Comedy Or Dementia? Townhall’s “8 Reasons The Republican Party Has A Bright Future”

It’s been a rocky couple of months for Democrats. After suffering through a government shutdown orchestrated by wing-nutsack Ted Cruz and the baleful John Boehner, Republicans embarked on a wild ride of ObamaCare bashing, Benghazi hoaxes, and all around crackpottery of the highest odor. So just in the nick of time the uber-rightist news aggregator, Townhall, has excreted a blast of crapola with the deranged headline, “8 Reasons The Republican Party Has A Bright Future.” Now, there could actually be some plausible reasons for Republicans to be throwing a Mad Tea Party, but the ones itemized in this article are uproariously funny.

gop-bright-future

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1) We have the most potent grassroots movement in politics:
Their very first reason for jumping for joy cites their ownership of the Tea Party. If that is representative of the GOP’s bright future, then they can throw away their sunglasses. The Tea Party has been steadily losing support since their debut. Their “very unfavorable” numbers have tripled since 2010, and they currently can brag about an approval rating of 30%, an all-time low. That’s about the same as the Republican Party itself. And we’re just getting started.

2) 2010 was the GOP’s best year since 1948:
Recognizing a sixty-five year slump hardly seems like a good place to start a celebration. Especially when the only thing that Republicans have to look forward to is looking back fondly on the anomaly of an off-year election where low turnout and corrupt gerrymandering helped them to temporarily win control of the House. Even so, somehow they have erased from their simple minds the 2012 election where they lost to a gay, socialist, Muslim from Kenya, for the second time. And they also lost eight of the House seats, and two in the Senate, that they won two years earlier in their much ballyhooed best year in six decades.

3) We should control the House at least until the next census:
The article makes this assertion without providing any evidence to back it up. It is, at best, wishful thinking. They also seem to think that the past three years of having accomplished nothing more than 47 failed attempts to repeal ObamaCare amounts to “control” of the House. The truth is that, after being handed the reigns of power, they demonstrated their pitiful incompetence and a unique inability to govern. In addition, the article admits that their current majority is the result of gerrymandering, and that their primary legislative goal is to “slam the brakes on government.” However, most polls show that Democrats are in a better position than ever to retake the House in 2014, and last month’s government shutdown helps them toward that goal immensely.

4) The party is thriving on the state level:
They may have a point here. Republicans have concentrated fiercely on state politics for the past few years. Their financiers, including the Koch brothers, have devoted hundreds of millions of dollars to local races in order to hijack state governments for the purpose of suppressing votes, subjugating women, and subverting democracy through partisan redistricting. But Republican governors are still amongst the most reviled office-holders with characters like Rick Scott (FL), John Kasich (OH), and Rick Perry (TX), competing for Biggest Boob in America.

5) Our numbers with minorities are only going to go up:
Huh? Perhaps they didn’t finish that sentence and meant to say their numbers are going to go up in flames. After the 2012 election the GOP conducted what they themselves called an “autopsy,” in which they confessed to having no noticeable support from African-Americans or Latinos. So they set about to remedy that situation by passing laws aimed at keeping them from voting, by snubbing them by refusing to attend the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, and by opposing any immigration reform that might treat them with respect. The article makes the racially insulting and absurd statement that “White Americans tend to vote Republican.” But the actual election results don’t concur. Obama won 40% of the white vote in 2012, which is more than Clinton did in 1992. It isn’t that whites vote Republican, it’s that Republicans are almost all white. Those are two very different things.

6) Short Term: Obamacare means a strong 2014:
So this is what the GOP is hanging their asshats on? To be sure, if things with ObamaCare go as badly in the next year as they have for the past month, Democrats will have a tough time of it. But if the ObamaCare website is fixed, and people like having access to affordable, quality health care, Republicans are going to be punished severely for opposing it. Remember, Social Security and Medicare also encountered resistance in the beginning.

7) Barack Obama gives us a medium term opening:
The crux of this reason for Republicans to cheer is their contention that Obama is “the single worst President in American history.” The article regurgitates just about every assault on the President that was lobbed during the 2012 election. Remind me again, who won that one? Additionally, Obama has lead a recovery from his predecessor’s economic debacle that has seen the stock market soar to all-time highs, businesses reporting record profits, and the only reason the economy isn’t producing more jobs is because the GOP has blocked every attempt to create them, even through infrastructure development that is critically necessary anyway. Then the GOP harangues the victims of their policies as lazy moochers, and moves to cut food stamps. If Obama is giving Republicans an opening, Republicans seem to be scurrying to fill it in with fresh dirt.

8) Long term, the ground is very unfavorable to the Democrats:
Once again, the article has no certifiable facts to support this argument. They quote Grover Norquist and Margaret Thatcher as if they are popular contemporaries whose ultra-conservative rantings are shaping the modern political landscape. Funny…they didn’t mention Ronald Reagan. They also didn’t mention that in 2016 Republicans will be defending 24 senate seats versus only 10 for Democrats. In 2014 the GOP is already setting up their next roster of Todd Akins and Christine O’Donnells. And the way the Tea Party is imploding, Nancy Pelosi will probably be returning to the speakership before too long.

Perhaps the funniest thing about the article is the photo that accompanied it. You really have to wonder whose great idea it was to feature a picture of John Boehner atop an article heralding the GOP’s bright future. But in their defense, who else would they use? Rand Paul? Ted Cruz? Sarah Palin? Or maybe the vulgar Jersey philistine, Chris Christie? Oh yeah, Republicans have nothing but blue skies ahead.

Rachel Maddow Exposes GOP Obstructionism, While Media Is Shocked By Democratic Bipartisanship

Conservatives have been hammering at President Obama for having promised that anyone who wants to keep their health care plan would be able to do so after the implementation of ObamaCare. That turned out not to be entirely accurate. Although, for the most part, those who would lose access to their existing plans would gain access to better, cheaper plans, there would be a few for whom that would not hold true.

Republicans took great joy in blasting the President over this anomaly that probably affects only 3% of the population, dismissing the fact that ObamaCare will benefit tens of millions more than it allegedly harms. They demanded that he take remedial action to permit people who have plans they like to keep them. So Obama announced that he would do just that, which led Republicans to criticize him for doing precisely what they asked.

Not content to take “yes” for an answer, the House GOP drafted legislation to fix the problem. However, rather than simply permiting people to keep their current plans, the GOP bill would allow insurance companies to sell those junk plans to new customers who never had them to begin with. That would seriously endanger the viability of ObamaCare because it take people out of the larger pool of covered individuals necessary to make the program work.

Nevertheless, the bill passed in the House with 39 Democrats voting along with the majority Republicans. The media response to this act of bipartisanship was surprise and characterizations of Democratic defiance and betrayal. It is exactly that sort of closed-mindedness that produces the unprecedented dysfunction we currently see in Congress. Any measure of cooperation is regarded as treason rather than teamwork. And that is also the guiding principle of the modern Tea Party Republican junta.

Fox News

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While Democrats behave in a manner that is consistent with advancing the country’s best interests, Republicans are fixated on crushing the Democrats. Even legislation that enjoys broad support by majorities of the American people is snubbed the GOP simply because it is also supported by Democrats or the President. Rachel Maddow illustrated this brilliantly on Friday’s program (video below).

The examples that Maddow highlighted were all issues that have extraordinarily wide support by the American public. From background checks on gun purchases, to immigration reform, to ending discrimination against gays, to raising the minimum wage, these are all issues that are backed by majorities of Democrats, independents, and even Republicans. But the GOP in Congress refuses to even bring these bills up for a vote, even though their own constituents want them to do so.

Rachel Maddow

This makes the media reaction to Democrats behaving bipartisanly all the more disturbing. It’s as if they prefer the sort of hostility that is routinely exhibited by Republican and Tea Party extremists. And of course, that is precisely the problem. The media does prefer open battling and distrust because it serves its purpose both for manufacturing the sort of drama that generates ratings, and for obstructing national policies that their corporate boards oppose. Here is a sampling of the reporting that followed the House vote:

  • NPR: With Democrats’ Help, House Votes Against Obamacare
  • Politico: With 39 Dems behind it, House passes Obamacare fix
  • Wall Street Journal: Democrats Defect on Health Rules
  • ABC News: 39 Dems Defect as House OKs ‘Keep Your Health Plan’ Bill
  • U.S. News & World Report: Democrats Break With Party to Support GOP Obamacare Fix
  • Los Angeles Times: Dozens of House Democrats back Republican healthcare bill
  • Fox News: Dems in disarry over ObamaCare fix [Note: Fox Nation also ran the same item. For more Fox Nation lies see Fox Nation vs. Reality]

Clearly the tone of the reporting is one that implies a negative result for a small number of Democrats who are portrayed as traitors simply because they had the temerity to agree with Republicans. It is reporting like that that discourages politicians from being productive in concert with their colleagues across the aisle. It reinforces the notion that bipartisanship will be punished in the press, so there better not be any of it.

Apparently, Republicans have already learned this lesson and have staunchly refused to cooperate with Democrats for at least the last five years. The real betrayal is that of the GOP against the nation and their own constituents in order to avoid media criticism, primary challenges, and most of all, to retain power, even at the expense of the national welfare. That’s the thinking that causes Republicans to shut down the goverment and defy the will of the voters. And they have the media to thank for enabling that destructive behavior.

Red State Revenge: Fox News Floats New ObamaCare Conspiracy Theory

As previously reported here at News Corpse, the anti-ObamaCare zealots have deployed numerous attacks on the Affordable Care Act that are based on disinformation and deceit. Their offensive is still in full force as demonstrated by Fox News today.

Fox News

The latest phony issue to emerge on Fox News is the false allegation that the Obama administration is deliberately punishing red states that didn’t vote for him with higher premiums for health insurance. The article published on the Fox News website says that higher premiums are…

“…more likely if you live in a ‘red state’ that didn’t vote for Obama, according to price data compiled by the Heritage Foundation. In red states, premiums for 27-year-olds rose an average of 78% on ObamaCare exchanges, whereas in ‘blue states’ that voted for Obama, premiums rose a smaller 50%.”

Setting aside the fact that the Heritage Foundation is a disreputable right-wing think tank run by former GOP Sen. Jim DeMint, a fiercely biased opponent of ObamaCare, the data imparted in their “study” is far from accurate. What’s more, Fox gets support for their story from Avik Roy, a senior fellow at the rightist Manhattan Institute, which is funded by the Koch brothers.

The main problem with the numbers presented by Fox is that they do not include adjustments by the subsidies that are available to most insurance consumers purchasing plans through the ACA exchange. Roy dismisses that fact by saying that the subsidies will still cost the federal government money, but that doesn’t address the question at hand. Consumers will still be paying less, and those who live in red states will not be subject to any partisan penalty.

The other area that may affect the average prices paid by residents of specific states is the availability of expanded Medicaid service for low income residents. It’s true that these citizens will either have to pay more or go without insurance, but that isn’t the result of any retribution by the President. In fact, it is quite the opposite. All states can choose to expand their Medicaid programs to cover these people and be reimbursed by the federal government for the cost. Governors in blue states are doing just that. However, the republican governors of many red states have declined to take advantage of that benefit. So it is the GOP governors and legislatures who are depriving their residents of affordable coverage and inflating their state’s average costs.

By accusing Obama of orchestrating some sort of revenge against the residents of states that didn’t vote for him, Fox News is again advancing a dishonest argument in the hopes of doing harm to the public perception of ObamaCare, and to the reputation of Obama. There is absolutely no truth to the allegation that Obama has sought to punish residents of red states, and the ACA does no such thing. The American people see right through this cynical scheme as evidenced in a recent poll that shows that more people want ObamaCare to be expanded or remain as is, than want it to be repealed and/or replaced.

All of this leads back to a simple question asked in these pages before: If ObamaCare is as bad as they say it is, why do they have to keep lying about it?

The Tea Party’s Climate Change Denialism Is Scaring Off The GOP Regulars

The Tea Party has always been the GOP’s far-right flank. Despite its small membership and radical views, it has mustered up an undue measure of influence in the Republican Party due to its fanatical posturing and wealthy financial backers. Now a new study by the Pew Research Center sheds light on a profound split between Main Street Republicans and the deep right-field Tea Party. Pew’s research reveals that…

“Just 25% of Tea Party Republicans say there is solid evidence of global warming, compared with 61% of non-Tea Party Republicans.”

So a solid majority of Republicans recognize the reality of Climate Change that is affirmed by 97% of scientists who have studied the matter. But only 25% of Tea Partiers respect the peer-reviewed evidence of Climate Change. While some of the Tea Partiers say that they don’t have enough information as to whether the Earth is warming, a majority of the skeptics stubbornly insist that it’s “just not happening.”

This split between the Tea Party and the rest of their Republican pals in the public at large is not reflected in the GOP representation in Congress where a majority of the GOP caucus aligns itself with the deniers. Nor is it represented in the conservative media that stridently rejects any suggestion that the planet faces any climate risks. The inevitable result of that divergence is that a portion of the population is woefully misinformed about Climate Change. Even worse, the bias disseminated by right-wing media foments a distrust in science and scientists in general.

Fox News
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Consequently we see absurd departures from reality that are based strictly on partisan propaganda. When the White House issued an executive order to facilitate “efforts to improve climate preparedness and resilience; help safeguard our economy, infrastructure, environment, and natural resources,” Fox News covered the event by saying that “Obama uses executive order in sweeping takeover of nation’s climate change policies.” The report had an alarmist tone in warning that the order will “potentially skirt legislative oversight and push a federal agenda on states.” Fox ignored the actual substance of the order that explicitly stated that “This order shall be implemented consistent with U.S. obligations under international agreements and applicable U.S. law, and be subject to the availability of appropriations.” The language addressing appropriations specifically bows to the oversight authority of Congress that Fox denied existed.

Fox’s report further injected a partisan intent on the part of the White House to deliver climate policy implementation to a cabal of Democrats. Three separate times in the report Fox noted the presence of Democrats on the task force that the executive order created. Why that should surprise anyone is a mystery. The President is entirely within his rights to appoint members of his party to executive branch committees. More importantly, why would anyone go out of their way to put the sort of climate science deniers that dominate the Republican Party on a committee tasked with mitigating the effects of Climate Change? It would be like asking atheists to lead the Christian church’s membership drive.

By disseminating false and misleading information about Climate Change, Fox News has been a significant factor in dumbing down the small portion of the electorate that is glued to their network. The more gullible among them, specifically the Tea Party faction, have become ardent opponents of reform measures to address Climate Change. And now it appears that they have drifted so far from the GOP mainstream that they have little in common with the average Republican’s position on this issue.

Nevertheless, the Republicans in Congress will continue to obstruct reasonable reforms that are supported by the majority of America, and even the majority of their party. That defiance is directly attributable to their fear of Tea Party primary challenges and their dependence on Tea Party billionaires like the Koch brothers. Until the GOP unshackles itself from their extremist wing and exhibits a willingness to cooperate on issues where they share common ground, voters must replace them with either common sense Republicans or Democrats. And if the Pew study is any indication, Republican voters are getting ready to do just that.

Breaking Up With Fox News: Guess Who’s Dumping The Network Now?

The YouGov survey group does periodic studies on the reputation and appeal of major businesses and services. It is an indicator of the brands that Americans prefer and regard with respect and esteem.

Included in the study is a breakdown of brand favorability by political party affiliation. Last year the survey had Fox News as the number one brand favored by Republicans above all others (including Chick-Fil-A). The strong showing by Fox was an affirmation of the dependency that conservatives have on an authority to give them direction and validation.

Fox News
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However, in the intervening year a lot has taken place that has deteriorated the bonds that Republican viewers had with their daddy network. They lost an election that Fox had assured them they would win in a landslide. They launched numerous investigations into alleged scandals that, despite Fox’s endless hype, failed to catch on with the public or to prove any malfeasance on the part of the president they despise. They pursued a doomed strategy to shut down the government and threaten to throw the nation into default in an effort to reverse time and make ObamaCare disappear. And they continue to suffer through a relationship with the acutely demented Tea Party whose disintegrating appeal hasn’t stopped them from launching pernicious primary challenges that will inevitably benefit Democrats.

Not surprisingly, the results of the new BrandIndex survey reflect these realities. While Fox News was number one among Republicans last year, it didn’t even make the top ten this year (and neither did Chick-Fil-A). The precipitous decline of Fox parallels falling poll numbers for the GOP, the Tea Party, and the Republican congressional leadership, to historic lows. So just as the Tea-Publican Party has fallen out of favor with the American people, Fox News has fallen out of favor with those who correctly recognize it as the Republican network.

Fox News was already the product of intense PR that fooled people into thinking it was a broadly popular and influential cable news network, when in fact it is only viewed by about 3% of the American population. Yet despite countless hours of programming, and millions of dollars worth of political promotions, Fox has been pitifully ineffectual at swaying public opinion in the last two election cycles. Perhaps that failure of its core mission has contributed to Republicans abandoning Fox and refocusing on more important matters like the “girliness” factor of the new Marine caps and imaginary threats lurking in ObamaCare.

Having lost the respect of the key demographic segment of its audience cannot be regarded as fortuitous in these months leading up to the 2014 midterm elections. However, in the end, some portion of the GOP faithful will surely return to the Fox fold. After all, where else can they go to get such adoration, affirmation, and {free) airtime?

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FLASHBACK: New Republican Party Site Crashes Hours After Launch

For three weeks the Republican Party has been frantically railing about the alleged incompetence of the Obama administration due to the notoriously botched rollout of the website for the Affordable Care Act’s insurance marketplace. Predictable calls for the resignation of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius have come from numerous Republican partisans like Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Pat Roberts, Roy Blunt, Ken Cuccinelli, and Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee.

The condemnation from the RNC chief is particularly notable considering their own history of troubled website launches. In October of 2009, The RNC’s GOP.com was to debut with a grand fanfare trumpeting the arrival of the Republican Party into the 21st century with a modern social network that would set the standard for online politicking. It didn’t quite work out that way.

GOP Website Crash
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When the all new GOP.com premiered it was a train wreck of glitches, bugs, and failure. It crashed entirely within hours of the launch. No one was able to log on. Later it accidentally posted the administrator passwords. A list of GOP accomplishments ended five years earlier in 2004. It falsely listed baseball legend Jackie Robinson as a Republican “hero” (He wrote in his autobiography that “By and large Republicans had ignored blacks and sometimes handpicked a few servile leaders in the black community to be their token ‘niggers.’”). And a “Future Leaders” page was conspicuously (and presciently) blank.

Politico reported that the RNC’s New Media Director, Todd Herman had a familiar excuse, saying that the site was struggling from attracting “an enormous amount of traffic.” And then-RNC chairman Michael Steele laughably responded that “It’s a good thing when you get another email from Todd saying, ‘It’s down again.’”

For the record, CGI Federal, the contractor responsible for the ObamaCare website, is deeply connected to the Republican Party. Buzzfeed reports that…

“[A]ccording to Federal Election Commission records, that company’s PAC gave more to House Republicans than House Democrats during the 2012 cycle — including a $2,000 check for the GOP’s chief scandal investigator, Oversight Committee Chair Darrell Issa. What’s more, executives of CGI Federal personally gave more than twice as much to GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney than to President Obama. The contractor has also feasted on more than $2.4 billion worth of IT work dating back to the early Bush Administration.”

Isn’t that interesting? Especially considering the new and unsupported complaints that the company got the gig due to some sort of sweetheart relationship with the President.

For the Republican Party to take such a strident stand against the President and his team, when they experienced a similarly embarrassing website flop, is hypocrisy on an Olympian scale. The GOP.com website wasn’t nearly the technological challenge that Healthcare.gov is. But Republicans seem to think that an admittedly poor rollout for Democrats is an unforgivable debacle, but for Republicans it’s a “good thing.”

What’s more, the disaster that plagued the GOP was merely a setback for their public relations efforts. At least the Obama administration is attempting to do something that will benefit millions of people, save billions of dollars, and even preserve the lives of Americans who might otherwise suffer due to the greed of unregulated corporations.

The GOP (Grossly Oblivious Party) Thinks It Won The Shutdown Debacle

It’s only been a few hours since Republicans caved in and finally reopened the government and raised the debt ceiling, extracting none of the many demands they previously insisted upon. Every poll shows them at historic lows and election analysts are giving Democrats fair odds of taking back the House of Representatives.

And yet, some GOP politicians are already saying they intend to do it all again in the next couple of months and, this time, they are sure they will prevail because God told them so.

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Now, in support of that blind confidence, Bill Kristol, the man who thought that Iraqis would welcome American troops as liberators; the brilliant electoral strategist who urged John McCain to choose Sarah Palin as his running mate and predicted that Obama wouldn’t win a single primary against Hillary Clinton; that Bill Kristol, who is the editor of the ultra-conservative Weekly Standard and a contributor on Fox News, has published an editorial that claims that Republicans won the shutdown debacle.

Kristol: Republican efforts over the last weeks have reminded the electorate that it is the Democrats who are the party of 1) the nightmare of Obamacare, 2) the burden of the ever-increasing public debt, and 3) the arrogance of Washington, D.C. Those reminders are worth a lot. So while the GOP has paid some price in the recent skirmishes, the greater price, I suspect, will end up being borne by Democrats.

There you have it. Americans will only remember a few of the hackneyed talking points that Republicans tried and failed to make central to the debate over the past three weeks. They won’t recall how the Tea-Publicans put the nation, and the world, at risk by threatening to default on our debt. Neither will they recall their absurd insistence that Obama undo his signature legislative achievement. Kristol thinks that the country will forget the circus atmosphere created by Ted Cruz and a handful of House Republican nitwits – not to mention the ineptness of GOP Speaker John Boehner.

Despite all of that, Kristol suspects that “the greater price will end up being borne by Democrats.” This is a troubling notion coming from one of the right’s most influential pundits. It suggests that the threat of another default and/or shutdown is still on the table.

On the other hand, it also suggests that Republicans are purposefully trying to return control of the House to Democrats. Perhaps they have recognized that they are unfit for leadership and are angling for a way to abdicate without losing face. That’s the only plausible explanation for why they would entertain any notion that there was a victory for them in any of this. It ‘s the only way Kristol could say with a straight face that…

“Now, with the skirmishing over and a tactical retreat accomplished, the GOP has a chance to regroup and rethink, so as to be better prepared for the next encounter in the new year.”

So he’s calling this embarrassing defeat a “tactical retreat.” Isn’t that cute? And didn’t they just complete a rethinking after they lost last year’s presidential election? Reince Priebus, the chairman of the Republican National Committee, published an extensive “autopsy” of the botched campaign wherein they lost the White House as well as two senate seats and nine seats in the House. And apparently they still haven’t learned anything.

And to top off the superb comedy of this column, Kristol built it all around an analogy based of the travails on the Weekly Standard’s Europe 2013 Cruise, which apparently ran into some bad weather and was unable to make shore as scheduled. So he is comparing the GOP to a floundering cruise ship and concluding that they won a proud victory.

Um…OK. It think it’s best, at this point, if we just humor them.