I really hope to fuck that this is true! Via Raw Story:
A revised Republican National Committee schedule released Monday showed a mystery “To Be Announced” speaker would take the stage just before Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and nominee Mitt Romney on Thursday night. Even the Romney campaign said that they didn’t know who it would be.
During a Wednesday report, Fox News anchor Trace Gallagher speculated on some of the possibilities. They included Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT), former Secretary of State Colin Powell, former First Lady Nancy Reagan, actor Clint Eastwood and NFL quarterback Tim Tebow.
But Gallagher also threw out the name of the former president as potential speaker.
“Maybe a hologram of… Ronald Reagan,” he predicted. “They could do it now with technology. And the word is, maybe they just put Ronald Reagan up on the screen using a little bit of media magic to have Ronald Reagan endorse [Mitt Romney].”
“Is that actually a theory that’s out there?” host Megyn Kelly wondered.
“Yes!” Gallagher replied. “That’s a total theory. They could do it.”
You have to love it if someone at the RNC was inspired by the hologram Tupac at the Coachella Festival to reanimate the Gipper. Life in the 21st century sure is great ain’t it? Guy DeBord would puke in his mouth to see such a spectacle, but I still hope this will come to pass. If Reagan fails to materialize like a demon onstage in Tampa tomorrow night, I shall be bitterly disappointed!
(Another theory is that the mystery speaker is Clint Eastwood. Have you seen the reality show Mrs. Eastwood & Company on the E! network with his awful wife and spoiled brat daughter? Tell me that he’s not going senile. He’d have to be!)
The REAL hunger games have begun in the Capitol: This week the House is voting on $36 billion in cuts to nutrition assistance, or SNAP, which would kick 2 million people off the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly food stamps), reduce benefits for 44 million more, and drop 280,000 low-income kids from school lunch.
Visit Half in Ten to learn more—and how you can stop the Capitol from winning.
France handed the presidency on Sunday to François Hollande, who declared that “austerity can no longer be inevitable.” In Greece, Germany and Italy, parliamentary and local elections Sunday were seen as setbacks for austerity measures. Sen. Bernie Sanders saw a lesson for the United States in the European elections.
“In the United States and around the world, the middle class is in steep decline while the wealthy and large corporations are doing phenomenally well. The message sent by voters in France and other European countries, which I believe will be echoed here in the United States, is that the wealthy and large corporations are going to have to experience some austerity also and that that burden cannot solely fall on working families.
In the United States, where corporate profits are soaring and the gap between the rich and everybody else is growing wider, we must end corporate tax loopholes and start making the wealthy pay their fair share of taxes. At the same time, we must protect Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Austerity, yes, but for millionaires and billionaires, not the working families of this country.”
It was announced in a press conference yesterday that US Marshals have crossed another name off the “America’s Most Wanted” list, a man known variously as “Bobby Thompson,” “Anderson Yazzie” and “Ronnie Brittain,” who is accused of creating a fake veterans charity that funneled money to state and national Republican candidates, including President George Bush, Senator John McCain and House Speaker John Boehner
U.S. Marshals captured “Thompson” late Monday evening in Portland, OR. outside of Biddy McGraw’s Irish Pub with a backpack full of cash and fake IDs. Authorities say that they still don’t know what their captive’s real name is—he signed the booking sheet at the jail with an “X”—and the former fugitive is refusing to talk. Investigators tracked “Thompson” across eight states before he was apprehended. 99% of the $100 million is unaccounted for.
Between the early 2000s and 2010, a man using the alias “Bobby Thompson” collected millions from unsuspecting donors for the charity U.S. Navy Veterans Association (USNVA), which claimed to provide support for members of the U.S. Armed Forces. Officials believe that very little, if any, of the money was ever used as intended, according to the U.S. Marshal Service.
To help legitimize his charity, Thompson allegedly donated part of the ill-gotten funds to Republican candidates like former President George W. Bush, former Republican presidential candidate John McCain and House Speaker John Boehner.
Republican Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli reportedly personally pleaded with Thompson for donations and received $55,000 for his effort, making Thompson Cuccinelli’s second-largest donor. Cuccinelli was eventually forced to turn over the tainted money to veterans support groups.
Over the years, Thompson also attended the 2008 Republican National Convention and numerous fundraisers. The Roanoke Times obtained photos of Thompson posing with Bush, Boehner and McCain — as well as Rep. Adam Putnam (R-FL), former Bush adviser Karl Rove and former Republican New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani.
Thompson fled in 2010 after learning of a criminal investigation in several states. He was later charged with unlawful flight to avoid prosecution, identity theft, fraud and money laundering.
“Thompson” is currently being held in the Multnomah County Jail and is expected to be extradited shortly to Cuyahoga County, Ohio, where he was first indicted.
Below, an ABC News story about the scam from last Fall:
Huh? Newt Gingrich is still dropping out of the Republican presidential primary race?
Wait a minute. I thought that… Didn’t he already drop out? Last week?
Is he doing it again?
Although it sure seemed like Gingrich pulled out last week, it was really just another coy act of Newtus interruptus. He didn’t technically drop out, drop out, last week, Gingrich was only giving the media some, er, polite advance notice that he was going to drop out next week, which is now this week. Then he was supposed to make the “big announcement” that no one gives a flying fuck about today, I’d read, but that didn’t occur either (not like all that mainstream media OWS coverage was exactly crowding him out, ostensibly this was a slow news day, wasn’t it?).
Pathetically, and perhaps in a last gasp desperate bid to give the world’s news media one final chance to send camera crews (or even just an unpaid intern) to cover this historic event, Newt told the “insiders” who are his “close personal friends” and supporters via an amateurish YouTube clip (see below) that tomorrow is now the big day that he will again announce the same thing he just said in the YouTube video and that we all already knew from last week. Is he milking this shit or what?
Tomorrow it’ll be officially, officially official:
We won’t have Newt Gingrich to kick around anymore.
Lest any non-American readers be confused by how such a hideous and disgusting human being as Newt Gingrich could become a Presidential candidate of one of the two major American political parties—and not merely a candidate, but briefly the front-runner—wonder no more: He never was a plausible candidate in the first place, certainly no more likely to end up with the GOP nod than Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum, Herman Cain or Ron Paul.
American politicians tend to, uh, “ordain” themselves and Gingrich, who has always seen himself as a “great man” (despite all of the vast piles of historical evidence that show him to be a nasty, brutish, power-mad, egotistical, tantrum-prone, OCD philanderer without a self-reflexive bone in his body), felt his “calling” and blah, blah, blah, but make no mistake about it, Newton Leroy Gingrich never had an ice cube’s chance in Hell of becoming the leader of the free world, no matter how many times he CRAVENLY and TRANSPARENTLY invited comparisons to Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan that NO ONE cared to make on his behalf or repeat, except to mock him!
As a candidate, Gingrich always was DOA. His brief front-runner status was puzzling, if not exactly all that alarming, because it was obviously so temporary and insignificant (In the end Gingrich received 2.5 million votes in a country of 300 million people, for a little perspective). That he got anywhere whatsoever is testament to his “fundamental” ORNERY VICIOUSNESS that appeals to the large, but dwindling, All-American demographic of older, Fox News-watching white dudes. For a brief, shining minute there, Newt looked like their knight in shining armor, the one who would say the nastiest things to that Kenyan Socialist occupying the White House.
Gingrich threw some red meat meanness to the idiots and they started barking and clapping like seals. Even dumbshit Sarah Palin got on board the Newt train, the low IQ “real America” seal of approval.
I’ll repeat myself for our non-American readers, Gingrich had no chance of ever getting elected President. None. Zero. Zip. His odds of becoming the POTUS were only slightly higher than yours or mine because he managed to convince a dimwitted billionaire casino magnate to drop MILLIONS OF DOLLARS on his pointless vanity candidacy and because, well, because fuckin’ South Carolina, ‘nuff said.
There is probably only but one man in America who seriously believed that Newton Leroy Gingrich could ever become the President of the United States and that one man also happens to be named Newton Leroy Gingrich. The idea that this repulsive, hypocritical turd would ever find himself in a position of elected power again, is, of course, preposterous on the face of it. Everyone—except say for Newt himself (and maybe Callista and maybe Sheldon Adelson) knew he was a no-hoper from the start. The only surprise for me was that he was taken more seriously by the media than either Buddy Roemer or Gary Johnson, both credible former GOP governors, both horses in the race with, you’d think, far better chances with voters than the decidedly unpopular Newt Gingrich. Hell, Scott Walker has a better chance of becoming president than Gingrich ever did.
Truly, it would have been fantastic to have seen Gingrich get the GOP nomination, strictly from the lulz perspective of seeing the Republicans utterly destroyed in a national election, but you’d have to sift through trillions upon trillions of alternate universes to find the one in which the pretty blonde “Stepford wife” Calista kissed a disgusting salamander that would turn into the POTUS (it’s a parallel dimension where gravity has failed, “fun” has been outlawed and Snookie is the Secretary of Spray Tans). It’s never, ever going to happen.
(If Gingrich’s presidential ambitions aren’t totally dead, my advice to him would be to become cryogenically frozen and then get himself defrosted a couple of hundred years from now like in Idiocracy. Under those circumstances, he might stand a chance! (As Paul Krugman memorably quipped about him, Newt Gingrich is a “stupid man’s idea of what a smart person sounds like.” Vicious, but too, too true.)
In the end, rest assured, dear “foreign” readers and make no mistake about it: If there was a devastating nuclear war and the sitting President—whoever he may be—his entire cabinet, every member of Congress and every single high ranking member of the US military were dead and Newt came forward from the political wilderness, just like his inspiration, Winston Churchill, and selflessly offered to lead a tattered and broken nation, the nearest person with a loaded gun and a lick of sense would shoot the guy right in the fucking face without a moment’s hesitation!
Newt Gingrich, we hardly knew ye! You’ve obviously got nowhere to go but… away.
Now piss off, you slimy amphibian. For good this time.
I’ve been saying this for over a decade, and it’s becoming increasingly obvious with each passing year: The Republican Party, no matter what they do or how they position themselves, are basically toast after the 2012 election. Long predicted demographic trends that doom the GOP as a national majority party by 2016, are here NOW. And there is really nothing much they can do about it at this point.
Unless, of course, in November they take the White House, the Senate, hold on to the House and then ram thorough laws revoking the voting rights of anybody save for old white people who watch Fox News. If not, they’re fucked. and I mean fucked fucked. They know it, too.
There’s a not-so-silent subtext that comes through loud and clear in virtually all of the Republican messaging this year: “We’re desperate. Help us cement a wealthy Caucasian oligarchy in place before it’s too late and our way of life is finished!”
What are the three demographic groups whose electoral impact is growing fastest? Hispanics, women and young people. Who are Republicans pissing off the most? Latinos, women, and young people.
It’s almost as if the GOP can’t help itself.
Start with Hispanic voters, whose electoral heft keeps growing as they comprise an ever-larger portion of the electorate. Hispanics now favor President Obama over Romney by more than two to one, according to a recent Pew poll.
The movement of Hispanics into the Democratic camp has been going on for decades. What are Republicans doing to woo them back? Replicating California Republican Governor Pete Wilson’s disastrous support almost twenty years ago for Proposition 187 – which would have screened out undocumented immigrants from public schools, health care, and other social services, and required law-enforcement officials to report any “suspected” illegals. (Wilson, you may remember, lost that year’s election, and California’s Republican Party has never recovered.)
The Arizona law now before the Supreme Court – sponsored by Republicans in the state and copied by Republican legislators and governors in several others – would authorize police to stop anyone looking Hispanic and demand proof of citizenship. It’s nativism disguised as law enforcement.
Romney is trying to distance himself from that law, but it’s not working. That may be because he dubbed it a “model law” during February’s Republican primary debate in Arizona, and because its author (former state senator Russell Pearce, who was ousted in a special election last November largely by angry Hispanic voters) says he’s working closely with Romney advisers.
Hispanics are also reacting to Romney’s attack just a few months ago on GOP rival Texas Governor Rick Perry for supporting in-state tuition at the University of Texas for children of undocumented immigrants. And to Romney’s advocacy of what he calls “self-deportation” – making life so difficult for undocumented immigrants and their families that they choose to leave.
As if all this weren’t enough, the GOP has been pushing voter ID laws all over America, whose obvious aim is to intimidate Hispanic voters so they won’t come to the polls. But they may have the opposite effect – emboldening the vast majority of ethnic Hispanics, who are American citizens, to vote in even greater numbers and lend even more support to Obama and other Democrats.
And that’s just some of the ways the Republicans have gotten into hot water with Hispanic voters. Reich goes on to catalog more of the ridiculous missteps the GOP has made in recent memory when it comes to women and young voters. He concludes with a rhetorical question that he bluntly answers:
How can a political party be so dumb as to piss off Hispanics, women, and young people? Because the core of its base is middle-aged white men – and it doesn’t seem to know how to satisfy its base without at the same time turning off everyone who’s not white, male and middle-aged.
That’s it, in a nutshell, isn’t it? What a shitty balancing act to be forced into, but they did it to themselves. The key demographic, the slice of America that the GOP depends on the most is aging white people, especially older men, the same folks who still subscribe to newspapers and listen to talk radio. A demographic that is literally dying off.
Where will all the new Republicans come from to replace the old farts that are croaking in ever increasing numbers with each passing day/week/month/year? (I’d like to see some kind of time-lapse Koyaanisqatsi-esque visual treatment of that human erosion, wouldn’t you? Wouldn’t that be emotionally satisfying? I sure think it would be!)
So if you find yourself wondering why the overweening message coming from the GOP is so apocalyptic and why the rhetoric has turned so toxic in recent years, wonder no more, this election does indeed represent an apocalyptic turning point for the GOP. On a conscious level, they have to know this, but on a subconscious level, it also goes some way towards explaining the barely concealed racist and nativist undercurrents to the GOP message this year. This is a national election they can’t afford to lose, but fully expect that they will lose, just the same, so the language becomes more and more shrill and fantasies of forged birth certificates (or impeachment) become the last threads they can grasp at.
It’s pathetic, but I have no sympathy for them. The far-right in America is a lost cause, but luckily for the rest of us, one that’s clinging by its fingernails, demographically speaking.
Like I said, this time, they’re fucked fucked. Sit back and witness the real-time implosion of the Grand Old Party in 2012. It’s been a long time coming, but that long predicted future is now.
A shocking piece of investigative journalism from The Rachel Maddow Show has been percolating up the charts at reddit and elsewhere. Trust me, it’s absolutely worthy of your undivided attention for the next 16 minutes.
Here’s the gist of it: The Michigan constitution deliberately calls for an exceptionally slow process before bills can be signed into law. Of the 566 bills that have been signed into law in the past year—since all three branches of government came under the control of the Republicans—546 of them were passed under “immediate effect,” implying an emergency or timely necessity of some sort.
Chris Savage at Eclectablog explains why this is so disturbing:
“Immediate effect” can only occur if 2/3 of the members of the House vote for it. But Republicans do not HAVE 2/3 of the House. The entire reason that they have been avoiding using roll call votes is because they did not have the votes to make the laws immediate effect. In other words, over 96% of the laws passed by the Republicans since January 2011 have been illegal in their implementation.
Simply stated: Michigan Republicans are putting their radical laws into “immediate effect” in a blatant power grab, even though they don’t have enough votes to do so. Democracy? They don’t need your stinking democracy!
National treasure Rachel Maddow on why you should care:
The 2010 elections ushered in a lot of radicalized Republican legislatures and governors across the country and have done a lot of radical things. Scott Walker is famous for a reason.
But what`s happened in Michigan is the most radical thing Republicans have done anywhere in the country. They have eliminated democracy. They have eliminated voting rights at the local level in their state. They have tried to eliminate Democrats` voting rights in the state legislature.
Whether you`re on the left or you`re on the right or you`re in the center or if you don`t particularly care about politics, if all you care about is that we have a form of government in this country called democracy, we vote. If you care about the idea that we still use voting here, we still use democracy, if you care about the Constitution—frankly, Michigan ought to have a flashing red light siren on it right now.
And indeed since the original Maddow segment aired last week, both the media and the public have taken notice. What was little-known even in the state of Michigan is now becoming a major national story. If the furor grows loud enough, even Fox News will be obliged to tackle it—as opposed to simply ignoring it the way they normally would ignore something like this. But HOW will they report APPROVINGLY on THE SUBVERSION OF DEMOCRACY BY THE REPUBLICANS??? It will be interesting, amusing and probably alarming to hear how the Republican establishment will try to spin this in the coming week.
And what about the Tea party-types who got these “conservatives” into office? How do they feel about their candidates now? Cognitive dissonance R US!
At approx 12 and a half minutes in you get to see these wascally Republican clowns in action. By the end of this piece, my jaw had dropped to the floor. This story is nothing short of mind-blowing.
It occurred to me, though, where were the fucking Democrats when all this happened? Were they sleeping? Not there? I can see this happening a few times, sure, but at what point would you cry foul? After 2 or 3 dozen times? After maybe 300 bills passed by “immediate effect”? How many was too many? That’s a bit ridiculous, too. Michigan needs to toss these GOP brownshirts out pronto, sure, but after that, the state needs to look into getting some new Democrats.
I mean, Christ, this is like sending Hobbits to do battle with Orcs.
Maddow promises a follow-up segment on Monday’s program.
God help me, but not only do I once again find myself agreeing with something that David Frum has written, I’m actually finding myself drawn to his byline these days.
One of us has changed. It ain’t me!
Frum’s short piece on The Daily Beast yesterday rather eloquently summarizes what will happen after the Supreme Court makes its ruling and was pretty much on the money, I thought. After making the case that Justices who have made their careers decrying judicial activism probably shouldn’t go there themselves—everyone is looking at you, Antonin Scalia—Frum predicts in favor of ACA standing. I wish I could say I was as optimistic as he is, but his analysis of the fallout is still sound:
What then is that healthcare comes roaring back as a campaign issue, to which Republicans have failed to provide themselves an answer. Because of the prolonged economic downturn, more Americans than ever have lost—or are at risk of losing—their health coverage. Many of them will be voting in November. What do Republicans have to say to them?
Make no mistake: If Republicans lose in the Supreme Court, they’ll need an answer. “Repeal” may excite a Republican primary electorate that doesn’t need to worry about health insurance because it’s overwhelmingly over 65 and happily enjoying its government-mandated and taxpayer-subsidized single-payer Medicare system. But the general-election electorate doesn’t have the benefit of government medicine. It relies on the collapsing system of employer-directed care. It’s frightened, and it wants answers.
“Unconstitutional” was an answer of a kind. But if the ACA is not rejected as “unconstitutional,” the question will resurface: if you guys don’t want this, want do you want instead?
In that case, Republicans will need a Plan B. Unfortunately, they wasted the past three years that might have developed one. If the Supreme Court doesn’t rescue them from themselves, they’ll be heading into this election season arguing, in effect, Our plan is to take away the government-mandated insurance of millions of people under age 65, and replace it with nothing. And we’re doing this so as to better protect the government-mandated insurance of people over 65—until we begin to phase out that insurance, too, for everybody now under 55.
Mitt Romney, on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno last night said the following and it’s blandly revealing of where the GOP stands on the matter:
JAY LENO: Well, suppose if they were never insured before?
MITT ROMNEY: Well, if they’re 45 years old and they show up they say ‘I want insurance because I’ve got a heart disease,’ it’s like hey guys, we can’t play the game like that. You’ve got to get insurance when you are well, and then if you get ill then you’re going to be covered.
Let me translate that for you: “Hey guys, if you’re 45 and don’t have health insurance because you’ve been out of work for the last two years due to the mess me and my Wall Street buddies in the oligarch class have put you in, YOU’LL JUST HAVE TO DIE.”
Or you know, Google “WHAT IF I DON’T HAVE HEALTH INSURANCE?” (Google should do the public a service and link the first result to a Willy Wonka meme that says “Don’t have health insurance? You’re fucked”)
Leno pressed him, but Romney kept the line:
JAY LENO: I know guys at work in the auto industry, and they’re just not covered…they’ve just never been able to get insurance. And then they get to e 30, 35, and were never able to get insurance before. Now they have it. That seems like a good thing.
MITT ROMNEY: We’ll look at a circumstance where someone was ill, and hasn’t been insured so far. But people who have had the chance to be insured — if you’re working in an auto business for instance, the companies carry insurance, they insure all their employees — you look at the circumstances that exist. But people who have done their best to get insured, are going to be able to be covered. But you don’t want everyone saying, `I’m going to sit back until I get sick and then go buy insurance.’ That doesn’t make sense. But you have to find rules that get people in that are playing by the rules.
What an asshole! But this is what the GOP is running on! Does this make any sense? It seems suicidal to me!
“Nothing” is what 31 million uninsured Americans—many of them with pre-existing conditions and children—will get if the Republicans get their way. 31 million people—many of them voters—is a lot of people to fuck over and make angry. If the SCOTUS decides that the individual mandate is unconstitutional, the GOP is going to regret what they wished for.
Because if that happens, all Hell is going to break loose.
No one’s going to be talking about “Obamacare” anymore. They’ll be talking about HEALTH CARE and why so many people DON’T HAVE IT in this fucking madhouse of a country. The issue is going to CRUSH the GOP. The BEST outcome for them would be the Supremes letting ACA stand as is because it’s the only thing that would (or could) save the Republicans from themselves.
The thing that’s not getting brought up in all of this, and I think it’s a valid thing to ponder: What happens to 31 million pissed-off people who’ve been counting down the days until they can get health coverage? Do they just shrug it off? Tell their sick kids that it’s what’s best for the country???
Imagine needing a hernia stitched up for years and now that’s off for you, buddy. Just like Denzel Washington in John Q or the main character in Bobcat Goldthwait’s new dark comedy film God Bless America—a guy who is diagnosed with a terminal disease and decides to kill off a bunch of rightwing assholes before his own demise—should they yank away all hope for that many Americans, just imagine the repercussions to the individuals—people with names, social security numbers and street addresses—who will be seen as responsible for destroying the lives of people for whom there was once a light at the end of the tunnel?
My prediction: If the Supremes deep-six Obamacare, things will get fucking nuts.
If you want to know exactly how fucking deliriously insane the modern Republican party has become—in writing, no less—look no further than the “pledge” candidates must sign in order to represent the Laurens County Republican Party in South Carolina.
If you want a spot on the primary ballot, the GOP bürgermeisters there want assurances from you that you’ve not had pre-marital sex (and won’t)— and that you will never, ever look at online porn again. They unanimously (UNANIMOUSLY!!!) approved a resolution with such 28 principles that a potential Republican candidate must adhere to.
Why so strict you ask? Because the party “does not want to associate with candidates who do not act and speak in a manner that is consistent with the SC Republican Party Platform.”
Not to put too fine a point on it, assholes, but I really don’t think you’ll be needing to worry too much about associating with anyone you don’t want to associate with…. They wouldn’t want to sit next to you knobs on a bus, either.
You must favor, and live up to, abstinence before marriage.
You must be faithful to your spouse. Your spouse cannot be a person of the same gender, and you are not allowed to favor any government action that would allow for civil unions of people of the same sex.
You cannot now, from the moment you sign this pledge, look at pornography.
How will they regulate that last part, anyway?
The Clinton Chronicle reported that candidates will be interviewed by a three-person “Candidate Qualification Committee,” who will then in turn make a recommendation to the full executive party committee about whether or not to allow the candidate on the ballot.
Hysterical! It’s always the reichwingers claiming Socialism is inherently totalitarian!!!
It’s astonishing, of course, but more power to ‘em! If 99.999% of the potential Republican candidates are disqualified, this means the GOP will be running a slate of all church ladies in Laurens County. SC. Good luck with that, dipshits!
Next time, the Romney campaign can probably hire a smaller auditorium! We’ve heard Detroit is supposed to be a ghost town, but this is ridiculous.
If a picture paints a thousand words, this short video clip rather nicely sums up the tremendous “enthusiasm gap” problem facing Mitt Romney. In a state where his farther was once a popular governor, I doubt that he was able to fill even 1% of the 65,000 seats in Ford Field.
Get a whiff of the action at yesterday’s CPAC event in Washington, DC where Brad Stine, truly one of the worst comics I’ve ever had the misfortune to listen to, speaks openly about “natural selection” to a bunch of wild and crazy Republicans. I do hope that some of them take his advice about not wearing seat-belts, I must say. It’s the patriotic duty of every conservative to protest having to wear seat-belts and use baby seats! Don’t do what that Obama tells you to do! Boycott motorcycle helmets, too, conservatives!
Stine, who looks like Gérard Depardieu’s less pretty younger brother, isn’t even a shitty version of Denis Leary and, of course, Denis Leary totally sucks. Even this audience seems rather chilly to Stine’s “talents.” If you are a glutton for punishment, you can watch his entire set here. You won’t laugh with Stine, but you will laugh at him..
If you think this is bad—and trust me, you will—then you have to see the Conservative dating advice seminar that took place at CPAC. Look at those guys! What misfortune in their lives made them such monumental plonkers? They all look like they were birthed in the same lab, then issued blue blazers, grey slacks and Bass Weejuns along with a lifetime subscription to the National Review and raised in Plato’s Cave with a TV that only got Fox News!
In his upcoming book, The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion Professor Haidt aims to explain what it means when the other side “doesn’t get it” to both sides. He makes some terrifically good points during his interview with Moyers, especially when it comes to explaining how “group think” and “the hive mind” work on both extremes of the political spectrum in America (and in other countries, too).
As you can see in this piece, Haidt’s research is fascinating indeed, but I found that some of his premises and conclusions were extremely unsatisfying. Some seemed downright counter-intuitive. Unhelpful. Don’t get me wrong, I think this entire interview is worthwhile, thought-provoking—even essential—viewing no matter which bit of the political spectrum you might fall on yourself, but the more or less false assumption that seems to be at the heart of Haidt’s work—that both sides have come to their positions through equally intellectually defensible routes—made my face scrunch up in in an expression that some might describe as a look of “liberal condescension.”
You could say that “Well, isn’t that just what he’s talking about? You’re a socialist, so of course you’d see it that way!” but even if that’s true, let me offer up Exhibit A in a lazy, half-hearted—yet utterly definitive—argument-ending rebuttal: Orly Taitz, WorldNetDaily and the whole birther phenomenon.
How is it “balanced” to give obviously unbalanced people the benefit of the doubt? What would even be the point of that exercise? What purpose would it serve to a social scientist? If someone’s political positions can’t be reconciled with actual facts, then their political opinions are absolutely worthless.
Try having a rational political discussion with a LaRouchie sometime! It can’t be done.
People who have difficulty grasping the complexity of the world they live in should not be seen as coming to the table as equals with people who are not as intellectually challenged! This seems self-evident, does it not? The birther phenomenon among Republican voters was never some fringe faction within the greater GOP. It still isn’t.
It would be a waste of time to try to catalog every instance of ill-informed right-wingers who can’t spell “moron,” vehemently protest policies that would actually benefit their own lives, and who think that every single word in the Bible is the infallible utterance of God himself, but at least in this interview (his book isn’t out yet) Haidt fails to demonstrate why stupidity, superstition and flagrant lies about established historical facts deserve intellectual parity alongside of opinions borne of widely accepted science, common sense and a commonly shared national history, as opposed to the made-up one the Reichwing subscribes to.
The age-old trusim of “There are two sides to every story and the truth is somewhere in the middle” is no longer the case when you’re having a “philosophical disagreement” with a Drudge Report reader or Fox News fan who lives in their own private Bizzaro World where there is no difference between facts and Rush Limbaugh’s opinon . Internet comments that invoke conspiracy theories about Frances Piven, ACORN, the Tides Foundation, George Soros, Saul Alinsky, Van Jones or that comically conflate “Socialism” with “National Socialism” are dead-giveaways of a stunted intelligence on the other end of the keyboard. Teabaggers who want to pressure school textbook publishers to remove any mention of the Founding Fathers being slaveholders or Christianists who argue that Creationism is as equally valid as Darwin’s evolutionary theories should not be in a position to influence policy and yet in many parts of the country this is exactly what is happening, to the detriment of the school systems, the intellectual growth of the students who will be ill-prepared for higher education, etc. Does Haidt truly feel that these people who deny history and science itself came to their positions honestly and rationally? And if he doesn’t feel that way, wouldn’t that admission require a caveat so huge as to at least partially invalidate much of his take-away?
I’m intrigued by what his research has found, I’m far less impressed by how he interprets it.
I get that Haidt’s thesis must be presented in a manner which bends over backwards not to appear partisan, but when it’s been shown that a statistically significant percentage of lower IQ children tend to gravitate towards political conservatism in adulthood (read “Low IQ & Conservative Beliefs Linked to Prejudice” at Live Science) I feel like Haidt might missing the boat entirely: What if the REAL revelation at the heart of his research is that there’s an unbridgeable IQ stratification in America due to our shitty public schools, and the malign influence of the churches and talk radio/Fox News that may have already rendered this country basically ungovernable. (Jonathan Haidt regularly asks his audiences to raise their hands to indicate if they self-identify as “liberal” or “conservative” and notes that when he’s speaking to an audience of academics, that over 90% tend to call themselves “liberals”—is this merely a coincidence? I should think not!).
I respect what Haidt is attempting to do with his research, but ultimately, watching this, I saw so many flaws in his assumptions and methodology (at least as he explains it here, which I suspect is adequate) that I can’t help feeling that someone else is going to come along later and take up some of the more valid points of his work, discard the less impressive parts and get it right. He’s on to something in a big way, but I have deep reservations with much of what he concludes.
Still, as I was saying before, this is some must-see TV. Most thinking people will find something of value here, for sure. If this is a topic that interests you, it’s a fascinating discussion.
[The title is not a joke, but you’ll have to bear with me…]
You’d think that as the parent of a child with a rare genetic disorder, Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum would have deep empathy for a fellow parent of a child with a rare genetic disorder—or if he was a true Christian as he claims to be, even support universal healthcare for everyone’s children—but… NOPE!
Tuesday, speaking to a crowd of more than 400 people in Woodland Park, Colorado, Santorum told this woman that free market capitalism should set prices for drugs, whether she could afford it for her kid or not. Via Crooks and Liars:
“People have no problem paying $900 for an iPad,” the candidate explained. “But paying $900 for a drug they have a problem with — it keeps you alive. Why? Because you’ve been conditioned to think health care is something you can get without having to pay for it.”
The mother replied that she could not afford her son’s medication, Abilify, which can cost as much as $1 million a year without health insurance.
“Look, I want your son and everybody to have the opportunity to stay alive on much-needed drugs,” Santorum insisted. “But the bottom line is, we have to give companies the incentive to make those drugs. And if they don’t have the incentive to make those drugs, your son won’t be alive and lots of other people in this country won’t be alive.”
“He’s alive today because drug companies provide care,” the candidate continued. “And if they didn’t think they could make money providing that drug, that drug wouldn’t be here. I sympathize with these compassionate cases. … I want your son to stay alive on much-needed drugs. Fact is, we need companies to have incentives to make drugs. If they don’t have incentives, they won’t make those drugs. We either believe in markets or we don’t.”
How’s about when it comes to healthcare, we don’t believe that free markets are the way to go? It’s as if the thought that there might be ANY other way of doing it never even entered this asshole’s mind or like he was prevented from grokking it by some sort of alien brain structure Republicans have that rejects common sense.
It’s painful to watch, but at the heart of this exchange is something that I think more and more American women—including, yes, even some Christian, conservative women—are going to realize as this election cycle goes on: Republican policies are bad for America’s children.
They don’t want universal healthcare. They’ve got health insurance for their families, so fuck yours.
They don’t want to pay for public schools. Their kids go to private schools, so fuck yours.
How much more obvious can they get before even the most brain-damaged Fox News viewer finally picks up on the fact that this country is going to Hell in a handbasket if the GOP is allowed to gut spending on healthcare, education, infrastructure and social services any more than the cowardly Democrats have already allowed them to. It’s getting obvious that America is becoming a meaner, shittier place to live and raise a family. The Republicans don’t care about the environment, woman’s health matters, the unemployed… What won’t they attack?
Despite what this pious hypocrite seem to believe, where does it say in the Bible that Rick Santorum’s kids should have the best medical care money can buy, but your kids..? Uh, sorry Charlie, that’s just the way the fucking free market works.
There are winners and losers in life and in Capitalism, so buck up, America! It’s God’s will that your kid died, even if you don’t believe in God!
If you ask me, one of the greatest untapped political forces that this country could ever see would be a movement comprised of mothers who know in their hearts that this country is engaging in a race straight to the bottom when men like Rick Santorum have the loudest voices in our society. An informed mother’s movement that knows exactly who (they do have names, addresses and Social Security numbers, of course) were responsible for flushing the future of America’s children down the toilet, would be a deadly Leviathan to the Republican Party and scare the shit out of the goddamned Democrats, too.
I’m a man, so forgive me for saying so, but I do feel strongly that right now is an appropriate historical moment and opportunity to redefine and expand upon the definition of what “Feminism” means for a new century’s evolutionary needs. I’m not saying that motherhood per se would be the necessary requirement, but I am suggesting that it might be the right time for a “new” kind of woman’s movement, not exactly Lysistrata but something along those lines.
Imagine, if you will, how a female politician would have answered that woman’s question in Colorado on Tuesday. This country would be a lot better off if more smart, progressive women would start running for state, local and national elections, because idiots like Rick Santorum are never going to change anything for the better, as he ably demonstrated in the way he answered this question. He should be ashamed to admit to such thoughts in public and yet this bozo thinks he should be elected President saying them aloud with a microphone in front of his face! It’s astonishing how misguided this chump is.
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