Stupid or Evil?
The wrong side of history
A thing of oblique beauty, no?
Brought to you by the obviously irony-free crazy people at The David Horowitz Freedom Center.
A thing of oblique beauty, no?
Brought to you by the obviously irony-free crazy people at The David Horowitz Freedom Center.
Just the tip..?
I got an email earlier this week from one of the reichwing newsletters that I subscribe to and in it, there was a conspiracy theory involving Chinese hackers who could kill you through your pacemaker (hey, it happened this week on Homeland, didn’t it, smartypants?). Apparently, I didn’t read it that closely—it didn’t merit it—and just deleted it, they had some device that you could buy to protect yourself from the Chinese hackers by scrambling the serial codes for your pacemaker or… something. Clearly this organization were marketing geniuses and knew that a high percentage of their audience probably did have pacemakers installed and additionally probably suffered from senile dementia. (This isn’t the article I refer to, but you’ll get the gist of it here).
Last night on The Colbert Report, Stephen Colbert tackled the problem some older Fox News viewers might have separating the shit from the Shineola. Maybe it’s just a matter of “Low-T” or “Low-O,” he wondered?
Via Raw Strory:
Older people, Colbert began, are less able to trust their gut instincts, according to a report from Fox News. As they age, many people lose their ability to discern whether someone is lying to them or is trying scam them. They become more trusting.
“Who’d have thought that elderly Fox News viewers would be more susceptible to misinformation?” asked Colbert.
Glenn Beck, for sure. The companies selling them extortionately over-priced gold coins delivered to their front door. The publishers of NewsMax and WorldNetDaily, definitely. The NRA. The Tea Party Express. Sarah Palin. The Republican National Committee. It’s a pretty long list.
I’ve got a great dirty trick you can play on a three-year-old kid. Kids learn how to talk from listening to their parents, see? This is a good one. So here’s what you do. So you have a three-year-old kid and you wanna pull a trick on ‘em, whenever you’re around them.. TALK WRONG.
So now it’s like his first day of school and he raises his hand: “May I mambo dogface to the banana patch?”
“Give that kid a special test. Get him out of here.”
—Steve Martin, A Wild and Crazy Guy, 1978
That classic Steve Martin joke came immediately to mind when I read Columbia University’s Lincoln Mitchell’s essay, “Is Fox Even Helping the Republicans Anymore?” this morning. That and “if you have to ask, then the answer is almost certainly ‘no.’” Fox News has become a liability to the GOP? Who’d have ever thunk it?
A few other things popped into my head as well when I read Mitchell’s article:
This has been a difficult election season for Fox News. Among the most enduring media images of the last few days of the election are Karl Rove late on election night angrily denying that Ohio, and thus the presidency, had gone to President Obama, and Dick Morris only a few days before the election confidently predicting a Romney landslide. Morris later tried to explain away his mistake after the election by claiming he had done it to create enthusiasm among Republican voters. The incidents involving Rove and Morris, both of whom work as both commentators on Fox and political consultants to conservative clients, are obviously embarrassing for Fox, but also raise the question of whether the network has outlived its value, even to the Republican Party.
Because Fox generally reports news based on partisan talking points and ideological certainty rather than focusing on pesky things like facts, information and events, it has, in the past, been effective in encouraging misperceptions about President Obama’s background, nurturing the growth and development of the Tea Party movement and covering economic policy by referring to any spending by the government as socialism. These things have helped mobilize and misinform the right wing base of the Republican Party. Similarly, during the Bush administration, Fox helped increase support for the Gulf War by repeating White House positions on weapons of mass destruction, almost without question.
“Ideological certainty” sure is a fun term to mull over these days, isn’t it? Especially in light of what happened on Election Day. Imagine having your entire naive “conservative” (and all that implies outside of the cult) worldview crushed just like that by the sheer force of math and changing demographics… not that I have much sympathy for dolts.
How would people who watch Fox News all the time ever hear—let alone be able to mentally process—something like “Herbert Hoover presided over a bigger spending increase than Obama has”? Or that “Obama won more popular votes than any Democratic candidate for president in history—except for himself in 2008”? I’ll tell you how they process it: “He stole the election!”
If you follow, like I do, the far reich blogosphere, it’s very plain to see that these people live in a cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs fantasyland, in an America that doesn’t even exist, hasn’t really existed for years, and that will never exist again short of a genocide that would kill tens of millions of people, and which, frankly, isn’t something I expect to see happening in North America anytime soon.
Even in the minds of GOP bigwigs, this Bizarro World/“mambo dogface to the banana patch” shit is looming large: Did you read former Reagan economic adviser Bruce Bartlett—the guy who coined the term “Reaganomics”—writing in The American Conservative on how even elite Republicans view The New York Times as if it is some far left samizdat? WTF??
Interestingly, a couple of days after the Suskind article appeared, I happened to be at a reception for some right-wing organization that many of my think tank friends were also attending. I assumed I would get a lot of grief for my comments in the Suskind article and was surprised when there was none at all.
Finally, I started asking people about it. Not one person had read it or cared in the slightest what the New York Times had to say about anything. They all viewed it as having as much credibility as Pravda and a similar political philosophy as well. Some were indignant that I would even suspect them of reading a left-wing rag such as the New York Times.
I was flabbergasted. Until that moment I had not realized how closed the right-wing mind had become. Even assuming that my friends’ view of the Times’ philosophy was correct, which it most certainly was not, why would they not want to know what their enemy was thinking? This was my first exposure to what has been called “epistemic closure” among conservatives—living in their own bubble where nonsensical ideas circulate with no contradiction.
Read that last sentence again. That would describe Fox News perfectly, a place where nonsensical ideas circulate with no contradiction. EVER, or else they cut your mic. A black hole of intelligence that’s sucking the GOP faithful into a place of foolishness from which they can never return.
Back to Mitchell:
Over the last several years, this has been very helpful to the Republican Party, but during 2012, particularly in recent months, this has begun to change. Fox has now become a problem for the Republican Party because it keeps a far right base mobilized and angry making it hard for the party to move to the center, or increase its appeal as it must do to remain electorally competitive. For example, Bill O’Reilly’s explanation of why the Obama was reelected may, in fact, resonate, with the older and heavily white viewership of Fox, but it is precisely the wrong public message and messenger for the Party.
Precisely, it was the sort of grumpy old white senior citizens who reliably vote in the Republican primaries—and get their “informations” from Fox News—who forced Mitt Romney to contort himself into positions that made him an unpalatable shit-dipped pretzel to non-white, non-old, non-idiotic Americans and therefore patently un-electable.
I got yer manifest destiny right here: Romney scored the “reliable low IQ buffoon” vote, that’s for sure, and for many of us, that alone was a good enough reason to vote against him. How will the “big tent” Republicans go about courting that surefire base of the Tea party / “Moran” / covert (or overt) racist / Christian home-schooled creationist conservative bloc in elections to come without alienating absolutely everyone else?
Talk about a difficult dance step with both of your shoes tied together and nailed to the floor. Is it even possible to pull off such a doomed political tango moving forward in history? It’s a stupid uphill battle to wage to begin with. Why bother trying to swim against this kind of historical and demographic current? Why hitch your wagon to some horses who require oxygen tanks and twice daily insulin shots? It doesn’t make any sense.
Any aspiring young politician with half a brain would be a fool to think he’d be the BMOC by joining the party of people with no brains at all (Scott Brown, I’m looking at your short political career. Still glad you pledged Phi Kappa Dipshit?). Whereas, the Democrats, or at least some of them, seem more like the folks with one eye in the kingdom of the blind (I exempt Florida’s Alan Grayson from this assessment), the Republicans just seem like mean-spirited know-nothing buffoons, country blumpkins (that’s not a typo) and Jeebus freaks who belong in carnival sideshows, not voting booths. Where do you go from there when your baseline members consist of the country’s most irritating assholes and blowhards under the same “big tent”? (Think of the GOP not as a political party, but a party party. Who wants to party with the Republicans? They’ve got John Rocker signing autographs!)
And listen to the hilarious “conciliatory” noises that even the likes of Sean Hannity are starting to spout about immigration reform (he’s “evolved”—not a word typically associated with Hannity, is it?). A little late, buddy, don’t cha think? How do you solve a problem like, uh, Maria, at this late stage of the game, genius? YOU don’t. You try to fuck off with some tiny shred of dignity left! (If you care about what Sean Hannity “thinks” about immigration reform, I truly fucking pity you and anyone you come into contact with on a regular basis).
Moreover, while Fox helps the Republican Party when it slants its news coverage to the right, it damages the Party when its news coverage becomes too shoddy. A network that cannot get election night right because one of its star pundits simply refuses to accept defeat offers very little reason for potential viewers to watch it. Similarly a network whose pundits are so off in their election predictions will ultimately marginalize itself completely, as Fox is beginning to do.
Fox News “offers very little reason for potential viewers to watch it.” As Glenn Beck likes to say “Well, duh!”
If the information a news organization brings to the public is wrong and is demonstrated—easily—to be incorrect, then what is the value proposition? Fox News fills not-so-bright people’s heads with comforting bullshit and it serves to get them riled up and angry with… non-facts. It tells dum-dums, not “the news,” but what they want to hear. Study after study has shown that Fox News fans are the least informed people in America—indeed they are the very opposite of informed, as they tend to actually know less than they would had they watched no TV news at all.
There is clearly very little of nutritional value to get out of Fox News. It’s like eating Cheetos all the damned day and believing that you are consuming a futuristic health food (like Tang and Gatorade) even as you weigh 500 lbs and have to be lifted by a crane into your electric scooter.
Fox News imbicilizes its viewership. Its viewership IS the Republican base and probably comprises the greater part of its primary voters. According to Bruce Bartlett, it’s also the leadership…
Another thing that came to mind reading Mitchell’s essay was Paul Krugman’s withering quip about Newt Gingrich being “a stupid man’s idea of what a smart person sounds like.” Ouch, but it’s just so very, very true. If your mind is tiny, Newt’s must seem vast, but that doesn’t say much about the price of tea in China, just what passes for “brainy” to a group of people as dumb as a cows. Gingrich, like Hannity and Bill O’Reilly, is merely a self-confident idiot. and yet these bozos are the very ones they pass off as the smart guys because they’re louder, more emphatically blusterous and in the case of Gingrich, just flat-out fuckin’ meaner.
One of the bigger challenges facing the Republican Party is that they are perceived as the, to phrase it nicely, less smart of the two major parties. The anti-science perspective, unwillingness to speak out against absurd sounding conspiracy theories, and even the attacks on Nate Silver, presumably because Silver did somewhat sophisticated math, have contributed to this and are damaging the party. It is no coincidence that the Obama campaign had a more sophisticated targeting and turnout operation and better statistical modeling. A party that refuses to take a firm stand in support of evolution or recognizing climate change is not going to draw too many people with advanced statistical training as advisors and consultants.
Fox contributes to that environment by creating a climate where partisan rantings of people like Dick Morris are indulged while criticism by serious people like Tom Ricks is shut down and attacked. There is no inevitable link between conservatism and stupidity, but one could be forgiven for coming to that conclusion while watching Fox News. As it is currently constructed, Fox News is going to bring in almost no swing voters in the coming years. It will more likely continue to repel them through poor analysis and rants that strike the precise tone the party should be trying to avoid.
BAM. The toxic ménage à trois of the GOP, Fox News and the dumbest old coots in America means that they are perceived from the outside as being synonymous, and so herein lies the FAR BIGGER problem for the Republican party: Its very base, the braying Tea party dumbasses who they have so assiduously courted and pandered to, has made the Republican Party itself look like a BAD INVESTMENT. They can’t win lumbered with the imbecilic hordes of Fox News viewers, but they sure cannot win without them, either. What to do?
Tee-hee! This is yet another particularly vexing Catch 22 that I don’t think the GOP counted on. It goes far beyond their demographic problems and presents a much, much more immediate Wiley E. Coyote looking down to see that he’s already in very big trouble sort of crisis.
It’s also not something that I think is obvious to them—yet: Smart businessmen don’t tend to throw good money after bad. They certainly don’t keep doing it forever. Why would the people who have traditionally given money to the Republicans be foolish enough to do that again in 2016?
I think even the fucking US Chamber of Commerce got the message this time, don’t you? How could they have missed it?
Mitchell concluded by offering a final compelling reason for what I’m seeing as the “bad investment” aspect of the unholy trinity of Fox News, the GOP and the dumbest Americans:
It is in the interest of the Democrats, not the Republicans, for there to be a loud, extremist, heavily white faction in the Republican Party, constantly pushing that party rightward. One of the reasons Mitt Romney was so unable to pivot back to the center was due to the drumbeat at Fox which contributing to forcing him to the right during the primary season. Even after the primary season, when Fox became a big supporter for Romney, the rift between official editorial position and the political feelings of Fox viewers and hosts, was clear.
Unfortunately for the Republicans, while this is bad politics, it is good business for Fox. By positioning itself as the place where angry Republicans can go for their rhetorical red meat, Fox guarantees itself a sizable viewership, so the incentive for Fox to keep doing what it is doing is substantial, as is the potential damage to the Republican Party.
Good business for Fox News, but bad business for rich supporters of the Republican Party.
It’s a very difficult thing to convince someone that they’re stupid, however, it’s utterly infuriating when someone lets you know that they think you’re stupid and you suspect they might be right (I’d imagine, it’s not like this has ever happened to me). Faced with that uncomfortable power dynamic, stupid people tend to huff and puff and dig in their heels even harder when it comes to something that threatens them. As the Republican electorate gets older and has less and less influence, the growing realization that the rest of us think they’re knobs will see the thrashing displays of abject crazy get ratcheted up to levels of lunacy not yet seen, but that will just seem more and more silly, shrill and impotent as time goes on. For the Republicans, it used to be that automatically having the coalition of the stupid in their back pocket was a winning strategy. Today that’s why they’re losing and yet they can’t exactly cut them loose, either.
So the upshot of all of this is that GOP can’t really compete on a national level anymore, and if this isn’t an entirely 100% watertight truth (although the demographics sure seem to back it up) it’s still true enough.
If they were a sports team would you bet on them?
And ask yourself, even if you were stinking rich would you knowingly invest in a losing (hell, DOOMED) team?
As that notion sinks in, and becomes fully baked into the popular “loser” perception of the GOP, will the 1% continue to financially support the Republican party?
I think it’s pretty clear that the answer is gonna be NO.
(What this portends for the Democrats and one party rule in America is something beyond the scope of this already overlong post).
In which the loony former television personality decides to do something “controversial,” as reported on his own website, The Blaze:
The idea, for Beck however, is not to be untoward, but through irony, to highlight the hypocrisy of those who would shout in defiance at defacing the image of a sitting U.S. president, but not that of an image so sacred to Christianity — the world’s largest religion.
Beck’s piece is titled “Obama in Pee-Pee” and he says it’s for sale at $25,000. Beck admitted that it was not his own celebrity whiz in the container, but just some beer.
The clip is painful to watch, although I will admit to LOLing when Beck referred to his “home-brewed ‘Country Time.’”
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In Rick Perlstein’s excellent article The Long Con: Mail-order conservatism, the author of the classic Nixonland: The Rise of a President and the Fracturing of America discusses the odd world of mail order conservative fundraisers who prey on gullible older people, parting them from their pensions by agitating them with nonsense.
This revealing text of a 1970s conservative fundraising pitch originated from Heritage Foundation founder Paul Weyrich’s “Free Congress Research and Education Foundation”:
Do you believe that children should have the right to sue their parents for being “forced” to
Should children be eligible for minimum wage if they are being asked to do household
Do you believe that children should have the right to choose their own family?
As incredible as they might sound, these are just a few of the new “children’s rights laws” that could become a reality under a new United Nations program if fully implemented by the Carter administration.
If radical anti-family forces have their way, this UN sponsored program is likely to become an all-out assault on our traditional family structure.
Perlstein’s analysis of this sort of goofy vintage mail order entreaty is, uh, right on the money, so to speak…
Following the standard scare-mongering playbook of the fundraising Right, Weyrich launched his appeal with some horrifying eventuality that sounded both entirely specific and hair-raisingly imminent (“all-out assault on our traditional family structure”—or, in the case of a 1976 pitch signed by Senator Jesse Helms, taxpayer-supported “grade school courses that teach our children that cannibalism, wife swapping, and the murder of infants and the elderly are acceptable behavior”; or, to take one from not too long ago, the white-slavery style claim that “babies are being harvested and sold on the black market by Planned Parenthood”).
Closer inspection reveals the looming horror to be built on a non-falsifiable foundation (“could become”; “is likely to become”). This conditional prospect, which might prove discouraging to a skeptically minded mark, is all the more useful to reach those inclined to divide the moral universe in two—between the realm of the wicked, populated by secretive, conspiratorial elites, and the realm of the normal, orderly, safe, and sane.
Weyrich’s letter concludes by proposing an entirely specific, real-world remedy: slaying the wicked can easily be hastened for the low, low price of a $5, $10, or $25 contribution from you, the humble citizen-warrior.
These are bedtime stories, meant for childlike minds. Or, more to the point, they are in the business of producing childlike minds. Conjuring up the most garishly insatiable monsters precisely in order to banish them from underneath the bed, they aim to put the target to sleep.
OUCH. He nailed it. And this sort of practice continues thirty years later, not that the come-on message has become any more intellectually sophisticated, because it hasn’t…
From Fox News, to Rush Limbaugh, Michael Savage and Glenn Beck on the radio, not to mention Internet conspiracy theorists like Breitbart.com and the lowest of the low, WorldNetDaily, the reichwing mediasphere is all about keeping people ill-informed, stupid and fearful.
Having a large audience who doesn’t know shit from shinola is a big plus when you’re flogging exorbitantly over-priced gold coins, half-priced Ann Coulter books and prepackaged food rations that require no refrigeration and remain edible for up to four decades in your nuclear bomb shelter.
Like Rick Perlstein, I subscribed to a number of far-right mailing lists myself when the Tea party movement first exploded onto the scene (Obviously these emails provide great fodder for a blog like this one to poke fun at). The best ultra-conservative daily emails, by far, I think, come from WND, mainly because editorially speaking, it’s probably the dumbest and most comically paranoiac of all the major reichwing blogs—and yet, conversely, WND is the best organized from a business and e-commerce standpoint.
There’s a comically formulaic structure to the WND emails—I get about a dozen per day—they’re as strict and singsong as limericks, usually posing the subject line’s topic in the form of a burning question like “Guess which one of Obama’s Commie BFFs will be named Secretary of Assassinating Conservatives? Michael Savage spills the beans!” or some bullshit like that. (As I’ve been typing this, a new one has come in: “HOW OBAMA CAN BE STOPPED IN ELECTORAL COLLEGE Exclusive: Judson Phillips offers constitutional means to put Romney in office Jan. 21”)
And then there are some links to a new “Bible Codes” book revealing the identity of the Antichrist (who can this mysterious “BO” character be???), an “explosive” DVD expose about Barack Obama being a homosexual crackhead or pricey dietary supplements that you can take and then throw away your insulin shots forever!
The Long Con: Mail-order conservatism (The Baffler)
If you really want to burrow deep into the brain-damaged Bizzaro World rabbit hole of the most “out there,” batshit crazy conspiracy theories currently making the rounds, “Agenda 21,” is zooming to the top of the charts with a bullet among the tin foil hat set… and beyond.
That’s right, Agenda 21 is going mainstream, baby!
Agenda 21 is actually (sort of) a real thing, a non-mandatory proposed declaration pertaining to sustainable development first introduced at the 1992 UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) held in Rio de Janeiro. It has never been ratified by the US Senate, but despite this, lunatics on the fringes of the far right (and at least one group identifying itself as a Democrat-leaning subset) think it is the most nefarious globalist plot ever hatched to steal away our American birthrights and freedom and shit. Or something.
Agenda 21 is a fairly fluid, one-size-fits-all conspiracy theory, like HAARP, and can be called upon to enforce imaginary, at zero risk of happening things like mandatory birth control and involuntary sterilization (and sometimes just the opposite), Soylent Green-style euthanasia of old people and the forcible rounding up of country folk who will be made to live in cities and give up their cars.
To the fruitcakes propagating these theories—Glenn Beck and Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, come to mind on the right, as well as less ideologically categorizable sources such as David Icke and Alex Jones—“sustainable development” is just some BS “New World Order” code-word for “UN control” and of course, the bogeyman of Socialism (or at least whatever that term currently means to folks on the right).
Where an unsophisticated, buffoonish belief system like this becomes a problem is when a gang of aging low IQ baby boomers—the kind who believe in ACORN plots, birtherism and tax cuts for oligarchs—get riled up by Glenn Beck and decide that anything dubbed “sustainable,” mentioning “smart growth,” “climate change” or god forbid, cutting down on pollution or trying to preserve the environment, must mean it’s a plot against freedom, the Founding Fathers and Jeebus and so they turn up at local zoning hearings to shout down rational discussion with their paranoiac drivel and drown out sane people.
Ecologically sustainable development = NWO “they’re coming to take our freedom away” dog whistle. But of course! Of course!
Even worse the same dum-dums who joined the Tea party and who think Glenn Beck’s “eureka!” moments represent profound moments of deep undercover revelations about the evil leftwing puppet masters who want to destroy America—and not just some asshole shooting his mouth off shilling shit to the rubes—are getting themselves elected to local and state positions in growing numbers in red states. The state legislatures in Alabama, Kansas and Tennessee have approved resolutions blocking Agenda 21—which was never ratified, I remind you—from ever being implemented in their states. Not that there’s much of a danger of that ever occurring…
But it’s not stopping there as Mother Jones’ Tim Murphy writes in “Top Georgia GOP Lawmakers Host Briefing on Secret Obama Mind-Control Plot”:
President Obama is using a Cold War-era mind-control technique known as “Delphi” to coerce Americans into accepting his plan for a United Nations-run communist dictatorship in which suburbanites will be forcibly relocated to cities. That’s according to a four-hour briefing delivered to Republican state senators at the Georgia state Capitol last month.
On October 11, at a closed-door meeting of the Republican caucus convened by the body’s majority leader, Chip Rogers, a tea party activist told Republican lawmakers that Obama was mounting this most diabolical conspiracy. The event—captured on tape by a member of the Athens-based watchdog Better Georgia (who was removed from the room after 52 minutes)—had been billed as an information session on Agenda 21, a nonbinding UN agreement that commits member nations to promote sustainable development. In the eyes of conservative activists, Agenda 21 is a nefarious plot that includes forcibly relocating non-urban-dwellers and prescribing mandatory contraception as a means of curbing population growth. The invitation to the Georgia state Senate event noted the presentation would explain: “How pleasant sounding names are fostering a Socialist plan to change the way we live, eat, learn, and communicate to ‘save the earth.’”
The meeting consisted of a PowerPoint presentation followed by a 90-minute screening of the anti-Agenda 21 documentary, Agenda: Grinding America Down. It was emceed by Field Searcy, a local conservative activist who was forced out of the Georgia Tea Party in April due to his endorsement of conspiracy theories about the president’s birth certificate and the collapse of World Trade Center Tower 7. The presentation also featured a special video cameo from conservative talking-head Dick Morris in which the former Clinton aide warns that Obama “wants to force everyone into the cities from whence our ancestors fled.”
About 23 minutes into the briefing, Searcy explained how President Obama, aided by liberal organizations like the Center for American Progress and business groups like local chambers of commerce, are secretly using mind-control techniques to push their plan for forcible relocation on the gullible public:
“They do that by a process known as the Delphi technique. The Delphi technique was developed by the Rand Corporation during the Cold War as a mind-control technique. It’s also known as “consensive process.” But basically the goal of the Delphi technique is to lead a targeted group of people to a pre-determined outcome while keeping the illusion of being open to public input.”
Mother Jones also had a simply marvelous screen shot from Field Searcy’s Powerpoint presentation:
Georgia Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers hosts a public meeting of top GOP Senate leaders to discuss Obama-related conspiracy theories.
Glenn Beck explains “Agenda” 21 in his very special way:
Oh wait, what’s this? Only the most fucking genius commercial of all time: It’s for Glenn Beck’s new novel, Agenda 21, and I haven’t seen a version, yet, that wasn’t videotaped off a television screen, so I’m wondering if it’s meant to look like this? I think it’s much better if that was intentional…
Thank you Sia Abderezai!
Not content with the humiliating—and apparently “shocking” if Fox News is your sole source of intellectual nourishment—shellacking they got just last week, some impotent, rage-filled rightwing blowhards have a new “thing” to support to stick it to that Kenyan Muslim socialist in the White House and his commie plot to give poor people healthcare.
And wouldn’t you know it, it involves eating shitty, artery-clogging fast food (again).
Welcome to America!
A Facebook group calling itself “Rebooting America” is touting an event on the social network, planned for this Friday, Nov. 16, to protest the Affordable Care Act (ACA) due to centi-millionaire, “Papa John” Schnatter, founder and CEO of Papa John’s Pizza—and a big Mitt Romney donor and fund raiser—ostentatiously whining that he’ll be jacking up the price of his lousy product and passing that cost off on to his customers because Obamacare.
Hooray? I guess some people just get off on seeing their fellow man suffer, and it causes them to work up an appetite for disgusting pizza that tastes like cardboard topped with Alpo and burned Velveeta, but with Friday’s call for a “National Papa John’s Appreciation Day,” I don’t think the reichwing knuckleheads really thought this one all the way through, as Daily Kos Labor reporter Laura Clawson writes:
You know who I don’t take seriously when they say they really want everyone to have health insurance and it’s a shame Obamacare isn’t the right way to insure more people? People who run businesses where only a third of workers are insured. Like Darden Restaurants (the parent company of Red Lobster and Olive Garden, among others), which also said that Obamacare was what would be causing it to cut down on the 25 percent of its workers that got the 30 hours a week qualifying them for health insurance, Papa John’s is one of the 50 largest low-wage employers, and it’s a highly profitable one. So, no, “I’m so concerned that I might have to cut hours for some of the one in three employees I currently insure even though my 2011 revenues were $1.22 billion” is not the thing that makes me, personally, think “gosh, Obamacare really is putting intolerable burdens on businesses that want to take care of their workers but just might not be able to afford it.”
But I’m not the target for this kind of talk. Will Republicans mobilize in Schnatter’s defense? Failed Delaware Senate candidate and non-witch Christine O’Donnell wants to bring back that Chick-fil-A magic.
Papa Johns CEO’s getting heat for saying Obamacare costs will force layoffs. Papa Johns support day this Friday #TCOT— Christine O’Donnell (@ChristineOD) November 12, 2012
People who think low-wage, no-health-care jobs are a great thing should definitely go to Papa John’s on Friday to make the political point that the company would be right to cut workers’ hours. What’s more, everyone who heeds O’Donnell’s call should be sure the workers know why they’re ordering this pizza on this day. Alternatively, they could just leave a “please spit on this pizza repeatedly” note when ordering each one.
Admittedly, this was the first thought that came to my mind, too (I guess it’s a good thing I don’t work at Papa John’s). The second was fantasizing about spitting in John Schnatter’s face…
The question is, how will Schnatter’s dickish politicization of raising his prices impact his shareholders and the Papa John’s franchise holders around the country? I don’t think this is another Chick-fil-A protest that will end up as a net positive, or neutral event for Papa John’s (keep in mind that Chick-fil-A’s food actually tastes good, whereas Papa John’s pizza tastes, in the memorable words of Stephen Colbert, like the ‘ass of a raccoon that drowned in your birdbath’).
When the Chick-fil-A support day occurred, there was at least a threadbare cover of “traditional Christian values” and all that implies, whereas this is just a mega-rich JERK shooting his mouth off. Centi-millionaire Schnattar’s peevish pronouncements about raising his prices make him look poorly, the way Donald Trump’s deranged ass clown rantings make him look. And like Trump, Schnatter is not a sympathetic character, he’s just a fucking super-rich asshole.
If you’re so stupid that you think purchasing some low-grade junk-food to show your feeble support of some CHEAP Republican bastard with over a hundred million dollars in the bank who doesn’t want the people who work for him to have health insurance is a good idea, hey, by all means order some Papa John’s Pizza this Friday, just cross yer fingers that no one spits on your pie, dipshit!
David Frum. During the Bush administration, I used to really hate him, but now, kinda like how Bruce Springsteen has a grudging respect for NJ Governor Chris Christie, I think he’s pretty good (for a Republican). Pretty astute. Frum says really smart things.
Things the GOP ought to listen to.
David Frum’s instantly published new e-book, Why Romney Lost grabs the lapels of shell-shocked Republicans and attempts to talk some sense into them.
His article in The Daily Beast today, “How the GOP Got Stuck in the Past,” is a must read, an absolute must-read:
The ratification of the Obama agenda will understandably enrage and depress conservatives. Yet if there is any lesson conservatives ought to have learned from the past four years, it is the danger of succumbing to angry emotion. We’ve had four years of self-defeating rage. Now it’s time for cool.
Those who would urge the GOP to double down on ideology post-2012 should ask themselves: would Republicans have done better if we had promised a bigger tax cut for the rich and proposed to push more people off food stamps and Medicaid? Would we have done better if we had promised to do more to ban abortion and stop same-sex marriage? If we had committed ourselves to fight more wars? To put the country on the gold standard? Almost half of those surveyed on voting day said they wanted to see taxes raised on Americans earning more than $250,000. Exit polls do tend to oversample Democrats, but the tax result is consistent with other polling that has found that even Republicans would prefer to raise taxes on the rich than see cuts in Medicare.
Some combative conservatives may wish that Mitt Romney had talked more about the various plots and conspiracies they believed Obama to have launched upon the land: Fast & Furious, ACORN, Pigford, U.N. bike lanes, Obama’s imagined plan to abolish the suburbs. But while this kind of angry talk may gain eyeballs on Hannity, it’s not the stuff that swings undecided voters in Colorado and Virginia—especially not the women voters who formed 53 percent of the electorate on Tuesday; or the moderates, men and women, who formed 41 percent of it; or the nonreligiously observant, who formed three quarters of it. Only 34 percent of the vote Tuesday was made up of white men. The share of the vote that was made up of older, conservative white men must have been much smaller still. Fox Nation never was more than a very tiny slice of the American nation, and it was only sad self-delusion that ever led anyone to think otherwise.
Interesting to note how much agreement David Frum and Rachel Maddow would find themselves in, post election, isn’t it? I’d love to see Frum as a guest on her show and being interviewed by Bill Moyers, too.
How the GOP Got Stuck in the Past (The Daily Beast)
Do yourself a favor and watch this video clip at least until the end of Frum’s first answer to the big question: “Why did Mitt Romney lose?” He also gets a very good point in at around the 11 minute mark about how Republican voters were exploited and fleeced for their donations with apocalyptic, “death of America” rhetoric. Fellow Republican Joe Scarborough strongly agrees with him.
I don’t imagine listening to a smirking lib’brul lezbean school them is exactly what distraught reichwingers want to hear right now, but Rachel Maddow’s post-election wrap-up rant is a stone classic:
Ohio really did go to President Obama last night. And he really did win. And he really was born in Hawaii. And he really is legitimately President of the United States. Again. And the Bureau of Labor Statistics did not make up a fake unemployment rate last month. And the Congressional Research Service really can find no evidence that cutting taxes on rich people grows the economy. And the polls were not skewed to oversample Democrats. And Nate Silver was not making up fake projections about the election to make conservatives feel bad. Nate Silver was doing math. And climate change is real. And rape really does cause pregnancy sometimes. And evolution is a thing! And Benghazi was an attack ON us, it was not a scandal BY us. And nobody is taking away anyone’s guns. And taxes have not gone up. And the deficit is dropping, actually. And Saddam Hussein did not have weapons of mass destruction. And the moon landing was real. And FEMA is not building concentration camps. And UN election observers are not taking over Texas. And moderate reforms of the regulations on the insurance industry and the financial services industry in this country are not the same thing as Communism.
Listen. Last night was a good night for liberals and for Democrats for very obvious reasons. But it was also, possibly, a good night for this country as a whole. Because in this country we have a two party system, in government. And the idea is supposed to be that the two sides both come up with ways to confront and fix the real problems facing our country. They both propose possible solutions to our real problems. And we debate between those possible solutions. And by the process of debate, we pick the best idea. That competition between good ideas, from both sides, about real problems in the real country should result in our country having better choices, better options, than if only one side is really working on the hard stuff. And if the Republican party, and the conservative movement, and the conservative media is stuck in a vacuum sealed, door locked, spin cycle of telling each other what makes them feel good, and denying the factual, lived truth of the world, then we are all deprived, as a nation, of the constructive debate between competing, feasible ideas about real problems.
Last night the Republicans got shellacked. And they had no idea it was coming. And we saw them, in real time, in real humiliating time, not believe it even as it was happening to them. And unless they’re going to secede, they’re going to have to pop the factual bubble they have been so happy living inside, if they do not want to get shellacked again. And that will be a painful process for them, I’m sure, but it will be good for the whole country - left, right, and center. You guys, we’re counting on you. Wake up.
There’s real problems in the world. There are real knowable facts in the world. Let’s accept those and talk about how we might approach our problems differently. Let’s move on from there. If the Republican party, and the conservative movement, and conservative media are forced to do that by the humiliation they were dealt last night, we will all be better off as a nation. And in that spirit, congratulations everybody. Big night.
Here are some interesting election factoids: Romney predominated only among older white men; Obama won 55% of womens’ votes, 93% of African Americans’, 71% of Latino ballots and 60% of voters ages 18 to 29.
The GOP is fucked. Well and truly fucked. It’s only going to be worse for them in 2016 as more of the old farts who make up the Republican Party shuffle off this mortal coil and more and more young Latinos join the voter rolls as Democrats.
True the Vote‘s Catherine Engelbrecht actually sees herself as a defender of democracy!
The Tea party-affiliated group True the Vote has been barred from monitoring polling places in Franklin County, the second largest county in Ohio — which includes the state capital, Columbus—after allegedly submitting fraudulent forms.
True the Vote claims that its campaign is non-partisan, yet its website touts “vote fraud is nearly an exclusive crime of the left” and claims that the left—I think they mean Democrats here—wants “to be able to steal elections at will.”
But forging signatures on official forms? Can’t you see they had to bend the rules to save democracy from… people like themselves???
It doesn’t get any more ridiculous than these assholes! I don’t know what the hell these dipshit doodlebugs think they’re up to and I don’t think they do either. That’s why they’re Tea baggers, I suppose. If their IQs were any higher this sort of lowbrow activity would have no appeal…
Via Raw Story:
“The Franklin County Board of Elections did not allow Election Day polling location observer appointments filed by the True the Vote group,” board spokesman Ben Pisctelli told The Columbus Dispatch in a statement. “The appointments were not properly filed and our voting location managers were instructed not to honor any appointment on behalf of the True the Vote group.”
Plunderbund reported that True the Vote had likely falsified or forged election observer forms submitted to the Franklin County Board of Elections. Board member Zachary Manifold told Plunderbund he was “amazed that a group that goes to such extreme lengths to claim voting fraud in Ohio would knowingly forge or misuse signatures to try to gain access to Franklin County polling locations.”
True the Vote President Catherine Engelbrecht denied the allegations, insisting that no one trained by True the Vote had done anything illegal or unethical. Engelbrecht said the incident was the Ohio Democratic Party’s “final, desperate attempt to deny citizens their right to observe elections” and vowed to take legal action.
Isn’t that what any completely insane, reality-denying person would say when confronted with the fact that members of her organization had been caught red-handed forging signatures on official government papers? Committing felonies!
I think it is.
The group had hoped to place poll watchers in predominately African American areas. True the Vote had asked to send poll watchers to 28 precincts in Franklin County — which includes the capital, Columbus. African Americans comprise more than half the population in 20 of the 28 targeted precincts, though they make up only about 12 percent of the state’s total population.
Left-leaning groups have accused True the Vote of seeking to intimidate Democratic voters.
I wonder why that would be? These True the Vote-types seem like such honest, patriotic Americans!
If you can’t trust people who wrap themselves up in the American flag, who can ya trust?
I see stupid people. Everywhere. Except you really don’t need a sixth sense to spot them. They’re the most reliable voting bloc in America.
According to a new poll by Public Policy Polling, 68% of Republican voters believe in demonic possession (although just 48% of them buy into that whole global warming scam).
Makes sense…. but before you go pointing and laughing at those blighted GOP chuckleheads, 49% of Democrats believe the same damned thing!
Via The Daily Caller:
More interestingly, even though most registered voters believe possession is possible, only a minority — 37 percent — believe in ghosts, while 57 percent of voters don’t believe in ghosts.
Democrats are more likely to believe in ghosts than Republicans by a 39 percent to 35 percent margin. And women are more likely than men are to believe in ghosts by a 39 percent to 35 percent margin.
Democrats are also more likely than Republicans to say that they have seen a ghost by a 31 percent to 22 percent margin. However, only 26 percent of voters at large say they have seen a ghost.
This seems as good a time as any to re-post this clip of TV exorcist Bob Larson performing an exorcism on comedic genius Marc Wootton’s “Shirley Ghostman” character on Showtime’s brilliant (and criminally underrated) La La Land series.
Pneumatic tanning addict Trisha Paytas—who hasn’t missed a day of tanning in ten years—was recently featured on TLC’s My Strange Addiction for her obsession with tanning.
In the clip below, she explains why she’s voting for Mitt Romney. First and foremost? He’s “super hot.”
Oh, wait, no, it’s actually her Catholic faith. And something about Hitler and Obama.
Don’t miss: Obama or God?
Pregnant Mitt by Tom Tomorrow
The conservative “Concerned Women for America” PAC is floating a ridiculous new bid to bring more ladies into the Romney fold(er): Denying that the Republican presidential wannabe can do much of anything to eliminate a woman’s right to choose in a new television ad. The spot is an “answer” of sorts to an ad featuring Scarlett Johansson, Eva Longoria and Kerry Washington that was produced by MoveOn.
Of course, Mitt Romney has repeatedly stated that he would choose Supreme Court justices who would overturn Roe v. Wade throughout the 2012 election cycle. He might even be able to appoint THREE Supreme Court justices should he best Obama in November. The thought of this turns my blood cold and it should scare you, too. You can’t really get rid of a Supreme Court Justice, they’re appointed for life. Imagine three more Republican-appointed numbnuts joining Scalia and Clarence Thomas on the bench, and then hanging out there for a few decades (perhaps for the rest of your life on this planet). Not a pretty picture.
Lately, ignoring his own previously held positions (and the various flip-flopping he’s done on the matter during his political life, all of it a matter of public record), Romney himself has attempted this tactic, claiming that there is nothing he would do to restrict abortion rights. Today a New York Times editorial—and Romney’s own website, whoops-a-daisy—blew a hole in that lie. The Romney campaign is even airing a new TV ad that portrays the “severely conservative” politician as a moderate on abortion... because… WHY NOT? At least a few dumb-dumbs might believe him!
The inanity of this ad is awe-inspiring, especially the tag line:
Don’t Let Hollywood manipulate your vote!
Nope, let some lying liars manipulate your vote, instead!
Creepy, creepy stuff. How fucking dumb would you have to be to buy into any of this, or be swayed by this specious argument? Having said that, it’s not like Republicans don’t win elections all the time by appealing for the votes of America’s ignorant masses…