Thursday, January 20, 2011


From Commentary: Restore civility by Kevin McKinney:

We need to find the truth again.

Isn't that what's been missing in all this? Truth and justice used to be considered the essential building blocks of a democracy, our democracy. Admittedly, politics and lies to some degree have always gone hand in hand. Nothing new there. Anymore though, we live in an age, and amid a harsh political landscape that leaves virtually no room for the truth to flourish. It's lost its value - a reflection of us losing our values. The truth is treated as a novelty, incorporated only when convenient to serve a particular political agenda. It's the first casualty of political warfare.

In the absence of the truth, all bets are off. The groundwork is laid for further deception. The escalation begins. Arrogant lies become common place. And our country suffers.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Left And Right

Victims of words and victims of violence.

Contrast fantasy (the world of Sarah Palin, Sean Hannity, Bill O'Reilly and Glenn Beck):

From The Right Word: Fox News under fire by Sadbh Walshe:

In the wake of Tucson, Sean Hannity, Bill O'Reilly and Glenn Beck unite in their sense of victimhood from leftwing hate speech.
With reality (the world the rest of us actually live in):

From Another Isolated Incident by digby:
-- July 2008: A gunman named Jim David Adkisson, agitated at how "liberals" are "destroying America," walks into a Unitarian Church and opens fire, killing two churchgoers and wounding four others.

-- October 2008: Two neo-Nazis are arrested in Tennessee in a plot to murder dozens of African-Americans, culminating in the assassination of President Obama.

-- December 2008: A pair of "Patriot" movement radicals -- the father-son team of Bruce and Joshua Turnidge, who wanted "to attack the political infrastructure" -- threaten a bank in Woodburn, Oregon, with a bomb in the hopes of extorting money that would end their financial difficulties, for which they blamed the government. Instead, the bomb goes off and kills two police officers. The men eventually are convicted and sentenced to death for the crime.

-- December 2008: In Belfast, Maine, police discover the makings of a nuclear "dirty bomb" in the basement of a white supremacist shot dead by his wife. The man, who was independently wealthy, reportedly was agitated about the election of President Obama and was crafting a plan to set off the bomb.

-- January 2009: A white supremacist named Keith Luke embarks on a killing rampage in Brockton, Mass., raping and wounding a black woman and killing her sister, then killing a homeless man before being captured by police as he is en route to a Jewish community center.

-- February 2009: A Marine named Kody Brittingham is arrested and charged with plotting to assassinate President Obama. Brittingham also collected white-supremacist material.

-- April 2009: A white supremacist named Richard Poplawski opens fire on three Pittsburgh police officers who come to his house on a domestic-violence call and kills all three, because he believed President Obama intended to take away the guns of white citizens like himself. Poplawski is currently awaiting trial.

-- April 2009: Another gunman in Okaloosa County, Florida, similarly fearful of Obama's purported gun-grabbing plans, kills two deputies when they come to arrest him in a domestic-violence matter, then is killed himself in a shootout with police.

-- May 2009: A "sovereign citizen" named Scott Roeder walks into a church in Wichita, Kansas, and assassinates abortion provider Dr. George Tiller.

-- June 2009: A Holocaust denier and right-wing tax protester named James Von Brunn opens fire at the Holocaust Museum, killing a security guard.

-- February 2010: An angry tax protester named Joseph Ray Stack flies an airplane into the building housing IRS offices in Austin, Texas. (Media are reluctant to label this one "domestic terrorism" too.)

-- March 2010: Seven militiamen from the Hutaree Militia in Michigan and Ohio are arrested and charged with plotting to assassinate local police officers with the intent of sparking a new civil war.

-- March 2010: An anti-government extremist named John Patrick Bedell walks into the Pentagon and opens fire, wounding two officers before he is himself shot dead.

-- May 2010: A "sovereign citizen" from Georgia is arrested in Tennessee and charged with plotting the violent takeover of a local county courthouse.

-- May 2010: A still-unidentified white man walks into a Jacksonville, Fla., mosque and sets it afire, simultaneously setting off a pipe bomb.

-- May 2010: Two "sovereign citizens" named Jerry and Joe Kane gun down two police officers who pull them over for a traffic violation, and then wound two more officers in a shootout in which both of them are eventually killed.

-- July 2010: An agitated right-winger and convict named Byron Williams loads up on weapons and drives to the Bay Area intent on attacking the offices of the Tides Foundation and the ACLU, but is intercepted by state patrolmen and engages them in a shootout and armed standoff in which two officers and Williams are wounded.

-- September 2010: A Concord, N.C., man is arrested and charged with plotting to blow up a North Carolina abortion clinic. The man, 26-year--old Justin Carl Moose, referred to himself as the "Christian counterpart to (Osama) bin Laden” in a taped undercover meeting with a federal informant.

Bigger Than The Bible

From Tax System: Too Complex To Be Constitutional? by Jack Hough:

Douglas Shulman says he uses a hired tax preparer because the U.S. tax code is so complex. That's a bad sign. He's the I.R.S. commissioner.

The tax system has clearly gotten too complicated. The code itself holds about 3.8 million words, nearly five times as many as the King James Bible.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Thank God For Making Me An Atheist

Ricky Gervais: Why I’m an Atheist

Guns Don't Kill People…

2 wounded at LA school when gun in backpack fires

Saturday, January 15, 2011

What Is The Matter With Us?

From Helpless in the Face of Madness by Bob Herbert:

What is the matter with us? Are we really helpless in the face of the astounding toll that guns take on this society?

More than 30,000 people die from gunfire every year. Another 66,000 or so are wounded, which means that nearly 100,000 men, women and children are shot in the United States annually. Have we really become so impotent as a society, so pathetically fearful in the face of the extremists, that we can’t even take the most modest of steps to begin curbing this horror?

Where is the leadership? We know who’s on the side of the gun crazies. Where is the leadership on the side of sanity?
Mr. Herbert, I agree with you and ask the same questions. Many Americans, however, see this issue in a way that is completely reversed from how you present it. To them gun control is crazy, and the sane solution is more guns, not less. This is a big part of what is the matter with us.

Where is the leadership on the side of sanity? Well, The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence is one starting point. The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence is another. Send them some money if you want to support them. I agree that we are facing madness, however, I like to think that we are not helpless.

How The Least Rational Person Takes It

From The Crying Shame of John Boehner by Matt Taibbi:

Another Ohio Democrat, Steve Driehaus, clashed repeatedly with Boehner before losing his seat in the midterm elections. After Boehner suggested that by voting for Obamacare, Driehaus "may be a dead man" and "can't go home to the west side of Cincinnati" because "the Catholics will run him out of town," Driehaus began receiving death threats, and a right-wing website published directions to his house. Driehaus says he approached Boehner on the floor and confronted him.

"I didn't think it was funny at all," Driehaus says. "I've got three little kids and a wife. I said to him, 'John, this is bullshit, and way out of bounds. For you to say something like that is wildly irresponsible.'"

Driehaus is quick to point out that he doesn't think Boehner meant to urge anyone to violence. "But it's not about what he intended — it's about how the least rational person in my district takes it. We run into some crazy people in this line of work."

Friday, January 14, 2011


From Sarah Palin: Graceless Under Pressure by Jeffrey Winbush:

When she should rise above the fray, once again she gets dragged down by her inability to overlook a slight. How sadly predictable. How Palinesque.

Palin uses loaded words and images and then tries to act surprised when they blow up. No, she didn't pull the trigger in Arizona, and I wasn't expecting her to issue a half-assed apology, but she could have expressed a little less of the "Why is everybody picking on me?" whine and a lot more of the "Let's set aside our differences and come together as Americans to help the victims and start the healing." She could have done that, but she decided to stick to her guns. As usual, it's all about Sarah.

Somewhere in those eight minutes, she and her speechwriters could have referred to an even greater communicator than Reagan -- and that's Martin Luther King Jr., who said, "Have we not come to such an impasse in the modern world that we must love our enemies -- or else? The chain reaction of evil -- hate begetting hate, wars producing more wars -- must be broken, or else we shall be plunged into the dark abyss of annihilation."

Quote Of Note - Daniel Hernandez

“I think a lot of people are realizing the political discourse has, for years, become completely destructive and more about tearing the other people apart instead of trying to work together to build up a nation and the state.” Daniel Hernandez

Political Rhetoric That's Beyond The Pale

From Linking Uncivil Rhetoric With Violent Acts by Emily Badger:

Some 95 percent of people said they believe civility in politics is important for a healthy democracy — the good news, in Shea’s eyes. But nearly 50 percent said they believe civility has been on the decline since Barack Obama took office (and those paying close attention to politics were four times more likely to say this than those paying only moderate attention).

Most surprising are the responses when people were asked to define what should be out of bounds. “If you were able to create a rule book for civility in politics,” subjects were asked, “which of the following would not be OK — would be, that is, against the rules?” Overwhelming majorities opposed belittling or insulting someone (89 percent), questioning someone’s patriotism because they have a different opinion (73 percent), and personal attacks on someone they disagree with (87 percent).

Most Americans, in short, think entirely commonplace occurrences in politics today constitute political rhetoric that’s beyond the pale. We’re not even talking gun sights or “second-amendment remedies.”

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Sliding Down The Pole

“I learned that it pays to hang around with people better than you are, because you will float upward a little bit. And if you hang around with people that behave worse than you, pretty soon you’ll start sliding down the pole. It just works that way.” Warren Buffett

I think that the Republican Party thinks that plenty of voters are stupid, crazy, and angry white men. There is some overlap of course, but here’s how I see it:

  • Sarah Palin stumps for the stupid vote.
  • Glenn Beck stumps for the crazy vote.
  • Rush Limbaugh stumps for the angry white male vote.
Why does the Republican Party have such a low opinion of so many American citizens? The answer is votes. And the dumber, crazier, and angrier The Republican machine can make the average American citizen become, the more votes they can get. Cutting funding for worthwhile government programs, especially education, helps to increase the Republican voter pool. It has become a cycle of more stupid, more crazy, and more angry. And the country slides even further down the pole.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Dumbass Quote Of Note - Glenn Beck

“I'm thinking about killing Michael Moore.” Glenn Beck

Blood Libel

Right wingers think that the 1st amendment applies only to them. They are free to say anything that they want to. They are free to say nasty and violent things. They are free to lie about things.

If anyone on the left voices the least bit of criticism of the right, then the right-wingers are outraged. Doesn’t the left know that the 1st amendment only applies to the voices of the right wing?

Are there any adults left in the world of the Republican right-wing monstrosity? The right-wing act like spoiled little children. Most of them are bullies (Rush Limbaugh) or like little two year olds saying “No, I won’t do it, you can’t make me.” (The Republican Senate) Not to mention the childish, bully Bill O’Reilly who responds to any challenge with a loud obnoxious “Shut up.”

The left is not telling Sarah Palin to shut up. Many of us wish she would, but we are not telling her to. We would like her to consider her words more carefully. We would like her to realize that words have meaning. We would like her act like an adult. We would like a little civility.

Obviously the right-wingers think that guns and gun owners breed civility. If the left questions that belief we are accused of “blood libel.”

From Sarah Palin accuses critics of "blood libel" by David Morgan:

Prominent Republican Sarah Palin on Wednesday accused critics of "blood libel" by blaming her rhetoric for contributing to the shooting rampage in Tucson that killed six and wounded 14, including Democratic Representative Gabrielle Giffords.

"Acts of monstrous criminality stand on their own. They begin and end with the criminals who commit them," the conservative Tea Party favorite and former Alaska governor said in her first major response to critics.

"Especially within hours of a tragedy unfolding, journalists and pundits should not manufacture a blood libel that serves only to incite the very hatred and violence they purport to condemn. That is reprehensible."
Some commentators and bloggers questioned whether last year's election rhetoric from conservative Republicans including Palin and some Tea Party candidates created a climate that bred violence.
If  “Acts of monstrous criminality stand on their own” then why did the right-wing want to go after Saddam Hussein because of 9/11? Why do so many right-wingers hate all Muslims, even the ones who are not criminals? Words do have consequences. If they didn’t Sarah Palin would not have responded to the commentators and bloggers accusing them of “blood libel.” She didn’t like what we said. She has a right to respond. However, she is simply wrong to think that words cannot compel people to action. Barack Obama’s words compelled people to vote for him. Sarah Palin’s words compelled people to vote for him. Soon we celebrate the birth of Martin Luther King. Need I say more? Well I will. I’d rather have a dream than reload.

Also, does Sarah Palin have any bone in her body that cries out for logic? First she says that her words could not have incited violence. Then she says that journalists and pundits can incite violence with words. What’s that all about?

I am tired of the right-wingers. I am fed up with the right-wingers. Whatever happened to the melting pot? The United States is a country with all kinds of people. We should nourish our diversity, not starve the parts that you disagree with, simply because they disagree with you.

Listening seems to be a lost art. Contemplation seems to be a lost art. Compromise seems to be a lost art. Hate, however, seems to be thriving, and Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Bill O'Reilly and all the rest who preach the gospel of hate are the reason why.

I am tired of the hate. I am tired of politics as war. I am tired of being seen as an enemy of the country I am a citizen of. I am tired of Sarah Palin and her ilk always being on the offensive, as well as being offensive.

The United States needs to be positive in it’s thinking. All that I hear from the right is “No.” All I hear from the right is “Shut up.”

By the way, what the hell does “blood libel” even mean?


Now I know. You learn something everyday. Why did Palin choose those words?

Monday, January 10, 2011

Beck's Brain

From Arizona shootings: Left and right at odds over effects of toxic politics by Suzanne Goldenberg:

On his radio show this morning, Glenn Beck, the sometimes incendiary talkshow host, was all sympathy for Sarah Palin. "I know you are feeling the same heat on this," he said, reading out his exchange of email with the firebrand leader who has been accused of helping to create the toxic environment of current American politics.

Forty-eight hours after the massacre at an Arizona Safeway, the left and right were engaged in decrying the violent rhetoric of Obama-age politics while trying at the same time to score points off their political opponents.

Beck used his show to drum up sympathy for Palin, reading out an email from the conservative icon in which she expressed her hatred of violence and those who seek to politicise violence.

He then offered her the services of his own security firm, reading out the name on air. "Please look into protection for your family. An attempt on you can bring the republic down," he said.
Let me get this straight. There are people on the left who have criticized and/or questioned the rhetoric of Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck for possibly inciting violence. Yet Beck perceives that there is a threat from the non-violent, anti-war, gun-control supporting left and that one of us will abandon our principles to try to shoot Sarah Palin? The man’s brain is in need of a major overhaul.

The Becking Of America

From Chip Berlet on "The Becking of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords":

CHIP BERLET: Well, if you’re walking in the shoes of a person who believes this set of stories, abortion, gay rights, sexual liberalism are all part of a plan to destroy America by reducing its moral backbone and allowing godless ideas and alien ideas to infiltrate the country and destroy America as God’s new promised land. So, within certain groups of the Christian right who are militantly anti-abortion, the idea is that this is all part of the same fabric of secular humanist, liberal treason. And it’s this idea that the Democrats and the liberals and the leftists are treasonous, which is creating this atmosphere of demonization and vilification.

Back in June of 2009, I wrote a report called “Toxic to Democracy,” which said—and I’ll quote it—“Aggressive right-wing rhetoric targeting Democrats as treasonous encourages some unstable people to act out in aggression or violence.” So this was predictable. Sara Robinson, David Neiwert, Mark Potok, dozens of reporters who study the right wing have been predicting the outcome of this wave, this "Becking" of America, where the Glenn Becks, the Ann Coulters, the Bill O’Reillys talk about abortion, talk about gay rights, talk about healthcare, talk about the Democrats as traitors to America who have to be stopped.

Here is some “Becking” from days gone by:

Bring Your Gun To The Tea Party


From Glen Beck Has Made Me Feel Better:
Beck has a “shoot them in the head” fetish:
"Beck has a warning for Muslims 'who have sat on [their] frickin' hands' and have not 'lin[ed] up to shoot the bad Muslims in the head'," Media Matters for America, August 10, 2006.

“I wonder, do we have a guy who will tell me the truth who is well spoken, who has the fire in the belly to do a couple of things: one, shoot the bad guys in the head, and, two, shrink the size of government?” Glenn Beck, September 6, 2007.

“I say Rudy Giuliani is the candidate who will stand up to our enemies, tell them to get the hell out or we`ll shoot them in the head.” Glenn Beck, September 6, 2007.

From Glenn Beck on how the US should treat Gitmo detainees: We’re going to shoot them all in the head by John Amato:
Listen to this rant about the Supreme Court decision on Gitmo detainees and you’ll know the state of conservatism in this country He’s like so many of them.
Beck: This court has done some frightening. frightening things….If I’m president of the US, I would go on National television and say—’ladies and gentlemen, the Supreme Court said that we don’t have Gitmo so that is over. We’re going to release all of them, but I want you to know from here on out our policy is to not have prisoners. We’re going to shoot them all in the head.’

If we think they are against us, we’re going to shoot them and kill them—period because that’s the only thing we’ve got going for us—cause we can put them away and get information. If we can’t put them away and they’re going to use our court system—kill them.

Our Sickness

From Climate of Hate by Paul Krugman:

It’s important to be clear here about the nature of our sickness. It’s not a general lack of “civility,” the favorite term of pundits who want to wish away fundamental policy disagreements. Politeness may be a virtue, but there’s a big difference between bad manners and calls, explicit or implicit, for violence; insults aren’t the same as incitement.

The point is that there’s room in a democracy for people who ridicule and denounce those who disagree with them; there isn’t any place for eliminationist rhetoric, for suggestions that those on the other side of a debate must be removed from that debate by whatever means necessary.

And it’s the saturation of our political discourse — and especially our airwaves — with eliminationist rhetoric that lies behind the rising tide of violence.

Where’s that toxic rhetoric coming from? Let’s not make a false pretense of balance: it’s coming, overwhelmingly, from the right. It’s hard to imagine a Democratic member of Congress urging constituents to be “armed and dangerous” without being ostracized; but Representative Michele Bachmann, who did just that, is a rising star in the G.O.P.

And there’s a huge contrast in the media. Listen to Rachel Maddow or Keith Olbermann, and you’ll hear a lot of caustic remarks and mockery aimed at Republicans. But you won’t hear jokes about shooting government officials or beheading a journalist at The Washington Post. Listen to Glenn Beck or Bill O’Reilly, and you will.

Get My Broker On The Line

The Very Wealthy Man

Our National Culture Of Violence

From Isn't What Happened in Arizona Media-Fed Bigoted White Christian Male Terrorism? by Mark Karlin:

The right-wing culture of hate and implicit coded call to kill the enemy, as if on a mission from God, is a subset of our larger national culture of violence.

From our policy of maintaining superpower status through wars and coups to going back to the conquest of America by the slaughter of Native Americans, we have had a history of a large segment of our population that views violence as a remedy for personal and political grievances - as well as the fulfillment of ideological goals. For them, "putting down your enemy" is as American as apple pie.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Thou Shalt Not Kill

From In the US, where hate rules at the ballot box, this tragedy has been coming for a long time by Michael Tomasky:

The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence has documented more than two dozen killings by or arrests of rightwing extremists who intended to do serious political violence since 2008. One Tennessee man killed two worshippers at a liberal church, regretting only that he had not been able to ice the 100 liberals named by author Bernard Goldberg as those most responsible for destroying America. Giffords herself received threats after voting for the healthcare reform bill, and shots were fired through the window of her district office. An event like this has been coming for a long time.

Quote Of Note - Gabrielle Giffords

"We're on Sarah Palin's targeted list. But the thing is, the way she has it depicted it has the crosshairs of a gun sight over our district. And when people do that, they've got to realize there are consequences to that action." - Gabrielle Giffords

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Just Say No

“The sun goes up, the sun goes down. The tide goes in, the tide goes out.” Bill O’Reilly

From Tell President Obama: No Super Bowl interview with O'Reilly:

Bill O'Reilly's outrageous opinions and willful disregard for the truth have been at the heart of some of FOX News' most shameful moments.
So why is President Obama granting O'Reilly an exclusive pre-Super Bowl interview?

This blockbuster interview legitimizes O'Reilly, and legitimizes his hateful opinions as actual journalism -- the last thing President Obama should do on the biggest television day of the year.
Bill O’Reilly is entitled to his opinion. Bill O’Reilly is not civil. Bill O’Reilly is arrogant. Bill O’Reilly is ignorant.

The fact that Bill O’Reilly is ignorant is what really bothers me about the Obama interview. Obama deserves better, and the nation deserves better. Will Bill tell the president to “shut up” if Obama tells him why “the tide goes in, the tide goes out?”

Friday, January 7, 2011

The Sun Goes Up, The Sun Goes Down

Why do teachers make less money than Bill O’Reilly?

"I'll tell you why [religion's] not a scam, in my opinion: tide goes in, tide goes out. Never a miscommunication...It always comes in, and always goes out. You can't explain that." Bill O'Reilly

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Bill O'Reilly Proves God's Existence - Neil deGrasse Tyson
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire BlogMarch to Keep Fear Alive

A law should be passed requiring Bill O’Reilly to say “Hello, I’m Bill O’Reilly and I’m an idiot.” at the beginning of every one of his broadcasts.  If he says it enough times maybe he and his audience will start to believe it.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Dave Camp's Big Problem

From The New Congress and the Coming Class War by Eric Alterman:

Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush talked incessantly about fiscal responsibility and lost no opportunity to denounce deficit spending, but these principles flew out the window when it came time to cut taxes on the rich. The new bunch are even worse. Incoming House Ways and Means Committee chair Dave Camp recently told George Will that one of the biggest problems with our tax system is that too few poor people pay income tax.
One solution for the “problem” of too few poor people paying income tax would be to increase the income of poor people so that it exceeded the cutoff point where income is taxed. The right wing should be happy with this. More poor people would be paying income tax, and they would still be poor.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Oh My!

Deny Christ or die

Wacked out right-wing religiosity. I suppose I must be dead.