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“Palin Was Practically Booed Back to Wasilla” By Pro-Union Protesters in Madison, Wisconsin

MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH FOR TRUTHOUT

Submitted by mark karlin on Wed, 04/20/2011 – 9:32pm.

Why do Tea Party rallies get so much media attention, even when their gatherings appear to be shrinking in size?

That is because the corporate mainstream media has a bias toward covering protests from the right, but virtually ignores progressive crowds. This was recently evidenced by the scant national coverage given to the unprecedented anti-Scott Walker protests of up to 100,000 people in the relatively small city of Madison.

So, when Sarah Palin appeared in Madison on Saturday, April 16, it was not surprising that CNN described her as “energizing” the crowd, even though she could barely be heard much beyond the “feed” mike – the boos and chants of disapproval were that loud from the protesters.

Matthew Rothschild, editor of The Progressive (which is located in Madison) attended the Palin event and estimated that the protesters were double the size of the Koch brothers’ “Americans for Prosperity” crowd:

There were about 1,500 tea partiers, many bused in by Americans for Prosperity, the rightwing group funded by the Koch brothers.

The tea partiers were surrounded by about 3,000 or more pro-labor supporters, who let their presence be felt with raucous chants and boos and cries of “Shame, shame, shame!”

“Recall Walker,” the protesters chanted over and over again, as well as, “Hey, hey, ho, ho, Scott Walker has got to go.”

In fact, Thom Hartmann points out in a television report that Andrew Breitbart (former Drudge protege and current right-wing “pundit” and provocateur) was so incensed by the chants of the protesters that he shouted, “Go to Hell!” (three times) at them from the podium. And that was before Palin even spoke.

Hartmann also trenchantly dissects how the corporate media frames its reports to give an inaccurate account of events with a slant that favors the right wing and status quo.

The true story of Sarah Palin’s appearance in Madison was that, according to Hartmann, “Palin was practically booed back to Wasilla.”

But you wouldn’t know that from watching the cable or evening news.

*****

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I’ve probably written and rewritten this opening paragraph about Glenn Beck and his morning zoo sycophantic sidekick Pat Gray four or five times with various sequences of compound obscenities and ad hominem insults. But I’m opting for more restraint at this point, even though neither of these jackals deserves it. Especially so, considering their latest hand-in-hand plunge into all new depths of awfulness.

By now, you’ve probably heard the news about Gene Cranick and his family, and how the South Fulton, Tennessee fire department stood by and allowed the Cranick house to burn to the ground, destroying everything and killing the family’s dogs and cats. All because the Cranicks failed to pay a $75 fee. While a raging brush fire neared his home, Cranick begged the fire chief to stop the fire before it engulfed his house. He even offered to immediately pay the $75 fee, but the chief refused and the house burned to the ground.

As a survivor of two house fires (technically, one was a gas explosion) my heart goes out to the Cranicks and the nightmare they’re enduring today. But my own experiences are incidental — you don’t have to have survived a pair of house fires to recognize the unapologetic callousness of Beck and his squishy Quatto-from-Total-Recall parasitic twin Pat Gray.

Here’s what happened.

Yesterday on his radio show, Beck and Gray not only defended the fire department’s refusal to save the Cranick’s house, but they also accused Cranick of “sponging” off his neighbors — all the while mocking and ridiculing Cranick’s rural accent. Courtesy of ThinkProgress, here’s the clip:

And the takeaway quote from Beck:

If you don’t pay the 75 dollars then that hurts the fire department. They can’t use those resources, and you’d be sponging off your neighbor’s resources.

That’s right. A matter of days after losing everything they owned, including their home, their pets, family photographs — everything — and all because of a delinquent $75 fee, Gene Cranick and his family were excoriated, scolded and teased by multimillionaire celebrity televangelist Glenn Beck in front of a radio audience estimated at upwards of 10 million listeners.

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The president wrapped up his address Tuesday night by asking Americans to pray for the victims — both human and environmental — of the BP oil spill. I thought it was a strange way to end his first Oval Office address during a national emergency insofar as praying makes the situation appear too big for conventional solutions. As though all that remains between us and a sea of oil is the Hail Mary.

This morning it occurred to me that this was the only thing he could really ask Americans to do.

Why? Simply stated, it doesn’t require any effort to silently invoke spirituality while stopped at a traffic signal or while chewing a gluttonous mouthful of Double Down. Actually, I take back that second part. I can’t imagine doing anything other than suffering a massive infarction while eating a Double Down.

Instead of prayer, the president could have asked us all to make sacrifices towards the goal of weaning ourselves off of fossil fuels. Maybe he should have asked for sacrifice. It probably wouldn’t have hurt. But it would have been mostly ignored.

Americans simply don’t do “national sacrifice” anymore. During World War II, Americans were asked to ration everything from sugar to oil to cheese — even shoes. Those days are long gone. Today, we’re asked to go to Disneyland or the beach. Or we’re asked to pray. (It’s difficult to imagine the modern right-wing, for example, accepting the rationing of anything at the behest of the current president when most of them refuse to fill out a U.S. Census form. More on that presently.)

The BP oil spill has been a daily reminder of our toxic relationship with decomposed dinosaurs. On just about every blog and every cable news show, we’ve watched in shock-horror as 75,000,000 gallons of oil spew from the top of the Deepwater Horizon’s blowout preventer. We see it. We cringe. Some of us shout, “Why, oh, why?!” Others curse Tony Hayward and BP. Maybe some of us curse President Obama or former President Bush. A clear majority of Americans are pissed off, and they’re taking it out on everyone except themselves: the ones actually buying the oil.

Once we’re exhausted with blaming and yelling, we climb into our oversized cars, crank up the air conditioner, drive to Burger King and order a ammonia-washed beef sandwich the size of a baby — while mindlessly idling at the drive-thru.

As the president pointed out last night, scientists, experts and politicians alike have been urging us to make the transition to clean energy and away from fossil fuels. In the last ten years alone, we’ve endured the largest terrorist attack on our soil and subsequently fought two wars, all prompted by American intrusions into the Middle East to satisfy our collective petro fix.

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Last week, I wrote a piece about the tea party movement and the obvious through-line of race, race-baiting, racism and the use of the Southern Strategy within the movement. The responses were mostly positive and supportive, while the responses from the far-right and tea party people were predictably obnoxious, contradictory and fact-free.

The dominant theme throughout the most outraged responses was, essentially: We’re not racists, but here’s why we’re pissed about blacks and immigrants. For example, here’s a particularly illustrative e-mail, reprinted as it was received:

The Tea Party is NOT about race, it is about me paying taxes to support every non contributing individual that has the ability to pro create. It is not my/our fault that the majority of NON contributors are minority. It is not my/our fault some refuse to learn English, thereby limiting their employment opportunities. Hell, the whole race thing is nothing but bullshit for losers such as Garafolo and yourself to capitalize on. Rest assured Booby Boy we no longer give a damn about what you think do or say The main reason the Tea Party exists is Obama’s Marxist/Socialistic COMMUNISTIC leanings that will ultimately cost me, part of the 50% that pays taxes, as opposed to the 50% that DON’T PAY!! An ideology that will transform this Country into a third world nation. Try having some honest debate Booby and you might gain cred. Until then you’re shining Garafolo’s shoes. Sounds to me like you may be an immigrant yourself with an axe to grind. Is that the case Booby? If so you can always go home! Careful moron that light you’re looking at is a train not the end of the tunnel……

Smart. I have dozens more just like it. Several of them tell me I’m an idiot for suggesting there’s a racial component, followed closely with a line about how I should “go back to Cuba or Africa.” Nope. No racism there. Nevertheless, no matter how unhinged the above message might be, it proves an important point — my point.

Each topic abstractly hinges on race.

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Crooks and Liars- By David Neiwert Friday Jan 29, 2010 3:00pm

Sarah Palin confirmed on Greta Van Susteren’s show last night that she’s very much planning to show up and speak at the National Tea Party Convention in Nashville, despite the distinct odor of Scam the whole affair is giving off.

Palin: Oh, you betcha I’m going to be there. I’m going to speak there because there are people traveling from many miles away to hear what that Tea Party movement is all about and what that message is that should be received by our politicians in Washington. I’m honored to get to be there.

This, even as some of her fellow wingnuts are catching the same whiff — namely, Reps. Michele Bachmann and Marsha Blackburn, who have pulled out of the event:

In separate statements, released by their congressional offices, the lawmakers said that appearing at the convention might conflict with House ethics rules. But they also said they are concerned about how money raised from the event will be spent.

Palin last night had no such concerns — and said no one should be concerned about that big wad of cash the convention organizers are paying her:

Palin: The speaker’s fee will go right back into the cause. I’ll be able to donate it to people and those events, those things that I believe in, that will help perpetuate the message, the message being: Government, you have constitutional limits. You better start abiding by them.

Hmmmmm. It sounds like we’re going to have to rely on Sarah’s say-so when it comes to how she actually spends the money. Smells even more like Scam, doesn’t it?

Of course, the whole scenario, as David Corn explored with Keith Olbermann last night, is developing into quite a fiasco — mainly because Tea Partier and Birther J.D. Hayworth has decided to challenge Palin’s former running mate, John McCain, in the Arizona Senate primary.

Palin is staying loyal to McCain. This has outraged the Tea Partiers, as Alan Colmes points out:

She has now chose to align herself with several bad actors. What should this be called, the Rinoization of Sarah Palin. [...]

She is certainly entitled to write a book and make money for her and her family, but other than what has she has done to support Republican and patriotic candidates. … Perhaps, Sarah was too busy talking to her agent about her Fox deal. Where the hell was Sarah?

This is what you get when you build a movement around paranoid right-wingers. There is probably no faction more historically famous for viciously turning on each other in struggles over money and power than right-wing populists.

Couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch.

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The Republican record on terrorism is pretty damn terrible. Naturally, this hasn’t stopped them from milking whatever remains of their purely cosmetic tough-guy reputation in order to fear-monger the failed Underpants Bomber incident irrespective of their lengthy history of failure, cowardice and stupidity on the issue.

I think we all understand and begrudgingly accept that Americans have a short attention span, and an even shorter memory, but the Republicans are really counting on it as they exploit the post-underpants freakout.

For example, Senator Richard Burr (R-NC) said the other day:

I’m hopeful that the president will become forceful, that we will return back to the direction where we are prosecuting the war on terror

I know. It doesn’t read very well, but the senator was suggesting that we go back to the way the Bush/Cheney team ran the “war on terror” — that the previous administration’s strategy was much more effective. Another attempt to sell the inaccurate notion that shit-kicker boots, a southern drawl, a waterboard and hillbilly bumper-sticker justice succeeded in knocking al-Qaeda into oblivion.

Wrong.

WASHINGTON (AP) — A new threat assessment from U.S. counterterrorism analysts says that al-Qaeda has used its safe haven along the Afghan-Pakistan border to restore its operating capabilities to a level unseen since the months before Sept. 11, 2001.
A counterterrorism official familiar with a five-page summary of the document — titled “al-Qaeda better positioned to strike the West” — called it a stark appraisal. The analysis will be part of a broader meeting at the White House on Thursday about an upcoming National Intelligence Estimate.

This wasn’t some sort of early, post-9/11 assessment that can be scapegoated on the Clinton administration. If you recall, this NIE was released to the press in July of 2007. A year and a half before President Obama was elected, six and a half years after Bill Clinton left office, and six and a half years into the Bush presidency.

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“The road ahead will be long. Our climb will be steep. We may not get there in one year or even one term, but America — I have never been more hopeful than I am tonight that we will get there. I promise you — we as a people will get there.
There will be setbacks and false starts. There are many who wont agree with every decision or policy I make as President, and we know that government cant solve every problem. But I will always be honest with you about the challenges we face. I will listen to you, especially when we disagree. And above all, I will ask you join in the work of remaking this nation the only way its been done in America for two-hundred and twenty-one years – block by block, brick by brick, calloused hand by calloused hand.”

Barack Obama,
November 4, 2008

November 4, 2009. It’s been exactly one year since Barack Obama was elected, and it’s becoming increasingly clear that the president hasn’t fixed the whole world yet. Then again, he never promised such a thing. But despite some “setbacks and false starts,” we’re in considerably better shape than we were when the president delivered the above words on election night in Chicago.

One of his central goals, going all the way back to his 2004 convention speech, of building common ground between Americans of different ideologies and backgrounds is going to be more difficult than was previously anticipated. However, what’s beginning to take shape is common ground between the far-right and the far-left insofar as they’re both angrily lining up in opposition to this White House.

Of course the wingnut right — the Beck-Limbaugh-Palin Industrial Complex — has a significant head start. Plus, they’re immovable. Nothing this president does, short of resignation, will ever be greeted positively and everything will be pegged as a Nazi-Communist-Nixon-Carter-Terrorist usurping of American exceptionalism. However, on the left, there’s a growing discontentment that’s rapidly metastasizing into a similarly virulent and unchangeable anger. It not only threatens to fracture the president’s progressive base, but it could also force the president to retreat to the middle.

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If the Republicans ever manage to retake Congress, they will absolutely try to impeach President Obama. And it’ll be based upon a supremely ridiculous charge such as, say, the president refusing to nourish our crops with a sports drink instead of water.

Okay, so maybe the Idiocracy example is over-the-top, but if we follow the current trajectory of far-right attacks to their logical yet insane conclusion, it makes sense in a very eerie way. Have you seen the television commercials solemnly defending our right to poison our kids with “juice drinks and soda?” There you go.

I’ve been following the Republican descent into the realms of the bizarre for some time now, and it wasn’t until the “czars” thing broke that I became convinced that if they retook Congress the Republicans might try to impeach the president. The grounds for both the impeachment and the language used to sell it will likely be fabricated by either Glenn Beck or Rush Limbaugh.

I mean, 100 Republican members of Congress have signed onto Rep. Jack Kingston’s cartoonish czar bill. 100 House Republicans out of 177 have attached their names to a bill that was essentially invented as a television bit by Glenn Beck without any regard for the fact that “czar” is a nickname invented by the press, and that every president — all of them! — has employed policy and political advisers within their administrations. But it functions as an effective Beck attack because he knows his audience isn’t bright enough to distinguish “czars” from “communists.” By the way, not to be out-crazied by his House colleagues, Senator Ensign introduced an amendment to the Finance Committee health care reform bill called “Transparency in Czars.” This might as well be “Transparency in Hobbits” because it’s just that ludicrous.

Nevertheless, there’s a growing conventional wisdom in the press alleging that both sides of the political spectrum are equally guilty of wackaloon attacks and conspiracy theories.

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At the risk of bringing down the digital wrath of blog-savvy oldsters, I’ve noticed that a considerable number of the anti-reform Republican “hooligans,” as Rachel Maddow describes them, who turn up at various town hall meetings to shout incomprehensible loud noises just happen to be senior citizens. And while the old people who turn up to protest health care reform are, to come extent, victims of the usual Republican lies and disinformation, they’re still adults and therefore responsible for their opinions, their actions and their ziplock baggies filled with crazy.

Yes, they’ve been tricked by Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh into believing that health care reform will somehow involve golden-grilled ACORN thugs showing up at bingo with a tray of syringes filled with black liberal death juice. Yes, they’ve been tricked by Sean Hannity and Lou Dobbs into thinking that this “halfrican American” president with his terrorist pals and Kenyan birth certificate is trying to supplant God’s U.S. government with a liberal fascist homocracy.

But failing to grasp the extraordinary contradiction evident in receiving Medicare benefits while simultaneously shouting nonsense about “government-run health care” is quite simply inexcusable.

President Obama at a town hall meeting last week described a letter he received from a Medicare recipient:

“I got a letter the other day from a woman. She said, ‘I don’t want government-run health care. I don’t want socialized medicine. And don’t touch my Medicare.’”

At a town hall meeting held by Rep. Robert Inglis (R-SC):

Someone reportedly told Inglis, “Keep your government hands off my Medicare.”
“I had to politely explain that, ‘Actually, sir, your health care is being provided by the government,’” Inglis told the Post. “But he wasn’t having any of it.”

It’s no wonder with “very serious” analysts like Arthur Laffer are appearing on CNN and saying things like this (and getting away with it unchallenged):

“If you like the post office and the Department of Motor Vehicles and you think they’re run well, just wait till you see Medicare, Medicaid and health care done by the government.”

Yeah, just wait until the government gets its mighty robot claws on Medicare and Medicaid — snatching control away from, you know, the government. (Incidentally, the post office is amazing. As Maher said recently, anyone can drop a letter into a blue metal box on the sidewalk and in a couple of days it arrives at the place listed on the envelope. For 44 cents. Off the top of your head, can you name anything that costs 44 cents and actually functions exactly as advertised?)

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The Grandfather of Hate Radio

A lot has been said lately about the state of talkradio – the overwhelming presence of hate, lies, threats and hysteria. Everyone thinks its a phenomenon of the past twenty years. Sadly, no.

Hate radio has its roots back to the beginnings of radio. Although not the only one who used the airwaves to preach hate, fear and prejudice, Father Charles Coughlin was probably the most famous practitioner of extreme right wing sentiment. At his peak, his one hour “sermons” had an audience of several million and were a Sunday night staple on CBS Radio at first, and later NBC before his decline and eventual demise.

Coughlin established the template for what is the basis of Hate radio today. Although to be fair, Coughlin was articulate and had style – something todays practitioners have no clue how to use.

The excerpt here is from a broadcast of July 30, 1939 in a talk called “The Christian Front versus the Popular Front”.

“In the meantime, if you care to carry on, you have the discomfort of knowing of your past failures. In the meantime if you do not emulate the traditions of your European comrades, who ran like rats for safety, leaving behind their disillusioned followers to bear the brunt of defeat, you will be responsible for building up such a defense mechanism as this world never witnessed. A defense mechanism which will either isolate you or obliterate you if you persist in pursuing your attacks against religion and constitutional Americanism.”

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