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Archive for the ‘Wing Nuts’ Category

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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Early Morning Swim: Rachel Maddow on John McCain’s Abandonment of “Maverick” Brand

Firedoglake- By: Blue Texan Tuesday April 6, 2010 4:50 am

And it’s not just that he’s used that sham of a nickname for years. He just did last week.

At a campaign really for McCain on March 26th, Palin asked Arizona voters to “send the maverick back to the United States Senate” as McCain looked on. She told the crowd that McCain’s “maverick” status hasn’t won him friends from the “Washington D.C. elite machine.”

One reason McCain may be shedding the “maverick” label is that it doesn’t play well with Republican primary voters. McCain is facing a primary challenge from former congressman J.D. Hayworth, who has deemed McCain less than a true conservative.

Really brings the choice of Palin into focus, doesn’t it?

SOURCE

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John McCain: I’m NOT A Maverick — Or Am I? (VIDEOS)

Huff Post- First Posted: 04- 5-10 02:30 PM   |   Updated: 04- 5-10 08:05 PM

John McCain, the maverick? Apparently not anymore.

“I never considered myself a maverick,” McCain told Newsweek’s David Margolick in an interview in which he seems to distance himself from his trademark moniker. “I consider myself a person who serves the people of Arizona to the best of his abilities.”

But as recently as last month, McCain’s 2008 running mate, Sarah Palin, touted the Arizona senator’s “maverick” status, referring to “McCain the Maverick” four times in 15 minutes at a campaign rally in Tuscon.

(The Newsweek piece, is ironically subtitled “A maverick fights for his political life–and his soul.”)

Until now, McCain was never reluctant to embrace the “maverick” label. Here’s a look at some of his past ads and appearances that tout his maverickiness:

MORE “MAVERICK” VIDEOS HERE

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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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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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The Wing-Nut Code: What Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin Are Really Saying to Their Followers

By Adele M. Stan, AlterNet. Posted September 2, 2009.

You thought they were just unhinged. But here’s what they’re really saying to the armed and dangerous.

When Glenn Beck offers an odd-looking icon for his 9-12 Project, or Sarah Palin says something about her native state that sounds a bit to off-kilter to the ears of those in the lower 48, it’s tempting to think, well, they’re just nuts.

Perhaps they are, but that’s beside the point. The point is that when Beck throws up a graphic of a segmented snake as his project’s mascot, or Palin speaks of her native land as the “sovereign” state of Alaska, they’re blowing a kind of dog-whistle for the armed and paranoid who make up the right-wing, neo-militia “Patriot” movement and the broader “Tea Party” coalition.

The loose affiliation of right-wing groups under the Tea Party umbrella can make it difficult to discern who’s truly dangerous, and who’s just an angry blowhard.

For instance, in its report about the resurgence of the militia movement, the Southern Poverty Law Center notes that a Minuteman militia in Southern California uses the Tea Party anthem as its call to arms.

Scott Roeder, the militant anti-abortion activist who is charged with the killing of Dr. George Tiller, counts himself among the members of the patriot movement.

But in Pittsburgh earlier this month, I sat among a group of disgruntled senior citizens at a conference sponsored by the astroturf group, Americans for Prosperity, who probably don’t spend their weekends training for a war with the government, but nonetheless consider themselves to be part of the Tea Party coalition — and perhaps even the patriot movement. Nonetheless, when conference speakers made reference to gun rights, they received heartfelt applause.

The Tea Party coalition is mobilizing for what it promises will be a big march on Washington on Sept. 12. As the date approaches, expect to hear more disguised shout-outs to patriots and tea-partiers, as right-wing politicians seek to placate the hordes said to be on their way to the nation’s capitol.

Members of the far-right Tea Party and patriot movements love the iconography of the American Revolution. They fancy themselves as “patriots” in the mold of Ethan Allen and Charles Gadsden — men who led militias against the troops of England’s despotic King George III.

Yet much of their ideology stems from the states’ rights philosophy of the Confederacy in the Civil War, and sometimes the ideas and symbols of the two wars are drawn together in a tangle of rage.

MORE HERE

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