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Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween Horror

by digby

A reader sent in this extremely apt quote for a Halloween night by none other than HP Lovecraft from 1936:

“As for the Republicans—how can one regard seriously a frightened, greedy, nostalgic huddle of tradesmen and lucky idlers who shut their eyes to history and science, steel their emotions against decent human sympathy, cling to sordid and provincial ideals exalting sheer acquisitiveness and condoning artificial hardship for the non-materially-shrewd, dwell smugly and sentimentally in a distorted dream-cosmos of outmoded phrases and principles and attitudes based on the bygone agricultural-handicraft world, and revel in (consciously or unconsciously) mendacious assumptions (such as the notion that real liberty is synonymous with the single detail of unrestricted economic license or that a rational planning of resource-distribution would contravene some vague and mystical ‘American heritage’…) utterly contrary to fact and without the slightest foundation in human experience? Intellectually, the Republican idea deserves the tolerance and respect one gives to the dead.”


Update: Here's an interesting post about Lovecraft's evolution from quasi racist Republican to the above. Hint: The Great Depression
Hookers and Coke and Magical Thinking

by digby

Krugman features this excellent comment from a reader who obviously knows whereof he speaks:

The markets want money for cocaine and prostitutes. I am deadly serious.

Most people don’t realize that “the markets” are in reality 22-27 year old business school graduates, furiously concocting chaotic trading strategies on excel sheets and reporting to bosses perhaps 5 years senior to them. In addition, they generally possess the mentality and probably intelligence of junior cycle secondary school students. Without knowledge of these basic facts, nothing about the markets makes any sense—and with knowledge, everything does.

What the markets, bond and speculators, etc, want right now is for Ireland to give them a feel good feeling, nothing more. A single sharp, sweeping budget would do that; a four year budget plan will not. Remember that most of these guys won’t actually still be trading in four years. They’ll either have retired or will have been promoted to a position where they don’t care about Ireland anymore. Anyone that does will be a major speculator looking to short the country for massive profit.

In lieu of a proper budget, what the country can do—and what will work—is bribe senior ratings agencies owners and officials to give the country a better rating. Even a few millions spent on bumping up Ireland’s rating would save millions and possibly save the country.

Bread and circuses for the masses; cocaine and prostitutes for the markets. This can be looked on a unethical obviously, but since the entire system is unethical, unprincipled and chaotic anyway, why not just exploit that fact to do some good for the nation instead of bankrupting it in an effort to buy new BMWs for unmarried 25 year olds.

Unfortunately, their bosses aren't just content with being multi-millionaires, that much is obvious. They demand to be worshiped like Gods so that should be factored into this. Parades perhaps? Religious services? (I don't think they're going to be content with being feted like racles and ohigh priests of all on Fareed Zakaria's CNN show.)

What this comment points out is that "markets" are actually "humans." And they are very specific humans with very specific incentives. It would be helpful if we started to recognize that and acted accordingly.

Which brings us to today's hideous piece of Village wisdom from David Broder:

Can Obama harness the forces that might spur new growth? This is the key question for the next two years.

What are those forces? Essentially, there are two. One is the power of the business cycle, the tidal force that throughout history has dictated when the economy expands and when it contracts.

Economists struggle to analyze this, but they almost inevitably conclude that it cannot be rushed and almost resists political command. As the saying goes, the market will go where it is going to go.

In this regard, Obama has no advantage over any other pol. Even in analyzing the tidal force correctly, he cannot control it.

What else might affect the economy? The answer is obvious, but its implications are frightening. War and peace influence the economy.

Look back at FDR and the Great Depression. What finally resolved that economic crisis? World War II.

Here is where Obama is likely to prevail. With strong Republican support in Congress for challenging Iran's ambition to become a nuclear power, he can spend much of 2011 and 2012 orchestrating a showdown with the mullahs. This will help him politically because the opposition party will be urging him on. And as tensions rise and we accelerate preparations for war, the economy will improve.

Aside from Broder's shocking and repulsive sangfroid about yet another middle east war (which is probably a fairly accurate assessment of Village thinking) he's perfectly captured the Republican logic which says that as long as the government is spending money on building things that blow people up, it will stimulate the economy but if it spends on things that don't blow people up it's a waste because the "market will go where it's going to go." They think war is controllable by man. Everything else is controlled by an invisible hand that helps wealthy people keep their money.

Markets, like corporations, are just organizing concepts for human activity. Putting any faith in their "wisdom" is nothing more than primitive magical thinking.

"Well, I've been to one world fair, a picnic, and a rodeo, and that's the stupidest thing I ever heard come over a set of earphones"

by digby

I wrote about the latest inspirational video from Jerry Boykin the other day but Dave Neiwert took it to the next level

Who Could Have Predicted Part XXXIV

by digby

TPM reports:

Appearing with his Republican counterpart this morning on ABC's this week, DSCC chairman Robert Menendez floated the idea of temporarily extending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans.

"I certainly believe that there may be some opportunity for a temporary approval of some of these cuts, Menendez said. "We well not support...a permanent extension, four trillion dollars."

Yeah. Some of us saw that one coming a mile away. But as I wrote in that post, if they are laboring under the illusion that the Big Money Boyz are going to be appeased by extending those tax cuts, they are in for a huge surprise. It's not about money anymore.

And politically it's just ... well:

The upshot is that all the Bush tax cuts are probably going to be extended. They'll "compromise" by sunsetting it until just before the presidential election -- when they can run the same game again.

If they don't allow the Bush billionaire tax cuts to expire on schedule it's over. I cannot imagine them summoning the political will for another 25 years to raise taxes. Welcome to the new American Austerity religion --- regular human sacrifices on the alter of vast wealth in the hopes the God of rand will be benevolent. And when they aren't, it will be widely assumed it was because the government failed and so we need another round of tax cutting and human sacrifice.

Grow Up

by digby

I wrote a couple of weeks ago about the Phillies fans calling San Francisco Giants pitcher Tim Lincecum gay and it sparked quite a debate in the comment section. Mostly people chalked it up to Phillies fans being particularly hardcore.

Well, it isn't just Phillies fans. Here's a little note from a sportswriter for the San Francisco Chronicle:

The Giants must quickly adjust to this new planet they find themselves on. It can be confusing. Take Giants' boss Bill Neukom, who showed up at Friday's workout wearing cowboy boots so new they didn't bend when he walked. Isn't that wrong, paying homage to the enemy's culture when invading its lair? When Rangers President Nolan Ryan went to San Francisco for the first two games, he didn't put on a dress and high heels.

So do San Francisco fans think this stuff is funny too? I'm sure they parry it well, just as Lincecum did when he replied that those Phillies fans must like his butt, but come on --- this isn't cool and certainly San Francisco columnists shouldn't be trafficking in archaic gay stereotypes.

More For Thee But Not For Me

by digby

Former Congressional candidate and Daniel Webster supporter Bruce O'Donoghue in the black glasses:

Be sure to pay special attention to the audio of the speech Webster's giving.

On Bill Maher this week, the right wing guests were insistent that there were just as many incidents of violence coming from the left as the right, it's just that we haven't been noticing it.

And the really good news is that the Democratic Villagers are being very fair on the bobblehead shows this morning and blaming the left for being just as extreme as the right. They also insist that great silent majority of Americans just want everyone to get along and so liberals need to stop seeing the word compromise as meaning capitulation. The Republicans don't seem to agree. They think the public wants them to enact their agenda and stop the other side from enacting theirs. I'm fairly sure they see the economic hardship of the American people as being necessary to achieve that end.

So I think we can see the way this is going. Look at that Youtube again. It's a metaphor.

If you've got some time, help Grayson call out the vote today. He is their top target. No matter how many seats they win on Tuesday, if he wins, they'll feel like they lost.


Saturday, October 30, 2010

Saturday Night At The Movies

Let’s see what’s on the slab: Top 10 midnight movies

By Dennis Hartley

OK…so let’s take a deep breath, and enjoy a little distraction from the real-life horror of the upcoming midterms with some All Hallows Eve fun. Tonight, I thought I’d paw through the “midnight movie” section of my library and assemble my Top 10 picks for your holiday “cheer”. As I have around 150 titles in this genre, it wasn’t easy narrowing it down; since my tastes tend to run toward the offbeat in general, this was akin to asking someone to choose their favorite child (the hell I go through for you people). Keep in mind-when it comes to picking favorite “cult” films, the axiom “One person’s trash is another person’s treasure” comes into play. As per usual, presented in alphabetical order:

Eating Raoul- The late great Paul Bartel (Death Race 2000, Lust in the Dust, Scenes from the Class Struggle in Beverly Hills) directed and co-wrote this twisted and hilarious social satire. Bartel and his frequent screen partner Mary Waronov play Paul and Mary Bland, a prudish, buttoned-down couple who are horrified to discover that their apartment complex is home to an enclave of “swingers”. Paul is even more shocked when he comes home from his wine store job one day and discovers Mary struggling to escape the clutches of a swinger’s party guest who has mistakenly strayed into the Bland’s apartment. Paul beans him with a frying pan, inadvertently killing Mary’s overeager groper. When the couple discovers a sizable wad of money on the body, a light bulb goes off-and the Blands come up with a unique plan for financing the restaurant that they have always dreamed of opening (and helping rid the world of those icky swingers!). Things get complicated, however when a burglar (Robert Beltran) ingratiates himself into their scheme. Yes, it’s sick…but in a good way. Wait ‘til you meet Doris the Dominatrix!

Eraserhead -If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my fifty-odd years on the planet, it’s that when it comes to the films of David Lynch, there is no middle ground. You either love ‘em, or you hate ‘em. You buy a ticket to a Lynch film, my friend, you’d best be willing to take the ride-and he will take you for a ride. And do you want to know the really weird thing about his films? They get funnier with each viewing. Yeah, I said “funny”, as in “ha-ha” funny. I think the “secret” to his impenetrably enigmatic approach to telling a story is that Lynch is having the time of his life being impenetrably enigmatic-he’s sitting back and chuckling at all the futile attempts to dissect and make “sense” of his narratives. For example, have you noticed how I’ve managed to dodge and weave and avoid giving you the plot summary? I suspect that David Lynch would find that fucking hysterical.

Forbidden Zone- Picture if you will: an artistic marriage between John Waters, Guy Maddin, Busby Berkeley and the Quay Brothers. Now, imagine the wedding night (I’ll give you a sec). As for the “plot”, well, it’s about this indescribably twisted family who discovers a portal to a sort of pan-dimensional…aw, fuck it. Suffice it to say, any film that has Herve Villchaize as the King of the Sixth Dimension, Susan Tyrell as his Queen and a scene featuring Danny Elfman channeling Cab Calloway in a devil costume is a dream for film geeks; and a nightmare for others. Directed by Danny’s brother, Richard.

Harold and Maude-Harold loves Maude. And Maude loves Harold. It’s a match made in heaven-if only “society” would agree. Because, you see, Harold (Bud Cort) is a teenager, and Maude (Ruth Gordon) is about to blow out 80 candles. Falling in love with a woman old enough to be his great-grandmother is the least of Harold’s quirks. He’s a chronically depressed trustafarian slacker who amuses himself by staging fake “suicides” for the express purpose of freaking out his snobbishly patrician mother (the wonderful Vivian Pickles). He also “enjoys” attending funerals-which is where he and Maude “meet cute”. The effervescent Maude is Harold’s diametric opposite; while he wallows in morbid speculation that any given day could be his last, she purposefully embraces each day to the fullest as if it actually were her last. Obviously, she has something to teach Harold. Despite dark undertones, this is one “midnight movie” that somehow manages to be life-affirming (!). The late great Hal Ashby directed, and Colin Higgins wrote the screenplay. The memorable score (one of the best movie soundtracks of all time) is by Cat Stevens.

Liquid Sky- Downtown 81 meets Invasion of the Body Snatchersin this one-of-a-kind sci fi offering. A diminutive, parasitic alien (who seems to have a particular delectation for NYC club kids, models and performance artists) lands on an East Village rooftop and starts mainlining off the limbic systems of junkies and sex addicts…right at the moment that they, erm, you know, reach the maximum peak of pleasure center stimulation (which I suppose makes the alien a dopamine junkie?). At any rate, don’t think about the science too hard. The main attraction here is the fascinatingly bizarre performance (or you could say, non-performance) by (co-screen writer) Anne Carlisle, who plays two roles-a female fashion model who becomes the alien’s primary host, and a gay male model. Director Slava Zsukerman also helped compose the oddly compelling electronic music score.

The Loved One-When it was originally released back in 1965, this film had a pretty unusual tag line for the era: “The motion picture with something to offend everyone.” Even by today’s standards, this one is pretty unusual. The perennially gap-toothed Robert Morse (who can be currently seen on AMC’s hit series Mad Men, playing senior partner Bertram Cooper) plays a befuddled Englishman, making a valiant effort to fully process the cultural madness of southern California, where he has come for an extended visit at the invitation of his uncle (Sir John Gielgud) who works for a Hollywood movie studio. Along the way, he falls in love with a beautiful but mentally unstable cosmetician (Anjanette Comer) who prepares “loved ones” for open casket funerals, gets a job at a pet cemetery, and basically just reacts to the bevy of wacked-out characters he encounters. In fact, he’s the only character in the film does not seem completely out of his goddamn mind. The unbelievable cast includes Jonathan Winters (playing several roles with his usual aplomb), Robert Morley, Roddy McDowell, Milton Berle, James Coburn, Paul Williams, Liberace…and nothing (I mean nothing) could ever prepare the uninitiated for Rod Steiger as Mr. Joyboy, an embalmer who has a very interesting relationship with his mother (who may have been the model for Edith Massey’s baby crib-bound grotesquerie in Pink Flamingos). Tony Richardson directed, and the screenplay was adapted by Terry Southern (Dr. Strangelove) and Christopher Isherwood from Evelyn Waugh’s novel.

Meet the Feebles-Long before he was concerning himself with bringing CGI-enhanced orcs and hobbits to life, director Peter Jackson was working with considerably lower production budgets (as in: next to nothing), and letting has overactive imagination make up the difference in off-beat indie projects like this one from 1990. It’s a sordid backstage tale about a neurotic diva who heads the cast of a popular TV variety show. So what makes it a midnight movie? Well, there’s lots of graphic sex, gory violence, and drug use. OK (you may rebut) but that’s the kind of thing one can see on premium cable any day of the week. Yes-but how often do you see puppets engaging in those activities? Adorable, fuzzy-wuzzy anthropomorphic animal puppets, committing all 7 deadly sins (and a few extra ones you may have never thought of before). You really have to see it, to believe it.

Pink Flamingos-“Oh Babs! I’m starving to death. Hasn’t that egg man come yet?” If Baltimore filmmaker/true crime buff/self-styled czar of bad taste John Waters had completely ceased making films after this jaw-dropping 1972 entry, his place in the cult movie pantheon would still be assured. Waters’ favorite leading lady (and sometimes leading man), Divine, was born to play Babs Johnson, who fights to retain her title of The Filthiest Person Alive against arch-nemesis Connie Marble (Mink Stole) and her skuzzy hubby. It’s a white trash smack down of the lowest order; shocking, sleazy, utterly depraved-and funny as hell. Animal lovers be warned-a chicken was definitely harmed during the making of the film (Waters insists that it was completely unintended, if that’s any consolation). If you are only familiar with Waters’ more recent work, and want to explore his “roots” I’d recommend watching this one first. If you can make it all the way through without losing your lunch, consider yourself prepped for the rest of the oeuvre.

Repo Man -This oddball, punk-rock/sci-fi black comedy version of Rebel Without a Causeactually represents one of the more coherent efforts from mercurial U.K. filmmaker Alex Cox (Sid & Nancy, Straight to Hell,Death And The Compass). Emilio Estevez is suitably sullen as a disenfranchised L.A. punk named Otto, who stumbles into a gig as a “repo man” after losing his job, getting dumped by his girlfriend and deciding to disown his parents. As he is indoctrinated into the samurai-like “code” of the repo man by a sage veteran named Bud (Harry Dean Stanton, in a masterfully deadpan comic performance) Otto begins to realize that he may have found his true calling. A subplot involving a mentally fried government scientist on the run, driving around in a vintage Chevy with a mysterious, glowing “whatsit” in the trunk is an obvious homage to Robert Aldrich’s 1955 noir, Kiss Me Deadly. Cox also tosses a UFO conspiracy into the mix, just for shits and giggles. Great use of L.A. locations (and nice work by DP Robby Muller). The soundtrack includes songs from Iggy Pop, Black Flag, and The Circle Jerks.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show-Arguably the ultimate midnight movie. 35 years have not diminished the cult status of Jim Sharman’s film adaptation of Richard O’Brien’s original stage musical about a hapless young couple (Barry Bostwick and Susan Sarandon) who have the misfortune of stumbling into the lair of one Dr. Frank-N-Furter (Tim Curry) one dark and stormy night. O’Brien co-stars as the mad doctor’s hunchbacked assistant, Riff-Raff. Much singing, dancing, cross-dressing, axe-murdering, cannibalism and hot sex ensues-with broad theatrical nods to everything from The Complete Metropolis, King Kong and Frankensteinto cheesy 1950s sci-fi, Bob Fosse musicals, 70s glam-rock and everything in between. Runs out of steam a bit in the third act, but a killer lineup of knockout musical numbers in the first hour or so makes it worth repeated viewings. And at the risk of losing my “street cred” with some readers, I will now publicly admit that I have never attended one of the “audience participation” midnight showings. I now fully anticipate being zapped with squirt guns and pelted with handfuls of uncooked rice (ow!).

Previous posts with related themes:

The Docu-Horror Picture Show
Creepy Lodgers and Seedy Inns
Divine Trash, Hidden Jewels (series)

Rally Report

by digby

The Rally for Sanity and/or Fear was by all accounts a fun party and it certainly looked like it on the TV. I thought it was well done --- ironic and satirical, well calibrated to speak subtly to the audience that was gathered. They did an unfortunately clumsy bit at the end which indicated both sides were equally bad and Jon gave a very uninspiring speech about how both sides need to calm down. (Of course the only ones who will hear it are liberals, but whatever ...) All in all it appeared to be a nice gathering of the tribe.

The signs were awesome.

*If you can't read the small print it says "it was his best, in my opinion."

(I prefer this message myself, but that's just me. Full segment here)

This is a little bit odd though:

That picture, of course, is of the Beck rally. But hey, what's the difference, right?

Here's the real rally:

As for me, I'm looking forward to the Giants win tonight.

Update: Well ...

Joe Scarborough (@JoeNBC)
10/30/10 3:21 PM
The fact that Stewart is a progressive makes his comments about left wing rage all the more important. His words carry weight on the left.

GriftPAC 2010

by digby

I read that PACs are popping up all over the country and if my wingnut email is any sign, they certainly are. Lots and lots of solicitations for money.

Here's an example:


NAACP going down: Black Conservatives Deserve Better

Posted By: RumorMail
Date: Thursday, 28-Oct-2010 14:37:43


American Patriot,

As you may know, I am a pastor of a church and a black man. I have spoken at numerous Tea Party national and local events. I've been loved and well-received. So you can see that my affiliation with the Tea Party has absolutely nothing to do with color or race. It has to do with God and country, ideals, and ways to change the United states to a great country that it once was. My affiliation with the Tea Party is a stern rebuke to the socialist objectives of the Barak Obama administration---and the defeat of their minions on November 2nd!

My friend, that's why I am turning to you for your last-minute support to assist several Black conservative campaigns that STAND AMERICA-PAC endorses.

But we only have days, even hours---to help make a difference in our country. It is quite simple. The choice on November 2 is easy---liberal or conservative.

In what could be yet another attempt to play the race card against the Tea Party movement, the NAACP teamed up with little-known Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights on a soon-to-be-released study that alleges Tea Party ties to hate groups. It may be long on claims, but very short on real facts. I have not experienced any racism in Tea Party conventions. I assume there might be; as there is in any party or group. But it is not something that the NAACP needs to be afraid of.

"The NAACP's feigned concern about hate groups infiltrating the Tea Party movement is a plain, simple and pathetic attempt at gotcha politics," said Project 21 Chairman Mychal Massie, who has spoken at Tea Party events in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Michigan. "This study serves only one purpose: to discredit and demonize their opposition and preserve their tenuous grip on power." Project 21 is a voice of black conservatives since 1992, and is sponsored by the National Center for Public Policy Research.

E. W. Jackson
Founder of STAND
It goes on and on with the usual claptrap, but this is my favorite part:
The conservative candidates that we support are truly fiscal conservatives. Unless Congress takes action before December 31st, taxes will skyrocket for Americans in every income bracket, INCLUDING the lowest wage-earners.

The marriage penalty and the death tax will be back, the child tax credit will be cut in half and capital gains will increase. The Associated Press reports that a typical family of four with a household income of $50,000 will have to pay $2,900 more in taxes in 2011 unless Congress takes action.

I know it's excessively condescending for me to point out when these people are allowing themselves to be conned by grifters, but it is more than sad if they think the candidates this fellow is asking them to vote for will be in office on December 31st of this year. They are all challengers.


A Lesson In Contrasts

by digby

Canvassers for Alan Grayson getting ready to go out and speak to their neighbors:

Daniel Webster voters:

If you'd like to wipe the supercilious smiles off the faces of those smug frat boys, you can call out the vote for Alan Grayson here.

Keeping Fear Alive

by digby

... and restoring sanity

If you're just tuning in, you can watch the rally livestreamed at TPM.

It's a very big crowd.

Slap In The Face

by digby

I kept hearing yesterday from all the Village pundits that the Republicans under great centrist statesman John Boehner were going to moderate after the election because they know they have to govern. (And anyway all this election unpleasantness doesn't mean they aren't the grown-ups anymore because they totally are.)

Well, if this is any indication of how it's going to go, I wouldn't place any bets on it:

Republican Rich Iott, the controversial Congressional candidate who has drawn fire for donning a German Waffen SS uniform, refused on Saturday to say whether he would support Minority Leader John Boehner for Speaker should the GOP win control of the House on Tuesday.

Iott's comments were made moments after Boehner spoke to a group of Republican volunteers at the Lucas County Republican Party headquarters in downtown Toledo.

"I don't know, we'll have to wait and see," Iott told Roll Call when asked if Boehner would have his support for the top House job if Republicans successfully win the majority in the House.

Iott, a tea party favorite, did not say who he would support instead of Boehner.

Boehner has received heavy criticism for his continued support for Iott after the photos of the Republican candidate in the SS uniform surfaced on the Atlantic.

Here you have a Nazi sympathizer running for congress. The probable future speaker of the House endures a huge amount of criticism for agreeing to appear with him, but does it for the good of the ball team anyway (and probably because he has no personal problem with Nazis.) And for his trouble he gets slapped in the face almost immediately by the guy he's supposed to be helping.

Welcome to our world John Boehner. How do you like these Teabaggers now?


Friday, October 29, 2010

Send In The Clowns

by digby

ABC has hired Andrew Breitbart and his lying little helper Dana Loesch to do election night coverage. Seriously.

I don't think I have to spell out all the ways in which it is an insult to its viewers and to its journalists to do this. There are many examples of his grievously bad judgment and disgusting behavior, many of which are listed here. But my personal favorite of his "journalistic" top ten screw-ups has to be this one:
And then there was the stellar work produced by Andrew Breitbart, the self-styled leader of today's conservative "journalism." His site last week claimed to have uncovered a video of community organizers praying to Obama. Talk about "buzz"! Obedient right-wing bloggers such as Malkin, Atlas Shrugs, RedState, Stop the ACLU, HotAirPundit, Sundries Shack, along with cable TV talkers Glenn Beck and Lou Dobbs, immediately piled on, openly mocking a group of mostly African-Americans activists as they gathered in prayer. (If second-graders aren't off-limits from being called "Obama-worshiping drones" by members of the right-wing media, why would people amidst prayer not be ridiculed, right?) One right-wing site accused the organizers of "blasphemy," and lots more shrieked as loud as they could about how the devastating video confirmed that loony liberals were falling for the Cult of Obama. RedState: "Speechless." Hot Air Pundit: "Difficult to watch." Stop the ACLU: "It's a cult." HotAirPundit: "Shocking Video."

Slight problem: When some sane people outside of Breitbart's (hate) circle actually watched the video, they realized that the community organizers who gathered weren't saying "Obama." They were saying "Oh God," which is typical when people are in prayer. So, yeah, that was a hiccup. Meaning, the only reason Breitbart posted the video was in order to smear liberal activists in prayer because he thought they were saying "Obama." That was the whole point of the video. But Breitbart bungled the audio, which meant the smear collapsed, even some right-wing bloggers, such as ... well, pretty much all them, never bothered to correct their original posts in which they called the organizers out as creepy cult members.

ABC must know that the Shirley Sherrod or ACORN stories aren't the only examples of his mendacious ways. He's made his career out of these racist video hoaxes. It isn't a coincidence. So I think we have to assume they think having a lying racist on the air will bring in some ratings. Whether they foolishly see this as adding "edge" to their allegedly hip "Facebook" program or whether they are making a pitch for Fox's white supremacist audience, it's a journalistic travesty to allow this man and his lying lieutenant anywhere near a legitimate news organization.

But then these news outlets are all making huge profits from the right wing buy out of our democracy, so maybe it's just the price of doing business.

Both Sides Now

by digby

Could someone please explain to Howard Fineman that negative ads aren't to blame for violent behavior by right wing thugs at political events? (If that were true, I think the left would be justified in detonating a nuclear bomb.) Discussing the incident in Kentucky on Hardball today, he said this:

Fineman: Having worked in Kentucky and known that place and know a lot of people there, it's nothing special about Kentucky. You know, it's a hard fought battle with a lot of nasty stuff, and this is true all over the country, very nasty things being said. Don't forget Chris that virtually every ad that's been on television every message from every candidate all year this year has been negative. There's been very little positive advertising on anything. So one reason that ... (The video is playing over this and Chris interjects, "he's crunching her there!) ok,... well, it's a short hop, step and a jump from calling some people evil and unpatriotic to basically inhuman...

Chris: The sanctions are there

Fineman: the sanctions are already there in the hyperbole in these ads -- on both sides.

Up until the time he said "both sides" I was assuming that he was holding the right wing candidates responsible for dehumanizing their opponents thus sanctioning the supporters violent actions. Sadly, no.

The conversation continued with Fineman getting quite indignant at the idea that some of these actions were against the press (and therefore completely beyond the pale)and expressing his shock that Harry Reid might lose to a nutball like Sharron Angle. Matthews then pointed out that there was a disturbing pattern of these thuggish authoritarian tactics and Fineman obviously realized that un-Villagelike shrillness was imminent. He jumped in

Fineman: I think there are different categories of offenses here. I'm not sure ...

Matthews: You don't see a theme here.

Fineman: What I see as a theme is the rough edge of American politics which has been dragged to the right

Matthews: how the fringe that's always been there, but because of bad times they nominate these people. There's always been a Sharron Angle...

Fineman: But I think if you look at history, I'm sure if you look over the past 75, 80 years sometimes on the left there were some rough stuff, over the years, if you want to go back to the 30s, if you want to go back in various parts of what was going on during the depression...

Matthews: but they were clashing with the Pinkertons, they weren't going after ...

Fineman: big city machines and stuff...

Walsh: ... there was labor strife..

Fineman: there were some not nice things that happened on election day on the other side

Matthews: I sense that it's asymmetric this year

Fineman: Maybe it is this year, but if you look at history ...

Matthews: last thought Joan. I think it's peculiar to one side this year.

Joan: I think it's extremely unbalanced and it's on the one side I can't think of an example of a Democratic congressional of senate candidate at this point using any of these tactics. So I'm not comfortable with "both sides do it" Howard.

Fineman: Well, I'm just saying that if you look at history I'm sure you can find examples.

Sure you can. In 1789 in France, for instance. But it's relevance to what's happening in America in 2010 is just a teensy bit obscure, Howard.

The Villagers are determined to create a narrative that "both sides do it" and it doesn't hold water. (Chris Cilizza insisted on it yesterday as well.) The difference in this cycle isn't the ads and both sides are definitely not doing it. It's the violent rhetoric on the part of Republican candidates and their overstimulated supporters that's causing this.

And I would bet that it's only going to get worse after they win. After all, we will still have a Democratic president (the horror, the horror...) and they will realize that even when they win, their enemies are not going to fall to their knees, admit they were wrong and wholeheartedly join the conservative movement. And that will drive them mad. You see, when they win an election, they have a mandate that requires total capitulation. When Democrats win, it means that the people either made a mistake or the election was stolen. Democratic majorities and Democratic presidents cannot, by definition, be legitimate. They will be both emboldened by the win and infuriated by the fact that the other side will continue to exist (regardless of what it actually does.) It's going to be a rough two years.

And by the way, if anyone knows Howard, could they please remind him of this? It really puts this whole thing in context.

*My friend JS wrote to me about that post I linked in that last paragraph and said, "In this post, you call the right out on their "double standard" as if they're doing democracy and failing hideously at it. But they're not doing democracy anymore--they're doing war. That's why it's so ugly, and why the only discernible rule there they follow is "we win and you lose, no matter what it takes." He's got a point.

Obama's Secret Healthcare Army

by digby

Kyle at Rightwing Watch shares an inspirational video:

I'm a Special Forces officer, I'm a Green Beret and I've studied Marxist insurgency, it was part of my training. And the things I know have been done in every Marxist insurgency are being done in America today.

The final thing has been to establish a constabulary force, a force that can control the population. You say "well, we don't have that." Well, let me remind you that prior to the election, the President stood up and said that if elected he would have a nation civilian security force that would be as large as and as well-equipped as the United States military.

For what?

Remember Hitler had the Brownshirts and in the Night of the Long Knives, even Hitler got scared of the Brownshirts and killed thousands of them.

So you say "are there any signs that that's happened" and the truth is yes. If you read the health care legislation which, by the way nobody in Washington has read, but if you read the health care legislation it's actually in the health care legislation.

There are paragraphs in the health care legislation that talk about the commissioning of officers in time of a national crisis to work directly for the President. It's laying the groundwork for a constabulary force that will control the population in America.

Who else? General Jerry Boykin, who served under George W. Bush as the Undersecretary of Intelligence at the State Department. Thankfully, he's out of uniform now, but just think about the fact that until just a few years ago he was running the Pentagon's covert operations. I'm sure you all recall that he was quoted in uniform saying that his God was real and the Islamic god was an idol. But this is what really characterized Boykin, the fine upstanding Christian General:

A December 9, 2003 item in The Guardian (UK) connected Boykin with secret Israeli counterinsurgency assistance in Iraq, allegedly including assassination squads. In another Guardian articleclaimed that towards the end of 2003, it was Boykin who, under Donald Rumsfeld's orders, advised then Camp X-Ray head Major General Geoffrey Miller in Guantanamo to transfer the same Camp X-Ray methods to Abu Ghraib and the Iraqi prison system.

Now he's lecturing America on how to regain its moral compass.

"Stabilizing The Retirement Age"

by digby

Parker and Spitzer have been inviting national politicians on to their show to make a final argument for their sides going into next Tuesday's election. Yesterday they had Bill Richardson on:

SPITZER: We're going to talk a bit more about Afghanistan in a moment. But to come back to the deficit for a second. Would you -- because I want to just sort of get your views on the things we're asking everybody, most of the money and the entitlement, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, would you in some way change those programs right now to restore balance over the next 10, 15, 20 years? Social security in particular?

RICHARDSON: Well, you have to slow the growth. You have to have a bipartisan agreement. It's never going to happen if we just demagogue this issue. But, yeah, you got to look at ways that you're at least slowing the growth. You can't just say, all right, we're going to cut Social Security, the base of it. But there are ways that we financially, I believe, Governor, we can be more effective at stabilizing the retirement age, stabilizing Social Security, finding ways, you know, the Peterson, the Pete Peterson Commission, maybe make that a serious bipartisan effort. It is bipartisan, but have ways that both parties come together. And I think if the Republicans do make some gains, there's a potential for a lot of bipartisan agreements. I hope they don't make gains, but if they are, perhaps on free trade agreements, on efforts to create jobs...

SPITZER: Those things are hugely important. Just to kind of put a final footnote on the Social Security, when you talk about stabilizing the rate of growth, there really seem two ways to do that One is to bring the retirement age more into line with what demographics are in terms of life and work expectancy or the inflation adjustment which can be calibrated. Are those things that you think we can or should do?

RICHARDSON: Well we should -- yeah, we should take a look at them. I'm not saying do both or do one. I'm saying that most importantly, Governor, you got to have a bipartisan agreement. If you're just going to demagogue these issue, it's not going to work.

Keep in mind that that's two national Democrats there.

This is very worrying. Richardson may be out of the loop and buying into the current marketing because he just doesn't know any better, but Spitzer, who should, was just as bad with his false choices. They both accepted the Peterson Shock Doctrine premise that now is the time to cut social security. (That's when people are confused and scared and will accept absurd, plutocratic "solutions" to problems that don't even exist.)

It would be interesting to see just one Democrat answer these question in the following way:

"I would love to know why people are obsessing about a possible, small shortfall in social security 30 years from now instead of the very real job shortfall we have today. If you're worried about paying the bills, the quickest and best way to deal with it is to get people back to work as soon as possible. More workers means more revenue means less debt --- everybody wins, now and in the future."

I know that's over simplified, but I think Democrats need to start challenging the illogical bumper sticker conventional wisdom that's developed that basically says the only way to fix this economic slump is to cut social security.It's utter nonsense that they are even talking about it right now when we have huge, immediate problems and our future problems will not be solved by doing this but will instead be made worse. (Does anyone think that having a huge generation of very poor old people who cannot work is going to make this country stronger?)

This is a very self-destructive act on the part of Democrats and they are playing with fire if they decide to "compromise" on this. If during an economic crisis, they go from being slow and ineffectual in their economic response to actively weakening the most important social program in America during, then the political consequences are likely to be significant.

News Even News Junkies Don't Know About

by digby

I've been focusing quite a bit on the election and so I've missed quite a few big stories on other topics, but I would have thought I would hear something about this:

The reappearance of huge plumes of oil is making it hard to pretend that it has all gone away.

Here’s a roundup of some of the Gulf oil headlines from just the last 4 days:

Who knew?

Be Sure To Put a Rag Over Our Mouths First

by digby

Right wing email of the day:

"Total Annihilation."

Please help us put a hose in the mouth of our drowning opponent.

We are going to win the battle on Tuesday. You already know that to be true.

The question that has not yet been answered is,

How big will the victory be?

Our goal is to give the big government liberals who have violated the constitution a pounding of historic proportions. They deserve no less.

We have an opportunity to deliver them a defeat so catastrophic that it will send the leaders and organizers who have been working for decades to establish socialism in America into permanent retirement and force the liberals to start rebuilding their efforts from scratch.

Will you help us make that happen?

Tea Party Patriots has built a massive, nationwide database of registered voters who more than likely support Tea Party principles, but do not always go vote. We are working hard to have person to person, one on one contact with each of these people and motivate them to go to the poll on Tuesday. If we can reach them all, we can create the massive landslide we need.

A donation of $50 will give us the resources we need to reach 100 of these people.

$100 helps us reach 200 of these key voters.

And with $1,000 we can motivate 2,000 people to go to the polls. In many places that would double the turnout at a voting precinct!

Please help us put a hose in the mouth of our drowning opponent. Click here to donate today. Time is of the essence.

If we fail to make the most of this chance, we may not get another one.

You are the heart and soul of the Tea Party Movement. Thank you for promoting the causes of fiscal responsibility, constitutionally limited government, and free markets with us!

And thank you for promoting waterboarding. It's what America is all about.


Thursday, October 28, 2010


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