Country Legend Merle Haggard Calls Out The Lies Of Fox News

Dec 29 2010 Published by under Featured News

In an interview with Rolling Stone about receiving the Kennedy Center Honor for lifetime achievement, outlaw country legend Merle Haggard reflected on meeting President Obama. He blasted “the media,” for making up and spreading lies about Obama, “It was also nice to meet Obama and find him very different from the media makeout. It’s really almost criminal what they do with our President.” It is obvious that Haggard was talking about Fox News.

When asked by Patrick Doyle of Rolling Stone about the highlight of the Kennedy Center Honors Haggard talked about meeting both former President Clinton, and President Obama. Haggard said of Obama, “It was also nice to meet Obama and find him very different from the media makeout. It’s really almost criminal what they do with our President. There seems to be no shame or anything. They call him all kinds of names all day long, saying he’s doing certain things that he’s not. It’s just a big old political game that I don’t want to be part of. There are people spending their lives putting him down. I’m sure some of it’s true and some of it’s not. I was very surprised to find the man very humble and he had a nice handshake. His wife was very cordial to the guests and especially me. They made a special effort to make me feel welcome. It was not at all the way the media described him to be.”

When asked what is the biggest lie out there about Obama, Haggard answered, “He’s not conceited. He’s very humble about being the President of the United States, especially in comparison to some presidents we’ve had who come across like they don’t need anybody’s help. I think he knows he’s in over his head. Anybody with any sense who takes that job and thinks they can handle it must be an idiot.”

Now where could Merle Haggard have possibly ever gotten the idea that Obama is conceited? The myth of Obama’s arrogance is the favorite personal attack that Fox News uses against this president.

Here is Sean Hannity calling Obama arrogant:

Here is Karl Rove on Hannity also calling Obama arrogant:

Then we have Charles Krauthammer discussing Obama’s arrogance on Special Report with Bret Baier:

We can safely conclude that Merle Haggard either got the idea about Obama’s conceit from watching Fox News, or that the people who Haggard talks to everyday informed him about Obama based on what they had seen on Fox News. Many people have written about Haggard defending Obama, but to me Haggard’s surprise when he met the real Obama demonstrates both the power and the spread of Fox News’ misinformation.

Merle Haggard is a white man in his 70s with a GED. He is the base audience for Fox News. I thought his comments about what Fox News and right wing media are doing to Obama were right on the money. The misinformation and lies that they are spreading about this president on a daily basis is almost criminal. The problem is that Fox News is not only misinforming the 2 million people that tune in every day. They are also misinforming all of the people that the Fox News audience talks to. A mass media misinformation campaign becomes a grass roots campaign as viewers individually spread the inaccurate information and character attacks on Obama via word of mouth.

Merle Haggard by his own admission was a Republican up until 2007, and in a Time interview, he described himself as a born again Christian who turned away from Bush, but is not a liberal. Haggard said, “I supported George W. I’m not exactly a liberal. But I know how that Texas thing works, who those oil folks are and what they wanted in Iraq. I’m a born-again Christian too, but the longer I live, the more afraid I get of some of these religious groups that have so much influence on the Republicans and want to tell us how to live our lives.” Haggard supported Hillary Clinton in 2008.

The Fox News message seeps into the entire culture. This is what many on the left don’t understand. When Americans who don’t follow politics hear this misinformation about Obama from friends, relatives, neighbors, or co-workers, they don’t know any better and they accept the information as truth from a personally trusted source. I wish more people could have the same experience that Haggard did. They need to see the disconnect for themselves between the lies on Fox News and the truth about the President of the United States.

The truly vile part of this attack on Obama is the underlying racial component. Notice that Fox News likes to call the President arrogant and conceited. These terms are euphemisms for uppity. The message from Fox News is that Obama is an arrogant and conceited black man who doesn’t belong in the White House.

The story here isn’t just that Haggard defended Obama, but that we got to see one man’s reaction to being deceived by a right wing media/Fox News message. I have a feeling that Haggard’s anger at being lied to by the right wing media would be echoed by many other Americans if they could be reached with the truth. Countering the attacks and misinformation of Fox News is the challenge that President Obama, his supporters, and every single American who care about truth must face in 2011 and beyond.

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Why Sarah Palin Isn’t Abraham Lincoln

Dec 18 2010 Published by under Featured News, Issues, Republican Party

Sarah Palin and Abraham Lincoln

One of more absurd historical comparisons ever made is of Sarah Palin and Abraham Lincoln. Yet absurd as it is, some conservatives have actually made this claim.

It could be countered that anyone who believes Sarah Palin will believe anything and there is something to be said for this.  But Palin also thinks she is somehow another Ronald Reagan, and of course, Reagan and Lincoln could not be more different. Such comparisons become easier, admittedly, when you don’t know anything about either one.

Just consider the rhetoric surrounding the Lincoln comparison. As the Bellingham Herald of Washington writes, while “Some may cringe at that idea” that “some may think it would be the greatest thing since Abraham Lincoln.”

Sarah Palin, savior of the Union?

Isn’t this the woman whose husband had a more than passing familiarity with the Alaska Independence Party (AIP) – a secessionist group?

Gail Fenumiai, director of the Alaska Division of Elections, tells ABC News that…Palin’s husband Todd was a member of the AIP from October 1995 through July 2002, except for a few months in 2000.

Palin herself denies membership but there are those who remember her attending the 1994 AIP convention. You have to wonder, since rather than scolding them for wanting to vote on whether to be part of the Union or not, she praised them in an address:

I sure don’t remember Lincoln praising the Confederate secessionists. No, I’m pretty sure he crushed them. I also don’t remember the secessionists supporting Lincoln for president. In fact, his election was their cue to secede. Yet the AIP supported Palin’s run for city council, as noted by Sarah Jones yesterday. She insists she was a Republican all along. That can only label her the Manchurian Candidate Republicans are always going on about. I guess they would know.

It’s an almost criminal comparison. Yet one conservative blogger wrote back in 2008 in almost rapturous prose that “if there is such a thing as reincarnation, something tells me that President Lincoln would be most pleased to see Sarah Palin being nominated for VP!”

It is difficult to conclude that Lincoln finding any words of praise for her and her husband as secessionists. Pleased? Not by a long shot. He fought to preserve the union, not tear it apart.

She seems to have only a passing familiarity with Lincoln the man, let alone his beliefs. She portrays him as a radical Evangelical fundamentalist like herself, but there is nothing in his writings to suggest this is true.

Famously (or perhaps infamously) she claimed the United States was fighting a holy war against terrorists (which to Sarah Palin appears to be more than just terrorists but Islam itself), and Charles Gibson of ABC news confronted her with the quote:

GIBSON: You said recently, in your old church, “Our national leaders are sending U.S. soldiers on a task that is from God.” Are we fighting a holy war?

PALIN: You know, I don’t know if that was my exact quote.

GIBSON: Exact words.

Here’s where things get uncomfortably squirmy for Sarah Palin:

PALIN: But the reference there is a repeat of Abraham Lincoln’s words when he said — first, he suggested never presume to know what God’s will is, and I would never presume to know God’s will or to speak God’s words. But what Abraham Lincoln had said, and that’s a repeat in my comments, was let us not pray that God is on our side in a war or any other time, but let us pray that we are on God’s side.

That’s what that comment was all about, Charlie.

Of course, that’s not true, and no amount of playing with Lincoln verbiage can make it true. Lincoln never talked about embarking on a holy war against the Confederacy. He did talk about preserving the Union. He had some harsh words for the south, and more than that, he had cannons, and he wasn’t afraid to use them.

Palin supporters have tried to argue that Palin did manage to capture the essence of what Lincoln said but you won’t find “Our national leaders are sending U.S. soldiers on a task that is from God” anywhere in Lincoln’s writings, nor his speeches. You can dig as deep as you want but you won’t find any evidence that Lincoln thought holy wars were a good idea.

It’s not even clear he believed in God as Sarah Palin believes in God. It is true, as historian James M. McPherson writes that the King James Bible “offered him maxims for life as well as a model for the poetic prose that characterized the best of his later writings” but Thomas Jefferson was able to admire Jesus’ precepts without believing in Jesus the God. Admiration is not belief.

I have searched in vain the collected works of Abraham Lincoln for even a single instance of the word “Jesus” or “Ten Commandments” and found only one reference to the “Holy Spirit” – that in the Proclamation for Thanksgiving modern fundamentalists like to use to portray him as one of their kind of evangelicals. Palin can barely breathe without uttering all these words. As Lincoln well knew, “our fathers” brought forth this nation – not God.

Author Stephen Mansfield, in one of the most patently ridiculous comparisons ever made, wants us to believe Palin is like Lincoln because she stacked wood at a young age. He appeared on Hannity’s show in October to say so, and to draw other parallels between the two, including her “frontier upbringing.”

I wasn’t aware Wasilla was a frontier town; it’s the fourth largest city in Alaska, which might not be saying much by Lower 48-standards but it’s part of the Anchorage metropolitan area – which had an estimated population of 364,701 in 2008 – more people than live in my city.

Lincoln was born in a log cabin. On a real frontier. And stacking wood? Lots of kids stack wood but apparently in Alaska it’s some kind of holy undertaking. My little boy has stacked wood. He’s six years old. I haven’t compared him to Abraham Lincoln yet; I haven’t compared the circumstances of their lives. It would be ridiculous to do so, as Mansfield well knows. But he’s eulogizing, not writing a scholarly treatment. That’s why he was being interviewed on FOX News and not a legitimate news channel.

In 1832, Lincoln ran for State Legislature and won. He didn’t quit halfway through his term. In 1836, 1838, and 1840, he ran and won again. He didn’t quit any of those times either. That’s eight years of political office. He served through every day of it.

Sarah Palin quit her governor’s job half-way through.

Lincoln actually retired from politics in 1841 to work as a lawyer, rather than quitting halfway through a term he had been elected to serve by people who counted on him to represent their interests to the best of their ability, rather than to worry for his own pocketbook, which was never as full as Sarah Palin’s.

In 1846, Lincoln ran for Congress and won. He served both years of his term – again not quitting halfway through.

When he ran, he was accused by his opponent of not being a member of a church.  Palin’s taunts of Obama are eerily similar. How would she have treated Lincoln had she been alive in 1846? Given the evidence of her rhetoric it’s impossible to believe she would not have roundly condemned him as an atheist.

Lincoln opposed the Mexican War of 1846. Unlike Sarah Palin, he wasn’t anxious to attack everybody, let alone declare it a holy war.

In 1854, Lincoln ran for the legislature again and won. Lincoln resigned that position so that he could stand for U.S. senator – to better oppose the evil of slavery and to preserve the Union. Not, like Grifterella, to line his pockets with speaking engagements, reality shows, and books.

Lincoln even debated Stephen Douglas, and unlike Sarah Palin, he knew what he was talking about. And as James McPherson writes, “In retrospect Lincoln was the real winner of the Lincoln-Douglas debates.” Only in Republican wet dreams did Palin win her debate with Joe Biden. Half the time, she couldn’t even be bothered to address the issues.

Lincoln ran for president, and won. Palin ran for governor. She won. And quit.

Sarah Palin says that unfair treatment of her was her reason for resigning as governor. Few Presidents (until Barack Obama) have put up with the abuse Abraham Lincoln endured as President. And he had to fight a war to preserve the Union at the same time. He had opposition not only from outside his party, but from within his party. But he did not quit. He soldiered on and he ran for re-election in 1864.

Palin announced she would not be running for re-election but then she couldn’t even be bothered to finish out her first term.

With regards to secession, with regards to the idea that a minority have the right to do as they please, Lincoln wrote in 1861, “The central idea pervading this struggle is the necessity that is upon us, of proving that popular government is not an absurdity. We must settle this question now, whether in a free government the minority have the right to break up the government whenever they choose.” Secession, he said, “is the essence of anarchy.”

Hard to find anywhere in the public record that Sarah Palin agrees with this. Her husband was, after all, a secessionist, and she did praise the Alaskan secessionist movement as a welcome ingredient to Alaska politics.

And Lincoln was eloquent, nearly a poet. Read his Gettysburg Address. Sarah Palin could not write that if she labored a hundred years at the task. She hasn’t even demonstrated a proficiency in the English language.

It is difficult, indeed, all but impossible, to find a single point of comparison between the two. And Sarah Palin will always be a quitter; Abraham Lincoln had no quit in him. It took a bullet in the head to get him out of office.


The Writings of Abraham Lincoln, Kindle edition

Abraham Lincoln, James M. McPherson (Oxford, 2009).

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President Obama’s Tax Compromise Passed by Congress

President Obama and Republican Leaders

On Thursday, the unthinkable (to many progressives) happened: Congress passed the tax cuts, a compromise deal which includes an $801 billion package of tax cuts and $57 billion for extended unemployment benefits. The bill will extend the Bush tax cuts for two years (all of the tax cuts) and provide for a one-year payroll tax cut for most American workers.The extends for two years all of the Bush-era tax rates and provides a one-year payroll tax cut for most American workers.

As FOX News relates,

Workers’ Social Security taxes would be cut by nearly a third, going from 6.2 percent to 4.2 percent, for 2011. A worker making $50,000 in wages would save $1,000; one making $100,000 would save $2,000.

Many progressives see this as a betrayal. The Republicans, rightly or wrongly, have been accused of holding unemployment benefits and taxes for the Middle Class hostage in exchange for helping out their rich friends. The Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, for example, leveled the accusation that Democrats were forced “to pay a king’s ransom in order to help the middle class.” Representative Jim McDermott (D-WA) said it was “craziness” and Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT) said “This legislation creates too few jobs and too much debt.”

The final vote?  277 to 14 with nearly identical numbers of Republicans and Democrats voting “aye”: 139 Democrats and 138 Republicans. The Senate had previously approved the package 81 to 19 on Wednesday.

There was an attempt to change an estate-tax provision in the bill (one that Obama had previously agreed to in his negotiations with the Republicans) but even after that failed, 139 Democrats voted for it as opposed to 112 against.

Two years, of course, will bring us right to 2012, when the future of the tax cuts will become more important than ever in the midst of a presidential election. This is not the last we will hear of the matter by any means. Some Republicans would like to see the tax cuts made permanent. Since tax cuts for the rich demonstrably do not create jobs, this position will be a tough sell for Republicans, particularly if the groundswell of opposition swings the other way at the end of the next two years, and it is the Republicans who find themselves under attack for perceived failings.

It is obvious to many people that the economic stability of our nation is at stake and that this deal is not going to fix those problems. It is no more than a finger in the dyke.

For now, the New York Times reports that administration officials say President Obama will sign the bill into law today.

This moment marks both a way forward and signals a lack of progress. Cooperation and compromise are essential facets of government in a modern liberal Democracy like ours and the willingness of Republicans to compromise at last should take center stage over what is seen as President Obama’s capitulation to Republican demands. The President has governed as a centrist and he did what a responsible president would do. Rather than stand on principle and make people suffer, he made a deal.

Rather like the framers of the Constitution back in 1787, none of whom got everything out of that deal they wanted and the New York Times tells us “The White House and Republicans hailed the deal as a rare bipartisan achievement and a prototype for future hard-bargained compromises in the new era of divided government.”

FOX News called it “a remarkable show of bipartisanship.” Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite (R-FL), called it “a bipartisan moment of clarity.”

And so it is.

Progressives, like their Republican opponents, seem of late to have forgotten that lesson. To stand on ideological purity and refuse compromise while the country crumbles around you is not an admirable thing, however they frame it. Government needs to continue to govern. In a sense, a politician hasn’t the luxury of principles, and that includes the president.

Ideological purity is for dictatorships.

For the first time in two years we have seen government function as it should. And if nobody got everything they wanted out of it, so be it. That’s how it works. That is how it has always worked. Sometimes one side gets more, sometimes the other. As House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) said, “There probably is nobody on this floor who likes this bill. The judgment is, is it better than doing nothing? Some of the business groups believe it will help. I hope they’re right.”

In this case, most Republican opposition centered around the creation of additional federal debt, but most of them voted for it anyway. Of course, Republicans did not get everything they wanted either.

Political reality suddenly meant something again to the arrogant GOP, as Eric Cantor (R-VA) was forced to remind his colleagues:

“We could try to hold out an pass a different tax bill, but there is no reason to believe the Senate would pass it or the president would sign it if this fight spills into next year.”

It remains to be seen if Democrats and Republicans can find other ways to work together, other areas in which compromise is a possibility, such as repeal of DADT and the DREAM Act, an amnesty program for illegal aliens who came to the United States as minors. There are things the Republicans will want and things the Democrats will want and the current balance of power does not grant to either the ability to pass that legislation without regard for the opinions of the other.

If anything at all is to get done for the next two years, this will not be the only compromise. In the end, both the achievement of bipartisanship in the face of ideological purity and the continuing problems (and its root causes) must be underscored. Fingers in dykes won’t make the flood on the other side of the wall go away. That deluge remains, waiting to sweep us all away. The question is, can our two major political parties stop their bickering long enough to fix it?

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The 2010 Beck Apocalypse: A Year of Lies in Review

Glenn Beck Sells the Apocalypse

With the year drawing to a close, Media Matters remembered some of Glenn Beck’s low points for 2010. They’re pretty low; after all, Beck was Media Matters’ “Misinformer of the Year” for 2009. Unfortunately, he seemed more than equal to the task:

  • Asserting that “violence will come. And violence will come from the left. Violence is part of the plan.” He accused the Left of “setting up another Oklahoma City” and claimed that progressives support “armed insurrection.”
  • Claiming that “We are headed towards a thugocracy.” Glenn Beck has likened the Obama administration and progressives to Mussolini, Stalin, Nazis, Al Qaeda, and vampires. He insists that a cabal of radicals who hate the country is operating out of the White House.
  • Equating unions for TSA employees to a “private army” for Obama. Beck also said unions have “raped” police and fire fighters, and that violence is a “self-fulfilling prophecy” of labor unions.
  • Describing progressive policies as murderous, apocalyptic and conspiratorial. Beck called a proposed food safety bill a “perfect storm” that was about “control and eventually starvation.” He called net neutrality a “hostile takeover” and said health care reform amounted to “pulling the plug” on seniors.

They started me thinking, these absurdist claims.

  • Violence is in the rhetoric of the right-wing, in Tea Party and the Republican Party. It is notably absent in left-wing rhetoric. It is the conservatives who are pro-gun, pro-secession, armed, and forming militia units and talking about asserting Second Amendment rights. The allusion to Oklahoma City is especially ironical since that terrorist act was the work of a right-wing bomber, not a progressive.
  • Thugocracy, if this charge can be taken seriously at all, thugocracy came about when Bush won in 2001, immediately setting about plundering not only the United States but Iraq when it was conquered. Halliburton is only the tip of the iceberg. The real threat at this point is from theocracy, which Republicans, Tea Partiers and Beck all seem to support. Of course, this theocracy will support a right-wing thugocracy as a matter of course, especially if in the control of Grifterella herself, Sarah Palin.
  • The TSA reference is fascinating, since it is Republicans who want to outsource the TSA’s job to some private firm, which would make it a private army in the same way Blackwater became a private army for President Bush. But they won’t just peek through you clothes, they will rape you, and you won’t have a right to complain. We’ve seen how Republican-sponsored private security firms behave.
  • Progressive policies are murderous, apocalyptic and conspiratorial? Yes, Glenn, and your Christian fundamentalism is not at all apocalyptic, or don’t you share the beliefs of your close friend Sarah Palin? Fundamentalist Christianity is all about the apocalypse. And murderous? It was a Republican administration that invaded Iraq and killed hundreds of thousands of innocent people, and brutalized and tortured others in violation of International Law and the Constitution. And conspiratorial? Really? It’s the corporations who want to take over the Internet, Glenn, not the government.

And Glenn won’t tell you how he’s profiting from selling the Glenn Beck apocalypse:

Glenn has taken everything conservatives have done and want to do (publicly) and leveled them at the door of the left. It isn’t the work of a few minutes to show what he has done. Google or Bing it, and see for yourself.

There is no more substance to Beck’s rants than there were to Coulter’s. And what’s going on anyway, has there been some passing of the torch? Or did they agree that Coulter would condemn liberals while Beck took care of progressives? Whatever happened, they are both consistently and diligently avoiding facts in their nasty, fantastic narratives.

Beck is a purveyor of fiction, and poor fiction at that. Good fiction, at least is believable. But Beck can’t offer us anything of the sort. His blackboard can’t conjure anything remotely believable. He invents things, yet constantly complains that nobody is talking about it. “Why isn’t anyone talking about it?” he shrieks.

There is nobody talking about it because it is untrue, Glenn. You made it up. Until you lied about it on your show today, nobody had even heard of it. You might as well start your show by saying a dragon ate your underwear. Why isn’t anyone talking about that?

Oh that’s right: it didn’t happen.

Sadly, all too many people do believe Glenn, including people who go on to murder others, inspired to do so by his lies. People gather around the radio to eagerly take in his most salacious gossip, all too willing to believe it because it feeds their fear and their suspicions. This is how Hitler worked too, sowing doubt and fear, feeding paranoia and suspicion and xenophobia and homophobia. Little separates them in terms of what they say and how they say it. And that’s not Godwin’s Law; it’s a fact.

Sadly, Glenn Beck is living proof that dishonesty pays. There is such a thing as a perfect crime, and Glenn Beck is committing it.

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Michele Bachmann and the Truth About Republican Spending

Tea Party Caucus leader Michele Bachmann

“All Real Republicans Love the Sting of Spending.” That isn’t exactly what General Patton said; he was talking about the sting of battle. But the way Republicans (and for purposes of discussion I’m including Tea Partiers when I say Republicans) spend, you’d think it was a battle and they the most gung-ho ultra, soldiers in the world. These folks are in earnest. I mean, they’re serious shop-a-holics – über-spenders.

Is it any surprise, given the history of the past half-century, that some folks are, to say the least, a bit suspicious about the new round of Republic anti-spending rhetoric?

They have a right to be. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has a few not-so eye-openers for people, a celebration of sorts of the non-change the victorious GOP has brought to Washington:

Meet Your New (Old) GOP

They’re not even sworn in yet and the incoming House Republican Freshmen class is already looking a lot like the same old GOP that voters fired in 2006. Here is a quick recap of the incoming Republican House Committee Chairman:

  • Representative Hal “Prince of Pork” Rogers to chair the House Appropriations Committee, who pushed through 135 earmarks at a cost of $246 million in the past two years alone.
  • Representative Dave Camp, someone best known for protecting tax loopholes that reward big corporations for shipping American jobs overseas, to Chair the Ways and Means Committee.
  • Representative Spencer Bachus, chief Republican negotiator of the tea-party hated TARP bailout to lead the House Financial Services Committee.

Impressive, huh? Bet you’re glad you voted these guys in, America. Yeah, they promised us “real” change. But “at least nine incoming Republican Freshmen have hired K Street lobbyists as their top aides.”

I’m floored by their commitment, are you? Because nothing says NO SPENDING! like a lobbyist!

Grifters, the lot of them. Raping America – again.  Palin’s mouth must be watering, eyeing that calendar. She wants to cash in like the last Republican administration. She’s making money, sure, but its small change compared to having your own Haliburton and virtual immunity for your criminal behavior. She knows she can find a country to invade – Iran maybe, and invest in some “infrastructure spending” there, if you know what I mean, and I think you do.

At the end of November, the Senate voted down a Republican-sponsored measure to ban earmark spending (House Republicans had earlier placed a ban on earmarks). FOX News was able to joyously report the following (can you sense their gleeful anticipation?):

The 39-56 tally, however, was a better showing for earmark opponents, who lost a 29-68 vote earlier this year. Any votes next year should be closer because a band of anti-earmark Republicans is joining the Senate.

Is that right…? More Republicans are going to equal less spending? Because it’s those bad ole Democrats who do all the spending! And we know how much FOX News LOVES the Tea Party, those rugged populists fighting against government spending at every turn…

Gosh, speaking of the Tea Party…You’ve probably seen the news about the Tea Party and earmarks (“member-directed spending” is the euphemism they use on “the Hill”). Here’s a list to illustrate Tea Party opposition to earmarks (these are all 52 members of the Tea Party Caucus):

Aderholt (R-AL) – 69 – $78,263,000
Akin (R-MO) – 9 – $14,709,000
Alexander (R-LA) – 41 $65,395,000
Bachmann (R-MN) – 0 – 0
Barton (R-TX) -14 – $12,269,400
Bartlett (R-MD) – 19 – $43,060,650
Bilirakis (R-FL) – 14 – $13,600,000
R. Bishop (R-UT) – 47 – $93,980,000
Burgess (R-TX) – 15 – $15,804,400
Broun (R-GA) – 0 – 0
Burton (R-IN) – 0 – 0
Carter (R-TX) – 26 – $42,232,000
Coble (R-NC) – 19 – $18,755,000
Coffman (R-CO) – 0 – 0
Crenshaw (R-FL) – 37 – $54,424,000
Culberson (R-TX) – 22 – $33,792,000
Fleming (R-LA) – 10 – $31,489,000
Franks (R-AZ) – 8 – $14,300,000
Gingrey (R-GA) – 19 – $16,100,000
Gohmert (R-TX) – 15 – $7,099,000
S. Graves (R-MO) – 11 – $8,331,000
R. Hall (R-TX) – 16 – $12,232,000
Harper (R-MS) – 25 – $80,402,000
Herger (R-CA) – 5 – $5,946,000
Hoekstra (R-MI) – 9 – $6,392,000
Jenkins (R-KS) – 12 – $24,628,000
S. King (R-IA) – 13 – $6,650,000
Lamborn (R-CO) – 6 – $16,020,000
Luetkemeyer (R-MO) – 0 – 0
Lummis (R-WY) – 0 – 0
Marchant (R-TX) – 0 – 0
McClintock (R-CA) – 0 – 0
Gary Miller (R-CA) – 15 – $19,627,500
Jerry Moran (R-KS) – 22 – $19,400,000
Myrick (R-NC) – 0 – 0
Neugebauer (R-TX) – 0 – 0
Pence (R-IN) – 0 -0
Poe (R-TX) – 12 – $7,913,000
T. Price (R-GA) – 0 – 0
Rehberg (R-MT) – 88 – $100,514,200
Roe (R-TN) – 0 – 0
Royce (R-CA) – 7 – $6,545,000
Scalise (R-LA) – 20 – $17,388,000
P. Sessions (R-TX) – 0 – 0
Shadegg (R-AZ) – 0 – 0
Adrian Smith (R-NE) – 1 – $350,000
L. Smith (R-TX) – 18 – $14,078,000
Stearns (R-FL) – 17 – $15,472,000
Tiahrt (R-KS) – 39 – $63,400,000
Wamp (R-TN) – 14 – $34,544,000
Westmoreland (R-GA) – 0 – 0
Wilson (R-SC) – 15 – $23,334,000

TOTAL – 764 – $1,049,783,150

Drill baby drill; spend baby spend. You can see the depth of their commitment to…er, spending earmarks. You’d think conservatives would be, well…conservative about such things but they seem to spend, if you’ll pardon the expression, liberally.

In April, Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) released their 2010 Congressional Pig Book, in their own words “the group’s 20th anniversary exposé of pork-barrel spending.”  This edition of the Pig Book enumerated 9,129 earmarks worth $16.5 billion.

$16.5 billion is a tiny fraction of the federal budget. Let’s face it: eliminating earmarks entirely won’t fix the federal budget. But it’s an issue that gets people riled up because of the profligacy of some of the spending. Even if it’s important to the state or community in question, others are left lifting their eyebrows and wondering…why?

CAGW lists some examples:

  • $465,000,000 for the alternate engine for the Joint Strike Fighter;
  • $5,000,000 for the Presidio Heritage Center in California;
  • $1,000,000 for Portsmouth Music Hall in New Hampshire;
  • $400,000 for the USA Swimming Foundation in New Jersey;
  • $300,000 for Carnegie Hall in New York City;
  • $250,000 for the Monroe County Farmer’s Market in Kentucky;
  • $200,000 for the Washington National Opera in the District of Columbia; and
  • $206,000 for wool research in Montana, Texas, and Wyoming.

As you saw above, spending is a problem the Tea Party shares with the Republican Party (they share many things, of course). Michele Bachmann, leader of the Tea Party Caucus in Congress, wants to “redefine” earmarks. Bush was big about redefining things too. He’d redefine problems right out of existence. That’s what Bachman wants to do. If you change the definition, do a little tweaking here and there, you can keep spending wantonly yet still present yourself as a fiscal conservative.

Of course, you can also redefine problems out of existence in another way, by saying any Tea Partier who requested earmarks isn’t really a Tea Partier after all – because they requested earmarks. Michele Bachmann didn’t (though she requested $3.7 Million In Earmarks In 2008) – but she’s thinking about that potentially rickety bridge connection her home town of Stillwater to all those potential antique buyers on the Wisconsin side of the St. Croix.

Bachmann’s 2008 earmarks? Here’s just a few:

  • $94,000 for Sheriffs Youth Program of MN
  • $335,000 for Equipment Acquisition for Northland Medical Center
  • $803,000 for Replacement Small Buses, St. Cloud Metro Bus

That GOP ban we spoke of above? As Fox News says, it “would have effectively forbidden the Senate from considering legislation containing earmarks like road and bridge projects, community development funding, grants to local police departments and special-interest tax breaks.”

Yeah, no bridge over the St. Croix, Michele. Sorry.

The Tea Party backed itself into a corner with their anti-earmark rant. Earmarks are used for infrastructure support in this country. To fix bridges, in point of fact, among other things. Bachmann knows this. She knows that bridge is important. She knows that money to fix that bridge will come – has to come – from earmarks. Republicans, after all, hated the idea fielded by President Obama of spending stimulus money on infrastructure projects.

The solution is, for Bachmann, redefining some earmark spending as non-pork. According to the Pioneer Press,

Bachmann says Congress should exempt “roads, bridges and interchanges” and recommends that if a town, city, county or state approves a project, a lawmaker in Washington should be able to submit a request — a practice she says she has followed. Rep. Jean Schmidt, R-Ohio, says Congress should earn back the public’s trust before considering a new definition but concedes the earmark ban will bring about “unintended consequences.”

It’s a tight spot they find themselves in. Tea Partiers like Bachmann sure don’t want the government controlling infrastructure spending, or transportation dollars.

It’s not big government they’re against. It’s not spending they’re against. They love both. They have proven it again and again that the only earmark spending they’re against is Democratic-member-directed-spending – they love their own and the more the better – and yet people keep voting for them…again. Makes you wonder if Republican voters are easily fooled or if they’re part of the scam, the eternal bait and switch of American conservatism, about as real as John McCain’s maverick-ism.

Yeah, that’s change you can believe in. Though to give John credit, he did turn himself to a raving Tea Partier. That’s change, isn’t it? With John McCain you can say, as many states do about their weather, that if you don’t like it, just wait awhile. But you can’t say that about Republican spending, unfortunately. There the more things change, the more they stay the same.

9 responses so far

Olbermann and Maddow’s Blasting of Obama Proves MSNBC Is Not Fox

Dec 08 2010 Published by under Featured News

Last night on his MSNBC program Countdown, Keith Olbermann spent almost 12 minutes of his show criticizing President Obama and his administration for compromising on the Bush tax cuts. This was followed up by Rachel Maddow doing the same with her 9 PM program. This is why MSNBC is once again not the, “liberal Fox News.” FNC would never allow their hosts to criticize the GOP that way.

Here is the video of Olbermann’s special comment last night:

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Olbermann pulled no punches with his criticism, “Mr. President, for these meager crumbs, you have given up costly, insulting, divisive, destructive tax cuts for the rich and you have given in to Republican blackmail which will be followed by more Republican blackmail. Of course, it’s not just tax cuts for the rich that you’ve given up… This President negotiates down from a position of strength better than any politician in our recent history. It is too late now to go back and ask why the President, why the wobbly Democratic leadership, whiffed on its chance to force John Boehner to put his money where his mouth was. In September Boehner said if he had no other option, of course he would vote to extend tax breaks only for the middle class.”

Olbermann also took on the administration’s mentality of blaming the base, “Yesterday I had an exchange with a very Senior member of this Administration who wanted to sell me on this deal. I pointed out that that was fine, except that — as I phrased it to him — “frankly the base has just vanished.” “Well,” he replied, “then they must not have read the details.” There, in a nutshell, is this Administration. They didn’t make a bad deal — we just don’t understand it.”

Rachel Maddow followed Olbermann with her own criticism:

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Maddow spoke about the risk to the Obama presidency that this deal making is presenting, “What is happening now is that this presidency is at risk of becoming a punch line, It’s not that he has lost a fight or two or three or four. It’s that the very idea that he knows how to win or even wants to win has become a joke. . . . When this president starts to be ignored, when what he wants, his political vision becomes irrelevant. . . . If the president cannot win when his party is the majority in Congress, if no one can even conceive of the president winning fights when his party is in the majority, let alone the minority in Washington, then the presidency itself starts to atrophy. It starts to disappear.”

Can you imagine for one second Bill O’Reilly devoting about a quarter of his show to criticizing a Republican president? Can you imagine Sean Hannity following O’Reilly on the same evening and doing the same? You can’t because it would never happen on Fox News. Although MSNBC’s opinion programming targets the left, those hosts are free to voice opinions that run contrary to the party line, so can we please stop with the MSNBC is just like Fox News nonsense?

This false equivalency is something that was put out there by the right, and later picked up by Jon Stewart at his Rally to Restore Sanity, as justification for the methodology and bias of Fox News. It is a simplistic argument that ignores the fact that every MSNBC host from Chris Mathews and Ed Schulz to the prime time line up of Olbermann, Maddow, and O’Donnell has at one time or another been critical of Obama and his administration. This is not a behavioral characteristic of a propaganda network.

The mission of Fox News is to help the Republican Party, while MSNBC still functions as a news organization with a progressive tilt. The difference is night and day. The hosts on Fox News would never say anything to jeopardize the Republican cause, while those at MSNBC aren’t working for Obama despite what many on the right choose to believe. The difference between the two networks has never been clearer than it was last night, but as Eric Boehlert at Media Matters pointed out, it doesn’t matter what MSNBC does, the idea that they are Fox News for the left won’t die, and despite my hopes, I doubt last night changed this inaccurate perception.

10 responses so far

Fox News Combines Sex with Taxes to Sell Millionaire Propaganda

Dec 02 2010 Published by under Featured News, Issues, Republican Party

Plunging Neckline Offers Propaganda Over Poor RIch People's Tax Cuts

It’s Thursday, so naturally, we bring you a Fox Cheerleader for the NeoCon agenda on Fox & Friends talking out of both sides of something…and you’ll pardon me, but I don’t think it’s her mouth. Before we get to the predictable argument that we shouldn’t tax the rich, let’s pause here to note that while the men on Fox News appear in suits, the women don plunging necklines, short skirts, bare legs and are made up to look more like beauty queens than reporters. It wouldn’t matter except that this is not only pandering to the patriarchal neo-con daddies, but it’s also rather distracting — a bonus when you’re not being honest.

See if you can follow her “argument” here and note where your eyes go as she delves into talking points. Video courtesy of Media Matters:

Doocy and the Cheerleader are moaning about the poor rich people having to pay taxes; very sad that they pay the “lion’s share of taxes already”. Practically seems like someone has canceled Christmas. Much oohing and ahhing over the horrible predicament of the rich. I only want to pause here to point out that actually, in reality, the super rich don’t pay the majority of the taxes and their tax rate is lower than the middle class via the tax codes shelters and dodges – See Warren Buffet. So many lies, so little time. Then Doocy really kicks off the fun with this gem:

Doocy: …Why not give them (the super rich) a little break?

Poor Juan Williams looks shocked here. It’s as if he had no idea just how bad it would be on Fox. Yes, Juan, Doocy really did just say that.

And how about it, Doocy! I mean, it’s not like they had a break over the past ten years. And certainly, if we have any spare compassion to be doled out this holiday season, it should be spent on the super rich who have suffered so what with all of the negative press after we bailed them out with our tax dollars. Wait, why can’t they pay taxes again? Don’t they owe us? I kid, I kid. I know they don’t owe us crap. We’re the less privileged part of the Darwinian experiment and we must pay.

Juan Williams: (barely recovered from the shock of his realization that reality has no home on this Fox set) Because Republicans are saying, no, unless you give the super rich the people who make a million or more the tax cuts we’re not going to let this go forward—

Note the verbal cues as Doocy and Cheerleader dismissively shake their heads no as if entertaining a wild puppy. ‘No, Republicans aren’t doing that’ is the message the unsophisticated viewer gets. Of course, actually, yes, that is what Republicans are doing. Must pay attention to verbal cues and lower thirds if one is to break down the entire Fox propaganda machine.

So fully armed with her plunging neckline and Cheerleader’s grasp of economic issues, she’s called out for her tired trickle down claim that the top 2 percent are the “job makers” and shouldn’t be taxed because of the deficit:

Fox Cheerleader: They (the rich) need their money so they can pay for all of these spending proposals!

I do wish someone would ask her who exactly was going to pay for the Republicans spending proposals without letting Bush tax cuts expire for the top 2%. Math….only for the elite liberal evils, apparently.

Juan Williams
: Don’t you even feel like you are talking out of two sides of your mouth –

Fox Cheerleader: –NO!

Of course not, Juan! I no speaky from there, honey. Look HERE where wardrobe barely managed to secure these two fragile wisps of fabric over my heaving —

Juan Williams: — when you say we have a huge deficit we have to be responsible and we have to pay down the deficit but oh no–

Fox Cheerleader: –but taking more than half from the rich guy is the way to do it? Stop spending is the way to do it!

RAH RAH! Stop spending! DOH. Why didn’t the Republicans think of that at some point in the last 40 years? And gosh, I can feel something trickling down over those poor rich guys having to pay something but it’s not economics.

This enthusiastic quip is followed by a beauty pageant smile of self-satisfied simplicity: “Yes, I want world peace in the Iraq also too in other countries. Again.” No, I’m not mocking her for her ignorance, that’s a given on Fox and frankly, most morning shows aren’t known for their in-depth discussions of economic policy, I just find the proud Poujadism of the proletariat fighting for the rich cheer routine a bit tough to take so early in the morning.

We must point out the little lie inherent in the big lie, and that is the Cheerleader’s scoffing about how “250,000 thousand a year” isn’t “super rich”. If one is a business owner, that 250k is after deductions and write offs and perks like having the business pay for part of your mortgage, car, and living expenses. So, I think it’s fair to say that those folks are well off.

But the big lie is that the super rich getting a tax cut benefits the rest of us. This supply side economic theory of trickle down manna from the sky didn’t work under Bush and it won’t work now. Job creation lessened under Bush, as the deficit ballooned and the economy tanked. Oh, and of course, the granddaddy lie is that these tax cuts somehow fit into dreams of Reagan, when in fact, under Reagan, Americans were paying a much higher tax rate.

We must commend Fox on slyly feeding propaganda through beautiful, semi-clothed women with sweet smiles and innocently daring invitational clothing. Hello, liberals. Enough with the smarty pants women in suits with something to say. Can’t you see, it’s the package, not the content?

Now then, what would have been enlightening is for one of these folks to grasp basic civics. They frame their entire discussion around “Obama” and tax hikes. Nice work if you can get it. It isn’t, after all, the President who passes or funds legislation like extending tax cuts. Yes, he can drive it, he can sell it, but he can’t go into that Senate and make Harry Reid I Just Want to be Re-elected do anything. It’s those three branches of government thingy. This fine point is inconvenient for both sides to acknowledge, as it’s not as fun to hate on Harry as it is to hate on Obama, and plus, Obama is Republican Target #1.

We can’t blame Republicans for not understanding the limits of the executive branch since they so rarely acknowledge them when they are in office if the Bush years are any indicator of their beliefs about unlimited power. Aw, heck, just sign an executive order if you can’t get Congress to do what you want! That was clearly the intention of the founders (as proven in our newly revised history for the neo-con school book).

And we already knew they didn’t understand economics, given what they did to the country with the Bush tax cuts and the wild, frat boy spending and the war they forgot to put on the budget. Perhaps America would be better off treating them like the crazy uncle at Christmas. Let them talk and then get back to work, ignoring everything they said because….they are crazy.

What’s really at issue here is what kind of President did we elect? There are basically two kinds of presidents: the leader and the do-er. Bill Clinton was a leader. Barack Obama is a do-er. The problem seems to be that many thought he would be a leader, speaking to us and for us from the bully pulpit much more often than he does. I can’t criticize the amount of legislation his approach has managed to get passed, but it’s sort of like going to sleep with Brad Pitt from Thelma and Louise and waking up with Brad Pitt of the bearded scruff bohemian when he’s not filming. Both are good; but one was a lot more immediately enticing on a certain visceral level.

See? That’s just my way of pointing out how sexually biased our media is. Half naked women run around delivering “news” with nary a reference to naked men. So, there. Brad Pitt. Neener neener. Hey, maybe Brad could be the spokesmodel for the middle class– we could dress him in a loin cloth or something. Just spit ballin’ here.

At any rate, this President and the Democrats in office have fought hard for the middle class, contrary to what you may be reading online right now. They have fought for small business tax cuts, loans, extending unemployment, and more. The tax cut issue has to get through the Senate. So if anyone has any ideas on how to educate the majority of Americans on reality versus the well-framed right wing talking points of trickle down wealth paying off our deficit, do let the Obama administration hear from you.

Do they have to compromise with Those Who Shall Not be Moved? Yes. They do. No, really, they do.

It’s ugly, it’s tedious and it most likely won’t work. Thank goodness Obama has more patience than I, for right now, if I were him, I’d want to tell the Republicans that when they want to get serious about helping the majority of Americans, they can let me know – but until then, we are moving ahead without them and if that means nothing gets done, fine. They can tell the American people all about it. But of course, fun as that would be, when the American people heard about it, it would be Obama’s fault for “tax hikes” (well done, George!) instead of a pocket veto (he didn’t touch it; just let the Bush tax cuts expire).

If only we weren’t in a recession and the plunging necklines weren’t so easy to believe, reality might have a chance here.

39 responses so far

Glenn Beck Claims That Fox News Is Chock Full of Liberals

Nov 29 2010 Published by under Featured News

On his radio show today Glenn Beck and co-host Pat Gray made what could perhaps be labeled as their most fantastic claim yet. They claimed that Fox News is crawling with liberals, “How many liberals does Fox have on the network? Many. Not just guests either, there are some who actually host programs.”

Here is the audio from Media Matters:

Beck co-host Pat Gray claimed that Fox News is full of liberals, “How many liberals does Fox have on the network? Many. Not just guests either, there are some who actually host programs. I mean yes. Can you think of any? I mean they come immediately, they spring immediately to mind. This idea, this notion that I have clearly stated in the past that there are no dissenting points of view on Fox, it’s ridiculous. It’s unbelievable. Beck chimed in with, “ Well it doesn’t matter, because look, once they start going down this trail, they’re done.”

What I found most interesting is that Gray used the same argument to defend Fox News that racists use to defend their hiring practices. Compare, Gray’s statement, “How many liberals does Fox have on the network? Many. Not just guests either, there are some who actually host programs,” to, “Sure we have lots of black people who work for us. In fact, some of them are even managers.”

Wow, who knew that Fox News was just crawling with liberals? I love their liberal shows like….hmmmm, you know, and then there is that other…..wait a minute, there are no liberal shows on Fox News. I guess Beck and company were trying to sell Shep Smith as one of the many liberal hosts on Fox, but I don’t view Shep as liberal. Smith is more like a lonely sane conservative island surrounded by a sea of right wing crazy.

I know that Beck and Gray think that their audience is stupid, and if their audience is a little light in the gray matter their condition can be attributed to spending their days listening to Glenn and Pat, but this claim should be an insult even to the intellectual black hole known as Glenn Beck fans.

The very reason that Fox News is so profitable is because it caters to the audience of the closed-minded. The typical FNC viewer does not want to watch a liberal host or guests. If this was what they wanted, they wouldn’t be watching Fox. (To some degree MSNBC follows the same model, but at least some of their hosts like Rachel Maddow and O’Donnell try to give a fair hearing to the opposing point of view. I won’t even venture to include Fox News/Bill O’Reilly styled Keith Olbermann in this discussion). It is a joke that Beck and Gray would even try to sell FNC as a home for dissenting points of view.

The problem with much of cable news is that there is too little discussion from differing points of view, but at least MSNBC is honest about what it is, while Glenn Beck continues to treat his audience like paste eating three year olds, who he continually urges to take their allowance money and buy his latest endorsed trinket, scam, or book.

13 responses so far

Blackwater Alert: Fox News Calls for the Privatization of the TSA

Nov 28 2010 Published by under Featured News, Issues, Republican Party

Blackwater GropeFest!

The same people who like to natter on about how water boarding is not torture have been busy screaming “rape!” over the TSA scanners and gropers, because you know, when it’s them that’s being touched, it’s…well…different. But in case you were confused about their agenda, it’s not just the profiling, honey, it’s the privatization! Win win.

Yes, as we all suspected, the right had a stake in echoing the TSA outrage and now they’ve come out with it on Fox. Their solution? Private security corporations should take over for the TSA and also, too, aggressive profiling is necessary (but only of the Muslims, not of the blond whites- FYI).

Here you go via Media Matters:

Interesting that the Foxians mock the liberal idea that the TSA agents might need to be paid more, because it was just months ago that high bonuses for Wall Street executives were being justified as the cost of attracting good talent. Hmmm.

And never mind that private security corporations will be subjected to the same rules as the TSA, which by the way was created on November 19, 2001. You know, back when Americans were happy to subject themselves to random search and seizure of their home and property just in case they might be a terrorist. Yes, the TSA was Bush’s way to create standards for airport security in an attempt to avoid another 9/11.

The TSA was moved to the Department of Homeland Security in March of 2003, and then in 2005 we got the scanner push, courtesy of Chertoff.

“Michael Chertoff’s advocacy for the technology dates to his time in the Bush administration. In 2005, Homeland Security ordered the government’s first batch of the scanners – five from California-based Rapiscan Systems. Rapiscan is one of only two companies that make full-body scanners in accordance with current contract specifications required by the federal government.” Of course, by now you’ve guessed who owns Rapiscan.

Now, after the Christmas bomber (and remember, we still didn’t have a TSA chief then thanks to the GOP’s secret holds on Obama’s two nominees), the TSA decided to order 300 more machines from the Bush administration hold-over Chertoff. Too bad we didn’t have a TSA chief in place, but the Republicans were more concerned that Obama’s picks might push for a union (decent pay for the unwashed simply can’t tolerated) than they were about national security. And so we languished with no one at the helm, even after the Christmas underwear bomber until just months ago, when the current chief took over, and he clearly suffers from a lack of public relations management skills.

Conveniently, with cries for privatization, Republicans like Representative John Mica (R-FL) are in the cat bird’s seat:

“This month, Republican Rep. John Mica of Florida wrote letters to 100 of the nation’s busiest airports asking that they request private security guards instead.

“I think we could use half the personnel and streamline the system,” Mica said Wednesday, calling the TSA a bloated bureaucracy.

Mica, who is the ranking Republican on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee (and, once the new Republican majority takes control in January, its expected chair), counts among his campaign contributors some of the companies who might take the TSA’s place….. Mica spokesman Justin Harclerode said the contributions never improperly influenced the congressman, who said he was unaware Raytheon or Lockheed were in the screening business.” Yes, we are all clueless about what Lockheed does.

You might be interested to note that Mica was an author of the original TSA law. Yes, that bloated big government agency that currently employs over 60,000 people, he now thinks should be taken over by the private sector. Apparently Republicans are embarrassed by the mushroom of big government they created with the TSA and would like very much, thank you, if you would forget how this all started.

Picture Blackwater frisking you down (remember, contractors must follow all TSA-mandated security procedures, including hand pat-downs when necessary). See? I knew you’d like that more than an untrained TSA worker. Mica claims they will be better at customer service….because nothing says accountable like a private contractor working for the Department of Homeland Security. Yes, this is so much better than training the TSA agents and attracting better talent through union benefits.

On the positive side, if the Right is successful with this rather clever scheme, we can kiss more of our civil liberties good-bye but the federal employment levels will lessen and the Right won’t like that idea one bit, if Obama’s going to take credit for it.

It remains unclear how private contractors will dish out the nasty any nicer than the TSA, but what is clear is that when there’s money to be made and political hay to be had, Republicans will put the media-regressive Democrats to shame with their ability to craft a narrative and sell us their baloney before we know what hit us.

Have fun, patriots. Personally I was OK with the gropings I’ve gotten by the federal government, it’s Blackwater (Xe) I worry about. I hear those boys are rather aggressive sexually.

20 responses so far

Sarah Palin’s Thanksgiving of Spite

Nov 26 2010 Published by under Featured News, Issues, Republican Party

Joe Lieberman Heads Stalker Palin off at the Pass

Sarah Palin’s Thanksgiving of Spite

In another sad, desperate attempt to get media attention on a holiday, Ms Palin spent her Thanksgiving licking her North Korean ally wounds on Facebook and creepily stalking the President. I’ll not be linking to the FB post as you can easily find her outrageously petulant post for yourself if you so desire. Just consider that the first paragraph is devoted to all of the Presidential gaffe’s her hack research team could find, leading us to the conclusion that Palin thinks she is on par with the President.

This hopeful false equivocation is nothing but the dreams of the deluded and anyone so ignorant as to not understand that when Palin makes a mistake it’s because she doesn’t grasp the issue at hand, not because she made a gaffe, probably isn’t winning any critical thinking tests. This has become clear over her entire career, not just the last two years. To assume she had a slip of the tongue when every other time she did not know what she was talking about would be illogical and catering to the accusations of bias she takes refuge in.

This is the same woman who preened to her gubernatorial competition that while he had a grasp of the issues and she didn’t the issues, it “didn’t matter”. Two termer Republican member of the Alaska State House of Representatives Andrew Halcro, who ran against Palin in the 2006 Alaskan gubernatorial race as an Independent, wrote:

“On April 18, 2006, Palin and I sat together in a hotel coffee shop comparing campaign trail notes. As we talked about the debates, Palin made a comment that highlights the phenomenon that Biden is up against. “Andrew, I watch you at these debates with no notes, no papers, and yet when asked questions, you spout off facts, figures, and policies, and I’m amazed. But then I look out into the audience and I ask myself, ‘Does any of this really matter?'”

Tell me again that I’m supposed to give her the benefit of the doubt. Tell me how it’s “fair” (is this nursery school?) to cater to intellectual laziness by approaching this gaffe as if it were the first time and not a tell, in a pattern of reckless abandon for important issues of national security. Maybe some are willing to put this country at risk in order to avoid hurting Ms Palin’s feelings, but as of this moment, I’m not so inclined.

Gosh, just how much further do we need to lower the bar in order to accommodate the GOP’s front-runner for highest office in the land? Are there any standards we are allowed to apply to Ms Palin? Apparently, it’s more important to be “fair” to our Lady of Eternal Victimhood than it is to have a person of merit in office or have a debate seasoned by a grasp of the issues.

In the interest of “fairness”, allow me to point out that Ms Palin did not know there was a North and South Korea just two years ago, while running for VP of this country.

She also thought Saddam Hussein attacked the U.S. on 9/11.

While running for V.P. Shudder. But hush, now, we don’t want to hurt her feelings or insult her base by pointing out that there might be qualifications for President. We should all lower our expectations lest we be accused of being lamestream media elites.

John Heilemann, co-author of the book, Game Change, told Anderson Cooper on 60 Minutes that McCain Campaign manager Steve Schmidt claimed, “She knew nothing. She had to be taken through World War I, World War II, the Cold War, and Palin was not aware there was a difference between North and South Korea. She continued to insist that Iraq was behind 9/11; and when her son was being sent off to Iraq, she couldn’t describe who we were fighting.”

Courtesy of Think Progress, “She Knows Nothing”:

And we’re supposed to chalk this up to a gaffe? Really? Where’s the proof that she has been studying up after quitting as governor, between her reality TV shows, appearances on Fox News, book writing and tabloid media management of her family? Oh, we’re supposed to assume this, contrary to all apparent evidence, in order to be “fair”?

Schmidt did claim that in spite of knowing nothing, she was a quick study. Sadly, this side of Palin was never made evident to us and any chance she might have had of convincing thinking Americans that she was interested in serious things evaporated when she quit her job as Governor of Alaska to pursue money and fame. Maybe if she allowed someone to interview her other than Fox personalities, she could show us just how much studying she’s been doing. We need to know that she understands the complexities and not that she has just managed to barely memorize the talking points.

Palin has never been interested in history or policy. She claims she wants to discuss her record, is given an hour to do just that on Fox News with nothing but subservient host (Greta) who let’s Palin natter on about anything she chooses with no pushback or correction, and not once does Palin choose to discuss her record.

What she chose to discuss was how the media picks on her and never talks about her record. We got to hear all the tabloid insults that have offended our Queen of the Media. Why is this? Because Sarah Palin cannot discuss her real record because her real record belies the myth she’s selling. Sarah is selling feelings, not reality, not policy, not ideas. And that’s why it’s vital that she keep this fight in the tabloid gutter, where she can win.

Sadly, Ms Palin is still clueless about how she may have some responsibility in creating the anger she so routinely feels victimized by. When she returned to Alaska after playing the role of the pit-bull in 2008, Palin was wounded that the legislators were no longer on her side. Did she meet with the legislators to discuss this or take responsibility for the idea they got from her behavior that she was a demagogic hater more interested in her national opportunities than in their state? No.

Instead, Palin scheduled a meeting with the Alaskan legislators (all of whom were Republican, by the way) regarding her claim that she wouldn’t take nearly a third of the stimulus money (another blatantly false pandering to her future status as Tea Party Queen), blew it off, and then told the press they had canceled on her.

Senate President Gary Stevens said the statement Palin sent to the press about what happened was “absolutely false, absolutely false.” “Someone should be brought to task on that,” the Kodiak Republican said.

Our Victim of the North strikes again.

Later, when she quit, Ms Palin claimed political opponents working for President Obama were behind the “attacks” on her, never acknowledging that the majority of attacks came from Republicans because this didn’t fit well with the narrative of victimization by the usurper she was crafting for her Tea Party base.

Instead of discussing “her record” in her Greta Van Sustern interview (FNC), Palin chose to focus on her claim that her daughters only slurred someone on Facebook because they were sick of their little brother being attacked. According to the Facebook pages cached by numerous outlets, this never happened. But it sure makes for a good story, doesn’t it?

And so we come back to the gaffe. Ms Palin’s Thanksgiving Whinestock of Spite infers that there’s no difference between a Summa Cum Laude Harvard Law graduate and a 5 or 6 college communications major who did not know the difference between Iran and Iraq. We’re supposed to believe that lazy ignorance is the equivalent of hard work and willingness to learn, lest we be called elitists, but at the same time, we’re supposed to embrace the notion of American exceptionalism. Hard to keep it all straight.

We’re supposed to give her the benefit of the doubt, when she is so scared of the press that she has refused (for two years) to be interviewed by anyone other than friendly press that is also her employer and her publisher — and when she messes up answering questions she was given in advance, we are biased if we expect a decent performance. I guess we’ll wait for Sarah Palin to tell us when it’s OK to expect something of her. After all, I wouldn’t want to offend her. Perhaps we need to add an amendment to the constitution: “Thou shall not offend Queen Sarah nor ask her anything nor expect her to know anything for to do so will be considered treasonous, sexist, vile and mean.”

How about this: The President does not spend his Thanksgiving attacking people. Only the most petty, immature and emotionally stunted would spend a day of thanks dishing out the petty.

It’s hard not to feel sorry for Ms Palin, but then she goes and does something like this, leading me to believe that were she ever to be President, we would all be in peril if she ever perceived even the slightest criticism from a foreign leader, let alone an American citizen. It’s clear our rights to speak our minds would be limited under Palin. What isn’t clear is exactly how dangerously reactive and emotionally challenged she is. I fear we don’t know the full extend of her limitations due to her clever avoidance of accountability via her Facebook/Fox PAC bunkers of fear.

A Thanksgiving of spite. That’s what you get when you cater to the feelings of a celebrity instead of insisting upon a modicum of personal responsibility and grasp of the issues. Anyone still making excuses for Sarah Palin and clinging to this desperate equivocation simply can’t be reached through reason. This is all about feelings for them. And that’s fine, but you’ll pardon me if I carry on with attempting to hold her responsible given that she refuses to do any media other than tabloid, quasi-reality propaganda where she has complete control of the narrative.

If this were indeed a gaffe, then why didn’t Ms Palin use her Facebook time to address the history of North Korea’s oppression of their people instead of playing petulant and angry that we expect things of her? This is what any person who understood the importance of her “gaffe” would have done, but I suspect – and this is the root of the problem – Ms Palin has no idea just why this was so disturbing.

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