Friday, October 7, 2011

Last Call

The Republican party's constant projection of their leadership's faults onto President Obama knows no limits or boundaries.  If you ever hear Orange Julius accusing President Obama of doing anything, it's a sure bet that Boehner is hiding his own massive failures.  For example:

House Speaker John Boehner accused President Obama of giving up on governing the country at a dangerous economic time to focus on campaigning for re-election.

Interviewed by Major Garrett of National Journal on the second day of the Washington Ideas Forum, Boehner said he hoped someone would ask Obama at his news conference Thursday, "Mr. President, why have you given up on the country and decided to campaign full time?"

"Nothing has disappointed me more than what has happened in the last five weeks," Boehner returned to this point later in the interview. "To watch the president of the United States give up on governing, give up on leading and just spend time campaigning."

"We're legislating. He's campaigning. It's very disappointing," he said.

Number of jobs bills Republicans have presented?  Zero.  Number of federal abortion bills presented?  Thirteen.  Yep, they're legislating alright:  legislating tax cuts for the wealthy, legislating rolling back civil rights, legislating what a woman can do with her uterus, and not legislating help for the millions of unemployed Americans out there.

The notion that House Republicans have done anything at all to help America at all right now is laughable.  Boehner is an embarrassment to the country, and all he can do is attack the President.

What a buffoon.

Cain Unable, Part 4

Lawrence O'Donnell utterly eviscerates Herman Cain in about 25 minutes of epic journalism, as he calls out Cain on everything from Occupy Wall Street to the civil rights movement to Cain's apparent ignorance of the material in his own book.  Watch part 1:

More of the interview here (part 2) and here (part 3).  It's gobsmacking stuff.  Cain is so utterly unprepared and weak-minded here that Lawrence is able to just repeatedly blow holes in everything, his positions on the middle-class, race, society, and his "9-9-9" plan which would, surprise!...result in a massive tax break for the wealthy and a massive tax increase on middle-class and poor Americans, including a national 9% sales tax.

If Cain can't handle O'Donnell, then he's done.  Hell, he couldn't handle a high school student at this point.


Classless Warfare

Tea Party conservatives protest?  The voice of Real America that all must obey.  Occupy Wall Street protests?  Violent class warfare that pits "American versus American".

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor took to the stage at the 2011 Voter Values Summit in Washington to do a little fear-mongering about the growing Occupy Wall Street protests.

"If you read the newspapers today, I for one am increasingly concerned about the growing mobs occupying Wall Street and the other cities across the country," he said.

Cantor appeared try and connect the protests to the cries of "class warfare" Republicans are lobbing at President Obama's jobs bill and his Buffett Rule.

"Believe it or not, some in this town have actually condoned the pitting of Americans against Americans," Cantor said.

Think the 1% is getting concerned?  Enough to have the House majority leader attack them as a "growing mob".  Which is funny, I thought the Tea Party was in fact proud of saying "We are the mob!"

Now of course when people are actually protesting the folks that really did destroy the country's economy, now being a mob is bad.  Republicans are having a field day by projecting all the criticisms of the Tea Party over the last two years onto OWS, and laughing them off as the unfortunate poor who probably shouldn't even have the right to vote.

As I roll this thing back and I think of American history, there was a time in American history when you had to be a male property owner in order to vote. The reason for that was, because they wanted the people who voted — that set the public policy, that decided on the taxes and the spendingto have some skin in the game.
Now we have data out there that shows that 47 percent of American households don’t pay taxes, 51 percent of American wage-earners don’t have an income tax liability. And it’s pretty clear that there are a lot of people who are not in the workforce at all. In fact, of our unemployment numbers — that run in the 13 or 14 million category — when you go to the Department of Labor Statistics and you look at that data, you can add up those that are simply not in the workforce of different age groups, but of working age, add that number to the number of those who are on unemployment and you come up with a number that was just a few months ago 80 million Americans. Just over a month ago that number went over 100 million Americans that aren’t working.
Now I don’t think they’re paying taxes. But many of them are voting. And when they vote, they vote for more government benefits.

The 1% is now fully playing into the fears of "class warfare" and the GOP is leading the way in continuing to marginalize the vast majority of Americans.

Only In California

(CNN) -- A central California man has been arrested for possession of child pornography, thanks to a tip from burglars who robbed the man's property, authorities said.

Last month, a juvenile and a 19-year-old illegally accessed the property of Kraig Stockard, 54, of Delhi, California, according to a statement from Deputy Tom MacKenzie of the Merced County Sheriff's Department. They broke into Stockard's barn and stole approximately 50 CDs they believed were blank.

I mean, sometimes you just gotta blog something that awesomely awful. For a dose of further irony, charges against the intruders cannot be published because one of them is a minor. The Bon is amused, and grateful the burglars did the right thing, because that truly had to be hard to do.

Yahoo Stops Dancing Around

When Carol Bartz was fired last month, everyone knew then what was going to come.  Yahoo officially denied their plans to sell, but stock went up in anticipation of the sale, and now we have the next step on the road to change.  It seems Yahoo has been releasing necessary information for companies to bid, and have been putting out feelers for buyers.

What does this mean for us?  It depends on who buys Yahoo.  I think any change will destroy the customer base, making the new owners divide up and use the services, but without the love and loyalty that Yahoo has built from the beginning.  That's just my opinion, but so far rumor has proven to be fairly accurate.

Half And Half Again

Right wing radio host Laura Ingraham actually served a useful purpose this week with her charming comments on race, President Obama, Herman Cain, and American history.

And what happened with Obama is that he gets this job that he’s not qualified for… OK, so [Obama is] Constitutionally qualified for but he’s not really qualified for. And guess who pays the price? All of us. Because we had such a yearning for history.

Well I have a question. Herman Cain, if he became president, he would be the first black president, when you measure it by — because he doesn’t — does he have a white mother, white father, grandparents, no, right? So Herman Cain, he could say that he’s — he’s — he’s the first, uh — he could make the claim to be the first — yeah, the first Main Street black Republican to be the president of the United States. Right? He’s historic too.

Now you may be thinking "How is this useful other than as a window into just how awful a person Laura Ingraham is?"  I'll be happy to explain my theory.  It goes something like this:

Ingraham's comments show the difference between racism and assumption of privilege.  They're related, but they're not the same thing.  One specifically involves baseless assumptions, negative stereotypes and bigoted behavior specifically involving race, the other involves that a person believes a specific group that they don't belong to should follow behaviors and be assigned criteria that they consider to be societal norms that the group in question should possess.

It's entirely possible to assume privilege about a group, to "take it upon oneself," on issues other than race (gender, sexual identity, religion or lack thereof, etc.) and it's entirely possible to be racist without assuming privilege (propagating negative stereotypes about one's own race, "self-hating" etc.)

What Ingraham's doing is very much in the category of assumption of privilege.  She feels that she not only has the right to be the arbiter of the President's racial identity, that she not only has the right to define what that identity means to all other racial identity groups (and that Barack Obama's racial identity is different from Herman Cain's racial identity based solely on her opinion) but given her statements in the past she feels that she knows what is best for the black community as well, even though she's not a part of it.  On top of all that, because the President is biracial (like myself) she feels that she can emphasize one race over the other when it suits her argument, and that his identity is mutable based on what she thinks at the time and from which angle she needs to attack him from.  The assumption that other African-Americans need her guidance and opinion in order to formulate their own perceptions of the President's racial identity is pretty much the height of hubris.

But Ingraham's technically not being racist.  She's not actually saying that being black is bad, she's just defining what she thinks being black from a Presidential historical standpoint means and should be defined as.  Having said that, her assumption of privilege here is repugnant, ignorant, arrogant, unacceptable and generally makes her a truly rotten human being.  I'm pretty sure most of us would find her statements to be breathtakingly terrible and that most people find what she said to be unremittingly foul on pure instinct.  Her statements in fact imply a great number of negative things about the President being biracial and that not being good enough to qualify the him for historical status, that somehow it makes Herman Cain "better" in her opinion, but her statements weren't technically racism, only implied.  There is a difference, and it's one that has been exploited to great effect in history.

Now here's where it gets fun:  Ingraham's defenders will no doubt say that her assumption of privilege is not racism, and that anyone who does attack her as being such is overly sensitive and should be dismissed.  But this means that her assumption of privilege is acceptable to society because the racism is merely implied and not overt, and therefore a matter of one's opinion and perspective.  Implied attacks on minorities through the language of assumption of privilege have been used throughout American history. 

It's readily and painfully recognizable to various minorities, but has over the decades has lost stigma and has even become acceptable to those who regularly assume the familiar code phrases, tired arguments, and "dog whistle" semantics because they are in the majority and get to define in society what the acceptable norms are.  When couched in the haze of opinion and point-of-view, attacks on such language can be easily discounted in order to maintain that majority hold on what is acceptable and what is not, and it's done specifically to blunt criticism from minorities and to perpetuate the power in the majority.  At its logical endpoint, it's also designed specifically to anger the minority group in question in order to provoke a reaction by the minority that can be dismissed by the majority in order to establish dominance by being able to control what is acceptable in society.

It's worked for a very, very, very long time.  Ingraham is playing a game as old as human interaction itself.

Having said that, Laura Ingraham can kiss my biracial ass. 

Madam, you are no more the arbiter of the President's racial identity and what it means to America than pile of fecal matter inside your cranium, and the poison-saturated sack of hypocrisy that constitutes your soul is not anything I would wish on my worst enemy.  I am proud of being biracial.  It does not make me any less pure or less worthy or less human than human, and I greatly resent the implication.  I am exceedingly proud of my President because he is someone like myself, and I live in a country where someone like myself can in fact be the leader of the free world and govern a country of 310 million people, all of which are better people than you are.  If you cannot find the singular joy in a society that allows that to happen, your worldview is a hopelessly broken and bleak landscape of endless recriminations that is so exceedingly and perfectly empty that you will seek to fill it with shallow, sneering, venal attacks in order to find some way, any way, to stop the relentless pain that your daily existence must entail.

My theory ends forthwith.  Have a nice day.

Brought To You By The Letters "F" And "U"

National Review's Julie Gunlock takes great umbrage with the notion of the latest puppet character on Sesame Street: Lily, a little girl who sometimes goes hungry.

Although Lily is just the latest politically charged plot to come out of Sesame Street, the problem with this storyline is that it is absolutely false. In fact, Lily’s lucky to be “poor” in this country. Sesame Street would be wiser to educate America’s children about the real poor and hungry — the 98 percent of the world population who live outside the United States.

The truth is, 94.3 percent of American households are able to put enough food on the table every day to feed their families. And despite the grim “facts” and figures thrown around by children’s television programs, celebrity spokespersons, and the mainstream media, the vast majority of children living in America are healthy and well fed.

The facts about hunger in America really aren’t that alarming — certainly not alarming enough to warrant a whole new Sesame Street character!

In fact, American kids have it pretty good. As I wrote on NRO back in January, the idiom “food insecure” — a term created by the U.S. Department of Agriculture — means one has either “reduced quality, variety, or desirability of diet” or “disrupted eating patterns and reduced food intake.”

So, far from hungry or starving, Lily suffers from a much less dramatic condition — unpleasant to be sure, but at its core, just a somewhat boring, irregular, and occasionally reduced diet.
Of course, what will likely be absent from Sesame Street’s lessons on “food insecurity” are the various federal, state, and local welfare programs for which Lily’s parents qualify: food stamps, WIC, free school meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner!) as well as all the charitable services provided to families in need, such as food banks and church-run food assistance.

Yes, how dare Sesame Street lie and lead anyone to believe that there are kids going hungry in a singularly exceptional country like America, the commie pinko (and actually pink) bastards.  There's no such thing as poverty here, only brave Real Americans supporting millions of parasites out of the goodness of our hearts (and we really should cut funding for the programs that do that so the moochers and looters will pull their fair share dammit.)  Besides, God will fix it.

We have fat people with cell phones and shoes and ethnic hairstyles.  Nobody's actually poor in America the greatest country ever.  Why, food insecurity is just an evil liberal myth.

The shoes belonging to Skyler, 10, and Zachery, 12, are falling apart. Their sister, Jordan, 14, wears the varsity coach’s shoes when she plays on her school’s volleyball team. Less visible is hunger. The children and their parents, Tonya and Ed McKee, of Dowagiac, Michigan, sometimes went without food this summer when Ed’s unemployment insurance ran out and the family was not yet receiving food stamps. Skyler told Cass he gave the birthday money he got at church to his mom for groceries, “and I told her she didn’t have to pay me back.” Skyler confided that sometimes his stomach has growled. “It’s hard, not easy like it was before where we had money and could do stuff. Now we don’t go anywhere… Sometimes we don’t have food and we just don’t eat.” 

Damn kids could stand to skip a meal once in a while, the little lardasses are lucky they're not in Zimbabwe or Mongolia or Costa Rica or something.  And hell, we send them food all the time.  Ungrateful, all of them!

Hungry people in America?  They don't exist.  Not like food insecurity actually affects people if it doesn't affect NRO writers.  It's always good to hear what "poverty is really like" from people who reduce missing meals to an exercise in statistics.  The Math Demands It(tm).

Harry Reid Goes Mini Nuclear

If this report from Alex Bolton at The Hill is legitimate, Harry Reid may have just opened up a huge can of whoopass.

In a shock development Thursday evening, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) triggered a rarely-used procedural option informally called the “nuclear option” to change the Senate rules.

The Democratic leader had become fed up by Republican demands for votes on motions to suspend the rules after the Senate had voted to end a filibuster.

Reid said these motions, which do not need unanimous consent, amount to a second-round filibuster after the Senate has voted to move to final passage of a measure.

The surprise move stunned Republicans, who did not expect Reid to bring heavy artillery to what had been a hum-drum knife fight over amendments to China currency legislation.

It seems that the Republicans either got lazy or sloppy, and left the door open for Reid to throw some serious jujitsu.  Now, what this means is that one of the byzantine filibuster options available to the Republicans is going to go away.  If that happens, all of a sudden things get very, very interesting.

So here's what I want to know: is Reid really going to do this, or is he finally playing cards he has left in order to win concessions from Orange Julius and the House?  Let's not forget that Republicans immediately reneged on the deal reached after the debt ceiling fight and tried to shut down the government a few weeks ago.  If this is Harry Reid's payback, then I hope he's at least getting passage of the American Jobs Act out of the deal at the bare minimum.

We'll see.


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