Friday, March 7, 2014

Last Call For Mr. Mom Jeans

Apparently the Winger War on Women now includes Washington Free Beacon editor Matthew Continetti ("The Free Beacon: when it's not classy enough for the DC Examiner") assigning pretty much every conservative stereotype involving liberal women to one President Barack Obama.

“In terms of stereotypes, various psychological studies show that men gravitate to the hard power of command,” Joseph Nye wrote in 2012, “while women are collaborative and intuitively understand the soft power of attraction and persuasion.” He adds, “Recent leadership studies show increased success for what was once considered a ‘feminine style.’” Collaborate, intuitive, soft, attractive, persuasive—these attributes of the “feminine style” are perfect descriptors of Barack Obama’s relation to the world, or at least to those parts of the world that are not Republican or Israeli.

Nye describes the path women must travel to reach power: “Women are generally not well integrated into male networks that dominate organizations,” he writes, “and gender stereotypes still hamper women who try to overcome such barriers.” What he writes about women could also be written about Obama, who disdains glad-handing and networking, who “doesn’t really like people,” who in domestic politics has given up entirely negotiations with the “male networks that dominate organizations” such as the House of Representatives, who every day is hampered by the stereotype that he is brilliant, logical, debonair, pragmatic, witty, world-changing, deeply read, hip.

Yet Obama has overcome such barriers. He is one of a kind. Knowing their struggles, sharing their opinions, committed to abortion whenever and to contraception for all, supportive of equal pay for equal work, practicing the soft power diplomacy of defense cuts, of negotiations, of needling, of chiding, delivering geopolitical statements frompre-school classrooms, snapping selfies with the girls at state funerals, displaying almost every trope of womanhood outlined by the theoretician of soft power himself, Barack Obama has as much of a claim as the next girl to being the first woman president. Do not “other” him. Love him. Celebrate him. Open your mind, as I have. And Hillary: Take note. We already have a woman in the White House.

This is what passes for "witty humor" among the troglodyte set this month.  Because estrogen is funny, or something.   But hey, give Continetti some credit: he manages to be a completely unfunny misogynist dudebro prick at the same time that he's a mouth-breathing racist asshole, and that takes some effort.

Zombie-Eyed Kid Starver Paul Ryan

Attention poor people:  did you know that allowing your kids to eat free or reduced price lunches at school means you simply don't love your kids enough to work more hours to be able to afford meals?  (And why don't you love your children enough to make lunches for them, you horrible scum?)

Speaking to the Conservative Political Action Conference, the former Republican vice presidential nominee argued that conservatives should let Democrats be the “party of personality,” while “we will be the party of ideas.”

“I’m optimistic about our chances because the left, the left just isn’t out of ideas, they’re out of touch,” he explained. “Take Obamacare — not literally, but figuratively here, okay? We now know that this law will discourage millions of people from working. The left thinks this is a good thing.”

Ryan insisted that liberals were only offering people “a full stomach and an empty soul.”

He then told a story of a “young boy from a very poor family” who received free lunches at school “from a government program.”

“He didn’t want a free lunch,” Ryan insisted. “He wanted his own lunch, one in a brown paper bag, just like the other kids.”

“He wanted one, he said, because he knew a kid with a brown paper bag had someone who cared for him. This is what the left does not understand.

 Of course, what the right doesn't understand is that being poor doesn't mean you love your children any less, but that notion that whoever has the most stuff means you have the most love is pretty much the entire raison d'etre of modern conservative parenting:  If you were truly loving and deserving parents with good values and moral standards, you wouldn't be poor in the first place.

Oh, but here's the best part of the story:  It's 100% nonsense.  Even much-maligned WaPo "Fact Checker" Glenn Kessler dropped the dreaded "Four Pinocchios" rating on Ryan's story in less than 24 hours.

It turns out that Ryan stole the story from Wisconsin's GOP Department of Children and Families head Eloise Anderson.  Oh but it gets worse:

But the story doesn’t end there. Wonkette, a satiric blog, wondered if Anderson’s story was actually derived from a 2011 book titled “The Invisible Thread,” by Laura Schroff, which is a book about a busy executive and her relationship with an 11-year-old homeless panhandler named Maurice Mazyck. His mother was a drug addict, in jail, who had stolen things and cashed in food stamps to pay for drugs. At one point, Schroff offers to bring Mazyck lunch every day so he won’t go hungry.

And worse:

This actually seemed a little strange. Could the tale told in congressional testimony really be drawn from a book? It did not make much sense in part because Schroff and Mazyck are partnering with a group called No Kid Hungry to help end childhood hunger in the United States. One key part of the program is connecting hungry kids with federal programs such as school lunches and food stamps. The group also opposed Ryan’s 2013 budget for its proposed reductions in the food stamp program.

And worse.

Here at The Fact Checker, we often deal with situations in which people misspeak. We certainly don’t try to play gotcha. But this is a different order of magnitude. Anderson, in congressional testimony, represented that she spoke to this child—and then ripped the tale out of its original context. That’s certainly worthy of Four Pinocchios.

But what about Ryan? Should he get a pass because he heard this from a witness before Congress? It really depends on the circumstances. In this case, he referenced the story in a major speech. The burden always falls on the speaker and we believe politicians need to check the facts in any prepared remarks.

In this case, apparently, the story was too good to check. We appreciate he is regretful now. But a simple inquiry would have determined that the person telling the story actually is an advocate for the federal programs that Ryan now claims leaves people with “a full stomach and an empty soul.” So he also earns Four Pinocchios.

And this guy will almost certainly be running for President.  The guy is such a scumbag that, in order to attack free school lunches for poor kids, he stole a story from another Republican who stole the story first from an author who was pointing out how badly poor kids need things like school lunches.

And the best part:

This story recounted an incident from more than 25 years ago. 

When Paul Ryan was still in high school.

Presumably eating a school lunch.

Think about that for a moment.

Out-FOX-ing FOX News

The Perpetual Right-Wing Outrage Machine has to always be running, and FOX News has apparently become too mainstream for some.  The fringe wants in on the billions, and that means a new cable network with maximum wingnut, headed by Newsmax's Chris Ruddy.

Newsmax, which had revenue of $104 million in 2013, up from $85 million the year before, is perhaps best known for its namesake, 200,000-circulation monthly magazine. A conservative reimagining of the traditional newsweekly, Newsmaxpublishes political stories such as “President Obama’s Outrageous Power Grab” and ads for gold coins and hearing aids. For conservative politicians, making aNewsmax cover is an important stamp of validation., launched in 1998, before the magazine, is the most trafficked conservative site on the Web, with more than 11.5 million visitors in January, according to ComScore (SCOR). On a recent morning, the featured posts on the home page were “Obama Intel Reforms Threaten US Security,” “GOP Poised to Retake Senate as Disillusioned Democrats Depart,” and “Bomb-Strapped Islamists Threaten ‘Present’ at Olympics.” Ruddy has amassed a 5 million-person e-mail list, one reason Republican presidential candidates stop in to see him.

What’s remarkable about Ruddy’s prominence in the Republican media establishment is that he isn’t even a Republican, and Newsmax isn’t a conventional media company. Ruddy has taken Newsmax’s boomer audience, average age 54.7, and figured out how to sell it far more than political news. Newsmax, the corporation, is a smorgasbord of political, health, and financial information, self-help books, and even vitamin supplements constantly pushed through the website and e-mail lists. This eclectic array of products—the company made $46 million in subscription revenue from its 17 newsletters and $6 million from vitamin supplements in 2013—makes Newsmax less of a news business and more of a strange hybrid of the Heritage Foundation and Amway. It was Amway founder Richard Devos who suggested to Ruddy that Newsmax could sell supplements to his middle-aged audience.

Here's the kicker:

Ruddy is registered as an Independent and is more moderate than the rhetoric typically espoused by his media properties. He has become friends with Bill and Hillary Clinton and won’t rule out supporting Hillary for president in 2016. All of which makes his latest ambition, to build a TV network that he believes will challenge the conservative news monopoly of Fox News, either a misguided fantasy or a cunningly disruptive business plan.

If you ever needed proof that politics is 100% about the money, Chris Ruddy is it.

And this guy is going to make a mint.

This June, Ruddy plans to launch NewsmaxTV, a 24-hour cable news channel that will be, he says, a kinder, gentler Fox. “Our goal is to be a little more boomer-oriented, more information-based rather than being vituperative and polarizing,” he says. Ruddy says he can make NewsmaxTV profitable entirely through advertising and selling Newsmax’s consumer products over the air. It’s the same business model that’s been successful for QVC, Home Shopping Network (HSNI), and numerous televangelists, but no one has tried it in cable news. He’s quick to add that he doesn’t need to beat Fox News, he just needs to shave off a little of its audience—particularly those conservatives who feel Fox has drifted too far to the right. “If we take 10 to 15 percent of the Fox audience,” he says, “and they are making $1 billion a year, then we are going to be hugely profitable.”

Yep.  And the suckers of the far left and far right will flock to these guys.


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