The Mother of all Sons of Bitches

In the past few days we’ve been drenched a tidal wave of conflicting messages about the Tea Party.  For instance, someone, somewhere has decided to try to save Sarah Palin’s career.  As an example of this, YahooNews ran a love letter to her in the guise of “opinion” just the other day.  The writer never got down to specifics — possibly because there are none — but instead waxed poetic about how Palin just oozes liberty and justice and holy inspiration, and about how moving her movie was (yes, so moving that people probably moved away from theaters to get away from it), and how anyone who hates her is afflicted with “Palin Derangement Syndrome.”  How hopelessly unoriginal, particularly in the face of the far more real Obama Derangement Syndrome that has been used as feed for an entire movement — the Tea Party, such as it is.

And it’s the Koch-backed Tea Party I am talking about here.  In the last few days they have had enough ups and downs in the media to knock anyone permanently dizzy, leaving alone the fact that they were dizzy to begin with.

Of course there’s the fact that a Koch brother was caught on audio saying something about launching “the mother of all wars” against the Obama administration during the reelection campaign next year.  The left were outraged; the right just probably silently nodded their noggins.  I was left wondering  just why such an untantalizing figure would directly quote a hated, deposed and hanged dictator, while hiding behind an Astroturf populist political party of his own creation.  Seemed rather ironic, if not just plain stupid.

And then we heard that Palin’s speech the other day drew a bigger audience than did Romney’s in the same state.  This was designed to scare moderate Republicans into kissing the Tea Party’s collective ass, when it is the size of that ass that has come under question.  Interestingly, it was hard to pin down just how big Palin’s audience was. But then the amateur videos started to leak out and seemed to indicate that if there were not an historic, possibly life-threatening stampede out of the venue after she spoke (which was before the keynote speaker of the event spoke), then the audience couldn’t have been very big to start with.

And then there was James Hoffa referring to the Tea Party as “sons of bitches,” and the immediate joke that this had shocked the teabaggers so badly that they dropped their “Obama is Hitler” signs.  Certainly, after scrambling to pick the signs up, they started whining about threats of violence against them.  Never mind that one of their own tools has been threats of violence.

And then, of course, came one of those ubiquitous surveys saying that approval of the Tea Party is at an all-time low, and at least one left-wing blog announced that we are witnessing its death.  Got news for you: it seems like the majority of the U.S. public has never heard of the Tea Party (and/or is not sure what the hell the Tea Party is).  So who were the survey-takers asking?

And tell me, even if it’s true that the Tea Party is dying, how does an Astroturf faux party die?  I think it will merely change its name and become yet another bogie man to scare moderate Republicans to the right.  There is too much at stake here for the Koch brothers and their ilk to give up that easily.

The only way to end this game is to keep coming out with the truth.  And the truths are these: the Tea Party is not real, so let’s stop examining it as if it were.  Sarah Palin is nothing more than a publicity whore.  And the Kochs are behind the whole thing.  Why?  Because they think the life of an Untouchable in India is good enough for 98% of us.

And in this case, the mother of all sons of bitches is nothing more than publicity.  If you don’t pay attention to the Tea Party or Palin, they are finished.  The Kochs, operating in the shadows, are another deal altogether, but the answer there is to expose them at every opportunity.

It is possible, folks, but we just have to keep looking at the man behind the curtain and not so much at the curtain itself.

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Collision with Reality

Yesterday two elderly relatives, who are spending their retirement listening to right-wing radio shouters, came face-to-face with the fact that those shouters, whose every word they imbibe like a poisoned martini, are the same people who want to destroy them in order to save the wealthy from taxes.  But they still didn’t quite get it.

Why not?  Because the shouters are shouting louder than ever, blaming everything on Obama.  Remember, the louder you shout, the truther you are, even if you are spewing nonsense.  It’s the first law of the propagandist.  And because of the screaming propagandists, there is a contingent of about 30 million people in the U.S. who have absolutely no idea what is really going on.  The rest have a sort-of half idea of what’s going on, and it’s all because of the rest of the media.  (No, there is no mainstream “liberal media.”)

I did try to tell one of my relatives that if it weren’t for Obama, whatever Social Security benefits and Medicare benefits they are already getting would have been completely erased by Republican/Teabagger hands.  She sorta got it, but only after I lectured for about 10 minutes.  The other one remains hopelessly marooned in his easy chair next to the radio, swaddled in an inescapable cocoon of anger over the fact that there is a half-black man in the White House.

I gather that one message has reached through the loudly vibrating  cocoon, however: the message that Social Security, at least, has never been the cause of the government’s financial problems.  That much even these two folks get.  Apparently, however, the right-wing flapjaws have been concentrating their attacks on Medicare/Medicaid.   “But there’s so much fraud in Medicare!” protested my reluctant student.  I told her if she wanted to see fraud, she need look no further than your average private health insurer.  She agreed, but I believe it was only to keep from being forced to have to think.

(One upside: if Medicare/Medicaid are cut, it will only serve to demonstrate how badly a national health insurance plan is needed.  And maybe this message will come so loud and clear that the army of flapjaws will not be able to shout it down, quite as they were unable to shout Social Security down.)

Meantime I’ve gotten a few private e-mails from Teabaggers who are chortling that “this is the end of Obama” and “he’ll never be re-elected now!”  I usually don’t take the bait but this time I did write back to one of them and only asked the following: “and who will be blamed the next time?  Bachmann?”

In true Teabagger fashion, he hasn’t replied.

The Doors of the Loony Bin

I guess my burnout started in mid-2010; it’s only grown worse in 2011 and I’ve run out of excuses.  It seems like every day there are so many targets that I run out of arrows, or even the time or the will to shoot them.

Most depressing is that if you read the archives of this blog, (while you’ll find a few factual errors such as Murdoch’s citizenship), you’ll find that I’ve been on target most of the time, even though in some cases it’s taken the rest of the world a bit of time to catch up to people like my readers and myself.  Why is this depressing?  Well, I can only call it by the phrase someone else coined not so long ago: that giant sucking sound.  Everything, it seems, is going down the drain — including reality.

The reality gap started in earnest during the Reagan years.  After having spent 4 years in high school playing hippie, one day a few years into the college-age time of life I woke up to the proclamation (which I believe was in Time magazine or something like that) that my generation was “the most conservative ever seen.”  “Huh?” I asked.  I’m still asking the same question.

Yes there were goofs around then, but they were confined to UHF channels.  Sometime in the 1970’s I remember one guy whose show, (the old-time equivalent of the modern-day cable-access or USTREAM type show) consisted of a half hour of him screaming at his evil liberal guests.  No matter what they said, he’d scream at them.  No matter that he was making no sense, he was miked at least 4 times louder than anyone else and shouting on top of it.  He was all you could hear.  That’s a basic rule of the propagandist: shout louder than anyone else, even if no one can understand you.  The louder you shout, the truther you are.  To hell with facts.

He died of a heart attack, and his Republican-coiffed wife took over the show and faded into oblivion.  Actually, having started out in oblivion, there wasn’t far for her to go.

Those were the days.  The goofs were restricted to the outer fringes.  When did they become mainstream?  Again, during the Reagan years.

The Reagan years gave birth to Fox News, which is the core of the lunatic fringe (no longer really fringe) right now.  Yes, they are on dangerous ground with the current controversies, but the fact is, I’m willing to wager that most of the U.S. public was on to them all along.  But it did us no good.  Fox was allowed to bend reality until it snapped, then create their own, and they are still being allowed to do so.

Worse, they have a fairly large, hard-core brainwashed contingent of fans (some of my Facebook friends among them), who view every criticism as an evil liberal conspiracy — likely including the recent revelations of illegal cell-phone hacking or whatever it is.  Actually, being hard-core Fox maniacs, they are barely aware that there is any controversy at all.  But what they know of it?  THAT EVIL LAMESTREAM MEDIA!!!!  Yep, that’s what’s to blame!  Just like OBAMA IS THE ONE WHO CREATED THE DEBT CEILING CRISIS.

Bullshit times ten, but this is the shit Fox News is feeding its audience. And its audience has quite a taste for shit.  Stop to consider that these are the same people who have probably chosen to believe — because that’s all they’ve been told — that Sarah Palin’s “The Undefeated” movie hasn’t been defeated.  Yep.  I’ll bet at least one of the minions has even been heard to say that the movie has been a resounding success, so much so that it defeated Harry Potter (oh yeah?  You mean Voldemort won?), when in fact it’s almost gone straight to DVD.  This is the kind of upside-down reality we’ve been dealing with, and when you meet someone who has swallowed the shit tea, you cannot change their mind any more than you can rescue their taste buds.

There is very little chance that Fox News will disappear as a result of all of the controversies — how can you suffer from something you deny exists? — but I do sit and fantasize about what might happen if that came to pass.  Where would these people get their fix (you can’t call it news) then?

Unfortunately, plenty of places — and they won’t have to search long and hard.  Again, thank Reagan.  He was the one who opened the door of the mass-media loony bin, after all.  And look at the mess we have now.

As for me, as I said, there is too much mess to deal with: too many alternate universes to waft about in, too much shattered reality to sweep up.  I’ll be around, but I will no longer make promises to be more active.  I’m just in permanent overload.

Completely Faux

Just in, from a friend on Facebook: Faux News is telling its poor, blinkered viewers that OBAMA IS REFUSING TO GIVE GOVERNMENT CONTRACTS TO THOSE WHO DISAGREE WITH HIS POLICIES.

Um…excuse me…here’s the TRUTH: (1) Obama is not the sole grantor of government contracts, so WTF is this claim about; (2) Obama merely signed an executive order which demands transparency from government contractors regarding their political contributions.  No one ever said anything about some emperor denying contracts if he didn’t like what was disclosed.

This should be no big deal unless you are either a well-placed politician who OWNS or MOSTLY OWNS or HAS A HUGE PERSONAL INTEREST IN a company that has government contracts (um…yes, that has happened), or are supporting a takeover by, say NEO-NAZIS  — you know, FUCKING TEABAGGERS, something that might be unpopular if the general public found out about it, because they are the ones paying the contractor.  The order was issued in response to the Supreme Court’s disastrous (and definitely unethical) Citizens United ruling, which allowed numerous well-heeled and poisonous Teabaggers to slither into government last election cycle on the strength of massive, bought publicity that pretty cleverly left out some details (like, “I’m gonna send women’s rights back into the Dark Ages and bust as many unions as I can”), simply because their wealthy corporate campaign contributors could not be traced and held accountable for supporting anti-American policies and politicians (yes, Hoss, that refers to the Teabaggers).

And while you’re digesting that, Hoss, read THIS to find out just how fairly unbalanced your Aussie hero Rupert Murdoch is: Rupert Murdoch Censors Liberal Television (In Italy, but you’d best believe he’d do it here too if there WERE any liberal television networks, which there aren’t).

Un-Freakin-Believable.

A Fairy Tale for Pundits

Everyone knows by now that TV personality Donald Rump is, in fact, not running for President.  The only people who appear to be truly interested in this fact are the people who took him seriously in the first place.

No, I am not one of them.  Yes, I was quite irritated with all the media attention on Rump’s toy Presidential maybe-bid, just as I am irritated with the fact that the media continue to take Sarah Palin far more seriously than do the rest of us.  It seems that our media now exist in an alternate universe in which the differences between seriousness and flightiness, sanity and insanity, intelligence and stupidity, and most important, REALITY and UNREALITY do not exist.

Anyway, this particular chapter in media stupidity is mercifully over.  It ended when Rump got handed his charred ass at a White House Correspondents Association dinner and was obviously unable to handle it, followed by the announcement of the death of bin Laden right in the middle of Rump’s reality show in which he gets to act very tough and fire celebrities from pretend jobs.

Of course, this was around the same time as Rump’s silly reaction to the release of the President’s long-form birth certificate, as well as news of Rump’s various swindles, but the fact is that neither of those hurt him much.  The White House dinner and the death of the terrorist were dramatically different; Rump had been handed his own seriously charred ass twice in a matter of a few days and that was something even the most blinkered media mouth could see and understand.  It was finally that loud and clear: Rump was in the big leagues now and thoroughly over-matched by a President he was attempting to heap scorn upon from his own imaginary lofty seat (you know, the Wealthy White Guy Zone).

The sad thing is that this is an isolated case.  Rump is only one idiot of many, and I don’t see any domino effect in progress.  Yes, Huckabee is out, but Palin and Bachmann are still roaming the Earth with their political aspirations, at least in the minds of some, viable.  And as I say, there are many others.

So, with a hefty sigh, I give you the story of Pat Paulson.  Who’s he?  Well, I’m surprised that you have no idea and further surprised that someone, somewhere, hasn’t issued an oh-so-serious tome about his considerable political thought, or something like that.

My own memory only goes back to the 1960’s, but as far as I’m aware, he was the first TV personality — a comedian, actually — to engage in a joke run for the Presidency.  Yes, it was a joke.  But it was taken just barely seriously enough that his name appeared on the ballot in at least one state.  This was in 1968; his candidacy was launched on the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour or whatever it was called.  Paulson ran for President (with less publicity) during every cycle in succeeding years, ending only with his death in 1997.

Thing is, most people knew his run for the Presidency was a joke.   After all, the cartoon dog Snoopy also ran for President during those years.  As far as I remember, neither Snoopy nor Paulson was ever mentioned with any seriousness on an evening news broadcast, much less in a newspaper.  It was clear at the time that some people are Presidential candidates and others are performers, or even cartoon dogs.  Even 7-year-olds emerging from the fantasy world of early childhood could see this.

That clarity was lost, perhaps, when a former B-movie actor was elected to the Presidency in 1980.  The erosion of pundits’ abilities to decipher reality from fantasy seems to have started in earnest then.  The erosion became further evident when an Austrian-born action movie actor was elected to the governor’s chair in California after uttering a few of the correct right-wing catch-phrases, and was so adored by his minions that a petition was started to allow this actor to run for the Presidency in spite of his foreign birth.  Yes, it’s true.  And yes, those minions are many of the same people who later joined the birther movement after Obama was elected.

And so it leads to what we have now: fantasy Presidential candidates backed by fantasy media empires (as in: a new radio ratings system has revealed that right-wing talk radio was apparently never as powerful as people have chosen to believe), with oh-so-serious media pundits jiggling their jowls about the latest joke’s chances of sitting in the Oval Office.

Happily, sometimes reality still jumps up and bites these people in their asses.  Such is as it was with Rump, who the media took as seriously as he takes himself.  Such is as it always was with Paulson, who never had the tremendous ego to take himself seriously.

May it be that way for all of them one day.

Ode to the Fat Man

This one’s for Rush Limbaugh, who has chosen to believe that the kettle calling the pot black is okay.   It’s your song, Porko.

Weird Al Yankovic — Fat

P.S. to innocent bystanders: yes, there is an ad at the start.  Sit through it.  It’s worth the moment of pain because the song is so enjoyable…and when it comes to the Fat Man, so true.

The Buck Stops Elsewhere

Palingates today posted this video on YouTube.

My comment: although I don’t hold Sarah Palin solely responsible for the shootings in Arizona, I do think she’s culpable for one reason: she is, by her own ambition and effort, a public figure who uses incendiary language.  She may be a joke to many, even most of us, but there are those who take her seriously.  And she has used whatever position she has to abuse other people’s children (by feeding approximately one mountainful of sugar to a classroom full of kids), abuse other politicians, and abuse the American public.  And this is all because of some notion that she has answers.

Those of us who are less than enamored of her have long recognized that she is no leader, and her statement on this event just proved it.  In Palin’s world, the buck stops elsewhere.  She’s merely a malicious house cat who bites her kindly owner.

As I said, part of her abuse of fame has been the use of incendiary language.  Much of this has centered around her fondness for guns.

Working with the public, I realize that there are a fair number of people out there who are mentally fragile, and all they need is a face on a screen telling them, in any subtle way, that violence is okay.  Sensing that it may be okay, they’ll turn around and do something terrible.

Again, this particular incident is not traceable directly to Sarah Palin.  But that does not mean she’s innocent.  Instead of staying above the ugliness, she has wallowed in it.

If she keeps it up, one day there will be an incident that will be linked specifically to her.  And if this incident has damaged her reputation slightly, anything like that would be the end of her public career.  There is, after all, still such a thing as disgrace, even though a lot of right-wing pundits have to insult civility many, many times before they get there.  (Look at the Fat Man…although I must also observe that the public has less patience for women than for men.)

Since she only understands self-preservation, perhaps she should keep that in mind.