Republicans Are the Stupidest People In The World

TPM has reported on the results of a Daily Kos/Reseach 2000 Poll of self-described Republicans which is not yet officially released. If this is accurate, Republicans are the stupidest people in the world:

39% of Republicans want President Obama to be impeached.

63% think Obama is a socialist.

Only 42% believe Obama was born in the United States.

21% think ACORN stole the 2008 election — that is, that Obama didn’t actually win it, and isn’t legitimately the president, with 55% saying they are “not sure.” This number is actually significantly lower than it was in a similar question from Public Policy Polling (D) back in November, which said that 52% of Republicans thought ACORN stole it. So does this mean Obama is gaining ground among Republicans? As it is, only just over 20% of Republicans will say that Obama actually won the election.

53% think Sarah Palin is more qualified than Obama to be president.

23% want to secede from the United States.

73% think gay people should not be allowed to teach in public schools. This position puts the GOP base well to the right of none other than Ronald Reagan, who helped defeat the Briggs Initiative, a 1978 referendum in California that would have forbidden gays or people who advocated gay rights from teaching in public schools.

31% want contraception to be outlawed.

The Festivus Airing of Grievances

It is an annual tradition to air one’s grievances on Festivus. I began this on a previous Festivus by airing the ways in which George Bush disappointed me and let down his country. In 2007 I aired my grievances against many of the candidates who were seeking to replace him. I had the least complaints about Barack Obama:

I am still waiting for more of the promised specifics of your plans. You do show an excellent ability to at least show consideration of all views, but I’m not yet certain if this is a matter of framing or ideology which will impact the final policy. My suspicion is that in a couple of years I will be writing a number of blog posts disagreeing with some of your actions as president, but things will be far better than if any of your major opponents were to win.

My prediction came true and I will begin this year with my grievances concerning Barack Obama. On health care he abandoned his opposition to mandates. It is hard to see how remaining in Afghanistan will be worth the cost, both in lives and dollars. He has preserved some of the secrecy policies of his predecessor. He opposes marriage equality at a time when I believe we are approaching a tipping point where such discrimination will no longer be acceptable–and leaders such as Obama could make this happen more quickly if he chose to do so.

While I have grievances against Obama, I also have grievances to air against the Obama bashers, both from the left and the right. On the right we have claims that he is a Muslim, a socialist, and not an American citizen. These attacks are ridiculous, but the right wing has deteriorated into an authoritarian cult primarily made up of people who are morally and intellectually bankrupt, lacking understanding of history, politics, economics, science, and, most importantly, of ethics or morality. We can no longer be shocked by their hatred and ignorance as this is what now defines the American right wing.

What is harder to understand is the Obama bashing from the left. I am not referring to those who disagree with Obama on issues but those who act as if they were deceived or betrayed, and claim he is no better than George Bush.

Obama might not be right on all the issues but, with some exceptions (and far less than most politicians) he is governing exactly as he said he would as a candidate. Obama ran as a centrist politician who sought to find common ground with others. He did not run as a Messiah, or as a far left politician. His health care plan remains very close to the plan he ran on. He stated his intention to remain in Afghanistan as a candidate. At least, in contrast to his predecessor, he did give some actual thought to the issue. It should have been obvious to anyone listening to him that he was not likely to prosecute members of the Bush administration for their crimes and he would move gradually to reform the system.

You can disagree with him, but don’t act shocked or betrayed–and certainly do not claim he is anywhere near as bad as George Bush.

And now for some briefer grievances to air:

Joe Lieberman, Ben Nelson, Bart Stupak, plus  the entire Republican Congressional delegation for getting in the way of what could have been a far better health care plan.

The insurance industry for developing a business model based upon increasing profits by denying care and dropping customers when they get sick.

Glenn Beck, who deserves the Misinformer of the Year Award.

Sarah Palin, who personifies everything which is wrong with the know-nothing attitude of the right wing, and who deserves to be honored for telling the Lie of the Year.

The tea-baggers. I respect their right to protest, but wish they at least had some basic understanding of the issues they were protesting about.

Acorn, just because everyone is supposed to hate them, regardless of the facts.

The hackers who stole the East Anglia emails. Once the stole the emails and it didn’t show anything meaningful it was time to shut up as opposed to continuing to make claims about the content of the email which were untrue.

Michigan football which has been so disappointing for the second year in a row. (I could include the Detroit Lions for a much longer time period, but why bother?)

Buy.com–the internet company which makes its money by selling defective merchandise at a discount, and then failing to respond to complaints.

Howie Mandel for being a spokesman for a crooked outfit like Buy.com.

The big box stores who offer discounts on electronics and then rip off the customers with extremely over-priced cables.

Fox for screwing up Dollhouse and not giving what could have been a great science fiction show a real chance.

J.J. Abrams for destroying Vulcan and failing to fix the time line (but at least he did save Star Trek).

When All Else Fails, Bring Up Acorn

It was inevitable. The right wing is has resorted to using scare stories about Acorn to protest the health care reform bill. By tomorrow Rush will be claiming that the bill puts Acorn in charge of running the death panels.

Court Orders Restoration of Acorn’s Federal Funding

A judge has ordered that Acorn’s federal funding be restored. Politco reports:

A judge in New York ordered that ACORN’s federal funding be restored, rolling back a slew of Congressional actions that sought to stop taxpayer money from flowing to the community group on the heels of a fall full of embarrassments for it.  

Nina Gershon, a district judge in New York, issued a preliminary injunction directing the department of Housing and Urban Development, the Office of Management and Budget and the Treasury department to disregard a bill signed into law by President Obama that prohibited federal funding of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now. 

“The question here is only whether the Constitution allows Congress to declare that a single, named organization is barred from all federal funding in the absence of a trial,” Gershon wrote in her opinion. “Because it does not, and because the plaintiffs have shown the likelihood of irreparable harm in the absence of an injunction, I grant the plaintiffs’ motion for a preliminary injunction.” 

Gershon said that “none of the government’s justifications stand up to scrutiny” and that “no non-punitive rational” is obvious. 

ACORN was the subject of bipartisan disdain in September, after undercover videos were released that seemed to show the organization’s employees offering advice on how to break the law. Republicans and Democrats voted to stop federal funding of the group – a measure signed into law by the president on the back of an appropriations bill. 

In November, the group sued the federal government, claiming that the provision, attached to the legislative branch appropriations bill, was a bill of attainder – unconstitutional legislation that unfairly punishes one group. As part of this lawsuit, ACORN sought a restoration of federal funding.

The Center for Constitutional Rights has described this as a historic victory for Constitutional rights:

According to Jules Lobel, CCR Vice-President and Cooperating Attorney: “This historic decision by the Court affirms the fundamental constitutional principle that the Congress cannot be judge, jury, and executioner.”

CCR Legal Director Bill Quigley added, “This ruling protects not only ACORN but all other organizations or individuals that Congress unfairly targets.  The clearly partisan push by the far right to punish those it politically disagrees with has ended here.”

Naturally some right wing blogs are claiming that this is a case of judicial activism. Judicial activism as they use the term basically means a court has made a decision contrary to their views.

Last week a Massachusetts Attorney General found that they had not violated any laws. A recent article in Editor & Publisher (which I previously linked to here) puts the controversy over Acorn into perspective.

Acorn Found Not To Have Broken Any Laws

Despite all the noise about Acorn from the right wing, an investigation by the Massachusetts Attorney General found that they had not violated any laws. The Hill reports:

An internal investigation of a series of videos depicting ACORN workers assisting a costumed pimp and prostitute concluded Monday that those employees “did not engage in any illegal activity.”

While the report, prepared by former Massachusetts Attorney General Scott Harshbarger, cited ACORN employees for poor judgment, it ultimately found they did not violate any federal laws.

“While some of the advice and counsel given by ACORN employees and volunteers was clearly inappropriate and unprofessional, we did not find a pattern of intentional, illegal conduct by ACORN staff; in fact, there is no evidence that action, illegal or otherwise, was taken by any ACORN employee on behalf of the videographer,” Harshbarger wrote in the report.

A recent article in Editor & Publisher (which I previously linked to here) puts the controversy over Acorn into perspective.

Posted in In The News. Tags: . No Comments »

E&P On The Media Coverage of Acorn

The right wing noise machine has fabricated a mythology around Acorn which has little to do with the actual organization. Editor and Publisher has reviewed both the truth about the stories about Acorn and how the news was covered. The report points out how the distorted news began in the conservative media and how, as so frequently happens, the mainstream media began repeating their claims:

We found that conservative “opinion entrepreneurs” – primarily business and conservative groups and individuals – set the story in motion, the conservative media (e.g., Fox News, conservative talk radio hosts like Rush Limbaugh and his many local counterparts, conservative magazines like the National Review, the Washington Times, the Washington Enquirer, and the editorial pages of the Wall Street Journal) heighten the sense of urgency with an unwarranted amount of coverage, and the mainstream media report the same allegations with largely the same conservative frames, usually without investigating their veracity.

Posted in News Media. Tags: , , . No Comments »

Democrat Wins In New York 23rd

With all the noise from the media about the handful of elections on Tuesday I do not want to say much to suggest more significance to the elections than they actually have–which is damn close to zero with regards to forecasting the future prospects of either party. Exit polls demonstrated that the races were in no way a referendum on Obama. That said, a comment must be made on the race in New York’s 23rd Congressional district. Like the other elections, it has near zero predictive value. It’s significance is not in predicting the future but in demonstrating where we are at today. This seat, which had been Republican for the past century, was won by Democrat Bill Owens.

For the benefit of anyone who  might not have been following the race, a special election was held because of Barack Obama appointing the former Congressman, John M. McHugh, to be Secretary of the Army.  Republican candidate Dede Scozzafava faced strong opposition from the right wing for positions such as supporting abortion rights, gay rights, and the stimulus package. Supporting both individual liberty and preserving our economy while keeping the country out of a depression was simply an agenda which few conservatives could go along with.

Scozzafava became a target of leading spokesmen of the national Republican Party such as Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck. Many Republican leaders, including Sarah Palin, backed Conservative Party candidate Douglas Hoffman. Hoffman even referred to Glenn Beck as his mentor.

The election spurred debate in the Republican Party as a  handful of Republicans questioned the sanity of opposing more liberal Republicans. Newt Gingrich backed Scozzafava while she was in the race, recognizing that having moderate candidates in more liberal areas is the only way to rebuild a majority. Over the weekend Scozzafava dropped out and endorsed Owens. (Meanwhile those who watched the fantasy Fox coverage were initially told that Scozzafava was backing Hoffman.)

In the end conservatives got the satisfaction of refusing to support a RINO but the consequence was losing a previously safe Republican district. This provides an example of why, despite a dead cat bounce in a couple of gubernatorial elections this year, the Republican Party is rapidly becoming a fringe regional party. Rather than understanding how their extremism is dooming the party, Hoffman quickly claimed the election was stolen. He even blamed Acorn, which is certain to lead to many right wingers believing his claims.

Book Provides More Stories About Palin

Scott Conroy and Shushannah Walshe followed Sarah Palin during the 2008 election campaign and have published their account in an upcoming book, Sarah from Alaska. CNN has described some of the items in the book, such as this report about Palin on election night:

According to a copy of the book obtained by CNN, Palin’s speechwriter Matthew Scully had prepared a brief speech for the then-Alaska governor to deliver while introducing McCain, before he gave his concession speech at the Arizona Biltmore Hotel in Phoenix. But after conferring in his suite with senior advisers Mark Salter, Rick Davis and Steve Schmidt, McCain nixed the idea of having Palin speak before him.

 

Schmidt then broke the news to Palin. But she told no one on her staff, the authors write, setting off a series of staff miscommunications that went unresolved until moments before McCain took the stage to concede the election.

Palin did not inform her adviser Jason Recher, who was planning out Palin’s movements that night, about Schmidt’s directive.

“I’m speaking,” Palin told him, according to the book. “I’ve got the remarks. Figure it out.”

Palin’s deputy chief of staff Chris Edwards, meanwhile, was also unaware that Palin had been told she was not to speak. Edwards, ready to load the speech into teleprompter, bumped into Schmidt, who told him McCain would be speaking alone. Edwards relayed Schmidt’s order to Palin, but she once again did not let on that Schmidt had already spoken to her.

The governor could not understand why she was not being allowed to speak. “This speech is great,” she said, according to the authors. “It’s all about how John McCain’s an American hero.”

The confusion continued until the final minutes before the concession speech, when Palin – still shuffling through her speech notes – gathered with McCain, family members and senior staff outside McCain’s villa at the resort.

Sensing uncertainty, Salter finally put his foot down. “You’re not speaking,” the longtime McCain adviser told Palin. “John has decided it’s unprecedented.”

Other incidents mentioned include how the McCain team used flash cards to bring Palin “up to speed on foreign affairs and major national issues.” This included a card to teach her that the Prime Minister of Great Britain is Gordon Brown. During the campaign she wanted to bring up Jeremiah Wright, believing it would help prevent the defeat which had become inevitable the day McCain chose Palin. Apparently Palin wanted very badly to win, on one occasion being quoted as saying, “I just don’t want to go back to Alaska.” Perhaps that foreshadowed her eventual resignation as governor.

November 3, 2009
Posted: November 3rd, 2009 08:03 AM ET
From

Palin was concerned about the cost of the wardrobe that was purchased for her during the campaign, according to the new book.

Palin was concerned about the cost of the wardrobe that was purchased for her during the campaign, according to the new book.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – Tensions within John McCain’s presidential campaign boiled over on Election Night last November when Sarah Palin, McCain’s running mate, repeatedly ignored directions from senior staffers who told her she would not be delivering her own concession speech.

Those fresh details on the conflict between Palin and members of the McCain team come in a new book – “Sarah from Alaska” – by Scott Conroy and Shushannah Walshe, two members of the press corps that traveled with Palin during the 2008 presidential race. The pair spent much of the following year reporting on the campaign turmoil and the vice presidential nominee’s difficult return to Alaska after the election.

According to a copy of the book obtained by CNN, Palin’s speechwriter Matthew Scully had prepared a brief speech for the then-Alaska governor to deliver while introducing McCain, before he gave his concession speech at the Arizona Biltmore Hotel in Phoenix. But after conferring in his suite with senior advisers Mark Salter, Rick Davis and Steve Schmidt, McCain nixed the idea of having Palin speak before him.

Schmidt then broke the news to Palin. But she told no one on her staff, the authors write, setting off a series of staff miscommunications that went unresolved until moments before McCain took the stage to concede the election.

Palin did not inform her adviser Jason Recher, who was planning out Palin’s movements that night, about Schmidt’s directive.

“I’m speaking,” Palin told him, according to the book. “I’ve got the remarks. Figure it out.”

(more…)

White House Communications Director Calls Fox an “Arm of the Republican Party.”

For years Fox has been treated as if it was a legitimate news outlet, even by those who recognized its conservative bias. There is  a considerable difference from the types of bias seen from time to time from all news outlets and the manner in which Fox was established for the purpose of pursuing a specific political agenda. Fox is no more a legitimate news outlet than Pravda was in the old Soviet Union.

We are finally seeing some honest response to Fox’s role. A couple of weeks ago the White House blog outright said that Fox lies. White House communications director Anita Dunn was recently quoted by Time as saying “It’s opinion journalism masquerading as news.” Today, on CNN’s Reliable Sources, Dunn defended this comment, noting how it devotes so much time to stirring fake controversies like Bill Ayers and ACORN (video above). She also said:

The reality of it is that Fox News often operates as either the research arm or the communications arm of the Republican Party. And it’s not ideological. I mean, obviously there are many commentators who are conservative, liberal, centrist, and everybody understands that. What I think is fair to say about Fox is — and certainly the way we view it — is that it really is more of a wing of the Republican Party. […]

They’re widely viewed as, you know, a part of the Republican Party — take their talking points, put them on the air, take their opposition research, put them on the air, and that’s fine. But let’s not pretend they’re a news network they way CNN is.

It is good to see a White House which is so open to recognizing reality and stating so.

Posted in Barack Obama, News Media. Tags: , . 6 Comments »

Today’s Excitement For Conservatives

Conservatives didn’t care when George Bush lied the country into a war and otherwise screwed up the world. They have their own things to get excited over, such as Acorn, the NEA, and fluoride in the water. If interested in what conservatives are excited about today, check out Big Hollywood. For a reality check, see The Anonymous Liberal.