So much cognitive disconnect, so little time. While Hannity, idiot that he is, suggests that the left is pushing SO HARD and radicalizing everyone SO MUCH (projection, Sean?) that the right wing might have no option but to just secede. And don't you think that's a radical idea, but then so was the Declaration of Independence.
Oh, Scammity. Facts matter. Here are a few to counteract your nonsense.
Republican states receive more federal funding than Democratic states. That includes those Hannity touts in this particular rant, like Louisiana and South Carolina.
Make a million, keep half. That's half a million in your pocket, dude. Hannity goes on and on about how places like California and New York are so "overtaxed" that people are just going to rebel and...you know. He ignores the fact that wages are higher in these states, and high-earning individuals live in them. Here's a dirty little secret: If you earn a million dollars and pay 50 percent in taxes, you still have half a million in your pocket. That would be different than the person who earns $25,000 and might pay no federal or state income tax, but does pay sales tax and spends every single penny of that net income to live. They have zero in their pockets. Who comes out ahead?
Secession means an end to federal subsidies - Of course Hannity is really just posturing for the sake of posturing and firing up the wingnuts, but he should be honest enough to admit that if states secede, they take over all responsibility for their populations, and it won't be quite as easy for those people to scuttle over the border into the United States of Decent People Who Aren't Corporate Hacks post-secession.
Secede if you must, conservatives, but don't forget to take your share of the national debt with you. Make sure you take Hannity, too. Buh-bye!
The Tea Party folks -- to no one's great surprise -- are not taking their electoral defeat at the hands of a black man lying down. They're threatening to pack up their soccer ball and take it home.
Of course, where they'll go once they're packed up is an open question. But by God, they are NOT gonna put up living around a bunch of libruls any longer. Matthew Feldman and Leonard Weinberg at TruthOut round up some of the far-right reaction.
It was particularly chortle-inducing to read the reaction in the Seattle Times of Keli Carender, the Seattle woman credited with providing the initial spark for the whole Tea Party shebang back in 2009:
"It's getting harder and harder for me. I was at Trader Joe's, and I was glaring at everyone around me," says Keli Carender, 33, co-organizer of the local group.
Carender's glaring took place at the Trader Joe's in the University District, a neighborhood that, for sure, is a bastion of libs.
"I kept thinking I was surrounded by people who are destroying freedom,"says Carender. "It's starting to make me angry, not wanting to be around these people."
Trust me, honey, no one wants to be around you, either. Especially as you glare psychotically at them for having the audacity to think differently than you and the voices in your head. Most of us, when we encounter folks like you, run the other direction before you can pull out your sniper rifle and begin firing.
But this was especially hilarious to read in Seattle of all places. Hello, Keli: The voters in Washington state had just voted to legalize marijuana and gay marriage both in the same election -- one of the most massive expansions in individual freedom in any election in recent memory.
The only "freedoms" they turned their backs on, as it were, by rejecting Republican rule were the "freedom" to not pay taxes and the "freedom" not to have a non-right-wing president. At least, those seem to be the freedoms that Tea Partiers are most focused upon. (Yes, we know they're extremely paranoid about their gun rights being taken away, based on their readings of vapor trails, as far as we can tell. Indeed, here in Seattle, we'd be delighted -- for obvious reasons -- if the Obama administration actually were to take up the problem of gun proliferation and its attendant violence. But we're not holding our breaths.)
Of course, if Keli really can't stand to be around those steenking libruls, all she really has to do is move across the lake to Bellevue, where Republicans are still mostly dominant. Though that is waning, too, as more and more people figure out that the GOP is controlled by nutbars.
Even as Americans flock to theaters to see a film about a revered historical figure that reunified the nation after a bloody Civil War, there’s a fresh movement among some political factions to have their states secede from the United States.
In the wake of President Obama’s re-election earlier this month, a flood of petitions has filled the White House’s “We The People” website, seeking federal permission for states to “peacefully” withdraw from the nation and “create [their] own new government.”
Although the petitions are largely a symbolic gesture meant to express some people’s dislike of election results, residents of all 50 states have now filed them. More than 675,000 digital signatures have been collected so far.
Once upon a time, in a land that now seems to have been populated by tooth fairies and unicorns, there was a political party that had a set of core beliefs to which they actually adhered.
Among them was that actually balancing the budget, as opposed to just talking about it, was sacrosanct. Slow change, while necessary, had to be balanced against the traditions of the United States, ones that had mostly served us well over two centuries.
This party was known as the Republican Party, and while one might have disagreed with them on their policy prescriptions to cure any particular US ill, one could at least see some logic in their beliefs and understand that they - with some obvious exceptions from time to time (ahem, Joseph McCarthy, ahem) - were doing what they thought was right for the United States of America.
Today, this once respectable organization has turned into nothing so much as a collective id the size of a David-Vitter-Pampers shopping spree. When facing changes to this nation that make them uncomfortable, they choose national hate. When facing ideological worship versus the greatness of the US, the former always wins the day. When facing a choice of what is good for the US or their campaign bank accounts, they inevitably go with the latter.
In simple terms: We, the people of the United States, are the maid. The GOP is Arnold Schwarzenegger. Any questions?
The one caveat is that it's not Republicans, so much as the forces of the anti-American, gun-toting, religious and corporate Right that have taken over the GOP who are responsible for papa's brand new bag. The Right is Darth Sidious to the GOP's Anakin Skywalker, Angelina Jolie to foreign-born children.
As Americans gathered to celebrate their independence this past Fourth of July weekend, for some the festivities were tinged with sadness by the mounting evidence that many simply don't know their own nation's history. While a new study showed that only 35% of fourth-graders knew the purpose of the Declaration of Independence, a Marist poll found that 26% of us couldn't identify the country from which the United States announced its separation.
In the telling of Republican White House hopeful Rick Santorum, it's all liberals' fault. "This is, in my opinion, a conscious effort on the part of the left," Santorum explained, "to desensitize America to what American values are so they are more pliable to the new values that they would like to impose on America."
Which is why everything I know about the Founding Fathers I learned from the GOP.
That education begins in the period before the Founders gathered in Philadelphia to produce the document which changed the world.
The textbooks have the start of the Revolutionary War all wrong, too. The Patriot's Day civic holiday celebrated every April in Massachusetts is especially embarrassing since, as Michele Bachmann pointed out, Lexington and Concord are in New Hampshire. And those annual reenactments of Paul Revere's midnight ride have it backwards, too. As Sarah Palin repeatedly made clear, Revere was warning the British.
As it turns out, all Founders are created equal. As Palin explained to Glenn Beck, her favorite Founding Father was "all of them." That might be because, as she pointed out in 2006, they had the wisdom over 170 years in advance to support adding "Under God" to the Pledge of Allegiance. "If it was good enough for the Founding Fathers," she declared, "it's good enough for me."
Then again, how special could Washington, Jefferson, Adams, Franklin and their ilk have been anyway? As Ronald Reagan told Americans in the 1980's, the Nicaraguan Contras were the "moral equivalent of our Founding Fathers."
Well, according to the Republican National Committee, Madison, Hamilton and the other Framers of the Constitution of the United States were perfect. According to the RNC, Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan committed sacrilege when she quoted Justice Thurgood Marshall's assessment that "the government they devised was defective from the start, requiring several amendments, a civil war, and momentous social transformation to attain the system of constitutional government, and its respect for the individual freedoms and human rights, we hold as fundamental today." Unable to prevent three-fifths of the Senate from voting on Kagan's nomination, Republicans instead suggested in an RNC memo that the Founders' three-fifths of a person standard for counting slaves was no defect:
"Does Kagan Still View Constitution 'As Originally Drafted And Conceived' As 'Defective'?"
Then again, for Glenn Beck, the three-fifths compromise in the Constitution was a feature, not a bug:
"That's why, in the Constitution, African-Americans were deemed three-fifths people, because the Founders wanted to end slavery and they knew if the South could count slaves as full individuals you would never get the control to be able to abolish it."
"That's right, the Founders actually put a price tag on coming to this country: $10 per person. Apparently they felt like there was a value to being able to live here. Not anymore. These days we can't ask anything of immigrants -- including that they abide by our laws."
In any event, as Michele Bachmann has told us time and again, the Founding Fathers worked tirelessly to rid the United States of the "scourge" of slavery. That includes the Founding Child John Quincy Adams, who died seventeen years before Civil War - and the passage of the 13th Amendment -ended slavery in 1865:
"We know we were not perfect. We know there was slavery that was still tolerated when the nation began. We know that was an evil and it was scourge and a blot and a stain upon our history. But we also know that the very founders that wrote those documents worked tirelessly until slavery was no more in the United States. And I think it is high time that we recognize the contribution of our forebears, who worked tirelessly, men like John Quincy Adams, who would not rest until slavery was extinguished in the country."
As for the Great Emancipator, Abraham Lincoln praised Thomas Jefferson's Declaration for introducing "to into a merely revolutionary document, an abstract truth, applicable to all men and all times, and so to embalm it there, that to-day, and in all coming days, it shall be a rebuke and a stumbling-block to the very harbingers of re-appearing tyranny and oppression." But while Lincoln at Gettysburg turned to Jefferson to redeem the promise of America, his Republican successors inform us that it's best to ignore the Declaration's author and third President altogether.
The Texas Board of Education, which sets the de facto standards for U.S. textbook publishers, removed Thomas Jefferson from the Texas curriculum, "replacing him with religious right icon John Calvin." (There is, of course, the Tea Party exception, which allows gun-toting Tea Baggers and Republican Congressman like Texas Rep. Michael McCaul to proclaim, "Thomas Jefferson said the Tree of Liberty will be fed by the blood of tyrants and patriots. You are the modern day patriots.") That's what you get when you have the temerity to explain the plain meaning of the First Amendment, as Jefferson did in his 1802 letter to the Danbury Baptists:
Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should "make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof," thus building a wall of separation between Church & State.
Writing in Salon, Rick Perlstein examines "what Haley Barbour's amnesia tells us" about Southern conservatives' historical revisionism. But largely lost in the imbroglio over Barbour's literal white-washing of the Jim Crow era is that the Mississippi Governor and would-have-been 2012 White House hopeful has plenty of company among the leading lights of the Republican Party. From flying the Confederate flag to talking up secession and nullification, Republicans for years have been casually trafficking in antebellum nostalgia.
"Does Kagan Still View Constitution 'As Originally Drafted And Conceived' As 'Defective'?"
As the health care reform debate reached its climax in March, Rep. Paul Broun of Georgia was among those longing for the days of the ante bellum South. Missing the irony that health care is worst in those reddest of Southern states where Republicans poll best, Broun took to the House floor to show that he was still fighting the Civil War:
"If ObamaCare passes, that free insurance card that's in people's pockets is gonna be as worthless as a Confederate dollar after the War Between The States -- the Great War of Yankee Aggression."
If you thought you had heard that outdated term of Dixie revisionist history recently, you did. In February 2009, Missouri Republican Bryan Stevenson took exception to President Obama's support for the Freedom of Choice Act, legislation which would codify the reproductive rights protections of Roe v. Wade nationwide:
"What we are dealing with today is the greatest power grab by the federal government since the war of northern aggression."
That expression was also a favorite of former Senate Majority Leader and later Minority Whip (really, you can't make this up) Trent Lott. Lott was a speaker in 1992 at an event of the Council of Conservative Citizens, a successor to the White Citizens' Councils of Jim Crow days. Among its offerings in seething racial hatred is a "Wanted" poster of Abraham Lincoln. Lott's also offered his rebel yell in the virulently neo-Confederate Southern Partisan, where in 1984 he called the Civil War "the war of aggression." That was years before he lauded the legendary racist and 1948 Dixiecrat presidential candidate, Strom Thurmond:
"I want to say this about my state: when Strom Thurmond ran for President, we voted for him. We're proud of it. And if the rest of the country had followed our lead, we wouldn't have had all these problems over all these years, either."
As Americans learned this week, Trent Lott is not the only Mississippi Republican to support groups like the CCC and honor the Confederate flag. Former Republican National Committee Chairman and now Governor Haley Barbour wore a lapel pin with the image during his 2002 campaigns for the state house - and to keep the CSA emblem flying over it. And as the photographs show, Barbour literally broke bread with CCC racists at a barbeque in 2003.
Another neocon (that is, neo-Confederate) is former Attorney General John Ashcroft.
One month after Republican Governors Bob McDonnell and Haley Barbour celebrated a slavery-free version of the Confederacy, the GOP is defending slavery in order to attack President Obama's Supreme Court nominee, Elena Kagan. In an RNC memo released today, Republicans blast the former clerk to Thurgood Marshall for concurring with her boss' assessment that the Constitution as originally conceived and drafted was "defective." Of course, that's just the latest rotted carcass of the Confederacy to be exhumed as a Republican talking point.
Unable to prevent three-fifths of the Senate from voting on Kagan's nomination, Republicans instead are suggesting the Founders' three-fifths of a person standard for counting slaves was no defect. As the Hill reported, the RNC, including Michael Steele, objects to Kagan's citation of a 1987 Marshall speech in a 1993 tribute to her late mentor. Among the offending if self-evident passages from the 1987 address by Marshall:
[T]he government they devised was defective from the start, requiring several amendments, a civil war, and momentous social transformation to attain the system of constitutional government, and its respect for the individual freedoms and human rights, we hold as fundamental today. When contemporary Americans cite "The Constitution," they invoke a concept that is vastly different from what the Framers barely began to construct two centuries ago.
Even more alarming to the Republican mind than Marshall's spotlight on the early Constitution ("We the People" included, in the words of the Framers, "the whole Number of free Persons.") was Kagan's approving citation of his belief that the mission of the Supreme Court was to "was to “show a special solicitude for the despised and the disadvantaged." Inquiring conservative minds, the Hill reported, now want to know:
“Does Kagan Still View Constitution ‘As Originally Drafted And Conceived’ As ‘Defective’?” the RNC asked in its research document. “And Does Kagan Still Believe That The Supreme Court's Primary Mission Is To ‘Show A Special Solicitude For The Despised And Disadvantaged’?”
But the shocking defense of slavery is just the latest episode of antebellum nostalgia from the Republican Confederacy of Dunces. From their inflammatory rhetoric to their resurrection of discredited Confederate notions of secession, nullification and states rights, the GOP's fans of Dixie constantly remind Americans that the old times there are not forgotten.
Dobbs's irresponsible brand of journalism besmirches the credibility of an organization like CNN. Which means that it needs to choose between preserving its fast-eroding integrity, or sacrificing it on the altar of Dobbs' ego.
Dobb's mainstreaming of extremist beliefs and provably false "facts" simply cannot go on if CNN wants to be considered a responsible mainstream news organization:
White nationalist conspiracy theories flow seamlessly from vigilantes and extremist web sites to Dobbs and back again. Watch just a couple of episodes and you'll see how he throws around the term "criminal illegal aliens" with the spite and frequency of a mid-century Southern politician using the N-word. In Dobbs’ world, immigrants are disease ridden criminals who kill cops and are plotting for revolution. Bogus claims that immigrants are bringing a new wave of leprosy to America might be taken with a grain of salt on Fox - but on CNN, it’s news.
Perhaps to quell the criticism, CNN is airing a new mini-series in October called, "Latino in America." The network is in heavy promotion mode, sending the show's host, Soledad O'Brien, around the country to drum up interest.
Yeah, well, nice PR segments never quite wash the bad taste out of your mouth after having to swallow Dobbs' nightly broadcasts of immigrant-bashing.
The movement to challenge CNN to drop Lou Dobbs Tonight is growing. Dozens of local and national advocacy organizations are standing together to take the fight to CNN. Media Matters with DropDobbs.org, Presente.org and dozens of Latino groups with BastaDobbs.org, and Democracia Ahora with TellCNNEnoughisEnough, have all launched excellent campaigns against Dobbs. And groups like the National Council of La Raza have chronicled Dobbs’ extremism through websites like WeCanStopTheHate.org.
Our new campaign to get Dobbs off the air will hit CNN both on the air and online. In addition to the TV ad, we’re running online ads and targeted ads on Face Book. You probably won’t see them unless you work for CNN or Turner – we’re asking Anderson Cooper, Soledad O’Brien, Wolf Blitzer and others how they feel about promoting and enabling Dobbs and his unrelenting campaign of immigrant bashing.
The real question is, what else does Dobbs have to do to get fired? He called Rep. Joe Wilson's outburst a "public service," perpetuated the birther conspiracy, has congratulated the Minutemen, and just last week was honored by the anti-immigrant group FAIR - designated a Hate Group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
It's time that CNN executives and the other "talent" at CNN deport Dobbs to Fox or talk radio where he belongs. He doesn't deserve the CNN seal of approval. Until CNN deals with its Lou Dobbs problem, any attempt to reach out to Latino audiences will be pure hypocrisy.
[Members of the James Younger Camp of the Sons of Confederate Veterans in 2006.]
Looking into the background of Rep. Joe Wilson, R-South Carolina, after his heckling of President Obama last night, I came across this:
Joe also has been a member of the Columbia World Affairs Council, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Sinclair Lodge 154, Jamil Temple, Woodmen of the World, Sons of Confederate Veterans, ....
This is an organization that, as the SPLC has detailed assiduously, has been taken over in the past decade by radical neo-Confederates who favor secession and defend slavery as a benign institution. Leading the takeover is a radical racist named Kirk Lyons, who's been an important legal figure on the far right for some years.* [More below]
Experts say the divisions within the Sons vary between two extremes. On one side are the traditionalists, members who focus on cleaning up Confederate grave sites and conducting Civil War re-enactments.
On the other side are the so-called Lunatics, up to 2,000 members who deride traditionalists as "grannies'' and belong to camps named after notorious Southern figures such as John Wilkes Booth and Jesse James.
John Wilkes Booth members have been known to put pennies in urinals, making sure to leave the Lincoln side face-up. Other Lunatic groups have removed the U.S. flag from their halls and banned the Pledge of Allegiance, says Walter Hilderman, who several years ago created an anti-Lunatic group called Save the Sons of Confederate Veterans.
"The problem is it's supposed to be a patriotic organization," says Hilderman, 59. "You are either that or you let guys in who want to secede."
As Heidi Beirich at the SPLC reported, this rift has led to Lyons himself coming under harsh attack from his own right flank. The SCV is a serious mess.
Now, add this to the fact that Joe Wilson, as a state legislator, was one of only seven Republicans to go against their own party and vote to keep the Dixie Rebel flag flying over the South Carolina capitol:
The flag came down that year after Republicans in both houses went for a compromise that would put it on Statehouse grounds at the Confederate Soldier’s monument. The “Magnificent Seven” of Senators who voted to keep the flag up included current Congressman Joe Wilson (who I served with in the 218th Infantry Brigade of the National Guard.)
A clearer picture of why this congressman might so virulently breach protocol and loudly interrupt an African-American president's speech to Congress by calling him a liar does start to emerge, doesn't it?
So inquiring minds want to know:
Is Joe Wilson still a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans?
If so, does he condone the activities of the "Lunatic" faction that now controls the SCV?
Does Joe Wilson consider the Republican Party "the Party of Lincoln"?
This isn't just a matter of the pot calling the kettle black. It's more like the black hole calling the sunspot dark.
Glenn Beck's history of indulging in extremism -- not just turning a blind eye to its presence, but promoting it outright to an audience of millions -- is so deep and wide that whatever indiscretions Jones might be guilty of fade into total insignificance.
Of course, we're all familiar with the remarks that lie at so much of the root of this matter: Beck's outrageous claims that President Obama is a "racist" who has a "deep-seated hatred of white people", which prompted a largely succesful campaign by Color of Change to encourage advertisers to pull their support for Beck's Fox News program. But that, frankly, is barely scratching the surface.
Still, what Olbermann -- and everyone else wondering how to fight back from this latest round of right-wing viciousness -- should focus on is the inordinate number of times that Beck has simply promoted extremist ideas and memes straight out of the most fringe elements of the American far right.
Beck is busy building a narrative that not only opens the Pandora's Box of mass public consumption of far-right conspiracism, it also portrays the most hateful and paranoid and poisonous bloc of American politics as credible and normative.
Since joining Fox in January of this year, however, the tendency has not only intensified, it's simply gone off the rails.
Most notably, Beck has actively promoted ideas, theories, and concepts taken directly from the far-right "Patriot"/militia movement, many of which in turn derive from the ugliest sector of the right, white supremacy:
Lou Dobbs is hardly the only right-wing pundit on the air transmitting bogus right-wing conspiracy theories. See, for instance, Sean Hannity on his Fox News show last night.
Hannity must be looking over his ratings shoulder at Glenn Beck these days, because he was cribbing from Beck, promoting the bogus far-right "constitutionalist" theories about state sovereignty Beck himself promoted a couple of months ago.
Hannity had on a couple of doofus state legislators from Nebraska who are promoting the notion of "state sovereignty" -- distinct from outright secession, but nonetheless built on a set of theories that were popularized in the 1990s by the Patriot/militia movement.
Now, it's one thing to point out the radical origins of these "constitutional theories." But it's also important to understand where they want to take us -- to a radically decentralized form of government that was first suggested in the 1970s by the far-right Posse Comitatus movement.
They essentially argue for a constitutional originalism that would not only end the federal income tax, destroy all civil-rights laws, and demolish the Fed, but would also re-legalize slavery, strip women of the right to vote, and remove the principle of equal protection under the law.
Suffice to say that no one in this segment was particularly, um, persuasive. The only thing Hannity and his guests managed to convince anyone of was the growing reality that Hannity, like Dobbs and his Fox colleagues, has no compunction about reaching into that far-right grab bag for his nightly talking points. It's always amusing to see the critters they come out with.