Thursday Reads: Through the Looking Glass?

Reading Woman, Armando Barrios

Reading Woman, Armando Barrios

 

Good Morning!!

I’ve spent the past week or so reading escapist literature and watching old TV shows in an effort to anesthetize myself against the overload of bad news we’ve been hit with lately. Yesterday I was feeling a lot better–my escapism seemed to be working to improve my overall mood.

Then last night as I was surfing around in search of interesting reads for this morning’s post, I came across something that jumpstarted me right through Alice’s looking glass.

You’ve probably heard about it too. Lois Lerner, who used to work for the IRS and who is at the center of one of the GOP’s crazy efforts to create a scandal that will bring down President Obama used the word “crazies” in a private e-mail to a colleague who was complaining about right wing radio hosts. Here’s the text of e-mail as quoted in The Washington Post yesterday.

During the exchange, Lerner says she is traveling in Great Britain. The name of the person she is emailing with was blacked out.

Lerner: “I’m ready. Overheard some ladies talking about American today. According to them we’ve bankrupted ourselves and at through. We’ll never be able to pay off our debt and are going down the tubes. They don’t seem to see that they can’t afford to keep up their welfare state either. Strange.”

Other person: “Well, you should hear the whacko wing of the GOP. The US is through; too many foreigners sucking the teat; time to hunker down, buy ammo and food, and prepare for the end. The right wing radio shows are scary to listen to.”

Lerner: “Great. Maybe we are through if there are that many assholes.”

Other person: “And I’m talking about the hosts of the shows. The callers are rabid.”

Lerner: “So we don’t need to worry about alien teRrorists. It’s our own crazies that will take us down.”

GOP crazies2

My initial response was the same as that of Mark NC at News Corpse (a site that makes fun of Fox News), So F**king What? Former IRS Official Says That GOP Crazies Are…CRAZY!

Republicans and their friends at Fox News have mastered the art of building mountains of bullshit from the lowliest troll-hills. It’s one of their favorite tactics to malign Democrats. Just grab a sentence fragment from a long speech and pretend that it is the whole of the comment from which it was extracted. Then feign outrage that such an awful remark could have been uttered.

The latest example of this rhetorical deceit was demonstrated when the GOP chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, Dave Camp, unscrupulously and selectively released some emails purported to be from Lois Lerner, the former IRS official who has been hounded by malevolent cretins like Rep. Darrell Issa in an attempt to fabricate ammunition to use against President Obama. Despite hundreds of wasted hours (costing millions of taxpayer dollars) engaged in hyper-partisan investigations, the Republican Inquisition has produced nothing implicating the President in any untoward activity.

The emails that Camp is now crowing about are just as meaningless as all of the other bogus “smoking guns” that these wingnuts have claimed would topple the administration. The headline that Camp has wrenched from the documents is that Lerner may have referred to certain individuals as “crazies” or “a-holes.” And, of course, this would only be an atrocity if those individuals were Republicans. Suffice to say that Camp wouldn’t give a Fig Newton if they were Democrats.

As Camp characterized this affair, Lerner was allegedly caught red-handed expressing her disgust for Republicans. And as the person at the center of the controversy over whether the IRS improperly subjected Tea Party groups to extra scrutiny when they applied for tax-exempt status, Camp believes that these emails prove that she was biased. Consequently, Camp regards the emails as justification for appointing a special prosecutor and escalating the legal assault on Lerner and, ultimately, the White House.

There’s just one problem. The emails don’t don’t say what Camp alleges they say. And even if they did it wouldn’t mean anything. Most people in government have personal opinions and allegiances. There isn’t anything wrong with that, so long as it doesn’t interfere with the fair execution of their duties. And the evidence shows that Lerner’s department scrutinized applications of all political persuasions. The only organization that was denied tax-exempt status during the time in question was a liberal group.

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Rep. Dave Camp, R-Mich. (center), flanked by the committee's ranking member, Sander Levin, D-Mich. (right), and Sam Johnson, R-Texas.

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Rep. Dave Camp, R-Mich. (center), flanked by the committee’s ranking member, Sander Levin, D-Mich. (right), and Sam Johnson, R-Texas.

Please read the rest at the link.

So this humorous site agrees with me, but more mainstream sites are seemingly going along with the Camp’s notion that this e-mail is evidence of a major scandal. For example, Dave Wiegel characterized it as a “bombshell,” although he does point out that Lerner’s anonymous “e-mail partner” was talking about talk radio hosts, not Republicans in general. Huffington Post reported that Lerner had made “two disparaging remarks about members of the GOP.” Both HuffPo and Politico write that in one e-mail Lerner referred to Republicans as “a–holes,” but they sidestep the fact the context was a discussion of right wing talk show hosts.

As we approach the midterm elections, I can’t help but feel that most of the mainstream media is cheering for a Republican takeover. Am I the crazy one?

Here’s another example from self-described libertarian Nate Silver, Democrats Are Way More Obsessed With Impeachment Than Republicans.

House Speaker John Boehner said Tuesday that Republicans have no plans to impeach President Obama, and that all the impeachment talk was driven by Democrats hoping to stir up their base.

Boehner’s statement isn’t literally true: There have been mentions of impeachment around the edges of the GOP and by some Republican members of Congress. But on the whole, Democrats are spending a lot more time talking about impeachment than Republicans.

Consider, for example, the Sunlight Foundation’s Capitol Words database, which tracks words spoken in the House and Senate. So far in July, there have been 10 mentions of the term “impeachment” in Congress and four others of the term “impeach.” Eleven of the 14 mentions have been made by Democratic rather than Republican members of Congress, however.

Impeachment chatter has also become common on cable news. On Fox News this month, Sarah Palin, the former Alaska governor, called for Obama’s impeachment, for instance. But for every mention of impeachment on Fox News in July, there have been five on liberal-leaning MSNBC.

OK, so that’s this month. And this proves what? Democrats are throwing around the word “impeachment” in hopes of calling attention to what Republicans have been saying for years!  So f$%king what?!

Impeach obama

Again, I must resort to News Corpse for a sensible interpretation of the impeachment talk, CONSPIRACY: President Obama Is Trying To Impeach Himself.

Ever since the first inauguration of President Obama, right-wingers have been trying to undo the people’s decision to make him America’s chief executive. They declared that their top legislative objective was to make Obama a one-term president. In pursuit of that goal they have blocked most of his policy initiatives, judges, and government reforms. At the same time they have been hyper investigatory on everything from Fast and Furious, to the IRS, to ObamaCare, to his birthplace. All of this was squarely aimed at crippling or revoking his presidency.

This year Obama’s critics came out of the impeachment closet and began openly advocating for that legal nuclear option despite not having any legal basis for it. While many Tea-Publican whack jobs were earlier to the gate, Sarah Palin burst onto the scene a couple weeks ago with her own demand that Congress do their duty and trump up some phony articles of impeachment. It got so absurdly intense that Obama addressed it himself with fitting mockery.

So of course the next shoe to drop in this melodrama is that, along with everything else in the world, Obama is to blame for this too. In fact, according to some in the rightist crackpot community, it was all part of his nefarious plot to embarrass the GOP. Here is what Texas Republican Steve Stockman had to say about it when interviewed by the ultra-fringe rightists at WorldNetDaily:

“President Obama is begging to be impeached. […] He wants us to impeach him now, before the midterm election because his senior advisers believe that is the only chance the Democratic Party has to avoid a major electoral defeat. Evidently Obama believes impeachment could motivate the Democratic Party base to come out and vote.”

There you have it. The evil genius in the White House orchestrated the whole Obama-hate campaign from its earliest days in 2008 just so that he would be able to use impeachment, which is every president’s dream, as an election strategy six years into his presidency.

Earth to Nate Silver and the rest of the mainstream media: Steve Stockman, although insane, is an actual member of the House of Representatives, not some fringe character with no influence. And he has plenty of company in the House and even in the Senate (Ted Cruz anyone?). These people are crazy and they are in positions of awesome power.

GOP idea men?

GOP idea men?

Here’s one more example of mainstream acceptance of GOP insanity before I end this post and run screaming into the street while pulling my hair out in handfuls. From John Dickerson of Slate (via CBS News), Why the GOP’s class of 2016 hopefuls may be the best in generations.

What if they held a presidential campaign and a think tank broke out? House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, who is considering running for president, offered his thoughts on poverty last week. Sen. Marco Rubio has been giving regular policy speeches on poverty, college loans, and helping the middle class. Former senator and GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum is promoting a book of policy proposals on education, family, and revitalizing American manufacturing. Sen. Rand Paul is offering ideas on criminal justice and will give a big foreign policy speech in the fall. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal has given speeches on health care and education aimed at a national audience. His staff recently sent an email titled “policy leader” that linked to a Time piece about how he is preparing to be the candidate of ideas in 2016.

What the f&cking f&ck? Rich Santorum? Bobby Jindal? Marco Rubio? Paul motherf&&cking Ryan?! These are “candidates of ideas?” Dickerson continues,

Who isn’t trying to be the ideas candidate in the 2016 campaign? Texas Gov. Rick Perry is working to overcome his 2012 debate aphasia, so he’s trying to show some policy chops. Though former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush holds controversial ideas on Common Core education standards and immigration, those close to him say he won’t run unless he can promote those ideas with gusto.

It isn’t usually this policy-thick in the GOP presidential field. In primaries, there is sometimes one conservative candidate who tries to position himself through the creativity of his proposals, but mostly candidates engage in displays of strength on questions of orthodoxy–how much they want to cut taxes, shrink regulation, and lock up the borders. Now the Republican candidates are not only seeking to distinguish themselves from each other with the quality and originality of their ideas, but they are making the case that unless the party promotes new ideas, it will not prevail.

The class of candidates for 2016 has the potential to be the most robust in almost 40 years–perhaps in modern Republican history. It depends on who finally decides to run, of course, but six governors and four senators are thinking seriously about it.

GOP idea men?

GOP idea men?

I’m sorry. Dickerson thinks these morons are competing with each other on “quality and originality of…ideas?” Am I nuts? Am I hallucinating this crap? Surely Dickerson can’t really believe this sh#t.

Here’s a little sanity from Ed Kilgore of Washington Monthly, Can the Big Brains of the GOP Survive the Primaries? and Damon Linker of The Week, Why GOP reformers are bound to fail. But even Kilgore seems to believe that Republicans will take over the Senate. From Talking Points Memo:

It’s true that public opinion surveys are not showing any 2010-style GOP “wave,” but Democrats are rightly nervous that when polls begin identifying likely voters closer to November, superior Republican “base enthusiasm” could put a thumb on the scales in their favor.

At least Kilgore thinks that catering to the base could hurt Republicans in the 2016 presidential election.

Why? Why would anyone vote for these insane right-wingers? And why is the media rooting for them? I just don’t get it. Am I crazy or what?

Now it’s your turn. What stories are you following today? Share your thoughts and links in the comment thread.

 

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36 Comments on “Thursday Reads: Through the Looking Glass?”

  1. walthe310 says:

    It’s all about context. A smoking gun could be smoking after legitimate use such as target practice. The GOP keeps looking for a smoking gun to justify impeachment of President Obama. Just remember the GOP slogan, “You provide the gun and we’ll supply the smoke. If you don’t have a gun, our friends in the NRA can help.”

  2. bostonboomer says:

    A couple of media people who believe GOPers are ultimately behind the impeachment talk:

    Dana Milbank: In House, priorities — like wisdom and understanding — in short supply

    The Daily Beast: GOP Realizes Impeaching Obama Is Impossible, Votes to Sue Him Instead

    Quote:

    The lawsuit comes as many conservatives have urged House Republicans to begin impeachment proceedings against Obama. Indeed, all five Republicans who voted against the lawsuit, including Paul Broun of Georgia and Steve Stockman of Texas, did so because they believe impeachment is more appropriate. While these calls have been limited mainly to marginal figures on the right such as former reality television star Sarah Palin, House Majority Whip Steve Scalise refused to rule it out in a television appearance Sunday.

  3. Pat Johnson says:

    No, you are not crazy but the crapola that counts as “news and opinion” these days can drive you there.

    Giving equal time to climate deniers, women haters, and just plain kooks has lowered the temperature in the room to such a degree that Rick Santorum appears as a “man of ideas”.

    Who knew 50 years ago that today’s congress would host so many ignorant fools as does this present one? We’ve always had our share of those from the lunatic fringe but they were never taken seriously as this bunch. These people chair committees for crying out loud!

    We may very easily elect the next Bibi Yetanahu over here in 2016 thus ginning up more hatred from the Arab community if these indiscriminate bombings keep going on and that in itself is beyond frightening.

    One can only image the leverage exerted by Sheldon Adelson with all his billions will hold over the next GOP candidate who will follow his wishes and find us fighting more mideast battles we cannot afford.

    The crazies are actually in charge.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Exactly. And it’s terrifying when you allow yourself to acknowledge it. I understand that most in the DC media are wealthy, but do they really want low taxes and deregulation badly enough to tolerate insane people running the country?

      • NW Luna says:

        They probably think they themselves are immune.

        Right-wing “think tank” of Jindal, Ryan and Rubio! Bwahahahaha! With those brains they could light a match on fire if they could figure out what to strike it against.

      • RalphB says:

        Luna is correct. The wealthy media believe themselves to be immune from any problems. If worse comes to worst, the ultra-rich will protect them.

    • dakinikat says:

      I think a lot of it has to do with the media being increasingly held by large corporations. frankly.

      • joanelle says:

        …and the need to have “news” to report. If you don’t have any news – just ‘make it up’ and the more sensational it is the ‘better’ it is. Sell, sell, sell media product. They wouldn’t know real news if it bit them. The media bears a good share of the mess we’re in

  4. Fannie says:

    The GOP is fucking cluttering the air ways with their madness. They think we are confused, and blind, and it’s our minds that are troubled. They have been in decline since George W. Bush made sure they would not get elected for a long time. If they would have accepted their role, their responsibility in the mess he created we wouldn’t be so fucked up. They must have figured they had nothing to lose, and when the Black man became President, they did what they did 250 years ago, they went behind closed doors, and decided to strip him, till there was nothing left. That’s the way they did the slaves and those who supported freeing and helping the slaves to vote.

    I know I feel like I too have become part of this insanity, I have actually jumped up and thrown shit at the tv, or radio, out of this damn dreary situation that they have created. And I have lost family and friends, because they eat the shit right up. Good Christians.

    They are living in madness, madness, madness. Did you notice the KKK is ready to aim at the Children coming from Central America? The word sue/impeachment is hotter than a hundred fires, and they have no intentions of replacing their madness.

    O please, tell me it must have something to do with the right side of their brains, they don’t give a fuck.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Thank goodness for you and the rest of my fellow Sky Dancers. If it weren’t for you guys, I probably would be running into the street screaming at this point.

    • NW Luna says:

      It has nothing to do with the right side of their brains; the right side is allegedly the more creative and less hide-bound side but that’s far too simplistic. It’s got everything to do with the size of their selfishness.

      • bostonboomer says:

        That and their total lack of creativity and other supposedly right-brain characteristics.

        • NW Luna says:

          Yes! And I too would be less able to throw off their sordid drearines if not for all the SkyDancers.

    • List of X says:

      And, incidentally, those are the very ideas that Slate article must be referring to.

  5. bostonboomer says:

    Margot Adler, NPR journalist and Wiccan priestess (author of famed book on wicca, Drawing Down the Moon, has died.

    Margot Adler, one of the signature voices on NPR’s airwaves for more than three decades, died Monday at her home in New York City. She was 68 and had been battling cancer.

    Margot joined the NPR staff as a general assignment reporter in 1979. She went on to cover everything from the beginnings of the AIDS epidemic to confrontations involving the Ku Klux Klan in Greensboro, N.C., to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

    “Her reporting was singular and her voice distinct,” Margaret Low Smith, NPR’s vice president for news, said in an announcement to staff. “There was almost no story that Margot couldn’t tell.”

    The granddaughter of renowned Viennese psychiatrist Alfred Adler, Margot was born in Little Rock, Ark., but spent most of her life in Manhattan.

    • NW Luna says:

      Oh, sorry to read this. Drawing Down the Moon was my first introduction to a way of expressing spirituality, something that echoed inside and felt “home” to me. I grew up reading mythology of many cultures, and living deep in the country. I thought there were naiads in the woods and creeks. I saw a Green Woman once — not really saw — but she was briefly manifest. The Moon spoke in sky magic language although I couldn’t quite interpret it yet. Air, Fire, Water, Earth, Spirit. We must walk softly on Mother Terra. Joy in the
      immanent green and blue world.

      Blessed be, Margot. Blessed be all.

      • bostonboomer says:

        Thanks Luna. I read the book years ago and loved it. I never got around to reading the updated second edition.

  6. bostonboomer says:

    This must-read Esquire blog is about the corporate battle taking place in Massachusetts over control of one of the most popular grocery store chains in New England. The outcome of this battle will have important effects on working people all over the country.

    THE LAST STAND FOR THE MIDDLE CLASS IS TAKING PLACE IN A PARKING LOT IN MASSACHUSETTS

    One supermarket proved it can provide employees with a livable wage, annual bonuses, and a retirement plan. They can beat Walmart’s prices. They can turn a profit, too. So why was its CEO just forced out?

  7. List of X says:

    I’d like to re-write a Lerner headline: “Bush appointee calls today’s Republicans crazy”.

    • bostonboomer says:

      That would be good. I didn’t realize she was a Bush appointee. Still, she was only reacting to a correspondent who was referring to right wing radio hosts. It’s not proof of bias. The fact is no right wing groups were actually mistreated.

    • dakinikat says:

      If only the press would mention that little tidbit.

    • RalphB says:

      I’m glad Scarborough turned, so long as he stays there. He’s a weather vane and maybe the mindless support of war crimes and genocide can cease.

      • dakinikat says:

        I just had some one go off on me on facebook. Called me Hitler and Jew Hater and the full 9 yeards. I gave her link after link where it said that the human shield story couldn’t be verified by outside sources like Amnesty International. I the list from all kinds of places of the way Israel has been breaking international law. It was horrid. Especially for a me who got shouted out as a Jew Lover more than once growing up because I had so many Jewish friends and boyfriends.

        • dakinikat says:

          The interesting thing is that I’m still friends with most of these folks and none of them support Israel at the moment

        • RalphB says:

          I just read that FB comment thread and the person was clearly batshit. Looking at polling of Israelis, a two state solution is almost out of the question now. They’ve really went quite a ways to the right over there and it’s a damn shame. It may be panic because just looking at demographics, Israel will either be a full apartheid state or a Palestinian one at some point.

          • dakinikat says:

            You wouldn’t believe what I deleted. There’s absolutely no independent verification of Hamas using civilians as shields. There’s also international condemnation from all kinds of places for the action but I doubt it’s going to stop them from just taking over all the Palestinian territories.

  8. dakinikat says:

    Here’s one for you:

    Language Teacher Fired For Using ‘Homophones’

    Utah man fired after boss complains blog post about homophones made school sound gay

    http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2014/07/30/utah-man-fired-after-boss-complains-blog-post-about-homophones-made-school-sound-gay/

  9. dakinikat says:

    More things that make you want to scream!!

    http://www.rightwingwatch.org/content/jody-hice-americans-must-rise-defend-gods-laws-government-ten-commandments

    In a 2003 interview with the Trinity Broadcasting Network, right-wing pastor Jody Hice, who is now the GOP nominee for an open U.S. House seat in Georgia, claimed that America must follow God’s law or slide down a slippery slope to catastrophe.

    Hice, who also told host Ben Kinchlow that Satan is to blame for legal efforts to separate church and state, warned of “disastrous” attempts to “shove God’s law out of the way” in public life.

    After Kinchlow said that without “Judeo-Christian” principles in government “people end up killing each other,” Hice claimed that the Ten Commandments “predate Christianity” and therefore do not represent an establishment of religion.

    GOP candidate urges Christians to ‘rise up’ against Atheists

    Read more: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/progressivesecularhumanist/2014/07/gop-candidate-urges-christians-to-rise-up-against-atheists/#ixzz3951E3JYm

  10. dakinikat says:

    Why one editor won’t run any more op-eds by the Heritage Foundation’s top economist
    A reply to Paul Krugman on state taxes and job growth made some incorrect claims
    – See more at: http://www.cjr.org/united_states_project/stephen_moore_heritage_foundation_paul_krugman_kansas_city_star.php#sthash.kZ5zNSgH.dpuf