Category Archives: Uncategorized

if you flirt with racism

It seems that every few days, some politician or pundit on the Right is accusing Democrats of playing the race card.  Regardless of how many blatantly prejudice posters are seen at tea rallies, if any Democrat brings up the issue they are pounced on by the GOP machine, accused of race baiting and dividing our country.  The posters are never condemned by the politicians at the rallies or those in charge.  Even when the politicians themselves act in a racist fashion, it seems to go by without so much as a hiccup.  The prime example being when Carl Paladino was caught sending countless racist emails about president Obama.  His excuse?  He called his actions “a bad judgment.”

Now Rush Limbaugh is at it again.  In response to the power shifts in the house between two the prominent black congressmen, Steny Hoyer and James Clyburn.  Rush said,

“Steny Hoyer and Clyburn, Hoyer wanting Clyburn to go back to the back of the bus, leadership battle.””So there you have it. All hell breaking loose in the Democrat Party because now black and brown people [are saying], ‘Tonight we on the inside, we wanna get in there. The white racist leadership of the Democrat Party is trying to ace out Clyburn.

“Hey, I have a suggestion. You know, I like to mediate these things. I like to bring people together. I like to unify people. I don’t like seeing this kind of strife. Clyburn’s worried about not having the car. Clyburn’s worried about not having the perk of a big office, driver, and so forth. The way this can all be worked out, Clyburn’s new position: Driving Miss Nancy. He gets to keep the car. He gets to go everywhere she goes, parties and everything else. He’s not in the back of the bus. He’s in the driver’s seat, and she’s in the back of the car being chauffeured. Solved problem.”

This blatantly racist rhetoric is astonishing.  Back of the bus?  Driving Miss Daisy?  Black and brown people?  Not to mention his apparent imitation of a black man saying, “[t]onight we on the inside.”

It is time for progressives to stop being so damn scared to be accused of playing the race card.  Rush Limbaugh is a racist.  Carl Paladino is a racist.   They may not be wearing white hoods anymore, but this new era of “subtle racism” is almost scarier.

if you think science is elitist

According to recent Yale survey, only 47% of Republicans think global warming exists. Only 33% believe it is a man made problem. Essentially that means two out of three Republicans firmly believe that we, as human beings, are not contributing to the gradual warming of Earth. Conversely, reports have shown that well over 90% of top scientists know that global warming is a man made epidemic. Scientists who have studied this problem their entire lives through careful analysis and experimentation. Republicans just have a hunch.

How did the GOP win over their base with this skepticism in the light of scientific data? They systematically promote an inherent distrust of intellectuals and science. When GOP politicians come out against global warming, their base sees this “hoax” as a liberal plot to control their lives. Science and intellectualism have been, and will always be, the antagonists to the Right’s common sense conservatism. Further, the GOP has a head start with the Christian conservative base already disavowing scientific teaching by grasping the flawed belief that evolution doesn’t exist, the earth is only a few thousand years old and dinosaurs are a myth — sort of like fire breathing dragons. To these people, scientists are fundamentally godless and evil. These arguments are always popular at the time, but laughably ridiculous years later. (e.g.: Scope’s Monkey)

And it’s easy to not believe in Science. If humans do create global warming, then we know we have a responsibility to try harder to make less of an impact, simplify our lives, and consume less. If evolution does exist, than Christians have to step back and take a look at what they have been taught to believe their whole lives: the simple solution to a very complicated problem.

Life is not simple; those who believe this are just simple-minded.

if you’re old

I like old people.  God willing, I will be old one day myself. But there are three facts about many of the silver classics:

  1. You can scare them really easily
  2. They can be pretty gullible
  3. They’re sentimental

Why do you think they are a telemarketer’s dream?  Have you ever seen a commercial targeting seniors? It’s all about fear and sentimentality.  Whether it’s diabetes or hearing their grandchildren more clearly on the phone, ad men tug at elderly people’s fears and emotions.

The GOP knew this and scared the shit out of them.  According to politico,  “[v]oters over 65 favored Republicans last week by a 21-point margin after flirting with Democrats in the 2006 midterm elections and favoring John McCain by a relatively narrow 8-point margin in 2008.”  This should be no surprise since the GOP threw around the word communist every three seconds during the campaign.  This might be a shock to younger voters, but old people are terrified of communists.  To people that are not of that generation, the threat of communism seems almost adorable.  But if you lived through the McCarthy fiasco and the looming terror of the USSR, you might be just a little scared of someone who is constantly labeled as Stalin.

Sure, the GOP got the elderly vote, but at what cost?  Not to sound morbid, but how many of these voters will be around two years from now?   What about four or eight years from now?  I guess it’s sort of like signing a 38 year old shortstop to a lucrative 4 year contract.  He might do well this year, but then what?

if you act like a child.

It should come to no surprise to the base that President Obama is not an extreme liberal ideologue , but for some reason there is always a shocked reaction from grassroots progressives when the President attempts to reach across the aisle to find a compromise on anything.  We saw this most clearly when Obama not only scrapped a single payer system for health care, but also a public option. Ironically, he was not even compromising with the GOP, but rather the Blue Dog Democrats — who coincidentally lost almost half of their caucus in the last election.  To Obama, compromise is a sacred and important tool in American government akin to a child sharing his toys in the sandbox. President Obama wants to play well with others and reach a consensus.  The only problem is that the GOP refuses to play fair.

Unlike most progressives, I’m not upset with Obama’s speech yesterday.  He delivered the same message he has since he stepped into office, but the Republicans had other plans.  To the Republican leaders of Congress, compromise is impossible.  Their party leader (Rush Limbaugh) even said that it is impossible to compromise with “evil.”

When it is all said and done, these people are like the creepy children in the corner of the sandbox hording all of their toys and kicking any child who tries to come near them, making it all but certain that nothing will happen over the next two years.  Even the small minroity of Republicans who might find a way to work with the President will be so terrified of the new Tea Party caucus that they will back down.  As Mitch McConnell admits,  the GOP’s #1 priority is to ensure that the President will be out of a job in 2012.  He says nothing about finding jobs for the unemployed.

Someone needs to put these people in time out.

if you are screwed

It’s easy to be the other guy, and the GOP has had the pleasure of this for two years. They effectively voted no on almost every initiative pushed through the senate.  This staunch opposition forced many bills to be weakened in a vain attempt at compromise.  The health care bill lost a public option, the recovery package was not enough, and Wall Street reform was wimpy at best.  When push comes to shove, most independent voters aren’t crying foul when government intervenes during a crisis, but since these programs didn’t work as best they could because of their lack of strength, the full impact wasn’t felt and the perception that Obama and Democrats failed the American people prevailed.  The GOP played every one of their cards and played them perfectly.  The problem now for the Right is that they have no cards left in the deck.

Just as the American people expected immediate change from Obama, they now expect the same from the Republicans who control the House.  The difference in this case is that the GOP has no plan to do anything to help the American people get back to work. Every policy in the GOP portfolio involves taking a step backwards, deregulating business and cutting federal programs.

The good news? The wizard is out from behind the curtain and no longer can the GOP hide behind the minority vote.  The American people will finally see what doing nothing entails.  They will see the refusal of the GOP to move on any issue that may create jobs.  They will see the Right spend their time frivolously investigating the White House and attempting to repeal health care at a time when benefits start kicking in.  They will see the Republican party for what they are — not a populist, grassroots movement, but rather an exclusive club with the implicit mission of ensuring that those on the top stay where they are.

if you think Jon Stewart is a liberal

Leave it to the Right-wing GOPers to decry any populist movement that doesn’t fit neatly into their narrow fiscal and social ideology.  Even if the premise is about fairness and calm discourse in the media, the GOP pundits label it as either a Left-wing communist plot to destroy the fabric of our nation or, worse, an invalid movement started by a bunch of stoners, and  the Rally to Restore Sanity was labeled as the latter.  In fact, the stated and implicit purpose of the rally this past weekend was to encourage sane discourse on both the Right and Left.  And while many of the attendees were Democrats pushing their own ideas, this was not at all the  substance of the rally itself.

In truth, the rally featured equal criticism of both MSNBC and Fox News.  Ed Schultz and Keith Olbermann were just as vilified as Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity, but apparently the Right didn’t read Stewart’s mission statement.  And all of this rhetoric by the Republicans does one thing — it disproves Stewart’s own theory that we can treat the Left and Right-wing media equally. The idea that the content and tone of these pundits is the same is naive on Stewart’s part.  To illustrate his theory, Stewart used a traffic analogy:

these millions of cars must somehow find a way to squeeze one by one into a mile long 30 foot wide tunnel carved underneath a mighty river.  Carved, by the way, by people who I’m sure had their differences.  And they do it.  Concession by conscession.  You go.  Then I’ll go.  You go. Then I’ll go.  You go then I’ll go. Oh my God, is that an NRA sticker on your car?  Is that an Obama sticker on your car? Well, that’s okay—you go and then I’ll go.

This is all well and good if you let the car in front of you go first, but when the Republicans are erratically driving Hummers and cutting off every reasonable mid-size sedan, it is not possible.   The Right have louder, bigger and more offensive cars and the left has a responsibility to make sure that they aren’t cut off or out of the dialogue.  While Stewart acknowledges that some of these drivers may be jerks, he also downplays the significance by saying, “that individual is rare and he is scorned and not hired as an analyst.” We all know this isn’t true.  Just turn on Fox News.

Jon Stewart is not a liberal — and I’m glad.  While we need the Left to call out the Right (and vice-versa), we also need Stewart to call out the media pundits on both sides; something he is very good at.  But in an effort to be “fair and balanced,” he has lost site of the truth behind the toxicity of the Right’s voice. The GOP knows this, but they need an enemy.  And with an ignorant base, Republicans have written a narrative that paints Jon Stewart as a convenient antagonist to Glenn Beck.

The tactic is working and making Jon Stewart more popular than ever.

if you like to watch NCIS

In one of the more interesting surveys conducted  in the last few months,  the New York Times reported on the political television advertising habits of the GOP and the results weren’t surprising:

Republicans bought nearly three times as many ads as Democrats on “Saturday Night College Football,” more than twice as many on “Sunday Night NFL Football” and Nascar racing, and almost twice as many during Major League Baseball games.

Republicans also out-advertised Democrats on crime shows, placing roughly one-third more ads on shows like “Detroit 1-8-7,” “Medium,” “Cops,” “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” “48 Hours Mystery” and “NCIS.”

This leads me to a few unscientific, oversimplified theories:

  1. Republicans see things in black and white. Right wingers aren’t very good at delving into the gray area in subjects.  Sports, cop shows, and mysteries all have very specific winners and losers.  In American sporting events, one team wins, the other loses.  The notable  exception?  Soccer.  And we know how much Republicans love European things.  As for the cop dramas, we don’t see much ambiguity.  There are none of those severely flawed characters who we come to empathize with because of our deep, dark personal desires.  Republicans don’t like to go there.  In reality, Republicans are clearly black and white when it comes to policy, especially regarding crime.  For the GOP, being tough on crime has meant going by the book and not listening to excuses whether it’s illegal immigration or drugs.  There is no room for sympathy or reason: either you win or lose.
  2. Republicans don’t like long complicated storylines. An interesting aspect of the listed dramas is that they are almost all episodic.  There is no long complicated storyline that needs to be explored throughout the season; most of these show’s arcs are resolved in one hour.  This is an example of how Republicans like things to be fixed immediately.  There is no room for pragmatic thought.  It is all about fixing the issue right there regardless of who it hurts.  Republicans want to see simple solutions for complicated problems.  This is most reflected in the GOP’s complaint that the initial health care bill was too long. The right length for them?  3 pages. Democrats gave them 2,409.
  3. Republicans enjoy the simpler things. While most of the dramas the New York Times listed earn very high ratings, they are not, by any stretch of the imagination, critically acclaimed. The shows lack quality story telling, character development, and intricate plot lines.   They may be enjoyable, but they are not “good” television shows.  This exemplifies the Right’s view of the Left as elitist. They see anything new, exciting and fresh as eccentric, intellectual hogwash.

Sure I am stereotyping. And, yes, I do know a few Republicans with good taste in television.  But this study is very telling and there is something to be said for it when we see so clearly life imitating taste.  Something to keep in mind as you go to the polls on Tuesday.

— On a side note, the report also finds that Democrats and Republicans bought equal advertising space for Glee.  I guess this shows that both parties can have shitty taste.