Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Chris Baker Uses Derogatory Homosexual Term Towards Liberals

On Wednesday, Glenn Beck substitute Chris Baker called for Republicans to run on a platform of repealing the health care bill and impeaching the president, but in doing so, he referred to liberals by a derogatory homosexual term.
You guys, you bed wetters and pillow biters, you go ahead, go freak out.
According to, a "pillow biter" is a "derogatory and offensive slang term for a male homosexual viewed as a practitioner of anal-copulation or sodomite."

I am reminded of the anti-gay smears made by Big Government bigot Jim Hoft, who had written numerous attacks against homosexuals in the past. I had written back in December of last year of Hoft's promotion of the "Fistgate" stories and the blatant hatred directed towards homosexuality. Chris Baker may claim ignorance to his statement, but the fact of the matter is he is a hatemonger. This would be like someone calling a black man a "nigger" and then claiming to not know what the word meant.

Good job Baker. You are doing a good job at keeping Beck's seat warm while he is out.

Obama To Open Up Drilling Off Coast

From The Huffington Post:
In a reversal of a long-standing ban on most offshore drilling, President Barack Obama plans to allow oil drilling 50 miles off of Virginia and is considering opening up significant additional stretches along the Atlantic and Alaskan coasts.

Obama's plan will cover a lot of ground -- and water -- offering few concessions to environmentalists, who have been strident in their opposition to more oil platforms off the nation's shores. Hinted at for months, the move would modify a ban that has limited coastal drilling outside the Gulf of Mexico for more than 20 years.
I know in my state of Florida, this had been a hotly contested subject, and with gas prices soaring a couple years ago, many jumped off the conservation and environmental train and boarded the Palin express, calling for drilling of oil off the coast. Obama had argued against drilling during his 2008 campaign.

While I can foresee this change to be fuel for the right, even though it would be for something they support, I don't necessarily believe it to be a bad thing. My problem during the 2008 campaign was that the argument from the right seemed to play off the fears of high gas prices at the expense of the environment. Their solution didn't really offer any relief, and to my understanding of the issue, relief would not be immediate. I thought that offshore drilling, in combination with other methods of energy production, could be included in a comprehensive plan to decrease foreign oil dependence, and can help ween America off foreign oil, stabilizing prices long enough for alternative fuels to be developed.

Teabaggers: A Venn Diagram (From The Huffington Post)

I found this picture by Trish Wend at The Huffington Post.

I thought it to be very humurous and thought I would share it.

Big Journalism Believes Beck Boycott Is Working Because He Is Right?

An anonymous "journalist" at Big Journalism has decided to take on the boycott of Glenn Beck's program. Using a pseudonym, Jacob Q. Boot, the author insists that the boycott is succeeding against Beck for unknown reasons, and insinuates that advertisers are facing some sort of liberal shakedown and that they are afraid because Glenn Beck is essentially right, so if Glenn Beck is right, then why would advertisers jump ship?

Boot points to two of the many reasons that have called for a boycott against Beck. One is Beck's attack against religion and "social justice," claiming churches are trying to lead their parishioners into communism, and the other is Beck's assertion that President Obama is a racist, with a "deep-seated hatred of white people." While Boot states that Beck would have no intimate knowledge as to whether the president is a racists, he tries to point to evidence by citing a line from the president's memoirs, that you guessed it, is taken out of context.

From Page 292 of Dreams From My Father:
The title of Reverend Wright's sermon that morning was "The Audacity of Hope." He began with a passage from the Book of Samuel -- the story of Hannah, who, barren and taunted by her rivals, had wept and shaken in prayer before her God. The story reminded him, he said, of a sermon a fellow pastor had preached at a conference some years before, in which the pastor described going to a museum and being confronted by a painting titled Hope.

"The painting depicts a harpist," Reverend Wright explained, "a woman who at first glance appears to be sitting atop a great mountain. Until you take a closer look and see that the woman is bruised and bloodied, dressed in tattered rags, the harp reduced to a single frayed string. Your eye is then drawn down to the scene below, down to the valley below, where everywhere are the ravages of famine, the drumbeat of war, a world groaning under strife and deprivation.

"It is this world, a world where cruise ships throw away more food in a day than most residents of Port-au-Prince see in a year, where white folks' greed runs a world in need, apartheid in one hemisphere, apathy in another hemisphere ...That's the world! On which hope sits!"
Boot writes that the president had received much criticism for the phrase, "which has also become a popular sound bite lifted from the audio version of the book." Boot questions as to whether the line is racist, although to his audience, I doubt that would make any difference - they fail to catch the underlying message of the quote. On one side of the argument, he states defenders will argue that it is a third party quote, but he asks "what would happen had the line been written by a Republican rather than a Democrat?" Boot's defense to that statement is that Republicans are not stupid enough to make racist comments, even though they have recently done so. The right's response is to claim it never happened.

So, what exactly is the point of Boot's little article?

Liberals are racists who will use threats to get what they want, while conservatives are unwilling pawns, innocent by nature, who are bullied by the left, but if that is the case, then why would industry giants pull advertisements from the popular Fox News commentator? Boot's answer is that he doesn't know, but that something is going on behind the scenes. Boot touches on the real issue, but fails to realize the truth, going in an entirely different direction.
What is clear is that whatever is happening is working. But again, the unanswered question is, ‘why Beck?” The man is clearly speaking some truth to some power. It’s unlikely that casual observers would get their knickers in a twist over a TV show host. In this particular case, my bet is that the call for boycotting Beck is based largely on fear of the man and somebody wants to use economic pressure to silence him.
Boot is partially correct. "Casual observers" aren't bothered by Beck or his rhetoric because they are the people who believe his lies and do his bidding. When Beck claims Obama is a racist, he legitimizes the use of race against the president with his viewers, and this holds true for various other topics. Beck argues falsely that the administration is communist/Markist/fascist/socialist/Godless/etc. and then allows the feelings of resentment against the president to foment. He is fanning the flames, and we have caught a glimpse of what blatant disregard for the truth has caused - the numerous acts of violence against members of Congress. Advertisers understood this months ago, and realized that Glenn Beck is bad for business because. Sure, if you advertise on his show you can reach millions, but by doing so, you will upset many more. Corporations did a risk analysis and obviously found something wrong with Beck in order to pull their advertising.

For Big Journalism, take your anonymous journalists elsewhere, because they obviously don't have a clue about journalism. Boot's article is one speculative, sycophantic mess bent on vindicating his idol who lacks any and all credibility.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Breitbart Attempts To Provoke "Protesters," Hypocritically Doing What He Accused The Left Of

Over at Big Government, there is a video posted showing Harry Reid supporters throwing eggs at Tea Party buses while Andrew Breitbart stands in the middle of them filming, mocking the protesters every bit of the way, claiming that they Reid protesters are violent and that he has done nothing to provoke them because he is simply standing there...

While I do not condone the throwing of eggs, I find Breitbart's little stunt to be interesting, because the right wing media had pretty much dismissed any claims Democrats had against the Tea Party for yelling derogatory comments at Democratic legislators, like Rep. John Lewis or Rep. Barney Frank, in the past.

Of those events in which conservatives were guilty of acts of violence or hate crimes, the right turned their head. Breitbart claimed Rep. John Lewis was "lying". Breitbart had also said that Congressional Black Caucus members were "searching for that racism" by walking through Tea Party crowds.

So, is Breitbart trying to show that things are different when he does them?

Out of curiosity, I wonder if those protesters are actually protesters.  I wonder if those are paid employees of Breitbart to act like Senator Harry Reid supporters.  Considering Breitbart's other slimy tactics used to try and discredit the left, I wouldn't be surprised.

Right-Wing Entertains Secession, Claims To Be Peaceful Despite Language Calling For "Civil War"

There is an interesting article over at the Center for Individual Freedom written by Robert E. Lee Timothy H. Lee, regarding secession.  You heard it.  The word that caused the civil war over 100 years ago.  Lee asks the question "after 230 years, are the American people coursing toward eventual divorce?"
Our polarized society increasingly ponders what would happen if American conservatives and liberals simply agreed that their differences had become irreconcilable, and redivided the nation to go their separate ways. Which side would prosper and experience an influx of migration from the other? Conversely, which side would likely become a fiscal and socio-political basket case?
Is Lee really entertaining the thought of secession, or is he using such dangerous rhetoric to make a point? It appears to be a little bit of both, but the article weighs heavier on the actual thought of secession, which Lee calls a hypothetical question, despite trying to give as much credibility to the subject as humanly possible.

Lee claims that conservatives do it better and that liberals are ruining the country and that the thought of secession has been voiced more frequently in recent years, by both Republicans and Democrats. While he cites a couple sources that refer to the current ideological conflict as a peaceful civil war, or that conservatives, who supposedly represent a majority of Americans, should engage in Gandhi style tactics to get their way, Lee takes it one step further, and following the lead of his right-wing fringe contemporaries, he references founding father Thomas Jefferson. While Lee himself writes that "whatever one’s views toward such sentiment, it is becoming increasingly difficult to deny the irreconcilable ideals of “red” and “blue” Americans despite efforts to reestablish unity." He then goes on to state the following:
Thomas Jefferson wrote in our Declaration of Independence that irreconcilable values sometimes make it “necessary for one people to dissolve the political bonds which have connected them with another.” Jefferson further recognized the inalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, stating that “whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles.”
To Lee, America should always be in conservative control, and that the Democrats rise to power in recent years is only temporary, and based on the language Lee is using, it would be safe to assume that he is all for a civil war against the federal government to get conservatives back in power. I bet, if given the opportunity, Lee would have signed up to become a member of the Hutaree.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Treaty Of Tripoli Of 1797

I was never aware of the contents of the Treaty of Tripoli of 1797 - I had heard of the treaty and was familiar with the conflict it ended, but was oblivious to the provisions within - until recently.

The reason why I mention this treaty now is because of the recent arrest of the right wing militia group, known as Hutaree, which planned on waging war with America in an attempt to return the nation to it's Christian roots.

Also consider the rising influence of Christianity among the Republican party, with many among the conservative media elite promoting the notions that America was founded on Christian beliefs and that the founding fathers never intended for there to be a separation of church and state.

Consider Glenn Beck's comments on the matter from October 29, 2008.  Titled "The Argument Against Idiots: Separation of Church and State," Beck claims "liberal whiners" will make the following argument:
Like it or not religious zealots, there is a Constitutional separation of church and state in this country!
Beck's response to these "idiots" is the following:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. No mention of a "separation of church and state". That came in an 1803 letter from Thomas Jefferson to a Baptist minister to assure him that the United States would never declare a state religion.
Beck has a long history of talking about Christianity and the government, and each time, he attempts to rewrite this nation as one founded on Christian principles, citing the religion of the founding fathers and fathers and claiming that we are fathers and claiming that we are "one nation under God," after all, references to God can be found on our currency and in governmental proceedings, but Beck fails to mention the facts regarding our nation's history, opting to make his own historical account, and using his highly rated show on Fox, Beck misinforms Americans every day, so, every time I find something that further discredits theologian and historian Beck, I feel compelled to post it, and the Treaty of Tripoli of 1797 happens to be one of them.

Consider Article 11 of the treaty:
As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion,—as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Mussulmen,—and as the said States never entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mehomitan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.
I think it is easily understood, and since the treaty was signed by President John Adams, a founding father, I would have to say that Beck's argument is baseless. While conservatives can argue circles about what is and is not "separation of church and state," as well as the absence of certain language in the nation's founding documents, I would think that the treaty should lay to rest any doubts about whether or not this nation was founded on the Christian religion, which it was not, and considering that fact, then there would obviously be a boundary between the government and any religion - after all, if it wasn't founded on the Christian religion, then what religion was it founded on, or, why should Christianity take a front seat to a nation founded on secularism?

Right Wing Militia Arrested In Michigan

From an article by Charlie Savage of The New York Times:
Nine members of a Michigan-based Christian militia group have been indicted on sedition and weapons charges in connection with an alleged plot to murder law enforcement officers in hopes of setting off an antigovernment uprising.

Eight of the defendants were arrested over the weekend in raids in Michigan, Ohio and Indiana. A ninth remained at large, the Justice Department said. The indictments against them were returned last Tuesday. The defendants were identified as members of Hutaree, described by federal prosecutors as an anti-government extremist organization based in Lenawee County, Mich., and which advocates violence against local, state and federal law enforcement. The group saw local and state police as “foot soldiers” for the federal government, which it viewed as its enemy, along with participants in what they deemed to be a “New World Order,” according to the indictment.

“This is an example of radical and extremist fringe groups which can be found throughout our society,” Andrew Arena, an F.B.I. special agent in charge in Detroit, said in a statement. “The F.B.I. takes such extremist groups seriously, especially those who would target innocent citizens and the law enforcement officers who protect the citizens of the United States.”

A Web site for the Hutaree group talks about a coming battle against the putative forces of the Antichrist but does not appear to focus explicitly on recent political events.

The Web site, which describes the group as “preparing for the end times,” featured video clips of people running through woods in camouflage gear and firing assault rifles, along with links to gun stores and far-right media. It also features an elaborate system of military ranks for its members. The site says it coined the term Hutaree, intended to mean Christian warrior.
Considering the language heard from the conservative media and right-wing opinion shows, such as Fox News' Glenn Beck, and recent acts of violence targeting Democratic legislators over the passage of health care, it would be my opinion that incidents, such as this, will only increase in frequency over the coming months. While Democrats have been warning of such dangerous rhetoric for months, Republicans scoff at the idea that they are the ones fanning the flames of discontent, despite constantly seeking Tea Party approval - the Tea Parties typically encompass the far right fringes and lend credence to extremist beliefs while maintaining connections with national organizations such as the Republican party.

It is only a matter of time before the right wing media start to try and pass this fringe militia as a leftist group or dismiss the arrests as an isolated incident.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Florida Closer To Merit Pay Law For Teachers

Recently, Florida’s Senate Bill 6 narrowly passed last week along party lines. Oddly, Democrats were in unanimous opposition even though the measure is similar to a push outlined by President Obama earlier this month.

From an article on The News Herald:
Ending tenure would give principals and districts more flexibility in staffing. For example, it would eliminate the current situation in which districts during lean budget times are forced to cut high-performing but less-experienced teachers on annual contracts because they are required to keep less-qualified staff with guaranteed contracts — and in some cases, moving support staff into classrooms they are ill-prepared for. That is placing union job security ahead of students’ best interests.

As for merit pay, the state has for years been cycling through different programs that have met with little success. The biggest stumbling block always has been constructing a method of evaluating teachers that genuinely differentiates between the good and the not-so-good ones, but which also takes into account the unique circumstances they face.

Clearly, teachers can’t be judged solely on hard numbers the way a salesperson or manufacturer can. Standardized test scores are an important marker, but the range of learning abilities across student populations — and the social and economic factors that influence child development and that are outside a teacher’s control — complicate the metrics. There are multiple shades of many colors to consider.

Just because the effort is difficult doesn’t mean it should be abandoned. Teacher pay shouldn’t be based primarily on experience or the number of degrees or certifications earned. Measuring education outputs must be the crux. Good teachers have made demonstrably positive differences with students even in the worst settings.

Ask the teachers themselves. They will tell you who the good ones and bad ones are in their schools. The challenge is to quantify that.
I think a move towards merit pay is an excellent idea, but as the article states, it is difficult to quantify a good teacher from a bad one. The logistics alone seem very daunting, and in order to get an accurate portrayal of a teacher's quality, I would believe the best way would involve tracking of a student's performance from the moment they take the teacher's class through any future classes of similar course material. I would also be worried that unethical teachers would pad their grades to prevent themselves from being on the bottom rung. While some teachers express a fear over job security, pay, and benefits, I would think that if you are a good teacher, there would be nothing to be afraid about.

Like health care, while the proposed changes may not be perfect, it is a start to fixing a broken system.

Hypocrite Beck Speaks To Florida Crowd At UCF

Glenn Beck is in town today, and reading about his visit in The Orlando Sentinel, I noticed something entertaining to me, mainly because it shows the stupidity of those who love Glenn Beck.
"He's very on key on the problems we're facing today," Justin Rovins, 27, of Ormond Beach, said about Beck. He's followed Beck on the radio for more than a decade. Despite people questioning the host's credibility, "he's feeding everybody the facts," Rovins argued.
But, when you consider the treasure trove of information found at Media Matters for America, I would think it is safe to say that anybody who believes Beck speaks the truth doesn't know the facts to begin with. What was more entertaining about Beck's visit is his blatant hypocrisy, which his fans seem to ignore.
"Worshiping idols, that's the problem with Americans. We're worshipping cars. We're worshiping homes. Stop worshiping the almighty dollar," Beck scolded politicians during the event.
This coming from the man who is the paid spokesman for Goldline International. Just consider the advertisements, where you can hear Beck speak the following:
When the system eventually collapses, and the government comes with guns and confiscates, you know, everything in your home and all your possessions, and then you fight off the raving mad cannibalistic crowds that Ted Turner talked about, don't come crying to me. I told you: get gold.
Sounds to me like Beck is the one worshiping the almighty dollar, as well as material possessions, such as homes and cars. Beck's fans seem to eat this rhetoric up, believing the multimillionaire Beck is an everyman. Who's drinking the kool aid now?

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Government Bailout Equals Government Boon

You constantly hear conservative pundits and Tea Party protesters blast the federal government over the bank bailouts made in the past couple years, but you rarely hear from these people the benefits from the bailouts, such as the profits made from stock buybacks and dividends paid to the federal government.

From a Washington Post article by David Cho:
The Obama administration is making final preparations to sell its stake in the New York bank, according to industry and federal sources. At today's prices, the sale would net more than $8 billion, by far the largest profit returned from any firm that accepted bailout funds, and the transaction would be the second-largest stock sale in history.

On paper, the government's 27 percent stake has grown in value to $33 billion. The size of the deal in the works has Wall Street buzzing. Only the stock offering by Japan's Nippon Telegraph and Telephone, which raised $36.8 billion in 1987, was larger, according to Thomson Reuters.
Sounds like a pretty good investment, if you ask me. I also find this funny because you hear critics from the right warn of a government takeover of private sector, but if that was true, why would the government be selling their ownership in these corporations?

America-Russia Nuclear Arms Agreement Reached

From an Associated Press article by Tom Raum and Robert Burns:
The U.S. and Russia sealed the first major nuclear weapons treaty in nearly two decades Friday, agreeing to slash the former Cold War rivals' warhead arsenals by nearly one-third and talking hopefully of eventually ridding a fearful world of nuclear arms altogether.

President Barack Obama said the pact was part of an effort to "reset" relations with Russia that have been badly frayed. And at home the agreement gave him the biggest foreign policy achievement of his presidency, just days after he signed the landmark health care overhaul that has been his domestic priority.

Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev will sign the agreement April 8 in Prague, where Obama gave a major speech on doing away with nuclear arms one year ago. The city is the capital of the Czech Republic, a former Soviet satellite and now a NATO member.

If ratified by the Senate and by Russia's legislature, the reductions still would leave both countries, by far the world's largest nuclear powers, with immense arsenals — and the ability to easily annihilate each other. Together, the United States and Russia possess about 95 percent of the world's nuclear weapons, according to the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation.

Still, Obama called the pact a step toward "the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons." He said nuclear weapons "represent both the darkest days of the Cold War, and the most troubling threats of our time."
I am glad to see this achievement reached, but I am sure some opportunistic Republican legislators up for reelection will use this issue to puff their conservative chest, most likely by claiming America's, and more specifically, Obama's willingness to capitulate to the international community. The GOP will most likely try to capitalize on this event by taking the position that no nuke is a bad nuke, or at least when in hands of God lovin' capitalist Americans. Will we see another "million" teabag march on Washington come April 8th?

Friday, March 26, 2010

Which Is It: Tax On Life Or Unenforceable Mandate?

Since health care passed, there has been a frenzy on the right to find a way to reverse course on the legislation, from various states trying to pass legislation against the federal bill to numerous Republican state attorney generals preparing to sue the federal government over what they believe to be an unconstitutional bill. Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum, and Republican gubernatorial candidate, had gone as far as stating that the health care bill and it's individual mandate is essentially a "tax penalty on just living," which makes it unconstitutional, but then there was this little article today by Morgen Richmond over at fringe central, Big Government.

According to Richmond, the bill "hamstrung the ability of the IRS or any other federal agency to enforce or collect on this mandate." Richmond points to an excerpt of a report by the Joint Committee on Taxation, which includes the following:
The penalty applies to any period the individual does not maintain minimum essential coverage and is determined monthly. The penalty is assessed through the Code and accounted for as an additional amount of Federal tax owed. However, it is not subject to the enforcement provisions of subtitle F of the Code. The use of liens and seizures otherwise authorized for collection of taxes does not apply to the collection of this penalty. Non-compliance with the personal responsibility requirement to have health coverage is not subject to criminal or civil penalties under the Code and interest does not accrue for failure to pay such assessments in a timely manner.
While I have not had the opportunity to read the report yet, a thought crossed my mind. Republicans, such as Bill McCollum, are arguing that health care is unconstitutional because of the individual mandate forcing Americans to purchase health care, which McCollum calls a "tax penalty for living," but then conservatives, such as Morgen Richmond, argue that the individual mandate is not enforceable, so basically the bill creates a fine that nobody can do anything about.

So which is it? A tax or a promise of a fine? The way I see it, conservatives are just arguing for the sake of arguing.

Again, I haven't had the opportunity to sit down and read this report, so I have no clue whether or not Richmond had taken this excerpt out of context, like fellow Big Government propagandist, Jason Mattera, who recently wrote about the health care bill funding Native American sexual predators, taking a single line of the legislation out of context, but it doesn't really make a difference if he did or did not misrepresent the report, because it is just evidence of the right's attempt to destroy health care from any angle they can find, whether it is an alleged unconstitutional tax, an assault on states' rights, or just some fine that will sit in limbo for eternity...

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Democrats Accused Of Exploiting Violence By Conservatives

House Minority Whip Eric Cantor criticized Democratic members of Congress Thursday for releasing details of violent acts directed towards the congressmen after the passage of the health care bill on Sunday.

"I want to stress this, and it's very important: Legitimate threats should be treated as security issues," Cantor said. "And they should be dealt with by the appropriate law enforcement officials. It is reckless to use these incidents as media vehicles for political gain. That is why I have deep concerns that some -- DCCC Chairman Chris Van Hollen and DNC Chairman Tim Kaine in particular -- are dangerously fanning the flames by suggesting that these incidents be used as a political weapon. Security threats against members of Congress is not a partisan issue, and they should not be treated that way. To use such threats as political weapons is reprehensible."

Similar comments were made by Andrew Breitbart on MSNBC's The Dylan Ratigan Show, regarding racist slurs hurled towards the legislators, stating that members of the Congressional Black Caucus were "searching for racism" by walking through Tea Party crowds with cameras, trying to find what the right has been calling "isolated incidents," which coincidentally have been occurring all across the nation at directed at Democratic offices or legislators.

Apparently, the violence and racism is inherent in these crowds, and the Democrats are the ones who are encouraging this behavior in their opponents.

Fox News' America Live, Karl Rove warned that Democrats that discussing such threats will "fan the flames" and may possibly encourage copycats, but in my opinion, the rhetoric coming from the right has done enough to fan those flames, and with the passage of the bill and the fulfillment of the conservative prophecies of Armageddon, the right-wing fringe is turning to violence.

"By ratcheting up the rhetoric, some will only inflame these situations to dangerous levels," said House Republican Whip Eric Cantor of Virginia. "Enough is enough. It has to stop."

Out of curiosity, how exactly have the Democrats been "ratcheting up the rhetoric?"

Just consider what has been heard coming from Glenn Beck in the past year, like his insistence that the left has been using ACORN and SEIU as hired "thugs," and then encourages his listeners to be peaceful unless threatened. Do the math. Beck is filled with mixed messages.

Then, like rapists blaming their victims, the conservatives blame Democrats for essentially asking for violence, as seen here, here, here, and here.

As Karl Rove essentially put it, Democrats need to shut up and take it. So... how exactly does the media have a liberal bias when the conservatives are constantly trying to frame the news in their favor?

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Google Ceases Censorship On China-based Servers

From an article by John Bolton from The Wall Street Journal:
Google's decision to stop censoring searches on its China-based servers, rerouting search requests instead to its uncensored Hong Kong facilities, is historic. Google has shown itself unwilling simply to be on the receiving end of whatever Beijing dishes out—and highlighted the growing importance of Hong Kong and Taiwan in shaping the decisions that foreign businesses in China must make.

When an enterprise of Google's global dimensions and visibility reverses course in China and is no longer a passive, compliant subject of government diktats, it sends a message to enterprises world-wide: You can do the same. Submissive participation in the mainland Chinese market is neither inevitable nor unavoidable. Do not fear to assert your interests, and those of your present and potential Chinese customers.

For the most part, foreign companies doing business in mainland China previously assumed that their risks lay on the side of not complying with Beijing's orders, however burdensome or threatening to profits or property interests, physical or intellectual. Leaving the Chinese market was unthinkable, and defying or contesting Beijing's directions just as unthinkable.
This is very interesting, and I agree with the author that companies should emulate Google's decision and that the government should back such decisions. While I agree dialogue should continue with the Chinese government, I find their actions to be very troubling, and considering incidences of cyber-attacks believed to have come from the People's Liberation Army, I am lead to believe that the Chinese government is being duplicitous in their actions and words, and both American companies and the government should take a stronger position with Beijing.

Mattera Propagandizes November Health Bill For Attack Against Rep. Alan Grayson

Jason Mattera over at Big Government thinks it is great to cite portions of the health care bill passed back in November out of context, especially parts regarding Native Americans, in order to smear Rep. Alan Grayson. Mattera goes on to question Grayson, asking the Representative to explain why he "voted for a health-care bill that allocates money to fund the rehabilitation of Native American child molesters?"
No joke, people: If Grayson and company had their way, the House bill that passed back in November would’ve mandated that our taxes go toward treating “perpetrators of child sexual abuse who are Indian or members of an Indian household.” (It’s on page 1950, section 713. See for yourself)
Taking Mattera's advice, I decided to see for myself to see what exactly his smear was. Considering his citation is on page 1950, I'm sure his ignorant followers never bothered to even check out the link he gave and would just take him for his word, but I was under the impression that Mattera was just fishing for something to complain about, and I was right.

The full section of the bill that Mattera cites is titled "Child Sexual Abuse And Prevention Treatment Programs," and it is not quite the damning piece of legislation Mattera makes it out to be.

Here is the complete section:
‘(a) Establishment- The Secretary, acting through the Service, shall establish, consistent with section 701, in every Service Area, programs involving treatment for--
‘(b) Use of Funds- Funding provided pursuant to this section shall be used for the following:
    ‘(1) To develop and provide community education and prevention programs related to sexual abuse of Indian children or children in an Indian household.
    ‘(2) To identify and provide behavioral health treatment to victims of sexual abuse who are Indian children or children in an Indian household, and to their family members who are affected by sexual abuse.
    ‘(3) To develop prevention and intervention models which incorporate traditional health care practices, cultural values, and community involvement.
    ‘(4) To develop and implement culturally sensitive assessment and diagnostic tools for use in Indian communities and Urban Centers.
    ‘(5) To identify and provide behavioral health treatment to Indian perpetrators and perpetrators who are members of an Indian household--
      ‘(A) making efforts to begin offender and behavioral health treatment while the perpetrator is incarcerated or at the earliest possible date if the perpetrator is not incarcerated; and
      ‘(B) providing treatment after the perpetrator is released, until it is determined that the perpetrator is not a threat to children.
‘(c) Coordination- The programs established under subsection (a) shall be carried out in coordination with programs and services authorized under the Indian Child Protection and Family Violence Prevention Act (25 U.S.C. 3201 et seq.).
The legislation was designed to simultaneously help victims of sexual abuse while also providing treatment for perpetrators, but it also includes provisions to develop prevention and intervention models as well that incorporate Native American culture, and is under Title VII focusing on Behavioral Health Programs. Not quite the Native American sexual predator welfare bill Mattera makes it out to be.

Hannity, Conservative Cannibalism, And Hypocrisy

Steven Crowder wrote a blistering defense of Sean Hannity on Big Hollywood yesterday, attacking the attacks made against Hannity for criticisms over his involvement with the Freedom Alliance, pointing to fake conservatives as the culprit, claiming that Hannity wouldn't gyp soldiers and their families because he is a real conservative.
The sad fact is that there are some “conservatives” out there who have carved themselves out a nice little niche through doing just that. It’s not hard to do, after all leftists love conservative turncoats. If they can have a conservative mouthpiece making their arguments for them, so much the better.

If you’re a “conservative” however, and you get a majority of your traffic from the Huffington Post or the Daily Kos, at what point do you cease being a conservative? When no right-of-center network, website or blog wants anything to do with you, at what point do you ask yourself; Is it me?!
I thought Crowder's article was lame for two reasons.

One, it is basically Crowder's personal praise of Hannity, calling him "one of the most-stand up guys" he knows. Crowder states Hannity is "absurdly generous, charitable, honest, and gracious to his fans, and a tremendous family man," and that if more conservatives were more like Hannity, as in "less like pseudo-intellectual journalists hell-bent on destroying our own in order to 'gain the moral high ground,'" then America would most likely be a better place, but when you consider the rest of his article, in which he attacks those "pseudo-intellectual journalists," it would almost sound as if he was attacking his own kind, making Crowder a "cannibal conservative."

He writes that the attacks against Hannity are baseless and that attacks against his buddy were refuted "through real reporting and reliable sources" and that "friend of a friend" reporting doesn't count, which is interesting, because that is the only type of reporting Crowder's boss Andrew Breitbart, as well as Breitbart clone Glenn Beck, participate in. While he states "all leftists love conservative turncoats," I am reminded of Glenn Beck's disastrous interview with Eric Massa, in which Beck, a conservative, tried to get a confession from who he viewed as a "liberal turncoat."

Basically, Crowder is filled with "conservative" blindness and plenty of hypocrisy. After all, his character reference of Sean Hannity is nothing more then one of those friend of a friend accounts, and the report that he cited as refuting claims against stand-up guy Hannity, that was basically friend of a friend stuff too. After all, the report is by a couple people that looked through IRS documents and compared what they found to other charities.
There are other questions of course: After all, only a small portion of the money spent on tickets to “Freedom Concerts” is received by the Freedom Alliance. If say a $40 ticket yields a $4 donation to Freedom Alliance, we can’t vouch for what happens to the other $36. Some must pay for rent of the stadium for example. We have only the written record and what we could find by asking questions.
So the other question might be: "Where is the remaining portion of the ticket sales going to?"

The Midnight Review Welcomes New Contributer

Today marks the contribution of new Midnight Review author, c. Hopefully we will see more articles to come from our newest member.

Rush Limbaugh Lies About Costa Rica?

Remember when Rush Limbaugh promised to leave the country if the health care bill passed? Way back in the March 8th edition of his radio show?

"I’ll just tell you this. If this passes and its five years from now, and all that stuff gets implemented, I am leaving the country. I’ll go to Costa Rica."

Well I'm sure being one of those "honest" right wing talking heads who is always finding reasons to call out others (Obama, Democrats, anyone who doesn't agree with them) for lying or breaking promises, that Rush should be in his new home waiting for the movers to bring him his furniture.

Right? Well if you ask Rush how life is in Costa Rica you might get a response similar to what he said on the March 22nd edition of his radio show.

"It’s funny. I can’t tell you how many invitations I am getting to go to Costa Rica today who thought that I said I would move to Costa Rica if we got health care passed. No, no, no once all this implemented I am going there for my health care. They’re asking me to go ahead and move."

Is his memory so bad because of addictions to painkillers that he can't recall what he said less than a month ago? I'm just asking the questions that Rush should step up and answer.

What does this mean when you're trusted "news source" who is quick to make accusations of bribery, lies and broken promises is basically caught doing the same? Well for starters that maybe they are not reliable outlets for "news" or political commentary. Rush, Hannity and Beck, to name the most known, are entertainers with no more politcal knowledge or integrity than a SNL show. Their job is to keep people entertained to bring in ratings for their show, and like any other actor in an entertainment show they will do or say whatever it takes to bring attention to themselves and make more money.

In his March 23rd show Sean Hannity says that the democrats had to "use every trick" to get it passed, including "bribery and bullying". Unfounded accusations of bribery? He might as well have said they performed acts of rape on congress members until they voted with the party line.

The bottom line is they are not here to be a voice of the people or "ask the questions that need to be answered". They're here to make a buck. If Fox News told Beck or Hannity that they want to cut their salaries by 80% because of the economy and to keep from firing their employees, do you think they would continue to do what they have said is their patriotic duty to their listeners/viewers? I doubt it.

Is This Image Of Obama Photoshopped?

I was on Big Government and noticed this image and it caught me as odd. I was wondering if it was photoshopped. Considering where I had gotten it from, I would not doubt it, but it just seemed a little strange - particularly his face.

While Obama's body, ears, and hair look pretty sharp, his face, above his chin, between his ears, and beneath his hair line, appear to be rather soft. While I may be mistaken, I just thought this image of Obama looked peculiar.

It was accompanied by an article titled "Obama's Transparency Haze" by David A. Keene, which attacks Obama's lack of transparency, or at least lack of conservative approved transparency. While conservatives, such as Keene, trumpet Obama's campaign statements regarding C-SPAN, conservatives balked when Obama invited the Republicans to talk in front of cameras, claiming the meeting to be a trap and a Democratic public relations move.

Considering we had a year to discuss the legislation, and its been out there for all to read, I would say that this administration had offered much more transparency then the last, considering the swift passage of The Patriot Act in the wake of September 11th without little debate.

Conservatives are unhappy that they didn't contribute to the bill and loss their gambit, and now they are trying to explain their losses in a way that makes them appear to be the victim.

Mandatory HOA Versus Mandatory Maintenance HOA

After reading some of the board meeting minutes of Sand Lake Hills, I had come up with a question regarding the subtle difference between a "mandatory" homeowners association and what is knwon as a "mandatory maintenance" homeowners association.  As posted on the Sand Lake Hills Lawsuit website, the association discussed the possibilities of becoming a mandatory association a few years back, but were faced with a problem.  While they wanted to make every homeowner a member, they did not believe they could get enough votes - 100% - so, they decided to go for the next best thing.  Their lawyer suggested something called a "mandatory maintenance" association, where not everybody becomes a member but everybody pays for the maintenance of the common areas.  For a HOA, that would sound like the perfect solution, but only one problem exists for Sand Lake Hills - they have no common property to maintain.

As a homeowner who is unfamiliar with the association, or what is and is not common property, one would possibly believe the association does have common property.  Just consider their application, which states that membership dues will go towards "common-area mowing," and their amended and restated covenants, which contain a section under Article IV titled "Section 1. Common Area," but when you consider the facts that the SLHHOA owns no property, then this section kind of appears to misrepresent the association, and it is believed that the association intended for it to do just that so they can get every homeowner's money.

Why is that?

In April 30th, 2005, during the board meeting, at the beginning of the campaign to create a mandatory association, the president of the association, Ted McDonald, acknowledged that they "don't have any common areas" but later, in August of that same year, McDonald seemed to forgot his past admission and stated that there would be an assessment for common area upkeep.  Another point of interest is that during that meeting, McDonald renamed their the wording surrounding their campaign to force everybody into paying from "mandatory association" to "fair share community" because he believed it to be more "marketable."

McDonald also stated that in order to get the necessary amount of votes to create his "mandatory maintenance" association, he planned on seeking approval from everybody but those who did not voluntarily participate in the neighborhood, but whom he would later seek to collect assessments from:

So what exactly is the difference between a "mandatory" and a "mandatory maintenance" association?  From my understanding, one calls the people they get their money from a "member," while the other does not, but what do Florida statutes say about the definition of a "member?"

According to State Statute 720.301 (10):
"Member" means a member of an association, and may include, but is not limited to, a parcel owner or an association representing parcel owners or a combination thereof, and includes any person or entity obligated by the governing documents to pay an assessment or amenity fee.
Now if you consider the language found in the amended and restated covenants, they state that an assessment "shall be the personal obligation of the person or persons who is/are the owner of the Lot," so by the definition of assessments in the rewritten covenants and the definition of membership in the Florida statutes, I would have to say that there is no difference between Sand Lake Hills' "mandatory maintenance" association and a "mandatory" one, and Ted McDonald's lawyer should understand this, right?  After all, Ted McDonald said himself that they needed 100% of the people to become mandatory.

This revelation is interesting because with a mere 51% of the homeowners of various sections approving to the association's rewrite of their original covenants and restrictions, the SLHHOA filed their new governing documents with the county and have been vigorously trying to enforce their documents on the non-member homeowners, threatening legal action should these individuals should not pay their corporation.

Funny how the law works...

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Sen. John Cornyn Calls For Partial Repeal Of Bill Proving The Legislation Did Have Bipartisan Support, Despite The Votes

From an article at The Huffington Post:
In the wake of the passage of health care reform, nearly the entire slate of Republican senatorial candidates seems ready to run on a repeal of the bill. But now, the lawmaker overseeing their election strategy is softening the message. Rather than promising to scrap the bill in its entirety, the GOP will pledge to just get rid of the more controversial parts.

In a brief chat with the Huffington Post on Tuesday, National Republican Senatorial Committee chair John Cornyn (R-Tex.) implicitly acknowledged that Republicans are content with allowing some elements of Obama's reform into law. And they'd generally ignore those elements when taking the fight to their Democrat opponents as November approaches.

"There is non-controversial stuff here like the preexisting conditions exclusion and those sorts of things," the Texas Republican said. "Now we are not interested in repealing that. And that is frankly a distraction."

What the GOP will work to repeal, Cornyn explained, are provisions that result in "tax increases on middle class families," language that forced "an increase in the premium costs for people who have insurance now" and the "cuts to Medicare" included in the legislation.

The remarks seemingly put Cornyn at odds with the head of all Senate Republicans, Mitch McConnell (R-Ky), who signaled on Tuesday that he would support a legislative effort by fellow Republican lawmakers to fully repeal the health care bill. Cornyn himself had previously suggested that he'd support a full repeal campaign as well.

The senator's comments on Tuesday also included a push to restore funds for Medicare Advantage -- an odd political moment, considering the GOP's self-promotion as the party that trims the fat off entitlement programs.
What i think is interesting is that the Republicans had been unwilling to pass this legislation, branding it as completely detrimental to the fabric of America, but now some Republicans are slowly changing their story, agreeing that some parts of the bill are good, while others need to be removed entirely, but it seems that the GOP is going for an all or nothing strategy, this time, wanting the nothing to be any Democratic contribution, while taking ownership of the parts they like.

Considering the Republicans attacked the bill as being solely authored by Democrats with no Republican input, and then the Republicans saying they want to keep some parts, it sounds as if the bill had some bipartisan support. The Democrats like some points while the Republicans like others. Combine the two and you have the current bill. Congratulations Cornyn. You just admitted the GOP is one big fraud.

Does Dow Jones Rise Signal Economic Destruction?

The warnings were put out there by the conservatives against the impending health care legislation being signed into law. In the year leading up to Tuesday's momentous occasion, the right-wing had claimed the bill is bad for business, focusing on the hefty price tag attached while ignoring the benefits or the figures that point to a reduction in the deficit, but if the bill was really bad for business, then why has the Dow Jones Industrial Average risen the past couple days since the passage of the vote on Sunday in the House of Representatives? Considering the index was a marker for economic growth, especially following the recession during the Bush years, then what would the critics to Obama's health care have to say now? Why aren't investors running for the hills?

Maybe it is because ever since Obama had taken office, conservatives stopped believing in the Dow Jones, or any of the other indices, and started believing in their own brand of fuzzy math, which really consists of no mathematics at all, but just speculation of numbers. Polls mean something, but then they don't. The Congressional Budget Office is a sure sign of a bill's economic negative impact, but then they are nothing but partisan figures. The Dow Jones popped over a certain benchmark, but now it means completely nothing.

Now that the bill has been passed, and the stock market didn't plummet, what next? Last week, Larry Kudlow hosted Jim Cramer, in which Cramer stated that the bill was "the single biggest impediment to the stock market going higher," yet on the day following the passage of the bill, the Dow finished 43.91 points, and another 102.94 today, bringing a two day climb of 146.85. It doesn't seem that health care was that big of an "impediment" after all...

These warnings sound all too familiar. I believe that is because we heard them when Obama was elected, and there were warnings that a Democratic presidency would be bad for the market, but the Dow rebounded. In fact, every Republican prediction seems to have failed. Remember that overwhelming win coming for John McCain that the polls never showed because of some liberal bias? It never came, so I have come to the conclusion that when a prediction is made on the right, I should expect the opposite.

Reagan-Era Inequalities Finally Addressed

An article by David Leonhardt from The New York Times:
For all the political and economic uncertainties about health reform, at least one thing seems clear: The bill that President Obama signed on Tuesday is the federal government’s biggest attack on economic inequality since inequality began rising more than three decades ago.

Over most of that period, government policy and market forces have been moving in the same direction, both increasing inequality. The pretax incomes of the wealthy have soared since the late 1970s, while their tax rates have fallen more than rates for the middle class and poor.

The bill is the most sweeping piece of federal legislation since Medicare was passed in 1965. It aims to smooth out one of the roughest edges in American society — the inability of many people to afford medical care after they lose a job or get sick. And it would do so in large measure by taxing the rich.

A big chunk of the money to pay for the bill comes from lifting payroll taxes on households making more than $250,000. On average, the annual tax bill for households making more than $1 million a year will rise by $46,000 in 2013, according to the Tax Policy Center, a Washington research group. Another major piece of financing would cut government subsidies to private insurers in Medicare, ultimately affecting their executives and shareholders.

The benefits, meanwhile, flow mostly to households making less than four times the poverty level — $88,200 for a family of four people. Those without insurance in this group will become eligible to receive subsidies or to join Medicaid. (Many of the poor are already covered by Medicaid.) Insurance costs are also likely to drop for higher-income workers at small companies.

Finally, the bill will also reduce a different kind of inequality. In the broadest sense, insurance is meant to spread the costs of an individual’s misfortune — illness, death, fire, flood — across society. Since the late 1970s, though, the share of Americans with health insurance has shrunk. As a result, the gap between the economic well-being of the sick and the healthy has been growing, at virtually every level of the income distribution.
I thought this was an interesting article. Simply put, it states that since Reagan had taken office in the eighties, and ever since Republicans have adopted him as their spiritual savior, inequalities have raised, and while nobody is calling to eliminate disparities between the rich and the poor, the fact of the matter is the rich keep getting richer at the expense of the poor, and the whole system spirals out of control. This health care bill is supposed to correct that, or at least work towards correcting that. While the exact results cannot be immediately measured, one thing is certain with today's historic signing - change is on it's way.

Sure Republicans can have some gains at the polls this year, but so could Democrats. The real question is what future congresses will do to continue reform. Will Republicans make any attempt to help Americans, or will they continue with their anti-Obama obstructionist policies? Only time will tell, but I predict Americans will come to understand the benefits of the health bill and realize it's passage is for the benefit of all Americans.

ACORN To Disband

According to various news sources, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now has announced that they will formally disband on April 1st, due to funding issues. This comes six months after conservative activists released doctored videos of low level employees offering questionable advice (although the advice they had given is presumed to be taken out of context because of the conservative activists and their employer's refusal to release complete videos). Those events led to the U.S. Congress voting to prohibit ACORN from receiving federal funding, and the U.S. Census Bureau ending its partnership with the group, even though a federal judge ruled that Congress' act to eliminate funding for the group was unconstitutional. Regardless of the falsifications of information by conservative activists, the damage was already done and the organizations public image plummeted as a result of round the clock news coverage echoing talking points from pundits at Fox News.

Conservatives, on the other hand, don't believe news that ACORN is disbanding, and instead takes the position that the group is changing their name, but will conduct business as usual under different names, although these new organizations conservatives claim to be ACORN proxies are unaffiliated with the troubled organization. It appears conservatives have problem with these groups because they offer identical services to ACORN, and so by default, these groups are ACORN.

ACORN released this statement regarding their closing: "ACORN has faced a series of well-orchestrated, relentless, well-funded right wing attacks."

Hannah Giles, the whore in the conservative smear tapes, made a statement on Breitbart's propaganda homepage, Big Journalism, claiming that ACORN was a "legalized, and government supported, mafia."

"You’ve seen the product of the actions taken by James O’Keefe and me last summer."

First of all Hannah, the product you and O'Keefe offered was a one that would not hold legal water when the tape was deemed to have undergone "heavy editing," with the damning statements made by ACORN employees to have been taken out of context to appear more sinister. I wonder if what you had done - essentially destroying a company with libelous videotapes - carries a criminal offense (in addition to your illegal videotaping)...

Sarah Palin Reality Show?

According to various reports, Sarah Palin has successfully shopped a reality show to Discovery Communications. The show, called "Sarah Palin's Alaska," will follow the interesting characters, traditions and attractions of the northernmost state, with Palin acting as the host. Palin is expected to get $1 million per episode. I believe a program already existed around a similar premise: Northern Exposure

The Palin show was shopped around with reality show guru, Mark Burnett, but negotiations moved to cable channels when the big networks declined to buy the program. Palin's show would be a among good company with other nature-based shows like "American Loggers," "Man vs. Wild" and "Deadliest Catch," which to my knowledge are all filmed in Alaska.

Conservative David Frum Discusses Republican Failures

From an article by David Frum over at Frum Forum:
Conservatives and Republicans today suffered their most crushing legislative defeat since the 1960s.

It’s hard to exaggerate the magnitude of the disaster. Conservatives may cheer themselves that they’ll compensate for today’s expected vote with a big win in the November 2010 elections. But:

(1) It’s a good bet that conservatives are over-optimistic about November – by then the economy will have improved and the immediate goodies in the healthcare bill will be reaching key voting blocs.

(2) So what? Legislative majorities come and go. This healthcare bill is forever. A win in November is very poor compensation for this debacle now.

So far, I think a lot of conservatives will agree with me. Now comes the hard lesson:

A huge part of the blame for today’s disaster attaches to conservatives and Republicans ourselves.

At the beginning of this process we made a strategic decision: unlike, say, Democrats in 2001 when President Bush proposed his first tax cut, we would make no deal with the administration. No negotiations, no compromise, nothing. We were going for all the marbles. This would be Obama’s Waterloo – just as healthcare was Clinton’s in 1994.

Only, the hardliners overlooked a few key facts: Obama was elected with 53% of the vote, not Clinton’s 42%. The liberal block within the Democratic congressional caucus is bigger and stronger than it was in 1993-94. And of course the Democrats also remember their history, and also remember the consequences of their 1994 failure.

This time, when we went for all the marbles, we ended with none.

Could a deal have been reached? Who knows? But we do know that the gap between this plan and traditional Republican ideas is not very big. The Obama plan has a broad family resemblance to Mitt Romney’s Massachusetts plan. It builds on ideas developed at the Heritage Foundation in the early 1990s that formed the basis for Republican counter-proposals to Clintoncare in 1993-1994.

Barack Obama badly wanted Republican votes for his plan. Could we have leveraged his desire to align the plan more closely with conservative views? To finance it without redistributive taxes on productive enterprise – without weighing so heavily on small business – without expanding Medicaid? Too late now. They are all the law.

No illusions please: This bill will not be repealed. Even if Republicans scored a 1994 style landslide in November, how many votes could we muster to re-open the “doughnut hole” and charge seniors more for prescription drugs? How many votes to re-allow insurers to rescind policies when they discover a pre-existing condition? How many votes to banish 25 year olds from their parents’ insurance coverage? And even if the votes were there – would President Obama sign such a repeal?

We followed the most radical voices in the party and the movement, and they led us to abject and irreversible defeat.

There were leaders who knew better, who would have liked to deal. But they were trapped. Conservative talkers on Fox and talk radio had whipped the Republican voting base into such a frenzy that deal-making was rendered impossible. How do you negotiate with somebody who wants to murder your grandmother? Or – more exactly – with somebody whom your voters have been persuaded to believe wants to murder their grandmother?

I’ve been on a soapbox for months now about the harm that our overheated talk is doing to us. Yes it mobilizes supporters – but by mobilizing them with hysterical accusations and pseudo-information, overheated talk has made it impossible for representatives to represent and elected leaders to lead. The real leaders are on TV and radio, and they have very different imperatives from people in government. Talk radio thrives on confrontation and recrimination. When Rush Limbaugh said that he wanted President Obama to fail, he was intelligently explaining his own interests. What he omitted to say – but what is equally true – is that he also wants Republicans to fail. If Republicans succeed – if they govern successfully in office and negotiate attractive compromises out of office – Rush’s listeners get less angry. And if they are less angry, they listen to the radio less, and hear fewer ads for Sleepnumber beds.

So today’s defeat for free-market economics and Republican values is a huge win for the conservative entertainment industry. Their listeners and viewers will now be even more enraged, even more frustrated, even more disappointed in everybody except the responsibility-free talkers on television and radio. For them, it’s mission accomplished. For the cause they purport to represent, it’s Waterloo all right: ours.
While I disagree that this bill is a defeat for free-market economics, I would have to say that a conservative couldn't have written a better analysis of the situation. Republicans basically gambled away their chances to influence the legislation (even though the legislation largely resembles a Republican penned bill), and spent the past year aggravating their followers, through overheated rhetoric coming from various sources. Conservatives have been delusional about this legislation, thinking that the pendulum will swing and they can eventually repeal this bill, but as Frum simply states, how many votes can be garnered to reopen the "doughnut hole" or allow insurance companies to exclude people with pre-existing conditions?

Commentators like Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck had riled up Americans as much as they could, and the passage of legislation will not put an end to such dangerous rhetoric. On the day of the vote, protesters yelled racial epithets at Democratic congressmen, and acts of vandalism, where someone had used a pellet gun to shatter the glass door to Democratic U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ Tucson office, and considering the Homeland Security report and the constant goading by right-wing conservatives, I don't expect these kinds of acts to cease anytime soon, but the fact of the matter is health care is hear to stay.

Obama To Sign Health Care Bill

Literally, as I write this, Obama is addressing America and preparing to sign the much debated legislation into law. While Obama is doing so, Republicans are gearing up to fight the constitutionality of the law, but as Obama pointed out, not all changes are to take effect immediately, but as of this year, Americans will receive certain benefits, such as protection from being dropped should they get sick or eliminating lifetime caps. I can't wait for Republicans to campaign on that come November...

Bill McCollum Joins Fight Against Health Care Legality

Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum has joined in on the fight against the health care bill, claiming that the legislation infringes on each state's sovereignty. Upon Obama's signing of the bill, McCollum would then challenge the law.

"On behalf of the State of Florida and of the Attorneys General from South Carolina, Nebraska, Texas, Utah, Pennsylvania, Washington, North Dakota and South Dakota, if the President signs this bill into law, we will file a lawsuit to protect the rights and the interests of American citizens."

It is my opinion that McCollum is using this stunt to help boost support for his gubernatorial campaign by gaining credentials with the Tea Party crowd.

I have a proposal for Bill McCollum - as a driver, I don't feel the state should require me to purchase automobile insurance from private insurance companies should I plan on driving a car...

I know what the Republican strategy is now:

Wait for the Democrats to pass the bill and then challenge it. When it gets to the conservative leaning supreme court, the justices will strike down the law, hopefully marring the administration near the end of Obama's first term, fueling the GOP with some campaign material, helping make way for a Republican to ascend to office.

Lets just hope the higher courts find these types of cases frivolous and throw them out alongside the various "birther" and Tea Party cases.

From an article by Brenden Farrington at The Huffington Post:
Attorneys general from 13 states sued the federal government Tuesday, claiming the landmark health care overhaul bill is unconstitutional just seven minutes after President Barack Obama signed it into law.

The lawsuit was filed in Pensacola after the Democratic president signed the bill the House passed Sunday night.

"The Constitution nowhere authorizes the United States to mandate, either directly or under threat of penalty, that all citizens and legal residents have qualifying health care coverage," the lawsuit says.

Legal experts say it has little chance of succeeding because, under the Constitution, federal laws trump state laws.

Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum is taking the lead and is joined by attorneys general from South Carolina, Nebraska, Texas, Michigan, Utah, Pennsylvania, Alabama, South Dakota, Idaho, Washington, Colorado and Louisiana. All are Republicans except James "Buddy" Caldwell of Louisiana, who is a Democrat.

Some states are considering separate lawsuits and still others may join the multistate suit.

McCollum, who is running for governor, has pushed the lawsuit for several weeks, asking other GOP attorneys general to join him. He says the federal government cannot constitutionally require individuals to obtain health coverage. He is also arguing the bill will cause "substantial harm and financial burden" to the states.

South Carolina Attorney General Henry McMaster, who is running for governor in his state and has also pushed for a lawsuit, said Tuesday it was necessary to protect his state's sovereignty.

"A legal challenge by the states appears to be the only hope of protecting the American people from this unprecedented attack on our system of government," he said.

But Lawrence Friedman, a law professor who teaches constitutional law at the New England School of Law in Boston, said before the suit was filed that it has little chance of success. He said he can't imagine a scenario where a judge would stop implementation of the bill.

Some states are also looking at other ways to avoid participating in the overhaul. Virginia and Idaho have passed legislation aimed at blocking the bill's insurance requirement from taking effect, and the Republican-led Legislature in Florida is trying to put a constitutional amendment on the ballot to ask voters to exempt the state from the federal law's requirements. At least 60 percent of voters would have to approve.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Glenn Beck Distorts History, Attacks House-Passed Health Care Bill

Glenn Beck took to the airwaves today in full force to attack the House of Representative's passage of health care, and his show seemed to step up the hateful attacks and the blatant misrepresentations of American history. To put it plainly, Glenn Beck doesn't know his ass from a hole in the ground, and while he thinks he has a doctorate in all things holy, he is really an ignoramus who takes pride in agitating those who cannot make decisions for themselves.

Just consider this video posted on Media Matters of Glenn Beck's show:

I painstakingly watching this clip to make sure I did not miss a single word for the sole purpose of pointing out just how stupid Glenn Beck really is. On his program, Glenn Beck states that he wants to point out some comparisons and walks over to his video screen that is displaying the famous painting by Emanuel Leutze, Washington Crossing the Delaware. Beck then begins his obligatory praise of American greatness and the heroics of the Revolutionary War general and first American president, George Washington.

According to Beck the scholar, the Continental Army had nothing left, but lo and behold, George Washington pulled out his copy of Thomas Paine's newest pamphlet, The American Crisis.
These are times that try men's souls; the summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of his country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.
These words, Beck insists, spoken by a true American hero, rallied the troops to go on and defeat the "Navy Seals of the planet," later to pledge "their lives, their fortune, their sacred honor," but in all of Beck's theatrics, he seems to have missed some important facts, as usual, that would poke hole after hole in his beautiful tale of selfless bravery, which in his eyes most likely leads to the essence of modern day Reagan conservatism, blended with Christian overtones, of course.

First off, I will give Beck some credit. Thomas Paine's pamphlet probably did boost morale, but I think the infusion of 2000 troops under the command of General John Sullivan might have given an even greater morale boost. In addition to the added troops, much needed blankets arrived on Christmas Eve, which would have probably aided in the general well being of the soldiers leading up to their Christmas Day fight, which brings me to my second point.

George Washington did not battle the "Navy Seals" of his time. He battled what boiled down to a bunch of conscripts. The British Empire had hired German troops to fight against the colonies. These troops were known as Hessians, because a sizable amount had come from Hesse-Kassel. These troops were not mercenaries in the traditional sense of the word. They were not skilled soldiers for hire, but mainly conscripts, debtors, or even petty criminals. Some were even forced into military service through the practice of impressment. These troops were hardly the professionals Beck makes them out to be.

Beck also makes the Continental Army to seem like a group of volunteers who are fighting for principles, but in reality, they were troops, who voluntarily enlisted, but were paid for their services. The "liberal" textbooks that Beck hates so much has been instrumental in improving the image of these people. Who wants to hear that this nation was fought with paid soldiers?Now a bunch of principled volunteers? That's more like it...

While these troops were suffering from poor living conditions, I would like to point out a little side note that contributed to the lack of supplies. While locals were sympathetic to the Revolutionary War, they opted to make a profit, selling their goods to the British, because unlike the Continental Army that paid with highly inflated certificates, the British paid in pound stirling. I only mention this because of Glenn Beck's constant hawking of gold and warnings of the impending doom of hyperinflation.

Beck's honorable freedom fighters then conducted a surprise attack on the Navy Seals, planning to attack on December 26th, the day after Christmas, hoping to catch the British and Hessians off guard, which it did. I am reminded of the surprise attack by the National Liberation Front for South Vietnam and the People's Army of Vietnam against Republic of Vietnam, the United States, and their allies during the early morning hours of January 31, 1968, known as Tết Nguyên Đán, the first day of the year on a traditional lunar calendar and the most important Vietnamese holiday.

What does Glenn Beck's bastardized version of Washington and the Continental Army crossing the Delaware compare to? Nancy Pelosi holding a gavel.


Glenn Beck points to a painting of Lincoln delivering the Gettysburg Address. Beck states that the address was one of the most important deliveries in American history, aimed at uniting the nation, but in fact, while the Gettysburg Address did call for a more perfect union, it also called for the decrease in dominance of states' rights, which was one of the primary causes of the Civil War, or as Rep. Paul Broun calls it, "The Great War of Yankee Agression." If Glenn Beck remembered anything from history class, presuming he even attended, the Southern states wanted state sovereignty over the federal government so they could maintain their agricultural system based on slavery, among other things. Funny Beck references the Gettysburg Address when he is also constantly advocating states' rights, and what does Beck compare this address to? A picture of Nancy Pelosi holding a gavel.

Beck then attacks Pelosi, stating that Pelosi asserted "there was no real money exchanged for votes," but Beck claims that is false, insinuating the Speaker engaged in acts of bribery to pass health care legislation.

Next on Beck's parade of pictures was the Battle of Iwo Jima, which according to Glenn, soldiers fought and died over an "idea," but I was certain it was taken because the island's possession would grant American forces a strategic advantage over Japan, which, in the most simplest terms, would hopefully lead to the end of the war. What does this compare to? A picture of Nancy Pelosi, this time walking with he gavel.

Beck then talks about the first man on the moon. Not really sure how this compares, but he then transitions to the civil rights movement, showing a picture of the Greensboro sit-ins, pointing out that African Americans refused to get up, and asking what the Democrats have done. I guess refusing to allow people to die at the hands of the insurance industry or trying to protect people from financial ruin because of insurance practices isn't really important.

And what comes next? The conservative answer to everything - September 11th. He invokes the name of Todd Beamer, a passenger aboard United Airlines Flight 93 who attacked hijackers with fellow passengers, but dare he mention the ignored memo by the Bush administration containing a two-paged section called "Bin Ladin Determined to Strike in US." Had the warning been acknowledged, maybe Todd Beamer would have been alive today, but then Glenn Beck wouldn't have a dead American to claim as his own propaganda tool.

What does Glenn Beck compare the passage of the health care bill to? Pearl Harbor. St. Valentines Day Massacre. Neville Chamberlain and appeasement. Jimmy Carter. The Hindenburg. Glenn Beck calls the bill historically corrupt and historically partisan, but Beck has time and time again proven to be historically wrong.