Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Shrill caustic harpie Michele Bachmann is so excited to destroy any rare ecosystem at all with her maniacal dream of drilling gaping holes into the country’s environmental preserves that she (predictably) forgot to check her Everglades National Park treasure map to see whether there was actually any oil buried under her latest senseless target to justify the pretext.
Whose fault is that? The terrible godless scientists, as usual. University of South Florida geologist Dr. Albert Hine notes, “There is no known evidence that there is a significant hydrocarbon deposit beneath the Everglades.” To which Michele said: “The radical environmentalists put up one road block after another to prevent accessing American energy.” Just because there isn’t any oil there doesn’t mean Michelle Bachmann can’t drill for oil there. God told her to! READ MORE »
Krauthammer Twists Facts To Claim Obama Is Bypassing Congress
Charles Krauthammer distorted facts to claim that when President Obama "doesn't succeed in Congress, he goes under the radar" to enact harmful regulations. Krauthammer supported this claim with the inaccurate assertion that the administration has "essentially enact[ed] the DREAM Act" and the dubious suggestion that new EPA regulations will "shut down about 10 percent of coal-generating electricity in the United States." Read More
Krauthammer Urges GOP To Attack Obama Using Ridiculous Apology Tour Line
Fox News contributor Charles Krauthammer has urged Republican presidential candidates to campaign on the claim that President Obama "apologizes for America," saying "it's a line of attack that Republicans can easily use on the president and ought to use on the president." In fact, the claim has been called "ridiculous" and "not borne out by the facts," and Republicans have been criticized for trying to "invent a storyline that does not appear to exist." Read More
"Federal Family" Reunion: Obama Admin's Use Of Phrase Isn't New
Led by journalists at Fox News, media figures have mocked the Obama administration for using the phrase "federal family" to refer to federal agencies involved in Hurricane Irene relief efforts, suggesting that the administration invented the phrase as a "euphemism" for "federal government." However, "federal family" is not a new phrase; it dates back to at least George H.W. Bush's administration and was regularly used by members of George W. Bush's administration when discussing disaster relief. Read More
Conservative Media Predictably Butcher Study Of Cosmic Rays
Fox and other conservative media claim that CERN's study of cosmic rays "concluded that it's the sun, not human activity," causing global warming. In fact, at this point the research "actually says nothing about a possible cosmic-ray effect on clouds and climate," according to the lead author, and it certainly doesn't refute human-induced global warming. Read More
Limbaugh Pushes Myth That Unemployment Benefits Have "No Stimulative Effect"
Rush Limbaugh claimed that "there is no stimulative effect of unemployment benefits." But economists agree that unemployment benefits do have a strong effect on job creation and growth. Read More
Tuesday, August 30, 2011
Last summer, Fox News anchor Bill O'Reilly came to believe that his wife was romantically involved with another man. Not just any man, but a police detective in the Long Island community they call home. So O'Reilly did what any concerned husband would do: He pulled strings to get the police department's internal affairs unit to investigate one of their own for messing with the wrong man's lady.
We reported in June that Bill O'Reilly and his wife of 15 years Maureen McPhilmy O'Reilly seem to be on the outs. Last summer she purchased a separate home under her own name, and transferred her voter registration to the new address, while O'Reilly kept his registration current at their old address. As per usual, Fox News did not comment on the situation at the time. Since then we've learned what happened, and it's like Bridges of Madison County meets Copland. When confronted with a potentially disloyal spouse, O'Reilly reacted by—not unlike his boss Roger Ailes—treating his local police department like a private security force and trying to damage one cop's career for the sin of crossing Bill O'Reilly.
Richard Harasym is a 23-year veteran of the Nassau County Police Department who, as of last summer, had been a detective in the elite internal affairs unit for 12 years. His job was to catch crooked cops, root out corruption, and police the police. But at some point during the summer of 2010, his commanding officer, Inspector Neil Delargy, called him into his office with a highly unorthodox assignment: Harasym was to launch an investigation into a fellow officer based not on what he had done, but on who he was dating....................
Christine O'Donnell booted from speakers list at Palin Iowa Tea Party event, as Tea Party leaders struggle to come up with reason for her defenestration.
— Josh Marshall
Right-Wing Media Distort Blog Post To Bash Obama Nominee Krueger Over VAT
Conservative media have attacked Alan Krueger, President Obama's nominee to head the President's Council of Economic Advisers, for purportedly advocating a "value added tax." But the 2-year-old blog post they cite stated that he did so "only as a suggestion for serious discussion," adding that he was "not sure it is the best way to go." Read More
"Socialist Day": Right-Wing Media Again Attack Obama Over 9-11 Day Of Service
In the weeks before the 10th anniversary of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, right-wing media figures have renewed their attacks on President Obama for calling for a National Day of Service on September 11. However, in 2009, a majority of Republican senators voted to establish a 9-11 National Day of Service, and President Bush routinely called on Americans to volunteer on September 11. Read More
News Corp. Outlets Distort Clean Air Act
News Corporation's Wall Street Journal and Fox News claimed that President Obama could issue an executive order to delay several EPA regulations on power plants. In fact, the exemption authority applies to only one of the proposed regulations and requires that the control technology be unavailable and that the rule threaten national security. Neither of these criteria is met. Read More
A crowd of four teabaggers showed up to her book signing in Naples, Florida to meet her, plus one guy who asked her to sign a copy of his devil worship handbook, which she refused to do. (Haha, we like this guy.) 2012 preseason grifter tryouts are coming to a close, and we don’t see her making the cut. Maybe it’s time to just go back to selling vibrators and sorcery manuals on Amazon, Christine? READ MORE »
Friday, August 26, 2011
Fox "Gets Conspiratorial" About Warren Buffett's Bank Of America Investment
Fox is baselessly speculating that Warren Buffett conspired to invest in Bank of America as a political favor to President Obama. But the investment follows Buffett's history of investing in banking companies; Buffett told reporters the investment was his idea; and the investment is reportedly a "guaranteed profit" for Buffett. Read More
Fox News: Without Clergy At 9-11 Anniversary It's "A Victory For The Terrorists"
Fox News is up in arms that members of the clergy will not be included in 9-11 memorial ceremonies at ground zero. But the policy is nothing new: it's a continuation of the same practice that has been in place for past memorials. Read More
Right-Wing Media Distort Goolsbee's Accurate Statement On Disasters And Economy
Right-wing media distorted recent comments by former Obama economic adviser Austan Goolsbee by claiming he "blame[d]" the "slowing economy" on the recent East Coast earthquake. In fact, Goolsbee causally mentioned the earthquake at the end of a list of events which experts agree had a negative impact on the economy. Read More
Red State Falsely Claims NLRB Lacks Authority To Issue Rule On Labor Notification
An August 25 Red State post falsely claimed the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) "skirt[ed] Congress" by issuing a recent rule requiring employers to notify employees of their labor rights. In fact, the NLRB has legal authority to issue rules which regulate employers under the National Labor Relations Act. Read More
Will Wash. Times Editor Correct These Egregious Climate Falsehoods?
The new editor of the Washington Times vowed to ensure accuracy at the paper; however, a recent column by the Times' Jeffrey Kuhner contained several significant falsehoods about climate change, which Kuhner claims is "the greatest hoax of our time." Read More
Fox Ran With Completely Baseless Accusation That Immigrants Set AZ Wildfire
In June, Fox News repeatedly promoted the accusation that undocumented immigrants had set the Monument wildfire that was raging in Arizona at the time. However, the Justice Department recently announced that it has charged two U.S. citizens in connection with the state's worst-ever wildfire. Read More
B-b-but poor people love drugs! No, Rick, fancy bankers love drugs, especially the expensive ones. Haven’t you ever seen Wall Street? The average $134 welfare check from the state of Florida isn’t even enough to maintain a glue-sniffing habit. So let’s see, how much has this little experiment in stereotyping saved the state? READ MORE »
Thursday, August 25, 2011
The Founding Fathers Believed in Redistributing Wealth -- Why Do Tea Party Heroes Like Perry and Bachmann Vilify It?
American conservatives have lurched so far to the right they're now trying to re-litigate questions about the role of government that have been settled for hundreds of years.
The redistribution of wealth is a perfect example. Listening to today's Republicans, one would think it is some kind of pernicious and un-American leftist principle – an idea only embraced by foreigners, socialists and assorted freaks.
During the waning days of the 2008 campaign, John McCain jumped on Barack Obama telling “Joe the Plumber” on the campaign trail that we need to “spread the wealth around” a little bit. It became the heart of the case that the decidedly centrist Obama is a “socialist.” A feverish video blaring the headline, "Obama Bombshell Audio Uncovered. He wants to Radically Reinterpret the Constitution to Redistribute Wealth!!" appeared on Youtube soon after. The offering, from a conservative blog called Naked Emperor News, promised: "This video exposes the radical beneath the rhetoric." (As the Washington Post's “Fact-Checker” noted, “On closer inspection, the 'bombshell audio' turns out to be a rather wonkish, somewhat impenetrable, discussion of the Supreme Court under Earl Warren.”)
Last year, after BP's DeepWater Horizon rig blew up, polluting the Gulf of Mexico, Rep Michele Bachmann, R-Minnesota, slammed the president for pushing the oil giant to establish a fund to pay claims to Gulf residents impacted by the disaster. "The president just called for creating a fund that would be administered by outsiders, which would be more of a redistribution-of-wealth fund," said Bachmann. “If I was the head of BP,” she added, “I would let the signal get out there -- 'We're not going to be chumps, and we're not going to be fleeced.'"
The common response to this kind of blather is to point out that conservatives like Bachmann are absolutely in love with policies that redistribute wealth, as long as they shift it from working people upward to the investor class. Whether we're talking about trade policy, labor rules that make it difficult for workers to organize or shifting the tax burden from corporations to the backs of American families, the results of the right's long class war from above are plain to see.
The top 1 percent takes in more than twice the share of national income today than they did 30 years ago. Paul Buchheit, a professor with City Colleges of Chicago, crunched some numbers using IRS data and found that “if middle- and upper-middle-class families had maintained the same share of American productivity that they held in 1980, they would be making an average of $12,500 more per year.” At the same time, top earners pay far less in taxes than they did when Ronald Reagan was in office.
That's certainly a valid and factually accurate argument, but it misses a larger point: conservatives are demagoguing what political scientists call a “defining function” of the modern nation-state. Redistributing wealth is every bit as integral to what governments are supposed to do as defending a country's borders or maintaining a functional judicial system. Every government, whether it leans right, left or somewhere in between, redistributes wealth, and they do it constantly.
The right portrays wealth redistribution to the denizens of Fox Nation as the government “stealing” the cash of hard-working Americans and then sending checks to the “undeserving” poor. But “transfer payments” are just one form of wealth redistribution, and in this country, they make up a tiny fraction of the whole.
Every time a public road is built, a forest fire is extinguished or publicly funded research unearths a new medical innovation, wealth is also redistributed. As long as we don't make people pay their exact share of the cost of laying that road, extinguishing that fire, or researching that therapy, wealth is being redistributed. In rough terms, our military budget costs every tax-payer in the United States about $4,000 per year. But not everyone pays $4,000 or more in federal taxes – every year, the Pentagon budget represents a significant redistribution of our national wealth. But when conservatives say they hate redistributing wealth, they're not talking about cutting military spending.
Like every country, we've been redistributing wealth since the birth of our republic. In his book, Fed Up!: Our Fight to Save America From Washington, Texas governor and newly minted presidential candidate Rick Perry wrote that the 16th Amendment, which gave birth to the federal income tax, was “the great milestone on the road to serfdom” because it represented “the birth of wealth redistribution in the United States.” That's the kind of ahistoric gibberish that's become typical of the far-right these days.
In reality, we've actually been redistributing the wealth since before the founding of the nation. The American colonies imposed “faculty taxes” – which combined the characteristics of income and property taxes – on their citizens. And after the country was founded, we never stopped redistributing the wealth – while federal taxes on income came about with the ratification of the 16th Amendment in 1913, the government collected taxes, mostly in the form of tariffs, from the very beginning. By 1796, 14 of the 15 states then in existence levied property taxes; Delaware also taxed any income people derived from their property.
These taxes financed federal and state governments – they redistributed wealth from property owners and importers to the population as a whole. So it's a simple, indisputable fact that, like Barack Obama and Ronald Reagan, the Founding Fathers so revered by the Tea Partiers and politicians like Bachmann and Perry were very much in favor of wealth redistribution.
Given that it's a defining function of the nation-state as we know it, in a country with a sane discourse, taking place among an informed populace, we'd only be debating whose redistributive policies have what effect on our political economy. But that's a discussion conservatives don't want to have. They don't want to oppose popular programs like Medicare on mere ideological grounds. So, like deficit hysteria or blanket claims that every progressive program is unconstitutional, they're trying to avoid that debate by vilifying the bedrock concept behind modern government – taxing the population based on what people can afford to pay, and providing public goods that are available to all, regardless of their fortunes.
Right-Wing Media Ignore Bush Effect On Debt To Suggest Obama Criticism Is Hypocrisy
Right-wing media have seized on a 2008 video of then-candidate Barack Obama, in which he criticized President Bush for adding $4 trillion to the debt, to accuse Obama of hypocrisy because $4 trillion in debt has also accumulated since Obama took office. However, this ignores the fact that the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projected $1.2 trillion in deficit before Obama took office -- based entirely on Bush's actions and economic conditions -- and that wars, policies, and the economic downturn that all began under Bush continue to inflate the debt. Read More
Fox's Megyn Kelly Wrong On Impact Of EPA's Coal Regulations
Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly reported the claim that "a fifth of America's electricity generating capacity is about to be taken offline" due to Environmental Protection Agency limits on pollution from coal plants. In fact, this statement vastly overstates even the worst-case scenarios pushed by industry groups, which are themselves based on assumptions that the Congressional Research Service has called into question. Read More
Note To Cal Thomas: Virginia's Budget Surplus Was Made Possible By Stimulus Funding And "Budget Tricks"
Citing Virginia's $500 million budget surplus, Washington Examiner columnist Cal Thomas claimed that the federal government should "emulate" Virginia Governor McDonnell's fiscal policies. In fact, under McDonnell, the state of Virginia received more than $2.7 billion in funds through the federal Recovery Act, and even The Wall Street Journal has pointed out that Virginia used "budget tricks to make the surplus appear larger than it really is." Read More
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Obama Derangement Syndrome: Earthquake Edition
Right-wing media attacked President Obama for happening to be on a golf course at Martha's Vineyard when a magnitude 5.8 earthquake rattled much of the East Coast. From attacking Obama over such things as putting Dijon mustard on a burger to using environmentally friendly eggs at the White House Easter Egg Roll, the right-wing media have a long history of these absurd attacks. Read More
Right-Wing Media Freak Out Over Decision To Deport Convicted Felons
Following the Obama administration's decision to postpone the deportation of certain undocumented immigrants in order to prioritize "convicted felons" and "public safety threats," right-wing media have reacted by resorting to fearmongering, inflammatory rhetoric, and falsehoods. Read More
Just Plane False: NY Times Columnist Attacks NLRB For Taking Action Over Boeing's Alleged Union Busting
New York Times op-ed columnist Joe Nocera pushed a series of falsehoods about the National Labor Relations Board case against Boeing to baselessly attack Democrats' commitment to job creation. Read More
PPP: Iowa Becoming Perry Country As Bachmann Falls
As TPM reported Tuesday morning, Rep. Michele Bachmann's (R-MN) time as a legitimate contender for the GOP presidential nomination could be up, as a new survey from Public Policy Polling (D) shows her the third choice of Republican voters in Iowa, a state essential to her campaign. The new horserace with the full announced GOP field shows Tex. Gov. Rick Perry at the top with 22 percent, former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney at 19 percent, Bachmann at 18, and Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) at 16 percent.There's no way around it -- Bachmann's popularity has taken a huge hit over the last two months, as shown by the PPP numbers. In June, Bachmann enjoyed a favorable/unfavorable rating of 53 - 16. That statistic is now 47 - 35, still positive, but not particularly high considering these are GOP voters. ............
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
CBS' Mark Knoller Whitewashes Bush From 2009 Deficit
CBS News White House correspondent Mark Knoller whitewashed former President Bush's role in creating $1.2 trillion in deficit for the 2009 fiscal year, instead blaming President Obama for every penny of debt increase since "the day Mr. Obama took office." But the Congressional Budget Office had already projected $1.2 trillion in deficit before Obama took office, based entirely on Bush's actions and economic conditions. Read More
Fox Won't Let Facts Stop Its S&P Conspiracy Theories
Fox & Friends pushed a baseless theory that the Obama administration is "bullying" Standard & Poor's (S&P) and getting "revenge" over its downgrade of U.S. credit by "pushing" S&P president Deven Sharma "out the door" and conducting an investigation into S&P's ratings of mortgage-backed securities. But Sharma has been planning his departure since at least the end of 2010, and the Financial Times reported that his resignation is "unrelated to the downgrade"; further, the Department of Justice investigation is related to S&P's role in the financial crisis and began before S&P issued its downgrade. Read More
Glenn Beck Brings His Anti-Gay Friends To Israel Rally
Glenn Beck's "Restoring Courage" rally in Israel features religious figures who espouse anti-gay bigotry. Read More
Fox Mangles Facts To Attack Nevada Stimulus Grant
A FoxNews.com article stated that a stimulus grant in Nevada of $490,000 created only 1.72 jobs, but according to the Nevada Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, only $213,682.77 of the stimulus grant money has been received. Additionally, FoxNews.com's own article explains that the money is helping to pay the salaries of individuals already employed by the Nevada Division of Forestry, as well as a variety of public-works projects. Read More
Psst ... Bolling ... "Class Warfare" Is "Emanating" Out Of Fox News
Fox News host Eric Bolling claimed that "class warfare" is "emanating out of the White House." In fact, it is Fox that has repeatedly engaged in "class warfare." Read More
Staffers at the Houston office of GOP Rep. John Culberson (R) must have gotten quite a surprise on Thursday when they looked outside to see more than 100 constituents gathered for a funeral. But this wasn’t a typical funeral — these Texans were gathered to mourn the loss of good, high-wage jobs in their state.
Mourners circled around a mock casket for “Good Jobs,” and Taps played in the background while Rev. Louis Dorsey eulogized. “I used to be middle class!” one woman cried out during the ceremony. Constituents also chanted “Hey, hey, what do you say? How many jobs have you killed today?”
DORSEY: My brothers and my sisters, we are assembled here today to mourn the passing of the jobs in Texas. Jobs died because of a steady influx of minimum wage jobs, tax breaks for corporations and the super-rich, and the policies of politicians like Rep. John Culberson..............
Maybe her legislative agenda or her hair appointments or just some random brown guy always named José? NO, GUESS HARDER. No? Oh fine, it’s Barack Obama causing all problems, as usual. “I’m working away, trying to get this all done on the weekends and late at night, trying to get it done, and all of a sudden, here we go: he starts it all up again,” she told a reporter. What’s Obama doing, calling her on the phone every night to leave sexy messages reminding her she looks like John McCain in drag? READ MORE »
Monday, August 22, 2011
It’s the 2012 Republican field’s first real moment in the foreign policy spotlight — the dilemma over how to respond to the apparent success of President Barack Obama’s intervention in Libya.
So far, the strategy for nearly all the candidates is: don’t.
For the most part, the GOP has offered only a slow and muted response to the collapse of Muammar Qadhafi’s regime, which seems to spell the end of a dictator who has plagued the United States for decades.
The only candidate to lay out a clear position on whether the NATO-led Libya mission was a good idea is former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, who said through a spokesman that he still believes the mission was “not core to our national security interest.”
The others who have spoken have issued only carefully parsed statements, applauding Qadhafi’s demise but stopping short of passing judgment on the months-long mission that led to his downfall............
Republican presidential hopefuls have been offering their reactions to the fall of Qaddafi’s regime, giving praise for many involved save for — perhaps predictably — President Obama, who many of them attacked for endorsing the NATO intervention earlier this year.
Rick Santorum: “Ridding the world of the likes of Gadhafi is a good thing, but this indecisive President had little to do with this triumph.”
It’s hard to see how that statement bears any resemblance to reality, considering that many in Santorum’s own party attacked Obama for doing too much in Libya. In fact, Santorum himself accused Obama of “dithering” and”do[ing] nothing” in Libya in April, saying Obama “really missed an opportunity.”
Mitt Romney: “The world is about to be rid of Muammar el-Qaddafi, the brutal tyrant who terrorized the Libyan people. It is my hope that Libya will now move toward a representative form of government that supports freedom, human rights, and the rule of law. As a first step, I call on this new government to arrest and extradite the mastermind behind the bombing of Pan Am 103, Abdelbaset Mohmed Ali al-Megrahi, so justice can finally be done.”
In March, Romney accused Obama of being “weak” with the Libya intervention, suggesting Obama’s foreign policy “can’t prevail.” “He calls for the removal of Moammar Qaddafi but then conditions our action on the directions we get from the Arab League and United Nations,” Romney added. In a blog post for National Review in April, Romney warned of “mission creep” and approvingly quoted former U.N. ambassador John Bolton, who Romney said “rightly notes that Obama has set himself up for ‘massive strategic failure’ by demanding Qaddafi’s ouster.” Of course, Obama’s approach did “prevail.”
Rick Perry: “The crumbling of Muammar Ghadafi’s reign, a violent, repressive dictatorship with a history of terrorism, is cause for cautious celebration. The lasting impact of events in Libya will depend on ensuring rebel factions form a unified, civil government that guarantees personal freedoms, and builds a new relationship with the West where we are allies instead of adversaries.”
Perry didn’t speak publicly about the Libya intervention specifically, but has repeatedly attacked Obama’s foreign policy, saying in his presidential campaign announcement, “[Obama] is an abject failure in his constitutional duty” to protect America. “His foreign policy seems to be based on the alienation of traditional allies,” Perry added. Of course, it was the traditional American allies of the U.K. and France with whom U.S. primarily conducted the Libya intervention.
Much as with the killing of Bin Laden, the GOP candidates seem to be unwilling to give even a modicum of congratulations to their political opponent, even on a matter of national security that seemingly every politician in the U.S. should support. Instead, Romney and others are already pivoting to demanding the extradition of the Lockerbee bomber, which would appear to be a means to put Obama back on the defensive when he should riding high, even it means threatening Libya’s fragile transitional regime with outside pressure.
Michele Bachmann weighed in, also refusing to credit the administration or NATO: “I opposed U.S. military involvement in Libya and I am hopeful that our intervention there is about to end. I also hope the progress of events in Libya will ultimately lead to a government that honors the rule of law, respects the people of Libya and their yearning for freedom, and one that will be a good partner to the United States and the international community.”
Glenn Beck's History Of Using The Holocaust To Advance His Political Agenda
Glenn Beck has repeatedly been criticized for his wildly inappropriate use of Holocaust and Nazi imagery to attack his opponents.
Wash. Times Continues Its Fervent Race-Baiting Attacks
In an August 19 editorial titled, "Obama: Whites need not apply," The Washington Times declared that a recent executive order signed by President Obama to promote diversity in the federal workforce "will intensify programs that discriminate against white Americans." Indeed, The Washington Times' opinion pages have a history of vitriolic race-baiting attacks on Obama and his administration. Read More
Restoring Hyperbole: Beck's Jerusalem Rally Will Be "A Planet Course-Altering Event"
Much as he did with his "Restoring Honor" rally last year, Beck is hyping this week's "Restoring Courage" rally in Jerusalem with outrageous hyperbole and overblown religious rhetoric. According to Beck, the rally "could be miraculous," and will be a "life-changing, life-altering event" where "there's a possibility a pillar of fire appears."
Conservative Media Edit Out Government's Role In Texas Economy
Conservative pundits have attributed economic growth and job creation in Texas to the success of conservative policies like low taxes and small government. But government has played a significant role in Texas' recent economic record: Federal spending helped balance the state budget, and strict regulation helped shield it from the housing bubble. Read More
Study: Tea Party Members Cultural Dispositions ‘Authoritarianism, Fear Of Change, Libertarianism And Nativism’
What are the four primary characteristics most associated with those Americans sympathetic to the Tea Party? "Authoritarianism, ontological insecurity (fear of change), libertarianism and nativism." So says one of the many findings in a study presented to the American Sociological Association on Monday.
The academic study, Cultures of the Tea Party, purports to break down the cultural attitudes of Tea Party loyalists, through a mix of polling data and interviews with tea partiers at a gathering in eastern North Carolina. The study's lead author is Andrew J. Perrin, an associate professor of sociology at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, with co-authors Steven J. Tepper, an associate professor of sociology at Vanderbilt University, Neal Caren, an assistant professor of sociology at UNC, and Sally Morris, a doctoral student in sociology at UNC.
The study used polling of North Carolina and Tennessee, conducted by Public Policy Polling (D) in the Summer of 2010, and determined the cultural dispositions by measuring the responses of tea partiers to set questions. After PPP surveyed over 2,000 voters who were sympathetic to the Tea Party, researchers then reinterviewed almost 600 in the fall of 2010. Those interviews included everything from personality based queries like "Would you say it is more important that a child obeys his parents, or that he is responsible for his own actions?" to more political ones, like "Do you think immigrants who came into this country illegally but pay taxes and have not been arrested should be given the opportunity to become permanent legal residents?" The study also incudes interviews and short responses with ten participants at a Tea Party rally in Washington, NC.
"American voters sympathetic to the Tea Party movement reflect four primary cultural and political beliefs more than other voters do: authoritarianism, libertarianism, fear of change, and negative attitudes toward immigrants and immigration," a statement accompanying the report reads, as the findings themselves point out a few disconnects between the what self-described members of the Tea Party say and their actual policy stances.
The report quotes one Tea Party activist as saying, "We don't want the big government that's taking over everything we worked so hard for...the government's becoming too powerful... we want to take back what our Constitution said. You read the Constitution. Those values - that's what we stand for," but that sentiment is not reflected in the polling data from the surveys. From the report:
In our follow-up poll, 84% of those positive towards the TPM [Tea Party members] said the Constitution should be interpreted "as the Founders intended," compared to only 34% of other respondents. Other respondents were also three times more likely not to have an opinion on the issue, highlighting the salience of the question for TPM supporters. Support for Constitutional principles is not absolute. TPM supporters were twice as likely than others to favor a constitutional amendment banning flag burning; many also support efforts to overturn citizenship as defined by the Fourteenth Amendment. That TPM supporters simultaneously want to honor the founders' Constitution and alter that same document highlights the political flexibility of the cultural symbols they draw on.
The TPM supporters' inconsistent views of the Constitution suggests that their nostalgic embrace of the document is animated more by a network of cultural associations than a thorough commitment to the original text. In fact, such inconsistencies around policy, whether on the right or left, highlight what many sociologists see as the growing importance of culture in political life. The Constitution - and Tea Party more generally - take on heightened symbolic value and come to represent a 'way of life' or a "world view" rather than a specific set of laws or policy positions.
Why pay more taxes when you can eliminate giant swaths of the government completely? “Do we really need an energy department or an education department at all?” writes Golub. No! We do not need heating or spelling! What else should we eliminate? So many things!
Here’s another: Golub in 2010 lobbied to do away with executive salary caps at taxpayer-owned trash heaps like AIG, where Golub was chairman after the bailout. Now there’s a decent use of public money! What else? READ MORE »
Earlier this month, billionaire investor Warren Buffett wrote in a New York Times op-ed that Congress has been “coddling the super-rich,” and called for higher taxes on millionaires and billionaires. “While the poor and middle class fight for us in Afghanistan, and while most Americans struggle to make ends meet, we mega-rich continue to get our extraordinary tax breaks,” he wrote. “My friends and I have been coddled long enough by a billionaire-friendly Congress. It’s time for our government to get serious about shared sacrifice.”
Several Republicans have scoffed at Buffet’s proposal, including the multimillionaire Mitt Romney. However, in an interview with Fox 4 News, multimillionaire Henry Bloch — co-founder and chairman emeritus of the tax preparation company H&R Block and a registered Republican — said that “the wealthy have a debt to this country. They can afford to pay it and they should.” He added that the Republican push to protect tax breaks for millionaires in order to promote job creation is “baloney“:
“That’s so baloney,” Bloch said. “Rich people don’t create jobs. Companies create jobs.”…”You probably pay a higher rate than I do… and yet my income is probably many times what yours is,” Bloch said to FOX 4 Reporter Rob Low......................
When it was reported that a Canadian company built the shells of the buses commissioned by the Secret Service and inaugurated on President Obama’s bus tour of the Midwest, the right-wing media saw an opening to attack the president.
Fox News and Fox Nation eagerly repeated the story, as did The Blaze. NewsBusters asked if Obama was “saving or creating manufacturing jobs... in Canada.” National Review Online snarked, “Well, maybe Canada is one of his 57 states?” Hot Air’s Ed Morrissey declared that “buying two buses from a Canadian company while promising to create jobs in the US is the worst kind of optics imaginable.” Rush Limbaugh and Donald Trump joined in the attack.
Missing from all of this Obama-bashing: any curiosity about why the Secret Service would use Canadian-built bus shells for the two vehicles it purchased, which were bought and outfitted to Secret Service specifications by an American company. (One of the buses will be provided to the Republican presidential nominee for campaigning during the 2012 election.)
The Los Angeles Times reported that the buses have “been in the works for years” and that:
When the Secret Service decided to order custom-made buses, it wanted a particular model only available from Quebec-based manufacturer Prevost, said Ed Donovan, a spokesman for the agency.
"The vehicle had to support the weight of security and communication equipment that we had," Donovan said in an interview. "Our understanding was that that was the only model that could do it."
The Times also noted that President Bush rode on a bus from the same Canadian company for a 2004 campaign tour.
So it appears the Secret Service had a good reason for going with a Canadian-built bus, and that Obama is not the first president to have used buses from the same company. Just don’t expect to hear about that from the right-wing media.
Team McHamBiscuits nonetheless have an important nonsense neoconservative reflection on the whole saga: “we regret that this success was so long in coming due to the failure of the United States to employ the full weight of our airpower.”
So sorry! to Libya, that the U.S. was not more involved in your conflict. U.S. military intervention in foreign conflicts is historically a top choice for fast conflict resolution, so really just a huge apology if Libya feels it missed out on that. Can John McCain still get some of Libya’s money, though? READ MORE »
Rick Perry: Just because I wrote a book calling for privatizing Social Security doesn't mean I'm for privatizing Social Security.
Also, the Perry campaign won't say whether he still favors repealing the 16th Amendment, which sanctified the income tax, as he proposed in the book.
— David Kurtz
Having only 3,009 square feet is like a mugging on Christmas, which Mittens says is an “inadequate” situation for America and for Mitt Romney’s needs. An 11,062-square-foot mansion sounds more like basic human dignity. Let’s see a picture of his current tiny hobo shack, after the jump! READ MORE »
He has committed identity theft by using a Social Security Number not issued to him. He has committed a felony by forging his Selective Service registration
If Congress and federal law enforcement agencies will not abide by the Constitution and the rule of law, then ordinary Americans will go to Washington, D.C. and drag that criminal out of our White House.
We will not allow Barack Hussein Obama to contest the 2012 election.
According to the Constitution, he has never been eligible for the office of President.More...
Sunday, August 21, 2011
Why 'Constitutional Conservatives' Like Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry Have No Respect for the Constitution
A great irony of our political discourse is that those who describe themselves as “constitutional conservatives” display not only habitual ignorance of what our founding documents proscribe, but also show blatant scorn for the most important principle they enshrine: the separation of powers.
For much of our history, people across the political spectrum laid competing claims to being the true champions of the United States constitution, but in recent years that ground has largely been ceded to the far-right. When the Tea Partiers stormed into Congress, one of their first acts was a bit of political theater arranged by Tea Party caucus leader Michele Bachmann, R-Minnesota: reading the Constitution (with the embarrassing bits edited out) aloud on the floor of the House.
In her book, The Whites of Their Eyes: The Tea Party’s Revolution and the Battle Over American History, historian Jill Lepore writes that the problem with the Tea Partiers’ claimed fealty to the Constitution is that it's a form of religion rather than analysis. “Originalism,” Lepore writes, “looks like history, but it is not; it’s historical fundamentalism, which is to history what astrology is to astronomy, what alchemy is to chemistry, what creationism is to evolution.”
But fundamentalism requires a strict adherence to a sacred document, and that's where today's constitutional conservatives go off the rails. As I wrote back in May, “constitutional conservatives,” once in power, have offered any number of legislative proposals which, on their face, are blatantly unconstitutional. Bachmann – who is obsessed with lightbulbs -- herself proposed a bill on their regulation that would have required Congress to usurp the executive branch's enumerated powers in obvious violation of settled constitutional law.
The reason these constitutional fundamentalists have such disregard for the constitution is that they refuse to acknowledge the enumerated powers in Article Three, which established the judicial branch and gave it exclusive authority to mediate conflicts that arise between the states, and between the states and the federal government. Here is section two of Article Three:
The judicial Power shall extend to all Cases, in Law and Equity, arising under this Constitution, the Laws of the United States, and Treaties made, or which shall be made, under their Authority;—to all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls;—to all Cases of admiralty and maritime Jurisdiction;—to Controversies to which the United States shall be a Party;—to Controversies between two or more States;—between a State and Citizens of another State;—between Citizens of different States;—between Citizens of the same State claiming Lands under Grants of different States, and between a State, or the Citizens thereof, and foreign States, Citizens or Subjects.
What constitutional conservatives are really saying is that they don't like the decisions the court has rendered over the years. The most obvious example is the Supreme Court's “expansive view” of the Commerce Clause, under which a wide variety of federal legislation has been enacted.
It is entirely legitimate to disagree with the Supreme Court's rulings – progressives also find fault with a variety of precedents established by the court over the years (does Citizens United ring a bell?). But it's one thing to disagree with the court's decisions, and something entirely different to pretend that Rush Limbaugh or the most conservative members of Congress, rather than the Supreme Court, is empowered to interpret and adjudicate “cases, in Law and Equity, arising under this Constitution [and] the Laws of the United States” – which is exactly what they're doing.
Let's also be very clear about the intent of the founders. They regarded the separation of powers as a vital bulwark against tyranny. Instead of pitting an all-powerful monarch against the masses, the idea of having independent centers of power check and balance each other was essential to the American project. If you paid attention to "School House Rock" as a kid, you're familiar with this most basic principle of constitutional government, but those claiming the most fealty to the founding document simply thumb their noses at even those Supreme Court decisions that have been validated in case after case – so-called “super-precedents.”
(This is why the “Oath-Keepers” are domestic terrorists waiting to happen. The group, made up of far-right law enforcement officers and members of the military, has sworn to use force, if necessary, to uphold the Constitution as they interpret it. That last bit is key – the problem is that they serve in the executive branch, which is empowered to execute the law in keeping with the Constitution but not to adjudicate disputes that arise from it. If the executive branch were to issue an unconstitutional order abusing U.S. citizens as they fear, the proper – and constitutional -- response would be to ask the court to stay it.)
Rick Perry recently walked back comments suggesting that Social Security and Medicaid are unconstitutional, even though the court settled that question 75 years ago. Matt Yglesias read Perry's book, Fed Up!: Our Fight to Save America from Washington, and found that the newest Republican presidential candidate regards regulation of banks, consumer protections and federal education policies as unconstitutional. In fact, writes Yglesias, Perry thinks “almost everything is unconstitutional.”
Such claims rarely come with an actual constitutional argument. At the heart of conservative rhetoric these days is the simple assertion that any legislation passed by Democrats is by definition illegitimate and defies the will of the Founders (as channeled by the mystics who lead the Tea Party movement). Or, as Gary Epps, a legal scholar at the University of Baltimore, put it, "Conservative lawmakers increasingly claim that the 'original intent' of the Constitution's framers and the views of the right wing of the Republican Party are one and the same."
Ultimately, that's an appealing way to avoid a debate on the merits of popular government programs. Conservatives can read the polls, and they understand that while abstract talk of “limited government” can be appealing, Americans really like consumer and environmental protections, safety net programs like Social Security and Medicare and federal initiatives like subsidized student loans. In a nominal democracy, they can't get far simply saying that they oppose these things on ideological grounds. So, just as they use deficit hysteria to argue that we simply can't afford those things, they rely on the Constitution – but not the Supreme Court's interpretations of its text over the past century – as a form of political cover from which they can take potshots at the 20th century without having to own up to the regressive nature of their worldview.
Joshua Holland is an editor and senior writer at AlterNet. He is the author of The 15 Biggest Lies About the Economy: And Everything else the Right Doesn't Want You to Know About Taxes, Jobs and Corporate America. Drop him an email or follow him on Twitter.
Friday, August 19, 2011
Fox Sees "Amnesty" Everywhere
Fox News host Dave Briggs claimed that a new immigration policy, which will postpone deportation proceedings of certain undocumented workers in order to prioritize convicted criminals, is "perhaps blanket amnesty." Fox News has a long history of labeling immigration policies "amnesty," a term that has been shown to produce a more negative reaction than describing a policy as "a path to citizenship." Read More
"Feast Your Eyes": Fox Swoons Over Rick Perry
Following Texas Gov. Rick Perry's announcement that he will seek the GOP nomination for president, Fox News has relentlessly hyped his campaign, from promoting his policies to asking whether he would "ride his horse" rather than fly on Air Force One and defending his comments about Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke. Read More
Right-Wing Blogs Falsely Claim Obama "Cancel[ed]" Deportations
Conservative blogs have responded to the Obama administration's announcement of a new immigration policy by claiming that the president is "cancel[ing]" or "end[ing]" deportation of undocumented immigrants. In fact, the new policy prioritizes the deportation of criminals, and cases that are postponed can be reopened "at any given time." Read More
Fox "Straight News" Pushes Impeachment Of Obama Over Immigration Policy
Fox News' supposed "straight news" division pushed the theory that President Obama may have committed an impeachable offense by pursuing a new immigration policy, which instructs law enforcement personnel to use prosecutorial discretion to postpone deportation proceedings of certain undocumented workers in order to prioritize the removal of convicted criminals. In fact, the Bush administration used prosecutorial discretion to stop the deportation of certain categories of undocumented immigrants as well. Read More
Rep. Allen West (R-FL) fomented a racial controversy with comments describing African-American voters’ tendency to support the Democratic Party as a “21st-Century plantation.” Wednesday, he carried his meme even further, telling Fox News guest host Laura Ingraham that, “I’m here as the modern-day Harriet Tubman, to kind of lead people on the Underground Railroad, away from that plantation into a sense of sensibility.” To top it off, West went on to claim that leaders such as Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, Barbara Lee or Maxine Waters were the “overseers of this 21st-Century plantation,” meant to “pacify and keep the black community firmly behind [white liberals], regardless of the failures of [their] social welfare policies.”
So, naturally, Hardball host Chris Matthews brought Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) herself on his show to respond. Waters revealed that West had advised his own brother to contact Waters in his search to find a job:
WATERS: Did I tell you his brother was here today?
MATTHEWS: Tell me.
WATERS: He has a brother that’s out of work. Well his brother came up to me, introduced himself, and told me that he’d lost his job — he’d been laid off. And I asked him if he’d called his brother [Rep. West] and he said he had. And I said, “And what did he say?”
He said, “He told me to come to the job fair. He told me to come and see you.” And so we’re hopeful that we can help his brother.
MATTHEWS: So he sent him to the plantation, as he put it?
WATERS: Well, you know, that’s a reasonable conclusion.
Later that same evening, Ed Schultz had footage of an interview with Rep. West’s brother, Arlan West, in which he praised the Congressional Black Caucus for holding the jobs fair — calling it “a prime example” of elected officials carrying out their responsibility to serve their constituents — and said his brother’s rhetoric was “unproductive.”
Thursday, August 18, 2011
Fox News Creates A "Stimulus Failure" Out Of Thin Air
Fox News repeatedly claimed that Massachusetts-based Evergreen Solar, which recently filed for bankruptcy and moved production to China, received federal stimulus funds. In fact, the company did not, and analysts say the solar industry in China has boomed largely because of massive government subsidies and a more comprehensive and stable policy framework. Read More
Right-Wing Media Distort Study To Blame Obama For Poverty
Fox Nation, The Drudge Report, and Rush Limbaugh all mischaracterized a new study showing an increase in child poverty, blaming President Obama for the increase, despite the fact that George W. Bush was president during almost the entire period covered by the study. Limbaugh went on to falsely claim that food stamps are ineffective. Read More
Rush Limbaugh's "Media Tweak": His Empty Excuse For Everything
When Rush Limbaugh is criticized for making offensive statements, he frequently defends himself by claiming that what he said was a "media tweak" -- a comment intended to draw attention from the media. But when Limbaugh suggests that a comment was designed to draw attention, it does nothing to explain the substance of the statement itself. Read More
SPARTANBURG, SC – A day after wishing Elvis Presley “Happy Birthday” on the anniverary of his death, Michele Bachmann invited MJ to Washington.
Michelle Bachmann (R-MN) is on a roll. She made a gaffe yesterday and wished Elvis Presley a “Happy Birthday” on the 34th anniversary of his death, and today she tried to outdo herself.
“Some people think that I don’t know much...
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
Right-Wing Media Mock Vilsack For Accurately Calling Food Stamps "Economic Stimulus"
Right-wing media mocked Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack for stating that food stamps are "economic stimulus." In fact, experts agree that food stamps are one of the most effective forms of economic stimulus. Read More
Fox's Bolling Baselessly Attacks Infrastructure Bank Plan As Union Handout
Fox Business host Eric Bolling attacked President Obama's call for a national infrastructure bank, calling it "a tip of the hat to the unions." In fact, the most recent proposal for such a bank was sponsored by one Democratic senator and two Republican senators; the plan is supported not only by unions but also by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce; and a Moody's Analytics director called the infrastructure bank plan a "win-win" for the economy. Read More
Just "Texas Swagger": Fox Figures Defend Perry's Comments About Bernanke
Following Gov. Rick Perry's comment that Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke would be "almost treasonous" if he "prints more money between now and the election," Fox figures have defended Perry by claiming that he's "passionate," using his "Texas swagger," and that the "fundamental point he makes is totally true." Read More
Right-Wing Media Push Bogus "CDLs For All Farmers" Claim, Even After It Was Discredited
Even after the U.S. Department of Transportation issued a statement saying that it will not require farmers to obtain commercial driver's licenses (CDLs), members of the right-wing media continued to promote the claim. Read More
Why Is Fox Going To Joe Bastardi For Climate Change Analysis?
Fox News and Fox Business Network frequently host Joe Bastardi to comment on climate change. But Bastardi, who is a weather forecaster, not a climate researcher, has made inaccurate claims about climate science on multiple occasions and is not seen by experts as a credible source of climate information. Read More
Conservative Media Identify Latest Stealth Jihadi: Rick Perry
The anti-Muslim segment of the conservative media has identified yet another Republican as a traitor to America because he is supposedly too close to Muslims. The current target is Governor Rick Perry (R-TX), labeled as the "5th column candidate" by Pamela Geller because of his ties to Muslim leader Aga Khan IV and others. Read More
Sergeant Moran is just as freaked out as everyone else, and he has some incoherent demands to make. Moran taped a video of himself claiming to be AWOL from his duties in Germany (he wasn’t), dared the Air Force to arrest him or Obama, and them rambled for a while about secret emails with “a lady” (hello, Orly Taitz) and some stuff about Jesus.
Oh yeah and, “In identifying [Obama] as my enemy and proclaiming him to be the enemy of the entire country, I squarely place myself in the same situation as himself,” whatever that means/ means that Moran is a homo Muslim robot.
Well frankly, we do not really believe Sergeant Moran really who he says he is. No one just grows his birther wings now for the very first time, in 2011, over two years late. So yeah, uh, let’s roll the video! READ MORE »
When Bill Maher recently made arguably inappropriate jokes (which pale in comparison to Ann Coulter's homicidal "humor") about the sainted Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann, there were howls of indignation from the usual orifices at Fox News who accused Maher of being a sexist. Fox Nation described Maher as a "pig." In doing a TV psychoanalysis of Maher, Fox's Dr. Keith Ablow attempted to determine the basis for what Ablow claims is Maher's hatred of women.
Not to be outdone by Fox, Steven Crowder, who describes himself as "FoxNews’ brightest, funniest young Conservative mind," did his own video about the sexist transgressions of Bill Maher. Given that Crowder is a clean, heterosexual Christian, you'd think that he would never stoop to the depths of what he thinks is Maher's depravity. But think again. As the saying goes, those who live in glass houses shouldn't be throwing hissy fits about others - particularly if those hurlers are guilty of the same thing that they are accusing others of.Continue reading »