03 August, 2009

Happy Hour Discurso

Today's opining on the public discourse.

I'm grateful on every day ending in Y that I don't watch what passes for "news" in this country. There aren't enough hours in a day as it is - why waste them with babble, bullshit, and bloody outrageous stupidity? It's much more tolerable when the stupid's served up with a good dose of intelligent snark, which is why I never take my stupid straight up, but always cut by fine blogger commentary.

My shot glass is tipped to those hardy souls who brave the uncut stupid so we don't have to. They certainly went above and beyond the call of duty in watching Michelle Malkin's appearance on ABC. Those of us who weren't watching missed such priceless gems of Malkin's anti-wisdom such as the Teabagger Counterinsurgency:

This morning, right-wing blogger Michelle Malkin joined the ABC roundtable on This Week with George Stephanopoulos. Asked what the conservative opposition strategy is going to be this coming month while Congress is in recess, Malkin said there is a growing “tea party movement — these counterinsurgencies amongst taxpayer rights groups” — that is fomenting opposition to Obama’s health care plan.

Malkin claimed the Obama administration has “vastly underestimated just how grassroots this movement is.” Lawmakers are going to face “townhalls-gone-wild,” she added.

Put aside for a moment the fact that grassroots the movement is not. Scrub your brain of the horrid image of a bunch of teabaggers-gone-wild in town halls (talk about the case for public indecency laws). Let's focus on what a counterinsurgency is:
n.the military, paramilitary, political, economic, psychological, and civic actions taken by a government to defeat insurgency.
Last I checked, the duly-elected President of the United States was not a Teabagger. The government, by definition, is not an "insurgency." Therefore, Michelle Malkin is being even more fucking stupid than usual when she babbles about "these counterinsurgencies" "fomenting opposition" to President Obama.

No surprise there, of course, but it shows just how frothing insane Cons have become since Obama was elected. They're having delusions of being the legitimate government. They are sad, pathetic people indeed.

Malkin then explains where Henry Louis Gates went wrong:

Of all the right-wing commentary I've read about the Gates incident, I've yet to see a single cogent argument demonstrating why his arrest was appropriate -- legally or otherwise. Fortunately, on "This Week" this morning, the Anchor Baby cleared up the whole matter for us.

Look, you're supposed to respect the police.

There you have it.

She forgot to mention that, after you've already produced identification and proven that you're in your own house and have done nothing illegal, you're obliged to smartly click your heels and say "Jawohl, Herr Insepktor!" and do whatever the officer commands.

I can't wait to see Malkin apply her own logic the next time she's given a ration of shit by Officer Unfriendly.

Finally, we have Malkin on the Unemployment Crisis:
Malkin: If you put enough government cheese in front of people they are just going to keep eating it and you're just kicking the can down the road and just to hammer this point about the unemployment benefits extension again it was Larry Katz, who's a chief labor economist under the Clinton labor department who came out with a study and there are a lot of these economists who say this that if you keep extending these "temporary" unemployment benefits you're just going to extend joblessness even more.
To which John Amato said:
Only people with a Malkin brain would believe and push across the notion that Americans would rather collect three hundred dollars a week on unemployment insurance rather than get a job that supplies benefits and pays a salary.

Yea, because there are so many jobs available, people will just wait until the insurance ends and then immediately get hired. I'm sorry, where are all these jobs again? On ABC's THIS WEEK Malkin made this bogus claim. A quick Google search uncovers that when Michelle claims Larry Katz once said that the benefits could discourage people from seeking employment, Katz actually said just the opposite during our current financial mess:

Traditionally, many economists have been leery of prolonged unemployment benefits because they can reduce the incentive to seek work. But that should not be a concern now because jobs remain so scarce, said Lawrence Katz, a labor economist at Harvard.

For every job that becomes available, about six people are looking, Dr. Katz said. “Unemployment insurance gives income to families who are really suffering and can’t find work even if they are hustling to look,” he said. With the economy still listing, he added, a temporary extension can provide a quick fiscal stimulus. And, Dr. Katz said, when people exhaust unemployment and health insurance, many end up applying for disability benefits, which become a large, unending drain on the Treasury.

It does help to fact check what conservatives say.

Indeed it does. It also helps to keep a salt block handy. For this, though, all you need is popcorn - Malkin's so easy to debunk even George and Tucker managed to do it.

In further stupid media news, it would seem that Lou Dobbs is giving his lords and masters a headache:
The AP reports that Lou Dobbs has “become a publicity nightmare for CNN, embarrassed his boss and hosted a show that seemed to contradict the network’s ‘no bias’ brand. And on top of all that, his ratings are slipping.” Dobbs, who has given favorable coverage to the “birther” conspiracy, is forcing CNN President Jon Klein to offer untenable defenses of his conduct:

Klein said Dobbs does a smart newscast that explores issues that get little in-depth attention elsewhere, such as trade with China, health care funding and the stimulus plan. He suggested Dobbs’ CNN work is unfairly lumped in with his unrelated radio show, and that he’s judged on the show he did a couple of years ago, when Dobbs became a political target for his campaigning against illegal immigration.

Think Progress puts Klein on the ropes with the observation that really, it's totally fair to lump Dobbs' CNN work with his "unrelated" radio show, since Dobbs lumps the two together all the time. Then enter Media Matters for the knock-out debunk.

So much for the "smart newscast" defense.

Moving on to elected Con stupidity, Rep. Mark Pence is having consistency issues once again:

Rep. Mike Pence disagrees with the stimulus and voted against it but wants more of it for his state. "The Democrats in Congress and the administration said we were going to have to borrow nearly a trillion dollars from future generations and spend it on this -- this long laundry list of liberal spending priorities we called stimulus and that unless we did that, unemployment would reach 8% nationally. It's 9.5% nationally today," Pence told Fox News' Chris Wallace.

But Pence charges that Indiana isn't getting enough money from the very program that he doesn't support. "You check the Indiana Star, you'll see stories about the stimulus. One is that four out of ten major projects in the stimulus for Indiana had been allotted to companies outside the state of Indiana," complained Pence.

Did some memo go out or something? These Cons are all singing the same tune: the stimulus didn't work, look at all this unemployment, give us more stimulus money! Which genius thought demanding more cash in the same breath you're using to slam the stimulus as a failure was a good idea?

Possibly the same genius who thought getting the NRA to thoroughly piss off the growing Latino voting bloc was a fantastic strategy:

I've been wondering about this too. From Jonathan Singer at MYDD:

This report from NPR's Nina Totenberg contains a fairly remarkable piece of news: So determined to block Sonia Sotomayor, the first Latina ever nominated to the Supreme Court, McConnell took the unprecedented step of getting the NRA to do his dirty work.
You have to wonder how it is going to play in the Hispanic community around the country that the Republicans were so diametrically opposed to the nomination of Sotomayor, the Supreme Court nominee with the longest resume in nearly a century, that they called upon the NRA to twist Senators' arms -- even though they knew they didn't have the votes to stop her nomination.
This is what I find inexplicable about Republican strategy. They knew before she was nominated that the person Obama named was 99% likely to be confirmed. They knew she was replacing a liberal on the court, so no harm no foul in terms of the balance on the court. And they know they have a problem with Hispanics, the fastest growing demographic in the country. Allowing a large margin to vote for Sotomayor would be an easy way to ease some of those tensions, buy some good will and provide some cover the next time the Democrats try to block a nominee, without having to actually do anything. It's just good politics.

And yet they've gone out of their way to publicly sully the woman's reputation and now are pulling every possible string to keep the vote as tight as possible, thereby reinforcing the notion that they hate Hispanics so much that they will do everything in their power, even when they are sure to lose, to keep one from the Supreme Court.


This is so politically obtuse that makes me wonder what in the hell these people are really worried about. It occurs to me that they are seeing something much more devastating in their numbers than just losing the Hispanic vote of the future. It seems they must be afraid of losing the white working class. Assuming they are behaving rationally (which is assuming a lot) the only logical reason they could have for ginning up all this racial animosity is if they feel the need to secure their base with the old tried and true racial resentment. If they were secure there, they could afford to be magnanimous toward Sotomayor in a situation that makes no substantial change in policy.

Of course, it could also just be that they are a bunch of sexist, racist bastards themselves and just can't stand the idea of a woman of Puerto Rican extraction being in power. With these people it's usually a good idea to apply Occam's Razor and call it a day.
I hope they continue their amazing strategies. Just look what it's doing to the NRA:
The NRA, which is generally accustomed to persuading lawmakers to the group's way of thinking, wants senators to vote against Judge Sonia Sotomayor's Supreme Court nomination. In a development that must be frustrating for the conservative group, few seem to care.

The National Rifle Association's threat to punish senators who vote for Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor has been met with a shrug by Democrats from conservative-leaning states and some Republicans who are breaking with their party to support her.

The gun-rights group is used to getting its way by spooking lawmakers about the political consequences of defying its wishes. But it never before has weighed in on a Supreme Court confirmation battle. It was cautious about breaking that pattern, and it looks like a losing fight to defeat President Barack Obama's first pick for the court.

Sotomayor is expected to easily win confirmation in a vote this coming week that could deflate the long-accepted truism in Washington that you don't cross the NRA.

Savvy, powerful lobbying groups tend to be well aware of how and when to avoid losing fights. In this case, the NRA, which has never fought against a Supreme Court nominee, waited until the first Latina nominee was brought to a Senate with a 60-vote Democratic majority. In terms of strategic moves, this one doesn't seem especially smart.

This is particularly relevant in the NRA's case, since it wields power by striking fear in the hearts of lawmakers. The more the group sticks its neck out on a fight it was destined to lose, the less credibility it has the next time it starts making demands of, and threats to, lawmakers.

Warmed my heart right down to the sub-cockles, that has.

I often wonder how political parties die. I've been getting the growing sense lately that we're watching a case-study unfold right before our eyes.

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