26 October, 2009

Happy Hour Discurso

Today's opining on the public discourse.

Dear oh dear.  How bad is Lou Dobbs?  We now have not one but two faux journalists in the Faux family ripping him.  Geraldo's piled on:
Speaking at a luncheon sponsored by the Spanish newspaper El Diario La Prensa on Thursday, Fox News host Geraldo Rivera said, “One of the aspects of our reality in the United States now is the defamatory tone of the immigration debate and how that immigration debate has slandered an entire race of people.” Rivera proceeded to lay much of the blame at the feet of CNN’s Lou Dobbs:
Lou Dobbs, a man who was an accomplished journalist, and who left to go and start his own venture in the digital media, having to do with space, I believe, and then came back to CNN, and nobody was watching his program. He discovered that one of the way to get people to watch was to make of the image of a young Latino trying to get into this country a profoundly negative icon. Lou Dobbs is almost single-handedly responsible for creating, for being the architect of the young-Latino-as-scapegoat for everything that ails this country.
Rivera’s criticism echoes that of his Fox colleague John Stossel, who said he doesn’t “subscribe to Lou Dobbs-kind of rants about immigrants wrecking America.”

When the Faux News Network won't take him because he's too frothing insane, you know it's bad.  CNN: time to rid yourselves of this embarrassment.

Speaking of embarrassments, the WaPo really needs to reconsider the "wisdom" of having George Will around as a columnist:
When my friend Mustang Bobby emailed yesterday to tell me George Will had written an entire column praising Rep. Michele Bachmann, I thought he was kidding. Will may be conservative, but he considers himself something of an intellectual and serious thinker. Bachmann is a right-wing clown, practically a parody of herself, who doesn't even pretend to take policy matter seriously.

George Will may be getting increasingly lazy and cantankerous, but even he wouldn't put his reputation on the line with a laudatory Bachmann column.

Will notes early on that, last October, Bachmann told a national television audience that she wants a neo-McCarthyist witch hunt, calling for an investigation into the un-American views of members of Congress. Soon after, she lied about it. In his column, Will blamed Chris Matthews for the outburst.

What is it with Cons always blaming other people for their own foolishness?

It gets worse from there:
If editors took a closer look at Will's columns before they were published, they might have noticed that Bachmann's "gangster government" accusations were proven baseless within two days of her remarks. Will sees this as an example of Bachmann's "admirable" work, in which her allegations were proven "accurate." In Grown-Up Land, this was actually an example of Bachmann coming up with a strange conspiracy theory involving the Obama administration, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D), and a Republican GM dealer -- who'd contributed thousands of dollars to Michele Bachmann.

And as for the fact that her remarks have been watched 2 million times online, M.B. reminds Will, "Hint: just because a video gets viewed 2 million times doesn't make it proof of intelligent discourse, and it's not always because they agree with her."

But if you thought that global warming denialism, denim denigration, and Bachmann worship were the beginning and end of Will's rampant stupidity, you haven't seen much of George Will:
George Will is either lying, or he doesn't have any idea how to use the Internet. During the panel discussion on This Week, Will says this about the Baucus bill that came out of the Senate Finance Committee.
Stephanopoulos: Nancy Pelosi suggested this week that there might not be any amendments on the House floor.
Will: Of course not for the same reason--although they could put this on the internet in 10 minutes, they haven’t put it on the internet, this 1502 pages, because people might discover what’s in there.
As our reader and tipster Stephen noted today, the bill has been on line since Oct. 19th. Anyone can go read all 1504 pages here and here.
Truly, his Google-fu is as weak as his intellect.  Why the WaPo's so enamored of him is beyond my power to comprehend.  I'm afraid I just can't wrap my mind around appreciation for such burning stupidity.  Maybe they think his occasional sane statement is worth all the worthless dreck (and yes, he does have occasional moments of clarity - see end of post here), but let me put it like this: would you choose a rose garden with some overall very nice roses, or a huge, steaming shit-pile with the occasional small but pretty bloom sticking out of it?

Seriously, WaPo, there are other conservatives who could write decent columns.  Not many.  It's like trying to find a swimming hole in Death Valley.  But it would be worth expending the effort to find them.

I'll never understand CNN and WaPo's supposed reasoning.  But at least we now have the definitive analysis on how Faux News plays its game:
Here's the Fox Nutwork playbook in all its glory.
When attempting to defend itself, Fox insists that the most egregious examples of bias pointed to by its attackers are from its "opinion journalists" (which they are), who are an operation separate from its "news" division (which they most decidedly are not).

In fact, Fox is designed and built to exploit the traditional expectation of such divides at the other networks, but instead regularly uses its opinion shows as a vector to whitewash their bullshit for the "news" side, turning even of the most outlandish and idiotic ultra-right talking points into something that wears the disguise of news. In the evening hour opinion shows (which, poisonous though they are, Fox is perfectly entitled to broadcast), you have your Hannity types spouting their wingnut applause lines unchecked, because gosh, it's just "opinion journalism." So it's all fair game when they come right out and claim Obama's a socialist, or communist, or fascist, or whatever the flavor of the day is.

But lo and behold, come next morning, the "news" side anchors pull out the infamous "Fox Question Mark" construction, dutifully delivering their line to the audience: "Is Obama a socialist? That's what some in Washington are saying..." Nevermind that both the "some" who are saying it and the talking heads "reporting" it take their morning memos and their paychecks from the same source.

The previous evening's attack memes, Fox folks will tell you, are supposedly this morning's "news," because, well, people are saying it, and they as "journalists" have a responsibility to cover that. And in their view of it nobody's culpable, because Hannity's a commentator, and the "news" division is just noting that "some" are saying it. Clean hands all around!

Clean, that is, if you don't look too closely and see the scum adhering to same.

Let us turn now to Cons Taking Care of America.  We find out today just how very hard Dick et al worked on ensuring Obama got super-awesome victory in Afghanistan plans:
For weeks, former Bush administration officials have been attacking President Obama for “dithering” on whether to send more troops to Afghanistan, with Vice President Cheney saying that “signals of indecision out of Washington hurt our allies and embolden our adversaries.” But these Bush officials are also facing criticisms for largely neglecting Afghanistan in order to invade Iraq. In response, they have been citing an Afghanistan strategy report they handed off to the Obama administration that clearly laid out recommendations for moving forward. From Cheney’s recent remarks to the Center for Security Policy:
In the fall of 2008, fully aware of the need to meet new challenges being posed by the Taliban, we dug into every aspect of Afghanistan policy, assembling a team that repeatedly went into the country, reviewing options and recommendations, and briefing President-elect Obama’s team. They asked us not to announce our findings publicly, and we agreed, giving them the benefit of our work and the benefit of the doubt.
Today on ABC’s This Week, Center for American Progress President and CEO John Podesta revealed that the Bush administration spent just one hour on that report:
PODESTA: [T]hey did present him with a report at the very end of the Bush administration, but I have it from reliable sources that the principals in the Bush administration spent one hour on that report before they handed it off to Obama.
One hour. One fucking hour. Today's Sunday Sensational Science took me over two hours to complete, and it was a pathetic pile of crapola.  I can only imagine what Cheney's super-duper report looked like:
1.  Bomb shit.

2.  Bomb 'em some more.

3.  Hell with it, just nuke 'em.
And I'm being generous, assuming they can spell words of at least four letters.

By the way, if you end up dying of swine flu this year, you might want to consider haunting the Cons in Congress:
We have a national health emergency, and Senate Republicans are stalling the surgeon general's confirmation. But then, they don't live in the same country as the rest of us:

A GOP stall on all Health and Human Services nominees has left the department without a surgeon general during a period of a global flu pandemic, prompting the HHS secretary to call for Senate action.

Regina Benjamin, the surgeon general nominee, “is ready to be voted on in the Senate, and we would just strongly urge the United States Senate” to act, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said during an MSNBC interview Friday in which she discused the department's response to the spread of the H1N1 virus.

President Barack Obama on Saturday declared the H1N1 outbreak a national emergency.

“We are facing a major pandemic, we have a well-qualified candidate for surgeon general, she’s been through the committee process. We just need a vote in the Senate,” Sebeilus said. “Please give us a surgeon general.”

Benjamin was unanimously approved by the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee on Oct. 7, but Senate Republicans are holding up all HHS nominees over a so-called gag order on insurance companies that have been critical of Democratic efforts to reform health care.

Will there ever come a time when these fucktards develop a conscience, not to mention figure out what the fuck you're supposed to do in order to govern a nation responsibly?

Yeah.  I know the answer's not no, but hell no. 

Just in case anyone was wondering if for-profit health insurance is a good idea, or wondering if health insurance companies are really that short-sighted and greedy, wonder no more:
It's almost as if insurers are trying to make the case for a public option more compelling.
As Congress nears votes on legislation that would overhaul the health care system, many small businesses say they are facing the steepest rise in insurance premiums they have seen in recent years.
Insurance brokers and benefits consultants say their small business clients are seeing premiums go up an average of about 15 percent for the coming year -- double the rate of last year's increases. That would mean an annual premium that was $4,500 per employee in 2008 and $4,800 this year would rise to $5,500 in 2010.
The higher premiums at least partly reflect the inexorable rise of medical costs, which is forcing Medicare to raise premiums, too. Health insurance bills are also rising for big employers, but because they have more negotiating clout, their increases are generally not as steep.
Higher medical costs aside, some experts say they think the insurance industry, under pressure from Wall Street, is raising premiums to get ahead of any legislative changes that might reduce their profits.

One of the standard GOP talking points against reform insists that changing the system would punish small businesses. We already know that's wrong, but it's worth re-emphasizing the fact that it's the broken status quo that's crushing small businesses and entrepreneurship.


And in case you were thinking health care reform's moving too fast, like Queen Snowe says, consider this:
Delays for delays' sake aren't exactly a recipe for serious policymaking. Congress and the White House have been debating health care reform for the better part of the year. It was debated last year during the presidential campaign. It was debated the year before during the presidential primaries. It was debated at length during the Clinton reform effort, which followed previous debates during previous presidents' efforts.

America has been debating health care reform, off and on, since the days of Harry Truman. Olympia Snowe can demand more delays, and for all I know, given her influence right now, she'll get them. But health care reform, by most reasonable measures, has already received the "thought it needs and requires." It's time for responsible policymakers to start making decisions, not putting them off until some arbitrary point in the new year.

Dragging this out for the sake of dragging this out seems wildly unnecessary, and more than a little counter-productive.
Isn't that the very definition of what it means to be a Con?  It certainly seems so.

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