Jason Linkins: McCain's
DADT Support Letter Signed
By A Bunch Of Dead Guys
On the matter of "Don't Ask Don't Tell," Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) once promised that he would listen to "leaders in the military," telling people that the "day that the leadership of the military comes to me and says, Senator, we ought to change the policy, then I think we ought to consider seriously changing it." But when those military leaders came to him and told him it was time to change the policy, McCain retreated from his previous pledge, because it turns out he gets to pick and choose which military leaders he gets to heed.
And in this case, McCain has chosen the signatories of a letter signed by "over a thousand retired and flag general officers," among other folks. But, as noted by Amanada Terkel, that letter turns out to be something of an exercise in ghost whispering:
...a new Servicemembers United report obtained in advance by DC Agenda severely undermines the legitimacy of this letter. Some of the problems:
- The average age of the officers is 74. The "oldest living signer is 98, and several signers died in the time since the document was published." Servicemembers United Executive Director Alex Nicholson added that only "a small fraction of these officers have even served in the military during the 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' period, much less in the 21st century military," so it's hard to believe that they "know how accepting and tolerant 18- and 21-year-olds are today."
- "At least one signer, Gen. Louis Menetrey, was deceased when the letter was published and didn't sign the document himself. According to a footnote on the letter, his wife signed the document for him after his death using power of attorney -- six years after Alzheimer's disease robbed him of the ability to communicate."
Additionally, there's the little problem of those living signatories who "never agreed" to sign the letter, as well as a handful who have some remarkably backward views on the world in which we live, such as this guy.
Anyway, for his next trick, John McCain will produce an 1876 letter from General George Armstrong Custer that reads, "No, no, don't worry, I can totally take these guys!"
There's Going to
Be a Second
Can F--k Off)
We interviewed Michael Moore on The Young Turks today and he was not shy about sharing his opinions. Anyone surprised? He had very strong words for the Democratic Party, the state of our political system and Glenn Beck.
What he thinks of Democrats and Republicans:
You know, I tell you, these Democrats are disgusting. Wimps and wusses and weasels. You know, get some spine. This is why I have to admire the Republicans. They at least stand for something. They at least have the courage of their convictions. They get elected to office, they come into town, and they go "Get outta my way, there's a new sheriff in town. This is the way we're doing things. Get outta here." And then they do it. You know. I mean what they do is crazy. But dammit, they are good at it. We should take a page out of their book.
Can we fix the broken political and economic system in America?
It's not going to get fixed. There's going to be another crash. The commercial real estate bubble hasn't burst yet. That's going to burst. The credit card debt is so huge right now, it will never be repaid. That's a house of cards waiting to fall. So the crash of '08 is going to look like coming attractions. And we're in for a much, much worse time.
What he would have said to Glenn Beck if he was in Van Jones' place:
Fuck off! That's what I would have said. But again, you mentioned Glenn Beck, and of course, he's the guy that's called for my removal from the planet Earth, so...
Watch the whole interview here:
Read full transcript here.
There's one thing you know about Michael Moore, he's going to come strong. Unfortunately, I share his pessimism about the system. But I believe there is hope at the end of that tunnel. And as corny as it sounds, that hope is with the American people. We have to stop letting corporate interests buy our politicians and government officials. Make a change.
The Nether Regions
In a letter to the editor of the Daily Mail, published Thursday, Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W. Va.) blasted the West Virginia newspaper for an editorial the paper ran on earlier this week related to health care reform.
Byrd charged that the newspaper demonstrated a clear misunderstanding of congressional rules and procedures, which resulted in the publication confusing its readers.
The Democratic senator went on to write that the editorial more closely resembled the "barkings from the nether regions of Glennbeckistan" than the "sober and second thought" of his hometown newspaper.
From Sen. Byrd's letter:
With all due respect, the Daily Mail's hyperbole about "imposing government control," acts of "disrespect to the American people" and "corruption" of Senate procedures resembles more the barkings from the nether regions of Glennbeckistan than the "sober and second thought" of one of West Virginia's oldest and most respected daily newspapers.
Palin At Oscar
Sarah Palin and her 'grabby' entourage were 'like locusts' according to witnesses at an Oscar gift suite.
Sarah Palin aligns her public image with the heartland, but it appears the former Alaska Governor has gone Hollywood. And when she leaves, she may be taking some of it with her.
On top of an appearance on the Tonight Show and rumors that she's shopping around a TV show with reality producer Mark Burnett, Palin and her entourage were seen partaking in one of celebrity's lushest rituals -- the Oscar gifting suite.
While the group was loading up on freebies, the Los Angeles Times reported that, "Palin's middle child, Willow, got her hair styled, receiving a blowout from Erick Orellana of the Chris McMillan Salon (Jennifer Aniston's longtime hairstylist)."
The Times also indicated that Palin was supposed to donate $1,700 along with all of her gift items to the Red Cross, which is currently helping with relief efforts in Haiti and Chile.
But E! Online insists, "we can assure you she did not give up any of her swag." They quote an unnamed vendor who claims that upwards of 20 people from the Palin camp swarmed the event. "They were like locusts," he told the entertainment news outlet.
According to AOL's Pop Eater, publicist Ben Russo of EMC/Bowery said, "she kind of cleaned the place out." They list out a number of her swag-grabs, including United Hair Care products, jewels from Pascal Mouawad, Skagen watches and a whopping 40 pairs of AIAIAI earphones.
It didn't stop there. HollywoodLife.com reports that she also picked up a blue Kenya robe from designer Jenna Leigh, facewash and a pair of foam Bandal sandals.Or, in common-sense language, Palin and her handlers, "practically cleaned out the suite."
Another unnamed source, from HollywoodLife.com, says that the former Vice Presidential candidate was intent on spreading all that wealth around her own circle. "She insisted every person in her huge entourage get something, and there were assistants, nannies, security - insanity!" The same source also said that security swept the venue and would not allow photos, which are often expected by companies to use as promotion in exchange for the free products.
Bob Cesca:The Tea Party Is All About Race
I was going to open this piece with an analogy about the tea party groups and why they're treated seriously by the press and the Republicans. The analogy would go something like: "Imagine [insert left-wing activist group here] getting a serious profile in a mainstream newspaper, and imagine serious Democratic politicians appearing at their convention."
The problem is, when I really evaluated what the various far-left activist groups are all about and compared them with the tea party movement, there really wasn't any equivalency. At all.
Because when you strip away all of the rage, all of the nonsensical loud noises and all of the contradictions, all that's left is race. The tea party is almost entirely about race, and there's no comparative group on the left that's similarly motivated by bigotry, ignorance and racial hatred.
I hasten to note that I'm talking about real racism, insofar as it's impossible for the majority race -- the 70 percent white majority -- to be on the receiving end of racism. That is unless white males, for example, are suddenly an oppressed racial demographic. But judging by the racial composition of, say, the Senate or AM talk radio or the cast members playing the Obamas on SNL, I don't think white people have anything to worry about.
This isn't an epiphany by any stretch. From the beginning, with their witch doctor imagery, watermelon agitprop and Curious George effigies, the wingnut right has been dying to blurt out, as Lee Atwater famously said, "nigger, nigger, nigger!"
But they can't.
Strike that. Correction. TeaParty.org founder Dale Robertson brandished a sign with the (misspelled) word "niggar." So they're not even as restrained as the generally unstrung Atwater anymore.
Most of the time, they merely imply the use of the word. Rush Limbaugh referring to the president as a "black man-child," for example. Every week, a new example pops up on the radio and somehow the offenders are able to keep their job while Howard Stern is fined for saying the comparatively innocuous word "blumpkin." Limbaugh, on the other hand, can stoke racial animosity on his show by suggesting that health care reform is a civil rights bill -- reparations -- and no one seems to mind. And no, the impotence isn't an adequate Karmic punishment for Limbaugh's roster of trespasses.
The tea party is an extension of talk radio. It's an extension of Fox News Channel. It's an extension of the southern faction of the Republican Party -- the faction that gave us the Southern Strategy, the Willie Horton ad, the White Hands ad and the racially divisive politics of Lee Atwater and Karl Rove. It's an extension of the race-baiting and, often, the outright racism evident in all of those conservative spheres.
But unlike the heavy-handedness of Dale Robertson and others, the tea party followers are generally more veiled about why they're so outraged by our current president.
In the New York Times this past weekend, David Barstow profiled a teabagger from Idaho:
SANDPOINT, Idaho -- Pam Stout has not always lived in fear of her government. She remembers her years working in federal housing programs, watching government lift struggling families with job training and education. She beams at the memory of helping a Vietnamese woman get into junior college.
But all that was before the Great Recession and the bank bailouts, before Barack Obama took the White House by promising sweeping change on multiple fronts, before her son lost his job and his house. Mrs. Stout said she awoke to see Washington as a threat, a place where crisis is manipulated -- even manufactured -- by both parties to grab power.
Now you might be saying to yourself, I don't see the racism here. But if you eliminate all of the reasons for Stout's participation in the tea party movement as being contradictory or nonsensical, all that's left is race.
She claims to be against the bank bailouts, but the tea party is against the president's bank fee designed to recover the TARP money. They also appear to be against financial regulatory reform. None of this makes any sense. If tea partiers are against the bailouts, basic logic dictates that they ought to be in favor of getting the money back. Or do they prefer that the banks keep the money and orchestrate further meltdowns? Honestly, I'm not even entirely sure they realize that the bailouts and the recovery act (stimulus) are two different things. But they're also against the recovery act -- you know, whatever that is.
She also told the New York Times that she's tired of politicians "manufacturing crisis."
Right. Three things here.
First, where was she -- where were the teabaggers -- when the far-right endorsed and supported a massive increase in the size of government, unitary executive power grabs and unconstitutional measures fueled by fear-mongering over the very remote threat of terrorism? Crickets chirping. The odds of being killed in an airborne terrorist attack are literally 1 in 10 million. You're much more likely to kill yourself than to be killed by a terrorist.
Second, I refuse to believe that health care is a "manufactured crisis." People are going broke and dying every day. Even the most conservative estimates show that there are 9/11-level casualties each month due to a lack of adequate health insurance. The horror stories are readily available online. Just Google "health insurance horror story" and see how manufactured the crisis is.
Third, look at any bar graph of the economy as of one year ago or any basic jobs number and tell me if the crisis is manufactured. Hell, Pam Stout's son lost his house! How can she possibly suggest the economic crisis was manufactured?
I hate to single out one person, but Stout's incongruous anger is indicative of the entire movement.
From the outset, the tea party was based on a contradictory premise (the original tea party was a protest against a corporate tax cut). And when you throw out all of the nonsense and contradictions, there's nothing left except race. There's no other way to explain why these people were silent and compliant for so long, and only decided to collectively freak out when this "foreign" and "exotic" president came along and, right out of the chute, passed the largest middle class tax cut in American history -- something they would otherwise support, for goodness sake, it was $288 billion in tax cuts! -- we're left to deduce no other motive but the ugly one that lurks just beneath the pale flesh, the tri-corner hats and the dangly tea bag ornamentation.
Irrespective of whether the president passed a huge tax cut or went out of his way to bring Republicans into the health care process, the seeds of racial animosity from the far-right were sown during the campaign. In those lines waiting for then-vice presidential candidate and current tea party heroine Sarah Palin, their loud noises spread the pre-scripted lies, lies that entirely hinged on the president's African heritage. A white candidate would never be accused of being a secret Muslim. A white candidate would never be accused of being a foreign usurper. Only a black candidate with a foreign name would be accused of "palling around with domestic terrorists."
In the final analysis, when you boil away all of the weirdness, it becomes clear that the teabaggers are pissed because there isn't yet another doddering old white guy in the White House -- like they're used to. That's what this is all about.
By way of a postscript, one of the many faceless radio talk show wingnuts, Jim Quinn, this week called President Obama a "Kenyan wuss" who should be "slapped silly." The Kenyan lie and the "slap silly" insult aside, this president is no wuss. You know how I know? He's a black man who ran for president and won despite the growing mob of gun-toting militant white bigots like Jim Quinn who are sucking air in America. President Obama achieving this despite the hatred and threats against him takes serious guts. Guts that Jim Quinn and the tea party movement will never understand.
It looked like Jon Stewart was going for some of his bread-and-butter Sarah Palin jokes on Wednesday night, mocking her appearance on NBC's Tonight Show and tossing in a little ribbing of Jay Leno. But the quips about a Palin "Fair and Balanced" remark quickly turned into an amusing -- if not scathing -- indictment of Fox News programming, particularly host Megyn Kelly and her new mid-day program, America Live. Stewart hounded the network about an apparent lack of balance, ranging from the show's promos (showing a clean-cut man in a Jesus t-shirt evidently representing the right, juxtaposed with an "angry nose-ring liberal lady" pointing at his face) to the actual reporting and clips that only showed one-sided opinions from a very homogeneous group. He emphasized that this was one of the few programs held during the network's allotted news time, as opposed to shows that are explicitly opinion. The Daily Show segment ended with a flourish, showing clips that seemed to indicate an inconsistent approach at Fox News to polling, endorsing or dismissing polls depending on the results. WATCH:
It looked like Jon Stewart was going for some of his bread-and-butter Sarah Palin jokes on Wednesday night, mocking her appearance on NBC's Tonight Show and tossing in a little ribbing of Jay Leno.
But the quips about a Palin "Fair and Balanced" remark quickly turned into an amusing -- if not scathing -- indictment of Fox News programming, particularly host Megyn Kelly and her new mid-day program, America Live.
Stewart hounded the network about an apparent lack of balance, ranging from the show's promos (showing a clean-cut man in a Jesus t-shirt evidently representing the right, juxtaposed with an "angry nose-ring liberal lady" pointing at his face) to the actual reporting and clips that only showed one-sided opinions from a very homogeneous group. He emphasized that this was one of the few programs held during the network's allotted news time, as opposed to shows that are explicitly opinion.
The Daily Show segment ended with a flourish, showing clips that seemed to indicate an inconsistent approach at Fox News to polling, endorsing or dismissing polls depending on the results.
Early Wednesday morning, State Sen. Roy Ashburn (R-Calif.) was pulled over and arrested for drunk driving. Sources report that Ashburn -- a fierce opponent of gay rights -- was driving drunk after leaving a gay nightclub; when the officer stopped the state-issued vehicle, there was an unidentified man in the passenger seat of the car.
Ashburn has issued an apology for the incident:
"I am deeply sorry for my actions and offer no excuse for my poor judgment. I accept complete responsibility for my conduct and am prepared to accept the consequences for what I did. I am also truly sorry for the impact this incident will have on those who support and trust me - my family, my constituents, my friends, and my colleagues in the Senate."
Sources tell CBS13 that a state senator from Southern California was arrested for allegedly driving drunk after leaving Faces, a gay nightclub in midtown Sacramento, early Wednesday morning.
The California Highway Patrol pulled over Senator Roy Ashburn at 2:00 a.m. Wednesday after an officer noticed a black Chevy Tahoe swerving at 13th and L Streets.
The Sacramento County district attorney says Ashburn's blood-alcohol level was .14 percent when he was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving near the Capitol.
Ashburn, a father of four, is a Republican Senator representing parts of Kern, Tulare and San Bernardino Counties, with a history of opposing gay rights
When the officer stopped the state-issued vehicle, Ashburn identified himself as a senator. He was arrested without incident and charged with two misdemeanors: driving under the influence, and driving with a blood alcohol level higher than .08% or higher.
A male passenger, who was not identified as a lawmaker, was also in the car. He was not detained.
Ashburn was booked into the Sacramento County Jail and released on $1,400 bond.
Ashburn issued a statement on the arrest Wednesday afternoon:
"I am deeply sorry for my actions and offer no excuse for my poor judgment. I accept complete responsibility for my conduct and am prepared to accept the consequences for what I did. I am also truly sorry for the impact this incident will have on those who support and trust me – my family, my constituents, my friends, and my colleagues in the Senate."
Ashburn served six years as a state Assemblyman before being elected to the State Senate. According to Project Vote Smart, Ashburn's voting record shows he has voted against every gay rights measure in the State Senate since taking office including Recognizing Out-Of-State Same-Sex Marriages", Harvey Milk Day and Expanding Anti-Discrimination Laws.
I guess Asshats never learn ...