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Archive for the ‘Right Wing Rhetoric’ Category

Birther Tries to Flim Flam Blacks  

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Steve Bannon didn’t just make Breitbart a safe space for white supremacists; he’s also welcomed a scholar blacklisted from the mainstream conservative movement for arguing there’s a connection betw…

Source: Birther Tries to Flim Flam Blacks  

Written by slothropia

August 27th, 2016 at 11:08 am

Breitbart Wants Violence

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Here’s another sign that we are living in the New Wiemar Republic, where political insanity is the norm. Speaking to a group of Massachusetts Tea Thingies, Andrew Breitbart discussed how he was constantly under attack from the Left (which presumably includes anyone who is not a rabid Republican):

“I’m under attack all the time,” he said. “The call me gay. There are death threats… There are times when I’m not thinking as clearly as I should, and in those unclear moments, I always think to myself, ‘Fire the first shot. Bring it on.’ Because I know who’s on our side.

“They can only win a rhetorical and propaganda war. They cannot win. We outnumber them in this country and we have the guns I’m not kidding. They talk a mean game, but they will not cross that line because they know what they’re dealing with. ”

I don’t know what a “propaganda or rhetorical war” is. Maybe he is referring to “elections”. And given that the Tea party is one of the most unpopular groups in the U.S., I don’t know why he seems to they he and his kind have some numerical advantage. And who is it that he thinks wants to instigate some violent confrontation with the Right?

Perhaps there are no rational answers to these questions, since Breitbart is clearly an irrational, defensive paranoid. In any case, here is the Breitbart in all his raving, Youtube glory:

Written by slothropia

September 19th, 2011 at 9:21 pm

Aaron (Schock) and Me on Social Securiy and Debt Ceiling

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Following is the correspondence I have endured with my Congressman over the last few days:

Representative Schock,

Two days ago I inquired about the possibility of social Security Checks being delayed or canceled, as I am a Social Security pensioner. You responded as follows:

Dear Mr. Jones,

Thank you for contacting me with regard to the payment of Social Security monthly benefits in the event of a government default.

In the event of a government default, the government would lose authority to borrow more money, but it still will continue collecting regular tax revenue—which is substantial. The President is then responsible for prioritizing government expenditures, so it is up to him to decide which obligations are to be met. I see no reason whatsoever that President Obama would voluntarily chose not to pay Social Security recipients on time for the full amount of your monthly benefit.

I further believe—but cannot guarantee—that if the President were to chose to hold up Social Security checks that the Congress would ensure payments would be made up to recipients very quickly once an agreement on raising the debt limit is reached. But again, I see no need to interrupt Social Security benefits for even a few days.

Most importantly, I am hopeful that we will avoid such a situation entirely by reaching an agreement soon from the intense negotiations which are ongoing.

I absolutely understand how deeply many seniors rely on their Social Security checks for basic needs and that any interruption in benefits—even if only for a few days—would cause great difficulty for many seniors. As one member of Congress, I intend to do everything in my power to prevent that from happening.

These negotiations are contentious and intense because of the tremendous consequences for our country. We have to stop borrowing money because sooner or later it needs to be paid back with interest. It is immoral for the current generations of Americans to enslave the next generations to a mountain of debt.

Current plans to deal with the deficit take great pains to ensure that everyone over age 55 will keep receiving 100% of both your current Social Security benefits and stay on the current Medicare program. Again, there is absolutely no reason to delay the payment of Social Security benefit checks for even a few days because of any plans to deal with our national debt.

I do not support measures to change or reduce Social Security or Medicare benefits for current retirees or those about to retire in the next ten years. Beyond that, we are working on strengthening both programs to meet the needs of the next generations of Americans to retire and support themselves financially.

Thank you very much for contacting me. Please do not hesitate to contact me in the future with regard to this or any other issue.


My reply to you is this:

You and your party are wrecking this nation’s economy with your phony deficit hysteria. You are going to put millions more out of work and into poverty. How do you sleep at night?

I am sick of your talking points. Pull your head out and start thinking for yourself instead of parroting whatever madness Grover Norquist tells you to spout.

If I miss any Social Security checks I will hold you and your party responsible.

The GOP should grow up and govern or go out of business. Much more of this nonsense and maybe the voters will put you out of business.


Larry Jones

Two Sword Lengths: Violent Imagery in U.S. Political Rhetoric

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Let me tell you a story. In 1935, Sir Albert Lambert Ward was a Member of parliament serving the British House of Commons.

From the front Government bench soldierly Sir Lambert Ward had hoisted himself up to plead the Government’s case on a bill. In excitement he moved farther & farther out toward the centre of the hall. Suddenly came hoots of laughter and great cries of “Order! Order!” Sir Lambert looked around in bewilderment, hesitated, looked at his feet, jumped back.

Centuries ago British members of Parliament were occasionally given to the regrettable practice of pointing their arguments with their rapiers. To check the habit two red lines were drawn down the centre of the House of Commons about six feet, or two sword lengths, apart. When Sir Charles Barry’s present Victorian Parliament building was erected (1840-50), strips of red carpet before the Government and Opposition benches took the place of the original red lines, and to this day no member may step off the carpet while addressing the House.

Opposition and government members of Britain’s Parliament are still separated from each other by two sword lengths, a reminder that electoral politics, representative democracy, is a substitute for civil war. And vice versa. The U.S. Civil War began in 1861 because slave states did not accept the results of the Presidential election of 1860 in which a candidate opposed to slavery was elected President. The Civil War was, in fact, an early example of a “second amendment” solution.

Political rhetoric is full of martial imagery. Candidates and parties wage “campaigns”. Parties “target” districts and voting blocs, candidates promise to “fight” for their constituents. Volunteer canvassers are sometimes referred to as “foot soldiers”. Politicians and parties use military language and metaphors in an array of countries with differing political cultures, most of which do not have a recent history of political violence. But merely using military metaphors in political speech does not inspire political violence. England has had two civil wars in the last 600 years but the most recent was in the 17th century (never mind the several Celtic uprisings that have occurred from time to time). Canada’s closest brush with domestic political violence was the FLQ Crisis in 1970, the work of a handful of far left radicals never supported by the broader Quebec society.

The United States has suffered more than its share of political violence, even in recent years and up to the horrific event in Tuscon on January 8. Upon hearing of the shooting of Representative Gifford, I (and many others it turned out) could not help but think of the violent rhetoric deployed by the right (fringe and mainstream) in recent years. There remains no identified direct link between Sarah Palin’s notorious gun sight map and Loughner’s actions last Saturday. Nor is there any demonstrated link between the shooting and any other specific example of violent right wing rhetoric. Loughner’s motive remains unclear if not unknown or unknowable.

That does not mean that the right has not created a toxic political environment through the use of violent imagery. I am not sure I agree with every point made by Cenk Uygur but he makes a strong case that something bad has been going on for several years now:

Leaving aside any culpability the right might share for Loughner’s actions, I don’t think the existence of violent right wing rhetoric and imagery in today’s U.S. politics can be seriously denied. And to anyone who wants to argue that the “left” (meaning the centrist Democratic Party) is just as guilty of violent rhetoric, I say, show me. Show me the evidence, the examples of the left using hate filled and violent language for political purposes. I have an open mind. I can be convinced.

While we wait for such evidence, let us contemplate what the right’s motives are for using violent language. Is the use of violent, eliminationist rhetoric strategic and if so, what is its purpose and effect.

David Neiwert, author of The Eliminationists: How Hate Talk Radicalized the American Right has been studying this problem for many years now. On Saturday he wrote in a post at Crooks and Liars:

We don’t yet know why the shooter — identified as a 22-year-old man named Jared Loughner — shot Giffords and a number of other people… But it’s impossible to survey the events so far and not come to the preliminary conclusion that this was yet another awful act inspired by right-wing hate rhetoric.

I warned against precisely this kind of outcome in my book, The Eliminationists: How Hate Talk Radicalized the American Right. Events like this one, I explained then, reflect

a particular trend that has manifested itself with increasing intensity in the past decade: the positing of elimination as the solution to political disagreement. Rather than engaging in a dialogue over political and cultural issues, one side simply dehumanizes its opponents and suggests, and at times demands, their excision. This tendency is almost singularly peculiar to the American Right and manifests itself in many venues: on radio talk shows and in political speeches, in bestselling books and babbling blogs. Most of all, we can feel it on the ground: in our everyday lives, in our encounters, big and small, with each other.

When the conservative movement’s True Believers are fed a steady diet of extraordinary warnings intended to induce a paranoiac, panicked fear — They’re Destroying America! They Want to End Your Liberty! Health Care Reform is the End of America! — and simultaneously fed a diet of suggestions that the solution is simply to do away with them (see Sean Hannity’s recent bit of eliminationist “humor”), then what other outcome should you expect?

People are acting out in an eliminationist manner because they have been inundated with, and have naturally internalized, a broad range of eliminationist ideas and talking points. Such speech is being bandied about in every cultural bandwidth—from talk radio, to the local press and in letters to the editor, to blogs and national mainstream media.

I’ve also explained the dynamic at work here:

The critical components that distinguish irresponsible free speech from responsible are interworking pieces: whether it is intended to harm by scapegoating or demonizing, and whether or not it is provably false…

This is true of so much far-right wingnuttery — the “Birther” conspiracy theories, the FEMA-camp claims, the “constitutionalist” theories about taxation and the Federal Reserve, to list just a few examples — and yet people believe them anyway.

This rhetoric also acts as a kind of wedge between the people who absorb it and the real world. There is always a kind of cognitive dissonance that arises from believing things that are provably untrue, and people who begin to fanatically cling to beliefs that do not comport with reality find themselves increasingly willing to buy into other similarly unhinged beliefs. For those who are already unhinged, the effects are particularly toxic.

All of these theories, you’ll observe, serve the explicit purpose of supporting a scapegoating narrative. And a number of them have been featured in some shape, form, or fashion, in the mainstream public discourse because they have been presented seriously for discussion by various right-wing talking heads, most notably Glenn Beck and Lou Dobbs.

But pointing out their ethical and moral culpability inevitably means that they immediately blame it on the “crazy” people, and who can take responsibility for “crazy” people?

Who indeed? Certainly not Beck, Palin, Limbaugh or O’Reilly, all of whom have denied any responsibility for last weekend’s shooting, despite the absence of any request for them to do so. Palin’s guilty conscience betrayed them all when she so quickly removed the infamous gun sight map from her website.

Assuming the validity of Neiwert’s theory of eliminationist rhetoric, why does the right employ such tactics? Brian Topp is a strategist and former official with Canada’s center left New Democratic Party. Writing in the Globe and Mail he comments on right-wing rhetoric in the U.S.:

Why do populist right-wingers need to play these games? Because they can’t defend their program on its merits.

Help for the poor through tax giveaways to the rich. Economic security by breaking people’s pensions. Fiscal responsibility by bankrupting the state. Jobs by promoting economic recklessness that has produced a global economic crisis. A better society by promoting gross income disparity. Double and triple the police and prison apparatus to deal with a crime rate that has long been in decline. Better health care by making it available only to those who can afford it. Getting the state out of people’s lives by imposing narrow religious views in the schools. Legislating responsibly by abdicating the legislative and budget process to corporate lobbyists. Peace by warmongering. None of the central goals of American populist right-wingers hold up in rational debate. So a smokescreen is required. Take our country back! Respect the constitution! And… lock and load!
It’s had a good run in the past two years, this latest manifestation of right-wing unreason in the United States. But perhaps this is the moment its real nature stands revealed. Like all right-wing populism, that is something it cannot survive.

It would be nice to see the end of “right-wing unreason” in U.S. politics, but I don’t see it happening any time soon. Such tactics will only be abandoned when they have been defeated – at the ballot box. In the meantime, the crazy talk will continue and there will be outbreaks of violence on some scale for the foreseeable future.

U.S. centrists and all three of its leftists need to consider how best to respond to such right-wing eliminationist rhetoric without stepping over the (rhetorical) two sword lengths line. Hate speech must be countered and violence confronted, but not in kind. The grown ups will have to lead by example and sadly, there aren’t too many grown ups these days in the Republican Party or the broader conservative movement.

Written by slothropia

January 12th, 2011 at 11:30 am

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Remember those Joe Miller security types that handcuffed a reporter? Turns out they have ties to right wing militias. Shocked and stunned, I am.

In Harris County, Texas (Houston), a bunch of Teabaggers are defending the Constitution by trying to make sure the wrong people do not vote.

Two of the Supreme court justices who defended the Constitution by overturning an election result are having secret meetings with the Teabagger Overlords. And it seems Mrs. Scalia Puppet has Teabagger tendencies and ties herself.

And finally, there’s this report by the NAACP about Teabagger ties to racist organizations. For some reason they let Dick Armey off the hook. because he obviously doesn’t know who he’s dealing with.

Anyway, I’m trying to discern a pattern here. What could it be that ties these things together?

Oh well, It’ll come to me. But I will say this: If this is what the Teabag Republicans are like in opposition, imagine how much fun we would all have if they ever get a taste of power.

I think it’s worth remembering that the high point of the KKK and Father Coughlin was in the Great Depression. The Great Depression was also when socialism was most acceptable to U.S. voters. Capitalism was in crisis, just as it is now. I doubt that this is the final crisis, but we are at some sort of turning point. Will the world that results more resemble Chile under Pinochet (as the Koch brothers no doubt fervently hope) or a Scandinavian social democracy, or a Wobbly paradise? Will we have o go through a world war to create whatever comes next?

Ask me in about ten or fifteen years and I’ll let you know..

Donald Duck v Glenn Beck – Maddow v Robinson

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You can find this remix and more at rebellious pixels. I was led there by a link at Raw Story.

Here’s another cartoon that’s almost as funny.

Most who read political blogs or watch MSNBC will have at least heard about this notorious train wreck of an interview.

Written by slothropia

October 11th, 2010 at 10:06 pm

Black on Beck

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Lewis Black always tickles my funnybone, but this here is a classic.

Hey Glenn, you call that a rant? That’s not a rant – THIS is a rant:

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Back in Black – Glenn Beck’s Nazi Tourette’s
Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor Tea Party

And let’s welcome to the language a new phrase: Nazi Tourette’s.

Written by slothropia

May 14th, 2010 at 1:12 am

NY Times Blesses Erick Son of Erick

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Sheila Dewan worked hard but was finally able to find nice things to say about Erick, Son of Erick.

In his seven weeks as one of CNN’s newest contributors, Erick Erickson has made scarcely more than a dozen appearances on the network.

But his (Erickson’s) every utterance — every Twitter message, blog post and radio rant — has been parsed with the rigor usually reserved for a Supreme Court nominee.

Liberal detractors have obsessively cataloged his right-wing rhetorical excesses, from calling Michelle Obama a “Marxist harpy” to a flip accusation that the former Supreme Court Justice David H. Souter molested children and animals. Even the White House press secretary, Robert Gibbs, criticized Mr. Erickson for suggesting that he would threaten a census worker, saying the comment “should concern CNN.” The Boston Globe protested what it called “one more screamer on cable.”

What critics have not noted is that Mr. Erickson, the editor of the influential conservative blog RedState, is as hard on many Republicans and conservatives as he is on Democrats. He has accused Michael Steele, the chairman of the Republican National Committee, of playing the race card; suggested that RedState readers send toy balls to Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader, during budget negotiations; and, of late, begun exhorting Tea Party followers (he considers himself one) to move beyond protests and get involved in the nitty-gritty of precinct-level politics.

Well, Dewan left out some stuff too. Here;s Nick McLellan at Think Progress:

The selection of Erickson as a regular commentator raises the question of whether CNN is willing to sanction his record of offensive comments. In just the past year, Erickson has made several racial and violent statements that cast a poor light on his role as a “conservative opinion leader”:

– Erickson applauded protesters who descended on Capitol Hill Nov. 5, 2009, to, as he characterized, “send Obama to a death panel.” He later edited the post and changed the reference to Obamacare. [11/5/09]

– Erickson called White House Health Care Communications Director Linda Douglass “the Joseph Goebbels of the White House Health Care shop.” [10/12/09]

– Weighing in on Justice David Souter’s retirement from the Supreme Court: “The nation loses the only goat f**king child molester to ever serve on the Supreme Court…” [4/30/09]

– Responding to the Norwegian Nobel Committee’s selection of President Barack Obama to receive the 2009 Peace Prize, Erickson tweeted: “I did not realize the Nobel Committee had affirmative action quotas it had to meet.” [10/9/09]

– Reacting to a proposed Washington state regulation on dish soap aimed at easing water pollution: “At what point do the people tell the politicians to go to hell? At what point do they get off the couch, march down to their state legislator’s house, pull him outside, and beat him to a bloody pulp for being an idiot?” [3/31/09]

But hey, it’s a free country. If CNN wants to squander its credibility by hiring Erickson, and if the Times wants to join them, let them.

Written by slothropia

May 12th, 2010 at 8:39 pm

Chomsky: U.S. like Weimar

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Noam Chomsky brilliantly states the obvious, unlike a certain corporate media I could mention:

Noam Chomsky, for many years the leading left-wing intellectual in the country, warned last week of signs that fascism may be coming to the United States.

“I’m just old enough to have heard a number of Hitler’s speeches on the radio,” he said, “and I have a memory of the texture and the tone of the cheering mobs, and I have the dread sense of the dark clouds of fascism gathering” here at home.


“The level of anger and fear is like nothing I can compare in my lifetime,” he said. He cited a statistic from a recent poll showing that half the unaffiliated voters say the average tea party member is closer to them than anyone else.

(more snipping)

There is class resentment, he noted. “The bankers, who are primarily responsible for the crisis, are now reveling in record bonuses while official unemployment is around 10 percent and unemployment in the manufacturing sector is at Depression-era levels,” he said.

And Obama is linked to the bankers, Chomsky explained. “The financial industry preferred Obama to McCain,” he said.

(even more snipping)

Chomsky invoked Germany during the Weimar Republic, and drew a parallel between it and the United States. “The Weimar Republic was the peak of Western civilization and was regarded as a model of democracy,” and he stressed how quickly things deteriorated there.

“In 1928 the Nazis had less than 2 percent of the vote.” And he warned, “Two years later, millions supported them. The public got tired of the incessant wrangling, and the service to the powerful, and the failure of those in power to deal with their grievances.”

Chomsky said the German people were susceptible to appeals about “the greatness of the nation, and defending it against threats, and carrying out the will of eternal providence.”

When farmers, the petit bourgeoisie, and Christian organizations joined forces with the Nazis, “the center very quickly collapsed,” Chomsky said. No analogy is perfect, but the echoes of fascism are “reverberating” today. “These are lessons to keep in mind.”

As they say elsewhere, read the whole thing.

Oh and Canada, here is your word for the day. Can you say Anschluss? I knew you could.

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April 22nd, 2010 at 1:18 am

Huffpo’s Bill Lucey: A Nation Divided

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Bill Lucey has a Huffpo essay about why the U.S. seems so divided these days. This is an important question, if one assumes that division does in fact exist among Americans right now. Lucey’s attempt to answer this question is a worthy effort, but ultimately fails because the author feels compelled to hold everyone equally accountable, which is another way of saying no one is responsible.

He partially blames congressional district gerrymandering, which I regard as more of a symptom than a cause. He also appears to think that partisan media is partly to blame. Darn that Fox News and MSNBC anyway.

Maybe the nation has always been divided. When the U.S. was born it was part slave and part free. At one point it engaged in a great civil war and slavery was abolished, but for a century afterward the slave owners and white supremacists used violence to keep their power and status. Unfortunately, Lincoln may have lost the Civil War by winning it. Conquering the Confederacy meant that the Union would remain riddled with racist former slave owners and their overseers. The Confederacy stood for the noble proposition that some people are superior to others, modern American Conservatism in a nutshell.

After Lincoln, workers and bosses were divided and sometimes came to blows. The capitalists of the Gilded Age and those whose labor created their fortunes were often in conflict. Then the elites gave us the Great Depression and Roosevelt had to step in and save the wealthy from a fate like that of Marie Antoinette.

Through the Depression years, World War II and the Cold War, divisions were stifled. In the sixties, the pot boiled over, and conflict came with the civil rights and anti war movements, as well as other large, cultural changes.

In 1964, Barry Goldwater said that”Extremism in he defense of Liberty is no vice.” He lost, but sixteen years later the conservative reaction achieved its greatest victory by making Ronald Reagan President of the United States.

We are still suffering from the damage done by Reagan and the Bushes in massively transferring wealth from the middle class to the wealthy (which continues, mitigated only slightly by Obama’s policies). That was Reagan’s assignment from the powerful interests he represented: Bury the New Deal once and for all. Ensure that wealth and power remain where they belong, at the top. Of course, elected Republicans and too many Democrats also serve the rich and not their constituents.

Now, with the American economy in tatters, the Right (meaning the wealthy elite) fights back with everything it can muster. They have a lot of weapons too, one of them being Fox News and it connection to angry middle and lower middle class white people. They also have a lock on talk radio and make sure that 90% of the talkers are right wing hysterics.

Let us not forget the role of apocalyptic religion and its influence on many of the “patriot” militias now maneuvers in the woods of Michigan and other states. Also in Huffpo, here’s a well informed piece by Frank Schaeffer on that very topic. Scaeffer’s conclusion:

The truth is that the “crazies” in Michigan are just acting on what millions of evangelicals say they believe and I don’t only mean about the so called End Times. I also mean that these days the Tea Party movement is spouting a rhetoric of doom and extremism that holds that the American government and even the nation is no longer legitimate. Add in the theology and you have a self-fulfilling “prophecy” of Armageddon. Sadly we have not seen the last of such actions.

In short, if the U.S. is divided it is because the wealthy want it that way. Division is how they continue to rule and is the tool they use to advance toward the goal of absolute power over the economy and society.

You won’t hear talk like this on the radio or cable news channels – not even on MSNBC, still owned by GE. Maddow comes pretty close, though.

Written by slothropia

April 1st, 2010 at 8:55 pm