In a meeting with several reporters this afternoon, House Minority Leader John Boehner outlined the top three measures he'd pursue if he becomes Speaker of the House next Congress to create new jobs. But, those who thought he'd outline specific programs and how they would create jobs were disappointed with a familiar litany of wish-list items: repeal health care reform, eschew climate legislation, and renew the Bush tax cuts.
In other words, repeal a program that largely hasn't yet taken effect; prevent new legislation that is also not in effect; and keep a current tax structure in place. Step four: profit. Or jobs.
In other words, do nothing. Except, of course, to launch endless investigations.
From the inadequate stimulus of 2009, to the deficit "concerns" (see the catfood commission) of today (among many other issues), the flinching and cowering of the Obama Administration and the Dems has damaged the country and, ironically, the political fortunes of the Dems. The reflexive hippie punching, the constant refrain of not letting the perfect be the enemy of the good, the ever present concern of being labeled a gasp, liberal, has led to great suffering in the nation. Simply put, the Dems have not been up to the job. L'Affaire Sherrod has put a face to the cost of this attitude. I hope that the transcendence of this problem is recognized and addressed.
There should be no mosque near Ground Zero in New York so long as there are no churches or synagogues in Saudi Arabia. The time for double standards that allow Islamists to behave aggressively toward us while they demand our weakness and submission is over.
In their awesome new book, Over The Cliff-- How Obama's Election Drove The American Right Insane, John Amato and Dave Neiwert carefully document the dramatic uptick in violence, threats and domestic terrorism since President Obama was elected, much of it-- if not most of it-- driven by unadulterated racism. Amato and Neiwert make the case, and more convincingly than anyone else, that the violence and paranoia have been stoked by the ranting and raving of the right wing media, from Hate Talk Radio hosts like Rush Limbaugh and Laura Ingraham to Fox News hosts like Glenn Beck, Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity, the sole source of information for many of the most demented perpetrators.
Obama?s election appeared to feed extremist right-wing paranoia and inspire violent fantasies of a ?revolution.? On February 27 in Florida, for example, a mentally ill man named Dannie Baker walked up to the window outside the recreation room of a Miramar Beach apartment complex and opened fire on the gathering of Chilean exchange students therein, killing two people-- Nicolas Corp, 23, and Racine Balbontin, 22-- and wounding three others. After police arrested the 60-year-old Baker at his apartment, neighbors told reporters that Baker had asked them if they were ready for a ?revolution?-- and warned them that if they were harboring illegal immigrants, to get them out.
Baker had worked as a local volunteer for the Republican Party during George W. Bush?s 2000 and 2004 campaigns. However, when Baker turned out to volunteer in 2008, his mental state had
apparently deteriorated; a county GOP official said he ?just made people feel uncomfortable,? so they asked him to stay away.
Baker fired off a number of angry e-mails to GOP officials, which so disturbed and alarmed them that they turned them over to the Walton County sheriff, who did nothing. In one e-mail, Baker wrote: ?The Washington D.C. Dictators have already confessed to rigging elections in our States for their recruiting dictators to overthrow us with foreign illegals here, and have allowed them to kill and run for office in the States to extend their influence into our States.? In another missive, Baker claimed there is a plot to ?give our homeland to foreign states and their representatives here in America. Lets execute them and reinstate a legal government that will do something for us.?
Especially remarkable about the Baker case was how little attention it attracted in the United States. In Chile and much of Latin America, the Miramar Beach shootings were front-page national news. Francisco Vidal, the Chilean government minister, denounced the crime as ?macabre? and ?brutal.? The deputy consul general personally oversaw the return of the two students? bodies to their homeland. One of the ironies of the murders was that the students were not ?illegal immigrants?-- they were studying abroad as part of an exchange program, and all of them planned to return to Chile. In the end, Baker was found incompetent to stand trial and remanded to the custody of the Florida State Hospital in Chattahoochee for treatment; if he regains competency within five years, he will then stand trial. The story again received no attention outside of Walton County.
Similarly, the case of James Cummings received little national attention. After a day or so of headlines, the case of the Tennessee skinheads and their assassination plot [against Obama] disappeared from the news. And no one, outside of a handful of reporters, followed up on the Denver would-be assassins and Troy Eid?s nonfeasance.
That?s because the mainstream media have their preferred narratives and stick to them like glue. The preferred narrative when it came to these violent acts committed by right-wing extremists was
that these were all ?isolated incidents? with no connection, no set of radical belief systems that wove them together, and, most of all, nothing to connect them to the hyperbole from mainstream conservatives. As Glenn Beck said, these were just nutcases who had nothing to do with anything he or his fellow right-wing pundits told people.
Perish the thought. If you dared harbor or express it-- as Beck also made abundantly clear-- then you were just trying to silence and oppress poor helpless right-wing pundits. That was the conservative way, and it was about to become one of their favorite and most repeated themes.
"I don't want to disparage anyone because of their race, their ethnicity, their name-- whatever their religion their father might have been," I'll just say this: When you think about the optics of a Barack Obama potentially getting elected President of the United States-- I mean, what does this look like to the rest of the world? What does it look like to the world of Islam? I will tell you that, if he is elected president, then the radical Islamists, the al-Qaida, the radical Islamists and their supporters, will be dancing in the streets in greater numbers than they did on September 11 because they will declare victory in this War on Terror. Additionally, his middle name (Hussein) does matter. It matters because they read a meaning into that in the rest of the world... If he were strong on national defense and said 'I'm going to go over there and we're going to fight and we're going to win, we'll come home with a victory,' that's different. But that's not what he said. They will be dancing in the streets if he's elected president. That has a chilling aspect on how difficult it will be to ever win this Global War on Terror."
I am a lifelong sports fan. I learned the language of Baseball probably before I could even walk and the language of Basketball soon thereafter. I?m fluent in American Football and can make myself understood in Hockey. I also have varying degrees of[...]
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Newt Gingrich made the mistake of calling Shirley Sherrod "viciously racist" but the White House is at fault, the former House Speaker said Sunday.
The Obama administration called for Sherrod to resign from her position at the USDA after a selectively edited video clip of her allegedly admitting racism appeared on the internet. The administration apologized after the NAACP released the unedited video showing Sherrod actually explaining how she overcame her racist tendencies to help a white farmer.
After Sherrod resigned Monday, Gingrich appeared on Fox News' Hannity and said, "I often disagree with this administration but firing her after that kind of viciously racist attitude was exactly the right thing to do."
"Was that irresponsible, calling her viciously racist based on an internet clip that had been taken out of context?" Fox News' Chris Wallace asked Gingrich Sunday.
"No. I was operating in the context of the Secretary of Agriculture having summarily fired her and therefore there was no reason to disbelieve the clip and what you see is one more example of the Obama administration's continuing incompetence," said Gingrich.
"Apparently, she didn't even get the courtesy of a chance to talk to the Secretary of Agriculture who I suspect fired her under pressure from the White House and she said they were firing her under pressure from the White House," he continued.
"So, my comments were in context of a clip that had been validated by the Secretary of Agriculture who had fired her. Clearly, when you look at the complete clip and when you look at the background information and when you listen to the white farmer say she had actually been very helpful, I think a fair case can be made that this administration acted with destructive irresponsibility and the way that they fired her," he said.
ADDENDUM: (Jon Perr) As it turns out, history is repeating for Newt Gingrich. Sixteen years before he call Shirley Sherrod ?viciously racist,? he blamed Democrats for the murders of two children in the racially-fraught Susan Smith case.
Right-wing media figures have tried to absolve themselves for attacking Shirley Sherrod by pointing out that the White House fired her. However, regardless of the White House's actions, these media figures are far from blameless; as Salon's Joan Walsh noted, media figures "pounc[ed] on" Sherrod without seeking any comment from her.
Ingraham: "My mistake was believing" the White House "had read the entire transcript." After previously appearing on Fox News' Fox & Friends, where she stated that Sherrod was evidence that people with "radical outlooks, a radical agenda and in this case a racist sentiment" had "burrowed their way into the Obama administration," Laura Ingraham appeared on the July 22 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor to further discuss the Sherrod controversy after the full context of Sherrod's remarks had come to light. Rather than accepting responsibility for hastily and erroneously calling Sherrod a "racist," Ingraham told Bill O'Reilly: "You know what? My mistake was this. My mistake was believing that when the Obama White House had moved to remove her from her position, that they had read the entire transcript of the remarks."
Gingrich: Secretary of Agriculture "validated" clip of Sherrod by firing her. On the July 25 edition of Fox Broadcasting Co.'s Fox News Sunday, host Chris Wallace played a clip of Newt Gingrich stating that "firing" Sherrod "after that kind of viciously racist attitude was exactly the right thing to do" and then asked Gingrich if calling Sherrod "viciously racist" was irresponsible. Gingrich responded:
GINGRICH: Well, remember, I was operating in the context of the Secretary of Agriculture having summarily fired her, and therefore there was no reason to disbelieve the clip. And what you see was one more example of the Obama administration's continuing incompetence. Apparently, she didn't even get the courtesy of a chance to talk to the Secretary of Agriculture, who I suspect fired her under pressure from the White House. And she says she was told they were firing her under pressure from the White House.
So my comments were in the context of a clip which had been validated by the Secretary of Agriculture, who had fired her. Clearly, when you look at the complete clip, and when you look at the background information, and when you listen to the white farmer say she had actually been very helpful, I think it's a fair case can be made that this administration acted with destructive irresponsibility in the way that they fired her.
Right-wing media wildly speculated that White House might have orchestrated a "set-up" to "smear Breitbart" and Fox News. As Breitbart's Shirley Sherrod smear dissolved, rather than blame Breitbart for posting the deceptive clip of her speech, right-wing media ludicrously began speculating that he and the conservative media could have been the victim of a "set-up" that had been "orchestrated" by the White House. Beck speculated that the Sherrod controversy might be part of a plot to "destroy the credibility of Fox News" and said that if it "wasn't a set up -- I have to tell you -- it is certainly Rahm Emanuel's don't let a good crisis go to waste." Michael Savage stated, "I'm beginning to believe that the entire affair was orchestrated by the government itself to smear Breitbart." And Rush Limbaugh claimed, "For all I know, the White House orchestrated this whole thing."
Walsh: "How Fox News or anybody else could run a story and not seek comment from a person that they were calling a racist -- it's quite extraordinary." During her July 25 appearance on CNN's Reliable Sources, Salon's Joan Walsh dismantled the media's attempt to deflect responsibility for their false accusations of racism onto the White House. Affirming that "Fox played a much bigger role than people want to admit," she stated that "[i]t doesn't matter that merely the Obama administration overreacted" -- "pouncing on Shirley Sherrod without getting her reaction or her response" is still "unconscionable." From Walsh's appearance on Reliable Sources:
WALSH: I think they [the TV networks] bear a lot of responsibility. You know, I want to give CNN credit, because I believe CNN was among the first to search out Shirley Sherrod and find out that there was a very different story than the one that was being told. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, I believe, was also very quick to go to Sherrod. How Fox News or anybody else could run a story and not seek comment from a person that they were calling a racist -- it's quite extraordinary.
And you know, a lot has been made about "Fox didn't do -- Fox isn't the cause of her firing." I'm going to stipulate that. Let's say that that's true. But Fox played a much bigger role than people want to admit. It -- that story -- the Breitbart version of the story ran on FoxNews.com all day Monday. O'Reilly mentioned it, Sean Hannity went on to mention it, Sean Hannity and Newt Gingrich had a lovely conversation about what a racist this woman was after she had resigned. Fox & Friends went crazy the next morning. It doesn't matter that merely the Obama administration overreacted. It matters -- that's terrible that they did that -- but there was this pouncing on Shirley Sherrod without getting her reaction or her response that I think is unconscionable. She was easy to find.
Numerous Sunday television and print commentators criticized Andrew Breitbart for posting the deceptively edited video of Shirley Sherrod, as well as Fox News for running with Breitbart's bogus smear.
Joan Walsh: Fox ran with Sherrod smear pushed by "discredited" Breitbart. On the July 25 edition of CNN's Reliable Sources, Salon.com's Joan Walsh criticized Fox News for running with Breitbart's deceptively edited video of Sherrod, stating that Breitbart "should have already been discredited" for pushing heavily edited ACORN videos last year. Walsh further stated that "Fox played a much bigger role [in the Sherrod story] than people want to admit," noting that the "Breitbart version of the story ran on FoxNews.com all day Monday" and that Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity discussed the story on their July 19 Fox News programs.
Jane Hall: Fox ran with Sherrod story "because it fit their narrative of a very anti-Obama situation." On the July 25 edition of Reliable Sources, former Fox News contributor Jane Hall said the Sherrod video was "almost a virtual world McCarthyism" and that Fox News ran with the video "because it fit their narrative of a very anti-Obama situation."
Bob Schieffer: "A partisan blogger with an agenda ... put the heavily edited" video of Sherrod on the Internet. On the July 25 edition of CBS' Face the Nation, host Bob Schieffer stated: "A partisan blogger with an agenda -- not a journalist -- put the heavily edited, totally out of context, now-infamous sound bite of Shirley Sherrod on the Internet." Schieffer further stated: "Some of the cable folk picked up this story and demanded the woman's ouster -- no calls to those involved; no checking of any kind. Just throw it out there and leave it to the woman to defend herself."
Mara Liasson: Fox among those "guilty" in Sherrod controversy. On the July 25 edition of Fox Broadcasting Co.'s Fox News Sunday, Fox News contributor and NPR correspondent Mara Liasson stated that "every entity here who did not do their homework and practice good journalism and report the entire videotape is guilty -- including Fox, who played it, but not in its entirety even after she'd been fired."
Howard Dean: Fox acted "absolutely racist." On the July 25 Fox News Sunday, Howard Dean stated of the Sherrod controversy: "Fox News did something that was absolutely racist. ... They had an obligation to find out what was really in the clip. They have been pushing a theme of black racism with this phony Black Panther crap and this [Sherrod] business and Sotomayor and all this other stuff." Dean further stated that "the tea party called out their racist fringe, and I think the Republican Party's got to stop appealing to its racist fringe, and Fox News is what did that."
Frank Rich: Breitbart is a "dirty trickster notorious for hustling skewed partisan videos on Fox News." In his July 24 New York Times column, Frank Rich wrote that "[e]ven though the egregiously misleading excerpt from Shirley Sherrod's 43-minute speech came from Andrew Breitbart, the dirty trickster notorious for hustling skewed partisan videos on Fox News, few questioned its validity." Rich further noted that Fox News touted Breitbart's edited video clip of Sherrod's comments as "what racism looks like."
Van Jones: Breitbart "promoted a misleadingly edited video of [Sherrod's] speech." In a July 24 New York Times op-ed, former Obama administration official Van Jones criticized how "[p]artisan Web sites and pundits pounced" on the Sherrod controversy, writing that "news organizations, and partisans posing as news organizations" have "cross[ed] the line from responsible reporting to dangerous rumor-mongering." Jones also wrote: "Andrew Breitbart, a prominent Internet conservative, promoted a misleadingly edited video of her speech; within hours, news outlets of all stripes were promoting it as truth."
Today marks four years since I began regular postings on Texas Liberal. Thanks to everyone who has read the blog and who has left a comment. Thanks to the fellow bloggers I’ve become friends with since I began the blog. I intend to keep on with Texas Liberal. Please read the blog as often as [...]
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I think you can point to a couple things that Al Franken said in his closing keynote to get a feel for the mood here at the event, which was quite a bit less gloomy than, say, the America's Future Now conference last month. Franken said bluntly that we[...]
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Sam Stein at Huffington Post captured these surprisingly frank assessments yesterday of the (dysfunctional) U.S. Senate from three progressive congressmen. Tom Perriello of Virginia (speaking via Skype) was especially blunt.
The entire exchange (about 10 minutes) is well worth watching as well. Here's the recorded video of the panel.
I've added some video to further capture the moment.
A trio of progressive House members took direct aim at their colleagues in the Senate on Saturday, declaring that the upper chamber "sucks," has a "toxic effect" on the legislative process, and would cost House Democrats seats in the 2010 election.
"They say the senate has a luxury of time, six-year cycles for elections," said Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.), co-chair of the House Progressive Caucus. "But these last 18 months have, in memory, have not only been the most frustrating but the inertia created in the Senate is what is jeopardizing Democrats and progressives' opportunities in the midterms. It is not our lack of action. It has been their lack of action."
"I think [we] feel a frustration because my constituents don't necessarily distinguish between the House and the Senate," said Rep. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.). "And so when they see something not getting done they are not really tolerant of my argument which is, 'Well it passed the House.' That doesn't really wash. They hold us all accountable for the failure of these issues moving forward. I personally think the 60-vote requirement in the United States Senate is a bastardization of the United States constitution."
"It sucks," said Rep. Tom Perriello (D-Va.), "and I mean it literally. It sucks the energy out of the room and it sucks the urgency out of what we do... The lack of urgency from the Senate on these jobs bill is soul-crushing."