And now, they're coming for your Social Security money - they want your fucking retirement money - they want it back - so they can give it to their criminal friends on Wall Street. And you know something? They'll get it. They'll get it all from you sooner or later. Because they own this fucking place. It's a Big Club: and you're not in it.
"Newt Gingrich knows exactly what he is doing when he calls Obama the “food stamp” president, just as Ronald Reagan knew exactly what he was doing when talking about “welfare Cadillacs.” There are lots of other ways to make the point about economic hard times — entirely apart from which person and which policies are to blame for today’s mammoth joblessness. You could call him the “pink slip president,” the “foreclosure president,” the “Walmart president,” the “bailout president,” or any of a dozen other images that convey distress. You decide to go with “the food stamp president,” and you’re doing it on purpose.
If Joe Lieberman had been elected, I would be wary of attacks on his economic policy that called him “the cunning, tight-fisted president.” If Henry Cisneros had or Ken Salazar does, I would notice arguments about ineffectiveness phrased as “the manana administration.” If Gary Locke were in office, then “the Manchurian candidate” jokes that had been used on John Huntsman would have a different edge. And so on. [A specific commenter on my site] may not recognize it as a dog whistle, but I have no doubt that Newt Gingrich knows what it is. I don’t think that Gingrich has had a racist-style political career; on the contrary. But he knows what this language does."
I think this is exactly right. Using this language is a cynical decision; a means to an end, not an overt display of deeply held beliefs on the part of (in this case) DFS Gingrich. He’s a political operator grasping at straws, and selecting the straws he feels are most likely to play well for the task at hand (a southern US primary swing). Ultimately he could care less if this hurts the broader GOP or Romney; if the tactic helps him, it helps him. Period.
The progressive blogosphere would do well to discuss the language, as there’s plenty of meat there. Leaping to the more reflexive, inherently more tribal cries of “Gingrich reveals racist streak” in response will alienate as many or more than it will draw. Making the deeper points about precisely why this language is not only wrong but is disgracefully, knowingly wrong will be far more beneficial long term, as such an approach ends the meme, instead of merely tarring the meme user.
tl/dr: DFS Gingrich needs no help ending his career. We will need lots of help ending these tactics.
"A mature society is one that can distinguish between 1) times when lawbreaking requires new, more robust laws, 2) when the appropriate conclusion is that there will just always be some level of crime, and 3) when the prohibition itself is incompatible with a free society."
— Conor Friedersdorf, weighing in on SOPA and other draconian “law and order” approaches to the innerwebs. Which, of course, must be destroyed such that it may better serve our Galtian Overlords.
Sadly, we’re not even close to assessing the three points he lays out, because doing so would require us to throw our lot in with a bunch of pointy headed analysts and require looking into some “data” and “numbers” and making conclusions based on empirical reality. None of this is currently allowed in public discourse or decision making at any level. In fact, recourse to analysis and empiricism is frequently pointed to as a disqualification for office. And so the Republic crumbles.
James Fallows weighs in on the GOP finally finding a tax hike they love, the elimination of the Obama-initiated payroll tax “holiday” that would affect every employed individual in the country:
I had thought that Republican absolutism about taxes, while harmful to the country and out of sync with even the party’s own Reaganesque past, at least had the zealot’s virtue of consistency. Now we see that it can be set aside when it applies to poorer people, and when setting it aside would put maximum drag on the economy as a whole. So this means that its real guiding principle is… ??? You tell me.
You answered your own question, James. The increase would not impact the core constituency of the GOP, the top 2% of all earners. Most of their income isn’t touched by payroll tax rates anyway. Likewise, dumping this temporary and stimulatory tax break on January 1, 2012 puts “maximum drag on the economy as a whole.” The GOP sees that as a feature of this stance, not some arbitrary outcome. That such a position comes from the unitary “we pledge allegiance to no tax hikes of any kind, ever” club is also unsurprising. They only expressed interest in extending the Bush tax cuts if and when said extensions protected the cuts for the wealthiest 2%, who had already benefited asymmetrically from said imminently expiring tax policies.
The GOP has been working with single-minded focus towards the worst possible policy outcome(s) for more years than Obama has been in office. They dislike government. They want it to fail, and barring that outcome at best appear grossly ineffectual. Holding a lesser fraction of the total DC power structure only makes it easier to sand the gears and mutter “wha happened?” to an all too pliant media, the most popular outlet of which is firmly in their corner. The GOP machine is most certainly not going to stop now, especially not when they can needlessly prolong the economic suffering of millions of Americans for years in exchange for some short-term political gains and do that in a way that minimally impacts their core constituency: the top 2%. This is who they are.
"As I’ve said before, lots of Glenn Beck listeners aren’t in on the joke. Unlike Roger Ailes, Jonah Goldberg, and every staffer at the Heritage Foundation happy hour, they don’t realize that the Fox News Channel puts this man on the air fully understanding that large parts of his program are uninformed nonsense mixed with brazen bullshit. When a Fox News host tells these viewers, “I’m not going to treat you like you’re a moron,” playing on their insecurity about other media outlets talking down to or lying to them, they take it at face value. What sort of callous, immoral person allows these viewers to be played for fools?"
— Conor Friedersdorfgetting to a one-sentence sketch of Roger Ailes. Until the broader sphere progressive politicians and media in general deals with that “I’m not going to treat you like you’re a moron” part, we’ll get nowhere.
As Friedersdorf says, Ailes et al. “ought to be objects of disgrace, akin to any other manipulative huckster who preys on the elderly.” That they aren’t is why we fail.
"Early on, I decided to make a used-records store on Telegraph Avenue one of the key settings of my novel in progress. Okay, maybe “early on” is an under-exaggeration. Maybe it would be more accurate to say “the entire novel is just a pretext for spending as much time and money as I possibly can in used record stores.” (A similar rationale doubtless underlies my projected next novel, the epic Tacos Al Pastor.)"
Having struggled all the way through to make my own sense of sorrow and confusion congruent with what I saw happening in Tucson, having found that point of tangency at the rueful and admonitory heart, the father’s heart, of the speech, I fell all the way out again, right at the end. “If there are rain puddles in heaven,” the president said, evoking the words of an unnamed contributor to an album of photos of babies born on 9/11, “Christina is jumping in them today.”
I tried to imagine how I would feel if, having, God forbid, lost my precious daughter, born three months and ten days before Christina Taylor-Green, somebody offered this charming, tidy, corny vignette to me by way of consolation. I mean, come on! There is no heaven, man. The brunt, the ache and the truth of a child’s death is that he or she will never jump in rain puddles again. That joy was taken from her, and along with it ours in the pleasure of all that splashing. Heaven is pure wishfulness, an imaginary solution to the insoluble problem of the contingency and injustice of life.
But I’ve been chewing these words over since last night, and I’ve decided that, in fact, they were appropriate to a memorial for a child, far more appropriate, certainly, than all that rude hallooing. A literal belief in heaven is not required to grasp the power of that corny wish, to feel the way the idea of heaven inverts in order to express all the more plainly everything—wishes, hopes and happiness—that the grieving parents must now put away, along with one slicker and a pair of rain boots.
"…conservatives and Republicans who had no problem with strong-arm security measures back in the Bush 43 days but are upset now. Charles Krauthammer is the classic example: forthrightly defending torture as, in limited circumstances, a necessary tool against terrorism, yet now outraged about “touching my junk” as a symbol of the intrusive state."
— James Fallowson liberals, conservatives, and maintaining a consistent foundation to one’s thoughts no matter whose party may be in charge of executing the policy in question.
Don’t know how I missed Glenn Greenwald’s take on Jeffrey Goldberg’s idiotic spew in The Atlantic (Now! More neoconservative than ever paired with incisive stories about the End of Manliness!).
Jeffrey Goldberg, in the new cover story in The Atlantic, on an Israeli attack on Iran:
Israel has twice before successfully attacked and destroyed an enemy’s nuclear program. In 1981, Israeli warplanes bombed the Iraqi reactor at Osirak, halting — forever, as it turned out — Saddam Hussein’s nuclear ambitions; and in 2007, Israeli planes destroyed a North Korean-built reactor in Syria. An attack on Iran, then, would be unprecedented only in scope and complexity.
Good news! Israel can successfully end a country’s nuclear program by bombing them, as proven by its 1981 attack on Iraq, which, says Goldberg, halted “forever, as it turned out — Saddam Hussein’s nuclear ambitions.”
Jeffrey Goldberg, The New Yorker, 2002, trying to convince Americans to fear Iraq:
Saddam Hussein never gave up his hope of turning Iraq into a nuclear power. After the Osirak attack, he rebuilt, redoubled his efforts, and dispersed his facilities. Those who have followed Saddam’s progress believe that no single strike today would eradicate his nuclear program.
Marc Ambinder, among many others, seems to be looking at the whole “secret debt at RNC” story as a sign of big trouble for the GOP going into the 2010 midterms; he goes so far as to characterize it as a threat to their whole fall product line:
During midterm elections, the national committee plays two essential roles. First, it serves as a bank account that can be drawn upon to shore up House races or put others into play. Second, it coordinates the party’s field operations and funds joint “Victory” committees with state parties. The RNC, at the moment, is barely fulfilling the second function and has less than $10 million on hand, so it cannot help much with House races.
Are our memories really this short and so utterly faulty? This whole “secret debt” thing is entirely, entirely an insidery play against Steele, who seems to be on the way out post-midterms if the inner circle has anything to say about it. Why do I say this? Well, because the GOP has awe-inspiring amounts of money available to it:
a list of ten Republican aligned institutions, ranging from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to the Family Research Council. Next to it is a column listing the amount of money each group has pledged to spend by Election Day. A third column on the right details what those groups actually spent in 2008 on federal elections.
The number at the bottom delivers the key message. If their pledges are fulfilled, these ten groups will unleash more than $200 million in election-focused spending — roughly $37 million more than every single independent group spent on the 2008 presidential campaign combined. This time around, almost every single penny will be going to Republican candidates or causes.
Indeed, what a scene of chaos. How will the GOP ever get by? They’ll run through that quarter-billion dollars in no time at all. Then what?!? Oh, right, more money will roll in.
And yes, for once, this news is genuinely bad for The Democrat. Page Juan Williams.