Right Wing Radio Extremism

More GOP Lawmakers Hop On Bandwagon To Smear $20 Billion Escrow Fund As ‘Chicago Style Shakedown’

 

I wonder if the GOP actually know how foolish they look and sound with their effort to smear the POTUS at every turn? 

Think Progress

Last night, the Republican Study Committee (RSC), the largest caucus of Republican House members, fired off a statement declaring that the $20 billion dollar negotiated by BP and the Obama administration for victims of the oil catastrophe in the gulf is a “Chicago-Style Political Shakedown.” Echoing this sentiment, Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) told BP executives that he is “sorry” for Obama’s “shakedown” of their company.

This morning, ThinkProgress traveled to Capitol Hill to interview lawmakers about the escrow fund. Several members of Congress, like Rep. John Fleming (R-LA) and Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), agreed with the RSC’s criticism of the fund. Even though Fleming’s home state of Louisiana has been devastated by BP’s spill, Fleming attacked the administration for not trusting BP and for daring to “take control of all the money from BP.” Asked about Barton’s apology to BP, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) said any lawmaker has a right to “do what they want”:

TP: He announced the $20 billion dollar escrow fund, funded by BP, to compensate some of the victims of this catastrophe. The Republican Study Committee put out a press release last night saying it’s a Chicago style power grab, do you agree with that sentiment?

FLEMING: I do because what we have seen from this administration is whenever something like this happens — look at automotive industry, financial industry — what they do is take control of dollars then they begin to disperse them along political agendas. And we’ve seen this happen before, and it looks like its the development here. BP has said, time and time again, that they will process all legitimate claims, we have no reason to believe they won’t. Why does the administration feel like it’s got to take control of all the money from BP?

TP: So Congressman, the Republican Study Committee last night said that the $20 billion dollar escrow fund is just another Chicago style politics kind of power grab. Do you agree with that, do you think that’s a fair characterization?

JORDAN: I’m, look, I’m always worried about this unprecedented involvement by the government in the private sector and look, BP obviously made some mistakes, but do we really believe the Federal government is going to do a better job?

TP: What do you think about Joe Barton in the hearing this morning, he said ‘I apologize’ to the BP executives for the escrow fund, saying again it’s a shakedown […] Do you have any kind of reaction to a member of Congress apologizing to BP executives?

NUNES: Look, every member of Congress represents seven, eight hundred thousand people and they can do what they want.

The apology from Barton does not appear to be a “gaffe” — rather, it seems like a genuine belief held by conservatives and much of the Republican Party that no matter the crime committed by BP or another major corporation, any effort to conduct oversight for the victims is somehow a government “shakedown.” Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) made a similar argument as Fleming, explaining that the escrow fund for BP’s victims is just another Obama effort to “redistribute the wealth.” As Steve Benen notes, Dick Armey, Rand Paul (R-KY), Sharron Angle (R-NV), Gov. Haley Barbour (R-MS) and the Heritage Foundation have all attacked Obama for daring to interfere with “private businesses” even during one of the greatest environmental and economic disasters in modern America.

This knee-jerk defense of big business isn’t confined to BP or the oil spill disaster. During the health reform debate, conservative lawmakers, like Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS), quickly came to the defense of health insurance companies fighting against reform.

Right-wing media attack Obama over “unambiguously … strong” jobs report

I honestly believe that when it comes to this president, and/or the Democratic party, the right-wing fear mongers will never accept “good news”.  They will always paint the worst case scenario on blatantly obvious “good news”.  It never fails…

Media Matters:

Right-wing media have highlighted April’s increase in unemployment to attack President Obama’s economic policies. But the monthly increase in payrolls was the largest in four years, and the unemployment uptick reportedly occurred “mainly because 805,000 jobseekers — perhaps feeling better about their prospects — resumed their searches for work.”

Right-wing media rush to trumpet “key number” of 9.9 percent unemployment

Jim Hoft: “Unemployment jumps to 9.9%. … How’s that hopey-changey stuff treating you?” In a May 7 Gateway Pundit post, headlined “Unemployment jumps to 9.9%,” blogger Jim Hoft wrote “how’s that hopey-changey stuff treating you” and then quoted from an Associated Press article noting the increase in unemployment — including their reporting that unemployment rose mainly because discouraged workers resumed their job searches.

Drudge: “Unemployment up to 9.9%” On May 7, the top post on the Drudge Report read “Unemployment up to 9.9%.” The post linked to the AP article on the jobs numbers.

Doocy: Unemployment rate is “key number” and “not good news.” On the May 7 edition of Fox & Friends, co-host Steve Doocy called the unemployment rate the “key number” and stated that it is “not good news”:

DOOCY: Meanwhile, we’re looking at the wires right now. The April unemployment rate just came out. It is at 9.9. That is up two-tenths from March. That is not good news. But 290,000 jobs were created last month. That’s 90,000 more than the experts thought. Many more people are coming back into the job market than it can handle, just at the moment, some have felt. But the key number there, 9.9 unemployment.  Continue reading…

BP Oil Spill, NYC Terror Plot: Limbaugh & Co. Go Nuts

Politics DailyDavid Corn

Remember during the George W. Bush administration when a former Clinton official appeared on “Hardball,” stated that President Bush had allowed 9/11 to happen for political gain, and Chris Matthews nodded along in agreement? Of course, you don’t. Because that never happened. But this week former (and disgraced) FEMA chief Michael Brown on Fox News Channel asserted that President Obama had permitted the BP oil leak to continue for days in order to justify reversing course on expanding offshore drilling to “pander to the environmentalists.” And Fox host Neil Cavuto nodded.

Just when you thought the conspiratorial wacky right couldn’t become more detached from reality — see Glenn Beck — it has. With the oil spill and the New York City terror plot, prominent conservative pundits have jumped the rails. I often ignore the cranks and blowhards of the right. Life is too short — and too real. But the past few days have served up too many examples of extreme conservative nuttiness. Sorry if that sounds uncivil. But there’s no other way to describe it in polite company.

Michael “Heckuva Job” Brown was not the only clown on the oil spill conspiracy bus. Rush Limbaugh was at the front. On his radio show, he suggested that environmentalists might have created this disaster to sabotage pending legislation in the Senate that would allow for more offshore drilling and nuclear plants: “What better way to head off more drilling and nuclear plants then by blowing up a rig? I’m just, I’m just noting the timing here.” Former Bush White House press secretary Dana Perino — on Fox, of course — declared, “I’m not trying to introduce a conspiracy theory, but was this deliberate? You have to wonder . . . if there was sabotage involved.” (The explosion that created this spill occurred a mile beneath the surface of the Gulf of Mexico. How many wild enviros have their own underwater vehicles?) Eric Bolling, a host on the — what else? — Fox Business Network, hinted that the Obama White House “let this thing leak” so the administration could dump its proposal for expanding offshore drilling

But I’m confused. Which is it? Did the Obama administration allow a catastrophe to proceed unchecked? Or did green meanies in a submarine (a yellow submarine?) pick one of the hardest wells to reach and blow it up to show people how environmentally dangerous an oil spill can be? Hey, maybe it’s both. How ingenious of all those environmentalists, secret socialists, and covert Muslims. I bet they worked this out years ago during a meeting in Kenya.

Meanwhile, Limbaugh and other right-wingers also went cuckoo over the failed car-bombing in New York City. “I wonder if [the] SUV had an Obama sticker on it?” Limbaugh said. “Notice how quickly they got it out of Times Square before anybody could hop and maybe see an Obama 2012 bumper sticker on the damn car.” Referring to suspect Faisal Shahzad, he added, “Of course, he’s a Democrat. Who knows how many times he voted and where.” Anything to tie the president to terrorists, right? And before Shahzad’s arrest was announced, several conservative bloggers suggested the NYC plot was the work of leftists looking for a big May Day blast, with one writing, “So, we have the suspicious explosion of an oil rig in the gulf that happened the day before Lenin’s birthday (Earth Day) and now we have an attempted attack on May Day, another day celebrated by left wing communists.” What a busy week for the left: destroying the Gulf and attacking New York City.

Should we laugh or cry at all this nonsense? After all, who cares about a few no-name bloggers? But Limbaugh and Fox do have millions of followers — even if most of them live in a bizarro alternative world. Does this toxic sludge, like an oil spill, spread, and then poison the national discourse?

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs seems to believe so. At Tuesday’s daily briefing, he lit into Fox News correspondent Wendell Goler about the Michael Brown interview. When Goler asked the already-clichéd question — is the spill “Obama’s Katrina”? — Gibbs noted it was essentially pointless to answer a Fox News query:

I’m not entirely sure that a factual answer that I might give to any one of your questions is going to change the notion that your network put out the former FEMA director to make an accusation that the well had been purposely set off in order to change an offshore drilling decision.

Gibbs also told Goler that he and Major Garrett, another Fox correspondent who covers the White House, ought to “get on a conference call and maybe do some work.”

Gibbs was right to be ticked off. With both the oil spill and the failed Times Square attack, there are serious matters to ponder. What are the implications of the oil spill for future drilling plans? Did the Obama administration make a mistake in accepting BP’s early statements that this leak was not so calamitous? Did the federal agency that oversees offshore drilling screw up? (Short answer: yes, big time.) How can we best protect the people and ecosystems in harm’s way? As for the near-bombing, how could Shahzad get so close to committing such an attack? Why did he almost get away on that flight to Dubai? How can an open society prevent someone from stuffing an SUV with explosives and detonating it in the middle of one of the great cities of the world?   This is all dead-serious stuff.

Yet Limbaugh, Brown and Co., when their country needs informed discussion, seem to be most concerned with setting new records in bogus political exploitation. They are not patriots. They are sound-bite scoundrels.

Obama’s Dilemma With The Radical Right And Free Speech

Seen on another blog:

It is the fault of law enforcement, and eventually administration officials that this sort of thing is allowed to propagate. This BS will eventually inflame and motivate some wacko to attempt something.

Can you imagine this going on for long under the previous administration? That poor sap that made the “burning bush” got three years, even though, everyone knew it was meant as a joke. People want a warrior king, and Obama is allowing the “Obama is weak” meme to propagate.

At the risk of sounding like someone in the  Bush administration – I don’t think anyone anticipated the amount of vitriol that has manifested against the first Black president of the United States. 

Under the guise of patriotism, emerged a  hateful, oft-times racist,  politically incentivized group who, under the protection of the first amendment has had carte blanche to say and do anything they please about the POTUS.

Contrast that with the George W. Bush’s extreme crack-down on first amendment rights due to national security issues. 

People could not wear opposition t-shirts at Bush rallies

People could not wear t-shirts that showed the number of dead soldiers in Iraq during a Bush’s State of The Union speech.

Demonstrators at the Republican National Convention were shuffled to a “safe zone” –  dubbed, “Guntanamo on the Hudson” by the protesters.

 Journalists were fired for speaking out against Bush.

Military personnel who spoke out against Bush’s war policies were fired or investigated.

No one is suggesting that we relive those days of Bush’s total disregard for freedom of speech.  On the contrary.  First amendment rights are the cornerstone of our democracy.  Every citizen of this country is guaranteed that right.  My point is, George Bush stifled that right and was never questioned by the media for doing so.  Yet, conversely, the right wing militia, tea partiers, FOX News, hate talk radio invectives against Obama personally as well as his policies, flow freely through the airwaves. 

President Obama could never do what George W. Bush did.  First and foremost because he is a constitutional scholar and understands the right of free speech.  Secondly, if the first reason did not exist, the fact that he is Black, would elicit outcries that  free speech has been stifled by a racist president and his administration.

My concern is more about the right wing militia types as well as the gun-toting tea bagger types.  While claiming their right to “free speech”, one has to wonder about the nexus that connects free speech with threats to democracy.

The President and the Attorney General are between a rock and a hard place.  There is no precedent to rely on here.  He’s the first man of color in the office.  Enforcing threats to democracy  would be turned against Obama with a loud and massive right wing backlash and cry of “racism from the Obama administration”.

Fox News, The GOP, Frank Luntz, et al, And The “Dumbing Down” Of America – An Analysis

 

If one were to connect the dots on why over 50% of Republicans believe that Barack Obama is a “usurper” and should be impeached; or why over 50% of Republicans feel that Barack Obama was not born in this country; or even why they believe the President is a racist, in my opinion, all roads lead to the GOP leadership and Fox news’ propaganda. 

 I recently wrote  about Fox News’ successful propaganda efforts to dumb down the American electorate, especially the ones who are faithful Fox News’ viewers.  So we’ve connected half the dots.  However, one has to ask, Fox News couldn’t do this alone.  They’d have to have the cooperation of the entire GOP leadership to pull this off.  Yes, they would have to and yes, they do have it.

Since Barack Obama’s election and subsequent swearing in as the 44th President of The United States, the GOP leadership and their lock step underlings have been determined to see ‘Obama fail’.   Rush Limbaugh’s declaration about wanting to see Obama fail was most likely sanctioned by the GOP leadership prior to Limbaugh’s now famous claim.  Health Care, Climate Change, Jobs Stimulus, whatever the Obama administration pushes forward, the GOP opposes.

For example:

The Republican position in the health care reform debate starts with directive number one: Must oppose everything Obama does! The problem is that Obama is proposing to reduce the cost of Medicare by discouraging wasteful procedures that don’t make people any healthier. Yes, he is reducing entitlement spending.  The GOP computer is getting confused:  Reduce entitlement spending! No, no, must oppose everything Obama does!

Must talk platitudes about small business! No, must fulfill prime directive and oppose Obama! The GOP computer, lacking a conscience, freely uses lies in support of its prime directive. Obama’s “Death Panel” will kill my baby! The computer’s subprocessors are comforted. Its control structure praises the “intellectual heft” of the new argument.

The Grassley processor agrees: Obama will “Decide When to Pull the Plug on Grandma”!  This of course overrules the processor’s own previous support for Medicare-covered end of life counseling.  I Support Death Panels! Life begins at conception and ends when you sign up for Medicare! No, not Death Panel. Yes, Obama will pull the plug on Grandma!

Getting confusing? This is when to tip-toe away from the computer while it contradicts itself with increasing speed. Georgia Senator Johnny Isakson called Sarah Palin “nuts” for saying end-of-life counseling is “Death Panels” since it was his idea. Barack Obama then credited Isakson for it, which kicked in awkward contortions and he remembered that he Must oppose Obama:

U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., today denounced comments made by President Obama and his spokesman regarding Isakson’s alleged connection to language contained in the House health care bill on “end-of-life counseling.”

Oppose self if necessary! I wanted to kill my Grandma but now Obama wants to! Must oppose Obama! Of course, the GOP self-destruction will only crescendo when Barack Obama signs health care reform that does what both Democrats and Republicans want. Obama help taxpayers and small business and real Americans and Grandma! Platitudes non-functional! Does not compute! Does not compute!   Just make sure you aren’t watching the signing ceremony on Fox News – your TV might explode.

Teabaggers: It’s Not About The Numbers, It’s About The Insanity covers the insanity and hate associated with that movement toward Obama.

The crazies run the asylum does the same.

 Election, court ruling expose GOP hypocrisy

First, Scott Brown defiled the Senate seat formerly held by the late Ted Kennedy. Republicans rejoiced that Brown’s election has broken the Democrats’ filibuster-proof majority. Yet just a few years ago, when they were in power, the Republicans tried to eliminate the filibuster. Now, they gleefully anticipate using it. 

Then, the Republican majority on the U.S. Supreme Court gave corporations the green light to spend their unlimited millions to buy elections as they please. Again, Republicans rejoiced.

Whatever happened to the Republican obsession against “activist judges?” If handing over our democracy to the corporations isn’t judicial activism, what is? Where the brown-shirt tactics of the Bush regime failed, this court decision may well succeed.

After eight years of being Bush’s party of destruction, Republicans now are the party of obstruction. Their hypocrisy knows no bounds.

So my point is, regardless of whether they have supported certain projects in the past, the GOP has made a concerted effort (in conjunction with Fox News) to “just say no” to anything the POTUS puts forth. 

This in turn has a circular effect in that it becomes news and most news organizations, especially cable news, give these naysayers a platform to perpetuate the myth and hypocrisy of GOP leadership.  The problem is that their lemming like followers, the same people who were polled, are most likely to believe every lie the GOP and Fox News tells,  in order to circulate the myth that Obama is a failure.

When Obama wins certain policy decisions, they yell and scream and claw their way onto the cameras to say it’s a disgrace.  They say that he failed miserably, etc.,etc. 

The national security issue with the Christmas Bomber is an example.  The administration did all the things they needed to, according to established law and precedent, and in return, got the man to give up “actionable intelligence”.  In that context, Rachel Maddow and even Andrea Mitchell try to show the lies that these people tell on a regular basis, just to push their own political agenda, which ultimately is…to make Barack Obama a one term president.  Senator Susan Collins R-Maine, is the liar du jour.

Finally, Frank Luntz.

Huffpo:

Nine months after he penned a memo laying out the arguments for health care legislation’s destruction, Republican message guru Frank Luntz has put together a playbook to help derail financial regulatory reform.

In a 17-page memo titled, “The Language of Financial Reform,” Luntz urged opponents of reform to frame the final product as filled with bank bailouts, lobbyist loopholes, and additional layers of complicated government bureaucracy.

“If there is one thing we can all agree on, it’s that the bad decisions and harmful policies by Washington bureaucrats that in many ways led to the economic crash must never be repeated,” Luntz wrote. “This is your critical advantage. Washington’s incompetence is the common ground on which you can build support.”

Luntz continued: “Ordinarily, calling for a new government program ‘to protect consumers’ would be extraordinary popular. But these are not ordinary times. The American people are not just saying ‘no.’ They are saying ‘hell no’ to more government agencies, more bureaucrats, and more legislation crafted by special interests.”

In Republican circles Luntz’s words, which have helped the party score win the message wars over health care and other legislative battles, are often treated as gospel. Already, some of the advice he’s offered on regulatory reform has found its way into the political discourse — with a proposed Consumer Financial Protection Agency seemingly on life support under Republican objections.        More>>>

Cenk Yugur of The Young Turks:

 

First Daughters get H1N1 Vaccine! What Will That Do To The Fear Mongering Talking Points of the Right Wing Nuttery?

flu fearThe right wing nuts who claimed that there MUST be something wrong with the H1N1 flu shot because Sasha and Malia have not had their shot will have to find a new talking point against the vaccine:

CNN Political Ticker

First daughters Malia and Sasha Obama were vaccinated last week against the H1N1 flu virus, the White House announced late Tuesday in a post on the official White House blog.

“President and Mrs. Obama have not yet been vaccinated for H1N1,” Katie McCormick-Lelyveld, the first lady’s press secretary wrote, “and they will wait until the needs of the priority groups identified by the CDC – including young people under the age of 24, pregnant women, and people with underlying conditions – have been met.”

Fake Obama Thesis Story Goes Viral, Because Of Stupidity

Obama%20NYFirst there was the “whitey tape” which would have allegedly confirmed that  Michelle Obama was an angry Black militant.   Larry Johnson, ex-CIA analyst and currently a security consultant,  initiated the rumor about the tape.   The rumor spread all over the internet and on to mainstream media.   That tape was never produced  as David Weigel wrote back in May of this year:

Johnson posted a video of a then-current Tennessee Republican ad attacking Michelle Obama, then continued his argument.

The post drew more than 600 comments and kicked off three heated weeks of blog-driven rumormongering which I recapped at the time for The American Prospect. One year later, no such tape has ever surfaced.

Then there was/is the “birther” controversies which in actuality has splintered into a few factions.   We list three here:

  • Birth Certificate
  • Birth location not in the United States
  • Citizenship Status

Now there is a fake “Obama Thesis”  story floating around.  Actually it was intentionally spread so that right-wingers could react predictably, and react they did:

Huffington Post

Okay, let’s get you up to speed on the incredibly true story about how a bunch of right-wingers got taken in by some satiric blog post on Barack Obama’s college thesis, written ages ago, and frantically presented it as real.

Months ago, some blogger crafted a fake news story about how Time Magazine’s Joe Klein had obtained ten pages of a thesis written by Barack Obama, in which he wrote about how the Constitution was “inherently flawed.”

In the paper, in which only the first ten pages were given to the general media, Obama decries the plight of the poor: “I see poverty in every place I walk. In Los Angeles and New York, the poor reach to me with bleary eyes and all I can do is sigh.”In part, the future President blames this on the current economic system: “There are many who will defend the ‘free market.’ But who will defend the single mother of four working three jobs. When a system is allowed to be free at the expense of its citizens, then it is tyranny.”

Read more at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/10/23/fake-obama-thesis-story-g_n_332255.html

Will those desperate right wingers ever learn that for the most part people are tugging their chain just to elicit the inevitable hysteria that always follows one of these “revelations?

Media Matters: Conservative media increasingly preach rhetoric of violence, revolution

violent-hannity-rush-beckLet me put this into perspective.  Of all the talk radio programs on the air today, NINETY-ONE per cent are Conservative talk programs.  They are saying the things that Fox News cannot or will not take the chance in saying.  That is a huge amount of ‘like minded ideaologues” listening to the hate-filled venom spewed on a daily basis on ninety-one per cent of the air waves.  Media Matters  speaks to this issue:

Media Matters for America has previously noted that since Obama’s inauguration, conservative media figures have made ominous, even apocalyptic claims about the impact policies pursued by Obama and other progressives might have on the United States and have unleashed violent and revolutionary rhetoric.

For instance:

Beck speaks for one third of the nation: “[Y]ou will have to shoot me in the forehead before you take away my gun” and “before I acquiesce and be silent.” During the July 30 edition of his radio show, Beck warned “ACORN, GE, Obama, SEIU” that “you are awakening a sleeping giant, and I have nothing to do with it” and that “America is waking up. You know the American Revolution took place with 12 percent of the population? Twelve. Are you telling me there is not 30 percent of this population that you will have to shoot me in the forehead before I let somebody into my house to tell me how to raise my children; you will have to shoot me in the forehead before you take away my gun; you will have to shoot me in the forehead before I acquiesce and be silent.”

 Beck further stated: 

They cannot move on these things, because they are building a machine that will crush the entrepreneurial sprit and the freedom that our Founding Fathers designed. This machine, whatever it is they are building, will crush it. Do not let them build another piece.

So while I turn away, I want to make sure that I have at least 10 million eyes watching — watching every single move they are making.

[…]

We know why they’re doing what they’re doing. You need to do what you need to do, and as long as that is peaceful, we will save our country. [Premiere Radio Networks’ The Glenn Beck Program, 7/30/09]

The following links are from Media Matters and reports what is being said today by some of the “heavy hitters” in conservative radio land:

Limbaugh: Democratic Party “obsessed with your death,” “party of abortion and euthanasia, slavery and not liberty”

Limbaugh: “Obamacare” will “smother the individual,” “aimed at robbing you of your humanity,” “all of us will be slaves”

Savage blames Obama for causing “schism” between parties and races, then slams “psychotically paranoid” Democratic leaders

Limbaugh on Obama: “We’re dealing with a guy who is out to destroy the whole concept of the West, Western civilization”

Beck’s take on motherhood: “Moms must view themselves as Sarah Connor … from The Terminator

Responding to Behar’s criticism, Beck attacks progressives: “This is the kind of thinking that leads to genocide”

The point is, these batshit crazy fanatics are on the air PURPOSELY spewing the rhetoric that gets them more and more listeners.  For them its the bottom line that counts.  These commenters on the air are far removed from the blue collar, working class or unemployed people who listen to them.  Their only interest is the corporations that sponsor them and THEIR bottom line as well. 

I’m sure I’m not the only one that believes something tragic, on a national level will have to happen to tone down or turn off the deafening shrill of venom, hate and vitriol coming through our air waves.

In my opinion they have gone beyond the pale, but contrary to their assertions that The Constitution is being attacked, it appears the First Amendment still protects their every word.  In fact I would venture to say that the FCC and other relevant agencies have NOT tried to put an end to this rhetoric because it would make martyrs out of the rhetoricians as well as make them appear to be correct about “the government”.