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What Doesn't Kill The Far-Right Only Makes Them Crazier

Thursday, November 13, 2008

By Bob Cesca
Huffington Post

For the last eight years, we've observed Karl Rove's non-reality based universe in which logic was entirely abandoned in lieu of whatever reality the administration invented in order to serve its ridiculous policies and to mask its glaring nincompoopery. Intellectually dishonest at best -- destructive and criminal at worst.

This didn't end on Election Day.

Since their thumpin' last week, the far-right has pushed the crazy to eleven and snapped the knob clean off -- an opening salvo of twisted hackery portending an insane four-to-eight years of attacks on the Obama administration. If the last seven days have been any indication, the far-right is shaping up to make the 1990s seem quaint -- even erudite by comparison. That which used to be your basic, off-the-shelf intellectual dishonesty has grown into, as Digby pointed out recently, full-on intellectual violence.

Intellectual violence. While not a new term, it perfectly defines what we're seeing now: accusations and smears that so severely confound logic they literally attack -- violate -- reality and the human intellect. It's like a berzerker dervish of argumentative elbows and fists indiscriminately flailing around, thwacking anything in its orbit, so much so that constructing a counterpoint is literally painful, "Why the hell am I trying to debunk this?! Ow! My head. Aw hell, I need a drink."...(Click for remainder).


Obama Wins!

By Hendrik Hertzberg
The New Yorker

At the Times, it is house style to refer to a successful Presidential nominee by his full name in the lead of the main story the morning after the election. He may be Bill or Jimmy on his campaign posters, but in the newspaper of record on that one momentous occasion he is William Jefferson or James Earl, Jr. So say it loud and say it proud: Barack Hussein Obama, President-elect of the United States. Of the United States of America, as he himself liked to say on the stump—always, it seemed, with a touch of awe at the grandeur and improbability of it all.

Barack Hussein Obama: last week, sixty-five million Americans turned a liability—a moniker so politically inflammatory that the full recitation of it was considered foul play—into a global diplomatic asset, a symbol of the resurgence of America’s ability to astonish and inspire. In the Convention keynote speech that made him instantly famous four years ago, Obama called himself “a skinny kid with a funny name.” Funny? Not really. “Millard Fillmore”—now, that’s funny. The Times contented itself with referring to the candidate’s “unusual name.” Unusual? Unusual would be, say, “Dwight D. Eisenhower.” Ten weeks from now, the President of the United States will be a person whose first name is a Swahili word derived from the Arabic (it means “blessing”), whose middle name is that not only of a grandson of the Prophet Muhammad but also of the original target of an ongoing American war, and whose last name rhymes nicely with “Osama.” That’s not a name, it’s a catastrophe, at least in American politics. Or ought to have been.

Yet Barack Obama won, and won big. Democrats have now achieved pluralities in four of the last five Presidential elections. But Obama’s popular vote was an outright majority—a little more than fifty-two per cent, at the latest reckoning—and the largest share for a nominee of his party since Lyndon Johnson’s in 1964. Obama made significant gains compared with John Kerry, four years ago, in nearly every category that exit polls record: black folks but also white folks; liberals but also conservatives; women but also men. His gains were especially striking among Latinos, the very poor and the very well-off, Catholics and the unchurched, and the two groups most likely to be concerned about the future—young people and the parents of children living at home. And although the Obama wave does not seem to have brought with it a filibuster-proof Senate, it did sweep into office enough new members of both houses of Congress to offer him the hope of a governing legislative majority....(Click for remainder).


Why We Feel Betrayed

By Robin Tyler
Huffington Post

With regard to African American voters, 70 per cent of your community sided with the same kind of bigots who supported slavery, who fought against interracial marriage, who vote to send your people who are addicted to prison instead of rehabilitation centers, and who vote to cut off aid to your families, saying that it is a 'moral' issue because 70 per cent of your children are born out of wedlock, and therefore, you should be responsible. These are the bigots with whom you sided! You got in bed with your enemies, the very people who have f----d African Americans again and again, in the name of 'morality' and their religious beliefs.

But I want to say that despite my overwhelming sense of betrayal, I am, as our community is, still firmly committed to continuing our fight against racism. Because, as Dr. King said, "injustice against one is injustice against all." 

The California Supreme court struck down the ban on Inter-racial marriage in 1948, (Perez v Sharp), and thanks to the landmark Federal Supreme Court ruling in the case of 'Loving v Virginia', all state miscegenation laws were struck down in 1967.

And yet it wasn't until 1991, 24 years later, that interracial marriage was supported by a majority of Americans. Had the Caucasian people who supported "Yes" on Prop 8 been voting on your right to interracial marriage, until 1991, just 17 years ago, you would have lost. And as I sat in the California Supreme Court on March 4, 2008, the bigots used the same argument against us that they used against you. " It was 'tradition.'" And the justices answered, "so was slavery." And the bigots argued, "God doesn't want interracial marriage which is why he put the races on different continents." And in 2008, California Supreme Court justices ruled, "It is illegal to hide discrimination behind religious beliefs....(Click for remainder).


The Center Left Nation

By Robert Borosage
Campaign for America's Future

Conservatives started spinning even before the dancing stopped on election night. Obama's victory is impressive, but "this is still a center right nation," went the mantra. "This was a good Democratic year, says Bill Kristol, "but this is still a center-right country. Conservative and the Republican Party will have a real chance for a comeback. National Review editor Rich Lowry is less sanguine, but concludes:
"Even in unimaginably challenging conditions for Republicans, the ideological composition of the election was essentially unchanged from 2004. Only 22 percent of voters identified themselves as liberals. The rest were moderates or conservatives. It is indeed, as conservatives have been insisting in recent days, a center-right country. The question is how to appeal to the center again."
Sure, this is a center-right country, but only if you substitute addition for analysis. There are more conservatives than liberals — as there has been for years. So add them to the 44% of the electorate that says they are "moderates," and you get a center-right majority.

But do a little analysis. "Moderate" isn't a place holder, as voters who describe themselves that way have attitudes on the issues of the day. And when you look at attitudes, rather than addition, there is no question: Conservatives have had their day. This is a center-left, not a center-right nation.

The Center for America's Future joined with Democracy Corps to do a nation wide poll on election eve (for full report and poll go here) and with an expanded sample, we could probe attitudes of voters by political identification. What we found was clear: on both values and issues, moderates line up with liberals to form a strong majority that isolates conservatives....(Click for remainder).


Hannity, Limbaugh promote myth of an "Obama recession"

By Media Matters

On the November 11 broadcast of his nationally syndicated radio program, Sean Hannity again suggested that President-elect Barack Obama is to blame for the decline in the stock market and said of Wall Street's performance: "Wall Street keeps sinking. Could it be the Obama recession: The fear that taxes are gonna go up, forcing people to pull out of the market?" Hannity is not alone among conservatives in the media in referring to an "Obama recession" in purported explanation for the state of the stock market. As MSNBC's Chris Matthews noted on November 12, radio host Rush Limbaugh "says the recession isn't President Bush's fault. It's the fault, catch this, of the president who hasn't yet taken office. It's an 'Obama recession'; that's what he's calling it." Matthews characterized Limbaugh's reference to an "Obama recession" as "some of the bitter sore loser's rhetoric we are hearing from the right these days."

Limbaugh referred to an "Obama recession" on the November 6 and November 11 broadcasts of his nationally syndicated radio show. But as Media Matters for America has noted, analysts have refuted the proposition that the market decline is attributable to Obama's election, citing other factors such as weak economic data.

For instance, a post on The Wall Street Journal's MarketBeat blog stated that "[f]ollowing the brief pre-election euphoria that brought stocks up 17% in a six-day period, stocks have been sluggish since as investors focused, once again, on the lame economic data and the drumbeat of bailouts, potential bailouts, and worries about other bailouts." From a November 12 item on MarketBeat:
The market has contracted an ongoing case of the "blahs." Following the brief pre-election euphoria that brought stocks up 17% in a six-day period, stocks have been sluggish since as investors focused, once again, on the lame economic data and the drumbeat of bailouts, potential bailouts, and worries about other bailouts.

"The market is kind of wallowing and just kind of staying in a downtrend right now," says Stephen Carl, head trader, Williams Capital. "The market is not keen on anything at the moment."

Again, stocks were lower. The Dow industrials lost nearly 2%, and other major averages were performing about as well after another spate of sour news from America's corporations.

"The weakness being witnessed at the start of today's session can be accounted for by the negative investor sentiment surrounding the still unfolding economic crisis," writes Conley Turner and Brian Sozzi, research analysts at Wall Street Strategies. "The market is in uncharted territory, and is navigating a path that requires the skill set of the early world explorers...the news flow so far, albeit slow, is not providing any solace to market participants."


One problem may be that U.S. stocks, in a sense, are no more attractive now than they were at the beginning of the year. According to Bespoke Investment Group, the U.S. price-to-earnings ratio sits at 20.54, compared with 20.11 at the beginning of 2008. Usually, P/E ratios decline in bear markets, but as earnings have fallen faster than prices, the U.S. P/E has expanded.
Additionally, as Media Matters documented, in the days immediately following the November 4 election, several analysts on Fox News and Fox Business Network cited reasons independent of the election to explain the fall of the market, explicitly stating that they did not believe the market was reacting to Obama....(Click for remainder).


Catholic Church Worked with Mormons for 11 Years to Stop Marriage Equality

By Teddy Partridge
The Campaign Silo @ Firedoglake

The media in Salt Lake City have discovered the documents revealed prior to Election Day that show a long-time collaboration between the Mormons and the Catholics to destroy what they call "Homosexual Legal Marriage."

DailyKos Diarist thereisnospoon had these documents in a pre-Election Day diary, and summarized them:
"Yep, you got that right. They were thinking of this in California way back in 1997. They were saying, "referendum is expensive. We have the money, but we don't have the public face. So let's join with the Catholics, because they have a better reputation."
The Roman Catholic Archbishop of San Francisco who renewed this relationship this summer when he asked for the LDS Church leadership's assistance had most recently been the Archbishop of Salt Lake City. The SF Chronicle revealed earlier this week:
Months before the first ads would run on Proposition 8, San Francisco Catholic Archbishop George Niederauer reached out to a group he knew well, Mormons.

Niederauer had made critical inroads into improving Catholic-Mormon relations while he was Bishop of Salt Lake City for 11 years. And now he asked them for help on Prop. 8, the ballot measure that sought to ban same-sex marriages in California.

The June letter from Niederauer drew in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and proved to be a critical move in building a multi-religious coalition - the backbone of the fundraising, organizing and voting support for the successful ballot measure. By bringing together Mormons and Catholics, Niederauer would align the two most powerful religious institutions in the Prop. 8 battle.


The Man Behind Proposition 8

The reclusive billionaire, the mother of Blackwater’s Erik Prince, and the drive to fund this year’s most controversial referendum.

By Max Blumenthal
The Daily Beast

Among the local ballot measures to be decided on Election Day, California’s Proposition 8 is perhaps the most fiercely contested. Backers of the proposition to ban same-sex marriage in the state cast their campaign in apocalyptic terms. “This vote on whether we stop the gay-marriage juggernaut in California is Armageddon,” born-again Watergate felon and Prison Fellowship Ministries founder Chuck Colson told the New York Times. Tony Perkins, the president of the Christian right’s most powerful Beltway lobbying outfit, Family Research 
Council, echoed Colson’s language. “It’s more important than the presidential election,” Perkins said of Prop 8. “We will not survive [as a nation] if we lose the institution of marriage.”
The campaign for Prop 8 has reaped massive funding from conservative backers across the country. Much of it comes from prominent donors like the Utah-based Church of Latter Day Saints and the Catholic conservative group, Knights of Columbus. Prop 8 has also received a boost from Elsa Broekhuizen, the widow of Michigan-based Christian backer Edgard Prince and the mother of Erik Prince, founder of the controversial mercenary firm, Blackwater.

While the Church of Latter Day Saints’ public role in Prop 8 has engendered a growing backlash from its more liberal members, and Broekhuizen’s involvement attracted some media attention, the extreme politics of Prop 8’s third largest private donor, Howard F. Ahmanson, reclusive heir to a banking fortune, have passed almost completely below the media’s radar. Ahmanson has donated $900,000 to the passage of Prop 8 so far.

I first met Ahmanson in 2004, when he and his wife, Roberta, agreed to an interview request for an article I was writing for Salon. Their exchanges with me marked the first time since 1984 that Howard had agreed to make contact with a journalist, and the first time since 1992 for Roberta. Howard agreed to answer questions only by email because, according to Roberta, his Tourette’s Syndrome made chatting on the phone with a stranger nearly impossible. He functions “like a slow modem,” she said. Her dual role as her husband’s spokesperson and nurse quickly became apparent....(Click for remainder).


Cold War Hawks Hovering Around Obama

Why are Obama's closest advisers inveterate hawks who needlessly provoked tension with the Russians during the Cold War?

By Robert Scheer

So, Vladimir Putin was right: It was Georgia that started the war with Russia, and once again it was President Bush who got caught in a lie. As the New York Times reported last week, "Newly available accounts by independent military observers of the beginning of the war between Georgia and Russia this summer call into question the long-standing Georgian assertion that it was acting defensively against separatist and Russian aggression."

The Bush White House knew -- but kept from the American public -- facts concerning provocation by Georgia's U.S.-trained forces, which killed civilians in the capital of South Ossetia before Russian troops crossed the border. The provocation has also been documented in a BBC investigative report and by a growing consensus of other reliable sources.

No surprise, but it is a reminder of just how eager some are for a new Cold War and how indifferent they are to the truth of the matter. The career hawks are influential in both political parties, as was evidenced by the knee-jerk response of both presidential candidates, who claimed that the Russians had launched a totally unprovoked attack.

Sen. John McCain, whose top foreign policy adviser had been a paid lobbyist for Georgia, was most eager to confront the Russians, while Sen. Barack Obama was a bit more cautious. But as recently as in his Oct. 29 infomercial, Obama promised to "curb Russian aggression," which hardly suggests the change we need from the unilateral belligerence of the Bush foreign policy....(Click for remainder).



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