Posts Tagged ‘Conservative Outrage’

Every day seems to bring a new installment of the carnival show-cum-television event know as the 2016 Republican Presidential Primary.

Today Rand Paul wrote an op-ed entitled, “Don’t Fall For a Fake Conservative.” In it he declares, among other things, that “Donald Trump is showing he isn’t suited to lead the country, and I think we all need to discuss why.” And, “We don’t need a bully, and we don’t need another President who thinks he is King. We certainly don’t need someone who has driven his companies into bankruptcy four times yet smugly tells us he uses our nation’s Chapter 11 laws to his own personal advantage. All well and good for him – but what of the creditors and vendors he defaulted on?”

It didn’t take long for Trump to respond:

And after having disavowed Fox News for a few days, Roger Ailes has come groveling at Trump’s feet, so Trump will be back on Fox this week. You see, Roger Ailes knows good TV when he sees it, and right now, Donald Trump is good TV. Isn’t that all that matters? Apparently it is to conservatives.

In one way, it is just delightful to watch the Republican presidential candidates take turns inventing new ways to call each other losers. (Of course, Trump’s favorite approach is the most straightforward one, which is to just say they are losers.)

But in another way, it reminds me of the victimhood mentality that infects conservatives these days. That point was made quite effectively by Erica Grieder, who has written a truly excellent piece on the conservative rhetoric of victimhood. A short excerpt:

I’m sympathetic to Republicans who are understandably bewildered by Trump’s seemingly intractable support. At the same time I had a cynical reaction to Erickson’s epiphany [that Trump’s RedState invitation should be rescinded]. His timing put the RedState Gathering, and his virtuous disinvitation, in the media spotlight. And Erickson’s own history of aggression and incivility are well-known. He only came to my attention in the first place because he is among a number of right-wing media figures who have used their platforms to launch non sequitur personal attacks on me over the years, in public and private forums. These incidents have shown me that there is clearly some kind of appetite, on the right, for righteous aggrievement, even where no plausible grievance can be discerned.

And they’ve given me a sense of the playbook. It’s no coincidence that he keeps casting himself as the victim. His supporters have already succumbed to the premise that Trump is a conservative outsider—a noble underdog, determined to fight the establishment and to speak truth to power. Having accepted that premise, they are predisposed to take any criticism or disagreement as further evidence for Trump’s claim that he is surrounded by powerful enemies who are determined to thwart him for their own selfish or corrupt or ideological reasons. His ultimate failure will be taken as proof that the game is rigged–against the candidate, but also against people like themselves, his supporters.

It’s a really good article and worth reading the entire thing.

Just took a look at the comments on the Blogs For Victory “Never Again” post, in which Leo Pusateri insanely equates Planned Parenthood with the Nazi Germany genocide of European jews. Apparently poor Leo is completely unaware that real genocide actually has occurred in the intervening years since World War II ended. But I don’t want to talk about Leo as the comments thread is much more interesting than his original post. And I guess the moderator is on vacation because rusty’s comments haven’t been deleted, leaving a nonsensical half-a-thread in its wake. Nice to see some actual give and take. It’s all been pretty civil, except of course for tiredoflibbs. Good ol’ tired is nothing, if not consistent. Always the first–and in this case, the only poster–to resort to name calling. Attaboy, tired! Have a treat!

Regarding rusty’s point that the loss of Planned Parenthood clinics would, in many places, result in decreased family planning and contraceptive services, thereby leading to increased instances of pregnancies and abortions, one can look at the experience in Texas.

In 2011, Texas legislators excluded Planned Parenthood from taxpayer funding. The state has yet to make up for the loss.

The number of women served by clinics within the Texas Women’s Health Program dropped significantly between Fiscal Years 2011 and 2013, when the funding changes took effect. According to a Texas Health and Human Services Commission study, there was an average 25 percent drop statewide, with two of 11 HHSC regions reporting more than 50 percent drops.

As a result of this change, some Texas patients had trouble finding alternate sources of family planning and women’s health, in part because other providers in their area had not previously been providing specialized family planning services and had to first get expensive, time-consuming training in those areas.

“That high quality family planning is very difficult to integrate into primary care without specific programs to do that,” Dr. Janet Realini, the chair of the Texas Women’s Healthcare Coalition, a coalition of organizations working to assure access to preventive women’s care.

Realini did praise the state government, however, for “stepping up” and trying to compensate for the lost Medicaid funds.

Rep. Jim Keffer, a Republican state senator in Texas who worked on the defunding measures, also acknowledged that the state is still working to address lost provider capacity, including recently introducing a new website to help women access family planning programs.

“As Planned Parenthood has been going through their spiral here, we have been bolstering what Texas can offer through this other network,” Keffer said. “You can’t just close it off and wipe your hands of the situation because comprehensive women’s health care has to still be provided.”

A related issue is that some women might not go to a general practitioner — even one that introduced family planning into their practice — because they prefer going to a specialist.

“Some women prefer to go to dedicated family planning providers to get dedicated contraceptive services,” said Amanda Stevenson, a researcher at the University of Austin’s Texas Policy Evaluation Project working on the impact of excluding Planned Parenthood from the Women’s Health Program in Texas.

Stevenson noted a 2013 review from the Guttmacher Institute, a reproductive health policy group, which found that women say they prefer going to specialists for this care because of “the respectful, confidential, affordable and high-quality care they receive from them.”

I know it’s hard for the Bob Eisenhowers of the world to believe, but according to those who have actually studied the situation, some women prefer going to dedicated family planning providers instead of their primary care physicians–assuming they have a primary care physician. But then Bob Eisenhower has probably never had to worry about his health care ever. In fact, it would not surprise me to find out that Bob was a life-long civil service employee like so many conservatives who can’t conceive of life without guaranteed health care. (At least, this is my direct experience with conservatives; their entire lifestyle–including their healthcare–has been funded on the taxpayer dime. I know some might view this as anecdotal, but apparently that is all it takes to make a definitive judgement about the entire lot of ’em.)

The other fact that Bob Eisenhower ignores is that 20 states–all of them governed by conservatives like Bob–rejected the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion, leaving an estimated 6.5 million Americans still without health insurance, and mostly without access to healthcare except in dire emergencies. It’s simple to sit back in your easy chair and pontificate about how easy it is for anyone–anyone!–to access health care whenever they need it, but that’s just not the case. And either Bob Eisenhower knows this and is being a tad deceitful, or he is woefully ignorant.

The Supreme Court affirms the right of same sex couples to marry, just like heterosexual couples. Conservatives pitch a hissy fit because they can no longer deny other people the same right that they enjoy. And for good measure, Justice Scalia once again demonstrates what an awful person he is.

The Supreme Court rejects the cynical argument that the Affordable Care Act was written in such a way as to destroy itself. The only reason this case was brought to court was to damage the Obama presidency. The plaintiffs didn’t really care about how it would affect them. As I said, cynical. But that’s conservatism in the twenty-first century.

Bristol Palin, paid abstinence spokesperson, is again pregnant out of wedlock. She doesn’t seem too happy about it, and asks that no one lecture her. If only she had taken her own advice instead of, well, spending years lecturing other people, she might find a more sympathetic audience. Instead, she’s just another conservative hypocrite.

Sarah Palin no longer has a job at Fox News. May we never hear from her again.

Donald Trump refuses to release his birth certificate. Another conservative hypocrite. Oh my God, though, the 2016 Republican presidential contest is going to be fun. Talk about a clown car! I think they all take turns driving it, though The Donald no doubt thinks he’s the only one who can possibly drive it correctly.

A black woman is arrested for removing the Confederate flag from the South Carolina state house grounds.

May was the hottest May on record; 2015 on track to be hottest year on record. But nothing to see here.

Over at B4V, Cluster–our dear friend and former blogging colleague (until he couldn’t tolerate dissenting comments about his posts and retreated to a safe haven in which his views are never challenged)–writes in the comments that he is “FUCKING tired of tired of progressives and their penchant to use every damn issue under the sun to hate on white conservatives and divide this country.” He then uses as his sole example a New York Times article titled “White Terrorism Is as Old as America.” The article’s lede?

My grandmother used to speak of Klansmen riding through Louisiana at night, how she could see their white robes shimmering in the dark, how black people hid in bayous to escape them. Before her time, during Reconstruction, Ku Klux Klan members believed they could scare superstitious black people out of their newly won freedom. They wore terrifying costumes but were not exactly hiding — many former slaves recognized bosses and neighbors under their white sheets. They were haunting in masks, a seen yet unseen terror. In addition to killing and beating black people, they often claimed to be the ghosts of dead Confederate soldiers.

Yes, an article that describes the ugly history of terrorism perpetrated by white Americans–namely the Ku Klux Klan–upon Black Americans is equated by Cluster as “hating on conservatives.” Glad we got that one straight.

Did I miss anything else?

P.S. I have to say, it is a bit sad to see conservatives so unhinged that they can no longer even bring themselves to talk to people with whom they disagree. Oh, also, nothing but 107+ degree weather on Cluster’s porch for the foreseeable future. Better get the golfing in early, my friend!

So the Freak Show descended upon the Nevada state capital of Carson City today, and Jon Ralston filed a report. The lede:

“Fellow Nevadans, we are a joke.”

Well, gosh, let’s not put too fine a point on it, Jon.

Cliven Bundy rounded up some supporters to rally in support of A.B. 408, sponsored by Assemblywoman Michele Fiore, which declares a swath of federal land the “common property of the citizens of the state.” It prohibits the federal government from claiming water rights and owning any land in the state unless it’s a military operation or the Legislature approves of the occupation.

Favorite line of the Ralston article (other than the fact that Nevadans are a joke): “Fiore, aptly described by Vegas Seven’s Lissa Townsend Rodgers as ‘like a Kardashian, only with the power to change laws.'” Hmmm. I can think of another prominent woman Republican politician for whom that description seems most appropriate. But she’s not from Nevada, let alone the continental United States, so I digress.

Here’s Ralston:

These geniuses are no ordinary Mensa legislators: they concocted an idea – to somehow take back our federal lands! – that violates both the state and federal constitutions.

The Legislative Counsel Bureau had declared the measure, Assembly Bill 408, patently absurd (my words, not theirs) and still sponsor Michele Fiore encouraged the Bundy-backing horde to come and allow the hearing in the Assembly Natural Resources Committee to occur.

“In conclusion, it is the opinion of this office that the provisions of A.B. 408, if enacted, would be constitutionally invalid,” the LCB wrote last week. “The authority of the United States to acquire and control the public lands located in this State is extensive, and ample bases exist upon which court could invalidate any state laws which are in direct conflict with existing federal laws concerning those public lands or which are hostile to or interfere with the exercise of federal authority over public lands.”

And yet the rally and the hearing went on as planned, a combination of “Deliverance” and “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” complete with mentions of the Magna Carta, We the People and, of course, freedom. Always freedom.

And the things they said. Our elected officials, fellow Nevadans.

Fiore, who once vowed, O.J. Simpson-like, that she would not rest until she found which lawmakers gave away our lands, clearly does not understand that Nevada ceded the land to the federal government 150 years ago in the Enabling Acts: “That the people inhabiting said territory do agree and declare, that they forever disclaim all right and title to the unappropriated public lands lying within said territory, and that the same shall be and remain at the sole and entire disposition of the United States…”

Fiore, apparently more at home with pop-up books than history books, also said during the hearing: “They are basically saying our Constitution is unconstitutional. I don’t agree with our Legislative Counsel Bureau.”

Fiore, aptly described by Vegas Seven’s Lissa Townsend Rodgers as “like a Kardashian, only with the power to change laws,” actually invoked “The Beverly Hillbillies” to make her case for the bill, showing a lack of self-awareness that is breathtaking.

But she was not alone in embarrassing herself during this embarrassing spectacle.

Chairwoman Robin Titus declared at one point, “The federal government does not own our land. We own our land. The federal government manages our land.”

Sayeth Jim Wheeler, who once talked about excising Clark County from Nevada and voting for slavery if his constituents wanted him to, said: “I don’t believe the federal government should own one inch of land in Nevada.”

(Anyone want to guess what it would cost for Nevada to manage that land? But this is from the same guy who just released a budget that increases spending by nearly 10 percent and somehow doesn’t raise any taxes.)

Sit back, fellow Nevadans, and understand these people have the power to make laws that govern your lives. They don’t understand the Constitution or possess common sense. They live in an alternate universe, where if you say something, it makes it true, where the black hats wear the white hats, where up is down and dumb is smart.

Yes, the Bureau of Land Management mishandled the raid on the rancher’s property a year ago, but the near-bloodbath occurred because The Bundy and Fiore Gang encouraged militias from other states to come to Bunkerville, armed folks that Sen. Dean Heller, Sean Hannity and others would later call patriots. Patriots!

Fellow Nevadans our schools are withering. Our roads are bumpy. Our social safety net is porous.

But we have time to waste an entire legislative day enabling people who claim they are conservatives but don’t want to meet their obligations, who invoke the Constitution but don’t understand the Constitution and who have found sustenance from lawmakers who don’t care that what they are doing is obviously unconstitutional. Even one of those kids made to hold those offensive signs might understand that.

With the recent confirmations by NOAA, NASA and the Japan Meteorological Agency that 2014 was the hottest year on record, conservatives have gone through a few stages of dealing with that reality. First, they tried to impugn the data. Second, they claimed that global warming is so minimal that it doesn’t matter. Third?

Well, every once in a while, conservatives express themselves with such candor that it is actually refreshing, if not revealing. Such was the case when our favorite retired Naval intelligence officer said this, in response to the fact that 2014 was the hottest year on record:

Who cares? The Left doesn’t care if my descendants live in a less free, less prosperous world. Why should I care if their descendants live in a slightly warmer world. Besides, in the over all scheme of things, warmer is better than colder. You want to watch a Liberal’s head explode? Ask them how much colder they’d like it to be, and what scientific principles they propose using to get to that temperature. Better yet, ask them what significant changes they’ve made in their personal lives and how much of their income the’ve voluntarily donated to help address the problem.

Wow. At the heart of his statement is what motivates conservative thinking these days, which is, “I’ve got mine, now fuck off.” It’s a desire, more than anything, to just maintain the status quo, which is not surprising coming from individuals are already well off and taken care of. Disrupting the status quo is perceived as a threat, and that, ultimately, is the emotion that guides their thinking. (It’s also worth pointing out that, in stating that he doesn’t care about the climate that will confront “their [liberals’] descendants,” he tacitly admits that he also doesn’t care about his own descendants. That is truly breathtaking. It is sad that such individuals can’t look beyond themselves.)

But then he moves on to acceptance that the world is warming, and states with impunity that, not only does it not matter, it will actually be better for humanity. “Warmer is better than colder.” This is truly ignorant. Since this conservative lives on Frozen Pond, Indiana, the direct experience he has recently had is actually colder temperatures. This is because the easter part of the United States is one of the few places on earth that was actually colder than average in 2014, as can be seen in this map.

As far as “warmer is better,” it’s such a simplistic and superficial analysis that it strains credulity to believe that an intelligent person would make it. Since residents of Frozen Pond consider themselves to be a part of the heartland of the United States — the “real Americans” –– perhaps this analysis from the State of Wisconsin will help:

On the plus side, a warming climate during the first half of this century could mean lower winter heating costs, a longer frost-free growing season and better yields of some crops. It is also expected to improve forest growth, and enlarge resident populations of birds, warmwater fishes, reptiles and small mammals, especially nuisance animals like mice, bats, rabbits, squirrels, raccoons and opossums. Waterborne commerce will enjoy longer ice-free shipping seasons on the Great Lakes and Upper Mississippi River. Winter recreation may suffer, but summer recreation could enjoy a boom.

On the minus side, as the climate continues to warm, it will bring higher summer cooling costs, more frequent ozone alerts, and longer, more intense heat waves. Over time, the benefits of a warming climate for agriculture will likely be outweighed by the adverse effects of declining soil moisture and more frequent droughts, severe storm and erosion damage, and a northward invasion of various warm-climate crop and livestock pests and pathogens. The need to irrigate crops and greater urban demands for water will strain groundwater supplies in some areas. Warmer, damp conditions will cause populations of disease-carrying insects to swell and spread, and outbreaks of infectious diseases like West Nile virus may increase.

Greater evaporation due to generally warmer temperatures and less winter ice cover are expected to cause Great Lakes water levels to decline several feet, threatening coastal drinking water supply systems as well as waterborne commerce, and causing shipping, dredging and harbor maintenance costs to rise. Barge and train traffic through the Upper Mississippi River Valley could be interrupted alternately by low summer-autumn stream flows and winter-spring floods. Warmer water temperatures and increased stormwater runoff will reduce the water quality of many inland lakes and rivers as well as Great Lakes coastal waters.

Longer, hotter, drier summers and increasing evaporation will result in warmer and shallower rivers, shrinking wetlands, and dried-up streams, flowages and wild rice beds. Algal blooms will create anoxic conditions for aquatic life in ponds and many lakes. These conditions will reduce the amount of suitable habitat available for trout and other cold-water fishes, amphibians and waterfowl. A two-degree rise in temperature could wipe out half of Wisconsin’s 2,700 trout streams. Hot dry conditions, coupled with more frequent thunderstorms and lightning, will increase the chance of forest fires. Red pine, aspen and spruce trees will disappear from our northern forests.

And that’s just Wisconsin, which would be impacted less by global warming than other regions. And a lot of food is grown in other regions –– like California, whose prolonged drought certainly threatens the food supply of the country. (California has been the top food and agricultural producer in the United States for more than 50 consecutive years, and produces more than half of the nation’s fruit, nuts, and vegetables.) But cloistered conservatives on Frozen Pond can’t think beyond their porch — even ones who should know better.

Finally, he asks, “what significant changes [liberals have] made in their personal lives and how much of their income the’ve voluntarily donated to help address the problem.” The implication, of course, is that he knows the answer, which is that liberals have done nothing. And he’s wrong again. And again, it’s because he is unable to look any further than Frozen Pond. No electric or hybrid cars in Frozen Pond? Must mean that no one is buying them anywhere. No solar installations at Frozen Pond? Obviously no one is using solar anywhere. I personally know a lot of people who have bought electric cars in the last couple of years. And I know a lot of people who have installed solar panels on their homes. But that doesn’t count in Frozen Pond because they can’t see such people from their porches.

And we haven’t even gotten to the government policies that liberals support with their own tax dollars, which comes from their own pockets. And here the conservative argument falls apart again, because they already know that there are government policies that have been put in place by so-called liberals, which conservatives abhor. So therefore they know that liberals do support changes that will affect their personal lives and their own pocketbooks. After all, who put these “liberal” elected officials into office? Conservatives? I don’t think so.

I can respect a thoughtful argument questioning the effects of global warming and the policies that should be undertaken in response. But ignorant responses motivated solely out of fear need to be called out.

For your New Years levity…

Oh dear. Elisabeth Hasselbeck of Fox News’ Fox & Friends (one of the worst shows on television, along with Fox News’ The Five), has decided to start a Twitter campaign to celebrate the end of 2014. She asks people to share what they are “over” from 2014, using the hashtag #OverIt2014. Hasselbeck started things off with this tweet:

Ah, the old attack on Christianity. Personally, I’m pretty over people who complain that there is an attack on Christianity. Christ. (Oops.) They don’t get to force the entire school into treating creationism as a science, so it’s an attack on Christianity. For God sakes. (Oops, again.)

Apparently, a lot of people are “over” Elisabeth Hasselbeck and her ilk. Have a look for a few laughs before moving on to more important stuff, like college football games! Happy New Year!

https://twitter.com/hashtag/OverIt2014?src=hash

You really have to wonder what kind of depraved individual feels the need to smear Michael Brown, even in death, with video that falsely claims to depict him. I mean, Michael Brown is dead. Darren Wilson will not be charged with a crime. Having achieved the result that they wanted, you would think conservatives would have such superior moral standing in their beliefs and positions that they wouldn’t feel the need to further lie about a dead man, black or white.

The latest conservative lie making the rounds is a video that purportedly shows Brown assaulting an older black man in order to steal his backpack. It isn’t Brown. We shouldn’t be surprised, as conservatives also lied about Brown’s arrest record, the supposed injuries Wilson received at the hands of Brown, and posted alleged photos of Brown that turned out to be other people.

Open question to conservatives: Why do you lie about something like this?

Of course, now that they’re caught, conservatives will scurry away from their claim that the video is Michael Brown, claiming they were merely asking the question. It’s the best recovery they have, I guess, but it is clear to anyone with an ounce of morality that these same conservatives lack morals of their own, no matter how loudly they assert their claims of superiority.

So in his last days as chairman of the House Oversight Committee, Darrell Issa chose Christmas week to release the committee’s report regarding the so-called IRS scandal, which according to Issa was a conspiracy in the White House to punish conservatives. Well, no, it wasn’t.

In many ways, this has been such a delightful week. Gasoline prices are low. The economy is growing at the rate of five percent. The stock market is high. Darrell Issa admitted he’s a fraud. I’m just shocked that none of this has made it onto the conservative websites. Shocked, I tell ya.

Issa released a 226 page “report” that contained cherry-picked excerpts from interviews, guesses, assumptions, and conspiracy theories.

The big takeaway from the report is that Issa found no connection to the White House in the IRS scandal. Here is a sample of the kind of guesswork and assumptions that fill the report. On page 161, “Other documents suggest that the IRS may even have aided Democrat legislators in partisan policy initiatives. For example, as Senator Carl Levin (D-MI) engaged in a lengthy correspondence with the IRS about section 501(c)(4) organizations in 2012, IRS personnel assisted his staff by providing information for some of the letters. In one e-mail, with the subject “[w]orking on the next letter,” Senator Levin’s staff sought answers from the IRS about its treatment of six applications, including Crossroads GPS, American Action Network, and the Club for Growth.”

The documents suggest that maybe the IRS could have been working with Democrats.

Issa’s report is such a failure that the main takeaway from it is that California conspiracy theorist Republican couldn’t find any connection to the White House. The New York Times reported, “An 18-month congressional investigation into the Internal Revenue Service’s mistreatment of conservative political groups seeking tax exemptions has failed to show coordination between agency officials and political operatives in the White House, according to a report released on Tuesday.”

In over 200 pages, the Republicans could not find one piece of concrete evidence that the White House had anything to do with IRS’s behavior. Issa rejected all evidence that progressive groups were also targeted, and he continues to ignore the reason that the IRS targeted the 501(c) groups. The conservative groups were breaking the law by asking to tax-exempt status despite the fact that they were engaging in partisan political activity.

The IRS should have been targeting the groups because they were trying to get out of paying taxes. Issa’s own report confirms that there was no White House conspiracy. Obama wasn’t using the IRS to hold down conservatives. Issa was lying. He refuses to release the full transcripts of the interviews. The full evidence reveals that there is nothing to the IRS conspiracy theory. That is why Darrell Issa refuses to make all of the interview transcripts public.

Darrell Issa spent two years as chairman of the Oversight Committee trying to get Obama. In the end, Issa fell flat on his face, and his years of conspiracy theory went up in flames.

Ezra Klein tells it like it is tonight.

[O]ne way or another, Republicans need to decide what to do with the 11 million unauthorized immigrants living in the country now. They need to take away Obama’s single strongest argument — that this is a crisis, and that congressional Republicans don’t have an answer and won’t let anyone else come up with one.

Republicans aren’t just the opposition party anymore. They are, arguably, the governing party — they will soon control the House, the Senate, the Supreme Court, most state legislatures, and more governorships. And the governing party needs to solve — or at least propose solutions — to the nation’s problems. And that means the Republican policy on immigration needs to be something more than opposing Obama’s immigration policies. It needs to be something more than vague noises about border security.

This isn’t a problem made up by Obama. It’s math. There are 11 million unauthorized immigrants living in the country right now. Congress allocates enough money to deport roughly 400,000 of them annually. Our policy towards the 10.6 million unauthorized immigrants we’re not deporting is that we don’t have a policy. Democrats support a path to citizenship. Republicans don’t support anything.

“Republicans don’t support anything.”

Actually, that’s not quite right. Since 2008, Republicans have supported one thing: Stopping President Obama–and by extension, the rest of the country–from solving problems. Because in their eyes, he’s an illegitimate president. To compromise or work with him in any manner would be to confer to him some legitimacy, even if only a tiny bit. And that is one thing Republicans have not been willing to do.

That, really, is Obama’s advantage right now. Even if you think he’s going too far, he at least wants to solve the problem. Republicans don’t seem to want to do anything except stop Obama from solving the problem. That’s not a winning position. More to the point, it’s not a responsible one.

It’s worth reading Klein’s entire post. It’s short.