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The country doesn’t need two liberal parties. Yes, Republicans need to weed out candidates who talk like morons about rape. But this doesn’t mean the country needs two pro-choice parties either. In fact, more women are pro-life than are pro-choice. The problem here for Republicans is not policy but delicacy — speaking about culturally sensitive and philosophically complex issues with reflection and prudence.

Charles Krauthammer, who misses the point entirely in typical white male fashion.

Being more “delicate” while expressing sexist and misogynistic views isn’t going to fool anyone, conservatives. Mansplaining Republican stances isn’t going to magically make women OK with the party’s opposition to reproductive rights, the Violence Against Women Act, and affirmative action policies, and its support for candidates who view rape as no biggie.

(Source: maddowblog.msnbc.com)

Conservative self-deception, whining, and tears, courtesy of the Wall Street Journal →

I have to make fun of this editorial. You can tell whoever wrote it was probably weeping into his monogrammed linens last night.

So according to the WSJ, Obama won an “ugly” campaign because he enjoyed “a long run of extraordinary good luck”. Also, don’t forget to remember that conservatives like John Roberts and Ben Bernanke were the real key to Barack Obama’s reelection. Not the Democrat’s incredibly well-oiled campaign, or the high turnout of young and minority voters, or Obama’s strong showing among women, or the president’s own achievements. Not because Republicans have ignored or attacked anyone who isn’t a rich, white, straight, Christian male over the past few years or because their nominee outright said he didn’t care about half of the country. Nope, Obama won because of a freak hurricane and two white conservative males.

Also, he was like, totally rude to Mitt Romney for no reason at all! (Conveniently, they don’t mention the numerous nasty, racist Republican attacks on Obama at all).

Risibly, the WSJ applauds Romney for taking the “risk” of putting Paul Ryan—a popular white male conservative—on the ticket. HUGE risk, there.

They falsely place the blame for the divisiveness in the past four years squarely and solely on the shoulders of the president: “Mr. Obama will now have to govern the America he so relentlessly sought to divide.” WOW. That is simply untrue. Anyone who’s been paying attention over the past four years knows that REPUBLICANS were the ones who relentlessly sought to divide the country, not Barack Obama. They said that’s what they were doing, explicitly and publicly.

The WSJ, which is a paper focused on reporting on business and financial news, criticizes Obama for not fixing the economy in four years, even though consumer confidence, the Dow, and even housing have been ticking back up. All of this is especially impressive given the fact that Obama inherited a financial crisis from George Bush that nearly crashed the entire global economy. Whoever wrote this piece must never read the papers.

It doesn’t bode well for conservatives that their media outlets continue to twist the truth and willfully deny reality.

The GOP’s effort to suppress voter turnout this year isn’t a new strategy. Conservatives have known for a long time that shrinking the pool of voters helps conservative candidates. This is a clip of Paul Weyrich speaking at a conference in Dallas over thirty years ago.

He says (my emphasis):

I don’t want everybody to vote. Elections are not won by a majority of people. They never have been from the beginning of our country, and they are not now. As a matter of fact our leverage in the elections quite candidly goes up as the voting populace goes down.
This past weekend,The New York Times editorial page bluntly stated (my emphasis):
This year, voting is more than just the core responsibility of citizenship; it is an act of defiance against malicious political forces determined to reduce access to democracy. Millions of ballots on Tuesday — along with those already turned in — will be cast despite the best efforts of Republican officials around the country to prevent them from playing a role in the 2012 election.
If you can, please vote today. By voting, you will not only be choosing political representatives, but reaffirming your very right to do so.
The reality is that our government hasn’t become this dysfunctional because the parties are so “polarized.” It’s because there is only one pole in American politics today, and its magnetic field is so powerful that it has drawn both parties in the same direction — rightward. And it is in that same direction that the magnetic field of contemporary American politics is likely to pull the stories the two parties tell after the election — and the policies the winner pursues.
It’s undemocratic of me to wish this would actually happen, right?

It’s undemocratic of me to wish this would actually happen, right?

Rick Santorum: “I don’t want to make black people’s lives better by giving them somebody else’s money.”

Everyone is going after Ron Paul for his racist newsletters and remarks, but we can’t forget that stigmatizing POC is standard operating procedure for Republicans.

At a New Year’s campaign stop in Sioux City, Iowa, Rick Santorum outlined his vision for the country—one that focuses on cutting government aid to the needy at a time when poverty rates are rising.

Even more troubling, Santorum seems to hold Reagan-era ideas about poverty that explicitly racialize it and, more subtly, link Blackness to shiftlessness, indecency, and immorality:

"Having that strong foundation of the faith and family allows America to be in a position where we can be more free," Santorum says. "We can be free because we are good decent moral people."

For Santorum that means cutting government regulation. Making Americans less dependent on government aid. Fewer people getting food stamps, Medicaid and other forms of federal assistance — especially one group.

"I don’t want to make black people’s lives better by giving them somebody else’s money," Santorum begins. "I want to give them the opportunity to go out and earn the money and provide for themselves and their families."

Santorum did not elaborate on why he singled out blacks who rely on federal assistance. The voters here didn’t seem to care.

This is the Reagan lie about the welfare queen all over again, disguised as compassionate conservatism. Santorum doesn’t care about making poor people’s lives or Black people’s lives better. Like all Republicans, Rick Santorum just wants to cut federal spending so he can lower taxes for corporations and the wealthy.

Rick Santorum: fully living up to his name

(Source: NPR)

OWS news roundup: “First they ignore you. Then they ridicule you. And then they attack you”

Push-back from the Right, including an actual agent provocateur:

After Relentlessly Promoting Tea Party Protests, Fox Attacks Wall Street Protesters

Fox News has begun attacking participants of the “Occupy Wall Street” protests across the country, claiming they are “deluded” and have “absolutely no purpose or focus in life.” Fox’s attacks stand in stark contrast with its relentless promotion and support of the tea party protests of 2009 and 2010.

Rep. Peter King (R-NY): Do Not Allow Any Legitimacy For Wall Street Protests, Or It Will Be Like 1960s Again

Rep. Peter King (R-NY), the chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, blasted the media for providing fair coverage to the Occupy Wall Street protests. “They have no sense of purpose other than a basically anti-American tone,” he said.

King also explained that he is “old enough to remember what happened in the 1960s when the left-wing took to the streets and somehow the media glorified them and it ended up shaping policy.” He added, “We can’t allow that to happen”:

Billionaire Mayor Bloomberg: Occupy Wall Street ‘Trying To Destroy Jobs

"What they’re trying to do is take the jobs away from people working in this city," Bloomberg said on his weekly radio show, adding that the protests "aren’t productive" and weren’t good for tourism.

"If the jobs they are trying to get rid of in this city — the people that work in finance, which is a big part of our economy — go away, we’re not going to have any money to pay our municipal employees or clean our parks or anything else."

Bloomberg’s comments coincided with the announcement that 700 NYC education workers will be laid off to close a budget gap and recently released census data that reveals NY’s poverty level is now 20.1%—the highest it’s been in more than a decade.

As Marines Occupy Wall Street, Republican Rep. Paul Broun [R-GA] Calls Protests ‘An Attack Upon Freedom’

“Well, if you look at what they’ve been telling in the media, they don’t know why they’re there, they’re just mad,” Broun said. “And I see people angry in my district too, but this attack upon business, attack upon industry, attack upon freedom, and I think that’s what this is all about. Now, the unions seem to be weighing in and trying to subvert that anger into a political power to try to reelect a president whose policies are just totally ignorant and incompetent about the economy and how to create jobs and how to create freedom in this country.”

Conservative journalist says he infiltrated, escalated D.C. museum protest

A conservative journalist has admitted to infiltrating the group of protesters who clashed with security at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum on Saturday — and he openly claims to have instigated the events that prompted the museum to close.

The right to collectively bargain to change the terms and conditions of daily work promises social and legal equality to workers. The right to eat anywhere they wanted and to vote for the candidates of their choice promised social and legal equality to African Americans in the Apartheid South. The right to marry the person they love, regardless of gender, promises social and legal equality to gay and lesbian people. While authoritarian populist movements of the right usually seek to restore and retain privileges for some citizens at the expense of those less fortunate, successful social movements from the left are logical extensions of the bedrock birthrights of the American experiment to more and more people. “Justice for us,” says the Right. “Justice for all”, says the Left.

How the Right made cupcakes evil →

It’s hard to imagine the universally beloved cupcake being used for evil. But that’s just what conservatives have been doing lately.

 EXHIBIT A:

Pro life cupcakes.

October 9th is National Pro Life Cupcake Day (google it, I dare you). Here’s how it’s “celebrated”:

“once a year, on October 9th, we would bake as many birthday cupcakes as humanly possible and hand them out for free wherever we can. When people asked whose birthday it is, we tell them these cupcakes are for celebrating the birthdays of every person who never gets to have a birthday. People respond in all ways – from refusing the cupcake, to sharing about abortions they’ve had in the past and the regret they carry, to just wanting to know more.”

Mm tasty. I love the taste of genocidal guilt in the morning.

EXHIBIT B:

Racist cupcakes

College Republicans at UC Berkeley recently held an “affirmative action” bake sale where they charged different amounts for race – the most for whites, the least for Native Americans, with women of all races getting a 25c discount.

A piece of cutting-edge satire that puts the likes of Voltaire and Johnathan Swift to shame. Whites pay more! Cos the system’s fixed against them! Hilarious and totally true, as all the employment and poverty statistics ever will back up.

EXHIBIT C:

Homophobic cupcakes

Last year in Indianapolis, a bakery refused to make rainbow coloured cupcakes to celebrate National Coming Out. When asked why, the baker replied that “cupcakes are only for good heterosexual Christians. You don’t know where those people might put a cupcake” (note: quote entirely fictional).

As someone in the social sciences, there are few things that irk me more than patently bad experimental design.

Also: Can someone please tell me why modern conservatives seem incapable of acknowledging context? Are they just not smart enough or what?

Matt Yglesias on conservative nostalgia

This puts me in a mind of House Speaker John Boehner’s explicitly expressed view that the problem with President Obama is that he and the 111th Congress were “snuffing out the America that I grew up in.” As I said at the time, on its face it’s difficult to make sense of that. John Boehner was born in 1949. Does he feel nostalgic for the higher marginal tax rates of the America he grew up in? For the much larger labor union share of the workforce? The threat of global nuclear war?

It’s difficult for me to evade the conclusion that on an emotional level, conservative nostalgists like Boehner are primarily driven by regret at the loss of social privilege by white men. In Boehner’s defense, I often hear white male progressives express nostalgia for the lost America of the 1950s and 1960s and think to myself “a black person or a woman wouldn’t put it like that.” But progressive nostalgics do at least have the high-tax, union-dominated economy and egalitarian income distribution as the things they like. But from a non-bigoted conservative point of view, what is there really to miss about the America John Boehner grew up in? The tax rates were high, but at least they didn’t let Jews into the country club?

(Source: thinkprogress.org)

Debunking the Big Lie Right-Wingers Use to Justify Black Poverty and Unemployment →

[Oklahoma state Representative Sally] Kern was simply advancing one of the most enduring and pernicious untruths in America’s political economy. It holds that poverty – in general, but especially within communities of color – doesn’t result from purely economic factors. Rather, the poor are where they find themselves as a consequence of some deep-seated cultural flaws that keep them from achieving success. They’re held back, the story goes, by what is known alternatively as a “culture of poverty,” or a “culture of dependence.” It’s a popular fable for the right, as it absolves the political establishment for public policies that harm the working class and the poor. 

It’s also thoroughly and demonstrably untrue, flying in the face of decades of serious research findings.

It’s a myth that should be put to rest by the economic experience of the African American community over the past 20 years. Because what Kern and other adherents of the “culture of poverty” thesis can’t explain is why blacks’ economic fortunes advanced so dramatically during the 1990s, retreated again during the Bush years and then were completely devastated in the financial crash of 2008.

In order to buy the cultural story, one would have to believe that African Americans adopted a “culture of success” during the Clinton years, mysteriously abandoned it for a “culture of failure” under Bush and finally settled on a “culture of poverty” shortly after Lehman Brothers crashed.

That’s obviously nonsense. It was exogenous economic factors and changes in public policies, not manifestations of “black culture,” that resulted in those widely varied outcomes.

An excellent post that summarizes how black poverty and unemployment has been the result of changes in public policy and the economy rather than some inherent flaw in African Americans themselves.

On the West's Moral Panic Over 'Multiculturalism' →

A good summary of the state of multiculturalism in western politics these days. Despite what some rightwing types would have you belief, multiculturalism is not and never has been hegemonic. It remains an unfulfilled ideal, a whipping boy, a seed of contention:

…“[O]thers” have to be distinguished in the popular mind from other “others.” So when black people attack other black people it is no longer crime but “black-on-black-crime;” if a young Muslim woman in killed over a romantic relationship it is not a murder but an “honor killing.” In a country like England that has been embroiled in virtually continuous terrorist conflict for the last forty years in Northern Ireland, the notion that there are “home-grown” Muslim bombers is supposed to represent not just a new demographic taking up armed struggle but an entirely new phenomenon. Even as the Catholic Church is embroiled in a global crisis over child sexual abuse and the Church of England is splintered in a row over gay priests, Islam and Muslims face particularly vehement demands to denounce homophobia.

The combined effect of these flawed distinctions and sweeping demonization is to unleash a series of moral panics. In 2009 in Switzerland, a national referendum banned the building of minarets in a country that has only four; in 2010, 70 per cent of voters in the state of Oklahoma support the banning of sharia law even though Muslims comprise less than 0.1 per cent of the population; in the Netherlands parliament seriously considered banning the burka–-a garment believed to be worn by fewer than fifty women in the entire country. Disproportionate in scale and distorted in nature, these actions cannot be understood as a viable response to their named targets but rather as emblems of a broader, deeper disruption in national, racial and religious identities. At a time of diminishing national sovereignty, particularly in Europe, such campaigns help the national imagination cohere around a fixed identity even as the ability of the nation-state to actually govern itself wanes. It is a curious and paradoxical fact that as national boundaries in Europe have started to fade, the electoral appeal of nationalism has increased….

But such assaults are by no means the preserve of the far right. Many who consider themselves on the left have given liberal cover to these assaults on religious and racial minorities, ostensibly acting in defense of democracy, Enlightenment values and equal rights—particularly relating to sexual orientation and gender. Their positioning rests on two major acts of sophistry. The first is an elision between Western values and liberal values that ignores the fact that liberal values are not fully entrenched in the West and that other regions of the world also have liberal traditions. Nowhere is this clearer than with gay rights, where whatever gains do exist are recent and highly contested. Thirty American states have constitutional amendments banning gay marriage, and only a handful of states have passed gay marriage through the popular legislative process. Not only is gay equality not a Western value, it’s not even a Californian value. The second is a desire to understand Western “values” in abstraction from Western practice. This surge in extolling Western virtues has coincided with an illegal war that has been underpinned by both authorized and unauthorized torture and a range of other atrocities and a spike in the electoral and political currency of racism and xenophobia.

Private vs. public conversations, pt. 2 →

One of the markers of conservatism in our modern democracy is a routine willingness to say one thing privately and another publicly.  The reason for this is that our national consensus has turned towards justice, which causes defenders of the old order into a bad situation where they either say what they mean and sound like monsters, or they try to reframe their authoritarian views in liberal terms to confuse the issue….Slave owners bought a little more time owning slaves by claiming slavery was good for slaves, because they weren’t smart enough for freedom….In the early days of segregation, what was privately expressed as an explicit desire to keep black people as second class citizens was cleaned up and publicly presented as “separate but equal”. When that stopped working, private support for segregation as segregation was cleaned up and presented to the public as “states’ rights” or “private property rights”. After desegregation, private anger at black people for demanding equality was cleaned up and presented as “law and order” in public….

I believe that racism is what developed the strategy, but now it’s endemic. Abortion is privately about sluts who can’t keep their legs shut, publicly about “life”. Economic policies that that are designed to grow the gap between the haves and have-nots are publicly supported because they supposed grow the economy and do the opposite….Anti-gay bigotry is blatant in private spaces, but about “traditional marriage” in public spaces….

…The Republican infrastructure has been remarkably good at sorting people and aiming the more honest messages into spaces where their messages won’t reach liberal ears….Getting on TV, publishing in widely available spaces or moving into national politics used to mean getting potty trained in saying things in code and not talking like you would to your friends. Now, most of us do this to one extent or another, but with liberals I rarely hear a direct conflict between their private values and their public ones, but with conservatives, there’s often a direct conflict, or at least mismatch, between private values and public ones.

I’m not entirely sold on that last paragraph, but the overall point is good. Republicans and conservatives have been using coded language in public for decades, but the facade has been slipping lately. Even attempts to cover one’s ass are becoming more perfunctory. Conservatives just shrug off leaked e-mails/internal conversations that are blatantly racist, homophobic, xenophobic, sexist, etc. And the media lets them get away with.

What kind of world is it when politicians and pundits who crack racist jokes about the President don’t suffer from any consequences when these conversations are made public, but those whose sex lives are exposed (e.g. Anthony Weiner) are endlessly punished and shamed?

Priorities, people.

Why, why, why, why is it that most of the people who are against abortion are people you wouldn’t wanna fuck in the first place? Boy, these conservatives are really something, aren’t they? They’re all in favor of the unborn. They will do anything for the unborn. But once you’re born, you’re on your own. Pro-life conservatives are obsessed with the fetus from conception to nine months. After that, they don’t want to know about you. They don’t want to hear from you. No nothing. No neonatal care, no day care, no head start, no school lunch, no food stamps, no welfare, no nothing. If you’re preborn, you’re fine; if you’re preschool, you’re fucked.

Conservatives don’t give a shit about you until you reach ‘military age’. Then they think you are just fine. Just what they’ve been looking for. Conservatives want live babies so they can raise them to be dead soldiers. Pro-life… pro-life… These people aren’t pro-life, they’re killing doctors! What kind of pro-life is that? What, they’ll do anything they can to save a fetus but if it grows up to be a doctor they just might have to kill it?

They’re not pro-life. You know what they are? They’re anti-woman. Simple as it gets, anti-woman. They don’t like them. They don’t like women. They believe a woman’s primary role is to function as a brood mare for the state.

George Carlin in Back in Town on abortion (via gaywitchpracticingabortion)(via murphysbride)(via bookling)(via portmanteaunail)

There aren’t really any big name, truly progressive comedians out there, are there? (Bill Maher does not count). Most are either apolitical or think that using racial slurs or talking about how stereotypes are true is transgressive and interesting.

(via portmanteaunail)