An intellectual freedom blog with an emphasis on libraries and technology

Monday, March 25, 2013

Republicans v. their own nature

Updated March 30, 2013 below.

TRMS last week aired a hilarious segment on the RNC's plans to "re-brand" themselves to reach out to Hispanic voters, instead of alienating them. They are not off to a good start. The fun starts around the 4:45 mark in the video. Transcript below the embed:

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MADDOW: Then there's Senator Rand Paul from Kentucky. Today, he spoke the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in Washington, D.C. and on his way there, he apparently stopped off at the hispanic voter stereotype shop.
[shows clip]
PAUL: Republicans have been losing both respect and votes of a group of people who already identify with many of our beliefs and family and faith and conservative values. Hispanics should be a natural, sizable part of the Republican base,  defense of the unborn, defense of traditional marriage, that should resonate with Latinos.
MADDOW: Should they? Why do you think that? You know, if you actually look at the data, more than half of all hispanics think gay people should be allowed to marry. And on abortion, two thirds of Hispanic voters think abortion should be legal, so your stereotypes about what Latino voters think, hey, turns out they're wrong. Also, they're stereotypes. Also, there's this:
PAUL: There's a hilarious episode on Seinfeld, any Seinfeld fans? Where Jerry, Jerry admits he loves Asian women, but he frets and he worries he says is it racist to like a certain race?
MADDOW: Don't do it! Don't do it! Don't, don't, don't… Just don't.
PAUL: So it is with trepidation that I'd like to express my admiration today for the romance of the culture
MADDOW: [hands shake, then crumple papers on her desk, the she shouts] BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARD REINCE PRIEBUS! No, no,, no!

March 30, 2013:
I watch TRMS the day after in the morning on my computer. On Friday's show she gave us a bit more detail about Senator Paul's speech to the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in Washington, D.C. He did not deliver a policy speech (as you can see from the above excerpt) but instead proceeded from the point transcribed above to quote a Pablo Naruda love poem. Not kidding. Pablo Naruda, you know, the famous avowedly Marxist poet of Chile and staunch supporter of the Allende government? That Pablo Naruda.

As I like to say, I could not make up satire like this - I don't have the imagination.

Also on last Friday's show Maddow listed the "insensitive terms" that the Republicans are warning their public figures to avoid saying. I find it well worth noting that the list sounded like Republican talking points of yester-year (or yesterday).

Send them all back
Electric fence
Build a wall along the entire border
Illegals or aliens
Anchor baby

Remember those talking points we gave you every year for, uhh, the last 30 years or so? Find a shredder!! Fast!!

Really? Do they think no one will notice?

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Nixon Hagiography Must End!

I have always felt sick to death or right-wing apologists for Richard Nixon. Every now and then in popular culture you encounter some pundit or political operative singing Nixon's praises, ignoring or rationalizing his crimes. Well, recently uncovered primary sources - incontrovertible ones - reveal that Nixon broke federal law and prolonged the Vietnam War for political gain in 1968.

Here is The Rachel Maddow Show segment in which she explains all the evidence as clearly as anyone can:

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Short summary: J. Edgar Hoover illegally wire-tapped the South Vietnamese ambassador's phone. When President Johnson arranged a peace agreement a week before the 1968 election Nixon's people contacted the South Vietnamese leaders to convince them to back out of the negotiations, that Nixon could make them a better deal. The federal law Nixon and his cohorts violated is called "The Logan Act." Enacted in 1799 the act makes it a felony for a private citizen to "carr[y] on any correspondence or intercourse with any foreign government .. with intent to influence the measures or conduct of any foreign government or of any officer or agent thereof, in relation to any disputes or controversies with the United States." I think this qualifies. After Hoover gave Johnson tapes of secret conversations with the South Vietnamese ambassador, Johnson could not make Nixon's treachery public due to the illegal wire-tap. No one wanted to cross Hoover.

Maddow has the count on how many more people died in a war the U.S. had to abandon years later anyway. Still think Nixon was not a such bad guy?

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

White house tours

(Posted by Steven on behalf of AR)
Just a concise video about what gets cut in this sequester and who cares.  I have rarely seen a better job of putting this into context.

Ezra Klein filling in for Lawrence O'Donnell on The Last Word.

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(Steven, this time) I have noticed for the last couple of years when I attempt to engage right-wing commenters online that any mention of waste in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan they greet with joy and excitement. They are overjoyed because, they argue, "We have no money left! Can't afford any more! Ha ha ha ha." They are liars. They do not care about waste as much as they would like us to think they do. They care about hammering people who they think deserve hammering. Even at a time when over 7 percent unemployment comes as good news these people remain convinced that poor people do not want jobs.

In a recent piece that appeared on Alternet, writer and journalist Tracy Moore explains:

 If you've lived in poverty you've met a lot of poor people, and they have all the same wonderful and abhorrent human qualities as any other label you want to slap on a demographic. What they lack are the resources and opportunities — and are usually from generations of people who lacked the resources, stuck in a cycle — to lift themselves out of poverty. They lack good models of what to mimic. They have to do three times the work to get to college, a notion that is automatic and inevitable for most people with means. They are exhausted. They are possibly depressed. They are not lazy or dumb or dishonest, except when they are just as lazy and dumb and dishonest as any other lazy, dumb, dishonest person you know — that, my friend, has got nothing to do with money.
Where would the Koch brothers be without having inherited their father's fortune? Somebody want to tell me why Paris Hilton "deserved" to inherit her fortunes? Heiress : nice work if you can get it.

Why don't we have the word "over-priviliged" in our language?