Posts Tagged ‘Rush Limbaugh’

Hypocrisy 101

Thursday, December 12th, 2013

By Jeffrey Page

All you needed to know was that President Obama was in South Africa for the final tribute to Nelson Mandela and that no matter what he said or did, he would be mocked and dismissed by Limbaugh and his fawning acolytes.

Sure enough, President Obama spoke movingly about what Mandela had achieved for his country after 27 years in prison, having been convicted of the South African felonies of being black and wanting freedom and equality. President Obama’s described the love the South African people have for Mandela, and for this Limbaugh savaged him. The First Amendment says you can do this; common decency forbids it.

Limbaugh’s hypocrisy is astonishing. For example, he spoke for the hard conservative core in his contempt for the Johannesburg handshake, the one between President Obama and Raul Castro, president of you-know-what and brother of you-know-who.

The handshake served as the catalyst for Limbaugh’s millionth dismissal of President Obama as “a socialist” and/or “a narcissist.” How does he make this connection? “He doesn’t get a thrill shaking Raul Castro’s hand,” Limbaugh said. “He’s hoping Castro gets a thrill shaking his hand.” (That’s been a Limbaugh trademark; to inform his listeners precisely what the people he loathes are thinking at any given moment.)

The Limbaugh line of course is that good people don’t go around shaking the hand of a guy named Castro from an island called Cuba. But let’s see just how consistent Limbaugh is.

In 1985, President Reagan agreed to lay a wreath at the Bitburg Cemetery in Germany, the last resting place of about 2,000 German soldiers who died in World War II. All right, time heals many wounds and 40 years after the war ended, the United States and Germany were allies and remain so.

But there were other interments at Bitburg, such as the graves of 49 members of the Waffen-SS, which was essentially the 1 million-member private army of the Nazi party commanded by Heinrich Himmler. These were the troops that provided the military muscle to carry out the Holocaust.

Americans were aghast that President Reagan would go anywhere near the SS graves, but he rejected their pleas.

The Limbaugh connection to Bitburg? There was none. I checked the internet, The New York Times and other sites looking for a cautionary word from Limbaugh condemning, or merely questioning Reagan’s judgment. But from 1985 through yesterday Limbaugh apparently had nothing to say. What I did find was that 11 Republican senators (and 42 Democrats), plus 84 Republican House members (and 173 Democrats) condemned Reagan’s planned trip to Bitburg, which, incidentally, was scheduled to be made immediately after an earlier stop at the Bergen-Belsen death camp, where the Nazis murdered 50,000 Jews. If anyone can point out a negative reference by Limbaugh to Reagan’s Bitburg atrocity, I’ll be happy to print it.

So, President Obama shaking hands with President Castro, or President Reagan laying a wreath for some SS troops? For Americans there are two questions: Which is more offensive, which is more nauseating?

The answers are not complicated.

Limbaugh Annoyed

Wednesday, May 1st, 2013

By Jeffrey Page

I acknowledge that a while back I vowed no more columns about Limbaugh. Enough was enough of this thumping blowhard, such as when he called Sandra Fluke a “slut” because she testified before a congressional committee that contraceptives ought to be part of basic health care. Later, he apologized, apparently in the belief that saying the words – I’m sorry – relieves you of the onus of having caused terrible pain in the first place.

A quick non sequitur here: In his “apology” to Fluke, Limbaugh, who referred to her on the air as a “slut,” a “prostitute,” and someone who wishes to be paid for having sex, declared, “I did not mean a personal attack on Ms. Fluke.” If that wasn’t a personal attack, what was it?

Remember back in the Eighties when he called President Carter’s daughter Amy the ugliest presidential child? Then he apologized. Years later he referred to Chelsea Clinton as the official White House dog. Then he apologized.

And do you remember that it was Limbaugh who slandered about half the American population when he referred to feminists as feminazis? Wait, actually I don’t think he ever apologized for that, and his use of the word hangs from him like rotting carrion.

Limbaugh has a way of opening his mouth and revealing an unbelievable degree of ignorance and cruelty, and I feel compelled to withdraw my No-More-Limbaugh vow and write about his latest pollution of the air.

Nowadays, he is distressed about the amount of ink and time being given to Jason Collins – the center of the Washington Wizards team of the National Basketball Association – following Collins’ outing himself as gay. (This distress from someone who spent parts of three shows on the air attacking Sandra Fluke.) As far as most people can recall, Collins is the first American active male pro athlete to declare his homosexuality.

Collins comes at an astounding time in the history of our nation, a time when nine states allow unrestricted gay marriage, when men marrying men and women marrying women get space in The New York Times wedding announcements in the Sunday edition, and when survey after survey finds surprisingly large segments of Americans don’t give a hoot in hell about the sexual orientation of movie stars, athletes, or the guy standing next to them on the subway.

So Collins came out and of course editors and reporters jumped on the story. That’s what they’re supposed to do. This was a culture change. With the understanding that surely there are more gay men playing in the professional leagues of American sports, President Obama sent a positive message about Collins. So did Bill Clinton. So did David Stern, the commissioner of the NBA. So did every fair-minded person in the country.

And then, along came Limbaugh who had just about as much as he could stand about Jason Collins, even if the story involves one of the more victimized groups of people.

Limbaugh got all huffy because, he says, there’s a lack of tolerance for – are you ready for this? – people who are opposed to the very existence of gay men and women. All this coverage makes them look bad. But I haven’t heard of any such attacks.

Have you?

Poor, misunderstood Limbaugh suggested that he is a victim. “Why can’t everyone just put your sexual preferences on Facebook and call it a day?” he asked in a story about Collins in Sports Illustrated. Expand that argument and you have someone asking if it was really necessary for us to celebrate or mourn people like Rosa Parks, Matthew Shepard, Jackie Robinson, Sonia Sotomayor.

Limbaugh complained, “If you want to say you’re gay, fine, but does it have to be rammed down everyone’s throats all the time?”

I know of no such ramming.

Why Wingnut Wit? ‘Because Stupid’

Thursday, April 4th, 2013

Alaska's lone congressman, Don Young, was forced to apologize for referring to Latino farm workers as 'wetbacks' during a recent interview. Photo by Dennis Zaki/

By Emily Theroux

“Stupid is as stupid does,” said Forrest Gump’s mother, who almost had it right. “Stupid is as stupid says” might be a more accurate watchword for the recent surge in wingnut imbecility.

Governor Bobby Jindal’s “Stupid Party” has been on a tear during the past few months, ever since losing the 2012 election caused widespread existential angst among the Freeperati. What should have been a time for sober introspection has devolved into a blabfest of ideological inanity, as Republicans try to one-up each other in some cosmic open-mic Battle of the Booboisie.

RNC Chairman Reince Priebus

You want stupid? I’ll give you stupid — “biologically stupid,” as RNC Chairman Reince Preibus* put it during an interview with Radio Iowa. “Listen, I don’t think our platform is the issue,” opined “R-r-r-r-r-r-reince” (as Rachel Maddow calls him, with an obligatory tongue roll). “I think a lot of times it’s some of these biologically stupid things that people say, you know, that I believe caused a lot of the problems.”

Yes, Freeper fans and foes, teabaggers like Todd “RapePublican” Akin say the dumbest things, to paraphrase the late Art Linkletter — and lose elections for it. I’m sure you have a few G(ullible) O(btuse) P(arty) favorites of your own.

Just humor me, and I’ll see your “asinine” and raise you two “moronics.” (“Mindlesses”? “Myopics”? “Whacko birds?” Never mind, as Emily Litella used to say. Andiamo!)


Texas Teddy’s ‘Cruzin’ for a bruisin’ ‘ by parroting the guv

Senator Ted Cruz of Texas

“Senator Ted Cruz isn’t going to let all the stupid in Texas belong to Gov. Rick Perry,” wrote Joan McCarter of Daily Kos, on the occasion of what she called “Dumb Pronouncements from Texas About Medicaid Day.” Good ol’ boy “N*****head Rick” got the ball rolling with the following April Fool’s Day bluster about expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act:

“Texas will not be held hostage to the Obama administration’s attempt to force us into this fool’s errand.”

And how, exactly, will three years’ worth of free Medicaid funding hurt the state’s 2,036,000 uninsured adults — at 33 percent of the population, the highest rate of uninsured residents in the nation?

Allow Cruz the Crusader to explain:

“Our friends who are saying they want health care do not realize that expanding Medicaid will worsen health care options for the most vulnerable among us in Texas. … If you want state funds to provide for our prisons and law enforcement to incarcerate violent criminals and keep them off the streets, you should be glad we’re not signing up for this Medicaid expansion … because the pressure is going to crowd out just about every other priority in the budget.”

Oh, really, Senator Newbie? You forgot to mention that the very Medicaid expansion your team turned down would have significantly increased total spending in your state’s economy, as well as real gross product, personal income, and retail sales — and saved 2,938 lives in the bargain.


Gohmert leaps from guns to gay marriage to bestiality

Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert

Let’s hear it again for Texas, where Rep. Louie Gohmert had the huevos to compare limiting the number of rounds in a gun magazine to expanding the definition of marriage to include LGBT couples. “(W)hy would you draw the line at 10 (bullets — or one spouse)? And the problem is once you draw that limit, it’s kind of like marriage when you say, (if) it’s not a man and a woman any more, then why not have three men and one woman, or four women and one man, or why not somebody has a love for an animal?”

As the congressman noted when rejecting a hate crimes bill in 2009:

“If you’re oriented toward animals — bestiality — that’s not something that can be held against you … Which means you’d have to strike any laws against bestiality. If you’re oriented toward corpses, toward children — you know, there are all kinds of perversions — pedophiles or necrophiliacs or what most would say is perverse sexual orientations.”

Do tell. Sounds like a 14th-inning stretch, if you don’t mind mixing your bestiality metaphors with a little baseball.


Why not ‘marry gay’ to scam government benefits?

Sue Everhart (Photo by Marietta Daily Journal)

“You may be as straight as an arrow, and you may have a friend that is as straight as an arrow,” said Georgia GOP Chairwoman Sue Everhart.

“Say you had a great job with the government where you had this wonderful health plan. I mean, what would prohibit you from saying that you’re gay, and y’all get married and still live as separate, but you get all the benefits? I just see so much abuse in this it’s unreal. I believe a husband and a wife should be a man and a woman, the benefits should be for a man and a woman. There is no way that this is about equality. To me, it’s all about a free ride.”

Incredible! Why pretend you’re gay to “get all the benefits” of marriage? You can already score the same perks by getting hitched to someone of the opposite sex — you know, the time-honored “one man, one woman” route.


Religious rightie: ‘The gay’ behind N. Korean belligerence

Radio talker Rick Wiles

Right-wing radio haranguer Rick Wiles went all “Kim Jong-un” on marriage equality last week on his Trunews talk show.

“You know, at precisely the same time the Supreme Court is hearing these arguments on same-sex marriage, in Asia a crazy man in possession of nuclear weapons is openly saying: I have ordered our military to position our rockets on U.S. targets in Hawaii, Japan, Guam and the mainland of the United States. Could our slide into immorality be what is unleashing this madman over here in Asia to punish us? You got this happening over here and you got this happening over here: Could the two be connected?

PFAW’s has been all over this story, as well as the one about Wiles making his case to the fundies that the actor playing Satan on the History Channel’s The Bible series is a dead ringer for President Obama. “God guided the hand of the makeup artist and blinded the eyes of everybody on the movie set while it was being recorded” so no one would notice the resemblance — which just goes to show you, Wiles concludes, that “the man in the White House is a devil from hell.”

A month ago, Wiles sounded the tocsin to fellow Obamaphobes: “Let me remind the gay rights fanatics, North Korea plans to send a nuclear warhead our way. There’s a terrible price to pay for outright rebellion against the holy God of Israel, and your sins are going to get us all killed.”

As my friend Jim would say, “I’m sick and effin’ tired of being blamed for wars and natural disasters.”


And out of his mouth comes a-bubblin’ crude — Texas tea’

Texas Rep. Steve Stockman

They sure do make ’em witless in the Lone Star state! From freshman congressman Steve Stockman‘s Twitter feed gushed the following “Texas crude”:

“The best thing about the Earth is if you poke holes in it oil and gas come out.”

Later, Stockman topped off a string of snarky oil-themed tweets with this trenchant observation:

“Energy-rich oil propelled civilization into the 21st century. But liberals want to turn back the clock to inefficient Bronze Age wind power.”

These witticisms don’t seem so slick when you consider last weekend’s pipeline leak in suburban Mayflower, Arkansas. If enough of that “black gold” wells up out of the ground, from enough hidden pipelines, under enough subdivisions whose residents were never informed the pipelines were there, Stockman’s “civilization” is going to wind up blasted back to the Stone Age.

* * *

See more “fun Freeper facts” below:


* Reince Priebus, according to fallen Fox News pundit Dick Morris, will be featured in a new “outreach” ad targeting Latino voters. Priebus is expected to thank “those Latin Americans who’ve come to the United States to help us build our country, to help harvest our food, to help make our economy work (italics mine).” Forget “biological stupidity” — how about “ethnic stereotype stupidity”?


Mitt’s V.P.: The Prince of Partisan Pop

Wednesday, August 15th, 2012

Union members demonstrated against Mitt Romney's vice-presidential nominee, Paul Ryan, in Las Vegas. (Photo: BuzzFeed)

By Emily Theroux

On Twitter, Rupert Murdoch called Mitt Romney’s V.P. pick an “almost perfect choice,” and a Fox News fanboy dubbed him “the rock star of American politics.”

So why does Witless Mitt appear to have a classic case of buyer’s remorse?

Wayward Willard apparently made the most important decision of his entire presidential campaign in full panic mode. His press secretary, Andrea Saul, had just committed the cardinal sin: forgetting to lie about “Romneycare.” During a Fox News broadcast, Saul was asked about a pro-Obama super-PAC ad in which a laid-off steelworker said that, after his former plant was shut down by Romney’s Bain Capital and he lost his company-sponsored health insurance plan, his uninsured wife later took ill and died. Observing that, if the family had lived in Massachusetts, they would have been covered by Romney’s universal health care law (a forbidden subject in MittWorld), Saul effectively implied that “Obamacare” was a pretty good deal for America.

Erick Erickson

A Full Fringe Freakout ensued. Erick Erickson of sent out The Tweet of Doom: “OMG. This might just be the moment Mitt Romney lost the election. Wow.” Laura Ingraham informed her TRN radio audience that, although she “might be the skunk at the picnic,” she had to say it: “Romney’s losing.” Rush Limbaugh mercilessly castigated Saul on Clear Channel. And Ann Coulter imploded on Hannity, demanding Saul’s head on a platter by the following morning. (As of press time, Saul still had her job.)

Mitt had already grown desperate to change the subject from relentless questions about his unreleased tax returns. Seeking immediate surcease, the Much-Maligned Mittster discovered all possible means of egress were marked “No Exit.” Terrified of spending all eternity with two or more raving partisans in Sartre’s cramped version of hell, Mitt jumped at his first chance to get back in the wingnuts’ good graces. Harry Reid, he could deal with, but being on the outs with El Rushbo & Co. was no freaking Pee-Wee boxing match.

The Mittbot clicked into autocorrect. Salvaging his doomed campaign became paramount; careful deliberation gave way to frenetic  forward motion. He had to do Something Big — and very distracting. Spurning the advice of seasoned pros with far better political instincts than his own, the one-term, faux-conservative governor flashed his only wild card, two weeks before the GOP convention was slated to begin in Tampa.


Whose budget plan — Ryan’s? Of course not — Romney’s!

Paul Ryan

The presumptive Republican vice-presidential nominee, Mitt announced, was Paul Ryan, 42,  the wonkish seven-term Wisconsin congressman of “Young Guns” renown (along with Eric Cantor and Kevin McCarthy). Ryan, an extreme social and fiscal conservative who serves as chairman of the House Budget Committee, has championed the obliteration of women’s reproductive rights and gay civil rights. He favors uncompromising, hard-right fiscal policy, devotes countless hours to manic P90X fitness workouts, and secretly worships at the bizarre altar of the fanatical ideologue Ayn Rand.

A post on Erickson’s blog gave Mitt props for picking Ryan — and also let him wriggle off the hook for Saul’s unforced error: “Contrary to some people’s opinions, Romney has run a stellar campaign. He can’t help it if Eric Fehrnstrom and Andrea Saul have had some brain-dead moments …well, maybe he could. There is no such thing as the perfect campaign.”

But almost immediately, mainstream reporters began clamoring to sort out how Ryan’s signal political achievement — his 2010 “Road Map for America’s Future,” a radical budget plan that would convert Medicare into a voucher system — would affect the campaign. That led to edgy, defensive bravado on Mitt’s part (Paul who? Who said anything about Ryan’s plan? Hey, I’m the candidate here. My plan’s not exactly chopped liver, ya know. )

Then why appoint Paul Ryan V.P.? they queried. This perfectly reasonable question visibly stunned Romney. His heretofore choreographed campaign began unraveling. His own budget plan remained vague and sketchy like the rest of his policies, but the Ryan plan was something the press — and unfortunately, the public — could sink their teeth into.

Mitt the Whiner

Once again, the Romney campaign backed away from focusing on the economy (his only imaginable path to victory) and started flailing away at Democrats on the stump with an ever-shifting drumbeat of lies and innuendos: Obama wants to keep soldiers from voting. Obama’s going to take the ‘work’ out of welfare reform. Biden is a racist. (Why? He said an unregulated Wall Street would put us “in chains.” Chains = slavery, no matter the context. He used the word “y’all,” so he must have been talking about race. Or something.) Resign, Biden! (Sez Sarah Palin.) Obama’s campaign is based on division and anger and hatred. (Dog-whistle translation: Obama is a scary, angry black man. Be afraid. Be very afraid.) Obama is being mean to me. Obama and Axelrod, go back to Chicago so ‘us decent Americans’ can take our country back!

(Romney himself once said, “There’s no whining in politics.” It’s available on videotape for anyone to see. So why is this man still whining, when it makes him look like such an insufferable ass?)


When the #MittHitsTheFan, GOP insiders remember to duck

Several days after Romney’s announcement, it emerged that, after publicly praising his veep pick, some three dozen GOP strategists and operatives  met individually with Politico reporters to express serious reservations about Ryan’s potential effect on Romney’s candidacy as well as Senate and House contests. “Away from the cameras, and with all the usual assurances that people aren’t being quoted by name, there is an unmistakable consensus among Republican operatives in Washington,” Politico’s resulting scoop revealed. “Romney has taken a risk with Ryan that has only a modest chance of going right — and a huge chance of going horribly wrong.”

Mark McKinnon

“(T)he most common reactions to Ryan ranged from gnawing apprehension to hair-on-fire anger that Romney has practically ceded the election,” the Politico article, co-written by Alexander Burns, Maggie Haberman, and Jonathan Martin, stated. Some even think the Ryan pick is “a disaster for the GOP” and might cost Republicans the Senate if voters latch onto “MediScare” again. “Very not helpful down ballot — very,” a top Republican consultant told Politico.

Why on earth would Mitt choose a candidate who’s going to tar down-ticket Republicans with the same “class warfare” brush — the “Medicare menace” that enabled a Democrat to win an upstate New York district that had voted Republican since before the Civil War? The risk-averse Romney should have refrained from prodding the dry tinder of districts whose GOP representatives are backing as far away from Ryan as possible, before a spark of doubt among an aging populace bursts into a conflagration.

Meanwhile, wrote a Daily Kos blogger, “The Florida papers are destroying Paul Ryan” — in a state that Romney desperately needed to win. ” So much so that a distraught and panicked Village (a term used by progressive bloggers to denote the mainstream media) believes ‘Mitt Romney is in big, big trouble’ for selecting the man who wants to pull the plug on Grandma.”

The only GOP strategist brave enough to speak to Politico for attribution, former Bush senior adviser Mark McKinnon, called Mitt’s decision “a very bold choice”  that meant “Romney-Ryan can run on principles and provide some real direction and vision for the Republican Party.” Then McKinnon added his single caveat:  “And probably lose. Maybe big.”


Ryan’s list of negatives continues to mount:

  • “Willard’s Choice” has doubled the number of rich white men atop the GOP ticket. (Mitt could have picked Pawlenty or Portman — two boring white men — but that would scarcely have budged the Etch a Sketch.)
  • Because Ryan proposed eliminating the capital gains tax and Romney’s income is derived almost entirely from investments, Romney would pay virtually no taxes under Ryan’s plan. (Way to pick a winner, Mitt!)
  • In the 14 years since Ryan left Wisconsin for Washington, only two of his many proposed bills have ever been passed. One renamed a post office; nobody remembers the other one.
  • Romney’s ratings haven’t received the customary “bounce” from his veep announcement.
  • #MittTheTwit didn’t rack up any  points bad-mouthing Palestinians in Israel. Only six percent of American Jews answer “Israel” when asked what most influences their presidential vote, says Peter Beinart of The Daily Beast — who adds that Romney (the perennial outsider who never has a clue) probably lost the remaining Jewish vote by choosing Ryan. (The economy, health care, a positive view of government spending, and fear of the Christian right top the list. And get this, Mitt: “Almost 80 percent of American Jews think it’s fine for a woman to have an abortion for any reason.” Giving birth control to teens ranks right up there, too — and support for school prayer is a definite minus. Sorry, Willard — you’d be a lot more popular if you were still governor of Massachusetts!)
  • According to the Gallup poll and, “a clear majority, 58 percent, of Americans” have never heard of Paul Ryan. Snooki, Kim Kardashian, or Donald Trump would have been more readily recognized by the typical American voter. (And maybe Chris Christie, if he keeps insulting people on a regular basis. He might even get his own reality show.)


Union demonstrators protest Ryan’s Vegas star turn

Out on the campaign trail, hecklers interrupted Ryan’s debut campaign appearance at the Iowa State Fair, where the veep candidate showed his snarky side while dodging reporters’ questions. “We’ll play ‘Stump the Running Mate’ later,” he snapped at an NPR reporter. “I’m just going to enjoy this fair right now.”

The following night, the man of the hour attended a GOP fundraiser at billionaire donor Sheldon Adelson’s Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas. The event, however, attracted more than big bucks. Outside, several hundred union protesters filled the plaza, according to Alternet. Protestors carried signs reading  “Romney/Ryan Road to Ruin,” “Paul Ryan Hustling for the 1%,” and “This is What Democracy Looks Like!”

John Gage, president of the American Federation of Government Employees, had come to Vegas for his union’s annual convention, BuzzFeed reported. “Romney Hood, Ryan Hood, not in our neighborhood,” Gage chanted.

The GOP strategists may not see eye-to-eye with the 99 percenters, but they are definitely worried about the added angst of a Ryan candidacy. “Everybody loves Paul Ryan. Everybody supported the Ryan plan,” one party insider told Politico in D.C. “But nobody thinks Ryan should be the tip of the spear.”

Part II: Joe Williams, the NAACP, and the ‘Rush Sununu’ White Power Hour

Wednesday, July 18th, 2012

By Emily Theroux

When aggrieved conservatives — those harboring “white resentment” over perceived preferential treatment of minorities — denounce African-Americans as “racists,” they are generally not referring to any actual assertions of “anti-white” sentiment by their targets. The predominantly older group of white Republicans who hate Barack Obama’s race, while insisting they only hate his policies, are, not surprisingly, the same folks who rail about affirmative action and government handouts. Having grown weary of being branded racists,  they’ve resolved, as blogger Imani Gandy of “Angry Black Lady Chronicles” explains in exasperation, “to define racism as ‘including race in the consideration of anything’ — and therefore that means all liberals are racists.  ‘We win,'” they jeer. ‘What are you going to do about it?'”

Joe Williams

Just dare to mention the words “white people” in passing, and the right’s favorite bullies will track you down with hysterical rhetoric designed to sabotage your career by mounting a coordinated campaign of zero-sum character assassination. The white rage complex can annihilate black pundits with words alone, as former Politico reporter Joe Williams recently learned the hard way.

What Williams calls “the Right-Wing Noise Machine” will not stand down, in fact, if anyone on the left brings up this demographic, not without unleashing the full force of their collective virtual artillery — a week-long barrage of hate tweets, blog bombs, and unmanned drone texts.

‘Politico didn’t hesitate to cave to right-wing pressure’

Ann Romney, The Daily Caller, and tag-teamed Joe Williams’ “white folks” quote — distorting what he said about presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney being “comfortable around people like him” into Romney being “uncomfortable around black people.” To further muddy the waters, the bloggers produced a detailed study of the reporter’s Twitter feed, in which he made questionable (supposedly private) remarks about his employer and retweeted a snarky penis gag a friend made after Romney’s wife, Ann, joked about her husband’s “stiff” demeanor: “I guess we better unzip him and let the real Mitt Romney out.” The bloggers, of course, the ones who could demagogue in their sleep, said Williams had written the tweet.

After the wingnut blogosphere succeeded in making a fine fricassee of Joe Williams’ professional credibility, Politico suspended him almost without blinking. “Politico didn’t hesitate to give in to right-wing pressure and call into question this man’s stellar journalistic career,” observed Nida Khan at The Huffington Post.

Eliot Spitzer

Over the past few weeks, Williams has begun appearing almost nightly on the Current TV cable show of a fellow “outcast,” former N.Y. Gov. Eliot Spitzer. After the New Unzipped Mitt’s controversial speech before the NAACP convention, where black leaders lustily booed the candidate’s testy “Obamacare” slurs, Mitt jetted off to a Montana fundraiser to boast about the reaction he had gone there to provoke. “If they want more stuff from the government,” he told his upscale audience (emphasis mine), “tell them to go vote for the other guy — more free stuff. But don’t forget, nothing is really free.”

“Politico’s Joe Williams was fired for saying that Romney couldn’t relate to black people. If he’d said that tonight, he might still be employed,”Andrew Sullivan summed up in a post titled “Can I Have My Job Back Now?”

‘Mittmobile’ detours into murky ‘foreign’ terrain

Rush Limbaugh

Believe it if you dare, but Mythological Mitt tried to deflect the Bain barrage (and persuade members of his own party to back off the drip, drip, drip of tax-return demands), by resurrecting Barack the Magic Muslim’s “Back-to-Birtherland bio” — without Donald Trump’s help this time. (Mitt still lost the round; he actually consulted instead with Senor “Oxycontin Rush” — a genuine pharmacological phenomenon, BTW — for advice on dirty-tricks strategery.) Mitt may rue the day he embraced El Rushbo’s proffered “Tall, Dark, Shiftless ‘Furriner’ Who Never Worked a Day in his Life” routine. Wimpy Willard was too “chickenhawk” to deliver on Limbaugh’s bully-boy script himself, so he got Big John “The White Rhino” Sununu (please note the silent “h”; they pronounce it “RINO”) to reenact Rush’s hard-boiled role instead.

John Sununu

Sununu badly flubbed his cameo, calling out Obama’s imaginary cluelessness about “how the American system works,” placing him in the firmament of  the “political-slash-felon environment” of Chicago, and declaring that the president needed to “learn how to be an American” (a charge he later retracted, apologizing for questioning the president’s patriotism).

Meanwhile, Meandering Mitt took a risky detour onto the “extraordinarily foreign course” he claims Obama is following. Limbaugh chimed in, stating unequivocally that, “It can now be stated without equivocation — without equivocation — that This Man HATES This Country.” Sununu and his birther retinue soon crawled back under their customary rock and managed to stay there, at least for now. (A comment on read, “Sununu and Romney, both young men during the Vietnam war, found a way to escape serving their country. Now they are lecturing others on how to be American? Shame on you pathetic losers!”)

As for deflecting attention from Mitt’s Jumbo the Elephant-sized tax impasse, the mission’s histrionics merited a resounding FAIL. A total of 15 conservatives are now clamoring for the Blue-Blooded Blunderbuss to release his tax returns without further incident or delay.

Multimillionaire Mitt keeps his eye on the prize
The freedom of opportunity that Mitt extols (primarily for “wellborn,” patrician white guys like him) to scale the lofty peaks of achievement, success, and entrepreneurialism is not really an option for the underprivileged, the way he’s always looked at it.  Mitt shouldn’t be forced to divulge whatever advantages and hypocrisies and moral shortcuts inhabit his tax returns, offshore tax havens, and Swiss bank account — not to mention the mystery gazillion-dollar IRA that would have taken a “working stiff” 73,000 years to amass (its grand total jealously guarded by the Trust Fund Manager from Hell, who hasn’t imparted one iota of info about them to poor, bullied Mitt in 25 years!).

So Romney wants America’s “huddled masses” — including Barack H. Obama — to just back off and allow him the huge head start he is accustomed to, so he can add the bauble of the U.S. presidency to the priceless collection of mansions, boats, dressage horses, and other hidden pleasures that he and his immediate family enjoy. Don’t pass “GO”, don’t collect $200; just keep your eye on the prize, Mitt, and exclude all the unworthy riffraff you possibly can — especially the “Halfrican” (Rush’s word, not mine), Kenyan, Indonesian Muslim who’s been blocking Mitt’s path to glory since early 2007, when both of them announced their candidacies — the privileged, entitled white man and the genial, pragmatic black man who saw his own opportunity flicker in the 21st-century political groundswell and seized it, before the flimsiest outside chance in American history could flame out just as abruptly as it had appeared.

‘But the God I don’t believe in is a merciful God’

Louis XVI of France

What would Jesus do? Don’t even ask — but I’m sure it would have a lot more to do with camels wedging their massive humps through the eyes of size 8 embroidery needles than rich guys breezing past the Pearly Gates, brandishing their “Get Out of Jail Free” cards. Mitt’s birthright, indeed, includes the precious liberty once afforded to France’s last “absolute monarch,” Louis XVI, an ineffectual ruler who tried but failed to remedy widespread hunger among the disgruntled masses, as well as make a stab at repaying a soaring national debt brought on by inadequate tax revenues and the enormous costs of  foreign wars (Aux armes, citoyens!) — in the brief decade before the impatient rabble rose up and chopped Louie’s entitled freaking head off.

Mitt, on the other hand, believes he’s earned the cherished freedom he so covets from being “shamed” by lesser mortals’ envy or unAmerican sniping or Marxist denigration (Glenn, take a bow!) into sharing one thin dime of his stupefying fortune with anyone — except for an obligatory pittance to the Mormon high mucky-mucks whose sole utility to Mitt is to make sure he squeezes through the eye of that needle with all of his secret lucre intact.

(And how about Joe Williams — what would he think? Sadly, I haven’t been able to ask him, since he closed his Twitter feed when the Politico controversy began, and nobody new — that would be me — can follow him.)

In Joseph Heller’s magnum opus Catch-22, Yossarian asked Lieutenant Scheisskopf’s wife what the hell she was so upset about when, as he reminded her, “‘I thought you didn’t believe in God.’ ‘I don’t,’ she sobbed, bursting violently into tears. ‘But the God I don’t believe in is a good God, a just God, a merciful God. He’s not the mean and stupid God you make Him out to be.’ Yossarian laughed and turned her arms loose.’“Let’s have a little more religious freedom between us,’ he proposed obligingly. ‘You don’t believe in the God you want to, and I won’t believe in the God I want to. Is that a deal?’”

Deal — if only the God I don’t believe in would find a new job for Joe Williams, working for reasonable people, as soon as possible, and keep Mitt’s greedy fingers from getting a good grip on the brass ring. After all, he’s greased his palms with so many other people’s accumulated misery. I think just a little dab of heavenly Brylcreem would do him, like the jingle said — and if we’re lucky, do in his ill-advised campaign for good.

Keeping the White House white, withholding new ingredients from America’s historic melting pot — no matter who’s been scheming to restore the tradition and for whatever nefarious reason — was a really rotten idea in the first place.

How the GOP Weathered the Fourth

Thursday, July 5th, 2012

Mitt Romney ... blowing in the wind

By Emily Theroux

When it rains on the Republicans’ Fourth of July parade, it’s a monsoon!

I doubt seriously that the stars will ever again align against the GOP in the precise configuration they’ve achieved since the Supreme Court ruled that the individual health care mandate in the Affordable Care Act is constitutional. The deluge of dashed hopes, mixed messages, and wrong turns that has flooded the vast conservative echo chamber has expanded the right wing’s Independence Day celebration into a “terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad week,” to borrow a phrase from author Judith Viorst (and a meme from the Internet).

Never mind that “the mandate” was an idea that Republicans originally proposed but which they detest now against all reason and with vehement intensity. (President Obama is equally intent on furthering his inevitable goal of “bipartisan compromise,” which never gets him anywhere with these people.) Once Obama looks favorably upon such brainstorms of the right-wing think tanks and thereby gives them cooties, conservatives metamorphose into their own doctrines’ most fervent critics.

How many things went wrong for the Republicans in the short span of a week? I counted a dirty dozen:

1. The Supremes ruled against them, and “heads exploded,” as Dick Cheney once said, all over Washington.

2. Fox and CNN (trying to outfox Fox) both got the story horribly wrong at first, because whoever skimmed that ruling was either in too big a hurry for a scoop to read past the first paragraph or too “simple” to fathom what the ruling meant. They saw “individual mandate unconstitutional” and ran with it. (Even worse, Obama was tuned in to both channels and, at first, believed what he was hearing!)

3. The entire wingnut populace spent days massively freaking out, denouncing the treachery of Chief Justice John Roberts (who is supposed to be “an impartial guardian of the law,” not a right-wing tool), and proclaiming that “Obamacare” included “the biggest tax increase in the history of the world.” Roberts’ new critics invaded his Wikipedia biography and symbolically “repealed” him by “replacing” the title “Chief Justice” with “Chief Traitor.”

Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, and Michael Savage all tried to outdo each other’s bombast. “Our freedom of choice just met its death panel,” Limbaugh raged about SCOTUS. Beck hawked T-shirts depicting Roberts as a coward. Savage suggested that Roberts’ epilepsy meds had caused “cognitive disassociation (sic)” that affected his judgment. And Troy Newman of the militant anti-abortion group Operation Rescue compared the day the decision was announced to 9/11 and, appallingly, referenced Nazi Germany as well, warning that “we are all moving down the road toward complete annihilation.”

4. Some nut-job even proposed one of Tea Party candidate Sharron Angle’s “Second Amendment remedies.” In Michigan, former state GOP spokesman Matt Davis asked in a mass email whether “armed rebellion” might now be justified. An anonymous commenter responded to an online article about it: “I will not submit I will not buy something I don’t want I will not pay the fine (sic). And I will not be arrested peacefully. Your move Feds (double sic: punctuation needed desperately).”

5. Mitch McConnell appeared on “Fox News Sunday,” expecting his usual softball interview. Chris Wallace, however, grilled him relentlessly about the Republicans’ plan to “replace” Obamacare once they’ve repealed it. After Wallace asked him three times how the GOP planned to cover some 30 million uninsured Americans, McConnell finally blurted out in exasperation, “That’s not the issue!” Then, realizing what he was admitting, he clarified that the Republicans didn’t have a replacement plan for Obamacare’s most important provision.

6. After Republicans were proven wrong on how big the tax increase would be (the Great God Reagan passed a higher one), Romney’s campaign stooge, Eric Fehrnstrom the Etch a Sketch guy, made it clear that Romney didn’t consider the fine that “free riders” would have to pay for ignoring the mandate a “tax” but rather an “unconstitutional penalty.” If Romney were to call it a tax, it would mean that he had also “raised taxes” when Massachusetts passed Romneycare. Much wingnuttery ensued, including a snide tweet from Rupert Murdoch saying Mitt should “hire some real pros” for his campaign team.

On the “penalty” side of the debate were conservative think-tank analysts, The Wall Street Journal editorial board, and the four dissenting justices – all of whom warned that accepting as a tax what was written into law as a penalty would give big-government advocates “unlimited power to impose new purchase mandates.” The government could “legally tax our every breath,” Sen. Rand Paul warned.

7. Individual GOP lawmakers have a personal stake in one facet of the law they so fervently want to repeal: the provision that allows their own adult children to remain on their health insurance policies. Tea Party blowhard Joe Walsh (who also recently tried to “swiftboat” his Democratic opponent, a former Black Hawk pilot and double amputee, for “politicizing” her military service) explained that, while his 24-year-old son is covered by his mother’s plan, the freshman congressman doesn’t really support keeping the provision. “I don’t know where I am on that, and that’s a lousy thing to say,” he observed. “That doesn’t matter to me, though, irregardless (sic) of that.” (It’s “lousy” indeed, given that Walsh’s ex-wife has sued him for more than $100,000 in child support arrears that she claims he owes.)

8. Mother Jones magazine updated a story about Mitt and the Fabulous Bain Boys investing $75 million in Stericycle, a medical waste firm that disposed of aborted fetuses. This time, Mitt couldn’t weasel out of it by claiming he no longer worked there when the Stericycle deal went down. According to writer David Corn, an SEC document revealed that Mitt had held sole “voting and dispositive power” over Bain’s Stericycle shares when the investment was made. One pro-life blogger, along with Dan Primack of CNN Money, challenged Corn’s conclusion. Primack acknowledged that Bain asked Mitt to continue signing Stericycle fund documents after he “left” in February 1999 to salvage the Olympics in Utah. (Mitt had taken an earlier leave in 1994 to run for the Senate.) “Romney said he will stay on as a part-timer with Bain, providing input on investment and key personnel decisions,” The Boston Herald stated at the time. A July 1999 press release said Romney was “currently on a part-time leave of absence” and quoted him speaking for Bain Capital.

9. In a surprise move, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder vetoed three voter suppression bills. Needless to say, Republicans weren’t too happy about this unprecedented defection from their nationwide plot to disenfranchise likely Democratic voters.

10. Jonathan Krohn, the erstwhile wunderkind of CPAC’s 2009 conference as a precocious 13-year-old, has now emerged at 17 to denounce conservatism – and his own naivete. Movement bigwigs who once revered him are now calling him vile names and sniffing that they secretly thought all along that he was annoying, condescending, and mindless.

11. On the Fourth, Mittens caved to intense pressure from his puppeteers by revising his views on the “penalty vs. tax” issue yet again, now calling it “a tax” but offering no elaboration. Then a Wall Street Journal op-ed blasted Mitt and his bumbling campaign strategy for “slowly squandering an historic opportunity” by vacillating and obfuscating on issues like health care reform. Flip-Flopper-in-Chief, anyone?

12. And for the grand finale, the right’s wackiest characters genuinely “brought the crazy” during America’s 236th birthday week. El Rushbo dropped another misogynistic bombshell when he replied to a caller opining on the youth vote: “When women got the right to vote is when it all went downhill. Because that’s when votes started being cast with emotion and maternal instinct that government ought to reflect.” (Worry not, dittoheads: Beck’s got his back. The Blaze, Beck’s website, insisted that Rush was merely baiting liberal critics with an old saw written by Ann Coulter – who probably really believes it.) Meanwhile Florida’s favorite Mad Hatter, Rep. Allen “Wild, Wild” West, said at a campaign rally: “I have a great idea. I believe, for personal security, every American should have to go out and buy a Glock 9mm” – an obvious applause line, gun humor for the ideologically challenged. “And if you don’t do it, we’ll tax you,” he added, after his curtain call. (Col. West is not amused by the federal income tax.) “Now I wonder how the liberals will feel about that one.”

I have to hand it to him: That’s one hell of an “individual mandate.” The problem is that it’s about as thoughtless a possible provocation to trigger-happy whack jobs as Dubya jeering, “Bring ’em on!” at the citizens of a nation we had just occupied in a preemptive war. Or Sarah Palin exhorting the Tea Party faithful, “Don’t retreat, RELOAD!” and using a U.S. map festooned with figurative gun sights to target the districts of congressional Democrats who had voted for the Affordable Care Act – like Arizona’s Gabby Giffords, later shot and gravely injured by a deranged gunman who killed six other people during the same attack.

I’m not implying that the shooter had ever seen Palin’s provocative map; we have no way of knowing what set off his crazed shooting spree. But all we need in this polarized country is more wildly irresponsible NRA rhetoric – or everybody and his grandma packing heat.

Enough is Enough from Rush!

Wednesday, March 7th, 2012

Rush Limbaugh … 30 years of vile attacks

By Emily Theroux

Earlier this week, a Facebook acquaintance posted a comment under one of my recent political rants that absolutely astounded me. Following Rush Limbaugh’s recent three-day “slut-shaming” of law student Sandra Fluke for daring to testify before a House subcommittee about the high cost of birth control for uninsured women, I stayed up very late Sunday night, venting about Limbaugh’s galling hypocrisy in the face of his own infamous excesses. The next morning, I discovered a single reply from a woman who had never posted anything more controversial on my page than occasional praise of my dog or my grandchildren.

“As a journalist,” she offered, “wouldn’t it be good research to go back and actually listen to his show and hear exactly what was said, rather than repeat what people thought he said? He made his point with humor, albeit he took it to the extreme. Like it or not, it made for some GREAT radio.” She then added a rhetorical question: “When did having babies become considered a disease?” and ended her reproach with a snarky personal remark: “And speaking of babies, post more photos of your beautiful grandbabies. That we can all agree on.”

After letting her post simmer on my Facebook wall for most of that day, she inexplicably deleted it just as I was about to post a heated reply. That gave me time to ponder whether to make any kind of retort at all. I decided in favor of responding because I really don’t think anyone who has listened to the degrading, vicious, defamatory things that Rush Limbaugh has said about women and minorities for the past 30 years can let his lies, grandstanding, and verbal projectile vomiting — or his apologists’ weak excuses for his behavior — go unchallenged this time.

I always research whatever I’m planning to post on a public forum, I wanted to tell her. I listened to what Limbaugh said so many times that it’s some trick I didn’t puke all over my keyboard. He repeatedly lied that Fluke testified about her own sex life and that she said she was having so much sex, she couldn’t afford to pay for her own birth control pills — indeed, so much sex that he didn’t see how she could still walk. I didn’t find this to be anything approximating “entertainment” or “great radio.”

I also carefully listened to Sandra Fluke’s testimony before Rep. Nancy Pelosi’s House subcommittee. Fluke never once mentioned her own sex life; she actually devoted most of her testimony to explaining the difficulty many Georgetown students have paying for birth control pills they are prescribed to treat medical conditions that have nothing to do with pregnancy. Fluke described at length the plight of another Georgetown student who had been paying out of pocket for oral contraceptives prescribed to treat polycystic ovarian syndrome and eventually lost one of her ovaries when she could no longer afford to pay for the medication.

I heard exactly what Limbaugh said for three days — every lie, every vile taunt, every nonsensical mathematical “calculation” (suggesting, for example, that by dividing his hugely exaggerated “cost” figure for birth control pills by the number of “coeds” enrolled at Georgetown University (all of them promiscuous, of course), he would arrive at an estimate that each female student who took birth control pills must be having sex at least three times a day! Never mind the fact that you don’t take any more birth control pills if you have sex three times a day than if you have sex once a month — or never).

I sat through every vile taunt, every slander, every obscenity, every ad hominem attack, every cruel characterization of women who use birth control, whom he portrays as slavering nymphomaniacs. Limbaugh’s “remarks,” if you want to call them that, were in no sense humorous, nor were they ambiguous. Whether he rattled on for three days to boost his ratings or to give the Republican war on women a “plug” — or whether he even actually believes the things he says — is immaterial. I say it’s high time he shuts his big fat mouth. I signed a petition yesterday to that effect; if I can find it again, I’ll post that on Facebook, too.

As for the mystifying bit about how liberals consider having babies “a disease” (which Limbaugh himself said on his radio show later that day), that’s disingenuous hooey. I certainly never defined the “diseases” birth control is used to treat as human embryos, simply because certain kinds of birth control function by preventing implantation of fertilized ova. What I said is that, in addition to preventing pregnancy, oral contraceptives are also prescribed to treat women who have any of a wide range of real diseases or medical conditions that have nothing to do with the prevention of pregnancy.

I also said that employers who refuse to provide health insurance coverage for oral contraceptives because they are opposed to birth control for reasons of faith or conscience do not appear to take their non-contraceptive applications into consideration. Maybe we need some new names for these drugs that would differentiate their various uses, so that while politicians and “entertainers” are lobbing this issue at their opponents for electoral or monetary gain, the rest of us would at least know what they were really talking about.

Finally, being advised to post more photos of my grandchildren on Facebook struck me as a little condescending. It felt like being told to hie myself back to the kitchen and keep my nose out of the business of menfolk — although my Facebook friend was probably just trying to end her criticism on a positive note by paying me what she considered a compliment.

Women, like men, may originally have been put on earth by God or nature to reproduce; if that is so, I think I have done an admirable enough job of it. But I was also born with a brain and have elected to use it. Rush Limbaugh made a point of punishing a woman who dared to do exactly that by spending three days “putting her in her place.” The problem with me — and I suspect, with Sandra Fluke — is that some of us don’t tend to stay put very well.

Emily Theroux, a Middletown resident and former magazine editor at The Times Herald-Record, writes occasional political commentary on social media sites.

Rush: Teaching Is ‘Easy Money Scam’

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011

By Michael Kaufman

The other day I was talking to my neighbor in front of his house as Rush Limbaugh’s voice blared inside from the radio. I like my neighbor despite his terrible judgment.  Rush was doing a segment similar to one he titled, “Teachers Run an Easy Money Scam on Fellow Citizens” for his website. He said, “Can we get rid of the myth once and for all that school teachers, anymore, are these average, ordinary (as Obama wants to say), next-door neighbors who are just doing everything they can to further the educational experience of your children?

“That’s not who they are. They are left-wing activists, active members of unions who are oriented first by a political agenda, second by their own well-being, and your kids come last. Can we just get that out in the open?” According to Rush, the teaching profession today has been taken over by “people who’ve found an easy way to make a living.”

This from a man who makes millions of dollars for sitting at a microphone and spouting whatever bit of stupidity and bigotry pops into his head. In this case he ignorantly maligns so many wonderful and dedicated teachers I know or have known that I cannot name them all….so I will name only two: India Kaufman, who teaches elementary school in Atlanta, and the late Alex Smith, who taught in the Warwick Valley Middle School.    

As for Rush, he would be an ideal candidate for an appearance on a new Survivor show being proposed in an email currently making the rounds on the internet. He would be one of six business people dropped into an elementary school for a full school year. 

Each contestant will be provided with a copy of his/her school district’s curriculum and a class of 20-25 students. Each class will include some learning-disabled children, children with ADHD, children who speak limited English, and several labeled with severe behavior problems. Rush and the other contestants will have to complete lesson plans at least three days in advance, with annotations for curriculum objectives, and to modify, organize, or create their materials accordingly.

They will be required to teach students, handle misconduct, implement technology, document attendance, write referrals, correct homework, make bulletin boards, compute grades, complete report cards, document benchmarks, communicate with parents, and arrange parent conferences. Each month they will conduct fire drills, tornado drills, and [Code Red] drills for shooting attacks.

They will be required to attend workshops, faculty meetings, and curriculum development meetings. They will also tutor students who are behind and strive to get their non-English speaking children proficient enough to take the standards of learning (SOL) tests.  If they are sick or are having a bad day they must not let it show.

Each day they must incorporate reading, writing, math, science, and social studies into the program. They must maintain discipline and provide an educationally stimulating environment to motivate students at all times. If any students do not wish to cooperate, work, or learn, the teacher will be held responsible. 

The business people will only have access to the public golf course on the weekends, but with their new salary, they will not be able to afford it. Lunch will be limited to 30 minutes, which is not counted as part of their work day. They will be permitted to use a student restroom as long as another survival candidate can supervise their class. If the copier is operable, they may make copies of necessary materials before or after school. However, they cannot surpass their monthly limit of copies.

Finally, the contestants must continually advance their education, at their expense, and on their own time. The winner of this Survivor season will be allowed to return to their job. 

Is there anyone reading this who thinks Rush could last a week?

Michael can be reached at