Posts Tagged ‘Cognitive Dissonance’

                                                           Image from CNN 7-7-2017

Lately I’ve been incredibly puzzled by how little most Americans know or even care about Russia meddling in our elections. The news has been trickling in for some time and as an IT professional and former computer programmer professor with 20 years of experience in computer programming, I can tell you that it is probably worse than you know.  If you want to stay updated on the Russian story, the BEST site I’ve found to date is https://investigaterussia.org/, aka, the Committee to Investigate Russia.  Created by a bipartisan group consisting of experts and advocates (a couple of names you are probably already familiar with like James Clapper and Rob Reiner are on the advisory board), this site catalogs news articles from reputable sources, lists all of the key players (who are easy to get confused, especially with the long hard to pronounce Russian names), explains the various public investigations that are ongoing, and keeps track of timelines in the investigations.  I found the site by listening to Jacki Schechner on the Bob Cesca Show.  Jacki has a long history in the news business and her latest project has been to launch this news aggregation site launched.  It’s finally online and I STRONGLY encourage you to check it out.

Here’s a BRIEF summary of what we know.  The Russians attempted to hack 39 states and in at least one instance, tried to delete and alter voter data.  We know during the Democratic primaries that many Bernie voters complained that their change in registration from Independent to Democratic parties did not occur properly and so they were unable to vote in the closed primary.  In other instances many longtime Democratic voters were inexplicably given provisional ballots.  This led Bernie Sanders to file complaints, which in turn led to Hillary supporters becoming defensive and voila the damage was done.  The Left continues to argue among itself to this day and Putin is loving every moment of it.

We know that Putin engaged in a disinformation campaign and that it has been an unprecedented success on many levels.

  • He has succeeded in undermining our confidence in our democratic institutions.   If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times.  The hackers didn’t need to hack our voting machines to mess with vote tallies, they only needed to mess with our voter registrations.  There is mounting evidence that they did just that.  Now many people, including myself, don’t trust our election process.
  • He has succeeded in suborning the Executive Branch.  Herr Orangenfuhrerhas shown a pattern of letting Russia get away with far too much** (see Sources 4-7 at bottom).  The Executive Branch is being lead by a man who is, for all practical purposes, Putin’s “poleznyje idiot” or “useful idiot”.
  • He has succeeded in subverting the Legislative Branch.  Congress, under the control of the GOP, has been blocking progress into the investigation while mouthing crap about “being concerned”.  I don’t want to hear about how my Senator, John McCain is concerned.  I want to hear about how he and his colleagues are doing something to 1) stop the current collusion with Russia and 2) to stop it from happening again in the future.  Neither of which is happening.
  • He has succeeded in taking advantage of our ignorance and our openness.  Part of the problem is that the information has been trickling in and from so many different sources.  Another part of the problem is that it involves technology that most people don’t understand.  And yet another problem is our short attention span.  The final part of the problem is that far too many on both the Right and the Left are knowingly and unknowingly carrying Putin’s water.  The Right is repeating Trump’s BS rhetoric about “Fake News”.  It also doesn’t help that some on the left (like Jill Stein, Bernie Bros, and Russian plants pretending to be Bernie Bros) not only pushed anti-Hillary news but are now pushing the “Fake News” line of thinking as well.   As a result, unfortunately, too many Americans in the middle are throwing up their hands and saying, “We don’t know who to trust!”  All this confusion is EXACTLY what Putin wants.

Is it any wonder that the American people are too distracted and confused?!  Unfortunately, we need to pay attention to this story.  I honestly believe that this is the beginning of the end for our Democracy IF we don’t respond appropriately to this crisis.

Make no mistake about it–Russia attacked us.  They have attacked and are continuing to attack our democracy and we all need to wake up and pay attention.  We need to stay on top of this story and push Congress to do something about it.   Check out the “Committee to Investigate Russia“.

Notes:
*I refuse now and forever to give Trump the title of President.
**Too many articles to cite in that one sentence but a few are listed below (see sources 4-7)…I could go on and on
***These sources are listed in no particular order.  I have been trying to avoid any sources that might be of Russian origin but it is very hard to know who to trust.  For instance, I know that RT.com is basically Russian propaganda but there are many bloggers who seem to have a Russian/Wikileaks slant to them who might be reporting real news but they also might be knowingly and unknowingly repeating crap stories from Russia.  For that reason I’ve tried to avoid using links to other “unknown” bloggers and tried to stick to well known news sources.

Sources:***

  1. https://www.vox.com/world/2017/6/13/15791744/russia-election-39-states-hack-putin-trump-sessions
  2. http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-pol-ca-voting-problems-20160607-snap-htmlstory.html
  3. http://www.cnn.com/2016/04/19/politics/new-york-primary-voter-problem-polls-sanders-de-blasio/index.html
  4. http://foreignpolicy.com/2017/07/09/trump-has-picked-americas-enemies-in-russia-over-its-friends-in-europe/
  5. http://www.weeklystandard.com/trump-caves-to-putin/article/2008751
  6. https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/trump-administration-moves-to-return-russian-compounds-in-maryland-and-new-york/2017/05/31/3c4778d2-4616-11e7-98cd-af64b4fe2dfc_story.html?utm_term=.916898cc623e
  7. http://www.newsweek.com/trump-collusion-russia-what-we-know-so-far-630053
  8. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rob_Reiner
  9. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Clapper
  10. https://investigaterussia.org/
  11. http://www.bobcesca.com/the-bob-cesca-show-presented-by-bubblegenius-com-9717/
  12. http://www.cnn.com/2017/09/05/politics/house-intelligence-committee-subpoena-fbi-justice/index.html
  13. http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/if-only-john-mccains-actions-matched-john-mccains-rhetoric
  14. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-cage/wp/2016/08/10/are-u-s-voters-confident-in-their-electoral-system-yes-and-no/?utm_term=.8acf19b0f164
  15. http://thehill.com/policy/national-security/343292-jill-stein-looped-into-widening-investigation-of-russia-and-trump-jr
  16. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/bernie-sanders-fake-news-russia_us_58c34d97e4b0ed71826cdb36

 

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I heard a story on NPR yesterday about a recent Bloomberg poll that asked:

Do you support banning Muslims from the United States for a while?

65% of Republican voters said yes and a surprising 18% of Democratic voters said yes.  They did not interview any Independents so it’s safe to assume that more than 37% of American likely voters support what is essentially an unconstitutional and unethical policy.  If that doesn’t worry you maybe their answer to the follow-up question should.  They asked a second question that states it even more clearly…something like “even if it’s unconstitutional and goes against everything that America stands for and it makes us less safe” do you still support it and they STILL answered yes.

They then talked to a focus group of Trump supporters.  Most of them were college educated (so claiming their ignorant isn’t an answer to this conundrum). When asked why they supported the ban it was VERY clear there were two main reasons:  1) fear and 2) spite. The spite is something many online have speculated about.  Essentially they think Trump challenges the status quo and the “elites”, which they define as the media.  They believe the media elites are looking down on them (and they are and rightly so) calling them bigots.  Well if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck…But instead of shaming them, it only makes them madder and makes them support Trump more.  So that’s why we’re seeing his numbers go higher every time he says something awful–so the online and media speculation was correct.

What it all boils down to is these two important points.  First, they are SO afraid of more terrorist attacks that they will trade long term safety (and scoff at rational policy as presented by Pres. Obama and any Democratic nominee) for short term safety (as offerred by Trump).  I.e., they know it’s wrong they just don’t give a f*ck.  Second, the left and the Media telling them it is wrong, makes them so angry that they are willing to cut their nose off to spite their face.  It’s like telling your 4 year old, ‘if you do that one more time I’m going to spank you’ so, of course, they do the forbidden thing out of defiance.

When you really understand the dynamic here and you look at how many Americans probably feel this way, it is incredibly disturbing.  Maybe we should be concerned about the Democratic Party’s nominees chances in the general election.  Fear is contagious and so is anger.  These two emotions have been the main impetus behind some pretty ugly things in our history like the Internment of the Japanese during WWII.   This could be another one of those defining moments.  Unfortunately this decision will most likely be made by people with the mentality of 4 year olds.

Jon Stewart on The Daily Show sometimes gets on my nerves with his “both sides do it” tendencies, but in a recent segment absolutely decimates Eric Bolling and Fox News coverage of food stamp fraud.  Video here:  http://www.hulu.com/watch/608697

For those “over the pond” folks who cannot access the video, here’s a summary.

Jon shows Eric Bolling calling him out.  Tape of Bolling saying he is going to take Jon “to school”.  After making fun of Bolling for this ridiculous call out, Stewart walks through their hypocrisy step by step.  He points out that one hippy (who was used as THE example of food stamp fraud on 6 different Fox shows) does not represent the millions of poor Americans.  But okay, we don’t have to argue that point.  Let’s address how much fraud there actually is.  So he show that food stamp fraud is about $3 billion annually and is not anything to sneeze at.  Jon then compares that to the amount of money not paid by corporations due to loopholes in the U.S. taxes every year, which amounts to about $4 billion a year.  Then he shows a clip of Bolling saying that the money lost due to unpaid corporate taxes of “$4 billion is a pittance, a pittance!” in the larger scheme of things.  So $3 billion lost in our effort to feed poor Americans is too much but losing $4 billion to corporations every year is a pittance.  Hmmmmm……

Stewart then asks why do they, meaning Fox and conservatives, think this?  He shows clips of them talking about corporations being “job creators”.  He then shreds this next point like a master.  JP Morgan was instrumental in causing the recent Great Recession that affected the entire world.  They sold sub-prime mortgages and derivatives as triple A investments and the bottom fell out.  They created a whole lot of poor people. Did you know that JP Morgan Chase also administers the food stamp EBT program for 24 states making hundreds of billions a year on that contract alone?  Did you know they get paid per customer?

Jon then supposes that JP Morgan must put that money back into our economy by creating jobs…that’s what conservatives and Fox News claim.  Turns out that is not the case.   To handle the customer support calls on the food stamps program, JP Morgan hired offshore operators who get paid $3.50 an hour.  That’s right–the job creators are creating jobs alright, just not in the frigging U.S.    So no matter what happens, corporations win if the rest of lose and they always make sure we lose.  After all, it’s in their best interest, which is making a profit.

Stewart sarcastically explains this business model for us:

“But don’t think of it as JP Morgan shorting homeowners.  Think of them as going long on hunger.”

He follows that massive wallop with another as he ends the segment.  He says:

So what I’m getting from Fox is this….Exploiting government largess while reprehensible and morally corrupting for an individual is a-okay for corporations.  

Then there appears a picture behind Stewart of a little girl and carton of milk and he says:

So, maybe this will help.  Don’t think about food stamps and head start and programs like that as feeding and helping a small child.

As the milk carton disappears from the picture, Stewart finishes with:

Think about it as investing in promising start-up with a liquidity problem.  

It was an absolutely brilliant takedown.

We few, we happy few, we band of brothers; For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother;
–William Shakespeare, from Henry V

In my mind, the part that says “sheds his blood with me” should be “sheds his blood for me”. See in modern warfare everyone doesn’t fight in wars–at least not in the U.S. We have the luxury of having standing armies. But that doesn’t relieve us as fellow citizens of our obligations to those who do fight. Apparently U.S. Senate Republicans have forgotten that.

Senate Republicans voted down a VA spending bill.  Only Democratic Senators and two Republicans voted for the bill. The opposed Republicans argued that 1) it’s borrowed money and that’s bad policy, 2) the VA is wasteful so why extend its mission if it’s already failing, and 3) they wanted new sanctions against Iran tagged onto the bill because they couldn’t get it to the floor for debate any other way.

There’s so much there to lambaste….where to start. I’ll try to keep it simple.

1) Borrowed Money BS: The GOP has the nerve to bitch about borrowed money when they supported TWO wars and borrowed money to fund them. Hell they didn’t even budget for them until Pres. Obama came into office and insisted that we put the expense on the books and start paying for them. You, know, to do the grown up thing. Both wars cost us $4 trillion with tens of billions wasted and ended up lining the pockets of big corporations like Halliburton and Xe. You know Halliburton the company that Dick Cheney used to run and Xe, formerly known as Blackwater, who provided soldiers for hire when we ran out of troops.

So now these same guys are now refusing to pass a bill that would take care of the very veterans that fought in those wars because it would cost us $21 billion over 10 years. Now realize this new bill restores pension money that was previously promised to veterans and upon which many military familes were planning on having upon retirement. Congress only recently took a part of their pension away–so they could give it back–they never should have taken it in the first place. The bill also sought to expand benefits like caretaker stipends. You know for all those soldiers so wounded from IED’s that they need constant care while their beleaguered spouses have to now work just to survive. Did you know that the military spent $103 million on food stamps in 2013, which was a 5% increase from the year before, and that the usage of food stamps by military families has quadrupled since 2006? That’s because base pay for a soldier with a wife and one kid is $20,000. That’s nothing in today’s economy.

2) VA failing in its mission: Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) actually said “If the VA is already failing to meet its obligations to veterans, is it wise to extend its mission even further?” Oh, do you mean like we were losing in Iraq and extended what we were told would be a “get in, get out” kind of thing? Like when Pres. Bush declared mission accomplished but the war actually lasted 10 frigging years and the country is still experiencing chaos? The hypocrisy is so thick, you could cut it with a knife.

3) Iran sanctions: Do you hear that loud drum beat? That’s the war hawks in the Republican party pounding the drum for war in Syria and/or Iran. They think if they appear to be “strong” then it will make the President look “weak” in comparison. It’s why we’re seeing so many conservative articles online comparing Pres. Obama and Vladimir Putin and praising Putin for his “direct” approach. It’s a two pronged strategy: make him look weak and deny him any peaceful foreign policy solutions. And voila, we’ll have a very profitable war–profitable for them and their ilk but not so much for our military, our national budget, or well for anyone other than the warmongers and the companies that grease their palms. They are so desperate to deny Pres. Obama any political successes that they want to sabotage the already working negotiations with Iran. So they want to sabotage the peaceful solution we are currently engaged in and willing to risk a boots on the ground war with Iran for the sake of getting over politically on the President. Weren’t these the same assholes who demanded that liberals put country first any time we criticized the previous administration? Yes, yes they are.

The problem here is that Americans aren’t paying attention. They aren’t hearing this hypocrisy, at least for the most part. I certainly hope that military families are seeing and hearing the BS coming from the GOP, because if they don’t, these idiots will be voted back into office at the next midterm elections. Wake up America.

Sources:

http://www.brendan-nyhan.com/blog/gop-dissent-attacks.html

http://www.nationalreview.com/article/370782/value-putin-victor-davis-hanson/page/0/1

http://thinkprogress.org/world/2014/02/04/3244781/rohrabacher-mccain-graham/

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/why-soldiers-are-increasingly-relying-on-food-stamps/

http://item.liveleak.com/2/view?i=e4e_1393543001&comments=1

http://www.kcet.org/living/food/food-rant/a-reminder-military-families-use-food-stamps.html

http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/federal_government/senate-rejects-far-reaching-veterans-affairs-bill/2014/02/27/1d10801c-a001-11e3-b8d8-94577ff66b28_story.html

Some people have no shame whatsoever.  Sarah Palin, former Alaskan Governor, VP candidate and human being, along with Tea Party darlings and domestic terrorists, Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Mike Lee (R-UT) protested the closing of Federal War Memorials yesterday by attending a rally at the World War II monument in D.C.  You may recall that Cruz was the guy who kicked off the whole “let’s shut down the government” movement and inaugurated it by babbling on the Senate floor for about 21 hours (whilst butchering Green Eggs and Ham, I might add).  So representatives of the Tea Party whose intransigence is the entire reason behind the shut down and why it continues to drag on without any resolution decided to protest the results of the shut down.  The disconnect (or cynicism or both) is mind boggling.  Here’s one of my favorite derp quotes from the rally.  Palin said:

Our vets have proven that they have not been timid, so we will not be timid in calling out any who would use our military, our vets, as pawns in a political game.

If you think you can read the rest of the tripe without tearing your hair out, click the link.

PS:  I apologize for the link to Politico….their stenography is on full display with this article as there is only a single sentence in it that explains Cruz and the Tea Party’s role in the shut down.  There’s plenty of other tripe….words that could have been used to give more in depth coverage of the situation, but that’s not their bag apparently.  It doesn’t seem to be anyone’s job to do actual journalism anymore.

PSS:  Look who is palling around with terrorists now, Sarah.  But I forgot, their terrorists are freedom fighters….IOKIYAR

One of my pet peeves is the ongoing effort in this country to privatize aspects of the state’s inherent powers such as the responsibility to educate or to punish the convicted.  There is an ongoing assault by private corporations to take over these government responsibilities in order to use them as profit centers.  The Charter School movement is a great example of this trend.  I won’t dwell on it here, since others are much more informed about it than I.  I will say that I oppose allowing private schools to be funded with public monies.  Likewise, I vehemently oppose the privatizing of prisons and for similar reasons.

For-profit corporations don’t see people as people, they represent a profit or a loss.  To private prison operators, the more bodies, the more they make.  There is an economy of scale, dontchaknow.  Many on the right will say that the government is not accountable enough.  And in some cases I would agree.  But we do have a peaceful ultimate recourse (voting, which we use to infrequently IMHO) and there are legal mechanisms (recalls, constitutional legal challenges, etc) that we, the people, can use.  With government we can and do institutionalize our morality, a conscience of a sort.  For example, we have food stamps because at one time the people of this country felt that it was only we should help feed the hungry (although that value may be waning, see my post from yesterday).

So we DO legislate and then implement our values in our governmental structures and processes.  A corporation organizes as it sees fit.  It creates it’s own mission statement, goals and vision.  A government is created to provide services to the citizens of said government.  A corporation is created to provide profit for it’s shareholders.  Those are VASTLY different reasons for being and it affects not only WHO the stakeholders actually are but also how they and non-stakeholders are treated.    Corporations have no conscience and only the government, if and when it’s forced through enormous pressure, can force the country’s conscience on them.  And you see how well THAT worked with the banks and executives that crashed our economy recently.

All this is on my mind because U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has announced and is implementing mandatory minimum sentencing reform that will drastically reduce the number of people that get sent to prison.  Under these reforms, people currently charged with certain drug offenses will no longer be sent to federal prisons (this is a simplification of the policy but you get the gist).   You may or may not know this but there has been in US sentencing a massive disparity between how the law treated Crack Cocaine versus powder cocaine–on the order of 100 to 1.  In other words, a person with a small amount of Crack would be sentenced the same as someone who had a buttload of Cocaine.  Why was this a problem?  Because the powdered stuff is more expensive and is more likely to be used by the upper economic classes.  Crack, cheap and plentiful, was most likely to be used by the lower economic classes.  And since race is still very much tied to economic class, these laws drastically affected minority communities.  The African American community has been decimated by such laws.  If we had, instead, allowed such people to go into supervised release instead of prison, their ability to earn for their family would have been a real possibility.  Instead we took generations of young men and threw them into prison to rot and fester.  Nothing makes a man into a criminal faster than incarceration will.  Believe me, I’ve seen it happen before my very eyes.

Of course, the right opposes these reforms because they believe everyone and anyone that has broken the law should go to prison.  Unfortunately, the fact that there are too many potheads taking up bed space so that the pedophiles are given community probation instead never seems to catch up with them come election time.  And believe me, this kind of thing has been happening for decades.  Violent thugs and child molesters were and are being given alternative sentences because the drug war with its mandatory minimum and three strikes laws filled up and overflowed both state and federal prisons.   We still have the highest rate of incarceration in the world.  Higher than communist China, plutocratic/oligarchic Russia, free-for-all Somalia, etc, etc, etc.  And we’re supposed to be the land of the free…pshaw.

In the meantime, while pushing for stricter and stricter laws, the same politicians have been calling for lower and lower taxes.  Exactly how we were supposed to pay for our behemoth of a corrections system, never seems to have occurred to them or the voters.  The light bulb never goes on for voters because they share a similar malady with conservative politicians called cognitive dissonance.  What the voters don’t usually see is what is going on behind the curtain.  There is a wizard and he has an agenda.

Funding the movement for lower taxes and higher imprisonment rates is the private prison industry.  Players like the Corrections Corporation of America, PRIDE (a FL company), ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council)*, the Koch Foundation**, etc make sure that their agenda is pushed at the state and local level and that they blanket the media with their own marketing spin so that the opposing voices like mine are never heard.  It’s why you may not know that private prisons are booming and that the U.S. has a national slave labor force that fulfills your online shopping orders, sews the jeans that make your ass look oh so good, and processes the chicken patties that your child eats in school cafeteria.  The chain gangs of yesteryear were child’s play compared to what is going on now.  The cheap labor provided by inmates drives down wages for those of us on the outside. How long before people in large numbers decide that being incarcerated is better than trying to make it in our supposed free market paradise?  Maybe after the next Great Recession/Depression?

It boils down to this….incentivizing the loss of liberty is incentivizing tyranny.  Except now we don’t have to fear that the government will be the force that puts the chains on us.  It will be the private corporations beholden only to shareholders and owners.  They’ve seized the mainstream media and are busy waving red flags about guns and the scary brown immigrants in front of the voters while they pick our pockets and enslave us.  We need to keep our eye on the ball, people, otherwise Workhouses will be the new gray***.

from Matt Davies at GoComics.com

Sources:

http://www.balloon-juice.com/2013/09/20/his-sense-is-this-is-very-much-like-subprime-lending/

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2013/06/11/1215508/-Labor-and-Business-Win-Prison-Industry-Battle

https://www.prisonlegalnews.org/displayArticle.aspx?articleid=22734&AspxAutoDetectCookieSupport=1

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/02/25/949367/-Slave-Labor-Gerrymandering-Redistricting-ALEC-Koch-Brothers-and-their-Conservative-Agenda

http://www.phoenixmag.com/lifestyle/valley-news/201102/power-to-the–prison–people-full-version/1/

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/20/us/politics/administration-orders-new-step-to-curtail-stiff-drug-sentences.html?_r=0

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/12/us/justice-dept-seeks-to-curtail-stiff-drug-sentences.html

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/26/opinion/sunday/no-crime-no-punishment.html?hp

Notes:

*This is a conservative group that drafts state-level legislation for laws opposing abortion, supporting mandatory minimum sentencing laws, supporting three strikes laws, preventing wage increases, criminalizing immigrants (SB1070), laws allowing for private prisons and profiting off of prisoner labor, loosening gun control regulation, etc.  They give these drafts to lawmakers in the various states and they in turn use those drafts to formulate policy–many of the laws are passed verbatim as originally written.  This group is behind the many execrable laws passed in recent years to include forced ultrasounds against a pregnant woman’s wishes, union busting efforts, attempts to enact personhood for fetuses, eliminating conceal carry permits, etc.  This is the group that is making our laws–not our legislators–and they do so based on their conservative agenda.  Their perspective has nothing to do with the constituents of the said state….which is what our legislators are supposed to listen to and represent.  

**This foundation formed by Koch brothers to push their extreme conservative agenda on the rest of the US.  The two brothers own the second largest private corporation in the country.  If you want to know who is behind the conservative juggernaut that has hijacked this country, follow the money to these two billionaires.  

***I’m sure they’ll pick a new Orwellian name for it, like “insource vacationing”–the new way to have a staycation that lasts forever.  

“To cheapen the lives of any group of men, cheapens the lives of all men, even our own. This is a law of human psychology, or human nature. And it will not be repealed by our wishes, nor will it be merciful to our blindness.”
–William Pickens

You might have already seen the story about the rodeo in Missouri that had a clown dressed up in an Obama mask and proceeded to engage in a disgusting display of hate.  At least one of the attendees was shocked and posted about it on his blog and then the national media got a hold of the story.  The attendee said when the announcer asked the people if they wanted to see the Dummy Obama get run over by a bull, the crowd screamed with such enthusiasm that he actually felt fear.  Not fear for his own safety but fear of that level of hatred.   He characterized it thusly,

“They mentioned the president’s name, I don’t know, 100 times. It was sickening,” Beam said. “It was feeling like some kind of Klan rally you’d see on TV.”

I first read the story a few days ago and it made me feel sick to my stomach too.  I’ve always been so shocked by how the conservative power structure is so willing and capable of whipping their flock into a lather of hate against Democratic politicians.  Remember the fervor with which they pursued Bill Clinton (and his wife and poor teenage daughter)?  The ongoing loathing of the House Minority Leader, Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) mystifies me as well.  Conservative TV and radio hosts have vilified her for years.  They’ve been focusing their bile on President Obama since he first declared himself a candidate for the White House.  The jokes about Hillary, Chelsea and Pelosi were and are often sexist.  So it’s no surprise that the hate-filled propaganda against the President tends to be, more often than not, racist.  After all, in their view, his skin color is the most obvious thing about him.

Rallying conservatives at public gatherings with some good old “dog whistles” is , unfortunately, as American as apple pie.  Some politicians wisely came out and denounced it because ultimately to use such rhetoric is demeaning to us as a country and well, it’s just plain wrong.  Others, however, jumped right into the fray and have not only enthusiastically supported the rodeo producers and clown but have offered to give the clown more gigs performing the same routine in their home state.  One of those is Steve Stockman (R-TX District 36).  He felt sorry for the radio clown, who had been banned for life from the Missouri State Rodeo, and invited the guy to perform in Texas.

You might remember Stockman–he’s done and said some wacky things over the years.  He’s the asshole who lied on Twitter saying that female spectators planned on throwing tampons at Texas State Legislature while they debated and voted on an abortion bill last month.  He’s also the gem of a guy who thinks that arming fetuses is the solution to abortion.  He proposed legislation to defund any school that punishes kids for pretending to play with guns.  He’s even praised Ted Nugent as being a patriot and had him as his guest at the 2013 State of the Union.   For those of you who don’t know, Nugent is a washed-up musician posing as a politically involved citizen who is in reality a pants-shitting draft dodging piece of crap who threatened Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, and President Obama on stage in such a ugly and convincing fashion the Secret Service had to have a little talk with him.  This is just a tiny sample of Steve Stockman’s character, or lack thereof.

And now Stockman is saying that the rodeo clown wasn’t wrong but the liberal reaction to it was.

“The liberal reaction is straight out of Alinsky,” he continued. “They want to crush dissent by isolating and polarizing anyone who questions Obama, even if it’s a rodeo clown with a harmless gag. The idea to create a state of fear and make people afraid to trivialize Obama.”

There’s so much nonsense in this quote, it’s ridiculous. First, Stockman clearly doesn’t understand the First Amendment. Second, his assertion that liberals are trying to create a state of fear is pure projection. Stockman and his ilk are the ones running around calling the President everything from a fascist dictator to a Muslim socialist usurper who is going to take everyone’s guns and force Sharia law on the country.

Third, the clown (and the rodeo announcer, the enthusiastic crowd, etc) weren’t “questioning Obama”, they were fantasizing about hurting him. Have you ever been in a large crowd that gets all frenzied focusing their anger at a single individual? It’s pretty damn chilling and creates a state of fear–just ask the poor man and his family who first reported the incident to the world. How many other citizens in that crowd sat silently through the event quietly horrified by the level of hate but too fearful to speak up. Anyone with any sense knows that to speak out against something like that risks having the frenzied crowd turn on you in mob fashion.

Fourth and finally, name dropping Alinsky is laughable.  Only conspiracy theorist nuts and avid listeners of conservative shock jocks (like Beck, Limbaugh, Jones, etc) will recognize that name.  Most liberals that I know never even heard about Alinsky until the right started to use him as some kind of leftist symbol of the devil in recent years.  The reference to Saul Alinsky, the founder of modern “community organizing”, is important though because it also implies a few things.  Stockman is implying that liberals coordinated their reaction to the rodeo event and that this is just one part of a larger subterranean campaign to crush dissent against the Obama Administration.  When he says “right out of Alinsky” he’s saying that there is some kind of playbook written by Alinksy that liberals are following.  He is also trying to link Alinsky’s politics (which the right think were horribly extreme) to the President and liberals in general.  And finally, there’s the implication that the Jews are behind it all.  Had Alinsky’s name been Wyatt McWhitey, I’m pretty darn certain the right would never have used him as a symbolic cudgel.

In any case, Stockman (and anyone else on the right) using this situation to stir up anti-Administration fervor should be ashamed of themselves.  Of course, they’re not.  This kind of hate mongering has actually kept the Stockman’s, Gohmert‘s, and Issa‘s of the world in power so why would they be ashamed.  It’s kept them famous (infamous in my eyes), wealthy, and given them seats in our governmental power structure.  The fact that Americans keep electing someone like Stockman is the most disgusting and disheartening aspect of the whole thing.  The voters in Texas’ 36th Congressional District have some serious ‘splainin to do to the rest of us and so does the Republican Party that tolerates this idiot.

h/t JM Ashby over at BobCesca.com