Here’s a nice refutation of the ridiculous concept of “irreducible complexity” used by neo-Creationists to pull the wool over the eyes of the uneducated:
Science deniers are one of my pet peeves.
Having lived through the 1980’s as part of a military family whose father was constantly deployed overseas, the Myth of Reagan has always pissed me off.
Ronnie was not super popular, and was quite often the butt of jokes for his ineptitude. In the military family circles I traveled, some spoke frankly about who was to blame for the Beirut Marine barracks bombing. That disaster left 299 of our soldiers dead.
Recently, in their constant march toward a revisionist history, the right’s chroniclers of Reagan have tried to erase the god awful state of things The Gipper left for Americans.
Salon’s Steve Kornacki takes the whole fabricated tissue down. Hard:
[Craig Shirley, a Republican political consultant] pretends there was no “mess” left to clean up, but tell that to George H.W. Bush, who upon taking office had to deal with a Savings and Loan crisis brought on by Reagan’s policies. Bush ultimately authorized a massive, politically toxic bailout — and the crisis has much to do with the recession of 1990 and 1991. There was also the little matter of Iran-Contra, the scheme by which arms were sold to Iran with the profits used to fund an illegal war in Central America, which resulted in the indictment of 14 Reagan administration members, 11 of whom were ultimately convicted (although some of the convictions were later tossed out). Reagan himself was still dealing with that mess after leaving the presidency…And then, of course, there was the national debt, which in the 192 years before Reagan’s presidency had risen to around $1 trillion. But in just eight years under Reagan, it exploded to nearly $3 trillion, thanks to his steep tax cuts, ramped-up defense spending and failure to reduce the size of government. Again, it was left to Bush to try to clean up the mess; hence, Bush’s 1990 decision to raise taxes in an effort to tame the country’s deficits. Like the S&L bailout, this was a deeply unpopular move, especially in light of Bush’s “no new taxes” pledge in 1988, but was — ultimately — one of the reasons America was running surpluses by the end of the 1990s.
Read it. It’s an eye-opener for anyone spoon-fed the hagiographic version of a man who single-handedly ended the Cold War.
As Kornacki notes, Will Bunch has addressed how this legend came about in his terrific book, Tear Down This Myth: How the Reagan Legacy Has Distorted Our Politics and Haunts Our Future
During the 1990s, the Republican media machine and activist front groups set about revising history.
Schemes were launched to rename everything after Reagan, and a narrative outlining his popularity, folksiness and alleged accomplishments took shape.
It was beautifully orchestrated stagecraft — in keeping with the former actor’s ability to perform a role. And what better role than a better, more popular version of yourself?
The reality is this:
During the Bush re-election campaign of 1992, polling showed The Great Communicator was less popular than Jimmy Carter.
His failed policies had left an enormous mess for the country — one that I would argue America has never recovered from.
Now his acolytes want to continue his policies and take them to new extremes and need to refurbish his image to cover over the natural end result of tax cuts upon tax cuts and removing the protections of government oversight on the banking industry.
Same tired old horse, only more so.
- Reagan Aide: 2010 Elections Like 1980 Landslide (politics.usnews.com)
It seems that MSNBC has taken swift action against one of it’s liberal stars for donating to three Democrats in the recent midterm campaign cycle.
Keith Olbermann SUSPENDED From MSNBC Indefinitely Without Pay
The major crime, it appears, is not requesting permission from NBC brass before doing so.
Over at another cable outlet, one that pretends to be “balance” for the super biased liberal media, standards are different.
Let’s take a look at the journalistic ethics of Fox News:
- Allowed Glenn Beck to attend, host and promote Tea Parties across the nation
- News Corp donated $1 million to the Republican Governors Association
- Fox News sponsored several Tea Parties, providing millions in free advertising
- Fox “reporters” at the anti-Democrat protests were caught stage-managing the crowds to push a particular message
- The cable outlet coordinated attacks on specific Obama Administration employees by fabricating false stories (Media Matters has a nice summation, “2009: A Year of Fox News Political Activism”
- The Media Matters piece also mentions that they allowed sleaze operative Dick Morris to raise money on air.
- In coordination with lie-merchant Andrew Breitbart, Fox launched a sustained campaign of falsehoods and misinformation about ACORN
Anyway, you get the idea.
By the way, Fox personalities regularly make appearances to pump up the conservative base and donate money to conservative candidates like clockwork.
I’m counting down to hear the snickers and feigned outrage from the right. And I’m also sighing and rolling my eyes in advance of hearing:
“MSNBC is exactly like Fox!”
No it isn’t. Not even a little bit.
- Keith Olbermann Suspended From MSNBC Over Political Donations (lezgetreal.com)
- Olbermann contributed to three Dems (politico.com)
- Olbermann’s checkbook (washingtonmonthly.com)
I watched for two years the coming of the slow-motion train wreck that was Tuesday’s mid-term election.
Of course, the right is crowing that this is a repudiation of liberals and liberal ideology, which of course is wrong.
If this were true, the Blue Dogs would have sailed to reelection, and progressives would have all gone down hard. Instead, it seems progressives did better than the conservative/corporate toadies who call themselves Dems:
Of the 54 seats occupied by members of the Blue Dog coalition, 27 of them were lost to Republicans. (That includes five held by incumbents who either retired or ran for the Senate.) On the other hand, all but three of the much larger group of Progressive Caucus members up for re-election won their seats, including six out of nine caucus members whose races were rated as competitive.
If anything the elections were the result of these things:
1) The timidity of the Democrats — and their inability to put their message out (and highlight their accomplishments)
2) The shit-ton of money poured into campaigns by secretive, unaccountable front groups in the light of the Citizen’s United Supreme Court ruling. Release the Kraken, indeed.
The New York Times has the critical article on this.
“Outside Groups on the Right Flexed Muscles”
While it is hard to sort out the exact difference they made, their success rate, particularly in races in which Republican challengers would have otherwise been badly outgunned, raises the prospect that a relatively small number of deep-pocketed donors exerted an outsize influence on Tuesday’s results.
Yeah. Classic understatement.
The principle right-wing shadow organ has been the hilariously misnamed US Chamber of Commerce. I’ve written about them before, and they look to be one of the most powerful money-laundering outlets for the Bankster set.
As a side note, I find it hilarious the way right-wing nutbags snarl the name “George Soros” (who funds liberal organizations) but can’t find their voice to say anything about Richard Mellon Scaife, the Koch Brothers, front groups like the US Chamber and media vampire Rupert Murdoch.
Until a way is found to get the oversized influence of huge multinational (and in many cases, foreign) money out of the election process, this country is on the fast march to Fascism.
The unbridled celebration of corporatism is about to begin, and the faith of the true believers is unlikely to be broken by any disaster visited upon us as a result.
If these deluded hordes could be swayed by reality, the BP disaster, Mortgage catastrophe and Enron certainly would have done the trick.
The inestimable Bill Moyers recently gave a speech honoring the late progressive historian Howard Zinn. Entitled “Welcome to the Plutocracy”, it should be read by anyone who gives a shit about this country.
The elder statesman of a dead art (journalism) crafts a lesson filled with all the history needed to highlight the consequences of the regressive direction American voters just chose.
Moyers captures the moment perfectly:
Now let’s connect some dots. While knocking down nearly all limits on corporate spending in campaigns, the Supreme Court did allow for disclosure, which would at least tell us who’s buying off the government. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell even claimed that “sunshine” laws would make everything okay. But after the House of Representatives passed a bill that would require that the names of all such donors be publicly disclosed, McConnell lined up every Republican in the Senate to oppose it. Hardly had the public begun to sing “Let the Sunshine In” than McConnell & Company went tone deaf. And when the chief lobbyist for the Chamber of Commerce was asked by an interviewer, “Are you guys eventually going to disclose?” the answer was a brisk: “No.” Why? Because those corporations are afraid of a public backlash. Like bank robbers pulling a heist, they prefer to hide their “personhood” behind sock masks. Surely that tells us something about the nature of what they’re doing. In the words of one of the characters in Tom Stoppard’s play Night and Day: “People do terrible things to each other, but it’s worse in places where everything is kept in the dark.”
In the short term, I am extremely interested in how the alleged principles of the Tea Party zealots breaks against the wall of corporate adulation that is the Republican party.
I’ll be crying into my popcorn as I watch.
- Texas millionaire gives $7 million to GOP group (salon.com)
- Senate Elections: Democrats Take Losses But Hold Upper Chamber (huffingtonpost.com)
- More than half the Blue Dogs are out (dailykos.com)
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