A Day in the Life of Joe Conservative

A Day in the Life of Joe Conservative
by Anonymous

Joe Conservative gets up at 6 a.m. and fills his coffee pot with water to prepare his morning coffee. The water is clean and good, because some tree-hugging liberal fought for minimum water-quality standards.

With his first swallow, he takes his daily medication. His medications are safe to take. because some stupid commie liberal fought to ensure their safety and that they work as advertised.

All but $10 of his medications are paid for by his employer's medical plan, because some liberal union workers fought their employers for paid medical insurance - now Joe gets it, too.

He prepares his breakfast: bacon and eggs. Joe's bacon is safe to eat, because some girly-man liberal fought for laws to regulate the meat packing industry.

In the morning shower, Joe reaches for his shampoo. His bottle is properly labeled with each ingredient and its amount in the total contents, because some crybaby liberal fought for his right to know what he was putting on his body and how much his shampoo contains.

Joe dresses, walks outside and takes a deep breath. The air he breathes is clean, because some environmentalist wacko liberal fought for the laws to stop industries from polluting our air.

He walks on the government-provided sidewalk to the subway station for his government-subsidized ride to work. It saves him considerable money in parking and transportation fees – not to mention fuel costs - because some fancy-pants liberal fought for affordable public transportation, which gives everyone the opportunity to be a contributor.

Joe Conservative begins his work day. He has a good job with excellent pay, medical benefits, retirement, paid holidays and vacations, because some lazy liberal union members fought and died for these working standards. Joe's employer pays for these standards, because Joe's employer doesn't want his employees to call the union.

If Joe is hurt on the job or becomes unemployed, he'll get a worker compensation or unemployment check, because some stupid liberal didn't think he should lose his home because of his temporary misfortune.

It’s noontime, and Joe needs to make a bank deposit so he can pay some bills. Joe's deposit is federally insured by the FDIC, because some godless liberal wanted to protect Joe's money from unscrupulous bankers who ruined the banking system before the Great Depression.

Joe has to pay his below-market federal student loan, because some elitist liberal decided that Joe and the government would be better off if he was educated and earned more money over his lifetime.

Joe also forgets that in addition to his federally subsidized student loans, he attended a state-funded university.

5:30 p.m. and Joe is home from work. He plans to visit his father this evening at his farm home in the country. He gets in his car for the drive. His car is among the safest in the world, because some America-hating liberal fought for car safety standards to go along with the taxpayer-funded roads.

He arrives at his boyhood home. His was the third generation to live in the house, financed by the Farmers Home Administration (FHA) because bankers didn't want to make rural loans.

The house didn't have electricity until some big-government liberal stuck his nose where it didn't belong and demanded rural electrification.

He is happy to see his father, who is now retired. His father lives on Social Security and a union pension, because some wine-drinking, cheese-eating liberal made sure he could take care of himself so Joe wouldn't have to.

Joe gets back in his car for the ride home, and turns on a radio talk show. The radio host keeps saying that liberals are bad and conservatives are good. He doesn't mention that the beloved conservatives have fought against every protection and benefit Joe enjoys throughout his day. Joe agrees: "We don't need those big-government liberals ruining our lives! After all, I'm a self-made man who believes people should take care of themselves, just like I have."


BJ Update:

Joe equates taxation with socialism and is being told his government is too big.

But, Joe sleeps soundly at night. He expects his government to protect him, but be damned if those far-left, bleeding-heart liberals are going to raise his taxes!

Joe fully supported the pre-emptive, unilateral invasion of Iraq, while the U.S. was already engaged in Afghanistan. Wars can be pretty expensive, but Joe prefers that someone else’s taxes pay the tab.

Joe probably doesn’t know that the Bush administration and rubber-stamp Republican Congress worked very hard for years to overturn many of the benefits he enjoys every day.

Should Joe's health fail, is he aware that new policies are in place to help him get the care he would need?

Joe has no clue that President Barack Obama gave 95 percent of Americans a tax cut.

That radio (or TV) host keeps his mind occupied with those ever-present red herrings: “God, guns and gays,” “the liberal media elite” and, of course, “Democrats want to raise your taxes.”

Joe’s conscience is clear. He knows he’s not one of those “piglets at the nipple” of government benefits his pal Rush Limbaugh warns about.

Joe Conservative calls it a night, telephone by his bedside, secure in the knowledge three little numbers will put him in touch with government-provided emergency services.

He says his prayers, thanking the Almighty he lives the American Dream. He just doesn’t want to help pay for it.


Lily-livered Chicken Littles

“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”
- Franklin Delano Roosevelt, First Inaugural Address, 4 March 1933


On a beautiful September morning a few years ago I listened as Katie Couric was signing off Today on NBC when suddenly her tone changed and she said, “We have breaking news …”

As I sat that day and on the days that followed as one of the saddest events of my lifetime unfolded on the screen, the words from “Apocalypse Now” kept a steady beat in my head.

“The horror. The horror.”

Almost 3,000 persons of many nationalities and faiths lost their lives that day. We mourn them still. Will the legacy be the loss or will it be the incalculable acts of bravery that day?

Bravery is not what we are seeing as each new report of threatened terrorism makes us tremble in fear. And makes the terrorists winners.

To date, 5,783 American souls have been lost in wars fought for what? Revenge? Protection?

There are other wars to be fought in this country, numerous wars against life-snuffing diseases, illiteracy, poverty, environmental disaster, bigotry, corruption, crime and so many more ailments which threaten quality of life and the very existence of our democracy.

Can we fight these wars if we are a bunch of lily-livered Chicken Littles who cower under the thumbs of a relatively few religious fanatics who would just as soon see us frightened as to see us dead?

Or, can't we honor the legacy of Todd Beamer or Mark Bingham or Rick Rescorla or Louis Arena or Salvatore Papasso or hundreds of others who sacrificed themselves that day for the safety of others? They knew they faced death.

The 5,783 Americans lost in war knew they faced death.

So, what will it be? The home of the brave or a nation brought down by fear itself?


Trash-talking a liberal forum to death

If DemWit readers find the following comments offensive, that is my point.

tnlib at Parsley’s Pics comments on the report and video of right-wing violence against a female moveon.org member at a Rand Paul rally in Kentucky. Read her post and view the video HERE.

i have many conservative family members and friends, none of whom would foster such behavior, but they need to know what's happening to their party.

The thuggery of the right-wing, now being manifested in physical violence, has been festering for years.

The following are comments I saved from the year 2003 – just months after the U.S. invaded Iraq - personal attacks on moveon.org participants in its “Great Goals” forum. The purpose of that forum, as the name implies, was for members to discuss great goals for America. The tragedy is that these interlopers finally managed to shut the forum down, which, of course, was their own goal.

A selection of right-wing comments – not for the weak of heart:

The first comment is a response to my analysis of Ann Coulter's jargon and techniques:

3. Ann is famous, rich, beautiful & intelligent, no wonder you envy and hate her, B.J.! She is everything you are not! It's rough getting old and knowing your dreams didn't come true, I guess. I feel sorry for you, B.J., like I do for hobos, winos, junkies, degenerates, jailbirds, pedophiles, aging hippies and other losers in the "game of life". Don't be so jealous of those of us who have made it, B.J., we just wanted it more!
- Alan Srout, Manager/Veteran (December 03, 2003; Des Moines, IA)

This comment about Hillary Clinton just went on forever, but you get the idea:


The following is a “manifesto” from a really scary person:

10. To all the Democrat Basterds of this Forum and to all Democrat Forums:

To all here, you have not served your country in any sense of the word, to hell with you and your entire family. You only serve yourserlves.

To the men and woman of this forum and throughout my beloved United States who have never faced the enemy, to hell with you and your entire family.

Stay in your homes and continue to masturbate. Stay in your homes and hope for a job, for I hope it never comes to you.

The enemy is near and since you willing to do nothing to support our brave men and woman in uniform, I hope and pray for the most painful death upon you and your entire stinking family.

To the unemployed and software designers and consultants and most especially to newspaper editors who have never fought for their country and fought for their family's, god forgive you but I will not, and I pray for your destruction from the hands of the enemy.

You do NOT support this country and you do not deserve the freedom that has been so gracefully bestowed upon you.

To Hell with you all and your righteous lies. Continue to read and believe in the neo-libs of the press and I pray for a painful death to you and those of the media and their familiy's who no not what freedom is, and what it stands for.

To the politicians of this Administration and further Administrations who will not fight for their country and for freedom and not take care of our fighting men and woman in the military. I hope and pray the next terrorist act is committed upon you and your family. For you most certainly should be the first to go.

To the names I am about to present, I hope and pray to almighty god, the most painful death to you and your filthy family's for not supporting our god forsaken men and woman of the Armed Forces.

1. Barbara Streisand. She hopes and prays every day for another American and Israeli to die at the hands of the enemy.

2. James Brolin-Streisand

3. George Clooney. He believes in nothing but the destruction of our Miltiary fighting men and woman.

4. The entire Kennedy (so called) family. Thank the lord there are not many of them left. When the last one dies, I will celebrate.

5. Susan Surandan and her whore based philosophy.

6. Dick Gephardt who supports American failure.

7. John Kerry who supports American failure.

8. Tim Robbins and his fake military garb that he wears so proudly.

9. Michael Moore who hopes that all miltary personel suffer and die. He wants to disarm the American people. A gun shot from a sniper would be only too good for him. He is the evil that is the Democratic Party.

10. Tom Dachele who specically supports the enemy.

11. Katie Couric for whom I am thankful that her filthy husband suffered a painful death. She deserves no better.

12. Tom Dachelle who has never felt the pain of American fighting men and woman who are fighting for our country Freedom means nothing to this basterd.

13. Martin Sheen and his entire drug induced family.

14. Bill and Hillery Rodman Clinton. I can only hope they fall from 102 stories and it is caught on videotape for all to watch. These two god damn son of a bitches made us the laughing stock of the planet and put us where we are now.

15 Al Franken. This son of a bitch doesn't even know what he is saying and has no guts to face the music. Just like Michael Moore. He prays every day for another American death just to get a Democrat in the White House.

16. Finally to this forum to which no member has ever fought for freedom. May hell be upon you and your entire filthy family.
- Scott, Montana (October 25, 2003; Wayne, Mi)

Just an example of a personal attack on one forum member:

1. Vicky, you are a frustrated sex kitten... It seems that you "get off" on this forum. I think you have nothing else to do, and this is your sexual outlet. When you are posting a message, your eyes roll back into your head, and you shake all over from delight. The solution is to dress up in something kinky, short skirt, fishnet stockings, pointed toe shoes. Rat up your wig real high and put on some provocative fragrance and light out for your favorite hangout. Oh, and one more thing, be sure to keep your mouth shut, because when someone get's a load of what comes out of it, they will surely run for the door.
- linda stewart, pennzoil (November 11, 2003; houston, tx)

And finally:

1. Rich, are you, Dennis, Michael, Tom and B.J. "cumming together"? Please use protection!
- Alan Srout, Manager/Veteran (December 02, 2003; Des Moines, IA)


I have visited many liberal Web sites, forums and blogs and not once have I ever encountered a liberal who would resort to such vile absurdities.

But, these people - “freepers” egged on by Bill O’Reilly and freerepublic.com - came on moveon.org’s forum to disrupt legitimate discourse and shut the forum down, and the result was “mission accomplished.”

Is it any wonder then that people like this are now resorting to physical attacks?


Hitting rock bottom with GOP win

This post is for anyone - Republican, Democrat or Independent - who is concerned about the U.S. economy.

Paul Krugman, winner of the 2008 Nobel Prize in economics, tells it like it is in this very succinct warning about what will happen if the GOP regains control of Congress.

Krugman's wake-up call:

SOURCE: The New York Times

Falling Into the Chasm

October 24, 2010

This is what happens when you need to leap over an economic chasm — but either can’t or won’t jump far enough, so that you only get part of the way across.

If Democrats do as badly as expected in next week’s elections, pundits will rush to interpret the results as a referendum on ideology. President Obama moved too far to the left, most will say, even though his actual program — a health care plan very similar to past Republican proposals, a fiscal stimulus that consisted mainly of tax cuts, help for the unemployed and aid to hard-pressed states — was more conservative than his election platform.

A few commentators will point out, with much more justice, that Mr. Obama never made a full-throated case for progressive policies, that he consistently stepped on his own message, that he was so worried about making bankers nervous that he ended up ceding populist anger to the right.

But the truth is that if the economic situation were better — if unemployment had fallen substantially over the past year — we wouldn’t be having this discussion. We would, instead, be talking about modest Democratic losses, no more than is usual in midterm elections.

The real story of this election, then, is that of an economic policy that failed to deliver. Why? Because it was greatly inadequate to the task.

When Mr. Obama took office, he inherited an economy in dire straits — more dire, it seems, than he or his top economic advisers realized. They knew that America was in the midst of a severe financial crisis. But they don’t seem to have taken on board the lesson of history, which is that major financial crises are normally followed by a protracted period of very high unemployment.

If you look back now at the economic forecast originally used to justify the Obama economic plan, what’s striking is that forecast’s optimism about the economy’s ability to heal itself. Even without their plan, Obama economists predicted, the unemployment rate would peak at 9 percent, then fall rapidly. Fiscal stimulus was needed only to mitigate the worst — as an “insurance package against catastrophic failure,” as Lawrence Summers, later the administration’s top economist, reportedly said in a memo to the president-elect.

But economies that have experienced a severe financial crisis generally don’t heal quickly. From the Panic of 1893, to the Swedish crisis of 1992, to Japan’s lost decade, financial crises have consistently been followed by long periods of economic distress. And that has been true even when, as in the case of Sweden, the government moved quickly and decisively to fix the banking system.

To avoid this fate, America needed a much stronger program than what it actually got — a modest rise in federal spending that was barely enough to offset cutbacks at the state and local level. This isn’t 20-20 hindsight: the inadequacy of the stimulus was obvious from the beginning.

Could the administration have gotten a bigger stimulus through Congress? Even if it couldn’t, would it have been better off making the case for a bigger plan, rather than pretending that what it got was just right? We’ll never know.

What we do know is that the inadequacy of the stimulus has been a political catastrophe. Yes, things are better than they would have been without the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act: the unemployment rate would probably be close to 12 percent right now if the administration hadn’t passed its plan. But voters respond to facts, not counterfactuals, and the perception is that the administration’s policies have failed.

The tragedy here is that if voters do turn on Democrats, they will in effect be voting to make things even worse.

The resurgent Republicans have learned nothing from the economic crisis, except that doing everything they can to undermine Mr. Obama is a winning political strategy. Tax cuts and deregulation are still the alpha and omega of their economic vision.

And if they take one or both houses of Congress, complete policy paralysis — which will mean, among other things, a cutoff of desperately needed aid to the unemployed and a freeze on further help for state and local governments — is a given. The only question is whether we’ll have political chaos as well, with Republicans’ shutting down the government at some point over the next two years. And the odds are that we will.

Is there any hope for a better outcome? Maybe, just maybe, voters will have second thoughts about handing power back to the people who got us into this mess, and a weaker-than-expected Republican showing at the polls will give Mr. Obama a second chance to turn the economy around.

But right now it looks as if the too-cautious attempt to jump across that economic chasm has fallen short — and we’re about to hit rock bottom.


Go ahead, vote Republican. I'll be here when you want to ask "what happened?" - as long as I can keep my $9.99 a month dial-up connection.


'Obama vs. the loonies'

“The public is a savage animal when you disturb its deeper beliefs and awaken its fears. There is no purpose whatever in trying to reason with it, explain what you can do and what you cannot, tell them how difficult it is. All they want is results. They do not care how you obtain them. They don’t want to know the details or the costs.” – Farrier’s Lane, Anne Perry, 1993.


“I’m all for idealism, but only to a point, When it becomes divorced from reality, it ceases to be any use and becomes an incumbrance.” – Traitor’s Gate, Anne Perry, 1995

I believe these two quotes. I am a realist, who at times, I’m sure, has pissed off the idealists in my Party.

I am watching the pre-election polls and am often met with the mantra, “I don’t pay attention to polls.” Well, why not? They check the political pulse of the nation, and right now the pulse of the Democratic Party is pretty weak.

Three days ago, I read an assessment of all the important races across the U.S., written by Mark Preston, CNN’s senior political editor. Its doomsday headline: “Democrats prepare for the worst.” Whether his predicted looming Democratic defeat is a media-generated reality will soon become clear.

This morning in a semi-serendipity moment I stumbled across an analysis on the liberal Reader Supported News, written by POLITICO’s chief political columnist, Roger Simon. Its title, “Obama vs. the loonies” caught my eye. Is this really what it’s come down to in one of the most important mid-term elections facing our country?

As a realist I agree with Mr. Simon’s analysis of “what went wrong?” if the Republicans once more gain control of the House and possibly the Senate.

Stay with it.

Obama vs. the loonies

By: Roger Simon, POLITICO
October 19, 2010

First fix the problem, and then fix the blame. So say the Japanese. But you know what? This ain’t Japan.

We play the blame game here, and we play it early and often. It is now generally recognized that two weeks from now, Democrats will suffer a disaster at the polls.

I know no member of Team Obama who truly believes Democrats will hold onto the House of Representatives. The only question is whether the defeat will be moderate and manageable or a calamity of biblical proportions.

So far, the smart money is on biblical. But why? Upon whom do we fix the blame?

There is President Barack Obama, of course. While his name will not be on the ballot, it is on everybody’s lips. He should have done more and better things in his first two years, Democrats say. Or at least he should have sold his accomplishments better.

The president does not entirely disagree. He told Peter Baker of The New York Times that it is not enough to do good things for the country; you also “can’t be neglecting ... marketing and PR and public opinion.”

He knew he was going to have trouble with this. Everyone close to him knew he was going to have trouble. I have described it before. In February 2007, about a week before he announced for the presidency, he attended a “cattle call” in a suburban hotel outside Washington for potential Democratic candidates. The room was packed to bursting with pols and press, and those locked out by the fire marshal pounded on the doors. Back then, Democrats had the enthusiasm and Republicans had the gap.

When Obama’s turn to speak came, he looked out at the room and said: “You know, if you look at all the cameras gathered around and the clicking of the photographers, the pundits who are collected, sometimes you feel like you are part of a reality TV show. I feel like this is ‘American Idol’ or ‘Survivor,’ and you’ve got to figure out if you’re going to go to Hollywood or you’re going to be voted off the island. But that’s not why I’m here.”

He has not changed. He has little patience with the “inevitable theatrics of Washington,” says Valerie Jarrett, his senior adviser.

But theatrics are how a president sells himself and his policies, and if he fails to master those theatrics, or finds those theatrics too demeaning, then he and his party really will be voted off the island. And quickly.

The issue is not just how Obama has stage-managed his achievements, however. Some in his party’s left wing have abandoned him because he would not fight for the public health care option and has not closed Guantanamo Bay.

And then there are the mainstream Democrats who are merely weary. Velma Hart, a solid, middle-class Democratic voter, stood up at a town hall in September and said she was “exhausted” by defending Obama and his administration. A few weeks later, Gov. Ed Rendell, Democrat of Pennsylvania, said, “A tepid vote counts the same as a wildly enthusiastic vote.” Which is true, but it is a whole lot easier to get a wildly enthusiastic voter than a tepid voter to the polling place.

But even if Obama had pleased his entire party, that still would have left Republicans, the tea partiers and the wackos.

How can one blame Obama for the shocking numbers of people who erroneously believe he is a Muslim or was not born in the United States or is a socialist-communist-fascist (take your pick or take all three)?

Nobody in the White House, including Obama, expected the degree of sheer hatred that has been directed against him. They knew Obama’s approval ratings would fall — how could they not when, in his first 100 days in office, he hit 69 percent, the highest approval rating for any president at that point in 20 years?

But tensions, fears and suspicions bubbled just beneath the surface. Certain facts had been overlooked in the wave of pride and good feeling that followed Obama’s election. While Obama had won the popular vote by a solid 7 percentage points, he had lost the white vote by a landslide, 12 percentage points. And when he made a world tour, in which his messianic image got amplified and his halo got polished by huge and adoring crowds, the clouds back home began to gather.

He cannot be blamed for the demons who demonize him. In a fine story by Sandhya Somashekhar in The Washington Post on Sunday, under the headline “Hope Isn’t What It Used to Be,” a little doozy appeared in the 25th paragraph about how a volunteer was manning the Democratic Party table at the Arkansas State Fair “when a man walks over wearing a green T-shirt that says, ‘Either he dies, or the country dies.’”

Either he dies, or the country dies? Do we really live in a country where a man would go out on the street wearing such a thing? If I had seen it, I think I would have called the Secret Service. (I Googled the phrase to see if I could find the manufacturer of the T-shirt, but I found no hits. Does the person print them up in a basement?)

If Democrats get swamped on Nov. 2, sure, some of it will be the fault of the enthusiasm gap and some of it will be the fault of the president, but some of it will be the fault of those loonies who have crept into American politics like bedbugs and grown bloated on their own hatreds.


If this worst case scenario become reality, can we really blame it on the loonies, or is it not more realistic to blame it on those voters - or non-voters - who do not choose to inform themselves of what’s happening right under their noses? I suspect the latter.


Madness cloaked in credentials

OMG! An editor’s nightmare! Join me, dear reader, on this journey to the nadir of journalism.

In response to the promo I emailed for my previous post, “Fox News puts its money where its mouth is,” an acquaintance wrote that he “always” watches Fox News. On top of that email came another with an article, and the suggestion that I “take a few minutes to read this.”

To be fair his note did not make clear whether he agreed or disagreed with the veracity of the article, but he said it came from “a normally reliable source.”

I spent two hours in the middle of the night reading the article. It’s not that long – just 10 pages in Mircrosoft Word – it’s just that I’m a notoriously slow reader. Frankly, I could not stop reading this train wreck of a report by a so-called “investigative journalist,” who apparently has himself derailed.

A search of the article’s headline and writer yielded 577,000 hits on Google. Apparently every right-wing Web site and blog has reproduced it over the last two weeks – and now it’s on a trip around the world via email.

I can only conclude the writer is an opportunist as I recall similar absurd attacks on others, including Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.

Of all the circulated emails, right-wing opinion pieces and Fox News talking points that have turned my stomach, this attack on the Obamas hits a new low, a worst case scenario of unethical reporting which will leave a reasonable reader reeling.

DemWit readers, please take time during the next few days to read this article, which I have placed in The Reading Room.

This is not some scary Halloween hoax.

It’s what our country is up against.


Fox News puts its money where its mouth is

“The Fox News political and money machine is hard to even categorize. Few reasonable people would call it a journalistic outfit.”

SOURCE: The Progress Report, Center for American Progress, October 20, 2010 (NOTE: Links to sources can be found in the original text.)

The Fox News Factor

At a strategy meeting earlier this month, Delaware GOP Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell reportedly told party insiders skeptical about her campaign that she had Fox News' "Sean Hannity in my back pocket, and I can go on his show and raise money by attacking you guys." The fact that Fox News and its right-wing news personalities favor conservative candidates is not a secret to many people with a cable box, but amidst the current discussion over how big money is influencing this election cycle, Rupert Murdoch's highly rated "news" channel is rarely placed in the discussion. It should be: Fox News, part of the multi-billion dollar News Corporation, uses its $1.21 billion budget to provide a 24-hour propaganda and fundraising outlet for conservative candidates, many of whom confess the channel is their preferred method of "getting their voice out."

The channel hosts or straight-out employs more conservative politicians than any other outlet, and provides a constant stream for their misinformation, which is often abetted by Fox News personalities, many of whom campaign for or advise GOP candidates off the air. The right-wing billionaires who are the financial backbone of the Tea Party movement have a partner in Fox News, which has been instrumental in propagating its message, even hosting live Tea Party rallies from outdoor Fox News studios.

And in recent months, News Corp. has simply handed over millions of dollars to conservative campaign outfits like the Republican Governors Association and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

GETTING THEIR VOICE OUT: O'Donnell received instruction on how to use Fox News to her political advantage from the master: paid Fox News contributor Sarah Palin. "[O'Donnell] is gonna have to dismiss that, go with her gut, get out there, speak to the American people, speak through Fox News, and let the independents who are tuning into you, let them know what it is that she stands for, the principles behind her positions," Palin explained. Palin herself turned to Fox News during the 2008 campaign after embarrassing interviews with other mainstream outlets, and in the time since, retained Fox News personality Greta Van Susteren's husband as a political adviser.

In fact, every major contender for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination that's not currently in office is on the Fox News payroll, with the exception of Mitt Romney, and all but one speak only on that network. According to Media Matters research, these potential candidates made a whopping 269 appearances on Fox News through the end of September. So far this year, none of the potential contenders on the Fox News payroll have appeared on any other television news outlet with the exception of Newt Gingrich. "We have tried to book many of them, but they have always refused, saying they are exclusive to Fox," one rival network staffer told Politico.

This election cycle, numerous Republican congressional candidates have also chosen to "speak through Fox News." For example, Washington Senate candidate Dino Rossi has given at least five interviews to Fox News just in the past month, including having Fox News cameras on the campaign trail with him twice, while giving no interviews to any other national cable news outlet. During these interviews, Rossi has stood up to questioning that can generously described as "helpful" - like this probing question from Fox News anchor Martha MacCallum: "That's a lot of pressure on you, Mr. Rossi. How [are] you holding up under that?" Or this one from Hannity: "So what story is it that you want to tell in this election that's going to make the difference and push you over the top?"

MISLEADING CONTENT: Fox News coverage of this election cycle is no more balanced than its guest list. The list of falsehoods and bogus story lines advanced by the network is too long to catalogue entirely, but just a few examples from recent weeks:

Bill O'Reilly said Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) "may have come out of the closet" in support of "socialistic philosophy."

The hosts of Fox & Friends later wondered if a Pelosi speech struck a "socialist tone."

Hannity also opined that House Democrats passed health care reform "with, basically, what I consider to be the moral equivalency of a bribe."

Neil Cavuto asked Republicans to promise to "destroy" health care reform on the campaign trail.

Even ostensible straight news reporters like Carl Cameron assert things like Obama's "liberal agenda caused" an "uproar" in Indiana.

The Fox effect has a real impact on the nation's business, extending beyond elections to the passing of legislation. When Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) was negotiating to join Sens. John Kerry (D-MA) and Joe Lieberman (I-CT) in their attempt to craft an energy bill, the Republican warned Lieberman and Kerry that they needed to get as far as they could in negotiating the bill "before Fox News got wind of the fact that this was a serious process," one of the people involved in the negotiations said to The New Yorker's Ryan Lizza.

SHOWING THEM THE MONEY: When conservative politicians appear on Fox News, they don't just get softball questions - they also get money. During his frequent appearances, Rossi was sure to note several times that viewers could visit his website, and that he "needed the help." Nevada Senate candidate Sharron Angle, another politician who gives interviews almost exclusively to Fox News, explained that she doesn't do interviews with other mainstream outlets because "Well, in that audience, will they let me say I need $25 dollars from a million people go to SharronAngle.com send money?" But on Fox News, when she made a fundraising pitch on Hannity's show, she made $40,000 "before we even got out of the studio in New York."

Fox News has provided tremendous help towards organizing and fundraising for the Tea Party movement as well - Sean Hannity, Greta Van Susteren and other Fox News personalities actually hosted the first tax day Tea Party rallies, in 2009, and just this week have been relentlessly promoting the Tea Party Express campaign bus.

When candidates aren't raising money on Fox airwaves, the parent company is often just forking it over to conservative causes: News Corp. has given repeated donations to the Republican Governors Association and has also given $1 million to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which is running an aggressive ad campaign against Democratic candidates.

There's a benefit for Fox News in this too - it made $534.8 million in pure profit last year. The Fox News political and money machine is hard to even categorize. Few reasonable people would call it a journalistic outfit. As Center for American Progress senior fellow Eric Alterman wrote, "Fox is something new - something for which we do not yet have a word. It provides almost no actual journalism. Instead it gives ideological guidance to the Republican Party and millions of its supporters, attacking its opponents and keeping its supporters in line. And it does so at a hefty profit, thereby turning itself into the political equivalent of a perpetual motion machine."


I have a word for Fox News, Mr. Alterman, It’s “Ministry of Popular Enlightenment and Propaganda.”

It’s worked before.


Darwin and Darrow

Creationism v. evolution. I’ve been thinking about this argument a lot lately due to my reading matter.

I accept the Genesis account of creation as a skillful literary device depicting the unfolding of eons.

I believe in a master designer who, through intelligence far beyond my comprehension, knew that one day a nose would be needed to hold eyeglasses and that mankind would learn to make cream cheese and bagels and some sweet soul would one day bring them together.

I do not wish to be labeled a “creationist.” I know Earth is more than 6,000 years old, that dinosaurs once roamed the planet and trilobite fossils can be found on rocks.

I realize that some Demwit readers adamantly disagree with my belief and my faith and recognize that as their right.

About that reading matter: of the thousands of books I’ve read, one has finally toppled Cervantes’ “Don Quixote” as the most boring book I’ve managed to survive, which, according to its premise, makes me among the “fittest.”

I do not make this assessment to refute Charles Darwin’s theories in “The Origin of Species,” but I do wonder how many adherents actually made it through the book without becoming catatonic.

A theory does not have to be proved; it has to be disproved, and Darwin’s theories on how species evolved are irrefutable.

The next book up was Irving Stone’s “Clarence Darrow for the Defense: A Biography” (1941). It is merely coincidence that I listened to these two books back to back.

These brief passages from the famous lawyer’s arguments at the Scopes Monkey Trial in Dayton, Tennessee, July 1925, convey eloquently my own sentiments. (If you don’t know the history of this trial, stop monkeying around and click on the link.)

“The State of Tennessee, under an honest and fair interpretation of the Constitution, has no more right to teach the Bible as the divine book than that the Koran is or the Book of Mormons or the Book of Confucius or the Buddha or the essays of Emerson or any one of ten thousand books to which human souls have gone for consolation and aid in times of trouble. I know there are millions of people in the world who derive consolation in times of trouble and solace in times of distress from the Bible. I would be pretty near the last one in the world to do anything to take it away.

“ I feel just exactly the same toward every religious creed of every human being who lives. If anybody finds anything in this life that brings them consolation and health and happiness, I think they ought to have it. I haven’t any fault to find with them at all.

“But the Bible is not one book. The Bible is made up of sixty-six books written over a period of about one thousand years – some of them very early and some of them comparatively late. It is a book primarily of religion and morals. It is NOT a book of science, never was and was never meant to be.”


“They say I’m an atheist. I am NOT an atheist. It is no more possible to prove there is not a God than to prove there is a God.”


“They (Tennesse lawmakers) make it a crime to know more than I know. They publish a law to inhibit learning. This law says that it shall be a criminal offense to teach in the public schools any account of the origin of man that is in direct conflict with the divine account that is in the Bible. It makes the Bible the yardstick to measure every man’s intelligence and to measure every man’s learning.

“Are your mathematics good? Turn to I Elijah 2 (sic). Is your philosophy good? See II Samuel 3. Is your chemistry good? See Deuteronomy 3:6 or anything that tells about brimstone. Every bit of knowledge that the mind has must be submitted to a religious test.”

The argument goes on. Not much has changed since those hot, muggy, summer days in a little town in Tennessee – except an honest enforcement of the laws of this land.


Protecting the despicable

I have been in an emotions v. reason struggle this past week since the Westboro Baptist protesters case went to the Supreme Court. When the decision comes down in a few months, it will be a landmark decision pitting free speech against privacy.

Very few of us are not affected by the picture of fundamentalist anti-gay protesters standing near the graveside service of a dead soldier holding signs which say, “The only good soldier is a dead soldier.” There is no place or event more sacrosanct than a graveside service. To most of us the protesters are despicable.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) defended the right of American Nazis to march in Skokie, Illinois. Despicable. I renewed my ACLU membership.

The ACLU came down on the side of the North American Man-Boy Love Association’s (NAMBLA) Web site on the grounds that “an idea cannot be charged with murder.” Despicable. I renewed my ACLU membership.

In July 2006, the ACLU sued on behalf of the Westboro Baptist Church members, whose anti-gay protests were plaguing troop funerals. The reason behind these protests, according to the church’s pastor, is: God is punishing homosexuality by allowing our soldiers to be killed. There is no “reason” involved. Despicable. I renewed my ACLU membership.

It is the despicable that the First Amendment protects. Despicable being defined as what's patently offensive to us. If we think the First Amendment should protect only ideas we embrace, it has no purpose.

My legal hero Clarence Darrow argued that the free speech of every person or group in this country – “no matter how despicable” – must be protected.

In one of my favorite movies, “The American President,” Michael Douglas as President Andrew Shepherd addresses a rival candidate at a press conference:

“For the record: yes, I am a card-carrying member of the ACLU. But the more important question is why aren't you, Bob? Now this is an organization whose sole purpose is to defend the Bill of Rights, so it naturally begs the question: Why would a senator, his party's most powerful spokesman and a candidate for president, choose to reject upholding the Constitution? … America isn't easy. America is advanced citizenship. You gotta want it bad, 'cause it's gonna put up a fight. It's gonna say ‘You want free speech? Let's see you acknowledge a man whose words make your blood boil, who's standing center stage and advocating at the top of his lungs that which you would spend a lifetime opposing at the top of yours. You want to claim this land as the land of the free? Then the symbol of your country can't just be a flag; the symbol also has to be one of its citizens exercising his right to burn that flag in protest. Show me that, defend that, celebrate that in your classrooms. Then, you can stand up and sing about the land of the free.’”

In his Sept. 8 post, “Koran cook-out,” Infidel753 wrote:

"Make no mistake: the moment we compromise on freedom of expression because the said expression shocks and outrages somebody - especially if it's because the shocked and outraged party is threatening violence - freedom of expression vanishes, and we are under the dominion of the thug and the bully."

We’ve all heard the declaration written by Evelyn Beatrice Hall, under the pseudonym of Stephen G Tallentyre in "The Friends of Voltaire" (1906): “I may not agree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” Not much of that going around these days.

Just remember that half the people in this country find what you have to say despicable. Never underestimate the power of right-wing fundamentalists. They managed to give this country the 18th Amendment to its Constitution. And, they are hellbent to shut you up.

Setting aside my emotions and clearing my head, I find that reason falls on the side of free speech. I am certain SCOTUS will continue to protect the First Amendment, and that’s a good thing – it’s called democracy.


“ACLU’s Statement on Defending Free Speech of Unpopular Organizations,” 31 August 2000: LINK

“ACLU Sues for Anti-Gay Group That Pickets at Troops' Burials,” Garance Burke, Associated Press, July 23, 2006. LINK

When the Nazis Came to Skokie: Freedom for Speech We Hate, Philippa Strum, University Press of Kansas, 2000, 184 pp. (Honorable Mention, American Bar Association’s 2000 Silver Gavel Award recognizing outstanding efforts to foster public understanding of the law) LINK


Bipolar disorder

On Wednesday, 6 October 2010, I published this brief post:

“My friend Leslie, ‘tnlib,’ who blogs at Parsley’s Pics, has written a very beautiful and very brave post. Ride along with Leslie ‘on the road’ through some tough terrain to the post’s inevitable conclusion.”

To share important information, I also sent the post to a number of folks on my email list. I have found responses interesting.

The post I promoted was the introduction to Leslie’s series of informative posts drawn from her own experience with bipolar disorder.

A number of you read and commented on Leslie’s post. Others read it and emailed me thanks for the link.  A couple of you asked why I wanted you to read the post. One person became upset with me. This is about par for the course: a microcosm of the blogosphere.

For those of you who are affected by and have a genuine interest in bipolar disorder, I highly recommend you follow Leslie’s series and especially the comments inspired by her courageous sharing. People are opening up with their own stories, and this series shows every promise of being beneficial.

Here are the posts in her series so far. Bookmark her blog to read her additional posts:

Introduction: "Sane Enough To Know I’m Not: The Bipolar Highway:” LINK

Part 1: “Sane Enough To Know I’m Not: Bipolar 101:” LINK

Part 2: "Sane Enough To Know I'm Not: Depression:" LINK

Part 3: "Sane Enough To Know I'm Not: Mania:" LINK


Mileposts to insight

My friend Leslie, “tnlib,” who blogs at Parsley’s Pics, has written a very beautiful and very brave post. Ride along with Leslie “on the road” through some tough terrain to the post’s inevitable conclusion.


A progressive movement thwarted

Quite often I come across quotes or passages in books – fiction and non-fiction – which seem like a page out of today's political saga.

This post is for lovers of history - an excerpt I transcribed from Irving Stone’s “Clarence Darrow for the Defense: A Bigoraphy.” Read at your leisure, then share your thoughts on how it relates to the current election cycle!


Although George Pullman, who made a tremendous contribution to the growth of this nation by creating the railroad’s Pullman Palace sleeper cars, was an American entrepreneur with great promise, his abuses of employees became notorious. When they threatened to strike over wage cuts, President Grover Cleveland issued an injunction against the strike on the grounds it would interfere with delivery of U.S. mail and sent in federal troops to “quell the anarchy.” The strike was peaceful: the anarchy invented by screaming newspaper headlines and a reactionary public. Union leader Eugene V. Debs was imprisoned for defying the injunction and was defended, unsuccessfully, by Clarence Darrow, in a case that went before the Supreme Court. Darrow had quit his lucrative position as counsel for the railroad to defend Debs.

Debs, a Christian who began his political career as a Democrat servicng in the Indiana General Assembly, told Darrow, “I do not believe in socialism, but I qm forced to the conclusion that government ownership of railroads is decidedly better for the people than railroad ownership of government.” Debs did become a socialist while imprisoned and ran five times as the Socialist Party’s candidate for president.

The strike was broken; the workers returned to lower wages, higher rents and deplorable living conditions in Pullman's "model city."

According to court records, George Pullman was forced to disclose that for the depression year of August 1893 to July 1894, when he had slashed workers’ wages and refused to lower rent, his company declared a profit dividend of $2.8 million. In addition to the $36 million of capital invested in the company, which over a period of years had paid dividends of $25 million at rates ranging from 8 to 12 percent, there was in the treasury of the Pullman company, in available cash, earned but undistributed profits of another $26 million. Late 19th-Century dollars.

When union workers later were demanding an 8-hour workday, the resulting Haymarket Riot left seven policemen and an unknown number of civilians dead - some from friendly fire - when a bomb was hurled from a building into a workers' rally in Chicago’s Haymarket Square. Rain had broken up the rally, and most of the workers and the mayor had gone home when the police chief and a number of policemen arrived on the scene.

Eight persons were arrested and charged with conspiracy to commit murder. Four were hanged, one committed suicide, and three were sentenced to 15 years in prison -  despite the prosecuting attorney’s admission that none of the eight actually threw the bomb. All had proclaimed their innocence. They were convicted by a great public outcry.

When the facts proved the workers innocent, Illinois Gov. John Peter Altgeld pardoned the remaining three, and the wrath of an angry public came down on his head.

The excerpt - parenthetical information and subheads are mine:


“Because of his love for Gov. Atlgeld and his distress at the abuse heaped upon his friend, (Clarence) Darrow consented to run for Congress in the 1896 campagin on the same ticket with Altgeld, who was seeking re-election and a vindication of his political and economic liberalism. Darrow had little liking for politics, in which he had had a laboratory course while (Chicago) city counsel. He preferred to stay outside the arena so he could choose his own battlefields. But, he was overjoyed to see Gov. Altgeld rise once again in his full vitality and intelligence after the eclipse and illness he had suffered for the 1893 Haymarket (Riot) pardons.

“The (George) Pullman strike had become one of the issues of the campaign. Altgeld was out to wrest control of the Democratic Party from Grover Cleveland, who had defeated the working people by sending federal troops into Chicago in 1894.

“Darrow was out to indict government by injunction. One plank of the Democratic platform read: ‘We especially object to government by injunction as a new and highly dangerous form of oppression by which federal judges, in contempt of the laws of the states and the rights of the citizens. Become at once legislators, judges and executioners.’”


“However, the major issues were free silver and free golden oratory. The country was in the grip of one of its recurrent depressions. The farmers of the Midwest, in hock to the money interests in the East, believed with the intensity of a religious fervor that if silver were once again made legal tender the value of gold would be brought down, more money would be put into circulation, prosperity would come back, they would be able to pay their debts.

“Both Darrow and Altgeld embraced free silver – Altgeld because he wanted to use it to defeat gold standard Cleveland; Darrow because he thought it would be a good vote-catcher for a program which was the most progressive ever offered to the American public. But, they were neither of them so delighted when they found they had to embrace, along with free silver, the gaseous form of William Jennings Bryan, boy orator of the Platt.”


“Bryan, who was a member of a contested delegation to the Democratic convention, was invited to Chicago by Altgeld, expenses paid, because Altgeld wanted to stop him from splitting the free silver candidates and from making a nuisance of himself by begging and conniving for votes. Yet, four days after his arrival, when the Illinois delegation covened at the Sherman House, to Altgeld’s disgust there was Bryan buttonholing all the delegates.

“‘Tell Bryan to go home,’ Altgeld finally snapped. ‘He stands no more chance of being nominated for president than I, and I was born in Germany!’

“Bryan had no legitimate role to play at the convention, yet once he got his feet onto the platform as chairman of the debate on free silver, among the bearded veterans of the Party, glowing with youth, his raven locks gleaming, his face and manner electric, almost the first words of his rehearsed Chautauqua sermon cast the mesmeric spell he had hoped for:

“‘The humblest citizen in all the land, when clad in the armor of a righteous cause, is stronger than all the hosts of error. I come to speak to you in defense of a cause as holy as the cause of liberty, the cause of humanity.’ When he finished with, ‘Having behind us the producing masses of this nation and the toilers everywhere, we will answer demands for a gold standard by saying to them: You shall not press down upon the brow of labor this crown of thorns. You shall not crucify mankind upon a cross of gold.’

“Men went mad with emotional joy, threw their hats in the air, shouted and wept. The election was lost, and the Democratic Party, which had had an excellent chance of electing the popular “Silver Dick” Bland (Richard Parks Bland), went into eclipse and bondage for almost 16 years. (Bryan lost all three presidential bids as the Democratic Party nominee.)

“The cause of liberalism and the working people was shackled to an opportunistic demagogue who embarrassed his fellow liberals by being for the right causes for the wrong reasons.

“Darrow and Altgeld sat in the Illinois delegation, looking at each other questioningly. The next day when sonorous-sounding Bryan had swept the convention hall like a typhoon, Altgeld asked Darrow, ‘I have been thinking over Bryan’s speech. What did he say anyway?’

“Darrow didn’t get a chance to answer that question fully until 1925 during the Scopes Monkey Trial in Tennessee, when these two bull moose, each representing the faith and convictions of tens of millions of followers, locked horns in one of the most spectacular and fantastic battles over religion ever waged.”


What parallels do you see in 2010?


A song for Sue

(A Boy Named Sue by Johnny Cash)

My bloggin’ began when I got fed up
With right-wing crap and Fox News pulp.
Just the same old rhetoric and phoney news.
Now, my nemesis couldn’t be any tanner,
And the meanest thing his daddy ever did
Was to give this country a boy named Boehner.

Well, he must o' thought that was quite a joke
And it got a lot of laughs from a lots of folk,
It seems I had to fight my whole life through.
Some gal like Lisa comments, and I see red.
Glenn Beck whines, and I could bust his head.
I tell ya, life ain't easy for a blogger named Sue.

Well, I grew up quick and I grew up mean,
My fist got hard and my wits got keen.
I keep on posting to ease my trauma
As I fight for America and a man named Obama.
Well, I’ll search the Web and expose the shame
Of the F-N wingnuts makin’ fun of his name.

This song could get longer than most,
But I just sat down to write a post.
I thought I’d stop and check the morning news.
A guy named McConnell had me all in a stew.
Don’t mess with a Jersey girl named Sue.

I got all fired up, and ready to pen it,
Going after that jerk on the floor of the Senate.
Couldn’t handle his radical point of view.
My sweet little Amelia came in to play.
Maybe she’ll grow up one day
To be a blogger like her “gamma” Sue.
Or first lady or president …
Oh, man …
Anything but a “Rethuglican!”


Hear Johnny Cash sing “A Boy Named Sue” on YouTube.


The Big Lie & biggest liar

The Big Lie: “Repeated distortion of the truth on a grand scale, especially for propaganda purposes.”

A far better slogan for Fox News than “fair and balanced.”

The assumption is: if The Big Lie is repeated often enough, people will believe it. Here’s one:

“Liberal elite media.”

The first part of a Gallup survey released this week does not surprise me:

“For the fourth straight year, the majority of Americans say they have little or no trust in the mass media to report the news fully, accurately and fairly - now 57 percent, a record high.”

That I attribute to “advocacy journalism” – too much opinion, not enough fact.

It’s the second part of Gallup’s findings that stuns me, although it is proof positive that The Big Lie works:

“Perceptions of media bias persist, with 48 percent saying the media are too liberal and 15 percent saying they are too conservative.”

Three living presidents now have criticized Fox News’ effect on our country: Carter, Clinton and Obama. Of course, who could forget Dick Cheney on MSNBC’s former morning show, telling Don Imus that he trusts Fox News to “get it RIGHT.” Perhaps the double entrndre was intended.

Should lies for profit be protected by the First Amendment?

In the words of that great defender of a free press, John Milton, truth and falsehood are grappling. In the not-too-distant future, we might know the outcome of the struggle.