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Ted Nugent, the man the GOP still loves to love

Ted Nugent, the man the GOP still loves to love

The GOP’s tepid repudiation of Ted Nugent’s racist statements about Barack Obama continue to fail what they used to refer to on Law and Order as the “laugh test.”

Nugent, in a recent interview with Guns.com, called Obama, the product of a biracial union, a “subhuman mongrel.” Because these disgusting comments were not about his sexuality and rationalized by his religious beliefs, his Republican friends sort of, kind of rejected them.

“Ted Nugent’s derogatory description of President Obama is offensive and has no place in politics. He should apologize,” the Kentucky Republican tweeted Thursday night.

OK, that’s something. I suppose they’ll sever ties with a race-baiting clod, right?

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) told CNN he disagreed with Nugent’s language but also didn’t rule out campaigning with him in the future.

“You’ve never heard me say such a thing and nor would I,” Cruz said. “I will note, there are reasons Ted Nugent – people listen to him, which is that he has been fighting passionately for Second Amendment rights.”

I suppose I’m not as encouraged as Sen. Cruz is by the thought of a racist who is a passionate supporter of gun rights.

Look, it’s not like this is a summer action movie and Nugent is the psychotic racist the hero has to recruit anyway because he’s the only one who can (PLOT DEVICE) the (PLOT DEVICE) before the (PLOT DEVICE). This is America. The GOP can surely locate another passionate fighter for the country’s right to self-destruct who isn’t a repugnant racist. Or at least isn’t a known one.

But if you thought Cruz was hard on Nugent, wait till Gov. Rick Perry gets a hold of him.

“That’s pretty tough words,” Perry said. “I wouldn’t have used those words. … I’m not going to get into this side of whether it’s appropriate or not. There are people who say things all the time. I mean, the idea that Ted Nugent said something that’s outrageous shouldn’t surprise anyone, he’s been saying outrageous things for a lot of years.”

Yes, Perry would have found more eloquent ways of impugning Obama’s heritage. And, gee, we already know Nugent is a bigoted jackass, so why are we complaining even if GOP politicians continue to embrace him?

And Perry really can’t take a stand on whether a clearly racist comment is appropriate? In fairness, people say (racist) “things” all the time, and Perry’s a busy man fighting gays and the Liberal War Against Religion.

After some pressure from Wolf Blitzer, Perry conceded that it was wrong to call the president a “mongrel.” Non-elected officials are apparently fair game. And just because a racist endorsed a GOP candidate for governor and will presumably continue his association with him is no reason to do something crazy like vote for the liberal woman.

“A comment by someone who has come in and endorsed him in the campaign I would suggest to you is not what this campaign is going to hinge upon, it’s going to be on Wendy Davis’s very liberal record,” Perry said. “I think this will be a news story or two and then we will get back to being focused on what the people of the state of Texas really care about.”

Texans don’t care about actual racists. It cares about the imaginary things they’ll say about Wendy Davis.

 
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Posted by on February 20, 2014 in Political Theatre

 

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So, as I understand things…

1) Congress has “pulled the grenade” — i.e. it has done what it has threatened to do and cannot do anything more severe. This action also affects them, so it is analogous to pulling the grenade and not actually throwing it but splattering bystanders with bits and pieces of your exploded body.

2) The “goal,” or I suppose the “sane” goal as there are some in Congress who claim to have desired the current outcome, is that the President would have “blinked” and avoided the pulling of the grenade. As that didn’t happen, the original goal, which I am still benignly referring to as “sane,” was not achieved.

3) This is the point of negotiations when you wait out the clock, and the weaker party is the one to break first. Unlike the previous government shutdown, the sitting President is not up for reelection and what’s being demanded of him is significant enough that he would gain nothing by surrendering it. Members of Congress are always up for reelection, and what they’re demanding is not static: Unlike Gingrich and Clinton’s face-off about the terms of a budget that was not yet in place, the Affordable Health Care Act has already started. The Shutdown did not prevent that, and more people enroll as each day passes, which makes the situation more difficult for them. So, the time advantage is not in Congress’s favor.

4) It is obvious now, as it was obvious before the Shutdown, that the GOP members of Congress are divided on this issue, whereas the Democrats are not. That is not good for the GOP.

5) Regardless of party affiliation, no one should negotiate with people who are willing to go nuclear to get what they want (these people probably watch a lot of movies with Clint Eastwood or some other suitably testosterone-rich star where that works out well but that’s not reality). You only encourage those actions and guarantee a repeat of what just happened. I presume that the President, as the father of young children, is aware of this, but if not I think the Dreamy Prime Minister from Love Actually says it best.

 
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Posted by on October 2, 2013 in Political Theatre

 

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Rocky Horror Obama Show…

Blogger Tara Servatius lost her job at the John Locke Foundation for this photoshopped image of Barack Obama intended to satirize his opposition to a North Carolina gay marriage ban.

Uncertain how Obama hopes to fit into outfits like this after eating a bucket of fried chicken.

Her explanation:

“I was searching for a picture of the president in drag to illustrate his southern political strategy of courting young voters, 70 percent of whom support gay marriage.”

It’s unclear whether her point is that gays or young people or both like to dress like Dr. Frank-N-Furter.

“It was one of the first photos to come up on Google Images. Regrettably, I didn’t think about the racial implications of the picture when I posted it. I simply don’t think in those terms. Unfortunately some people do.

To me, fried chicken is simply a southern cuisine.”

If Ms. Servatius cracked open a book once in a while, the history of racially charged images in this country wouldn’t be such a shock to her. She might also spare us the insult of applying the phrase “Southern strategy,” which Republicans used to woo racist Southerners from the Democratic party in the late 1960s, to a black president opposing discriminatory legislation.

Asserting a Pollyannaish world view is precious and all but it might result in the sort of cluelessness that ends up with someone working at the John Locke Foundation in the first place.

Also, KFC is theoretically Southern but practically speaking not cuisine.

 

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If she’s stupid, we’re stupider…

HBO’s Game Change appears to have resuscitated the narrative of Sarah Palin as political “useful idiot” who represents John McCain’s biggest political mistake — his Faustian bargain with the right wing in order to rally a conservative base distrustful of him.

Andrew Sullivan links to a video response to her recent ludicrous accusations regarding Barack Obama. She claims that Obama wishes to take the United States back to a time when we were in “different classes based on income” and “color of skin.” She claims this dark time was “before the Civil War.” Most of us realize it was actually before breakfast.

Sullivan states that “reminding reasonable people that the current GOP actually proposed this know-nothing, delusional maniac as a potential president is essential in an amnesiac country.”

Is Palin truly insane? No, although she fits all the traits for the classic narcissist, she is rational enough to understand the impact of her words. Her continued presence is the mainstream is because she represents what is at the core of the American heart.

There are countless middle-aged white people out there who are “afraid” of Obama. And not because of anything he has or hasn’t done but because of what is feared he might do. Palin’s comments are code in the most simplistic Pig Latin for the looming threat of payback. Obama is the first step toward vengeful reparations.

It’s not true but try explaining to a small child that there’s no monster under his bed.

 

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No Apologies…

Newt Gingrich’s umbrage over Barack Obama’s apology for the burning of Qurans on a military base is not that surprising. I could point out that respect for a religious text is decidedly not the actions of a president who is hostile to religion, as Gingrich and his competitors for the GOP presidential nomination have accused Obama of being. However, that’s only a minor point. The larger one is that U.S. politicians have an issue with apologizing at all, for anything.

Mitt Romney likes to state (mostly falsely) that Obama spends all his time apologizing for his country — something Romney would never do. His proof of this is the title of his book, No Apology. Remorse is so… European, I guess.

It occurs to me that the vision the GOP candidates have for America is basically a nation that suffers from narcissistic personality disorder. The signs have always been there, quite frankly, including during George W. Bush’s presidency. He made it clear that our allies were either “for us or against us.” Practically borderline.

No kidding — here’s the list of symptoms from the Mayo Clinic:

  • Believing that you’re better than others
  • Fantasizing about power, success and attractiveness
  • Exaggerating your achievements or talents
  • Expecting constant praise and admiration
  • Believing that you’re special and acting accordingly
  • Failing to recognize other people’s emotions and feelings
  • Expecting others to go along with your ideas and plans
  • Taking advantage of others
  • Expressing disdain for those you feel are inferior
  • Being jealous of others
  • Believing that others are jealous of you
  • Trouble keeping healthy relationships
  • Setting unrealistic goals
  • Being easily hurt and rejected
  • Having a fragile self-esteem
  • Appearing as tough-minded or unemotional

Yep, that’s us (or rather the U.S.) all over. And the discourse during the primaries does not instill me with confidence regarding the country’s ability to change. What is advised if you’re involved with a narcissistic person or nation?

If you are currently emotionally involved with someone you think may suffer from narcissistic personality disorder, do not walk. Run! Get out. Get away. Emancipate yourself any way you can, and do not look back.

I leave you with the wise words of Belize from Angels in America.

 

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You’ll never get rich chasing wealth…

President Obama recently addressed the charges made against him of waging “class warfare” and managed to inadvertently illustrate the growing sickness in American culture.

“This is one of the biggest things I’m going to be pushing back on this year, this notion that this is somehow class warfare, that we’re trying to stir up envy,” Obama said. “Nobody envies rich people, everybody wants to be rich. Everybody aspires to be rich, and everybody understands you’ve got work hard to be successful. That’s the American way.”

The president states that the “American way” is the desire to be “rich.” This in itself is an empty pursuit. I could give Obama the benefit of the doubt and interpret his statement as shorthand for what money can provide — security, health, education, leisure. However, Americans in the Blackberry Age have sacrificed leisure and health for money and status. Education in America is viewed as merely a means to an end to achieve wealth. This is the Trade Schooling of the U.S. from journalism to law. The critical thinking skills learned in school is denigrated as “leftist indoctrination.” The Darwinian nature of the U.S. economy fuels the fear that keeps Americans running on their hamster wheels: We must stockpile enough money to cover our medical expenses if we get ill, and we need enough to maintain our dignity when we get old. We are just as scared and frightened as we were prior to discovering fire. The only difference is we have iPods.

Collectively, how rich are we? We aren’t very rich in the ways that matter, but how do we do on paper at least? The median household income in the United States in 2010 was $49,445. Charles M. Blow of The New York Times recently described the American sleight of hand involved when defining what it means to be “rich.”

…according to a December Gallup report, Americans set the rich threshold at $150,000 in annual income. And according to the U.S. Census Bureau 8.4 percent of households had an income of $150,000 or more in 2010.

…according to a New York Times/CBS News poll conducted last month, nearly a fifth of families making less than $15,000 said that they were middle class and nearly two-fifths of those making more than $100,000 said that they were middle class.

In certain ways, no one wants to be rich or poor. Denying the latter makes sense. It’s why bald men still buy Rogaine. However, I think no one wants to consider themselves “rich” because America views itself as the land of the middle class. The rich are the “elites” in New York, D.C., and California. “Rich” also has the connotation of unearned money. This is why you’ll often hear, “We’re not rich. We worked hard for what we have.”

On an emotional level, though, I think many Americans don’t feel “rich” because they don’t feel secure. The politicians who want to keep Americans on their hamster wheels find it increasingly necessary to knock other countries whose citizens do feel more secure. Canada took a rhetorical beating during the initial debates regarding the Affordable Health Care Act. Mitt Romney frequently derides Europe when warning voters about what Obama plans to do the U.S. This is interesting upon reflection — the Kenyan Muslim wants to make America more like the land of our (well, not really mine) forefathers. It’s almost flattering: Conservatives would never have accused Jesse Jackson of Eurocentrism 30 years ago.

Let’s examine this “European socialist welfare state” of Romney’s nightmares: The average salary in the European Union is 38,000 Euros, which based on the exchange rate roughly equals the U.S. average. Europe has economic woes — as does the U.S. The conservative spin is that Europe’s social programs are to blame, but the trail of blood leads to the same butler who killed the U.S. economy — shady banks and toxic assets. Romney can’t be bothered to explain how that relates to how the government uses its tax dollars. Most Europeans enjoy universal health care and free education. These are two areas that cause Americans a great deal of concern. As both grow more expensive, Americans continue to burn rubber on their hamster wheels.

The misinformation that Romney and others spread about Europe compared to the U.S. probably serves its purpose. My own admittedly biased experience is that people seem far happier there than here, where the resentment and fear produce the malignant growth known as FOX News. Europeans are less contentious about religion and value education. They do lack the “American dream,” which as a conservative acquaintance explained is the lack of a “new car” or “vacation home.” Even if this were true, when did the American dream no longer mean freedom but instead meaningless status symbols?

Keep those hamster wheels running. Don’t you feel richer all ready?

 

 

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The Measure of Success in the United States of Rand…

Last night, during the Florida GOP presidential debate, Mitt Romney declared that he was “proud to be successful.” He pronounced this as thunderously as James Brown once said that he was “black and proud.”

Romney has stripped every possible moral qualifier from “success.” Questioning how one defines “success” or how one achieves this success is to question the glorious free-market capitalist system that gave us slavery and Silkwood.

Currently, success is defined as making lots of money. This is great for you in specific and great for all the people whose jobs you’ve created in the most general, non-provable sense. As Mr. Bernstein said in Citizen Kane, it’s “no trick to make a lot of money, if all you want is to make a lot of money.”

This is not to say that everyone can make a fortune. What I question is the pursuit of golden idols as the true measure of success.

Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels, in his rebuttal to President Obama’s State of the Union address, said that the United States should be a nation of “haves and soon-to-haves.” This is what has become of the “American dream.” It doesn’t matter if you’re a woman who no longer has control over her own body or a consenting adult who can’t marry another consenting adult. You’ve succeeded in this country if you “have” things — perhaps even an iPad assembled in China under inhumane conditions.

This is where we’ve come 90 years after the events in The Great Gatsby. If Tom Buchanan confronted today’s Jay Gatsby with the truth of how he made his fortune, Gatsby could retort, “I am proud of my success. How dare you question free enterprise!” True, the reason Daisy stayed with Tom is that Gatsby’s money was new not old (old money tends to be just as dirty as new, sometimes more so), but Gatsby’s business was only illegal due to excessive government regulation (prohibition). The GOP could have made a happy ending out of Fitzgerald’s work.

I recall the GOP redefining success during the 2008 presidential campaign when Sarah Palin and Rudy Giuliani both mocked Obama’s background as a community organizer. Public service was no longer noble. It was arguably not even a job with “actual responsibilities.” If it bothers you that modern politics has degenerated into a street fight without the splashy choreography of West Side Story, you might ask yourself why the solution to the mess is to elect people who’ve spent their lives dismantling companies or advising banks on how to best exploit consumers.

The classic Karl Rove technique is to turn someone’s strength into a weakness. When your candidate with spotty military service is running for re-election during wartime against a Vietnam veteran, you bring in some people to run down and diminish his accomplishments. Nowadays, the trick is to minimize public service — subtly with teachers and more overtly with elected officials. A “career politician” — someone who has represented the people of his or her community for years — is not to be trusted. I’m not sure why. These are generally smart individuals who could’ve made millions in the private sector. The cynical can only view the appearance of financial sacrifice as a craven grab for power. They’re usually the same people who believe people only become teachers because they couldn’t hack it on Wall Street.

Romney’s campaign is centered on the belief that he should lead the nation because he’s enriched himself for the bulk of his career in the private sector. This Rovian tactic turns on its head what could be viewed as a lack of political experience. The government isn’t a corporation. Corporations don’t usually have to explain themselves or their actions to the public. A corporation’s sole goal is profit. If that’s our nation’s goal, then we’ve already lost. I recall an issue of a comic book I read as a kid that has always stuck with me. A former villain is telling a little boy about how the hero defeated him. The little boy doesn’t know how the hero did it: The villain was stronger, faster, and overall more powerful. The former villain says all that was true but “I was only fighting for myself. He was fighting for something more.”

I’ve had the opportunity to meet several people with professional backgrounds similar to Romney’s. I don’t begrudge them their success. I just never got the impression from any of them that they were interested in fighting for something more than themselves. They were pursuing golden idols. Once they’ve attained them, the Tom Buchanans of the world tend to seek the ultimate idol — power. This power is not used to uplift but to protect their idols from the Gatsbys they fear will try to steal them.

You could probably assemble a short film about a public schoolteacher in which dozens of former students describe the impact that teacher had on their lives. Maybe someone could do that for Romney the venture capitalist and free-market job creator. If not, who really cares? He’s made a lot of money. He’s an American success, but his American “dream” is different from mine. Perhaps because my dreams don’t have borders and don’t involve “things.”

 
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Posted by on January 27, 2012 in Capitalism, Political Theatre

 

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