The Party of Batshit (We Report, You Decide)

by matttbastard

Via MMfA:

This montage illustrates exactly what Charles Johnson was talking about when he recently said that the guano loco-ization of Fox News “will achieve nothing in the long run except further marginalization of the GOP—unless people start behaving like adults instead of angry kids throwing tantrums and ranting about conspiracies and revolution.” Yeah.  Angry kids at Columbine throwing (deadly) tantrums with AR-15s (get ’em before Obama repeals the 2nd amendment!)

Make sure to also check out Glenn Beck’s unhinged object lesson on how Obama wants to (rhetorically!) immolate “average Americans” via immigration policy (talk about inflammatory rhetoric).

Remember when we were all bemoaning the fact that an ‘extremist’ like Rush had the GOP establishment by the short and curlies? Compared to these characters, Limbaugh is looking positively rational.  And the Republican governor of Texas is “proud” to be associated with those eagerly giving a platform to the Birchers and the end-timers.

“[F]urther marginalization of the GOP,” indeed.

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Unions Fight Back Against Anti-Worker Legislation (While Parliament Dithers)

by matttbastard

Another federal union has challenged provisions in the wicked-awesome Harpercon budget that “[take] away collective bargaining in the public service and pay equity as a human right for federal workers”–a budget that, it should be noted, passed with (probationary!) support from Iggy and the Tory-lites (who haven’t exactly been hawk-like in their fiscal vigilance since).

As pogge (h/t) observes:

We seem to be moving closer to the American system despite ourselves. Bad legislation sails through without sufficient opposition and the real fight happens in the courts.

Yep. Democracy in Canada is dying from the inside out.  There is no meaningful opposition in Parliament, much less leadership from the government–there’s Blue and Blue Light.

'Imported.' That just about says it all, huh?

Drink up and drown, kiddies.

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61K Canadian Jobs Shed In March

by matttbastard

wheeeeeeeeeeeeeee

Another month, another round of massive job losses in Canada:

Canada is shedding jobs at a rate not seen since the deep recession of the early 1980s, as March saw another 61,300 workers join the ballooning ranks of the unemployed.

The loss brought Canada’s official unemployment rate to eight per cent, the worst in seven years.

Statistics Canada noted that since the peak in October, employment has fallen each month for a total of 357,000, representing 2.1 per cent of the work force. That is the most since 1982.

[…]

Economists had been expecting another poor jobs report with about 55,000 jobs lost.

But the reality was slightly worse, and much worse if the 18,200 jobs increase in part-time work were taken out.

Rising part-time work at a time of falling employment is usually an indicator that Canadians are settling for whatever jobs they can find. Among full-time workers, the contraction in employment was another outsized 79,500 in March.

So.  As Uncle Steve and the Harpercons sadly continue to lose their shit, the Canadian job market keeps hemorrhaging. And, waiting in the wings, we have Iggy and the Torie-lites, ready to save us all by doing, er, pretty much the same bullshit Harper and Co. have been doing, only with less asshattery, sweatervests and painfully-forced smiles.

We are so fucked.

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Dear Wingnut Fuckhelmets

When Charles fucking Johnson is starting to sound like the voice of fucking reason, you need to step back a bit and do a little reflection. Your fucking party–your fucking MOVEMENT–is in complete shambles. And pinning your 2010 (and 2012) hopes on tapping the Jerry Springer wing of the party is, um, well, yeah (although the increasingly-ugly trailer-park feud between the Palins and the Johnstons makes for AWESOME daytime TV viewing–who says the GOP doesn’t give a steaming pile of elephant crap about the needs of unemployed American workers?)

In other words, less teabagging and unhinged black helicopter rhetoric, more rebuilding — y’all are gonna give Patrick Ruffini a fucking aneurysm.

Wait — what am I saying? Please, KEEP doing what you’re doing; me and my socialistcommiemaoistredistributionist fellow travellers can’t help but get off watching movement conservatism self-destruct in such a spectacularly absurd–and highly public–manner (also, fuck Patrick Ruffini). Seriously, who needs The Onion or SNL when you have Glenn Beck and Michele Bachmann bringin’ teh schadenfreude-infused lulz?

Of course, it all stops seeming so fucking funny when someone who isn’t in on the joke ends up taking things a bit too far and people end up, y’know, dying. Imagine that–words actually have meaning; actions have consequences. Would that y’all took your responsibility as thought leaders (snicker) seriously.

Yeah, and a dapple-gray pony clad in golden horseshoes.

hugs and handjobs,

matttbastard

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Nothing Sez ‘Common Ground’ Like Hatin’ teh JOOZ

by matttbastard

Awesome:

This January, a week after Barack Obama’s Inauguration, a conference called “Holocaust? A Sacred Lie by the West” was held in Tehran. Ahmadinejad, in a greeting that he sent to the conference, said that Zionists had “ensnared many politicians and parties.” In a follow-up statement, he added, “An incident known as 9/11 occurred. It is not yet clear who carried it out, who collaborated with them, and who paved the way for them. The event took place, and—like in the case of the Holocaust—they sealed it off, refusing to allow objective research groups to find out the truth.”

Iasked Thomas Pickering why Ahmadinejad had chosen that moment to talk so provocatively about the Holocaust. “I think he probably felt encouraged by the Pope,” Pickering replied, referring to the news that week that Benedict XVI had lifted an excommunication order on a British bishop and Holocaust denier. (The Pope later asked the bishop to recant.)

Heartwarming. Who says the Vatican has been backsliding on JPII’s ecumenical outreach efforts? Heckuva job, Ratzi.

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Keystone Progress: Politician against EFCA admits he didn’t read bill

by matttbastard

I believe this is what the kids refer to as ‘EPIC FAIL’:

PA State Senator Mike Folmer (R-48) was featured at an anti- Free Choice rally in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania on March 31, 2009. After the rally, Keystone Progress asked him what he knew about the bill. His answers clearly showed he didn’t understand the bill or he was simply spouting the official talking points. He admitted that he hadn’t read the bill.

Watch it:

Related: In a must-read guest post @ Feministe, Sarah explains why the Employee Free Choice Act–and labour organizing overall–should be recognized as a vital feminist issue.

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Obama on Afghan Marital Rape Law: Fighting Terror Trumps Women’s Rights

by matttbastard

While holding a press conference the NATO summit in France, Obama was just asked a tough question from Fox News’ Major Garrett (I know, even a stopped clock is right twice a day) regarding the absolutely disgusting Afghan marital rape law and what steps the US intended to take (if any).

Obama sputtered out some mealy mouthed diplo-speak about how the law is “abhorrent” and that  “the views of the administration have been and will be communicated to the Karzai government.”

Not satisfied with this non-response, Garrett followed up, asking for clarity.

The subsequent statement from the POTUS absolutely floored me:

“We have stated very clearly that we object to this law. But I want everybody to understand that our focus is to defeat al Qaeda… .” [statement clarified based on transcript–mb]

Excuse me?!

Ok, reality check time.

Canada’s government? It sucks. Big time.

And yet Parliament is publicly putting pressure on the Afghan government to roll back this despicable proposed legislation (even if the Harpercons could be a bit more muscular in expressing their ‘deep concerns’).

President Barack Obama? He basically said that the war effort trumps human–women’s–rights–in other words, “screw the wimminz, our primary interest is rootin’ out terrorism!” Yeah–the amoral influence of Brzezinski on the Obama admin’s foreign policy (to paraphrase, “winning the war on terror is more important in the long run that a few violated women”) is definitely shining through like a lighthouse beacon.

Update: Video and transcript of the exchange, courtesy Think Progress:

Q Thank you, Mr. President, and good afternoon. I’d like to ask you about a law that’s recently been passed in Afghanistan that affects the 10 percent of the Shia population there. A summary of it says it negates the need for sexual consent between married couples, tacitly approves child marriage, and restricts a woman’s right to leave the home. The United Nations Development Fund for Women says this legalizes the rape of a wife by her husband. I’d like your assessment of this law, number one. Number two, will you condition future troop movements of the U.S. to Afghanistan on the basis of this law being retracted or rewritten? And if not, sir, what about the character of this law ought to motivate U.S. forces to fight and possibly die in Afghanistan?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, first of all, this was actually a topic of conversation among all the allies. And in our communication — communiqué, you will see that we specifically state that part of this comprehensive approach is encouraging the respect of human rights. I think this law is abhorrent. Certainly the views of the administration have been, and will be, communicated to the Karzai government. And we think that it is very important for us to be sensitive to local culture, but we also think that there are certain basic principles that all nations should uphold, and respect for women and respect for their freedom and integrity is an important principle.

Now, I just want to remind people, though, why our troops are fighting, because I think the notion that you laid out, Major, was that our troops might be less motivated. Our troops are highly motivated to protect the United States, just as troops from NATO are highly motivated to protect their own individual countries and NATO allies collectively. So we want to do everything we can to encourage and promote rule of law, human rights, the education of women and girls in Afghanistan, economic development, infrastructure development, but I also want people to understand that the first reason we are there is to root out al Qaeda so that they cannot attack members of the Alliance.

Now, I don’t — those two things aren’t contradictory, I think they’re complementary. And that’s what’s reflected in the communiqué.

Q But do you object to the law –

PRESIDENT OBAMA: We have stated very clearly that we object to this law. But I want everybody to understand that our focus is to defeat al Qaeda and ensure that they do not have safe havens from which they can launch attacks against the Alliance.

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The Shock Doctrine 7: Sheep Farming in the Falklands (Or, The Revolution Will Not Be Monetized)

by matttbastard

Chapter 6: Saved by a War Thatcherism and its Useful Enemies

(Previous posts here, Sarah’s posts here.)

“Creating a useful crisis is part of what this will be about….[s]o the first bunch of communications that the public might hear might be more negative than I would be inclined to talk about (otherwise). Yeah, we need to invent a crisis and that’s not just an act of courage, there’s some skill involved”

Former Ontario Education Minister John Snobelen

Margaret Thatcher, the Iron Lady.

She’s presented by many as one of conservatism’s patron saints, a great leader who, through sheer force of will, pushed back against the excesses of the post-WWII British welfare state. Yet her sweeping program of Friedmanite deregulation and rollback of worker’s rights has also been dubbed by many commentators a ‘revolution’.  Though seemingly incongruous, the term is fitting; as the National Review famously declared in 1987, Thatcher’s ultimate goal was “nothing less than the reshaping of British political and economic life as that has been understood since 1945, by Labour and Tory alike. [emph. mine]”

Klein outlines in Chapter 6 how Thatcher used the political capital raised via the war in the Falklands to not only unite the nation, but to finance her radical neoliberal economic reform agenda, despite a previously skeptical public. Klein also notes that the controversial yet popular military endeavour coincided with the penning by Friedman of a passage that she says “best summarizes the Shock Doctrine: “Only a crisis–actual or perceived–produces real change.  When that crisis occurs, the actions that are taken depend on the ideas that are lying around.  That, I believe, is our basic function: to develop alternatives to existing policies, to keep them alive and available until the politically impossible becomes politically inevitable.””

The so-called ‘crisis hypothesis’ was utilized to great effect, at least in a political context, by Thatcher, according to Klein:

“Between 1084 and 1988, the [British] government privatized, among others, British Telecom, British Gas, British Airways, British Airport Authority and British Steel, while it sold its shares in British Petroleum.

“Much as the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, would take an unpopular president and hand him an opportunity to launch a massive privatization initiative (in Bush’s case, the privatization of security, warfare and reconstruction), Thatcher used her war to launch the first mass privatization auction in a Western democracy.”

As Sarah notes, despite their widely-accepted status as heroic conservative icons, pro-market radicals like Thatcher and US president Ronald Reagan enacted their policies in direct opposition to conservatism.  A so-called ‘conservative’ brazenly utilized a crisis to enact revolutionary change–coopting political theory traditionally the domain of the far left.   In a post highlighting the days events at the ongoing G20 summit, Sarah points out that it was conservative leaders Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy who were pushing for stricter regulations of global financial markets, rather than left-of-centre leaders like Barack Obama or Gordon Brown:

For Sarkozy to call for giving capitalism a conscience–well, it underlines the difference between French conservatism and American, but it also points out that state regulation and control over capital markets is not actually a shocking, strange idea, and that the rapid deregulation was actually the revolutionary idea.

Rather than promoting pragmatic, prudent conservative economic platforms, Thatcher (and Reagan) instead grabbed hold of the most extreme of Milton Friedman’s theories and ran with them Jamaican sprinter style.  The fact that ‘socialists’ like Tony Blair eagerly took  the baton passed to them by purported ideological opponents and carried it over the finish line only serves to further illustrate the fact that adherence to radical free market economic theory transcends the traditional left-right political axis–and, ultimately, that Thatcher’s revolution was indeed sucessful beyond her wildest expectations.

Next–Chapter 7: The New Doctor Shock Economic Warfare Replaces Dictatorship

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If You Kids Don’t Shut Up I’m Gonna Turn This Plane RIGHT Around!

by matttbastard

Via Jay Rosen (by way of Sarah), I see that the Villagers are still primarily concerned with the circumference of their navels (which also corresponds with the breadth and depth of their shallow egos):

The standard form during “joint press availabilities” — bureaucratic lingo for press conferences where leaders from two different countries stand next to each other and take questions from reporters — is that each official’s press corps gets the same number of questions.

Well, during the joint press availability on Wednesday with Mr. Obama and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown at the ornate British foreign office near 10 Downing Street, Mr. Brown called on the U.K. press corps for four whole questions. Meanwhile, Mr. Obama only called on the White House press corps, which schlepped (granted, on a really nice United 777 charter) across the Atlantic to scrupulously chronicle his first overseas trip as president, thrice.

Mr. Obama even tried to cut off the press conference after six questions had been asked—most dealing with the growing rift between the United States and the rest of the world over how to fix the global economy. “All right?” he asked, in an “O.K.-we’re-done-I’m-outta-here” way.

Because of this unforgivable slight, Helene Cooper wonders if Obama is trying to ‘muzzle’ the White House press corps (and pines for the good ol’ days of Condie Rice–OMG SHOEZ!) Seriously, what the hell happened to Cooper? When did she morph into the quintessential whiny-ass titty baby?

“Waaah Obama isn’t bein’ nice to us. MOOOM!”

Apparently the brats in the beltway need fresh binkies to suck on.

You know, it says a lot that, during a time of global economic upheaval and uncertainty, a member of the White House press corps earnestly believes that not getting asked an extra question by the POTUS at an international presser is a matter of grave import.  One would hope that Cooper would take some heat from her colleagues for her demonstrative outburst. Alas, they were likely cheering her on from the sidelines, shouting ‘YEAH! TRUTH TO POWER!’

Because, sadly, the Villagers live in an isolated upper-middle class bubble, sequestered away from the rest of the nation (and its petty problems) in an insular gated community filled with an endless parade of cocktail parties and trivial sniping.  To the average Washington correspondent, meeting with the Great Unwashed is presented as an exercise in cultural anthropology, eg, John King’s Sunday morning diner round-tables with Real Americans (if you cut them, they BLEED! I know, crazy!) At this point, it’s all too clear that they are essentially writing for each other; the conversation is entirely circular, even if the 4th estate have deluded themselves into believing that the general public actually gives a rat’s ass about Ed Henry’s game day ritual.

Yeah, politics is all just a fucking game to them. Winners and losers, gaffes and ‘body blows’–political journalism as play-by-play sportscasting. Which is why, in this context, it is perfectly natural for Helene Cooper to be (passive-aggressively) “keeping score.”

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