I'm watching the Glenn Beck interview of Sarah Palin, and it's really leaving me speechless that two people who are so woefully and determinedly uninformed have such an impact on the national discourse.
Beck just asked Palin if she'd heard about the Federal Reserve's record profits for last year, and then bemoaned that "nobody's having hearings on the Fed, nobody is looking for a windfall profit tax on the Fed, we can't even open the Fed's books." Palin responded by thanking Beck for "bringing this to light," adding: "I don't know anybody else who is."
There's a very simple reason why no one else is talking about taxing the Fed's profits or having hearings or even discussing this -- because people who care to know what they're talking about already know that 100 percent of the Fed's profits go to the Treasury. Every single cent. There is no talk of a windfall profits tax because it's already effectively at 100 percent.
Perhaps if Beck put his crack research staff on the case, or if Palin spent a little less time lying on Facebook, they would know basic facts like these before making (greater) fools of themselves on national television.
The conservative media have followed the script on attacking President Obama's anti-terror policies since the attempted Christmas Day bombing -- from Politico basically providing stenography for Dick Cheney's claim that Obama's policies make us "less safe" to media claiming that the president isn't taking the terrorist threat seriously. This week, Human Events editor Jed Babbin wrote that with the first anniversary of Obama's inauguration at hand, it was time to ask whether his policies have made the country safer. Babbin declared: "By every objective measure -- what we know about Islamic terrorism, its intentions and capabilities -- the answer is no. We are far less safe now than we were then."
But the American people aren't buying it. In the past week, three separate polls have shown that more Americans approve of Obama's handling of terrorism than disapprove.
First came the January 11 CNN poll that found that 65 percent of those polled had a great deal or moderate amount of confidence in the Obama administration to protect America from terrorism and that 57 percent approved of his response to the Christmas Day terror attempt.
Also on January 11, CBS released a poll showing that 52 percent of those surveyed approved of Obama's handling of terrorism; and 71 percent had a "great deal" or a "fair amount" of confidence in the government's ability to protect them from a terrorist attack. The funny thing about that number is that it's an increase from 66 percent in July 2007 under the Bush administration.
Then today, Quinnipiac found that 48 percent approve of Obama's handling of terrorism (44 percent disapprove). The poll also found, perhaps most damning for conservatives' claims that Obama is endangering the country by dismantling Bush anti-terror policies, 62 percent feel safer or just as safe under Obama as they did under Bush.
When Glenn Beck returned to the airwaves for 2010, he unveiled a new intro segment for his radio show. Media Matters noted that the segment included the phrase "now is the time," from Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I have a dream" speech. This marked the latest in Beck's history of invoking Dr. King to promote himself and comparing his political stances to the civil rights movement.
The next day, Beck complained that his "show is under fire because we're using a clip from Martin Luther King there." He and contributing editor Pat Gray then mocked "the left" because "they don't even understand it."
Yet after all the fuss and bluster, on Monday Beck featured another new intro, opening his broadcast with nary an explanation as to why "now is the time," is no longer a part of his show's intro:
Boy, this item at the new conservative portal is just a mess.
Headline from the Daily Caller homepage:
Massachusetts senate race gets a dose of Hitler
Did Democrat Massachusetts Senate candidate Martha Coakley use a photo of Rush Limbaugh in a Hitler pose in her new television ad released last night?
An image of Limbaugh with his hand held high flickers across the screen as the announcer says of Coakley's Republican opponent: "Who is Scott Brown, really? A Republican. In lockstep with Washington Republicans."
So according to Daily Caller, if a campaign spot features any innocuous photo of somebody with his/her "hand held high," than that means "Hitler" imagery is being used?
Good to know.
Still, it's pretty weird that Carlson's Daily Caller immediately made a direct link between Limbaugh and Hitler, where none actually existed. (Rush will not be happy.)
Watch the campaign spot here and marvel at the "Hitler" nonsense.
From The Fox Nation, accessed January 13:
From the paper's obligatory, albeit A1, Harry-Reid-and-Dems-are-trouble article [emphasis added[:
The Democrats are bracing for losses in November, especially since two Democratic senators, Chris Dodd of Connecticut and Byron Dorgan of North Dakota, aren't seeking re-election.
That doesn't really make any sense since, as virtually every political observer knows, Democrats in CT. caught a break with Dodd's retirement announcement since, according to the polls, he was facing re-election defeat. But by bowing out he allowed a very popular CT. Democrat, Richard Blumenthal, to vault into a commanding lead for that senate seat.
But according to the increasingly GOP-friendly WSJ newsroom, Dodd's retirement is bad news for Dems.
If there's a silver lining to the dark cloud that is Game Change, it's that the nastiest campaign gossip book in years has inspired several amusing and creative denunciations of the both book and its authors, Mark Halperin and John Heilemann.
Don Imus, for example, referred to it as "a 450-page version of Page Six," according to Halperin.
The Huffington Post's Jason Linkins -- who notes of the authors' sourcing rules: "It's too charitable to simply call this shady" -- adds:
What you will get from this tome is the experience of being dragged through a great, teeming, gossipy Superfund-sized pile of shit, lovingly accumulated by two authors who have basically allowed anyone willing to offer nasty hearsay, trash-talk, or score-settling to dump away.
It's all in the service of utter, black venality. I am honestly depressed to be have so much of this book yet to read. My only comfort is that I wasn't the one who chose to masticate, digest, and regurgitate this shit in the first place.
There is nothing in the book that will deepen your understanding of the information beyond what others regurgitate about it. In fact, it's possible that actually READING the book will make you dumber. You certainly will learn more about how Washington works from reading what people say about the book than from the book itself.
(And, bonus Ana Marie Cox: "Washington has a scab. Game Change is the horrible oozing infection that comes after you pick at it.")
Bob Franken, on H/H explanation of the ground rules they used for interviews:
That's the most convoluted explanation I've heard in a long time. There's one thing that you have to remember in Washington: You don't burn sources. You don't burn them not because it's the right thing to do, it's because you don't get any information the next time around. And I really believe that what we might see is that these guys are not going to be welcome when they're talking to different people who might provide them information in the future.
[I]f the authors were concerned with accuracy they might have checked their reporting with people on the Vice President's staff. They did not.
(Ok, that one isn't all that amusing -- until you remember that Carney worked with Halperin at Time before joining Vice President Biden't staff.)
A book based on backstabbing gossip from disgruntled campaign aides and pissed off rivals is about as reliable a six year olds playing a game of telephone. When you combine these nasty little tidbits with the Villager sensibility and biases of the writers, you end up with a docu-drama rather than a work of non-fiction.
I'm sure Heilemann and Halperin are very proud to be the top, tabloid journalists in the country providing much shaudenfreude for the Villagers and entertainment for everyone else. They'll sell a lot of books
it's human nature to like mean, nasty gossip
and this one looks like it gives TMZ a run for its money.
Notably, the Edwards scandal was relentlessly pursued and first "broken" by The National Enquirer, and I defy anyone to read the book excerpt on Edwards (to the extent you can even get through it) and identify any differences between the book's tone, content and "reporting" methods and those found in the Enquirer.
Just when you think the news cycle can't get any stupider, Mark Halperin publishes a book.
But perhaps the most damning reaction to Game Change is this: Politico ran at least 16 articles and blog posts about the book before it had been in book stores for 48 hours.
Alaska governor-turned-Facebook terror analyst Sarah Palin made her first appearance as a Fox News contributor last night on the O'Reilly Factor. The financial terms of Palin's agreement with Fox News have not been disclosed, but it's safe to assume that she isn't working for peanuts. With that in mind, it's worth pointing out that Palin spent much of her Fox News debut defending her own record and reputation, hawking the biography she pretended to write, and promoting the Tea Party convention at which she is being paid to speak (though she claimed that the money she makes from the event will go towards campaign donations). The rest of her "analysis" consisted of conservative bromides about the evils of government and tired attacks on the media. She was essentially paid by Fox News to put on an informercial for herself.
Here are just a few quotes from her appearance last night, retrieved from Nexis:
PALIN: They don't like the message. They don't like the common sense conservative solutions that I think I represent and I articulate as I explain what I believe are some solutions to the great challenges facing America. They don't like to hear it.
PALIN: Well, it's pretty made up, too. I -- I think that these reporters -- who were not in any part of what I was doing there as a V.P. candidate, I think I explained a lot of this in "Going Rogue," in my book.
PALIN: Yes, that surprised me. I hadn't seen the "60 Minutes" and I -- I had been warned, you know, don't -- don't watch. It's a bunch of B.S. from Schmidt (INAUDIBLE) and those guys...
PALIN: See the -- these reporters were not there. And I think that these are the political establishment reporters who love to gin up controversy and spin up gossip. The rest of America doesn't care about that kind of crap.
PALIN: They need to read my book, "Going Rogue," then.
PALIN: I think he's basing this on an anonymous source. So all that kind of gossipy anonymous accusations, I really don't pay it any mind, because, again, Bill, I know what's important. I know what the priorities are.
PALIN: But I am so thankful for this Tea Party movement, for people having a place for their voice to be heard. I can't wait to do this event. And there are a lot of Tea Party events.
PALIN: There will be other speakers, too, though. But I can't wait to get to hear from those who are so concerned about our economy and about our national security issues and share with them what I believe the solutions are.
Palin and Fox News are making me look prophetic.
With the announcement that Palin's joining the FNC team, and with it yet more confirmation that Fox News has transformed itself into a purely political entity, it seems that a prediction I made last year is looking more and more like an emerging reality.
Here's what I wrote last November, following the botched, Tea Party candidacy of Doug Hoffman in Upstate N.Y. [emphasis added]:
Looking forward, it's inevitable that during the 2012 GOP Republican primary season, there will be, for the lack of a better term, a Fox News Candidate in the field. There will be a far-right darling of the Tea Party movement (cough, cough, Sarah Palin) who has both the official (Limbaugh, Beck, Malkin) and unofficial (Fox News) endorsement of the right-wing media.
But will that do any good in the real world? Ask Doug Hoffman.
The right-wing media now run the Republican Party. It will be interesting to watch this novel arrangement play out.
UPDATED: As we we stressed last year, Fox News is now the Opposition Party.
Remember back in September when the right-wing completely freaked out over "SHOCK VIDEO[S]" of elementary school children singing songs about President Obama as part of Black History Month activities? Conservatives, including Fox News hosts, declared that the videos, in the words of Glenn Beck, show "indoctrination" that "should horrify the American people."
I can only hope for their sakes that none of those people were watching Bill O'Reilly tonight:
O'REILLY: Now the mail. Got a nice note from Terry Cash, who teaches phys ed at the J.F. Burns school in Kings Mills, Ohio. Kids in Terry's class are big on the Factor Word of the Day, "pernicious" being one of their favorite, and of course, the students are not pernicious. Good job, guys, that was very cute.
While O'Reilly spoke, Fox News aired a photo of the teacher with her elementary school students, who are holding signs that say "Pernicious Free."
Somehow, I doubt conservatives will be comparing this teacher to Castro or Mao.