Archive for October, 2010

Conservative Pathologies

October 27, 2010

"I may have met him...I can't recall"

The Rand Paul supporter and campaign official that stomped on a woman’s head outside of a campaign rally thinks that the victim owes him an apology.  Yep.  Tim Profitt said to the following to WKYT (via TPM):

“I don’t think it’s that big of a deal.  I would like for her to apologize to me to be honest with you.”

It’s hard to even find adequate words to describe this other than to say it confirms the fact that some of these people pathologically cling to, and reside in, an alternate reality.

This ‘man’ also said:

“I think when all the facts come out, I think people will see that she was the one that initiated the whole thing.”

That was after he blamed his actions on the police, his “back problems” and said that he feared for “Rand’s safety” and that the “incident appeared worse than it was.”  It is just so brazen, callous and stunning.  It must be noted that the conservative echo chamber was still too busy crying over, and pretending to care about, the firing of Juan Williams to condemn and denounce this ridiculous, scary assault.  It is also just the latest example of the upside-down, persecution fueled parallel universe that conservatives promote as “reality.”  One of the other rednecks involved in this assault was actually wearing a “Don’t Tread On Me” button while actually holding a woman on the ground so his buddy and fellow PATRIOT could literally, actually tread on her skull.  This also serves as a prime example of the conservative tendency to strip all tangible, literal meaning from words, slogans and sentences like “Don’t Tread On Me.”  I’m sure if you asked the guy why he was wearing the button he’d give you the whole run-down on how the Federal gub’ment was out to steal all of his freedumbs and precious bodily fluids–so the first thing he does in response to these imaginary affronts is violently restrict another person’s freedom of speech in a literal (not to mention brutal and hypocritical beyond words) translation of his own “Don’t Tread On Me” button; the essence and meaning of which he obviously does NOT understand because his actions are the complete and utter inversion of what it means and how it came to be.  Just like all of the toothless people walking around Appalachia talking about “socialism” because millionaires and corporations are being asked to pay their fair share of taxes.  These people continue to obliterate the boundaries of irony and satire daily.

Almost as brazen, callous and stunning as the Rand Paul headstomping, is Supreme Court Justice and ‘alleged’ porn enthusiast Clarence Thomas’s wife Ginni actually having the guts to call Anita Hill and say this:

“Good morning, Anita Hill, it’s Ginni Thomas,” she said, according to ABC. “I just wanted to reach across the airwaves and the years and ask you to consider something. I would love you to consider an apology sometime and some full explanation of why you did what you did with my husband. So give it some thought and certainly pray about this and come to understand why you did what you did. Okay have a good day.”
You see, even though her husband has lifetime tenure on one of the most powerful institutional bodies in our nation and has helped decide pivotal presidential elections, helped open the floodgates of corporate money into our elections  etc. etc–all despite considerable evidence that he was an under-qualified appointee laden with chronic and credible accusations of sexual harassment at damn near every place he worked–he is somehow still angry and, more importantly, still a victim, both in his own mind, his wife’s and in the larger conservative collective consciousness.  This move has backfired because it has prompted other women from Justice Thomas’s past, like Lillian McEwan, to come forward and corroborate Anita Hill’s testimony and truthful allegations from back when.  McEwan spoke to the Washington Post in a devastating article which includes her assertions, eerily similar to Hill’s, that Thomas was “obsessed with porn.”   The Post article goes on to recount the following:
“However bizarre they may seem, McEwen’s recollections resemble accounts shared by other women that swirled around the Thomas confirmation.  Angela Wright, who in 1984 worked as public affairs director at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission — which polices sexual harassment claims — during Thomas’s long tenure as chairman, shared similar accounts with Senate investigators.Once, when walking into an EEOC seminar with Thomas, he asked her, “What size are your breasts?” according to the transcript of her Senate interview.Her story was corroborated by a former EEOC speechwriter, who told investigators that Wright had become increasingly uneasy around Thomas because of his comments about her appearance.” 

All of these woman tell strikingly similar tales.  Yet obviously they are all part of a well-coordinated liberal trap to victimize poor defenseless ole’ Justice Thomas.   In 1992 a conservative cottage industry dedicated to bashing Anita Hill sprung up overnight and wasted no time and spared no expense to damage and destroy this woman’s reputation.  They largely succeeded.  The American Spectator (as an aside-I’d like to say that even if the people that read this blog consist of  just my father and a few assorted friends, it’ll still be superior in integrity and quality to the American Spectator) and other fonts of conservative rubbish devoted months worth of ink and entire issues to Hill.  David Brock wrote one of the many books defaming Anita Hill, but when the dust settled, and he learned more about Thomas’s true nature from fellow travelers in the conservative movement, Brock realized that much of what she’d testified to regarding Thomas was true.  But by then the damage was done and Thomas was on the Court so he could deliver the man who appointed him’s son to the Presidency eight short years later.  This painful realization, recounted by Brock in his excellent book, Blinded by the Right, was one of the catalysts leading to his eventual renunciation of conservatism and his subsequent co-founding of Media Matters for America.   But in what passes for conservative reality, Mrs. Thomas is the aggrieved party holding her hand out scrounging for an apology.  It astonishing that the accumulated weight of the grudges, crocodile tears and self-pity carried around by the Thomas family hasn’t plunged DC to the bottom of the Potomac, yet.

So to recap-

Brave freedom loving patriots wearing “Don’t Tread On Me” buttons tread on a woman’s head for having the gall to exercise her own freedom of speech and they are the victims who’d greatly appreciate an apology.

According to his wife, one of the most powerful men in the United States is owed an apology for being victimized by a relatively powerless woman, who was mercilessly marginalized and largely destroyed by his brain-dead conservative minions and shock troops, even though mounting evidence corroborates that what she said about him was true.

2 textbook examples of conservative pathology: No matter how wrong you are, no matter how much power and control you accumulate-you are always the one being persecuted.  No matter how many women you batter, or how many female heads you step on (literally in Kentucky/figuratively in Thomas’s world)-the cameras lie, liberals are the true villains and you are the victim.

Target Rich Environment Vol. 4

October 21, 2010

Section 1. The increasingly poor decisions of Ron Johnson

I’ve been writing about this guy for the last month.  The fact that he is poised to retire Senator Feingold, literally, makes me want to weep.   Here, via TPM, who’ve consistently done excellent work exposing Tea Party candidates lack of substance and compassion, is a sterling example of Ron Johnson’s unfitness to govern; when pressed on his lack of specificity and substance in an answer he’d given regarding the Department of Veteran’s Affairs’ responsibilities to homeless veterans, Johnson said the following:

“Specifically I can’t really — I haven’t been there, I don’t have all the details. One thing I will point out: I don’t believe this election really is about details. It just isn’t. I mean as I’ve gone through the state of Wisconsin I’ve viewed this pretty much as a job interview…. I’ll have to get there. I’ll have to start performing the job.”

That is a frightening, unadulterated glimpse into the Tea Party mindset.  A mindset that swears the entirety of governing just boils down to the repetition of generalities about tax cuts and deregulation, meaningless references to socialism and something called “Obamacare” and a steadfast adherence to, and belief in, the abstractions and fantasies peddled by Ayn Rand–the rest (ie. actual governing) is just “details” that would-be Senator Johnson can’t be bothered to learn or care about.  You see, once your in-laws hand you a plastics company and you are just smart enough to not run it into the ground, you start to look around and feel entitled and superior enough to ask the people of Wisconsin to send you to the U.S. Senate, even though you don’t believe in government, where you’ll openly and clumsily dismiss the care and well-being of homeless veterans as a trivial “detail.”  This debacle followed on the heels of Johnson’s inability to articulate any sort of jobs plan/outlook for middle class workers when pressed during an interview with the Green Bay Press Gazette, even though every indicator in the nation says that’s what voters are most concerned about.  Johnson was asked to explain his jobs plan and he brought up the stock answers of cutting spending and deregulation, but the interviewers weren’t satisfied and asked for specifics which prompted the following exchange (with video, again via TPM):

There’s no real jobs plan?’ one interviewer asked.

“I would say bring fiscal discipline to the federal government,” Johnson replied. “We’ve got to curb spending.”

That didn’t satisfy his interviewers.

“So your jobs plan is to control spending. But what about the middle class?” the editor responded. “I mean, I hear you talking a lot about business, businesses. But I mean, what is your plan for the middle class?”

“We have to get the economy moving,” Johnson said, frozen.

‘Isn’t that pretty simple though what you’re saying is just, you know, elect me, to go there and cut spending and everything will take care of itself.'”

Thank god there are still journalists that will push back against this empty nonsense.  All they did was ask Johnson to elaborate past slogan and platitude level and he flat out couldn’t.  This inability lead the Green Bay Press Gazette to endorse Senator Feingold for the first time ever, according to TPM.  The majority of Johnson’s constituents will be middle class or lower and he has no plans, cares, ideas or ambitions to help make their lives better, which, in non-Ayn Rand infected corridors of reality, is what public service in the United States Senate entails.  Policy and governing is all about details.  Conservatives cried oceans of tears about the dangers inherent in President Obama’s inexperience and here is Johnson actually “comparing himself to a promising job candidate who has the potential to learn on the job” at a candidate forum at UM-Milwaukee.   It would funny if it weren’t so sad and dangerous.

Voters of Wisconsin–Please do not elect this man.

Section 2. The continuing destruction and dissolution of meaning in language

There was an excellent front-page diary by Meteor Blades on Daily Kos this morning detailing the sad verdict handed down by a district court judge in Helena, Montana.  The verdict, ala Citizens United, overturned Montana’s 98 year-old voter-initiated Corrupt Practices act, which banned corporate political spending.  According to the Helena Independent Record, the court ruled that the state’s ban on direct corporate political spending “insofar as it prevents corporations from making independent expenditures to support or oppose political candidates or political parties, is declared unconstitutional.”  Another sterling example of Citizens United’s enabling of anti-democratic corporate interests who want to buy our elections.  One of the plaintiffs in the Montana case is a group called the Western Tradition Partnership, a shadowy corporate front group whose executive director said of the decision:

“The court has restored fairness and balance to elections by allowing employers to speak freely about the radical environmentalist candidates and issues that threaten your right to earn a living”  (emphasis mine).

Let’s parse that language for a moment–I love how these groups are always (anonymously) out to righteously inform you about, and protect you from, “candidates and issues that threaten your right to earn a living.”  Yet they also tout the fact that they represent employers.  So if you read between the lines they are essentially saying: let us do, say and buy whatever we want (anonymously) or we’ll send the rest of your jobs to China or Mexico all while blaming any and everyone else, such as, in this case, “radical environmentalist candidates.”

According to the Billings Gazette, the Western Tradition Partnership bills itself as “a grass-roots organization dedicated to ‘Rediscovering America’s National Treasure’ by promoting responsible natural resource development, private property rights and multiple use of and access to public lands.”  But the Gazette also reported that a Montana state investigator found that the Partnership was soliciting donations from “officers of several foreign corporations or their affiliations, including some based in Canada, South Africa and the United Kingdom.”  They are so devoted to caring for “America’s National Treasure” that they need money from corporations in South Africa and Great Britain.  They are sternly for “private property rights,” but public lands must be accessible and open to multiple uses, like mountaintop removal, strip malls and/or strip mining.   The Western Tradition Partnership proclaims itself to be “the leading organization fighting the anti-jobs, anti-taxpayer policy agenda of extreme environmentalist front groups.”  Again, I challenge anyone affiliated with these groups to show me anyone in American public life (outside of the Chamber of Commerce and their obsession with protecting corporations so-called “right” to outsource, but that’s another post) who is “anti-job.”  Then they really pour it on with their courageous fight against the powerful and prominent “anti-tax payer policy agenda” put forth by imaginary” extreme environmentalist front groups.”  What is an “anti-tax payer policy agenda?”  I’m willing to bet it’s anything that conflicts with the profit margins held by the corporations (some of whom are foreign as the Billings Gazette reported) who actually fund this group.  But seriously, the phrase “anti-tax policy agenda” has no literal meaning or connection to any tangible, corresponding symbol, concept or object signified by the English language.  It is devoid of meaning in the purest sense.  This empty, nonsensical “pseudo” language is a virus employed by corporations and conservatives to erode the foundations of reality and bend history to their whims.  Refuse/Resist.

Section 3. Maureen Dowd sums it  up

I’m always fond of pointing out in my posts the delicious irony inherent in how conservatives like Sarah Palin yell all day about the notion and concept of “American exceptionalism,” yet their every single incompetent thought and action continually negates and disproves the concept.  In practice, though, the often demonstrated conservative fondness for scams, tilted scales, ponzi schemes, censorship, dishonesty, hypocrisy and nepotism suggests a fondness for the “exceptionalism” of banana republics and tin-pot dictatorships.   Another recurring strand of my posts  has been writing about this damaging insistence of voters to reward candidates “like themselves.”  Maureen Dowd wrote a column in the New York Times today, entitled “Making Ignorance Chic,” which summed both of these strands up beautifully.  Speaking of Sarah Palin, Dowd wrote the following:

“She says she believes in American exceptionalism. But when it comes to the people running the country, exceptionalism is suspect; leaders should be — as Palin, O’Donnell and Angle keep saying — just like you.”

Exactly.  When will people reject this idiocy?

Joe Miller, Liar

October 19, 2010

Update regarding the creepy, chilling idiocy of Senate candidate Joe Miller’s use of private security to harass and then “arrest” a reporter for trespassing at a public event on Sunday.

Lie #1.

Miller said told Fox the following:

I might also note that the middle school itself required us by a contract for a campaign, required us to have a security team.” 

Miller also was quoted on CNN as saying:

“There was a — a private security team that was required. We had to hire them because the school required that as a term in their lease.”
“‘We do not require users to hire security,'” she said. Renters must only have a security plan to protect users and the school itself, she said, and can resolve the issues with ‘monitors.'”
According to the Daily News, the “monitors” required for such events consist of “hall and parking lot monitors” tasked with advising attendees “of school district courtesy and food rules.”  No mention is made of private security details.  So Miller told a blatant, easily disprovable lie regarding his use of a private militia.
Lie #2
Miller told Fox that the “blogger” (who is a reporter, not a blogger at all) followed him into the bathroom and was generally acting in an overtly threatening manner that forced his security force into action etc. etc.
You have to love this trend of Tea Bag candidates always making subtle, subliminal allusions regarding the masculinity, or lack thereof, exhibited by their opponents.  Christine O’Donnell has also used this tactic, going to so far as to imply that her primary opponent was gay.   Miller’s statement is a lie in this instance, of course, because witnesses have come forth to dispute the Miller campaign’s made-up version of what transpired at the townhall.  A former Miller supporter named Lolly Symbol told the Alaska Dispatch that reporter Tony Hopfinger “didn’t do anything wrong” and that “he wasn’t posing a threat to Miller.”  Ms. Symbol went on to say this regarding Miller’s behavior, though:
Miller tried to get away from the reporter and in doing so put his hand on her arm and pushed her aside. Her 8-year-old son, Vincent Mahoney, was standing right behind her, and Miller bowled him over in his attempt to get away. “I don’t know if [Miller] didn’t see him or didn’t care, but he didn’t say ‘excuse me’ or ‘I’m sorry’. He didn’t even turn his head,” Symbol said. “He simply did not care at all.
What a classy guy!  It sounds like his “anger overcame him.”   I’ll give Ms. Symbol, via the Dispatch, the last word regarding the lies, deceptions and despicable events instigated by Miller and his private security detail:
“The whole thing just made me sick,” she said.”I was a big supporter of Joe Miller, I really was. But not anymore.”
Now about that private security detail…allegations have surfaced that the company who provided it, Drop Zone, was de-certified in 2008 and thus illegal.  I’m trying to confirm that with a reputable source.  The Anchorage Daily News is also reporting that the Army has verified that “two of the guards who assisted in the arrest of the journalist and who tried to prevent two other reporters from filming the detention were active-duty soldiers.”   The soldiers are assigned to the 3rd Maneuver Enhancement Brigade at Fort Richardson.  The Daily News spoke to the public affairs officer for the Army in Alaska, Maj. Bill Coppernoll, who said:

 

the two soldiers did not have permission from their current chain of command to work for the Drop Zone, but the Army was still researching whether previous company or brigade commanders authorized their employment.”
William Fulton, owner of Drop Zone Security, and all around stand-up guy, admitted that the soldiers told him they may be in trouble, before dismissively adding “they’re adults–They are responsible for themselves.”    Fulton was quoted as saying he arrested Hopfinger “for tresspassing and assault,” according to the Anchorage Daily News. But as we have noted, witnesses like Lolly Symbol have come forth and told media outlets, on the record, that there was no plausible way to construe Hopfinger’s actions as constituting “assault.”  Fulton reasoned that he could arrest Hopfinger for “tresspassing” because the Miller campaign “had rented the space from the school district and had the right to exclude anyone.”  That logic is contradicted by the fact that the district confirmed to the Daily News that it only “rented the cafeteria, stage and parking lot, not the hall where the arrest took place.
The information that is coming out about Drop Zone and William Fulton is frightening.  At least Erik Prince is an intelligent man, Fulton seems like a heavily armed bumpkin, bumbling around a sparsely populated state with his chest puffed out like some imaginary John Wayne.  What does it say about Miller’s ego and mental state that he thinks he needs private security to go to a campaign event at a school, in the first place, let alone a security detail led by Fulton and filled out with off-duty U.S. soldiers, in what may constitute a breach in the conditions of their much more important service to our nation??  If you’re going to be ridiculous enough to hire a private militia at least make sure that said personnel doesn’t consist of active duty soldiers who don’t have permission from their commanding officers to waste their time making your silly ass feel menacing and important enough to ‘arrest’ reporters for asking you questions about the legitimately shady stuff on your resume.  Who does this guy think he is?
Well, we know he’s a liar because his version of what transpired at this event has dissolved into a shameful morass of lies and fantasy.

Target Rich Evironment Part III.

October 18, 2010

Section I. Raese to the Bottom

Tea Bagger, superstar inheritor and perennial West Virginia Senate candidate John Raese is at least a part-time resident of Florida.  That’s where Raese’s home with the fancy, not at all ostentatious and tacky, soft pink marble driveway is.  It’s also where he claim’s “homeowner exemptions, only available to Florida state residents, including a $25,000 one this year,” according to Palm Beach County property records accessed by Politico. Most famously, Florida is also where his wife is registered to vote and his kids go to school.  Yahoo/CQ-Roll Call have the latest developments in this hilarious example of bumbling Tea Party delusion, deception and cognitive dissonance, reporting that “Elizabeth Raese is registered to vote in both states but has not voted in West Virginia since 1998.”  According to the same report, Politifact discovered Raese’s wife “has been registered to vote in Palm Beach County, Fla., since 2001 and voted there in 2008.”   She is now being officially removed from county voter rolls in Morgantown, West Virginia.  Where the story really gets funny, and veers into Great Moments in Republican Implausibility territory, is the revelation that Mrs. Raese defiantly told a Time reporter the following:

“‘We are West Virginians,'” Elizabeth Raese said, according to Time reporter Jay Newton-Small. “We live here, we vote here, people know that. We also have a home in Colorado, but we’re not residents there either.”

See, normal ole’ CEO/Gilded Age enthusiast John Raese and his family don’t really live in Florida, or Colorado, except for all of the easily available evidence that says they do.   Move along, nothing for the rubes to see here.  In the latest entry to Great Moment in Republican Implausibility sweepstakes, a Raese campaign spokesman told CQ-Roll Call that “Elizabeth Raese does not remember the conversation with the Time reporter, but he added that, ‘If she did say this, she obviously misspoke.'”  I can relate, I always seem to forget speaking with reporters from Time.   Talking with members of national media outlets is so boring and commonplace, it just slips your mind during those long journeys from mansion to mansion.    The hapless Raese was also given an anvil by Palm Beach, Florida resident Rush Limbaugh who further corroborated his residence in Palm Beach by saying, of Raese, on his radio show:

“He is a part-time resident here in Palm Beach, and he has a locker right across the, right across the bench from me at a prominent local club. I’ve never played golf with him, but I’ve met him”

You know, regular guy stuff that you and all your friends who own at least 3 homes and belong to ‘prominent’ clubs can relate to in between rounds of Golf.  When are Tea Partiers going to see the absurdity and cognitive dissonance inherent in listening to one multi-millionaire defend another by saying “Hey, West Virginia voters, go vote for this good guy I know from our ‘prominent’ country club in Palm Beach, Florida.”  And Tea Baggers have the nerve to wonder why they don’t get taken seriously.  Keep on fighting for Rush and Raese’s tax rates to stay low, you brave and mighty patriots!  Godspeed.  West Virginia governor Joe Manchin, who is running for the Senate against Raese, ran an ad with one of the best lines of the entire cycle:

“Raese’s wife is registered to vote in Florida so she can’t even vote for him. Why should we?”

Section II. Joe Miller-Moron Militia

Senate candidate Joe Miller’s private security “arrested” a journalist for “trespassing” at a public event yesterday.  You read that correctly.  There are many scary WTF levels to this debacle.  Miller’s private security is provided by a company called Drop Zone.  Shannyn Moore reports, on her excellent blog Just a Girl From Homer, in a post titled “Joe Miller’s Alaska Militia,” that Drop Zone brags “to patrons about their security squad being littered with former Blackwater operatives” and that “not disclosing full names and a preference for cash transactions were commonplace” aspects of Drop Zone’s business.  The man employing these people wants to be a member of the United States Senate.  It’s chilling.   Moore continues, stating the obvious in a year where, sadly, it needs to be emphasized and restated more than ever (emphasis mine):

Having a personal militia is not common. Joe Miller’s narcissistic, militant disorder has come to full light with the detainment of journalist Tony Hopfinger. Political candidates with their own mercenaries are a recipe for disaster.”

I can’t believe this is where we’re at in our public life at this point in our nation’s history.  Before the fireworks and Kafkaesque arrest of journalist Tony Hopfinger of Alaska Dispatch, Miller favorably referenced East Germany’s border security methods and practices in an answer to a question regarding illegal immigration.   Sadly, Miller’s fondness for the former home of the Stasi isn’t confined to his penchant for stringent personal security and militias, listen to the language used in their official statement regarding this debacle (emphasis mine):

“The Miller campaign was required by the facility to provide security at the event. Even though Joe had spent nearly an hour freely answering questions from those in attendance, the blogger chased Miller to the exit after the event concluded in an attempt to create and then record a ‘confrontation’ with the candidate. While Miller attempted to calmly exit the facility, the blogger physically assaulted another individual and made threatening gestures and movements towards the candidate. At that point the security personnel had to take action and intervened and detained the irrational blogger, whose anger overcame him. It is also important to note that the security personnel did not know that the individual they detained was a blogger who reporting on the campaign. To them, the blogger appeared irrational, angry and potentially violent.”

I’ve read statements from the North Korean state media less Orwellian than that.  This is my favorite passage: “detained the irrational blogger, whose anger overcame him.”  Dear Leader would surely approve!   It should be noted that Hopfinger is not a “blogger” (blogger=catchall boogeymen term for factually challenged conservative frauds) and that the Alaska Dispatch is “a for-profit start-up news website that employees four reporters, two of whom have won Pulitzer Prizes for their reporting,” according to the HuffingtonPost.

To recap-the man with personal security culled from ex-Blackwater mercenaries orders some sort-of surreal “arrest” of a journalist for appearing “trespassing” while “irrational” and “angry” at a public event.  Got it.  Joe Miller is also a strong, strong advocate of “freedom.”  Mostly his own “freedom” to run for the Senate without answering pesky, yet legitimate, questions about his fitness for that office.   Hopfinger summed this absurdity up brilliantly (via HuffPo):

“I think, just like in other parts of the country, the media is finding itself having a hard time doing its job in this political cycle because, whenever we ask questions, there are certain candidates out there who decry ‘lamestream media’ or whatever. Mr. Miller has had plenty of time to answer questions. He has been given plenty of opportunities. He somehow believes he shouldn’t be questioned about his background and yet he wants a job in six years, to a post where there are only 100 in the entire country, and we are not supposed to ask questions about anything of his past. There is a little bit of shoot the messenger. It is happening up here, and other parts of the country. There are certain candidates who just want to turn this around and act like it’s the media causing the problem. That has always been there, that element. It is just more ramped up this political cycle.”

Exactly.  People like, so-called ‘liberal,’ Chris Matthews need to dispense with this false equivalency nonsense and stop tripping over themselves in a rush to say “both sides do it” when discussing, or more importantly not discussing, happenings like this in our politics.  “Having a personal militia is not common,” as Moore stated, and people like Joe Miller need to stop getting a pass on the very real instances and examples of extremism, corruption and hypocrisy in their backgrounds under the false, tired, yet set in stone, old media formulation that “both sides do it.”   There just AREN’T any Democratic candidates walking around with personal militias or dressing up like Nazis.  They DON’T exist.  So start doing your job and shining the spotlight on these extremists, label them what they are (extremists and liars) and start asking hard questions as Mr. Hopfinger suggests, so that we can salvage the soul of our nation from some of the worst available men.

Ignorance is Bliss

October 15, 2010

I wrote about the sad, and I believe, socially dangerous follies of voters rewarding incompetent, inadequate candidates like Christine O’Donnell as an act of self-glorification/self-recognition here. I used a quote from a Washington Post article where a voter was quoted as saying (emphasis mine):

“‘Christine O’Donnell is just an ordinary citizen, and that’s what I like about her,’” said Greg Gergen, a Wilmington Republican who said he will vote for O’Donnell.”

An eerily similar quote was included in a New York Times recap of O’Donnell’s disastrous debate with Senate candidate, Chris Coons, wherein a 23 year old voter working her way through college remarked that O’Donnell was someone “she could relate to.”  What does it say about the level of narcissism in our society that people like this are so obsessed with self-affirmation and seeing their reflections in candidates?  In this debate Christine O’Donnell referred to herself as a “congressman” while answering a hypothetical question regarding how she’d react to a policy issue if elected.  Besides the obvious fact that she’d be a “congresswoman” if elected to the House; she’d first have to run to serve in the House, not the Senate, which is what she is actually doing.  On a more substantive note, O’Donnell talked nonsensically of America’s battles against the Soviets in Afghanistan and was unable to cite one recent Supreme Court case that she disagreed with.  That she can’t name a recent Supreme Court case might be a cute, ‘non-elitist’ piece of ignorance the aforementioned voter has in common with O’Donnell, thus making her easier to “relate to,” but it makes a mockery out of the concepts and responsibilities of actual governance, while illuminating significant problems in our collective psyche.  In an excellent post on Swampland today, Joe Klein perceptively says that this type of thinking is indicative of “a society that no longer takes itself seriously.”  Strong words, but completely on the mark in this instance.  You see, were “congressman” O’Donnell actually elected to the Senate, on the strength of all the pathetic “I like her because she’s dumb like me” votes, she could potentially get assigned to the Senate Judiciary Committee whereupon she’d be tasked with vetting and confirming Supreme Court nominees, and her fantastically photogenic ignorance will no longer be able to mask the fact that she has absolutely zero knowledge to draw upon to enable her to make informed decisions on matters of such crucial importance to millions of Americans.   Acquaintance with recent Supreme Court litigation can no longer be smugly dismissed as abstract elitist fodder when you decide to run for the United States Senate.   O’Donnell has to know this stuff to be taken seriously.  The fact that she doesn’t, explains why she isn’t.  Not thanks to the mean, misogynistic liberal media being too hard on her.  You’d think that O’Donnell would have at least learned from the mistakes of her mentor and had one Supreme Court case at the ready for these tricky, “gotcha” style debate moderators.   The person in the audience comforted by their recognition of ignorance in O’Donnell is not running for Senate, so their ignorance of the court’s docket can be excused because it can’t cause any damage.   O’Donnell’s malignant ignorance of something so important would provoke wide-ranging consequences and cannot be dismissed or rewarded.   I know people hate the concept of “elites” (aka people who have the nerve to actually know stuff about the Supreme Court while running for Senate) but society can’t function without them.  It’s humbling meeting people who are obviously smarter than you.  But when I need a doctor or lawyer, the last thing on earth I want from them is a reflection and/or recognition of my own ignorance so I can feel better about myself.  Why so many Americans require this reflection/recognition from within their politicians nowadays is frightening.    Joe Klein brutally sums up this aspect of O’Donnell’s “appeal” in the post I’d quoted previously:

“There is no way she could ever be confused with a member of the elites; there is no way she could be confused with an above average high school student. Her ignorance, therefore, makes her authentic–the holy grail of latter-day American politics: she’s a real person, not like those phony politicians. In that sense, she–and the lifeboat filled with other Tea Party know-nothings–follow in the wake of our leading exemplar of ignorant authenticity, Sarah Palin”

To O’ Donnell’s credit, she is, at least, smart enough to exploit the sense of recognition many voters see in her ignorance, running, typically subtle, ads that say: “I Am You.”   But again this is symptomatic of a larger decline in our national standards, overall, and as Klein writes “there is something profoundly diseased about a society that idolizes its ignoramuses and disdains its experts.”  The tendency to recognize ignorance as a virtue and reward its dangerously shameless purveyors with access to the highest levers of power in our society is a “disease.” And, long-term, the decay and damage this disease inflicts, if -unchecked, will be more harmful to our national health than anything terrorists anywhere in the world could dream up.   This upside-down conception of ignorance as “authenticity” must be reversed and rejected.

BP’s Senator strikes again

October 13, 2010

Just a quick update regarding British Petroleum’s Senator at large Mary Landrieu:

Last week I wrote about her heroic and principled hold on Jacob Lew’s nomination to become director of the Office of Management and Budget.  She, or the lobbyist/industry exec.using her as a conduit, chose very interesting language to, rather unconvincingly, assert that her hold on Lew’s nomination wasn’t just a petty form of oil industry blackmail.  Today the Obama administration lifted the moratorium on deepwater drilling and—surprise!  Senator Landrieu and her oil industry colleagues still aren’t satisfied.   Landrieu’s office/lobbying shop released a statement saying (via TPM):

“Today’s decision is a good start, but it must be accompanied by an action plan to get the entire industry in the Gulf of Mexico back to work.  This means that the administration must continue to accelerate the granting of permits in shallow and deep water, and provide greater certainty about the rules and regulations industry must meet.”

Pretense dropped.  There is no discernible space between Landrieu and the oil industry she is making demands and threats on behalf of within the language employed in that statement.  She even has the nerve to threaten the administration over the harsh “certainty” of the pathetically inadequate regulations that the ever beleaguered, and always under-siege, ‘little guys’ in the oil industry heroically have to adhere to while they make their billions and ravage the earth.

Again, I defy anyone reading that statement to tell me that she isn’t an full-blown industry employee, or, worse, a paid cipher devoted entirely to furthering the industry’s cause at all times, no matter the cost to her constituents and the environment.

Warning Shot

October 12, 2010

I’ve written before about the conservative fixation on the rubbish spewed out by in Ayn Rand in Atlas Shrugged and it reared it’s ugly, pitiful head again in the recent debate between prototypical Tea Bag hypocrite Ron Johnson and Senator Russ Feingold.

According to the Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel, the ‘hot novel’ provided the debate with its “most spirited discussion.”   Johnson was asked about his admiration of Atlas Shrugged and said the following:

It’s a warning of what could happen to America…When you hear people talk about a tipping point, that’s what we’re concerned about. . . . We have more people who are net beneficiaries of government than are actually paying into the system. That’s a very serious thing to think about.”

Johnson, he of the brave, innovative and proud tradition of in-law supplied, and government subsidized wealth, is clumsily furthering the faint, fledgling meme that bold, indispensable producers such as himself may just one day act out this adolescent fantasy of withholding their invaluable services (that, in this case, wouldn’t exist at their current level without government investment) just to teach all the rest of us lazy socialist leeches a lesson once and for all.   Glenn Beck seemed to imply a similar warning in his appalling defense of the fire department who refused to put out the man in Tennessee’s house due to his failure to pay a municipal fee.  Beck said (never will I link to or support his nonsense) something to the effect of “America had better start thinking about these types of things,” basically confirming Keith Olbermann’s conception of the whole disgusting incident as a harbinger of an emerging “a la carte government” that would make John Galt proud.

The easily lead, “low-information,” voters who follow these people need to realize once and for all that the entire rationale for the Tea Party’s existence is so that people like Johnson, Glenn Beck and John Raese can continue to pay less taxes.   That’s it.  Period.  They have no other platforms or principles and they are getting poor, misinformed people (aka Tea Party followers/”low information” voters) to fight their battles for them, while they vote completely and utterly against their own true interests.

Target Rich Environment Vol. II (Post and Examiner edition)

October 7, 2010

Examining conservative pathologies:

One of my guilty pleasures since moving to D.C. has been reading the Washington Examiner a few times a week.  It’s funnier than the Washington Times because it exudes this sort-of faux intellectual seriousness, Reverend Moon and the Times just can’t aspire to, while spouting the exact same, straight from the playbook, conservative gibberish you hear in every other conservative media outlet.  Yesterday I had to laugh while reading an article titled “GOP Star Chris Christie endorses Bob Ehrlich” which was filled with breathless, fawning quotes about Christie being “a big star” and providing the “type of leadership voters want to see everywhere.”  The smiled faded when I encountered the following passage (emphasis mine):

“Since taking office, Christie has identified more than $2 billion in unspent funds, forced schoolteachers to pay for their health care benefits and slashed state spending by $3 billion without raising taxes.”

The fact that Christie forced teachers to pay for their own health care benefits was actually offered as evidence of his AWESOMENESS in a supposedly serious newspaper in our nations capitol.  I never cease being shocked and saddened by the pathological hatred and contempt conservatives have for teachers.  It’s mind-blowing.  The “heroic” Christie “slashed” $560 million in education funding for New Jersey schools.  Think about that.  Imagine the impact those cuts are having on teachers and schools in places like Camden, Hoboken and Newark.  Christie said he’d free up some of that aid if teachers agreed to a wage freeze and pay for a higher percentage of their benefits out of pocket.  Here is one of the many places the conservative mind goes entirely off the rails and out of the realms of reality: people like Christie and bottom-feeding, dime a dozen, radio hacks such as Neal Boortz actually seem to think that teachers are rich, pampered, overcompensated “terrorists.”  Part of me understands the reasons for this pathological antipathy towards teachers (in as much as I can as someone with a brain/soul).  Conservatives entire world view, ideology and conception of history shrinks and recedes further into fantasy every time a textbook is opened and a lesson is taught.  The shallowness, inadequacies and failures of their philosophy is laid bare as a child progresses through junior high and beyond.  They know this, so they do things like labeling plain-old curriculum based teaching and learning “indoctrination,” because it doesn’t adhere to, or reinforce, the fantasies conservatism depends on.  Modern education can’t nurture conservative fantasies because as Stephen Colbert once famously said: “Reality has a well-known liberal bias.”  Labeling education “indoctrination” hasn’t gained much traction outside of the closed circle of the same-old fevered minds, so they are stepping up their efforts by going straight to the source and writing their own textbooks; objective reality be damned.
The other reason conservatives hate teachers so much is that they are unionized.  Not satisfied with decimating and destroying labor unions in almost every other economic sector, conservatives demonize unions like the National Education Association incessantly.  Starting in 2004 when Secretary of Education Rod Paige actually referred to the NEA as a “terrorist organization” in a speech, this dangerous and despicable slur has been echoed by unoriginal con-men like Boortz who took it a step further declaring teachers unions to be “more dangerous than Al-Qaeda.”
Why because they refuse to let what’s public be privatized?
Look, these teachers could get paid more money annually than Rush Limbaugh, Bill Gates and Tom Brady combined and it still wouldn’t enough in some cases.  Schools are underfunded from the outset and falling part, morale is low, parents expectations are different etc. etc. and there is always a conservative ‘star’ like Christie looking to squeeze blood from a stone and take more and more funding away.   Harold Meyerson said it eloquently in his Washington Post column yesterday, describing the conservative penchant for scapegoating teachers pitch-perfectly:
“Blaming teachers for the dysfunction of inner cities and the decline of American industry lets a lot of other, more culpable, parties off the hook.”
My biggest fear is that one day the idealism and commitment to public service that drives most men and women to become teachers will no longer be strong enough to withstand the low-pay, the demonization, the deteriorating schools, etc.  The conservative con-men and women like Sarah Palin who thrive on un-educated, so-called “low information” voters may then, finally,  be ensured of Rove’ “permanent majority” and Mike Judge’s prophecy of an Idiocracy will be fulfilled.

Lobbyist/Oil Industry exec. or Senator?

Senator of British Petroleum, Mary Landrieu wrote a letter to the Washington Post yesterday in which she attempted to defend her hold on Jacob Lew’s nomination to be director of the Office of Management and Budget.  The language is interesting to say the least.  I can’t tell if it was written directly by one of her BP colleagues, only to have her name stamped on it at the last minute, or if she can no longer publicly maintain the fictional notion that she works for the people of Louisiana.   Let’s take a closer look at the language and tone (emphasis mine):

“Since the day an unprecedented moratorium shut down deep-water oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico for every company except the one that was drilling relief wells after causing the April oil spill, I have tried in vain to show the Obama administration how its handling of this situation completely missed the mark. In the parlance of the industry, the administration’s policy struck a dry hole.”

Senator, you know what else is “unprecedented?”  The scale and scope of BP’s negligence in the destruction of the Gulf Coast.  You can actually sense the mask slip while reading the “In the parlance of the industry…” sentence.  I’m sure if Landrieu actually wrote this she had to hit the backspace key a few times to fix the initial draft where she’d no doubt instinctually written: “In the parlance of our industry.”

She, or the lobbyist, continues:

“My hold on Jacob Lew’s nomination to be director of the Office of Management and Budget comes as a last resort, after months of meetings, hearings and testimony from citizens and experts failed to move the administration from a misguided course. Instead of curtailing “big oil,” administration policy has crippled independents and smaller operators.”

You gotta love the paternalistic tone of the oil companies seeping directly through Senator Landrieu in the use of the phrase “misguided course” to describe Administration policy.  It is corporate speak extraordinaire.  Also note the dismissive use of quotes around the phrase “big oil” like it’s some radical, out-of bounds, Marxist epithet.  Then comes the predictable chorus of how it’s the poor small “operators” who are being hurt.  There is nothing like the spectacle of monolithic multinational companies speaking through corrupt Senators and hiding abjectly behind the concept that they are acting nobly in the interests of the little guy.

Cue the strings for Landrieu’s grand finale:

“When we met some weeks ago, Mr. Lew gave no indication that he understood how devastating the moratorium’s effect is on the Gulf Coast economy or how a prolonged blockage of new offshore oil production can affect the national economy. As the president’s top economic adviser, the budget director has the power and responsibility to overturn a detrimental economic policy. Mr. Lew simply repeated the administration’s policy stance and refused to consider the economic hardships it is causing. That is not good enough for me or the people I represent.”

It can, almost, go without comment and/or explication.   You cannot tell me a lobbyist or BP employee didn’t write this letter/press release.

The moratorium is “devastating” and “detrimental” (to BP’s bottom line).   A “prolonged blockage” will effect the “national economy.”  Can you sense the vague threat and overt fear-mongering in that sentence?   Finally, this policy just isn’t “good enough” for the Oil execs. “I represent.”

The truth at last.


Target Rich Environment

October 7, 2010

Section I. Great Moments in Implausibility

I’m going to quote liberally from an excellent piece by Mike McIntire that the New York Times ran a few weeks back regarding a non-profit, Republican attack-dog outfit called Americans for Job Security.  Frank Rich brought this piece to my attention in his column on Sunday.   First, let me just say that you have to love the names they come up with for these things.  Americans for Job Security: In brave, steadfast opposition to those vast, staggering numbers of Americans against Job Security.  The active degradation of the English language perpetrated every second of every day by corporate interests in the United States, and beyond, is as appalling as it is impressive in a brutal, Machiavellian sense.   Linguistically, the name Americans for Job Security is so empty and devoid of actual meaning that it’s almost artful in a way.   Furthering the dissolution of meaning and signification, Americans for Job Security claims to advocate a “pro-paycheck public policy.”  It is good to know there’s a courageous bulwark against the strident, surging proponents of “anti-paycheck public policy.”  What’s funny is that these people are probably going to run ads on behalf of West Virginia Senate candidate John Raese, who really does seem to be, at least mildly, anti-paycheck.   But as investigators in Alaska found out, noble provision of paycheck protection aside, Americans for Job Security is actually just a “front for a coterie of political operatives, devised to sidestep campaign disclosure rules.”  Shocking.

According to the Times, the group showed up in Alaska two years ago and spent $1.6 million to influence voting on a referendum that would “restrict development of a gold and copper mine at the headwaters of Bristol Bay.”  Local people in support of the development filed a complaint with the state, which lead to the investigation of Americans for Job Security that is covered in McIntire’s article.  In short, the Alaska Public Offices Commission report found that:

Americans for Job Security has no purpose other than to cover various money trails all over the country

Now let’s start admiring those Great Moments in Implausibility!

Fact #1.  According to Campaign Finance Law (via McIntire’s column, emphasis added by me),  Americans for Job Security must:

not spend the majority of its resources on political activity or coordinate with party committees, and may keep its donors secret only as long as their contributions are not intended for specific ad campaigns close to an election.”

Fact #2. Americans for Job Security is housed in a space that is:

“sublet from a Republican consulting shop, Crossroads Media, whose other clients include the national Republican Party, the Republican Governors Association and American Crossroads, a Karl Rove-backed group raising millions to support Republican candidates.”

Great Moments in Implausibility part I.  In light of the facts posted above-Americans for Job Security’s President, and sole employee, Stephen DeMaura testified, in Alaska, that despite sharing office space with these powerful, supremely connected, overtly Republican operatives, they exerted no influence on his activities.

“I work with them closely on a day-to-day basis, but we don’t discuss our work or coordinate anything,” he said. “It’s firewalled off.”

Fact #3.  Crossroads Media, one of the firms that shares office space with Americans for Job Security, is run by a man named Michael Dubke, who, as McIntire reports, was the president of Americans for Job Security until April 2008 when Mr. DeMaura took over.   Dubke remains a “consultant” for Americans for Job Security and Crossroads Media places “many” of the group’s ads.

Great Moments in Implausibility part II.  Yet, in light of the facts posted above, Mr. Dubke:

denied that the agenda of Americans for Job Security was driven by the political interests of his firms. “Nothing is ever done in coordination with another campaign,” he said. “I’m always trying to follow the letter of the law.”

Fact #4. The Times reports that “the National Republican Congressional Committee — a sometime client of Mr. Dubke’s — sent local reporters an Americans for Job Security announcement and transcript of a new ad opposing a Democratic congressman, Representative Michael Arcuri.”

Great Moments in Implausibility part III.  Yet, in light of the facts posted above:

A committee spokesman said he was not coordinating anything with the advocacy group, but merely passing along “a public document.” The document, however, could not be found on the group’s Web site, and a reporter who received it said the committee was his only source for it.”

There is a lot more that bears reading in McIntire’s excellent work and I urge anyone reading this post to please read the whole article. It is a rare and revealing glimpse into the dishonest, unethical and basically illegal world of corporate conservatives, largely successful, attempts to buy elections.  In the words of the watchdog group Public Citizen’s research director Taylor Lincoln:

“A lot of nonprofits game the system, but A.J.S. is unusual in that they so blatantly try to influence elections and evade disclosure…By any common-sense, reasonable interpretation of what they do, they are in violation of the rules.”

I’ve been interested in these shadow groups since I started doing research for LittleSis and I hope to write a book on the subject someday.  This article was invaluable.  One last parting shot from the Alaska’s Public Offices Commission report regarding Americans for Job Security’s assertion that they protect the identities of their members and donors so that they can “speak without fear of reprisal”:

“One would hardly expect reprisals for ‘promoting a healthy and vibrant economy'”

Section II.  The continuing chronicles of Tea Party hypocrisy

I mentioned Gilded Age enthusiast, and self professed ‘flamboyant businessman,” John Raese, earlier, because he is the subject of my latest look at the truly awesome, would be funny if significant numbers of American voters weren’t so gullible, hypocrisy exhibited by Tea Bag candidates in this political cycle.  Raese finds the minimum wage “hideous,” a new and increasingly popular theme mouthed by millionaires on campaign trails amidst increasingly desperate, misinformed people, and, of course, he thinks BIG Government spending is the DEVIL…BUT, when you look into the details (I’m actually fucking tired of typing this sentence) of his business dealings…Surprise, Surprise…Raese’s company, Greer Industries has received $2.4 million in government contracts over the past decade, according to Media Matters Political Correction blog.  Media Matters goes on to note that Raese is also a big proponent of deregulation, which might be explained by the unfortunate fact that Greer Industries has been fined for over “627 safety violations since 1995.”

Would-be King Carl (Tea Party Hypocrisy, New York State of Mine)

October 5, 2010

A man named Carl Paladino is running to be governor of New York.  You’ve probably heard of him thanks to his infamous endorsements of, and dalliances with, bestiality videos and forwarded emails full of porn and racist images of Barack and Michelle Obama dressed up as “pimps” and “hoes.”  Bob Herbert (his excellent NYT column on Paladino is now behind a paywall) said it best regarding this issue:

“Is the Republican candidate for governor of New York a racist, sexist, pornography-loving creep? Or are there other, more benign, explanations for the stomach-turning e-mails distributed by Carl Paladino?”

Paladino and his lackeys (The suicide rate among his “staff” has to be high) lazily attempted to dismiss the emails as indicative of  “bad judgment,” which, besides being cynical and pathetic, begs the question: Why should New Yorkers entrust their vote to someone with such admittedly “bad judgment.”  If he’s not smart enough to realize that sending his co-workers puerile, disgusting emails might be a  bad idea especially when he has designs on the governor’s mansion, how can he be expected to handle grown-up stuff like the Empire State’s staggering $5.5 billion deficit.  I can just hear the shallow, deluded voices yelling back at me through the void: BUT, PALADINO’S A SUCCESSFUL BUSINESSMAN, HE’S A MILLIONAIRE, BUDDY!  HE KNOWS HOW TO RUN THINGS.  I hate this damn near pathological strain of blind worship in far too many Americans that holds that someone like Paladino’s worth and success not only automatically guarantees them to be a genius, but also automatically washes away their, in this case, hideous faults and glaring deficits of character.

Let’s look a little further into Paladino’s success.  Much like fellow Tea Party hypocrite Wisconsin Senate Candidate Ron Johnson, Paladino has staked his electoral claim as a fiery, unhinged avenger against Government HANDOUTS and WASTE, but right on cue the New York Daily News found out that Paladino has “received millions of dollars in tax breaks over the years.”   Blatant hypocrisy. Check.   But it gets worse (emphasis mine):

In 2002, one of his companies, J-P Group LLC, won a major tax break from the Empire State Development Corp. by promising to upgrade 16 properties scattered near downtown Buffalo within what was then designated as an Empire Zone.

The properties included a doctor’s office, a shopping center, several retail shops, a bank and a handful of vacant lots.

The program’s incentive was to generate jobs and inject investment into a downtrodden area that would, in the end, offset the sales and real estate tax revenue lost.

It didn’t work out that way.

From 2001 through 2007, Paladino’s company received $1.47 million in tax breaks, but invested only $1.1 million in payroll and capital improvements. The end result was a net loss of $300,000, defeating the purpose of the program.

Also, when the tax break began, J-P Group had one full-time employee. By 2008, that number had grown to two”

This is why the blind worship of success and money that I mentioned before is so naive and galling.  It is almost always a scam or a shell game with people like Paladino leaving cut throats and destroyed lives in their wake while they plumb loopholes to steal money from the governments and/or investors as demonstrated here by the Daily News.  This man has nothing if not balls and is desperately fighting the good fight “to hold on to a $1.4 million tax break for a company that created  only one job and put back into the economy less than it took out.”  Yep.  An Anti-Big Government Tea Party candidate sustained and subsidized by Government handouts is actually fighting tooth and nail in court to keep his corporate welfare while braying incessantly about its EVILS to the rubes on the campaign trail day and night–Who would have thunk it??  And as Rachel Maddow astutely and insistently points out: They’re not ashamed.    When the state rightfully reexamined and then revoked Paladino’s tax break due to his company’s failure to “provide economic returns to the state” he took them to court to get it restored and as of this past August he succeeded, brazenly taking an arrogant parting shot at “the fools in the legislature” on the way out the courtroom door.  Of course those “fools in the legislature” would be his colleagues were he to win, so at least they won’t have to worry about seeing people have sex with animals whenever they open one of his emails.

But let’s look at another predictable layer of Paladino’s appalling hypocrisy.  True to a long, loud and proud conservative, “Chickenhawk” lineage ole’ Carl was a big proponent of the Vietnam War until…wait for it…it was his time to go and then it was deferments all day, every day.  Take it away, Greg Mitchell (from an excellent column entitled “Carl Paladino’s School Days”)

“like so many gung-ho types, Paladino took his ROTC money and commitment to serve and… took a pass for three years, getting a deferment to go to law school at Syracuse in 1968 at the height of the Vietnam escalation, not joining up for his tour until 1971, when withdrawals were well underway. He did not go off to war, spending less than a year on active duty—yet has bragged about his military record and compared his campaign to the exploits of Gen. George Patton.”                                                                                                                                   (emphasis mine)

His feverish, delusional “chickenhawk” equation of his ROTC exploits with Gen. Patton’s service goes along way to explaining his already legendary surreal, cartoonish, tough-guy confrontation with the New York Post’s Fred Dicker a few days ago.  It also goes to show that, all hyperbole aside, this man is unfit for office by any measurable standard.

Besides calling the state legislature “fools,” Paladino bragged to the Associated Press (via HuffPo) that his time in office “wouldn’t be pretty” and that he “would only work with people of his choosing” while in the same breath lamenting the dictatorial tone of those currently in Albany.  Think about that sentence.  Paladino is openly bragging that he would only work with other elected officials of his choosing because the people who currently run Albany do so like dictators.  It’s a surefire gold medal winner in the Orwellian Olympics.  I’m confused because I thought dictators were the type of tough-guy, manly men who only worked with the people of their “choosing.”  You also find out in this priceless AP article that Paladino hates campaigning:

“Doing this, this campaigning, is the most disgusting thing I’ve ever got myself involved with, but it’s a necessary evil so that I can do the real job,”

Translation: I’m rich, I have enough money to buy the governor’s seat, but I have to go through the motions, interacting with these ‘disgusting’ rubes and mongrel races when I should be in court making sure my corporate welfare keeps flowing.  It just isn’t fair.  Handouts for me: legally mandated right of God and Country.  Handouts for you: a disgusting, unconscionable waste of money, and a breach of the Constitution, or something

Again, all hyperbole aside, this man is not fit for ANY public office.  He somehow survived the racist emails with his lazy, half-hearted denials and insistence that the people they offended didn’t have a “sense of humor,” but when you look deeper at this man the picture, amazingly, only becomes more seedy, appalling and unsettling.  Paladino is emblematic of a new breed of openly brazen “pay to play” avatars in American Politics, like his fellow gubernatorial candidates Medicare embezzler/fraud king Rick Scott and bumbling idiot/accidental CEO Meg Whitman, whose only talents are the ability to game the system and accumulate wealth, while creating nothing as the New York Legislature affirmed in Paladino’s case, and whose only principles consist of using said wealth to purchase elections and titles so that they may perpetuate the system they so expertly game, insulating it from any meaningful change by holding official levers of power.

A true parade of the horribles.