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Dear Mr. Kline…

5:07 am in Uncategorized by Phoenix Woman

Representative John Kline

An open letter to John Kline

Dear Mr. John Kline:

I listened with great interest to your comments as played on NPR this morning. In them, you in essence joined your fellow John Birch Astroturfed Tea Partiers in Congress in denying that shutting down the government, or even defaulting on the debts you made it run up by backing the Bush tax cuts and wars, would hurt the US all that much.

It’s hard to tell whether you are serious or just spouting tough-guy jargon because you fear looking “weak.” But here are a few things that you and your fellow arsonists might not have taken into consideration – namely, around two million things, the approximate number of Federal government employees. This does not include troops of which we have another 1.4 million, so actually we’re looking at approximately 3.4 million things.

By the time you read this, John Kline, all Federal government employees and military troops will probably have been told something along the lines of the following sentence:”If the shutdown looks like it will last more than two weeks, apply for unemployment money.”

Do you realize what that means, Mr. Kline?

Do you?

Yes, yes, we know that the first bite of your insanity apple, the shutdown, will “only” affect 800,000 people. But the debt limit crisis is following in a few days, and that affects all Federal employees.

Subtracting the troops serving overseas, who you apparently want to suffer in place, that’s nearly three million people nationwide hitting unemployment offices, all at once.

Do you realize what that means to the state governments you and your colleagues have already worked to deprive of Federal aid?

Do you?

Furthermore, a lot of these people, like so many persons in what used to be America’s middle classes until you guys decided that cutting rich people’s taxes was more desirable than a healthy and sound country, are living paycheck to paycheck. What happens to them when they run out of options? Who do you think they are likeliest to blame?

I await your reply.

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Rochester, MN Post-Bulletin Rolls out Red Carpet for No-Show Teabaggers

1:48 pm in Uncategorized by Phoenix Woman

I’ve long since got used to seeing the Republican-leaning “mainstream” media go out of its way to ignore or minimize progressive protests and parades — such as the massively-well-attended pro-immigrant ones that have taken place in several US cities over the past few years — while chasing after any old handful of right-wingers gathered in a single spot long enough for the camera crews to immortalize them on film, video or pixels. We saw this most recently in Madison last month, where Russian TV crews did a better job covering the protests than did most national media, which for the most part averted its eyes when nearly 100,000 people converged on the Wisconsin State Capitol on February 26.

But Bluestem Prairie’s Sally Jo Sorensen has alerted me to a first: a newspaper — namely, the Rochester, Minnesota Post-Bulletin — giving copious coverage to a right-wing rally that never happened. Really and truly:

The paper published three stories Saturday about the local tea party:

Rainy days or sunshine ahead for Rochester Tea Party Patriots?

Debate continues: Do Rochester Tea Party Patriots help, hinder local GOP?

Rochester Tea Party Patriots: Five questions

What’s the problem? Check out the lede for the first story of the three handed in by Tea party toadie and PB political reporter Heather Carlson:

It appears that only a blustery, rainy forecast has been able to keep Rochester Tea Party Patriots from speaking out.

The group canceled what would have been its third annual tax day rally Friday in Rochester. But while they weren’t out at Soldiers Field waving signs calling for budget cuts and an end to the “nanny state,” Tea Party activists say it won’t curtail the efforts that have made them a growing force in local politics this year. . . .

Yeah, you read that right. The Tea Party Patriots of Rochester cancelled their rally because of a weather forecast (probably assisted by that nanny-statish National Weather Service), but still got three stories in the Post Bulletin.

As Sorensen goes on to note, union members of her acquaintance have told her that the Post-Bulletin routinely ignores pro-labor protests, ones with actual protesters who are out in all sorts of weather and who don’t leave when the news crews do. Yet the sunshine patriots so beloved of the P-B get fawning treatment despite being total no-shows.

It is to laugh.

(Crossposted to Renaissance Post.)

“Unjust to the South”: How the Confederacy Won the Propaganda Afterwar

6:06 pm in Uncategorized by Phoenix Woman

On this, the 150th anniversary of the start of the War between the States, James Loewen — author of Lies My Teacher Told Me and Lies Across America — has an article debunking five commonly-promoted myths about that war.

Loewen’s Myth #4 — that Lincoln went to war expressly to free the slaves being held in the South (in fact, while Lincoln was indeed antislavery, keeping the Union together was Job One for him) — is one that most of us know to be false, thanks to the 20th-century preeminence of authors arguing, subtly or otherwise, on behalf of the Secesh. But the other myths Loewen mentions have had far less debunking — in fact, the set of persons actively promoting these myths has considerable overlap with the set of persons attacking Myth #4.

See, for example, Myth #1: “The South seceded over states’ rights.” Um, no. As Loewen says, “Confederate states did claim the right to secede, but no state claimed to be seceding for that right. In fact, Confederates opposed states’ rights — that is, the right of Northern states not to support slavery.” While Lincoln wanted to keep the South in the Union, the elites who ran the South — knowing the growing abolitionist sentiment that he, a known opponent of slavery, represented — wanted out of the Union precisely so they could preserve slavery.

Look at a document Loewen cites, the “Declaration of the Immediate Causes Which Induce and Justify the Secession of South Carolina from the Federal Union” which was adopted December 24, 1860 by the delegates attending South Carolina’s secession convention. (A text version is here for the PDF-impaired.) Straight from the opening paragraph, it’s crystal-clear that the right that most interested the South Carolina secessionists, who were the leaders of the South’s secession movement, was their perceived right to own other human beings as slaves:

The people of the State of South Carolina, in Convention assembled, on the 26th day of April, A.D., 1852, declared that the frequent violations of the Constitution of the United States, by the Federal Government, and its encroachments upon the reserved rights of the States, fully justified this State in then withdrawing from the Federal Union; but in deference to the opinions and wishes of the other slaveholding States, she forbore at that time to exercise this right. Since that time, these encroachments have continued to increase, and further forbearance ceases to be a virtue.

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Arizona GOP Precinct Staff, Fearful Of Tea Party, Resign To Avoid Bullets

6:14 am in campaign finance, Government, Politics, Republican Party, Tea Party by Phoenix Woman

photo: longhorndave via Flickr

If “both sides do it”, as the righties and their media defenders like to say, why is it that both sides fear the far-right teabaggers more than anything else?

This morning’s latest example, via DKos (I’m sure there will be more before lunchtime):

In an e-mail sent a few hours after Saturday’s massacre in Tucson that killed six and injured 14, including U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, Miller told state Republican Party Chairman Randy Pullen he was quitting: “Today my wife of 20 yrs ask (sic) me do I think that my PCs (Precinct Committee members) will shoot at our home? So with this being said I am stepping down from LD20GOP Chairman…I will make a full statement on Monday.”

[...]

The newly-elected Dist. 20 Republican secretary, Sophia Johnson of Ahwatukee, first vice chairman Roger Dickinson of Tempe and Jeff Kolb, the former district spokesman from Ahwatukee, also quit. “This singular focus on ‘getting’ Anthony (Miller) was one of the main reasons I chose to resign,” Kolb said in an e-mail to another party activist. Kolb confirmed the contents of the e-mail to the Republic.

When was the last time a Democrat (or a Republican) resigned any sort of position because he or she feared being shot at by folks on their left wing? Answer: Never.

Oh, and when Tweeting stuff like this, the hashtag is #BothSidesDONT

Teabagger Fail: Tea Party GOPers Sucked at the Ballot Box Tuesday Night

6:44 pm in 2010 election, Elections, Politics, Tea Party by Phoenix Woman

Wow. It didn’t even take twenty-four hours for the DC Republicans’ knives to find Teabagger Republicans’ backs.

Check out The Daily Caller, whose proprietor Tucker Carlson is a longtime establishment GOP figure:

But on Tuesday night, both [Nevada Senate candidate Sharron] Angle and [Delaware Senate candidate Christine] O’Donnell lost their races and, as of press time, [Alaska Senate candidate Joe] Miller was trailing write-in candidate Lisa Murkowski in his election. A central argument made during the campaign about both Angle and O’Donnell was that they were considerably less electable in a general election than their primary opponents…

…So it’s hard not to think that had the Tea Party Express not helped Angle and O’Donnell, the GOP would’ve come closer to that majority.

Ouch! And honestly, the Caller was being relatively gentle. Here’s the CBS News take, via Time’s Mark Halperin, describing how Katie Couric tonight described the Tea Party wing’s effect on the races:

.. Couric looks at Palin and Tea Party score following the election. So far, 31 Palin-endorsed candidates have won House seats, while 16 lost their congressional bids. Six Palin-endorsed candidates won Senate races while four lost. Tea Partiers won 36 House races, lost 76. The conservative movement also won three Senate seats and lost three Senate races.

That’s right, gang: Sarah Palin, she who dragged down the McCain ticket, was a better electoral draw than the teabaggers. Tea Party candidates lost twice as many races as they won.  . . . Read the rest of this entry →

Republican Tea Party Groups Using Joke Lawsuit to Scare Minnesota’s Poor, Youth Vote away from Polling Places

7:29 am in Uncategorized by Phoenix Woman

Jeff Rosenberg reports that the teabagger wing of the Minnesota Republican Party is attacking efforts by state and local officials to keep them from practicing typical Republican voter-intimidation tricks:

Minnesota Majority, the group that is organizing gangs of thugs to intimidate voters on election day, is trying to turn our very polling places into partisan battlefields.

The law in Minnesota is simple: It says that no campaigning is allowed in the polling place. Voters must be allowed to exercise their right to vote peacefully, without being beset by partisans. The right to peace and privacy while voting is a fundamental part of our right to vote.

Now MN Majority and the North Star Tea Party “Patriots” are suing Hennepin and Ramsey counties for the “right” to outfit their voter-intimidation thugs with Tea Party logos and campaign slogans.

These groups are part of the umbrella far-right group “Election Integrity Watch”, and they’re trying to push to wear Tea Party slogans that despite their claims aren’t even close to being disguised as non-partisan. The lawsuit won’t get very far in court, but that’s not its point. Its point is to be part of the climate of fear and intimidation that the Republicans are trying to create in order to keep younger and poorer voters from voting.

A good chunk of the fear-and-intimidation gambit is to imply, heavily, that those who are poor, non-white, or between the ages of eighteen and thirty have no business trying to vote, and that any efforts made by them to vote are “illegal”. This is done in part by suggesting that “vote fraud” is a far more common problem than it really is: Read the rest of this entry →

AK-Sen: Teabagger Joe Miller Augering into the Ground

11:09 am in Uncategorized by Phoenix Woman

Per the Mudflats, it looks like Alaskan voters aren’t liking the cumulative taste of the tea that unreconstructed nutjob Joe Miller’s been serving up to them (h/t DKos, whose link you might want to use instead of the Mudflats as the Mudflats’ server seems to have blown up under the strain):

Hays Research. 10/26. Likely voters. MoE 4.8%

Write In Candidate [mostly Murkowski] 34
Joe Miller (R) 23
Scott McAdams (D) 29

Scott McAdams has a shot at it, folks. One-quarter of the Murkowski vote comes from Democrats holding their noses for her in order to avoid making the Teahadist Miller their next Senator. Now that Miller’s no longer a threat, these folks can come home to McAdams.

Toss McAdams a few coins, if you feel so moved. This would be a double humiliation to Sarah Palin: Not only did her Chosen One go down in flames, but he’s on the verge of making the seat flip to a Democrat.

It’s Peak Nutbar Time for the Minnesota GOP

1:48 pm in Uncategorized by Phoenix Woman

It’s finally happened. The decades-long ascendancy of the Allen Quist/Jon Grunseth/Tom Emmer social conservative breed of whackaloon has finally done what the DFL alone could never do, and all but destroyed the Republican Party of Minnesota.

We had hints of this earlier this year, when the RPMers managed to ditch incumbent state Senator Paul Koering in the primary. Reason: Koering is gay. However, they may have done so at the cost of a state Senate seat:

After losing Tuesday’s GOP primary, state Sen. Paul Koering has endorsed a successor: DFL candidate Taylor Stevenson.

Koering served two terms as a Republican, but said Wednesday he’s leaving the party after it helped elect former state Rep. Paul Gazelka of Brainerd.

[...]

"The party that I’ve called home for 14 years has kind of, in essence, went off the cliff," Koering said. "I always tried to stay with the party to hopefully be a voice of reason within the party. But I found through this campaign that that doesn’t work anymore."

The primary appears to have vanquished Koering’s appetite for politics; he told the Times his "political days are over."

In stark contrast, the DFL, Minnesota’s version of the national Democratic Party, has had for many years — ever since the tragic gay-bashing death of former state Senator John Chenoweth in August of 1991 — an unofficial policy that gay and lesbian people are welcome to run for office under the DFL banner, but only so long as they are open about their sexuality. At least one prominent figure is rumored to have left the DFL rather than leave the deceptively-comfy confines of the closet.

But this was only a taste of the nutbar-induced meltdown to come.

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Chris Cillizza Finally Figures It Out: Tea Partiers = Republican Base Voters

7:53 pm in Uncategorized by Phoenix Woman

In an era when a habit of saying the honest truth seems to be a black mark against most corporate journalists, I suppose the Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza should get some atta-boys for saying what we already know:

The scads of media coverage about the burgeoning "tea party" effort has focused heavily on the idea that those who identify themselves as part of the movement are political free agents — dismissive of both parties and Washington in general.

New data out of Gallup suggests that premise isn’t right, as nearly seven in 10 tea party supporters describe themselves as "conservative Republicans."

All told, nearly 80 percent of tea party supporters describe themselves as Republicans, while 15 percent say they are Democrats and just six percent are, in their own minds, "pure independents."

Of course, if Cillizza had been reading either Digby or DDay oh, about five months ago, he would have known, without needing Gallup to tell him, that the teabaggers are in fact the Republican base:

The group’s leaders plan to support candidates who stand for a set of “First Principles.”

Those principles are: fiscal responsibility, lower taxes, less government, states’ rights and national security. Prospective political candidates will be expected to support the Republican National Committee platform. If a particular candidate meets the proposed criteria he or she would be eligible for fundraising and grassroots support.

Once elected to office, members would be expected to join a congressional caucus of “like-minded representatives” who attend regular meetings and are held accountable for the votes they cast. Those who stray from the tea party path would risk losing the new organization’s support and a possible re-election challenge.

The "tea party" as it currently stands is a GOP outpost that exists both to keep rebellious libertarians in the fold and to serve as a place for racist Republicans to get their bigot on without it tarnishing the GOP brand as a whole (or at least any more than it can already be tarnished). People who read the reality-based blogs knew that long before Chris Cillizza or Gallup did.

WaPo Persists on Ignoring the Racism of the GOP Elephant in the Room

10:11 am in Uncategorized by Phoenix Woman

I had a lovely laugh this morning at a Politco piece by Ben Smith that begins thus: "The once-cautious Washington Post has begun to invest heavily in the liberal blogosphere…" and then lists Dave Weigel, a writer for the conservative-libertarian magazine Reason (whose founders, particularly Bob Poole, were and are fans of conservative icon Ayn Rand), as one of the "liberals" recently acquired. As for the rest, they — with in my opinion the exception of Greg Sargent — are mostly centrist Democrats who aren’t likely to say or support anything that’s much farther left than the preferred position of the Obama White House; they are useful conduits for Rahm Emanuel, which almost by definition means that they can’t be true fire-breathing liberals.

The truth is that, online redecoration aside, Fred Hiatt’s Washington Post is increasingly a conservative fantasyland where good reporters like Dan Froomkin get run off and the blind spots are so huge you could hide, say, an elephant in them. A very big, stinky, racist as all get out elephant. To see this, one need look no further than this article by Amy Gardner and Krissah Thompson entitled "Tea Party groups battling perception of racism":

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