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CNN’s Erick Erickson: Insulting Women Is Not Enough, Let’s Lie About What They Said

3:39 pm in Republican party by Scarecrow

More. (photo: Gage Skidmore/flickr)

There have been a disturbing number of instances in recent years when the level of political discourse coming mostly from the right has been so depressing that all you could do is weep for your country, if not the species.

Today’s example is the hate-filled debate between the GOP’s ugly faction and its cowardly faction over whether it’s okay to insult and slime any woman who has the courage to speak out on why health insurance should cover something so totally accepted and important to women as contraception.   That’s right, the Republican party is actually having a debate about this.

An ordinary citizen, a young woman was asked to testify at a Congressional hearing on what should be covered by employer-provide health insurance, but House Republican Darrel Issa prevented her from speaking on the absurd grounds that in a hearing about reproductive and related health services, a woman had nothing to contribute.   So Democrats held another hearing to allow her to speak.

That exchange might have ended the woman’s involvement in our story, but instead her willingness to speak publicly enraged the misogynist element of the GOP, led by Rush Limbaugh.  Limbaugh has now called the brave woman who represented millions of other women a “slut,” a “prostitute” and someone who should just film and distribute sex videos for men like Rush to ogle.

Now at this point, every decent person on the planet, not just the women, should be calling for Rush’s oral castration.   But while Limbaugh’s sponsors started pulling their ads, [more here] the self-styled half sensible remnants of the GOP have only weakly criticized Mr. Limbaugh, and then pulled their punches.

Carly Fiorina says Limbaugh’s remarks were “insulting”, but then she tried to distract from that by calling the whole issue a “distraction,” as though the bullying, misogyny and moral depravity of the Republican Party’s leading spokesmen is not a central issue of this era.  Rick Santorum volunteered that Rush’s comments were “absurd,” but it’s okay, because Rush is an “entertainer.” Bravely spoken; does this suggest that a true conservative thinks it’s merely entertaining to call women sluts?  The Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives couldn’t do much better, noting only that Rush’s atrocious comments were “inappropiate.”   Gosh, that’ll sting. [Update: per MSNBC, the courageous Mitt Romney says "it's not the language I would have used."]

Having heard from the cowardly half of the GOP, we’re now getting responses from the vicious and stupid half.  Today, CNN commentator and right wing blogger Erick Erickson defended Limbaugh, explaining that while Rush’s comments were  indeed “insults,” they were nevertheless justified, because after all, the previously unknown woman had testified that she “wanted the tax payers to pay her to have sex.”  What?

That total fabrication and vicious smear apparently started with a writer for CNS, who in addition to being either incompetent or dishonest has private insurance confused with government payments.  His lie was then repeated by Michele Malkin and now today by Erick Erickson:

So of course Rush Limbaugh was being insulting. He was using it as a tool to highlight just how absurd the Democrats’ position is on this. It’s what he does and does quite well. And in the process he’s exposing a lot of media bias on the issue as people rush out (no pun intended) to make Sandra Fluke a victim of his insults and dance around precisely what is really insulting — her testimony before congress that American taxpayers should subsidize the sexual habits of Georgetown Law School students because, God forbid, they should stop having sex if they cannot afford the pills themselves.

Now we could stop here and remark on the GOP’s depravity of insulting and viciously defaming ordinary women, or any citizen, merely for testifying before Congress.

But we pause in our description of the sewer to which the GOP has descended to remind our readers that this whole issue began with whether private insurers should be required to include coverage for contraceptive and related health services in private insurance offered by private employers.  And so it’s helpful to remember that employer-provided “benefits” are ultimately offered in lieu of higher wages/salaries; in that sense, whatever health coverage the insurance provides is ultimately paid for by the employees.

In other words, women who use such services ultimately pay the premiums (and co-pays, deductibles, etc.).  And since the vast majority of American women use covered contraception sometime in their lives, that means that women covered by insurance are paying for a service they almost universally use.

But in the Erick Erickson’s world, that means that all these “slutty” women are asking taxpayers to pay them for having sex. [Update: Fox News Bill O'Reilly just repeated the same lie.  So the memo's gone out; tell the lie about government paying for sex.]

You can’t get any dumber, meaner or dishonest than the defenders of today’s GOP.   I say, build the moon colony; I’ll pay taxes to send them.

Jerry Brown: Leading Hospice Party Democrats to Extinction

6:58 am in Uncategorized by Scarecrow

CNN’s State of the Union featured California’s Democratic Governor, Jerry Brown, the man who was my governor when I entered state service in 1976. He’s no longer Governor Moonbeam. He’s now a mainstream Democratic leader, which is much worse.

His comments on Washington politics and the stark choices Californians and all Americans face were typical of the defeated, resigned, and morally bankrupt posture of the Democratic Party. I don’t know why these people bothered to run for office.

Brown said he was alarmed at what’s happening in Washington. He told Candy Crowley he thinks the country is in danger from political rigidity, but blamed both the uncompromising Republicans refusing to consider new taxes and the unwillingness of Democrats to explain that all our entitlements have to be cut back. You would never know that America is an immensely rich country, but the richest 1 percent were capturing 25 percent of the income and 40 percent of its wealth and they’re still looting the country, hollowing out the middle class. You’d think a Democrat would want to point that out and organize the posse.

Americans want a lot, Brown said, but they’re not willing to pay for it. Apparently, the polls showing the public more than willing to impose taxes to avoid cuts in Social Security and Medicare have not reached the West Coast. The public is willing when the choice is honestly set before them; it’s the Republicans who are not.

But when Crowley asked whether that meant he advocated higher taxes — something Brown has tried to put on the ballot to let the people decide — he said “well, I wouldn’t say it that way.” Huh? Then he mumbled something about tax breaks and loopholes.

Crowley then showed him a quote from the LA Times remarking that the budget Brown reluctantly signed, with no taxes, cut spending by 23 percent, slashing schools and universities, health care and safety nets, closing 70 parks, and shutting other government services. It’s what he had to do, they say.

So why not ask for federal help? Why not borrow? “I’d don’t like borrowing,” he said. “I don’t like debts.” So instead of stimulus funds, he’s seeking waivers to allow him to slash Medicaid, but Washington is resisting. Yes, if only the Feds would allow states to let more people go with less care.

How is it possible for a Democratic Governor — and he’s hardly alone — to be that clueless? His state exists in a national monetary union, like Italy or Ireland. California can’t print dollars, can’t devalue its own currency and thus move trade in the state’s favor; it can only play beggar-thy-neighbor by stripping workers of bargaining power and looting their pensions — like New York’s Cuomo — and offering more corrupt bribes to corporations than South Carolina offers.

His state is in a near depression, with unemployment over 11 percent and foreclosures at record levels. Grover Norquist, Prop 13, and the anti-tax zealots have put California in a fiscal straight jacket, the same one the Tea-GOPs want to impose on the federal government through a balanced budget amendment. Then the federal government could be like California, and we could close or sell off Yosemite.

The only hope California has is not what he does there but what the national economy and the federal budget do. His life support in the meantime depends on federal deficit spending to rescue budget strangled states, to pick up more of their Medicaid and other safety net spending, to help get homeowners out from underwater mortgages, and to boost the national economy in ways that reduce unemployment. But how often do we hear a Democratic governor say that?

The intellectually bankrupt leaders of the Democratic Party are telling us that with 25 million people under- or unemployed, with borrowing rates at historically low levels, with trillions in needed infrastructure crying out for investments, what states need to do is slash public services. And like Brown, they don’t like borrowing even though the money’s almost free and the rates tell us the markets are begging to lend it.

Jerry Brown represents a dying Democratic Party. Judging from its corrupt behavior and mind-numbing statements, the Party apparently sees its responsibility as something between a slightly more benevolent caretaker for America’s decline and a respectful mortician. They’ve become the hospice party.

If you think the patient is dying and there’s nothing to stop it, providing hospice care is a humane, honorable role. But this patient is not dying of natural causes. It’s being strangled and its wealth systematically looted.

Brown and his Party seem unable to explain to the public that the death of government functioning in the broad public interest is not inevitable. It is rather a choice that should be resisted with every breath and every weapon we have. It has become the calculated strategy of a determined, anti-democratic and deeply corrupt oligarchy and their crazed and manipulated followers. We’re in a war, and no one is fighting back for our side.

It’s time for the Democratic Party leadership to get out of the way so we can fight back.

CNN Criticizes Obama for Chastizing GOP, Then Lectures Him for Not Lecturing GOP

4:54 pm in Uncategorized by Scarecrow

I don’t usually watch CNN, because the odds of hearing something completely absurd are quite high, and that’s just from their anchors, never mind their frequent panelists. But tonight I did and immediately started looking for things to throw at my tv.

In the opening segment of his show, Elliot Spitzer featured Gloria Borger (why does this woman have a job?) and David Gergen (why are we still listening to him?) to prove the point.

Spitzer invited Borger to repeat her column criticizing Obama for chastizing the GOP (in his presser today) on their adamant position against raising revenues. According to Ms. Manners, it’s not okay for our President to ridicule the GOP or John Boehner and Mitch McConnell; he should instead be the adult in the room — with “adult” defined as someone who’s as afflicted with deficit hysteria as she is. And since getting rid of tax deductions for corporate jets and other stuff is only worth $3 billion or so — she said, reading from Eric Cantor’s talking points — it was unpresidential for Obama to even bring that up. Apparently rhetorical examples that make a political point are not sufficiently grown up when made by a Democrat against the Republicans.

Borger continued that the only people who would appreciate Mr. Obama’s takedown of the illogical and extremist GOP positions would be Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi, whom the fair and balanced Borger reminded us are “two of the most unpopular politicians in America.” So her larger meaning is, it’s not okay for Obama to support Democrats who believe the President should be more forceful in defending their priorities and undermining the GOP negotiating positions, even though they’re threatening to defund worthwhile and popular programs and crash the economy again. He needs to be more polite to Mitch McConnell.

Well, I guess that view is right if you see the world through the goggles of a Tea-bot.
Read the rest of this entry →

Headlines You Won’t See on CNN

5:50 am in Uncategorized by Scarecrow

Every week, the nice foks at CNN allow various organizations to suggest headlines linked to their blogs. CNN’s John King then graciously runs the headlines/links at some point in their news coverage. The idea is to capture in a headline the perspectives of different groups. Nice gesture, I suppose.

Once in a while, I’ll suggest something, knowing CNN won’t show it, but I can understand why. So for our readers’ benefit, here’s the news of the last week you won’t see on CNN, in Scarecrow headlines:

1. Only ratings matter, as CNN, others exploit, give platform to serial liar, smear agent Andrew Breitbart

2. Tea-GOP to USA: “Give up your Medicare/Medicaid or we’ll tank the economy again.” Isn’t extortion a crime?

3. Which is worse: Syria tortures, mutilates, murders small boy; US bombs Afghan homes, shredding bodies of women, children, again and again, and . . .

4. Definition of crazy: US economic growth pitiful; no hope for unemployed, no one has a real jobs plan. Yet Tea-GOP demand Obama shrink economy more, be llke Ireland, Portugal, Spain.

5. European bankers demand Greeks become serfs to lower debts owed to bankers. In USA, Tea-GOP follow same strategy, but too dumb to know their fans are the serfs.

6. Beltway Media fixation on abysmal GOP Prez candidates akin to one clown car following another at a circus.

7. Definition of irresponsible: Congress can’t wait to give President unilateral authority to wage war anytime, anywhere, against anyone, forever.

8. What’s a terrorist? Tea-GOP Congress and Governors doing more damage to USA than al Qaeda every dreamed.

9. Congress renews misnamed “Patriot Act” invasions of privacy. If left to them, half the Bill of Rights would never have existed.

10. Definition of extreme authoritarians: Conservative US Supreme Court continues to dismantle individual rights to sue, hold accountable lawless govenrment and corporations.

11. US multi-national corporations whine about taxes while enjoying one of lowest effective tax rates — about 18 percent — in the world. Marginal tax rates on wealthy lowest in many decades.

12. Wake up, suckers: America is a “rich” country: of the rich, by the rich, for the rich. The rest of you don’t matter.

13. Think and act like an Egyptian. Your government’s as unresponsible, corrupt, uncaring as theirs. If they had a choice, so do you. Make America exceptional again.

CNN’s Crowley and US Officials in Denial About US Complicity in Libyan Murders

5:49 am in Uncategorized by Scarecrow

NATO and US military forces yesterday reportedly killed a son and innocent relatives — three young grandchildren – of the leader of Libya, because the leader of Libya refused to accept NATO/US demands that he step down. They deliberately targeted a residential compound, knowing (though they deny it) that innocent members of the leader’s family would be present and likely killed. But Washington’s elite can’t admit what everyone knows just happened. [Al Arabiya News reports the claims three grandchildren were killed are not true.]

Murder is a criminal act, possibly a war crime here, and if the reports are true, every one of the commanders and national leaders, including those of the United States, should be forced to resign or impeached, and be prosecuted. Except they won’t be, because America’s leaders are above the rule of law.

This obvious conclusion, however, is beyond the intellectual or moral capabilities of CNN’s Candy Crowley, who apologetically, and oh so diplomatically asked the clueless Jane Harmon and the evasive Steven Hadley whether this didn’t mean we are “targetting Qaddafi.” It was a cowardly, stupid question, because the answer is obviously yes. US and NATO forced tried to assassinate the leader and murdered innocent members of his family instead. But neither guest came close to an honest or straightforward answer.

Jane Harmon changed the subject. She said she worried we hadn’t thought through the implications at the “front end,” and lacked a strategic narrative for what we were trying to accomplish in the region. Regarding the actual bombings, all she could muster was, “We’re trying to soften it up.” Yes, Jane, “soften up” is what happens to human flesh when you drop massive bombs on people.

Steven Hadley was as morally bankrupt today as he was as Bush’s National Security adviser. He at least argued that if you’re engaged in a war, it is legitimate to attack the entire “command structure,” and Qaddafi was the head of the “command structure,” so fair game. Crowley must have thought that was a Very Serious Answer, because she did not bother to ask where the leader’s children and their wives and children fit in the command structure. We might ask the same about our own leaders’ families, now that Mr. Hadley has laid out the morally permissble rules of engagement.

Apparently none of these people can explain how we got from an effort to rescue others for humanitarian reasons to a deliberate, unlimited “war” in which one objective is the assassination of a foreign leader. And since this media-elite trio is, regretfully, representative of the moral cesspool that pervades Washington Beltway thinking, there was no reason to expect different answers.

But it is still astonishing the entire American defense and foreign policy establishment, from the President on down through our national security advisers and Congressional oversight, can be complicit in despicable murders and war crimes, and not one member of the Beltway elite can honestly describe what just happened.

Sunday Talk Shows: Making America Dumber One Week at a Time

12:32 pm in Media by Scarecrow

There is no valid journalistic reason for CBS, NBC and CNN to continue their Sunday Talk shows. (There is still hope for Ms. Amanpour’s efforts to bring some intelligence to ABC.)

What should they have talked about today? Aside from Middle East revolutions, recent domestic news has been dominated, as Frank Rich notes, by Tea-GOPer assaults on any/all government functions that can address income inequality or rein in corporate misconduct. The latter have all been disguised as “necessary” spending cuts to reduce “unsustainable” debts nationally, or as reductions in public worker’s wages, benefits and rights at the state level.

So it would make sense for the shows’ hosts to have at least a basic grasp of the most important budget and fiscal facts, even if they insist on interviewing only Tea-GOP governors and anti-labor zealots with only a lone labor representative invited onto NBC after viewer protests.

Here are a few facts the hosts might have understood (or at least known what was being argued by prominent critics) before CBS’ Bob Schieffer interviewed NJ Gov. Christie or NBC allowed GOP governors Barbour, Haley and Walker to spin in unison their poll-tested talking points:

1. The current budget crises in many states were not caused by runaway wages and benefits for public workers. While there are examples of excesses created by public corruption, which no one defends, the large state budget deficits are almost entirely due to the Great Recession, which was brought on by federal regulators — Greenspan’s Fed, SEC, OCC etc — who recklessly ignored predatory lending, fraudulent securitizations, a housing bubble and its inevitable collapse — and by the financial industry’s reckless self-immolation. Shouldn’t the governors have been asked if they even understand this most basis cause?  . . . Read the rest of this entry →

Why Is CNN Pimping for Billionaires Against Social Security?

10:46 am in Uncategorized by Scarecrow

For months there has been a concentrated effort by the Pete Peterson Institute to create public hysteria over federal budget deficits and the public debt. These efforts have chilled efforts to provide sufficient economic stimulus and provide additional funds to states and localities to avoid further layoffs, and they threaten to halt further efforts to drag the economy out of the Great Recession.

But Peterson’s real targets are Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid.

As Dean Baker reminds us, Peterson has already succeeded in getting the Washington Post to run Institute propaganda and numerous deficit hysteria "articles" as front page news, and then pivot to attack "entitlements." Now CNN is giving Peterson’s crowd two hours of free air time this weekend to give us more of the same propaganda.

Time to Call out CNN. The folks at Campaign for America’s Future are mounting a campaign today to convince CNN either to stop airing Peterson prograganda for free and/or to give credible economists an equal opportunity to debunk Peterson’s dangerous attacks on Social Security and deficit spending during recessions. From CAF’s Roger Hickey:

This weekend, CNN is giving four hours of free airtime to the leading propagandist fanning the flames of deficit hysteria, Pete Peterson, along with his lackeys. Bloggers and online activists are joining today to promote this action:

Click here to demand CNN stop giving free airtime to deficit crazies this weekend – And if they do go ahead with this programming, tell them to provide balance to Pete Peterson’s deficit hysteria. Give equal time to defenders of Social Security, Medicare and public investment.

CNN plans to air Peterson’s thoroughly debunked propaganda movie "I.O.U.S.A," – and then his acolytes will have free reign to spread their usual lies about Social Security, Medicare and government in general without any fiscal expert to challenge them and give a different point of view.

How do we know? Because CNN did the exact same thing with "I.O.U.S.A" last year. No debate. Just Peterson’s propaganda.

Is this how "the most trusted name in news" should cover the debates on retirement security, job creation and fighting poverty?

We have just one day to get CNN to balance it’s programming.

Peterson’s efforts have already induced the Obama Administration to create an "independent commission" to recommend changes in Social Security and Medicare, and then to stack the commission with too many political hacks who have little problem undermining America’s economic safety net while protecting the most wealthy from higher taxes.

And what else is at stake? Think Greece. Here’s Krugman on what lessons their predicament has for us:

But what are the lessons for America? Of course, we should be fiscally responsible. What that means, however, is taking on the big long-term issues, above all health costs — not grandstanding and penny-pinching over short-term spending to help a distressed economy.

Equally important, however, we need to steer clear of deflation, or even excessively low inflation. Unlike Greece, we’re not stuck with someone else’s currency. But as Japan has demonstrated, even countries with their own currencies can get stuck in a deflationary trap.

What worries me most about the U.S. situation right now is the rising clamor from inflation hawks, who want the Fed to raise rates (and the federal government to pull back from stimulus) even though employment has barely started to recover. If they get their way, they’ll perpetuate mass unemployment. But that’s not all. America’s public debt will be manageable if we eventually return to vigorous growth and moderate inflation. But if the tight-money people prevail, that won’t happen — and all bets will be off.

If you want to join CAFs efforts to call out CNN, here’s the link.