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Tag: "wingnuttery"

Today In Great Dissents

[ 29 ] March 20, 2012 |

Say it, Justice Ginsburg.

Much more on this travesty imminently. The short version is that Supreme Court has joined the War on Women by combining a “federalist” doctrine that is embarrassing nonsense even by Rehnquist/Roberts Court standards with a denial of Congress’s explicit powers to enforce the Fourteenth Amendment unless it meets some unintelligibly arbitrary standards invented by the Court.

Also, given the Republican reluctance to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act, it’s worth remembering that another case in which a bare majority of Supreme Court conservatives acted to read Section 5 of the Fourteenth Amendment out of the Constitution involved striking down a part of the Violence Against Women Act and immunizing a gang rapist from a civil suit.

I Hate To Tell You, But…

[ 73 ] March 19, 2012 |

Having heard that a certain blogger seems to think that Stanley Fish is a representative figure of the American left [to be clear, it's G*oldst*ein, not Maha, who's making this mistake] I can’t resist quoting Terry Eagleton again:

It is one of the minor symptoms of the mental decline of the United States that Stanley Fish is thought to be on the Left. By some of his compatriots, anyway, and no doubt by himself. In a nation so politically addled that ‘liberal’ can mean ‘state interventionist’ and ‘libertarianism’ letting the poor die on the streets, this is perhaps not wholly unpredictable.

Stanley Fish, lawyer* and literary critic, is in truth about as left-wing as Donald Trump. Indeed, he is the Donald Trump of American academia, a brash, noisy entrepreneur of the intellect who pushes his ideas in the conceptual marketplace with all the fervour with which others peddle second-hand Hoovers. Unlike today’s corporate executive, however, who has scrupulously acquired the rhetoric of consensus and multiculturalism, Fish is an old-style, free-booting captain of industry who has no intention of clasping both of your hands earnestly in his and asking whether you feel comfortable with being fired.

I think Barbara also gets the Maher/Limbaugh question right. Maher and Limbaugh’s remarks are equivalent in the sense that they both constitute objectionably sexist ways of characterizing women, and Maher should not be considered exempt from criticism because he’s part of “our team.” But the remarks are not equivalent both because Limbaugh’s sexist attack on Fluke was not a single badly-chosen word but sustained and repeated for several days, and they’re especially not equivalent in the sense that Limbaugh is a figure of far greater influence than Maher is.

On Fish, see also Holbo.

*As Paul notes in comments, Eagleton is wrong about this; Fish isn’t a lawyer or even someone with a law degree, just someone who figured out that you can make a lot more money teaching in law schools. For that matter, it’s not particularly “addled” for liberals to be state interventionists unless you think libertarian views of freedom are correct, but that’s a discussion for another time…

That Freeloading Bitch Believes That You Should Get Something For The Medical Insurance You’re Forced to Pay For!

[ 101 ] March 16, 2012 |

Submitted without further comment.

…for those who have already had their fill of mangos for the day, the cartoon in question portrays various Democratic women as literal bitches being held on a leash by a shiny Barack Obama (who, in fairness, is not wearing a pimp outfit.) The drawing makes the guy who draws Mallard Fillmore — who’s also funnier — look like an artistic genius. Anyway, feel free not to take my word for it, but it’s part of the broad winger tradition that’s not so much failed humor as not-humor (or perhaps the existential negation of humor.)

Are Conservatives Any Crazier Today Than 50 Years Ago?

[ 70 ] March 16, 2012 |

Rick Perlstein suggests not in an excellent essay placing today’s wingnuts in context. A choice passage:

Over fifteen years of studying the American right professionally — especially in their communications with each other, in their own memos and media since the 1950s — I have yet to find a truly novel development, a real innovation, in far-right “thought.” Right-wing radio hosts fingering liberal billionaires like George Soros, who use their gigantic fortunes – built by virtue of private enterprise under the Constitution – out to “socialize” the United States? 1954: Here’s a right-wing radio host fingering “gigantic fortunes, built by virtue of private enterprise under the Constitution … being used to ‘socialize’ the United States.” Presidential candidate Newt Gingrich, “fed up with elitist judges” arrogantly imposing their “radically un-American views” — including judges on the Supreme Court, whose rulings he’s pledged to defy? 1958: Nine Men Against America: The Supreme Court and its Attack on American Liberties, still on sale at sovereignstates.org.

Only the names of the ogres have changed — although sometimes they haven’t. Dr. Noebel’s latest project is to republish a volume he apparently finds freshly relevant, Dr. Fred Schwarz’s You Can Trust the Communists: To be Communists. Schwarz, an Australian physician who died three years ago, had his heyday in the early 1960s, when he would fill municipal auditoriums preaching his favorite gospel: that the Kremlin dominated its subjects by deploying “the techniques of animal husbandry,” and harbored “plans for a flag of the USSR flying over every American city by 1973.” The new version, updated by Noebel – it comes with raves from grateful Amazon.com reviews, like this: “Just as important as it was 50 years ago”; and this: “Should be required reading for every American,” and “This book made me a conservative” – is titled You Can Still Trust the Communists: To be Communists, Socialists, Statists, and Progressives Too.

This is fundamentally true. The difference between 2012 and 1962 isn’t that conservatives are crazier, it’s that liberals are far weaker and thus it is much harder to fight back. Perlstein also pushes back against the idea developed by people like Jonathan Chait that the demographics suggest a more liberal future, suggesting that this is just another argument liberals have made for a half-century without it ever really happening.

The upshot: We have to prepare for a decades-long fight to the death. That’s the nation’s only hope.

Alinksy is Also the Right’s Alinsky

[ 34 ] March 16, 2012 |

I have to suggest a modification to Ed Kilgore’s point here. Breitbart isn’t exactly the right’s equivalent to Alinsky on the left, since both figures are cited pretty much exclusively by conservatives and neither has any discernible influence on contemporary American liberals (although Alinsky may be considered more influential on the left in the sense that he’s more “ignored” than “viewed correctly as a dishonest buffoon” like Breitbart.)

Sandra Fluke: Jew Lover

[ 154 ] March 14, 2012 |

You were thinking that the real problem with Sandra Fluke is that she’s a prostitute who won’t show us her sex tapes in exchange for allowing her to use birth control.

You would be wrong.

You see, this right-wing investigative journalist brings us the real story.

Sandra Fluke’s boyfriend is…wait…a JEW!!!!

And not the good kind of Jew that likes to kill Palestinians in order to further bizarre apocalyptic fantasies of right-wing Christians.

No, Fluke likes the kind of Jew who might know leading Democratic players like….oh my god….CASS SUNSTEIN!!!!!

Here we go:

Anyway, on to Adam’s “typical Democrat family”. The term BIll O’Reilly used to describe Bill Mutterperl is “Democratic stalwart”. However, as soon as I heard his name in a story about Sandra Fluke, I almost choked, due to my sudden epiphany. Why? Because anyone familiar with Boston and New York political history knows about the wealthy Mutterperl family’s long tradition of supporting the typical Jewish variant of socialism. Bill Mutterperl’s family are much more than Democratic stalwarts.

The Mutterperl family, via Adam’s great grandfather Sol’s handbag fortune, established the “Mutterperl Scholarship Endowment Fund” in 1951 for Brandeis University. This school, as some people call it, is named for Louis Brandeis, a secular Jew, Zionist, and United States Supreme Court Justice appointed by Woodrow Wilson. Brandeis was a self-proclaimed socialist. Herbert Marcuse, the famous Frankfurt School Marxist, came to Brandeis in 1954, three years after the Mutterperl fund was created. Brandeis University is one of the nation’s leading petri dishes for anti-American and neo-Marxist thought.

…..

There’s that “social justice” code word again. Jewish Socialism is linked to a very progressive concept of the above tikkun olam. New Bedford, MA, where Raphael Mutterperl ran the family’s manufacturing arm, was a hotbed of Marxist trade-unionism in early 20th century America. Why? It was easy to “sell” radical trade-unionism to a whole people group who were brought up in the lap of Weimar Marxian ideology, because New Bedford had many new eastern-European Jewish immigrants living there at the time, including, of course, the Mutterperl family.

For some added historical context, two popular Marxists, Samuel Gompers and Daniel De Leon, agitated in New Bedford, and were instrumental in fomenting strikes amongst the workers of the textile mills there. As I wrote before, Gompers was the founder of what is now the largest Marxist union organization in America, the AFL-CIO.

OMFG, Sandra Fluke’s boyfriend’s family once owned a factory in a city that SAMUEL GOMPERS, noted MAOIST, once entered to try and organize? This is true news here!!! Moreover, you can bet your bottom dollar that Gompers was trying to organize the factory that the family owned. I mean, clearly that means that the communist conspiracy to destroy our rights by ensuring decent health care began in New Bedford!!!

I have not been so outraged since I heard that Barack Obama and Derrick Bell were both BLACK!!!

Where are you LAMESTREAM MEDIA?

The Trifecta

[ 36 ] March 10, 2012 |

I was going to write a post about the right’s odd obsession with Saul Alinsky, a man who has only been tangentially important to the American left since about 1982. I’ve been to my share of lefty meetings in my life and I can’t think of a single one where the name Saul Alinsky was mentioned, except maybe in passing or someone was talking about the past. The fact that conservatives think they have this gold mine in making a bogeyman out of an organizer who died in 1972 shows how completely clueless they are about the actual state of the American left.

But why bother with the full post. Because with conservatives recent discovery of Derrick Bell, too much information is now known about the secret leftist conspiracy to overthrow the white man’s democracy. We all know how influential race theorists, and academics as a whole, are on American society so it’s really quite impossible to overstate the extent to which Bell is responsible for such unconstitutional outrages as criticizing Sarah Palin or suggesting that James Madison did not agree with the Mississippi Republican Party circa 2012 on every issue.

We all know groups like this exist in 3s. So who is the third? Who is the final piece of the liberal-communist-socialist-fascist-islamonazi conspiracy to take away our freedoms by giving us health insurance and enforcing environmental regulations?

Michael Harrington.

I know that, in the real world, The Other America hasn’t been influential since sometime around the defeat of Walter Mondale. But this isn’t the real world that conservatives are working in. It’s the Real Real World, the world where they can read between the lines and figure out how obscure academics and long out of fashion social theorists are at the heart of the nefarious Democrats and their demands to do crazy things like recognize that the 14th Amendment protects black people and that union organizers should not be summarily executed.

It feels good to finally get this information off my chest. Now I can talk about how, after the revolution enslaves all white people, bell hooks will be leading the reeducation camps. It’s all part of the secret plan!

Getting Something for Your Wages (or Tuition) is Theft

[ 79 ] March 9, 2012 |

One of the reasons Slate has improved greatly over the years is that it not longer publishes the inadvertently self-paradoic ramblings of Steven Landsburg.  (I particularly enjoyed his argument that you can’t tax the wealthy because other people will ultimately spend the money.  Oh.)   So when stalwart commenter gmack noted that Mr. Landsburg had weighed in on the Sandra Fluke story, I braced myself.   Landsburg does not, at least, quite call Fluke a “slut.”  But he does go all-asshole in defending Limbaugh’s particularly offensive analogy:

If the rest of us are to share in the costs of Ms. Fluke’s sex life, says Rush, we should also share in the benefits, via the magic of online video. For this, Rush is accused of denying Ms. Fluke her due respect.

But while Ms. Fluke herself deserves the same basic respect we owe to any human being, her position — which is what’s at issue here — deserves none whatseover. It deserves only to be ridiculed, mocked and jeered. To treat it with respect would be a travesty.

If you’re going to assert that someone’s position deserves no respect whatsoever, you’d better have a good argument to back it up. Alas, Landsburg’s counter to Fluke — or, more precisely, what he erroneously imagines Fluke’s argument to be — is not merely offensive but baldly stupid, and almost farcical in its comprehensive ignorance of the issues involved. Landsburg:

I expect there are respectable arguments for subsidizing contraception (though I am skeptical that there are arguments sufficiently respectable to win me over), but Ms. Fluke made no such argument. All she said, in effect, was that she and others want contraception and they don’t want to pay for it.

To his credit, Rush stepped in to provide the requisite mockery. To his far greater credit, he did so with a spot-on analogy: If I can reasonably be required to pay for someone else’s sex life (absent any argument about externalities or other market failures), then I can reasonably demand to share in the benefits. His dense and humorless critics notwithstanding, I am 99% sure that Rush doesn’t actually advocate mandatory on-line sex videos. What he advocates is logical consistency and an appreciation for ethical symmetry. So do I. Color me jealous for not having thought of this analogy myself.

There’s one place where I part company with Rush, though: He wants to brand Ms. Fluke a “slut” because, he says, she’s demanding to be paid for sex. There are two things wrong here. First, the word “slut” connotes (to me at least) precisely the sort of joyous enthusiasm that would render payment superfluous. A far better word might have been “prostitute” (or a five-letter synonym therefor), but that’s still wrong because Ms. Fluke is not in fact demanding to be paid for sex. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that.) She will, as I understand it, be having sex whether she gets paid or not. Her demand is to be paid. The right word for that is something much closer to “extortionist”. Or better yet, “extortionist with an overweening sense of entitlement”. Is there a single word for that?

But whether or not he chose the right word, what I just don’t get is why the pro-respect crowd is aiming all its fire at Rush. Which is more disrespectful — his harsh language or Sandra Fluke’s attempt to pick your pocket? That seems like a pretty clear call to me.

Let’s go through at least some of the more transparently idiotic aspects of Landsburg’s argument:

  • To start with the most glaring flaw, of course neither Landsburg nor Limbaugh will be “paying” for anything.   The insurer that provides the health plan for students at Georgetown Law would be paying for it.   Leaving aside books, room and board, and opportunity costs, Georgetown law costs about $47 grand a year, so this is not “picking anybody’s pocket” — Georgetown Law students receive health coverage as one condition of paying exorbitant tuition.   The new requirement to cover contraception, similarly, is not giving something for nothing to ordinary employees, who get health insurance in lieu of wages in large part because employers receive substantial tax benefits to pay workers with health insurance rather than cash. UPDATE: Hogan notes in comments that I’m actually being too generous too Landsburg here: Georgetown law students are actually required to purchase the school-provided insurance package if they don’t already have it. Georgetown law students are actually paying directly for what Landsburg claims he’s paying for.
  • Even if Landsburg and Limbaugh wouldn’t be paying for Sandra Fluke’s contraception — hence destroying their entire argument in one fell swoop — could we at least say that other Georgetown students who don’t use contraception are paying for it?   Not necessarily. After all, an unintended pregnancy would be far more expensive for an insurer than the modest cost involved in contraception.   It’s far from obvious that not covering contraception would allow Georgetown to get a cheaper health plan, and Landsburg cites no evidence for his assertion.
  • I note here that we don’t know anything about Sandra Fluke’s sex life and nothing in her testimony said anything about it.   Women may, for a variety of reasons, use the pill during periods of celibacy.   The only people bringing Sandra Fluke’s “sex life” into the discussion are reactionary thigh-rubbers.    Her actual testimony says absolutely nothing about whether she will have sex with or without Georgetown offering contraceptive coverage as part of its health plan.
  • In a gentlemanly concession, Landsburg argues that Fluke is not a “slut” — too joyless! — and only sort of a whore.    Rather, she is an “extortionist.”   Alas, Landsburg, in addition to being offensive, doesn’t seem to understand what an “extortionist” is.   What, exactly, is Fluke threatening to do to Georgetown Law if its health care package doesn’t cover insurance?  Fluke is not in a position to make any “demands.”
  • The larger problem is that, as is his trademark, Landsburg’s abstractions are completely divorced from the actual policy context.  Perhaps Landsburg would prefer a conservertarian dystopia in which people are simply denied health care if they can’t pay cash, and in the interim would settle for employers being able to get tax breaks for providing wages in the form of “insurance” that isn’t required to actually cover anything more than three aspirins a month.   But under our actually existing system, in which health insurance is primarily employer-based and employers get tax advantages for paying wages in the form of insurance, it’s obviously necessary to require that this insurance actually cover basic medical care.    Requiring that contraception be covered is no more “picking someone’s pocket” than requiring that, say, knee surgeries be covered.
  • Once we consider the actually existing policy universe, the grotesque sexism of the arguments being made by Landsburg and Limbaugh becomes readily apparent.    Have either of them freaked out because men are “picking the pockets” of mythical taxpayers because they use their insurance to get a prostrate exam?   If getting blood pressure meds partially covered by insurance allowed a man to resume sexual activity, would it ever occur to Landsburg or Limbaugh that a “logical consistency and an appreciation for ethical symmetry” requires that man to send them sex tapes?   Of course not.

Someone’s arguments here are certainly not entitled to the slightest respect, but it’s not Fluke’s.

UPDATE: More good commentary here.

UPDATE II: More here.

How To Speak Wingnut: Some New Definitions

[ 101 ] March 9, 2012 |

Puzzled about this new language spoken by Republicans, which involves English words used in a way that produces sentences that make no sense? I’m here to help! In collaboration with the with Critical Race Theorist and man who once saw a book by Derrick Bell in the library without immediately burning it Jesse Taylor, allow me to fill in a couple of gaps.

Radicalism (n.) 1. Remembering that all of American history through 1964 happened. (Credit: entirely to Jesse.)

2. Believing that multiple centuries of slavery and apartheid might have effects after January 1, 1965. “Derrick Bell is such a radical he believed that freedom of choice plans and Milliken v. Bradley did not lead to integrated schools.”

Alinskyite (adj.) 1. Any Democrat to the left of Zell Miller who wins an election.

2. Any random thing a wingnut doesn’t like. “Derrick Bell is so radical he holds the Alinskyite idea that law is a social construct. Alinsky was so influential he invented legal realism even before he was born.”*

*Actual example!

Slut (n.) 1. A woman who has sexual relations without getting the prior approval of Ross Douthat, Rush Limbaugh, and a supermajority of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.  “If that slut thinks the insurance her employer is getting a huge tax break to provide her instead of wages should cover basic medical care, she should at least send me some sex tapes.”

Judicial activist (n.) 1. Any jurist who fails to recognize that the Constitution enacted the most recent platform of the Texas Republican Party.   “Ruth Bader Ginsburg is such a radical judicial activist that she doesn’t acknowledge that the Fourteenth Amendment prevents different counties from using different vote counting methods if it might result in Al Gore being elected, and not in any other case.”

Hopefully this helps!

A Scandal So Great, It Makes Teapot Dome Look Like The Gettysburg Address

[ 95 ] March 8, 2012 |

In case you weren’t shocked enough by Obama breathing the same oxygen as Derrick Bell, Paul Adler (@padlerman) reminded me of this classic.

In 2010, North Dakota conservative talk show host Rob Port took a tour of the White House. What did he find? A plethora of socialist books, clearly guides for the Obama Administration to replace the white man’s democracy with Maoism. Luckily for all of us, Port took a picture:

Yep, that’s right. Obama is reading books on the Populists. Lawrence Goodwyn: noted Stalinist. John Hicks: Leninist. Not to mention books about socialism. Nathan Glazer: Pol Pot. Oh my god, won’t somebody think of the children.

The right briefly went crazy over this. Until actual evidence came to light:

Well, it was a first lady who put those books there, the Washington Post reports, but it wasn’t Michelle Obama. It was Jacqueline Kennedy, who was known for the care and attention she gave to outfitting the White House; she hired Yale’s librarian to stock it for her.

The books Port photographed have been sitting in the library since 1963.

The library came into being during the presidency of Franklin Roosevelt. In 1961, First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy asked Yale University librarian James T. Babb to oversee a committee that would select books for the library. In 1963, 1,780 were placed on the shelves.

The Washington Post went to a document from the White House Historical Assn., “The White House Library: A Short Title List,” in which Babb wrote:

It is intended to contain books which best represent the history and culture of the United States, works most essential for an understanding of our national experience. The collection has to be strictly limited because the attractive library on the ground floor of the White House has shelf space for only twenty-five hundred volumes. Authors, with few exceptions, are citizens of the United States; fiction and poetry by deceased writers only have been included.

I am looking forward to the next phase in this scandal: HAS BARACK OBAMA READ W.E.B. DUBOIS?!!!!!!

Only impeachment proceedings can uncover the truth!

The Greatest Scandal There Absolutely Ever Was, Except For Steroids!

[ 74 ] March 8, 2012 |

Look, I would like to bury this, but this is just too big to be suppressed: Barack Obama made his students read Derrick Bell, the legal academy’s preeminent Critical Race Theorist.. in a course dealing with Racism and the Law! Bell had all of these crazy radical ideas like “white supremacy was deeply embedded within American law” and “the effects of centuries of legalized and informal white supremacy did not immediately vanish on January 1, 1965.” I expect the impeachment votes in both the House and Senate to be unanimous.

I especially like the “made his students read” language. I guess wingers these days are hippie types who think doing class readings should be optional, man. Fortunately, earlier this semester I “made” my students read the majority opinion in Dennis v. United States, so my anti-communist and anti-civil liberties credentials should be sufficiently established to keep David Horowitz off my back. And I’ve taught Leviathan, so I should be able to get a sweet gig working under John Yoo for the Boehner administration after Obama and Biden are removed from office.

UPDATE! BREAKING! MUST CREDIT LGM!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I can reveal now that Comrade Barack Hussein Obama X made his students read the radical manifestos of Robert Bork and Lino Graglia! Impeachment, hell, he should be tried for treason.

I also infer from this reading list that Martin Luther King Jr. is no longer a conservative. This breaks with recent Republican dogma, which as Malaclypse notes holds that MLK was clearly a conservative “in the one and only speech that he gave, which was one sentence long.”

ANOTHER UPDATE!!!!!! I never thought I would say this, but these people are so stupid they might actually be dishonoring Andrew Breitbart’s memory. OMG, people who mourn civil rights heroes are allowed to be on the teevee now!

NRO Lectures You About Civility

[ 10 ] March 6, 2012 |

Say this for Andy McCarthy: no satirist would be crazy enough to create him.

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