Saturday, March 10, 2012

Of British-Style Media Bias, Lost Empire, And Football

RUPERT MURDOCH is known in these parts as a multinational equal opportunity smut peddler and anti-"journalist," whose American-based media holdings — Fox, NY Post, The Wall Street Journal — are a hybrid of biased news reporting, incendiary talk, and right wing editorial screeds. But Murdoch's tabloid culture in England, even as it slowly unravels in a metastatic hacking scandal, is to print media in England what the National Enquirer and the supermarket tabloids are to the U.S. For example, take this "business news" article in the Barclay brothers' online tabloid, The Telegraph, reporting that "Brazil overtakes UK to become world's sixth-largest economy;" or rather, it "managed to overtake the UK as the world's sixth-largest economy."

Evidently, the story laments that Brazil's economic slowdown, the result of a worldwide trend, "managed" nonetheless to leave the UK's economy in the dust. If that's the usual media bias we have come to expect from any British tabloid fake "news" outlet, what makes it all the more offensive is the accompanying photo. What, pray tell, does the image of a bejeweled "Carnaval" celebrant with clown makeup have to do with Brazil's ranking as the world's sixth-largest economy? Certainly, the tourism industry is important and profitable, but hardly the driver of Brazil's economic growth that are its agriculture, oil and gas, mining, auto, and yes, aerospace and defense industries.

So why this passive-aggressive hostility in the British tabloid media toward Brazil; why the compulsion to demean and belittle the nation's economic accomplishment with the image of a clown? Why the Republican-style excuses for such a significant economic milestone in the offensive photo's caption with the snarky comment, "[d]espite Brazil's potential, official growth figures showed it narrowly escaped a technical recession at the end of 2011"? (Emphasis mine.)

Here's why. England is credited with inventing the modern game of football (known as "soccer" — not to be confused in these parts with the game of football played with one's hands) even though it was actually invented by the pre-Columbian Mesoamerican civilizations, among them the Mayans and Aztecs, that populated present-day Mexico and Central America. The game had many versions and was played by many cultures (as it is today) but at its most infamous it was the original blood-sport. There was ritual human sacrifice associated with the game, and in the Aztec version it is speculated that the skulls or severed heads of losing team members were used as balls.

Fast forward to 1966-1970. The pinnacle of the modern game for England was when it hosted the World Cup in 1966. Defending two-time world champions Brazil were a side in transition, with a mix of veteran over-the-hill players from the earlier campaigns and younger players feeling the weight of their success. The team was an epic FAIL with a few glimpses of brilliance. The eternal Pelé was hunted on the pitch as the referees looked the other way and violent play rued the day. Football-art represented by Brazil was unceremoniously declared dead. The physical European game was ascendant as England notched its one and only World Cup triumph. Hail Britannia and God Save the Queen!

The significance of this event to British imperial aspirational identity is elegantly explained here:
'The ball used in the 1966 World Cup Final is a case in point. Since Geoff Hurst thumped it into the back of the net three times during that match, it has travelled the world and been presented to fans, players and Prime Ministers. It is, like the game itself, a symbol of identity and national pride. “When you look at an object, you are looking at a person’s thoughts,” Moore says. “Football has become symbolic of the popular perception of the decline of England. It is linked to the end of Empire and the decline of the country. It often represents a more hopeful past.”'
The United States in the 20th century was a bona fide colonial empire. Of late, the American empire is fraying at the seams, and some may argue it is by definition rotten to the core; but it remains the world's leading economy and a formidable military power that has grown, insanely, stronger as the economy faltered and former Cold War enemies dissipated. Where once we lived in a "bipolar world," today the neocons dream of restoring empire by creating out of whole cloth a bipolar clash of civilizations between the U.S. and Islam — to be confused with its terrorist cadres, the new communists. By decimating Al Qaeda and killing Osama Bin Laden, President Obama threatens to undermine this tenuous right wing claim of a new mortal threat to America akin to the vanished Soviet Union. Once again, predictably, the neocons and their acolytes are beating the drums of war against our new manufactured enemy, Iran. Such is the burden — and curse — of empire.

As the colonial empire of old, mother country England has seen its nostalgic illusions of a lost empire on which the sun never set reflected in the glow of America's imperial wars. The vicarious British imperialists including most prominently Rupert Murdoch, live in the lost British Empire through America's wars with splashy tabloid jingoism, even as they endure the pointed American humiliation of being called our "junior partners."

It was against this hubristic backdrop of imperialist ethos that the vaunted defending world champions, the England Football Team, descended on Mexico, host of the 1970 World Cup. They arrived like conquerors of old, the second coming of Cortéz, the imperial inventors of modern football, there to show the descendants of vanquished civilizations how to play the game their ancestors had played thousands of years before the British Empire existed. And then, the inevitable, imagined clash of civilizations, happened:

For Brazil, the early World Cup exit in 1966 was a blessing in disguise. A new generation of players was coming on, anchored by Pelé the greatest player ever to have played the game. The team came together almost organically. The coach was a former teammate of Pelé's from the 1958 Cup, Zagallo. He tossed the old ways and simply fielded the best of the best, even if they might be playing out of position. It was a collection of superstars the likes of which had never been seen on a football pitch before, nor since.

Jairzinho, a forward, was moved to the right flank; the brilliant Tostão, a starter on any world side relegated to being Pelé's reserve, played beside the eternal number 10 with the 9 jersey of center-forward, and their similar styles meshed beautifully; Rivelino, the fiery midfielder with the left-footed cannon terrorized opponents on the left wing, because the midfield creative job was taken by Gerson, the chain-smoking field general with the magical pinpoint passes from his left foot; Clodoaldo, the fluid midfielder who dribbled four Italians in the build-up to Carlos Alberto's magnificent Cup-clinching goal (see below), moved to defensive midfielder, as defensive midfielder Piazza plugged a hole in the center defense. This was an awesome constellation of superstars revolving around 29-year-old Pelé at the height of his greatness, their supernova.

Thirty-two years later, the two nations would meet again in a World Cup elimination game. New era, same result. It was David Beckham's team now, but it was Ronaldinho the one to bend it like Beckham — and send England packing.

We can forgive British imperialist moguls like the Barclay brothers their passive-aggressive digs at Brazil's rise as a first world economic power. The British nostalgia for a lost imperial past, given new life with a World Cup final win over Old World enemy Germany in 1966, was dashed for good in 1970 by Brazil, slayer of empires. Today, Brazil's triumph over England is sealed in the global economic sphere. So better luck in 2014 on the football pitch, boys, when Brazil hosts the World Cup. Stranger things have happened. And to the Barclays, next time one of your rags runs a story on Brazil's burgeoning economy, might I suggest this photo of 100% Brazilian-made aerospace technology. The clown picture makes you look, well ... petty and humbled.

Correction: An earlier version of this post incorrectly named The Telegraph as a Rupert Murdoch holding. Although identified with Conservative politics and formerly owned by Conrad Black, and while its tumultuous history and politics parallel those of the Murdoch media empire, this one in fact he does not own. My apologies to Sir Rupert.

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Yo Michael, The Left Did This During The Bush Years ... Really?!

To My Friends At MSNBC: I hate to say this, people, but are you aware Rush Limbaugh smeared Andrea Mitchell in the most heinous way? Count 15. I hope somebody does something about it. The despicable PIG owes Andrea an apology. FIFTY and counting; five minutes of dead air time. Rush must be hurting when he borrows my phrase — liberals and progressives are fed up (that he's still on the air) — or is it that good old Zeitgeist once again ...

And Michael Steele, STFU already. Don't EVEN TRY defending this misogynistic garbage from the leader of your party. Honestly, I don't understand how you can be a Republican, you were a Seminarian. And despite your propensity for pissing us off, we're all genuinely glad you gave your once orderly party the gift of CHAOS.

GUESS WHO Got All Sartorial For A Return Appearance On NOW ...

HMM ... I wonder why. John Heilemann, in The Other Katzenjammer Kid of Political Pundits Meets Li'l Hogan Gidley of Dogpatch, made some mischief praising him his threads.

Hogan did manage to impress Alex with the line of the day:
"J. Hogan Gidley, Santorum National Communications Director, told "NOW" today that his candidate is Mitt Romney's worst nightmare:

JOHN HARWOOD: I thought he wants to talk about his pro-growth economic tax cut plan and his job creation record at Bain Capital?

GIDLEY: You know and I know he’s a moderate and that’s what he wants to talk about – he wants to tack back to the middle and show his true colors and take off that sheep’s clothing and show the moderate wolf he is underneath and just keep moving forward from there.

ALEX & PANEL: Moderate wolf??!! Moderate wolf??!! Moderate wolf??!!

GIDLEY: The problem is he can’t win conservatives. And he knows that. And he knows Rick Santorum is the stumbling block for him there because at the end of the day his worst nightmare is going against Rick Santorum one-on-one.

The "Moderate Wolf" line is also, incidentally, our "NOW" Intern Moment of the Day. Our intern liked it because "it caused a stir on the panel and in the control room... trying to make Romney sound menacing but moderate."

We think this Moderate Wolf's worst nightmare is actually Santorum and Newt Gingrich together prolonging this long, slow crawl to the Republican National Convention in August."

Jennifer Granholme, Alex Wagner Latest Dunce Cap Honorees

I was watching the program that follows Countdown on Current TV, "The War Room" with host Jennifer Granholme, former Michigan governor. She is calling for viewers to speak out against Rush Limbaugh and sign two petitions to get him off the air. So far so good. Then she trots out former California GOP chairman Duf Sundheim, characterized as a "reasonable" Republican, to comment on the defeaning silence of Republicans to Limbaugh's assault on Sandra Fluke.

The same basic question was asked of Michael Steele on Hardball. Steele LIED and Sundheim LIED using the SAME GOP TALKING POINT: 'Both sides do it in equal measure'. It's the BIG LIE — if repeated often enough it will take hold. And it has. The Beltway Media accepts it as an article of faith. When some wingnut/Republican pundit repeats it, hosts on the fake progressive channel generally won't even contest it. That's what chief GOP propagandist Frank Luntz is counting on, to plant uncontested falsehoods in the mainstream media, that they become fake "factoids" and articles of faith to the Idiot Punditocracy.

As a Republican mole at MSNBC, Steele is much too cunning to overplay his hand; his objective is to get the talking points past a Chris Matthews, David Corn, or Joan Walsh, uncontested. He is adept at the polispeak filibuster and the topical pivot in mid-sentence, so he'll work in a phrase like 'we know that the same thing happened during the Bush years, but, blablablah ...' I heard the Steele LIE; ergo Luntz knows if I heard it, everybody else did too. So long as it went uncontested (it'll be contested occasionally, but if the uncontested ratio is, say, 4:1 or 5:1) then mission accomplished for the false ideological divide narrative, reinforced and promoted by the Beltway Media.

This is sophisticated propaganda, folks. It works, chiefly because of the laziness of the Beltway/MSM to stay on top of what insider Andrea Mitchell calls 'message discipline', not to speak of TEH STOOPID and the Idiot Punditocracy.

On Granholme's show, Duf Sundheim robotically repeated once again, "both sides do it," then pivoted to the preposterous Frank Luntz talking point that there are 25% ideological extremists on both left and right of the parties who would like to "tear everything down." Excuse me?!

This is a seriously outrageous LIE, for these reasons: Democrats, liberals and progressives are politically committed to exactly the opposite of 'tearing things down'. We're for activist government, rebuilding our infrastructure, expanding our social safety nets, reinforcing our retirement plans, investing in universal healthcare, expanding educational opportunities for all citizens, and ending our foreign wars. This, in broad terms, is the agenda of the left. There's nothing here about destroying or tearing down anything.

Frank Luntz is essentially throwing smoke on the Tea Party agenda which is — not to put a finer point on it — to 'tear down' government. From his perspective, can you blame him for trying to fool the American people, who reject the Tea Party agenda by sizable majorities? But rather than vigorously contesting the Sundheim LIE, Granholme chirped something like, 'We could talk about this forever, but unfortunately we're out of time ..."

Memo To Alex Wagner: Please desist (to quote the NYT's Maureen Dowd) with this Sparta v. Sparta thing already ... I thought I'd made a pretty good case that (a) this is a Castellanos-Romney plant to spin the 'inevitability' argument in their favor as Romney looks increasingly flawed; and (b) it's a historically false metaphor. Yet, it's like beating my head against a wall. Alex, surely you must know that "spartan" (small 's') means frugal and ascetic. The Sparta myth is forever defined by Thermopylae, where 300 Spartans held a mighty Persian army of thousands to a standstill. Totally opposite of the Romney campaign that spent lavishly carpet-bombing its opponents, particularly Rick Santorum, with meager results (status quo; standoff) for the millions spent to destroy Gingrich and Santorum. Were he not so totally incompetent and undisciplined, the 'Spartan' here would be Psycho Ricky, not Mittens.

You say the Romney campaign describe themselves as a lean, mean operation (questionable), yet have wasted vast amounts of SuperPac money trying unsuccessfully to "close the deal." Alex, you're super smart, engaging and charming, but you keep making rookie mistakes. On today's program you correctly identified Romney political guru Alex Castellanos with a blurb about the Romney campaign — good, props to you for not identifying him as simply a CNN media personality — then, inexplicably, went right over the lemming cliff with the self-serving and false Castellanos-Romney Sparta v. Sparta metaphor.

As if that weren't enough, in a prior appearance to opine on the continuing GOP-Limbaugh war on women, you totally disregarded what your distinguished guest Dan Rather, with some 50 years' experience covering politics, said on your show less than 24 hours earlier, that this spells trouble for the GOP and women will remember this when they go into the voting booth. Instead, you cited the worthless stats that unmarried and single women went for Romney while married women preferred Santorum. SO WHAT?! The Pew poll has the gender gap in women at 59% for Obama to 38% for Romney — a 21-point difference! Hello ... Alex, anybody home? Apparently not, when you preface your statement with "I don't mean to sound like a politician, but ..." Well Alex, you did. Which makes you sound like S.E. Cupp, emblematic of TEH STOOPID. So, without further ado, Jennifer Granholme and Alex Wagner:

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

No One Says "Stuffed Shirt" Better Than Martin ...

Mitt Romney's Fatal Flaws

Chris Matthews is a rip, sometimes. He irritated the usually unflappable Major Garrett by saying Romney looked like "an android waving to a bunch of androids." Then he asked Major Garrett: "Is this REAL?!"

"Of course it's REAL," said Garrett, irritably. "THEY'RE REAL PEOPLE; THEY'RE NOT ANDROIDS!"

(I think Chris is a fan of my graphics — see two posts down ...)

Here are The Terrible Mittenator's most fatal flaws laid bare on Super Tuesday:

1. The colored Ohio map with the counties going to Romney (red) and Santorum (green) immediately revealed Romney's first fatal flaw. Psycho Ricky rolled up rural small-town Ohio like a green tsunami; Romney won the urban areas around the cities and some satellite suburbs.

Mitt Romney won Ohio like a Democrat wins Ohio, taking the cities and traditional Ohio Democratic stronghold of Cuyahoga County. No way he wins Ohio this way in November.

2. Romney massively underperformed in the South, which is the Republican electoral stronghold. If the Republicans are forced to fight a rearguard action to defend their onetime red states such as Virginia, North Carolina, and Florida, all won by President Obama in 2008, There is still Christian fundamentalist resistance in the South to voting for a Mormon.

Sometimes bigotry can be a double-edged sword; and, yeah, you reap what you sow.

Michael's Revenge, Part Deux: PSYCHO RICKY (Charlie) Shadow Boxing THE MITTENATOR to a TKO

Once again, Mittens The Terrible Mittenator FAILed to 'seal the deal', 'ice the game', 'bake the cake', or 'cook the goose', much to the Cheshire Cat Pundit's chagrin. If only Psycho Ricky had a competent campaign manager like a Steve Schmidt, he could have terminated the Mittenator's campaign by Super Tuesday. No shit, Sherlock. (Can the 'Ragin' Cajun' take a leave of absence to help out Psycho Ricky?) But for all his missteps, Psycho Ricky is stayin' alive while the Mittenator churlishly drunk drives his swerving SuperPac Steamroller to the nomination. This is only ROUND 10 of a 24-ROUND Marathon bout ending in Tampa. If the Mittenator fails to win on POINTS, i.e., 1144 Delegates, before Tampa, all bets are off. The Elder Party Bosses may have to declare this match a 'no-contest', in which case the Delegates are free to wander after Mittens fails to go over on the first ballot. OH, MY.

Consider this: Who will the Kingmaker be? Not Ron Paul, with his naive cult following of misguided Paulie Youth. Romney's de facto lapdog won't have enough Delegates to place Mr. 1% over the top. But ... a combined Newtron Bomb/Psycho Ricky Delegate total could add up to the 1144 needed to nominate on the second or third or ... 45th ballot. Surely with Junior 'El Loco Libertino' seventy-something partner added to the mix. Newt the horse-trader will be in his element at a brokered convention. Can anyone say, "Newtron Bomb/Psycho Ricky 2012"? As for Paulie's 'strategic alliance' with Mittens — a prominent speaking role for Randy Paul versus Chairman of the Fed or Treasury Secretary: Weighing, weighing ... OH, M-MY!

CHARLIE CHAPLIN might as well be portraying the Republican presidential nominating contest in this hilarious shadow boxing skit, in which he slips the hard-hitting MITTENATOR's knockout punch by bobbing and weaving and hiding behind the toast of the Beltway Media 'elites' and the Democratic Party, 'referee' MICHAEL STEELE:


Fake Progressive Channel Watch: Michael Does It Again! Chris Sings Cumbaya ...

MICHAEL STEELE, Republican LIAR does it AGAIN, with more GOP false equivalence bullshit: "We've seen the same thing (Limbaugh's attack on Sandra Fluke) from the left during the Bush years."

THAT IS A BALD-FACED LIE. Give us chapter and verse, Michael, else STFU already. Remember, we're talking about (a) a private citizen; furthermore, (b) nothing "during the Bush years" compares to the grotesque SERIAL RACISM directed at President Obama to this day.

CHRIS: "We're all in this together." Chris must have been distracted by thoughts of "making love" as he noted whimsically to Joan Walsh.

UM, CHRIS ... NO, we are NOT in this together. Your task, when you host a partisan spinmeister like Steele is to advocate for the TRUTH. Nothing more nor less. You cannot passively allow Michael to start spouting Frank Luntz talking point LIES. This is most shameful because it happens time and time again, on important segments which rightly condemn Republicans. In such instances, Michael Steele is incapable of honesty and integrity; he is, above all, a partisan Republican. As such, he has by necessity acquired a capacity for the facile LIE. Steele has ruined yet another consequential segment with a partisan LIE. It happened with the President's T.R. speech; and now again, when asked to comment on Rush Limbaugh's savaging of Sandra Fluke.

Absolutely no excuses, Chris. Shame on you.

Monday, March 05, 2012

The Inimitable Alex Wagner Wipes Grin Off 'Cheshire Cat' Halperin's Dick Face

Forewarned and forearmed against the cunning and devious Romney media stooge, Mark Halperin, the inimitable Alex Wagner, plucky hostess with the mostess moxie of NOW, shut Halperin down after he tried to disparage her with a "joke" that was anything but. Clearly smarting from her descriptor of him as the 'Cheshire Cat' of political pundits, Halperin took issue with something Alex had said in the earlier segment about Rick Santorum spokesman J. Hogan Gidley:
CHESHIRE CAT PUNDIT: "You got jay Hogan Gidley’s title wrong; I think you called him ..."

ALEX WAGNER: "I called him 'Senior Strategist' because that’s how he billed himself, my friend" (Here Alex carries the words with a touch of sarcasm ... And Halperin suddenly awakens to the realization, "I'm not on Moron Joe anymore!?" ... Here I employ Halperin's finely tuned psychic skills, acquired while reading his book, to get into candidates' heads divining their innermost thoughts ...)

CHESHIRE CAT PUNDIT: "He is Alex Wagner’s sidekick! At least that’s how he thinks of himself anyway ..." (See what I mean? Odds are this will get into Halperin's sequel, portraying Hogan as a home-schooled religious fanatic with a crush on Alex.) Let's face it, the affable Hogan is a little weird; his clothes look like off-the-rack hand-me-downs from the local five & ten, and he clearly hasn't paid a visit to the barber shop in a while ... (Don't those campaign hotels have salons?) And he concludes every interview with "God bless you."

ALEX WAGNER: "Ha-ha ..." (Uneasy laugh, as in WTF is this creepy Repug talking about?!)
Bottom line, the Cheshire Cat Pundit — who doesn't deserve to sit in the company of the great journalist Dan Rather — was dissing Alex with some really off-color, like, weird "joke" about her fake connection to Hogan. This 'dick' is seriously inviting another suspension, ya think?

Then the Cheshire Cat Pundit launched into his Romney 'inevitability' riff, the propaganda narrative that it's all wrapped for Mitt and the sooner his recalcitrant NOW colleagues realize it — the better to  nominate Romney — the sooner he can get back to defining himself with a big assist from the Cheshire Cat Pundit, his (paid, I wonder?) liaison to the Beltway Media: "As of now, the Party's got to figure out how to win with Mitt Romney because that's all they got and he's the most likely nominee." How's that for 'objective' analysis from MSNBC's 'Senior Political Strategist Analyst' ... Actually the same phony title Hogan has with the Santorum campaign. See what I mean, why this 'dick' went after Alex.


Ryan Lizza, a hard-nosed honest reporter pushed back against the Cheshire Cat Pundit's preemptive spin, as did Alex herself. Not a single election day vote has been cast and the Cheshire Cat Pundit was arrogantly attempting to set the narrative for Super Tuesday: under just about any circumstances, i.e., he wins Ohio, it's all wrapped up for Romney. But he beat a tactical retreat before the next segment: having to opine on Rush Limbaugh's misogyny and, more importantly, why Romney has been mum on the whole topic.

The Limbaugh Effect: His Non-Apology, And Now There Are Twelve, And Counting

AOL and now Bonobos, Sears, and Allstate Insurance have become the latest companies to pull their advertising from Rush Limbaugh's show.

What Rush Limbaugh did by smearing and dehumanizing a private citizen on his syndicated radio show to a reported audience of 20 million, has no counterpart in mainstream media. (For the millionth time: Beltway Media/Idiot Punditocracy — both sides DO NOT do it.) He didn't just put his foot in his mouth and say something vile and "inappropriate" (as the inappropriate John Boehner commented reluctantly) one time — no, Limbaugh dragged a young 30-year-old law student's name through the mud with the most despicable ad hominems, he called her a "slut" and a "prostitute," for three consecutive days. Her 'crime'? Testifying before a Congressional panel on women's need for contraception for medical conditions other than preventing pregnancy, such as treating ovarian cysts, recounting the tragic circumstance of a friend who could not afford the out-of-pocket expense of contraceptive pills to pay for it.

That's the first and most important point. Rush Limbaugh savaged a young woman with malice aforethought. To his surprise, she was far more poised defending herself than the big fat bully expected. Limbaugh has, I think, serious psychological issues with women. Here's an individual who has been married four times, has no children, and displays a pronounced hostility to women with recurring misogynistic attacks from his radio perch. It's devolved beyond mere "entertainment" to full-bore hate speech. Women are the most common targets of his bilious venom.

Following the outrage to Limbaugh's words from women taking the lead, because they have an intimate biological knowledge of their medical needs that men, doctors and patients, do not possess on a physical and psychological level, twelve advertisers (and counting) have pulled their advertising from Limbaugh's show. I do not favor silencing Limbaugh, as despicable and piggish as he is. It isn't necessary. Conservatives who are always preaching of their deity, an unfettered market and the "invisible hand" of "market forces," should not be whining about the boycott Rush efforts sprouting like wildfire in social media. Let the market decide; let Clear Channel (which is owned in part by Bain Capital, perhaps explaining Romney's failure to condemn Limbaugh's conduct) decide whether keeping him on, with his fat contract, is advantageous to their bottom line. At the very least a suspension is in order.

Fox made a similar decision with regard to Glenn Beck. Although the show that replaced his is in many ways just as objectionable, an important precedent was reinforced: there are no sacred cows in this business. Once Beck's advertising dried up and his ratings paralleled his descent into madness, paranoia and extremism, he was gone. He's still around, ripping suckers off their retirement money, but now he runs a subscription service so we don't get assaulted with the blowback from his garbage as much as when he wielded a big Fox megaphone. Sure, he piggybacked off Rush to smear a private citizen, but now, those so inclined have to dig to find his excrement. Glenn Beck is become a niche market for consumers and analysts of wingnut droppings. Ours is to keep exposing their ugliness until critical mass and oblivion is achieved. Beck is finished as a public hate-monger. Rush is next; he's wobbling. He'll probably survive this, but in a much diminished capacity. His hateship is crippled and listing. The public, once enlightened, will reject the hate speech and spare us all the vitriol.

Let the market speak for itself: Carbonite, which advertises on both liberal talk radio, such as the Ed Show and Stephanie Miller, and the Limbaugh show, dropped its advertising after Limbaugh released his non-apology. Said Carbonite's CEO, David Friend:
“No one with daughters the age of Sandra Fluke, and I have two, could possibly abide the insult and abuse heaped upon this courageous and well-intentioned young lady. Mr. Limbaugh, with his highly personal attacks on Miss Fluke, overstepped any reasonable bounds of decency. Even though Mr. Limbaugh has now issued an apology, we have nonetheless decided to withdraw our advertising from his show. We hope that our action, along with the other advertisers who have already withdrawn their ads, will ultimately contribute to a more civilized public discourse.”
Mr. Friend went on to say in his company's blog, "As an advertiser, we do not have control over a show’s editorial content or what they say on air. Carbonite does not endorse the opinions of the shows or their hosts... However, the outcry over Limbaugh is the worst we’ve ever seen. I have scheduled a face-to-face meeting next week with Limbaugh during which I will impress upon him that his comments were offensive to many of our customers and employees alike... Please know your voice has been heard and that we are taking this matter very seriously." ProFlowers, the latest company to pull its advertising from Limbaugh's show (before AOL and the others today), said his attacks "went beyond political discourse to a personal attack and do not reflect our values as a company." The other companies in addition to Carbonite and ProFlowers, AOL and the latest cited above, to have pulled their ads from Limbaugh's show are: mortgage lender Quicken Loans, mattress retailers Sleep Train and Sleep Number, software maker Citrix Systems Inc. and online legal document services company LegalZoom. They deserve our support and our business as good corporate citizens.

The companies that continue advertising with Limbaugh should expect to suffer the business consequences of their choice. In these times of social media, boycotts aren't necessary. Millions of potential customers armed with this information will simply take their business elsewhere to companies that do not subsidize misogynistic hate speech.

The second point pertains to the utter imbecility and chauvinism of Rush Limbaugh. It is a demonstrable fact that people who listen to hate radio and Fox are the most misinformed segment of the American electorate. Significantly, partly as a consequence of Limbaugh's vicious attack on Sandra Fluke, the support among all women and moderate "independent" women for the Democratic Party over the Republican Party for control of Congress has flipped: last summer, this demographic supported the Republican Party by 46% to 39%; today, the Democratic Party is favored over the Republicans by 48% to 37%. The simple fact is that Limbaugh's antediluvian, ignorant attitudes concerning women's issues, which had been resolved, it was thought, more than 30 years ago, represent widely held views within the overwhelmingly white, older male Republican Party. When Limbaugh talks, Republicans listen. Literally. That is, they dare not talk back. They're skeert of Rush; just ask George Will.

Like this crop of unethical Republicans presuming to legislate morality and to practice medicine without a license, Limbaugh absurdly believes birth control pills should be popped like Viagra, each time a woman has sex. Likewise, this conservative talking point that the "taxpayers" are bankrolling a government mandate is completely erroneous. Contraception is already part of a wide variety of medical services covered by insurance, including Viagra and vasectomies for men. Contraceptive services are deemed a cost-saver by the insurance companies because the alternative would be a rise in costlier medical care and procedures for unwanted pregnancies and abortions.

Finally, there is no equivalent on the left to the hate speech of the extremist right. There is no "far left" or "hard left" as some insatiably ignorant members of the Beltway Media insist on framing ideological issues, attempting to differentiate their corporate media elite selves from the rest of us. It sounds ludicrous, coming from Newt Gingrich and the GOP 'baser' crazies, but they are correct, in this sense. The difference is not between a mythical "far left" and the increasingly right wing, increasingly extremist Republican Party. The ideological divide of this nation is between a wide progressive consensus on the true center left; a conservative to center-right oligarchy composed of corporate, media and governing elites; and an extremist proto- and neo-fascist dangerous insurgency of disaffected conservatives, be they evangelicals or the so-called Tea Party, and the far right, which has taken control of the Republican Party. Libertarian conservatives like Dylan Ratigan, who say "a pox on both houses," are missing the point, I think, deliberately.

They're not free agents or lovers of "liberty." They are simply a faction of the Republican Party which is in revolt and which has contributed to the state of our politics today. They are essentially anti-government, anti- (big 'D')emocrat and hope to see this President fail so they can bring about their confused, irrational version of government and politics. Given their extreme bias against government and government-driven solutions, they lack a fundamental understanding of how it works — incrementalism is a good and positive thing, as long as we're moving forward. And by arresting the progress this President has made, within two years, before he had time to consolidate his government, and then whining about the government works they helped to gum up is beyond contemptible, closer to treason. But that's just me. Those who said 'let's give the Teabaggers a shot' may not be traitors only insofar as they're so damned stupid.

This racist, anti-woman, pro-Rush Limbaugh/GOP misogyny is what the anti-government fervor against a black man in the White House, who has proposed generational post-partisan politics, has wrought. So to the imbeciles who insist there's no difference between the parties, and who must consistently lie to make this point or push a libertarian (which is another word for stupid and ignorant) agenda, with its racist core and anti-woman policies, watch this:

This was for Dylan Ratigan, Chuck Todd, Jonathan Capehart, and yes, even Chris Matthews, because of his stubborn adherence to this false equivalence Beltway worldview. There are more, but these gentlemen are repeat offenders in wrong analysis of the true ideological divide that exists in our politics, shorn of the controlling, elitist, corporatist penumbra that is their Beltway world. They perpetuate this myth about our political divide, that somehow our parties are equally to blame for not finding common ground, when the truth is the blame lies squarely on the Republicans.

Consider these charts on the range of liberal-conservative deviation of the parties in the House from 1879 to 2011; i.e., Jonathan's and Chris's 'far' or 'hard' left and 'far' right; frankly, liberals and progressives are fed up with the Beltway's fake narrative, that insists the parties are being dominated "by their extremes." That, quite simply, is a "big lie."

Here's the truth in graphical format. The bottom dark blue line represents liberal Democrats. As you can see, it has remained fairly constant for some 130 years. The lighter blue line represents moderate Democrats. Historically, moderate Democrats are slightly more liberal than in the period between the 40s through the early 70s; but in the main, moderate Democrats have been constant and centrist, with a slight uptick lately tilting conservative. Compare this fairly constant historical ideological posture of House Democrats to the Republicans. See the two red lines? The so-called "moderate" Republicans today have surpassed their "conservative" plateau of yesteryear, and the onetime "conservatives" are literally off the charts, well into right wing extremism, also known in the real world as fascism. So which party, again, is dominated by its "extremes," hmm ... Chris and Jonathan?

I suppose Republican Christine Todd Whitman could be portrayed as a “moderate” in this REPUBLICAN-CREATED toxic political climate. But as George W. Bush's EPA Administrator Whitman threw the 9/11 first responders — ravaged by the EPA’s toxic air coverup — under the bus, to avoid liability. In this context, she will forever be viewed as an anti-environmentalist “conservative” when the stakes for people’s lives couldn’t have been higher. And CONSERVATIVE Democrat Blanche Lincoln, an anti-environmentalist Big Oil lapdog who voted against unions and compensation for BP oil spill victims, was similarly feted and bemoaned by Chris, as a false symbol of the “extremes” taking over both parties when she lost re-election after defeating a true moderate Democrat, who by most accounts had a better chance to keep the seat Democratic. This revisionism of Chris’s only underscores that it isn’t the Party that has strayed left from its ideological constancy and moorings; Chris has.

You’re become more conservative, pal. (Hell, Chris, you're friends with Kathleen Parker and Pat Buchanan, you watch, then use Bill O'Reilly's anti-liberal propaganda, and you call Limbaugh "Rushbo." Is this a liberal? Heh, I don't think so. More like skirting the edges of the red zone, just outside the 20-yard line.) And Blanche Lincoln had become so conservative that she jumped the most conservative Democratic Party shark and got herself unelected. Harry Truman put it well:
"I've seen it happen time after time. When the Democratic candidate allows himself to be put on the defensive and starts apologizing for the New Deal and the fair Deal, and says he really doesn't believe in them, he is sure to lose. The people don't want a phony Democrat. If it's a choice between a genuine Republican, and a Republican in Democratic clothing, the people will choose the genuine article, every time; that is, they will take a Republican before they will a phony Democrat, and I don't want any phony Democratic candidates in this campaign."
I totally commiserate with Rachel on the curative appeal of spitballing the next Idiot Pundit who utters some lamentation that "both parties have gotten sooo extreme." Spitballing will "not make the Beltway stop saying this STUPID thing, but it will make you feel better; I do it myself in my office, trust me ... This is not a 'pox on both their houses' story; this is not, 'Oh mirror image, both parties are so extreme' story ... !" Rachel said. As the Lizard King likes to tell anyone echoing those false equivalence sentiments, 'I could not agree with you more.' So, without further ado, Dylan, Jonathan, Chuckles, and Chris: