Browsing the blog archivesfor the day Wednesday, February 1st, 2006.


Rightie Hypocrisy Watch

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American History, conservatism

Tristero at Hullabaloo waxes nostalgic about those dear, long-ago days when the Christian Right was in a frenzy because some art gallery in North Carolina displayed a photograph of a crucifix in a jar of urine. To this day the Right believes this opus was “funded” (how much funding do you need to pee in a jar?) by the National Endowment of the Arts. It wasn’t, but when has the Right let facts get in the way of self-righteousness?

The nostalgia was triggered by this rightie post on Muslims outraged by Danish caricatures of Prophet Mohammed. “You know, the art community is always congratulating itself for being ‘daring,’ by mocking Christ,” says the rightie, “but this is territory that’s apparently a bit too scary for them, as art mocking Muslims is exceedingly rare.”

First, if the rightie had to go back nearly 20 years for an example of how the “art community” is “always” mocking Christ, maybe it’s not as common as he/she thinks. And Tristero has some examples of western art that mocks Muslims, although art mocking religious/ethnic groups generally isn’t as common as it used to be. Badmouthing of the Prophet by Christians possibly occurs as often, if not more often, than the “art community” mocks Christ, however.

Meanwhile, John Hinderaker is quaking with indignation over Democratic congressional candidate Coleen Rowley’s web site.

(If the name Coleen Rowley sounds familiar — yes, it’s that Coleen Rowley. Notice that Hinderaker doesn’t mention Rowley’s heroic past.)

The screen capture on PowerLine depicts Rowley’s opponent, John Kline, as the Colonel Klink character from the old television series Hogan’s Heroes. (Young people: Hogan’s Heroes was a comedy. Klink was an idiot and the foil of most of the jokes.) Kline complained that it depicted him as a Nazi, which Hinderacker calls a “despicable slander.”

I’m sure Hinkeraker was just as outraged when Saxby Chambliss ran campaign ads placing Max Cleland side by side with Osama bin Laden. Or, maybe not. But Glenn Greenwald documents some other situations in which righties hurled the “N” word at lefties, yet somehow that was all right. “Maybe Rowley should have spread rumors that Kline has a black baby and then it would have been OK,” says Glenn.

(Full disclosure: I called Michelle Malkin a goose-stepping, fascist toady in my previous post, but that’s because she is one.)

Anyway, this cutting-edge controversy alerted me to a blog post on Coleen Rowley’s campaign site that tells us Kline wants to replace Ulysses Grant’s picture with Ronald Reagan’s on $50 bills.

Kline’s is the most recent in a wild spree of proposals and bills that congressional Republicans proposed in the wake of President Reagan’s passing. Other various proposals seek to memorialize Reagan on the:

– Dime (replacing Franklin Roosevelt)
– Half-dollar (replacing John Kennedy)
– $10 bill (replacing Alexander Hamilton)
– $20 bill (replacing Andrew Jackson)
– $1, $2, and $5 coins

Kline’s particular legislation has been praised by ultra-rightwing-insider Grover Norquist’s feverish Reagan Legacy Project — which takes an ironically Leninist approach in attempting to memorialize the former President whom the project credits for virtually single-handedly ‘crushing the Communists’.

Washington on the $1 bill and Lincoln on the $5 bill are still safe, it seems.

Many appreciate the symbolism of FDR on the dime, recalling the Depression hit “Buddy Can You Spare a Dime?” and the March of Dimes that raised money to end polio. Alexander Hamilton was the first secretary of the treasury and did a brilliant job of it, and he deserves to be on money somewhere. Andrew Jackson, who campaigned relentlessly against the national bank, is probably spinning in his grave about being pictured on a federal reserve note; let him spin, say I. And I enjoy seeing Grant’s picture on the $50. Well, I enjoy seeing $50, period, especially when somebody is handing it to me. But Grant’s life story was one financial disaster after another, and I’m sure he’d be pleased to to see himself looking fat and prosperous on $50 bills.

Ms. Rowley goes on to say some kind words about the General, which makes her good people in my book. So I sent her campaign a donation.

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No Mars? No mas!

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Bush Administration

The Big Initiative in last night’s SOTU address was reducing America’s oil dependency. Or, rather, oil “addiction,” as Bush put it. Interesting choice of words. Also, quite a change from the long-ago days when righties made fun of Al Gore’s warnings about dwindling oil supplies and the need for new fuel technologies.

“This was a switch from May of 2001 when Ari Fleischer, the president’s spokesman, said that the right to consume massive energy resources was ‘an American way of life.'” writes John Dickerson in Slate.

Or maybe not. I did a word search of the transcript; the words conserve and conservation did not show up anywhere in a “conservative” speech. Dickerson continues,

Bush put his case in a very Bushian way, presenting it as a pain-free alternative to the awful status quo. Only the corn stalk will suffer as we remake a huge sector of the economy and convert to clean, politically innocent fuel sources. None of us have to trade in our SUV’s, drive less, or turn down the thermostat.

We can have our oil and burn it, too!

In six years we’ll be driving ethanol-burning cars, Bush said, and by 2025 will cut our dependence on Middle Eastern oil by 75 percent. Yeah, and pigs will fly. Julian Borger of the Guardian reminds us that Bush is great at making grandiose promises but tends to fall a tad short on keeping them.

President Bush has been here before. He has pledged more support for alternative fuel technologies in previous State of the Union addresses, but US dependence on foreign oil has continued to rise throughout his tenure.

He persuaded Democrats to join hands with him on the No Child Left Behind education act in early 2002, which promised an extraordinary federal focus on improving schools, but then his administration failed to come up with enough money to run the programme.

Addressing the nation from New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, President Bush captured the headlines by promising the city would “rise again”, only “higher and better” than before. Months on, reconstruction work is hamstrung for lack of funds.

He has also used the State of the Union speech to offer the bold vision of American astronauts returning to the moon and using it as a launching pad to Mars. Once again, the vision was there, but the necessary money has not been forthcoming.

And then there’s the fine print:

He predicted the US would replace 75% of Middle East oil imports by 2025, but only a fifth of American imports come from the region. So the alternative fuels would only account for 15% of total imports. That does not sound so breathtaking.

Bush wants to achieve his oil-based goals through market incentives, meaning some slice of GOP campaign contributing corporatocracy will be graced by tax breaks and sweetheart deals, and upper management will give itself a big raise, and not much else will come of it.

So much for an energy program. Elsewhere in the speech, Bush promised tighter budgeting. But what’s this: “I am pleased that the members of Congress are working on earmark reform, because the federal budget has too many special interest projects. And we can tackle this problem together, if you pass the line-item veto.”

Honey lamb, Congress did pass a line-item veto bill. In 1996. And in 1998 the courts (affirmed by the Supremes) found the bill to be unconstitutional. Keep up, son.

That and other quibbles related to Bush’s economic claims are explained by Peter Wallsten and Maura Reynolds in today’s Los Angeles Times. Wallsten and Reynolds also debunk Bush’s defense of his NSA spy program, a defense that employed the same old, familiar lies. Lies like “Previous presidents have used the same constitutional authority I have” and “Appropriate Members of Congress have been kept informed.

At Unclaimed Territory, Glenn Greenwald observes,

There is something quite disturbing about the way in which Bush has taken to telling us in almost every speech he gives now the type of criticism of him we should and should not be making. It is so plainly not the role of the President to tell us what types of debates we ought to be having, and given his history of civility and those of his henchman – from John McCain’s black daughter to the metal illness of Gore, McCain and Howard Dean to the way in which the language of treason and surrender are tossed about like fun little playthings — he is particularly ill-suited to dispense those sermons.

The Bushian response is, of course, that Bush doesn’t do the nasty work himself. He has surrogates do it for him. Therefore, Bush remains a model of civil discourse.

I also agree with what Glenn says about Cindy Sheehan’s arrest.

This is nothing more than a naked attempt to stifle dissent and to create a criticism-free bubble around George Bush. … we apparently now have a country where the only ideas allowed to be expressed in our Nation’s Capitol while the President is speaking are ones which glorify the Government and its Leader and where dissenting views are prohibited and will subject someone to arrest. Message cleansing of that sort belongs at a political rally in North Korea, not in Washington, DC.

Naturally, the goose-stepping fascist toady Michelle Malkin is calling for punishment for Rep. Lynn Woolsey, who invited Sheehan and gave her a ticket. Woolsey, says Malkin, should have her ticket-distributing privileges revoked for being complicit in an act of disrespect for Dear Leader.

So is there some way we can get Malkin deported to North Korea, since she seems to think she lives there already? I think we’d all be happier.

(Cross-posted to American Street.)

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