Monthly Archives: August 2012

InvisibleObama Loves You Edition

Do you know what the definition of a straw man is? “A straw man is a type of argument and is an informal fallacy based on misrepresentation of an opponent’s position. To “attack a straw man” is to create the illusion of having refuted a proposition by replacing it with a superficially similar yet unequivalent proposition (the “straw man”), and refuting it, without ever having actually refuted the original position.” Hmmmm…

The star of this convention clearly is not Mitt Romney, but the straw man we’ll call Invisible Obama, a guy who apparently hangs out with Clint Eastwood and wipes the drool off his chin–you know,  the guy the Republicans made up. I forgot about him.  He’s the guy who wasn’t born an American even though his mother was a US citizen. He’s the guy who apparently closed a GM plant in Janesville before he was inaugurated, “raided” Medicare, killed small business in America, stomps all over your right to self-determination, doesn’t care about women or children… He’s a despicable…oh wait, no that’s Republicans.

WHAT is the purpose of the Republican convention again?  Oh yeah, to make me so mad I could spit nails. Got it.

I’m gonna just set a baseline here. Let’s just say this right from the start and then I can just continue to reference this comment all…damn…night… From Day One of the Obama presidency, the Republican Party as a body decided it would not just obstruct but actively wage war against every single initiative and policy that Barack Obama proposed. So when Republicans rail against him for not getting something done, when Republicans deride him for not doing more for the economy, know that it was the REPUBLICAN Party and since the mid-terms in 2010, the Republican-led House that decided it would categorically refuse to do anything to help this country out of sheer spitefulness, like petulant toddlers. It was the Republican Party led by Boehner and bullied by the Tea Party that chose to drive this country into the ground simply because they hate Obama so much.

It’s Day Three of the RNC and we have to grit our teeth just to turn on the TV and tune into the convention coverage. It’s a fracking slog, if you must know, but I feel like I must at least try. It’s the responsible thing, yes? To listen to the other side spew lies and misinformation? Most of it is supremely uninteresting and simultaneously annoying. There’s Jane Evans touted as a Liberal Democrat up there shilling for Mitt, a parade of Olympic heroes– a move, it seems, designed simply to get the crowd chanting “USA! USA!”

The “surprise” mystery guest for tonight turns out to be Clint Eastwood and I’m sad to say, the guy sounds nearly incoherent.  Who thought this was a good idea–more like both bad and ugly.  Alex Massie at the Spectator tweeted, “Eastwood plainly giving the father of the bride speech at a wedding at which he dislikes the groom and doesn’t recognize his daughter.” Several faltering and unfortunate jokes later, I can only refer you to my comment on obstruction above. All these Republicans are whining and whinging about how Obama hasn’t done anything for the country and I want to say, 1) President Obama done a helluva a lot for this country IN SPITE of the GOP’s best efforts, and 2) see my comment about obstruction up above. People, check out the list of 244 of the President’s accomplishments.

Anyway,  Eastwood has a painfully long extended and very lame conversation with an InvisibleObama, leading to yet another hilarious Twitter meme in which “InvisibleObama” makes snarky remarks about Marco Rubio standing on his foot. In less than an hour, the Twitter account for InvisibleObama’s empty chair has 20,000 followers–can they all vote?

I’m only half tuning into what they’re saying now and occasionally blurting out retorts. Some guy says something about how in the dark days of the past, wealth used to be concentrated in the hands of just a few. Um,  that’s TODAY that you’re talking about.

I’m bored with the speakers. Looking around the convention floor, there are faces you just don’t see. No, I don’t mean that there are no minority faces, although that’s true too–their tent may be big, but it’s also empty. But I mean that certain prominent visages have not been asked to make a speech. No Bushes at all of course. As Milena astutely pointed out, no Dick Cheney? No Palin?

Ahhh Palin.  What fun THAT was (Sorry, is there not enough sarcasm in my tone? “What fun that was….*grimace*And by fun I mean torture.”) What HAS she been up to these days?  Aside from getting bumped off of the Fox News lineup that is…

Paul Ryan didn’t have the expensive wardrobe, but he sure has the faces down.  Paul West had a good analysis in his LA Times piece: “When Mitt Romney was searching for a ticket mate, Republicans pleaded: Don’t pick another Sarah Palin. So it may come as a surprise that, in at least one important way, he ended up doing precisely that with Paul D. Ryan….”

Frankly, I don’t think Ryan did himself any favors with his overblown, overstated claims yesterday–journos and bloggers and just about everyone is still raking him over the coals.  A trending hashtag on Twitter this morning is “#LyinRyan“– for you non-Twitterers, that’s NOT a good thing. And when someone says in a piece on FOX News “”to anyone paying the slightest bit of attention to facts, Ryan’s speech was an apparent attempt to set the world record for the greatest number of blatant lies and misrepresentations slipped into a single political speech…” your cred has slipped…way down. Sally goes on to say, “Republicans should be ashamed that there was even one misrepresentation in Ryan’s speech but sadly, there were many…”

Hilariously, Gawker has a list of seven things Paul Ryan said that were true, including: “There she is–my Mom, Betty” and “My Dad, a small town lawyer, was also named Paul.”

But at last, we have gotten to the man of the hour: Mittelschmerz Romney. I’m a little surprised to note that Romney’s acceptance speech, while irritating, doesn’t get me nearly as riled as I was when Condi Rice was onscreen. I’m not sputtering and incoherent like I am with some of the other speakers, but I think that’s because there’s just nothing to get excited about one way or another with Romney. He lacks charisma, lacks fire, and is just completely uninteresting. The one time I’m ready to spit nails is when the word “bipartisan” emerges from Mitt’s mouth. Don’t fracking even MENTION the word “bipartisan” to me–no one at this convention gets to say that word.

Aside from this though, I predict that the Mittelschmerz will continue to have image problems.  Back in early August, Pew Research Group released a poll noting that, “By a 52% to 37% margin, more voters say they have an unfavorable than favorable view of Mitt Romney. The poll, conducted prior to Romney’s recent overseas trip, represents the sixth consecutive survey over the past nine months in which his image has been in negative territory.” Frankly, I don’t see that shifting radically after this convention. I mean, he was trending down even before he famously staged three major gaffes in three countries,  condescending to the British, stomping all over delicate diplomatic ground with the Israelis and Palestinians, and  insulting journalists in Poland. Little foreign policy sumptin sumptin for everyone. Anyway, back to popularity (not that elections are like running for prom queen or anything) Romney’s popularity actually took a DIP before the convention…

Is he getting a convention bounce?  Yeah, 1-2 points, which is normal. But know what?  convention bounce, whatever,  Nate Silver at FiveThirtyEight notes that going into the Republican convention, Obama leads in 12 of the fifteen national polls released at the end of August. “Enjoy this moment of polling clarity,” he says.

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As per usual it’s up to Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert to get me through the week with a shred of sanity. Jon’s got a wonderfully ridiculous Romney bio video narrated by Leonard Nimoy.  The video for 8/30 wasn’t up as of press time, but should be posted soon. PLUS his guest is  Michael Steele, who is surprisingly ready to dish on the Republican convention.  Can’t blame him for being bitter after the way Republicans blamed him for everything from the party’s debt (what was that about fiscal responsibility?) to picking storm-prone Tampa for the convention.

Apparently it’s Disgruntled Republicans Week on Comedy Central. Gov. Jon Huntsman, the last even semi-reasonable Republican — remember, the guy I might have been able to actually vote for? — was on Colbert and nailed it, “SuperPACS are destroying democracy. It’s an abomination.”  When it comes up on ColbertNation.com, watch it.  It will do your heart good. Favorite line, when Stephen asks Huntsman “Romney says he’s not going to be beholden to factcheckers. How important do you think the facts are to this campaign?” Huntsman also gives his opinion… in fluent Mandarin– Translations anyone?

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Once again, I will reiterate,  plan to vote early, and plan to get everyone you know to vote. I’m looking at you folks in the swing states especially. If you’re not already registered,register to vote now!

The deadlines to register for each state are here, and many states have a deadline to register of 30 days before the election. That means your registration must be postmarked October 8, but the alert among you will note that that is also Columbus Day. So some states have moved the deadline BACK to October 6. Check your local registration deadline carefully!

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GROUSY CAT SEZ:

Thank God it’s over.


Expletive Deleted Edition

Here is how it looks at our house:
My husband turns on the TV,
                                        *CLICK!*
And about 2.3 milliseconds later, I’m screaming at the screen: “MOTHER-<expletive deleted>– ASS –<expletive deleted>–!!!!  WHY DON’T YOU –<expletive deleted>–THE  –<expletive deleted>–  –<expletive deleted>– YOUR OWN BLOODY–<expletive deleted>–!!!! THAT WAS YOUR  –<expletive deleted>– FAULT THAT NOT A –<expletive deleted>– THING EVER GOT DONE IN THE LAST TWO YEARS!!! WHO IS THAT ON THE SCREEN? WHAT IS HIS NAME?  I WANT HIS NAME!!!!”
Know what this painting is called? It’s “Dohatsu Shoten,” by Korean artist Hyon Gyon and its title translates as  “the anger that makes one’s hair stand on end and reach up to the sky.
And that was just Rob Portman (senator from Ohio). I calmed down briefly during Tim Pawlenty’s diatribe, although after his reference to tattoos, I’m looking for mental bleach to eliminate the highly distressing image of Pawlenty with a tramp stamp.
Then there’s Huckabee nattering on. The Huckster trots out the Obama remark probably most frequently taken out of context during this convention: “You didn’t build it,” in reference to the interconnectedness and dependence even big business has on the rest of society. The GOP has been hammering that particular phrase all damn night.  Thank God for Elizabeth Warren, whose spot on rebuttal hits home.
“Last night, Chris Christie and the Republicans told the American people that we’re to blame for our broken economy. He told families to tighten their belts. He told seniors to live on less. He told teachers to stop fighting for fair pay.He never, ever mentioned how much more the richest have taken, and he had no mention that those who broke our economy still haven’t been held accountable.The Republicans believe in an America that is rigged for the big guys – giant corporations that can hire an army of lobbyists, ship jobs overseas, and take their profits to the Cayman Islands.That’s not who we are as a people – and that’s not the kind of country we want to be.We built America together, and that’s what makes America great.”

I so hope this woman has the keynote slot at the DNC. Just take one minute to watch Warren explain to those who think they built their empire all by their lonesomes, how they DIDN’T build that all on their own. It’ll make the rest of the night palatable.
Man, I had almost gotten my Temple of Positiv–MOTHERFRACKING HYPOCRITE!!!!!! YOU–<expletive deleted>—-<expletive deleted>—-<expletive deleted>–“
Eric is backing slowly away from me, because I’m gesticulating wildly and look extremely likely to throw the dinner plate at the television screen.
It’s Condoleezza Rice and barely five seconds into her speech, I am foaming at the mouth like I’ve been bitten by a raccoon with hydrophobia. HOW DARE YOU TROT OUT 9-11 when it was YOUR FAULT we didn’t prepare for an impending terrorist attack!!!!  How DARE you wrap yourself up in the flag when it was during your tenure that we lost countless lives whilst embroiled in the wrong war! How DARE you imply that Obama hasn’t shown “leadership” when it was on his watch that we finally ended the stupid war we never should have been involved in and actually got Osama bin Laden.
Yep, that’s me screaming at the television–did you hear me?  Even four states away?
I’m sorry, everyone, I had to turn it off. Seriously, my heart was racing, my head was hot. I didn’t need to see John McCain attempt the Elder Statesman pose. I got the general tenor of things from the transcript. Interesting though to note that with neither of the Bushes there to be the Party Elders, we’re looking at John McCain.  Yeah, four years later and STILL no one wants to be even remotely associated with GW Bush. “Many Republicans today would just as soon not dwell on the Bush presidency because it was a time of housing foreclosures that pulled the economy into recession, and Bush himself undertook some unpopular measures in response, including the creation of the Troubled Asset Relief Program.”
And then there’s the star of the hour, Paul Ryan, in whom our friend Todd hilariously sees Hannover Fiste from “Heavy Metal.” If only the truth would burst forth from him unfettered like it does from Fiste.
Blogging at WaPo, James Downey says “Yesterday, at an ABC News panel, Mitt Romney pollster Neil Newhouse said, ‘We’re not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact-checkers.’ Wednesday’s speech from Paul Ryan certainly took that disdain for truth to heart, as his address was filled with falsehoods from start to finish.” And he finishes with this: “With tonight’s speech, Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan have doubled down on their twin bets of 2012 — that journalists will sit back and name winners and losers without regard to who is telling the truth, and that voters are too ignorant to care about the truth. Do not let them be right.”
Having trouble holding onto your composure over Ryan?  This will make you feel better:
Okay, I’ve been told I need to get more sleep, so no more ranting til tomorrow.  Besides, I’m exhausted.
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GROUSY CAT SEZ:
    “I can bleep over your cussing for as long as you need….”

“Damned Lies 2012” Edition

Good evening, and welcome to the Republican National Convention…

Please relax, and enjoy. I’ll give you a moment while you center your Temple of Positivity.

Yep. That picture pretty much sums up my posture throughout Day One–or is it Day Two–of the RNC  Salute to Duplicity, Misinformation and Overblown Rhetoric.

I feel for the Republicans– really, I do. Poor old GOPpers–they need to convince the nation that Obama did nothing, and that they successfully obstructed him–but look at everything that got done for my state. They need to say that the economy sucks, but look at all the jobs I brought in. Things are awful because of Obama–except they’re great because of me. This takes more gymnastic maneuvers than we saw in two weeks of Olympics– and I’m talking rhythmic gymnastics here. And for the most part, in order to get where they want to be rhetorically, these guys have to…well…lie, to put it baldly.

“Conventions are always full of cheap applause lines and over-the-top attacks, but it was startling to hear how many speakers in Tampa considered it acceptable to make points that had no basis in reality,” was the comment in a NY Times editorial this evening. And as Bill Keller noted yesterday, “Why just rip things out of context when you can go the whole hog and make stuff up?”  (Thanks, Sandy, for pointing me to that!)

How well is it all playing?  BOR-ing. Thank heaven we’re on the West Coast so networks can air the obligatory twenty seconds of coverage before primetime and still not have to miss “NCIS.”

So we get a light rotation that includes conservative recall-survivor Wisconsin governor Scott Walker and — hey, where is celebrity of the moment, Rep. Todd Akin (R-Missouri)?

Oh, and there’s Republican nutjob presidential wannabe Rick Santorum  totally using his children as cliches and applause lines. Santorum gives a shoutout to the amazing work that single mothers do — really? Oh yeah, that’s right, those are the women who had to have a baby due to a legitimate rape, but didn’t marry their rapist.  Hmmm, is that next?  Women who have been legitimately raped must marry their rapist to maintain core family values? Wait for it, it’s coming.

Interestingly Gwen Ifill noted something that became glaringly obvious throughout the evening.  The speeches were not so much pro-Romney as anti-Obama.  The man at the center of the convention remains a mystery. He’s hanging around Tampa someplace, not doing any public events, you understand, but just hanging about.  And my sense is that overall, this whole production isn’t going to make the man any more likable — possibly because he can’ be made more likable,  or perhaps because the Republicans don’t actually like him.

But back to our convention coverage. Are the governor of Wyoming Matt Mead and Kentucky congressional candidate Andy Barr really going to tout coal mines as a fabulous way to generate “new energy jobs”? COAL MINES, PEOPLE!!! These are COAL MINES– not those hot, sexy coal mines where chicks in wifebeaters gently wipe picturesque beads of sweat off their brows. I mean that place where you get black lung, where  people are poisoned by stinkdamp acid , where 8-year old children died a miserable death in the darkness. Are you freaking kidding me??

Okay, okay, Temple of Positivity. Let’s skip on to the only speaker of any interest, The woman who aspires to one day redecorate the White House.

Ann Romney’s opener, “This is going to be soooo exciting!!!! [Applause] Just to let you know, Hurricane Isaac has made landfall….”  Excuse me? Right. Anyway. The nervously cheerful Ann is here to humanize the Mittster, bless her soul. With a smile that is so wide it may better be defined as a grimace, she pours forth the heartwarming story about her profound love for the cipher that is Mitt. Love, love, love… are you catching the theme? The love she has for her husband, for her kids, the love we have for our brothers and sisters…she goes on so long about those brothers and sisters and how much she loves “you women,” it makes me wonder why she isn’t pro gay marriage. She is pro-mom, pro gals, frankly, it’s making me — a graduate from a politically active women’s college — feel a little uncomfortable, because she’s sounding really condescending to men.

Oh, and did I mention the part where Ann explains that she’s the daughter of a Welsh coal miner who was “determined that his children get out of the mines.”  Her Dad saw in America a chance to get out of poverty, because, you know, HE WORKED IN COAL MINES. Just sayin’.

Ann has stories about the days when Mitt knew the price of milk back in the 1970s, how he makes her laugh. But again, the talk is about Ann, her struggles, which have been considerable, but you know what? I still don’t have a sense of the man — and maybe I don’t want one. I am reminded of the adage “Show, don’t tell.”  Everyone is doing a lot of telling us Mitt would be great, would work hard, (hilariously, a glitch in the feed sent the screen to black right after Ann delivered this applause line). But it all rings of desperation because no one can seem to tell us anything more about him.

If you’re expecting Chris Christie to somehow seal some deal with his awesome keynote speech, O, Republicans. How hilarious you are. I think Andrew Sullivan at the Daily Beast got it right when commenting on Christie’s remark:

Tonight, our duty is to tell the American people the truth. Our problems are big and the solutions will not be painless. We all must share in the sacrifice. Any leader that tells us differently is simply not telling the truth.

Sullivan says snarkily, “So Christie is presumably for Obama.”

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Journalists being Journalist-y

Apparently, I was not the only one outraged by Mitt Romney’s non-funny remark about Obama’s birth certificate. Watch Chris Matthews rip RNC chairman Rence Priebus a new one over the “race card.”  It will warm the cockles of your heart.   As Andy Ostroy of Huffpo says, “Bravo to Matthews. His cross-examination of an obnoxious, defiant Priebus was unrelenting. Like O’Brien last week, he had the balls to challenge the lies and rebuke the liar.”

And if you’re wondering what Ostroy is talking about when he refers to the Soledad O’Brien smackdown  of John Sununu on Medicare, watch it here. Favorite part? When Soledad rides over Sununu’s insults and name-calling to skewer his claims on Medicare cuts with this: “There’s independent analysis, fact check.com, the CBO and CNN has already done its own independent analysis, and name calling to me and somehow acting as if by repeating a number of $716 billion that you can make that stick when that figure is being stolen from Medicare, that’s not true. You can’t just repeat it and make it true, sir.” Soledad, I love you.

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Superb Super PAC App

This one’s for you, Randi, since you asked me for something that cuts through all the BS of political ads.

Are you drowning under ads from Campaign for this, Americans United for That, Concerned Zombies for Freedom Fries?  Want to know who is RESPONSIBLE for all this idiocy? Well, there’s an app for that.  Seriously. It’s called Super PAC by Glassy Media, and it uses audio identification technology to quickly ID the ad, tell you who sponsored it, who they’re supporting and how much money they have raised and spent. They also let you drill down into the claims made by the ad, and link to factcheck.org to help you evaluate the truth or truthiness of each one.  Brilliant.

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GROUSY CAT SEZ: “O, Republicans!  I must to smite you with my left paw.”


Un-Convention-al Edition

I’m tired.  Are you tired?  Yeah, I thought so.
There’s a lot going on right now, you know what I mean? Life just feels more complicated these days, from the personal to the global, and an election is just about the last thing I want to pay attention to, because my mind is packed with about a million other concerns.
But here’s the thing: If we don’t shake it off and pay some damn attention to what’s going on and gear ourselves up for the next few months, we will end up with a vapid, selfish bully of a dilettante for president, backed by a flood of knee-jerk, know-nothing, do-nothings in Congress.  And so I must rant.  We all must rant.  Constant vigilance, folks. Constant vigilance.
It is sad, but seems clear to me that with somewhere in the neighborhood of $4 billion being poured into this election, Barack Obama is going to be outspent. The Koch brothers and Karl Rove have  opened up the maw of their bank accounts and unleashed an obscene amount of money to convince the American people (and by that I mean the people in swing states like Ohio, Florida, Colorado and Iowa where Rove’s spending 65 million tax-exempt dollars) of things that never happened.
People in hot spots are already being strafed daily with ads created by shadowy “independent”  organizations, and we’re all being pummeled with a constant low level barrage of TV, radio and internet noise that I suspect most people are trying desperately to tune out.
I see two missions this election. Get the truth out there the way we did in 2008, with a social media ground game that harnesses the free airwaves (or relatively free) on Facebook, on Twitter, on blogs, by email, on Tumblr– on freaking Pinterest if we have to. And we need to get everyone out to vote.  Because when everyone votes, sanity does prevail, I truly believe that. But if we’re all too tired, if we turn our attention away, then one fine November day we will turn around to discover that our world is changed by people who don’t even know what they are voting for.
Okay, you really want to know what got me started on a rant today? This little comment from Mitt Romney last weekend:

Speaking in Commerce, Mich., about his Michigan roots, Mr. Romney said: “No one’s ever asked to see my birth certificate. They know that this is the place that we were born and raised.”

Know why it pisses me off? I’ll tell you why, because this is racism, pure and simple.  The whole stupid birther flapdoodle is a thinly disguised way of saying, ” Hey, look at the brown guy– he’s not American.  Look at me and the other white guy on my ticket. We’re American.” Yes, it’s been going on for all four years of Obama’s presidency. Yes, it’s veiled in “joking” remarks. And yes, it is pissing me off.
Democrats are going to be accused of playing the race card,” but you know what? This is called “playing the truth card.” Deal with it.
Did Mitt Romney say “Hey, Vote for me, I’m white?” No, but what’s worse is that he probably didn’t even for a second think that what he was saying highlighted an unconscious racism that is just part of his everyday vernacular. Romney does a heckuva lot of this “open mouth, insert foot stuff.”  And a heckuva a lot of it reveals that he is not at all conscious of how overprivileged, how selfish, how mean- spirited and rude he is.
Salon has a running master list of his gaffes, and it’s really quite striking how many of his verbal missteps betray a graceless lack of empathy for the person in front of him, how many of them reveal a rich guy, who doesn’t have the faintest idea of what life without obscene amounts of money might look like.
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Convention Blues
But if all of this depresses you, at least take comfort in the knowledge that God is on our side. I mean, the Good Lord must be, because S/He has sent a hurricane to interrupt the Republican convention for TWO presidential elections in a row. If Tropical-Storm-Soon-to-be-Hurricane Isaac is not a clear sign, I don’t know what is. God does not want to deal with everyone live-blogging Jeb Bush, and I heartily concur.
The convention resumes on Tuesday with lots of stuff that will probably  make me apoplectic with fury.  Mercifully, the networks are not indulging in the spectacle for more than a few hours tops, so you’ll have to watch for highlights via livestream. Check back with me this time tomorrow to see if my head has exploded yet by the time Ann Romney takes the stage… Here’s the official schedule for the condensed convention.
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If you’re a betting fool, or just feeling depressed and paranoid, know that whatever the polls may say, the magical machinations of Nate Silver at FiveThirtyEight.com now calculate that Obama has a  69.3% chance of winning this election.
People, expect the numbers to fluctuate, expect the GOP to get a bounce, expect there to be handwringing and paranoia ahead, but know that the only thing that counts in the end is getting out there to vote.
Plan to vote early, and plan to get everyone you know to vote. I’m looking at you folks in the swing states especially. If you’re not already registered, register to vote now!
The deadlines to register for each state are here, and I’m going to warn you now, many states have a deadline to register of 30 days before the election. That means your registration must be postmarked October 8, but the alert among you will note that that is also Columbus Day. So some states have moved the deadline BACK to October 6. Check your local registration deadline carefully!
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GROUSY CAT SEZ:
                “Must I explain everything to you humans?
                  GET OUT THE VOTE!”  

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