Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Archive for the ‘Rush Limbaugh’ Category

He’s nothing if not persistent: Limbaugh attacks Fluke again

Posted by Charles II on April 24, 2012

Puffington Host:

Rush Limbaugh went after Georgetown University law student Sandra Fluke again on Tuesday for what he called “coordinating” with President Obama to “scare students about the interest rates on their loans.”

During his Tuesday radio show, Limbaugh read a tweet Fluke sent, which said, “#DontDoubleMyRate. Many students will see the interest rate on Fed #StudentLoans increase if Congress doesn’t act by 7/1.”

Per Rush, someone faced with an overnight doubling of their loan rate has to be instructed by the president to protest it before she can act.

According to Media Matters, as of a couple of weeks ago, he still has three advertisers: Amberen (OTC meonopause treatment), Grasshopper (Mowers), and Law Offices of Robert L. Steinberg (what Limbaugh would call an ambulance chaser). That’s nowhere near enough to pay for the radio time. So he wants stations to pay to present his program for free.

Posted in Rush Limbaugh | 8 Comments »

Does the Limbaugh boycott matter?

Posted by Charles II on March 14, 2012

I think it does. Michael Wolff, who knows a thing or two about media, thinks it does not:

There is an argument to make here, and I wish someone would make it, about the terrible precedent of encouraging advertisers to stampede away from controversial and ornery speech. They are skittish enough, and every instance of an advertising boycott encourages them more and makes so many of us in this business – if not Rush Limbaugh – censor ourselves.

But my argument is a much different one. It is that none of this is what’s happening: it’s a misunderstanding of how talk radio works.

the media establishment really has no power over Rush, and that his advertisers will all be back very soon because few of them, being no-brands, really have any reputation to lose.

liberals, to their continuing detriment, really don’t understand how the media work.

I think Wolff is wrong because the presence of branded advertisers gives the Limbaugh show credibility. The more he is forced to go to scam artists selling overpriced gold coins, the less credibility he has, until his audience gradually deserts him. Shunning does work. It just takes a lot of time and effort, much more than the newbies whose first go at depriving Limbaugh of advertisers was this year know.

Posted in Rush Limbaugh | 6 Comments »

Finally someone figures out how to respond to ‘wingers

Posted by Charles II on March 3, 2012

I have taken a certain amount of flak over my criticism of NOW President Terry O’Neill for what I regard as a weak response to Rush Limbaugh’s abuse of Sandra Fluke as a “slut” and “prostitute” because she wanted to have insurance pay for birth control for her fellow law students…specifically because a friend of hers needed to take birth control pills for polycystic ovarian syndrome, a painful condition that could lead to sterility.

Almost everyone has been trying to respond rationally or with anger or even with humor to Limbaugh’s simply-unacceptable attack. But it deserves none of those. It is so far out there that it is only worthy of ridicule. Authoritarians can handle advertiser boycotts (Limbaugh has handled many). They can handle public scolding–they love it! The one thing they can’t handle is being made to look foolish.

People like Rachel have been trying to work the angle that Limbaugh, by saying that Fluke was spending so much on birth control that she wanted to be paid to have sex, simply shows that he doesn’t understand birth control. My response (in comments):

He understands how birth control works…. This is an example of a propaganda FAIL. In order to ridicule Fluke, in order to get his listeners to hate her, he has to paint her as someone who is having sex constantly. The facts about female birth control are inconvenient…. there’s little relationship between the frequency of sexual activity and cost [of female birth control].

But facts are irrelevant in propaganda. As long as the target audience is willing to slip on the mantle of suspension of disbelief, anything not too jarring will succeed in getting the audience to picture Fluke as a two dollar whore. Once that picture is formed in their minds, they are immune to contradiction. You can say anything you like, but Fluke will still be a hate-object, unworthy of any defense. Those who attack Limbaugh or defend Fluke are, in their minds, not worthy of being listened to.

This is not to detract from Rachel’s efforts. I do think that ridicule, as opposed to humor, requires a shorter wind-up.

As one might predict, Limbaugh toady Ace of Spades has decided to go the master one better by calling Fluke “A Shiftless Rent-A-Cooch From East Whoreville”. So I was pleased by the second half of this exchange:

No lengthy exposition, replete with righteous indignation. No flailing. No moaning. Just a few brief words that Mark Twain or HL Mencken would have been proud to scribe.

As I said in comments,

Clarence Darrow didn’t win the Scopes trial– but the ridicule that rained down on Tennessee, such as that of H.L. Mencken, sent the fundamentalist politicians nationwide into hibernation for over thirty years. Or another–FDR’s caricatures of his opponents, like his response to the claim that he had sent a battleship to retrieve his dog, Fala.

Progressives haven’t won many battles recently because they have been willing to trash one another personally (a violation of solidarity), because they have been willing to cover up differences of opinion for the sake of false solidarity (a violation of a commitment to truth), and because they haven’t used ridicule with the effectiveness of an FDR or a Mencken.

Posted in humor, Republicans acting badly, Rush Limbaugh | 5 Comments »

The art of rhetoric

Posted by Charles II on March 2, 2012

I do not understand why, in discussing Rush Limbaugh’s characterization of Sandra Fluke as a “slut” because she wanted health insurance to include birth control (Limbaugh called this “being paid to have sex”) that almost none of those who spoke in opposition to Limbaugh noted many of the women who use birth control are married. As Keith Olbermann (the only person I have heard who made this obvious point) said, Limbaugh probably just called his four wives and his mothers prostitutes.

Nor has anyone asked whether people who have insurance against cancer, including prevention, are being paid to have cancer, another rather obvious question. [Added: or, for more perfect parallelism, paying to get anally probed. What does that make Rush?]

I am not surprised that Democrats/liberals/feminists/etc. lose rhetorical battles when they are so poor at listening to their opponents.

Perhaps they imagine that no one could be so morally sick that they would deny health insurance to people at risk of getting cancer. But what poor imagination, considering that for sixty years the right wing has denied that insurance to tens of millions of people annually, leading to death and suffering that probably exceeds all of the American casualties of World War II.

Yes, they are that bad. It would help if the people who represent progressive causes would stop sputtering and start really listening.
_______
Added: What makes Jon Stewart a great comedian? He listens to what people are actually saying, and verbalizes it. The problem with progressive spokespeople like NOW president Terry O’Neill, is that so many of them trained in the law, while so few of them trained in being class clown, which is where the real action in rhetorical efficacy is to be found.

Posted in evil, health care, Republicans as cancer, rightwing moral cripples, Rush Limbaugh | Comments Off on The art of rhetoric

No comment necessary

Posted by Charles II on January 14, 2011

From Elliot Olshansky, AOL News

Posted in Flying Monkey Right, Rush Limbaugh | 2 Comments »

The enemy within

Posted by Charles II on December 30, 2010

FAIR has offered its P.U.litzer Prizes for the worst journalism of the year. While their choices definitely deserved prizes, they should have just offered the entire American media the Vidkun Quisling Award.  Really, we’re down to maybe a dozen people doing something that can be called journalism, and one of them is Jon Stewart.

Some of FAIR’s picks:

  • A reporter calling an annual income of $250,000 “middle class.”
  • David Broder saying that Barack Obama could salvage his presidency by bombing Iran, and then saying, “I am not suggesting, of course, that the president incite a war to get reelected”
  • The Washington Post “balancing out” a Dan Savage chat on preventing suicides among gay teens with a column by Tony Perkins of the faux-Christian hate group, The Family Research Counsel
  • The New York Times pimping for war against Iran on the basis of a claim that Iran possesses a missile which probably doesn’t even exist
  • Juan Williams calling his firing by NPR over anti-Muslim statements he made worse than Nixon… who, after all, tried to <em>kill</em> a journalist that crossed him
  • David Gregory declining to fact check the BS that gets pumped out on Meet the Press
  • Fareed Zakariah’s program on Restoring the American Dream… which included only CEOs

As is often the case, I don’t agree that much with FAIR. These prizes are supposed to be for journalism, but FAIR included Rush Limbaugh (for his saying that the union at the Upper Big Branch mine of West Virginia should have prevented the accident that killed 29 miners; the mine, of course, had no union). Limbaugh is not a journalist.  What would state the situation accurately is that what is called journalism has become Rush Limbaugh.

Consider the flagrant lies told by the Republican radicals to seize control of the Congress, lies that the media refused to call out. “Death panels,” for heavens sake. Claims that Obama raised taxes. Claims that the stimulus had not saved jobs. The lies blaming the financial crisis on the poor, and the constant conflation of Bush’s TARP with Obama’s stimulus bill. The rotting,  zombie lie that cutting taxes raises revenues. The evil, ugly Big Lie that global warming is just a theory, rather than the consensus of every major scientific organization in the world.

Consider the lies of omission, the stories not told. The failure of the American economy to create high wage jobs. The rotting infrastructure. Schools demoralized by constant attacks by the right, textbooks written for ideological rather than pedagogical purposes, cutbacks and attacks on pension funds. The Big Lie of not covering America’s wars all over the world. The Big Lie of failing to report on American interventions in places like Honduras. (One could go on indefinitely).

The American media represent the unelected government: the corporate lobbies, the phony think tanks, white collar criminals at investment banks and hedge funds, despoilers of the environment, the private pleaders among the ultra-rich, union busters, haters of the New Deal, crackpot xenophobes and others who want to divide American from American. The unelected government is destroying this country and, indeed, this world. By the time most Americans figure this out, it will be far too late to prevent disaster.

I’m sure that many–most– people working in journalism would say that they’re not like that, that they’re just trying to do their job and report the news. But journalists need to take a look at the situation from a decent distance. Their perhaps well-meaning “balanced” work serves to preserve the illusions that hold this rotten mess together. If they had any self-respect, they’d sell their bodies rather than their souls.

The enemy within not the human beings, however much they have given themselves over to doing evil. The enemy within is all these lies. Lord, please bring us a Jubilee of truth.

Posted in anti-truth, liars, Media machine, mediawhores, Rush Limbaugh | 1 Comment »

If you can’t bring yourself to watch FOX or listen to EIB…

Posted by Charles II on May 22, 2010

…here’s a painless way to see what you’ve been missing:

Posted in conservativism, Fox Noise, Republicans, Rush Limbaugh | Comments Off on If you can’t bring yourself to watch FOX or listen to EIB…

Some truth leaks into the WSJ editorial pages

Posted by Charles II on March 19, 2010

Imagine my amazement to read the following:

Socialism, or social democracy, or whatever else you want to call it, doesn’t seem to have hurt stockholders overseas too badly. Over the past 10 years, according to MSCI Barra, stock markets across socialized Europe have produced total returns of about 2% a year in U.S. dollar terms, according to MSCI Barra. The figure for France is just over 2% and for left-wing Britain and Holland nearer to 3%. Pinko Denmark has boomed by 10% a year.

Meanwhile, here in the land of the free, investors have made zero….

Socialized medicine may not be so bad for your wealth after all.

Now, of course this is an OpEd, not an editorial– a classic Murdoch scheme to stir up rage among readers and draw attention to his properties with their declining levels of actual journalism. In fact, Europe as a whole does not have socialized medicine. What it does have is a universal, state-paid guarantee of medical care, but the medicine ranges from fully socialized (e.g., the UK) to essentially all private (e.g., the Netherlands). The reasoning is also shallow post hoc ergo propter hoc, e.g. there is garbage and there are flies. So the flies created the garbage. But since Murdoch properties have no editing standards, sloppy writing like this is the norm.

Anyway, basically, the question is this: We spend 16 points of GDP on healthcare, mostly because our insurance system creates perverse incentives. A typical country with state-guaranteed medicine spends 10. The outcomes are approximately equal (although the US scores poorly on most measures of the effectiveness of its medical system, it also has a much higher poverty rate, and that could explain the difference). And most of that excess spending does not cause stronger growth. An operation that extends someone’s life by two days may increase this year’s GDP, but it doesn’t increase the productive capacity of the nation as a whole.

If instead we spent those 6 points of GDP on almost anything else, there would be more money for all sorts of things, including real investment in companies. Not stock purchases, which mostly amount to asset inflation, but R&D. After all, who pays inflated medical costs? Individuals, yes. Governments, yes. But companies, as well– and then they have less money for R&D. Furthermore, when governments pay more, eventually taxes go up. When individuals pay more, consumption droops.

And that’s what we’re seeing. US companies are falling behind. They are desperately substituting cheap labor for technological advantage. It’s a quick road to Third World status.

We absolutely must lower the costs of medicine while maintaining quality, and increasing the number of people who get decent care. The survival of the country depends on it.
______________________________________________________
Bonus! Via John Cole, Swampland’s Kate Pickert has a hysterical story about what can go wrong when you put a drug-addled demagogue in charge of organizing very stupid people.

After you read the story, try dialing (206) 666-6666. Or just imagine all the right-wing posters you have ever known, after they run into facts and bruise their egos.

Posted in health care, rightwing moral cripples, Rupert Murdoch, Rush Limbaugh, science and medicine | Comments Off on Some truth leaks into the WSJ editorial pages

Tuesday Morning News Roundup

Posted by Phoenix Woman on June 9, 2009

cat-herding.jpg

— Krugman debunks the “oooh we’re hock up to our eyeballs to China and we can’t borrow any more for any new stimulus plans because inflation will skyrocket” nonsense being used to push efforts to kill the recovery through “fiscal prudence” (aka killing off public spending plans to jump-start the economy). Seems that if anything, we’re less in debt to foreigners, as a percentage of our gross domestic product, than we’ve been since the Clinton years.

Sarah Palin: Rush Limbaugh in a skirt, as far as her effect on the Republican Party is concerned.

— Has the Geithner Plan succeeded? Nate Silver thinks so, but there’s a healthy discussion going on in the comments section, with lots of yesses, noes, and maybes going around.

Posted in 'starving the beast', (Rich) Taxpayers League, big money, economy, Rush Limbaugh, Sarah Palin, Silly Republicans | 4 Comments »

Giving Themselves A Wedgie

Posted by Phoenix Woman on May 11, 2009

Several events, seemingly unrelated, occurred recently:

— Dick Cheney, asked to choose between Rush Limbaugh and Colin Powell, took the vastly overpaid, Clear-Channel-killing “fatass drug addict” over his own former Joint Chiefs head, saying that Powell was “no longer a Republican”. I presume that means they figure that Powell is not going to come grovelling on his knees to prostrate himself before Rush Hudson Limbaugh III, as that seems to be a defining mark of a Republican these days.

Colin Powell’s high-profile endorsement of Obama in October of 2008 — an endorsement that came despite Powell’s having earlier maxed out on contributions to McCain — was probably a sign as well. I know that his backing of Obama made a lot of Republican fence-sitters I know a lot more willing to accept Obama as president, as Powell is someone that they tend to respect.

— Southern Republicans are reacting to Obama’s lifting stem-cell restrictions by planning state-level bans in the states they still control. As Salon’s Peter Dizikes points out, this is not only dumb scientifically, it’s also dumb politically: “State-level politicians from conservative districts may be staging a rear-guard action that displeases the larger public — and many Republicans nationally. A Gallup Poll from February, just before Obama’s stem cell decision, showed 39 percent of Republicans agreeing that embryonic stem cell research restrictions should be eased or eliminated. Wedge issues are supposed to split the other party, not your own.”

Nate Silver on Mike Huckabee’s statements on the GOP’s constitutency:

If you accept Huckabee’s assertion — that social conservatives are always economic conservatives, but economic conservatives are not always social conservatives — it follows that social conservatives are necessarily a subset of economic conservatives…

The GOP’s real problem, of course, is that there is far from perfect overlap between social conservatives and economic conservatives…

The irony of all of this is that Huckabee’s greatest appeal is probably to economically moderate (or even liberal), but socially conservative voters, precisely the sorts of voters that he says don’t exist. But these voters do exist, and the GOP’s medium-term choice is probably in picking between them (which, FWIW, probably requires their making significant into the Hispanic and perhaps even African-American communities) and their alter egos, which are fiscally conservative but socially moderate, libertarianish voters. Right now, however, the GOP’s messaging is so haphazard that they are probably losing majorities of both groups.

Five years after legalizing marriage equality (aka “gay marriage”), Massachusetts residents have noticed that the sky stubbornly refuses to fall. As Nate Silver noted last month — as Iowa was about to join Massachusetts and Connecticut et al in legalizing marriage equality, and Maine would soon follow — the tide is rapidly shifting in favor of marriage equality, thus depriving the Republicans of a favorite wedge issue even as the appeal to racism (another favorite GOP trick) is losing its potency.

Does this all say anything to you? It does to me.

Posted in Dick Cheney, family values, fearmongering, Republicans, Rush Limbaugh, stem cell research | Tagged: | Comments Off on Giving Themselves A Wedgie

 
%d bloggers like this: