Infotainment for a Rainy San Diego Weekend
By Doug Porter
It’s time for that annual exercise in wingnuttery known as the Conservative Political Action Conference(CPAC), wherein activists of the far right persuasion gather in what Salon columnist Jim Newell calls the “fake shopping town of National Harbor, Maryland.”
Given that the biggest news around San Diego this morning appears to be anticipation about the arrival of rain (!) and possibly snow (!!) at the higher elevations, I’ll take the bait and share highlights from the annual gathering of the right and the righteous.
It’s important to note that CPAC induces sympathetic craziness among the faithful who, for job-related reasons, are unable to attend during high profile sessions where CSPAN cameras may be turned on. This weekend is, after all, their turn to steal the spotlight from the liberal media’s endless praise of the Obama administration.
Thus we got to see Oklahoma Senator Jim Inhofe, who blames concerns about climate change on the United Nations, throw a snowball on the Senate floor on Thursday.
From the Hill:
Inhofe, chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, said the snowball was from outside in Washington, which he used to argue against claims that the earth’s temperature is rising due to greenhouse gas emissions. “In case we have forgotten, because we keep hearing that 2014 has been the warmest year on record, I ask the chair, do you know what this is,” Inhofe said to Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), who was presiding over the Senate’s debate, as he removed the snowball from a plastic bag.
Over at the World Daily News,* columnist Ann Coulter turned her plea for media attention into a twofer, combining both terrorism and immigration. (*You’ll find it on Google if you must.)
ISIS has killed four Americans – in Syria. We’re not exactly talking about another 9/11. Here’s a tip: If you don’t want to be killed by ISIS, don’t go to Syria. Meanwhile, illegal aliens have killed, raped and maimed thousands of Americans – in America. If you don’t want to be killed, raped or maimed by illegal immigrants in your own country, I have no tips for you. There’s nothing you can do. You’re on your own. Good luck.
I’ve got a tip for Ms. Coulter: You’ve already lost the battle for white purity at the ballot box.
Over at Fox News, the son of evangelist Billy Graham, added a McCarthyist twist to the “fear of the other” mantra.
From Right Wing Watch:
Last night on “The O’Reilly Factor,” right-wing pastor Franklin Graham warned that “our governments, especially in Washington, has been infiltrated by Muslims who are advising the White House.” When O’Reilly asked Graham, who has repeatedly suggested that Obama is not a Christian as he “only knows Islam,” if he “had any names” of “Muslim advisers of President Obama,” Graham conceded that he did not know any names, “but I do know that they are there.”
Of course the wannabe candidates for the 2016 Republican nomination are there, saying things they hope will get them through the primaries and forgotten by voters come the general election.
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker skillfully dodged doubts about his foreign policy cred by bragging about his experience doing battle with pro-union demonstrators and conflating it with fighting ISIS. “If I can take on 100,000 protesters, I can do the same across the world.”
Failed Senate candidate Carly Fiorina played the gender card, launching a full on assault on Hillary Clinton.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the crowd wasn’t impressed:
Although the field of aspiring GOP presidential candidates is crowded, including 10 speaking here this week, Fiorina is the only prominent woman. She is unsubtly positioning herself as the anti-Hillary. “I think our party needs to be as diverse as the nation we hope to represent,” she said. Still, it became clear what she is up against moments after she left the stage. It was Sen. Ted Cruz’s turn. Dozens of fans rushed the stage, jockeying to capture a photo of the tea party favorite from Texas on their smartphones. That did not happen when Fiorina took the podium. Nor when she left.
Texas Senator Ted Cruz offered up red meat to the conservative warriors with his call for purity, warning the crowd about squishy moderates in the GOP.
The junior senator from Texas, a favorite of grass-roots Republicans, said that every potential 2016 candidate at CPAC is sure to promise conservative credentials but that it’s up to the activists to examine their history… “…We all know that in a campaign, every candidate comes up and tells you, ‘I’m the most conservative guy that’s ever lived,’ that’s just what they say,” Cruz said. “I’m pretty confident you haven’t seen any speakers come up yet to say, ‘I’m a squishy moderate who stands for nothing.’ … Every one of them will say, ‘You betcha, hoo diddly, I’m as conservative as all get-out.’”
Dr. Ben Carson was according to Bloomberg Politics, short on specifics, while serving up crowd-pleasing quips:
[Carson] Mocked liberal terminology, to the delight of the audience. (“If you’re pro-traditional marriage, then you’re a homophobe … if you’re black and you oppose the progressive agenda, you’re crazy … if you’re black and you oppose a progressive agenda, and you’re pro-life, and you’re pro-family, they don’t even know what to call you. You end up on some kind of watch list for extremism.”
The Shell Game in Pension Investments
David Sirota at In These Times took a sobering look at what’s going on with pension funds, namely that all the good news we’ve seen in the press lately about excellent rates of return might just be…not so good.
Starting off with the California pension system reports on a 20% return on investment in private equity firms, he points to a soon-to-be published study by investment banker Jeffrey Hooke and George Washington University researchers warning that:
A lot of the gains the private equity industry purports to have achieved are of the on-paper-only variety. Far from cash in the bank, they are instead estimates of the value of assets that have yet to be sold… “…Investors may have been unfairly induced into placing monies into these investment vehicles,” they conclude.
None of this should be particularly surprising. After all, allowing Wall Street firms to self-value their investments is akin to a homeowner being invited to make up her home value estimate when applying for credit. And unlike a professional home appraisal, private equity firms’ estimates are difficult to verify—as the California Public Employees Retirement System notes on its website: “There are no generally accepted standards, practices or policies for reporting private equity valuations.”
Standing Up to Racism
Kudos to SDFP/OB Rag editor Frank Gormlie for his excellent historical analysis published today;“The Origins of Institutionalized Racism – a System to Control Blacks … and Whites”
By way of Egberto Willies, here is a modern day story (with video) of Texas sportscaster Dale Hansen standing up and doing the right thing:
This story started with an incident at a basketball game in Flower Mound, Texas.
The Dallas Morning News reported it as follows.
Fans on the Flower Mound side of the gym held up signs Friday that read “White” and “Power,” according to a photo shared on Twitter by Devin Gifford, a player from the visiting team, Plano East.
“I saw … [the signs] during the game, and I just didn’t think anything of it until I heard … [a] racial slur at the free throw line,” the junior said. “I didn’t say anything; I just let students be students.”
The 17-year-old said displays of racism are depressing, “but it’s something I have to deal with.” He posted the photo on Twitter with the caption, “This is ridiculous I thought we passed the racial stage of society.” Lewisville ISD Interim Superintendent Kevin Rogers said in a written statement that the incident would not be tolerated.
Subsequently the school took corrective action. The school disallowed cheerleader’s use of signs going forward.
We need more courageous people like Dale Hansen. That is what it will take for many to feel they have ‘permission’ to change, to grow, to enlighten themselves.
The media explained in one tweet:
— Veto+ (@VetoBendover) February 26, 2015
On This Day: 1937 – Four hundred fifty Woolworth’s workers and customers occupy store for eight days in support of Waiters and Waitresses Union, Detroit. 1973 – more than 200 Oglala lakota Sioux and members of the American Indian Movement (AIM) occupied the village of Wounded Knee, South Dakota. Angered over a long history of violated treaties, mistreatment, family dismemberment, cultural destruction, discrimination, and impoverishment through confiscation of resources, they demanded the U.S. live up to the terms of the 1868 Treaty of Fort Laramie. 1990 – The Exxon Corporation and Exxon Shipping were indicted on five criminal counts in reference to the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill.
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