Category Archives: Rep. Marsha Blackburn

Follow The Links, People

[UPDATE]:

Thanks to my friends at Wonkette, it appears this whole smear started in the most predictable of places: the lying liar Frank Luntz:

LuntzTweet

Well, nobody could’ve anticipated ….

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This almost seems too petty to be believed, except it’s such a classic example of how the right-wing smear machine works that I just had to share it.

Our travel through the conservative cesspool begins at The New York Times, where we have this innocuous little story about the White House executive pastry chef leaving his position in June. Here’s the tantalizing lede:

WASHINGTON — The first lady, Michelle Obama, is soon to lose her executive pastry chef, Bill Yosses. And she is partly to blame.

Ooh, yummy! What did that wretched woman do now? Ah, it’s all fun and games, as the story goes on to say that FLOTUS has inspired Chef Yosses’ newfound interest in healthy food. Oh, okay! They were joshing us. Indeed, Yosses was originally famous for his rich desserts, but he changed his ways at the direction of Mrs. Obama and has a new culinary calling. Not only has he changed his own diet, he’s found a new passion for creating healthier yet still delicious dessert treats:

She has piqued his interest in the relationship between food and health, he said in a recent telephone interview, so the man who made the Hawaiian chocolate-malted ganache for the White House state dinner for France is now headed to New York with an aim to teach children and adults about eating better. In the meantime, he has given up his usual breakfast doughnuts for a smoothie made with apple, kale, spinach and ginger — from time to time.

Oh! So the Times was just using a time-honored literary device to pull readers into the story. Nicely done. The chef further tells the Times,

The result — oatmeal bars, baked apples and pear-quince cobblers, among many others — will have a lasting impact on his eating habits, as will Mrs. Obama.

“She has done it with humor and good will, without preaching, just the way you would hope the ‘Mom in chief’ would do,” Mr. Yosses said. He called her “definitely an inspiring boss, a combination of spontaneity and seriousness.”

Hugs and kisses all around! The openly gay chef will get to finally live with his husband of three years — they’ve been separated for their entire 11-year-relationship — and Chef Yosses has found a new career direction. So, a nice little (dare I say it?) fluff piece, yes? Nothing to see here, move along.

Unless you’re The Daily Caller, of course! Over at Tucker Carlson’s Little Conservative Lie Machine, a nothing little story about the White House pastry chef is given a complete 180 and turned into a major smear of FLOTUS.

Here’s the screen shot:

daily_caller_smear

Nice way to take quotes out of context there, guys! See how they mashed up the Times piece to put an entirely new spin on what Chef Yosses actually said:

White House executive pastry chef Bill Yosses is resigning after First Lady Michelle Obama fundamentally changed his job duties to focus on healthier food.

Yosses is leaving the White House in June to work on a new project focusing on “food literacy” and The New York Times says Michelle is “partly to blame.” The openly gay chef was hired by Laura Bush in 2007 to make his trademark cookie plates and sugar sculptures. Mrs. Obama took over in 2009 and ordered Yosses to make healthier plates in smaller portions.

Yosses began replacing butter with fruit puree and sugar with honey and agave. But Yosses was never fully committed to the new policy.

“I don’t want to demonize cream, butter, sugar and eggs,” Yosses said, noting that his departure from the White House is a “bittersweet decision.”

Oh, I see what you did there! That nice twisting of facts and quotes to give them an entirely new context is what we in the business call “fundamentally true but essentially bullshit.” Just enough plausible deniability to prevent a lawsuit in these United States — but don’t try that shit in Britain, Patrick Howley! You’d get your ass sued.

Oh, and give them extra points for actually linking to the original New York Times story. That takes balls. It appears the business model of The Daily Failure is to assume nobody follows links. Considering how lazy the right wing readership is, I’d say that’s a pretty good gamble.

But our little story isn’t finished, kids. Nope: along come the usual rabble of right-wing idiots like Tennessee’s own Marsha Blackburn to post the “smear” version of the Chef Yosses story on Facebook, with a snarkly little anti-Obama quip to feed her brain-dead followers:

blackburn page

This takes talent, it really does. This is how the conservative bubble operates. None of this would work if just one person followed the links from a Daily Caller story and actually compared the two versions. But they don’t. Clearly Marsha Blackburn didn’t — she didn’t need to. Because what matters to them is not what’s actually true, but what they want to be true. And they want to believe that even the White House pastry chef hates Michelle Obama. The entire right-wing spin machine is created to make a fringe minority believe they are a persecuted majority. It’s how the outrage stays alive.

This is not something Democrats need to aspire to in any way, shape or form, but it is something we need to be aware of the next time someone tries to launch another Swift Boat attack on a war hero or tries to sell death panels and FEMA camps to the masses.

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Filed under conservatives, FLOTUS, food, media, Rep. Marsha Blackburn

Stupid Media Tricks

[UPDATE]:

Yup, I nailed it.

———————————–

I’m pretty sure I know how this one is gonna go:

NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) – A Middle Tennessee congresswoman is set to appear on Meet the Press this Sunday, where she will go head-to-head with a public television icon.

U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-7th District, will take on Bill Nye “the Science Guy” over climate change.

Puh-leeze. Is Meet The Press so hard up for ratings? Here’s what’s going to happen: Blackburn will do what all of the Republican women do when they’re on shows like this, which is start talking and not come up for air, refusing to let anyone get a word in edgewise, endlessly repeating their Frank Luntz-approved talking points, until we’re all brain-dead. Any time Bill Nye starts to speak she will interrupt him and serve another breath-defying and time-consuming heaping of world salad. The host, in this case David Gregory, will sit there with a stupid grin on his face and not do a thing that closely approximates “moderating a panel,” though he’ll occasionally interject some useless nonsense to show how smart and important he is (such as mentioning hockey sticks or some such). If and when Bill Nye finally is able to get one word in, Gregory will interrupt him with, “Sorry, Bill, that’s all the time we have, we’re going to have to leave it there.”

I hate this shit. American news bobbleheads like David Gregory are little more than chair warmers these days. There won’t be any hard-hitting questions and unlike on the BBC, there certainly won’t be any attempt to let everyone get out a complete thought and prevent the continuous interruptus which the GOP deploys. These gimmicks end with me yelling “shut the fuck up” at the TV and getting crabby and stabby.

And after all that we get to see Mitt Romney, too? No, thanks.

13 Comments

Filed under climate change, media, Rep. Marsha Blackburn, Tennessee

Is This A Joke? Part 2

House Republicans have an awesome new idea on how to be super effective and not obstructionist at all with their time in Washington. It’s … wait for it … repealing Obamacare!!!

I know, betcha didn’t see that one coming, right? It’s only, like, the eleventybillionth time they’ve done that. And they say Democrats don’t have any new ideas?

But what makes this one super-awesome is that it’s called the SAW Act, which is supposed to stand for “Save American Workers,” but since it’s a healthcare-related thing, instead makes everyone think of barbaric Civil War-era field amputations — you know, the kind without anesthesia or antibiotics. Which is kinda how a lot of people without healthcare feel, right? Also: sawing off your access to healthcare is supposed to somehow make you a better worker? I guess!

Here’s the idea:

The bill would raise the number of hours employees could work each week before their employers would have to extend them health insurance coverage. The Affordable Care Act — Obamacare, if you will — sets the threshold at 30 hours a week; the SAW Act would raise it to 40 hours.

That’s a great idea, because Walmart and Home Depot and those crappy call centers in La Vergne don’t have enough incentive already to under-employ Tennessee workers (read: benefits and healthcare). Now that Obamacare at least gives some workers access to health insurance, House Republicans are trying to snatch that away, too.

Do y’all get the feeling that Republicans just aren’t happy unless workers are completely miserable? I do.

Naturally, Tennessee’s own Rep. Marsha Blackburn has signed on to this going-nowhere-evah atrocity, probably because as she observed this spring, she’s pretty sure people don’t want good wages and benefits, just recognition! The ol’ pat on the back, that’s the incentive we’ve been waiting for!

Um, yeah. Don’t think so, honey.

So Republicans are trying to repeal Obamacare again, and they’ve come up with a truly wretched anagram to sell their idea.

Keep trying, folks!

15 Comments

Filed under health insurance, healthcare, Rep. Marsha Blackburn, Republican Party

Rep. Marsha Blackburn: Worst Person In The World

Hello people of Middle Tennessee! What horrible thing did Marsha Blackburn do today? Actually, it’s two horrible things. First, she voted “No” on Superstorm Sandy relief. Yes, that’s right, you’d think after the 2010 floods that decimated Nashville (including parts of her own district) she’d have learned a thing or two about why people need this legislation. It

[…] allows FEMA to temporarily increase the National Flood Insurance program’s borrowing limit by $9.7 billion….

FEMA, shmeema! Who needs it! Well, actually, Tennessee needed it, and Blackburn had no problem accepting federal aid when her state got flooded. But the Club For Growth says no, and they seem to be calling the shots here. Other Club For Growth lapdogs from the Tennessee delegation include Scott DesJarlais, Jimmy Duncan, Stephen Fincher and Phil Roe. Why? Because they’re assholes. Also, free market and gummint bad and blahbeddy blah. Hypocrites.

However, Blackburn did put forth a bill to defund Planned Parenthood today.

Yes, you read that right. Apparently not offering aid to families who lost everything in Superstorm Sandy while defunding a provider of healthcare to low-income women is the new “pro-life” position.

Marsha Blackburn, I hearby declare you a horrible human being.

[UPDATE]:

Looks like all the Tennessee Sandy “nays” who were in office in May 2010 begged for FEMA aid for their own districts.

What horrible, wretched people. Federal disaster relief for me but not for thee? Of course not. Sickening.

8 Comments

Filed under Planned Parenthood, Rep. Marsha Blackburn, Tennessee

Marsha Blackburn Gives The Worst Christmas Presents Ever

Seriously, Marsha Blackburn is an idiot. But this takes the cake:

“I will fight until the end so that people can keep their light bulbs and we’ll see what happens in the coming days. In the meantime, I am stocking up and filling my family’s Christmas stockings with light bulbs. Hope my friends in Tennessee are too.

I’m sure Marsha’s family is just thrilled. Light bulbs in my Christmas stocking! Can’t wait!

Moron. Yeah you enjoy those higher electricity bills, honey. And I’ve heard of First World Problems but this is one giant WATB:

Ed Forbes, a meat cutter who lives in Hendersonville, has both kinds of bulbs in his home. He was going to change them all out but then stopped.

“They may be energy efficient, sure, but what I dislike about them when they first come on is they’re very low light,” he said.

Oh whaaah. I have to wait three seconds for that really bright BRIGHT light! Life sucks! Socialism! And …. Obama! Pffft. You realize you come off like a giant, privileged ass, right Mr. Forbes?

Yeah, whine about how you’re inconvenienced by three seconds of dim light to the folks in Kingston, Tennessee who lost their homes to over a billion gallons of coal ash slurry three Christmases ago. Get over your damn selves, people. Some things are more important than your inability to adapt to a different kind of light bulb. You know what happens to creatures who don’t adapt? They die. Oh forget it, Ed Forbes probably doesn’t believe in science, anyway.

I addressed the false “light bulb ban” nonsense last summer, BTW.

Sometimes we Americans come off like a bunch of pampered, spoiled brats. This is one of those times. Hey Marsha Blackburn: try “fighting to the end” for jobs, why don’t you? Jobless claims are up in Tennessee and you’re worried about lightbulbs?

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Filed under energy conservation, Rep. Marsha Blackburn

Marsha Blackburn’s Gibson Guitar Fiasco

[UPDATE] 2:

Gibson CEO Henry Juszkiewicz to meet with federal officials next week, and Fish & Wildlife will brief the House Energy and Commerce Committee in Congress. Look for more hysterical press conferences from House Republicans to follow as they exploit this story further to roll back environmental protections.

Love this part:

Meanwhile, the raid has created uncertainty in the music, furniture and timber industries, which routinely import exotic hardwoods.

In the case of musicians, some say they fear the U.S. government may decide to confiscate instruments made long ago from woods now considered endangered when musicians travel or their gear is shipped abroad.

“People are very confused,” said George Gruhn, a Nashville-based luthier, or guitar craftsman, whose global business entails shipping vintage guitars, some of which are made from woods that their owners might not be able to properly identify as the law now requires.

Yes, that’s because the Republicans and Gibson have done a masterful job of spinning this story for the express purpose of ginning up hysteria and creating confusion. The media has done little to dispel this confusion, either. Well done! Fish & Wildlife officials have already said they do not go after unknowing end consumers but rather “knowing actors transacting in larger volumes of product.”

Naturally, The Tennessean didn’t bother to ask Fish & Wildlife officials any general questions which may allay peoples’ fears, covering their ass with the “they declined to comment on an ongoing investigation” disclaimer.

And as for that “job creator” nonsense, via comments it appears Gibson has made all of its Epiphone guitars at a factory in Qingdao, China since 2002. Someone might want to ask Marsha Blackburn about that.

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[UPDATE]:

I knew I had written about this before, but it took me forever to find it! Before you shed any tears for guitar makers, please read my 2009 post, “Gently Weeping For That Guitar.”

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A rule of thumb in modern politics is if a Republican claims a Democrat is doing X horrible thing, you can guaran-damn-tee it that said Republican is doing it too.

For example, I give you Tennessee’s own Rep. Marsha Blackburn, coming to the defense of the Gibson Guitar company and claiming it’s politics, not violation of the law, which has prompted several raids on the Gibson Guitar factories in Tennessee. The issue is whether Gibson is violating the Lacey Act, which bars importation of endangered species products.

She says:

“When the President last night said that he wanted more products around the world stamped ‘Made in America’, I said — what about Gibson Guitar? Having armed federal agents raid an iconic American company is no way to inspire economic certainty and spur job creation. Instead, we need to cut back some of the out-of-control regulations and hold the Obama Administration accountable for selectively enforcing rules that are hindering job growth and killing small businesses. We want some answers.”

Oh you silly little woman. So because a company is “iconic” that automatically makes it immune to the law? Hey, Dow Chemical is an “iconic” American company, why don’t we let them release some toxic gas near your home. Let’s see how you enjoy their iconic effluent, honey.

The House Energy & Commerce Committee is even more strident. First, there’s the headline:

Gibson Guitar had been Importing the Wood in Question for At Least 17 Years – Indian Trade Officials Have No Problems with the Exports

Seventeen years! And the Indians have no problem with it, so why should anyone else? Isn’t that how we do things in America? You know, base our laws on how they do things in India?

Clearly the Obama Administration is out to get Gibson Guitars just … well, because why exactly? No one has said why Gibson is being picked on here, but Gibson CEO Henry Juszkiewicz is sure he’s the victim of arbitrary law enforcement. He says:

“It seems to me they are gunning for us. They are just looking for us to make a mistake or do something wrong.”

Hmm, yeah, that’s kinda the point of enforcement, isn’t it? No one ever explains why the big, mean Democrats would be “gunning” for Juszkiewicz and Gibson Guitars, though. To hear the Republicans tell it, everything was going along just fine until big, mean Obama came along and decided to selectively enforce the Lacey Act for some unknown reason.

There’s a little problem with this scenario, though. For one thing, no one ever mentions that Gibson’s Nashville factory was raided way back in November 2009. Someone remind me, who was president back then? Thinking … thinking … (Brain fart… I was responding to internet reports that the Bush Administration also raided Gibson but the earliest raid I can document is November 2009.)

That kind of puts the lie to that whole, "we've been doing this for 17 years and no one ever had a problem with it before" thing. And I don't recall Marsha Blackburn holding press conferences and claiming President Bush was being unfair and arbitrary in his administration's enforcement of the Lacey Act then, do you?

But also, if anyone wants to know why Gibson's problems didn't crop up until 2009, it's simple: the Lacey Act was amended in May 2008 to include wood products (and Blackburn and pretty much every other House Republican voted against it). So it doesn’t matter what they did 17 years ago, or even five years ago. If they were importing endangered wood products, that would have been illegal after May 2008.

Blackburn and the other House Republicans know the Obama Administration isn’t being capricious and arbitrary in its Lacey Act enforcement. They just don’t like the law. They think free market fairies are supposed to protect rare stands of wood and they’re using a dishonest argument in trying to dupe the media and the American public into agreeing with them. In short, they’re playing politics. Shocker.

I’m not out to get Gibson Guitars, I’m sure they make a fine product and they support a lot of great music programs. But if they’re making their guitars out of illegal wood products then they need to stop. As should any company violating the Lacey Act. And that is the point of having a Fish & Wildlife Service: to make sure companies are not violating these laws. So Henry Juszkiewicz can call for the whaaambulance all he wants, I’m not feeling sorry for him. Sorry, dude. Maybe you need to attend one of the C.F. Martin company’s wood summits?

Of course, Republicans like Blackburn never mention these things. They paint a picture of an out of control government agency picking on the poor, little “job creator.” This story is just tailor-made for the GOP’s whole “environmental laws are killing jobs” mantra. Of course it’s not true, the idea that we have to choose between prosperity and poison is some crazy idea cooked up at a Koch Industries company picnic, but the Republicans are masters at exploiting disasters like high unemployment for their own political gain.

You know who’s playing politics here? Republicans like Marsha Blackburn. It’s all over every press release and news conference. Let’s look again at the House Energy & Commerce Committee’s statement, dripping with sarcasm and political spin. I really like this part:

The leaders also questioned the Obama Administration’s treatment of a leading job creator, writing, “The policies of this Administration should actively support American companies that create jobs at home. The Gibson Guitar Company appears to have done just that. The Financial Times, in reporting on the raids, noted: ‘In recent years, Gibson has hired 600 new workers as the US economy struggled to add jobs.’ While we respect your right to defend the signature legislative accomplishment of President McKinley, we are not so sure this was the proper instance in which to exercise that right.”

Oohh, that’s some world-class snark there, isn’t it? Someone remind me … McKinley belonged to which political party? It wouldn’t be the Republican Party, would it? So are today’s modern Republicans saying we can ignore any law passed by previous Republican Administrations as long as enough time has passed?

As an aside, don’tcha y’all just love how Republicans have suddenly discovered the words “job creator”? They’re attaching it to everything now, like fairy dust. It’s their Frank Luntz-approved justification for everything. Democrats need to learn how to do this. For example: you know who’s a job creator? ACORN. And Planned Parenthood. And, for that matter, the U.S. forest products industry, where one can buy wood to make things like, I dunno, guitars maybe?

Does it create more jobs here in the U.S. for guitar manufacturers to make their product from illegally-sourced foreign-grown wood from endangered trees, or from sustainably grown domestic wood? Now that’s an interesting question. But I digress.

I’m really disgusted with the air of superiority I’m reading on blogs about this. Sarcastic posts like: “Ohh get those criminals at Gibson, stop them before they strike again!” You know what? Fuck you. If you haven’t taken the time to educate yourself about the illegal trade in endangered species and how poaching destroys the planet’s rarest treasures, then I suggest you take a look at this picture. If anyone is selling you the idea that acts of violence like this are the price of American jobs, they’re lying. The destruction of rare tropical forests is no less a form of slaughter — more so, because thousands of acres of forest are destroyed to reach the rare trees used in making musical instruments and furniture (for more, read “Green Guitars” here.)

I’m trying to remember when the House leadership rallied to the defense of one American company in such a way. I can’t. Of course, Gibson looks like the poor innocent victim here, until you pull away the curtain on this political theater and get to the facts. Gibson’s Juszkiewicz is a notorious character in Nashville; right now he’s the Republicans’ darling because his situation is useful to them. That won’t last long, however. Republicans will move on to their next shiny-sparkly piece of political theater, and Juszkiewicz will be left out in the cold.

Let me add: so far the media’s handling of this story has been piss-poor. There’s been little effort to get the other side of the story, or even put out the basic facts. This is par for the course, but it needs to stop. Do your damn jobs, people.

And musicians, quit ringing the alarm bells. No one is coming for your guitars:

Guitarists now worry that every time they cross a state border with their instrument, they will have to carry sheaves of documents proving that every part of it was legally sourced. Edward Grace, the deputy chief of the FWS’s office of law enforcement, says this fear is misplaced: “As a matter of longstanding practice,” he says, “investigators focus not on unknowing end consumers but on knowing actors transacting in larger volumes of product.”

Musicians have been hosting fundraisers and benefit concerts to protect the rainforest. Don’t pretend you don’t understand what’s at stake here.

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Filed under environment, politics, Rep. Marsha Blackburn, Republican Party, Tennessee

Tennessee Republicrites Visit Spring Hill

File this one under “taking credit where it’s not due”: Senators Bob Corker, Lamar Alexander and Congressman Marsha Blackburn all went to Spring Hill today Friday to take credit for what the Democrats did:

The irony of the Republican lawmakers’ presence wasn’t lost on the workers who attended the ceremony; they booed Tennessee Republican Bob Corker, and one UAW official made clear from the stage that the union still remembered which politicians had voted to rescue Wall Street but opposed an auto industry bailout.

U.S. Sen. Bob Corker
Then: “This administration has decided they know better than our courts and our free market process how to deal with these companies….This is a major power grab.” – March 30, 2009.

Now: “At the end of the day we all have to feel good about what we did,” said Corker, who did attempt to negotiate the failed 2008 aid package. “I contributed to strengthening the auto industry in this country.”

U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander
Then: “This is not the right direction: taxpayer money down the drain, and Washington politicians trying to run auto companies. The sooner the politicians get out of the way, the sooner auto jobs and taxpayer dollars will be secure.” – March 30, 2009.

Now: “The center of the auto industry is still moving to Tennessee and the mid-South,” Alexander told WSMV-TV.

U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn
Then: “I certainly can’t think of the last time the federal government stepping into an industry caused that industry to be more successful, or more efficient. ” – December 2008.

Now: Blackburn attended, but no quotes from her have been reported. She has been busy with other issues, including a bill to overturn the upcoming ban on incandescent light bulbs.

Bob Corker, of course, voted yes on the bank bailout, no on the auto bailout. Lamar Alexander voted yes on the bank bailout, and missed the auto bailout vote because of surgery, but said he would have voted no. Corker tried to negotiate an alternate auto deal because, as he said at the time, the Big Three Bailout wouldn’t help the industry one bit:

“I mean you couldn’t make it almost more ineffective and more complicated,” said Corker about the White House plan.

Oops. Looks like you were way wrong on that one, buckaroo! And look who shows up expecting chocolates and roses when GM is back in the black and rehiring laid-off workers one year later?

File this one under assholes.

(h/t, ThinkProgress.)

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Filed under auto bailout, Rep. Marsha Blackburn, Sen. Bob Corker, Sen. Lamar Alexander, Tennessee