Tag Archives: President Obama

Inherent Bias

The Atlantic has an amazing story about the entrenched biases that affect peoples’ perceptions of the world, and how they are affected by political allegiance. Aptly titled “It’s Not About the Economy,” author Alana Semuels uses the northern Indiana town of Elkhart to illustrate how in this post-truth era, political tribalism affects our views more than economic realities:

Elkhart’s unemployment rate, which had reached a high of 22 percent in March of 2009, is now at 3.9 percent. Hiring signs dot the doors of the Wal-Mart, the McDonald’s, and the Long John Silver’s. The RV industry makes 65 percent of its vehicles in Elkhart, and the industry is producing a record number of vehicles, which is creating a lot of jobs in this frosty town in northern Indiana.

Despite this good economic and jobs news, Elkhart voters don’t credit President Obama or the Democrats. Not only do they think the economy improved in spite of, not because of, Obama, they also blame Obama for things he didn’t do, or don’t give him credit for things that he did. It basically boils down to this: people in Elkhart, IN don’t like Democrats, period, and nothing will change that:

These biases are only increasing as the country becomes increasingly polarized. As people become increasingly loyal to their parties, they are unlikely to give leaders from the other party credit for much of anything positive. Both sides are instead more likely to believe narratives that suggest that the other party has only made things worse.

“People’s predispositions affect their factual beliefs about the world,” said Brendan Nyhan, a professor of government at Dartmouth College who has researched why people believe what they do about politics. “What we want to be true influences what we believe to be true.”

Indeed, as the economy began improving, Elkhart voters grew less likely to support Democratic candidates for president. Obama won 44 percent of the vote in Elkhart County in 2008, 36 percent in 2012, and Clinton received just 31 percent in 2016.

Thanks, hate radio and Fox News! Really, this has to be the Fox Effect, more than anything. (And yes, it works the other way, too. Democrats generally won’t credit Republicans with doing anything right, either. Although we do embrace conservative policies, and hullo, who ever thought Democrats would fight to the death to support a Republican healthcare plan?)

Check out these reasons why people in Elkhart don’t like President Obama:

Ed Neufeldt, whose daughter and two son-in-laws now work in the RV industry after losing their jobs in it during the recession, told me he thought Obama was responsible for improving the economy in Elkhart, but that he still didn’t like the president because of his stance on abortion.

Okay, I can buy that. I don’t agree with it, but at least it’s an actual policy disagreement. For the record, Ed Neufelt was the only person Semuels spoke with who credited Obama with improving the economy. But he found another reason not to like him. Funny how that works.

And then there’s this:

Brandon Stanley owns a bar in Elkhart. He says he’s optimistic that the economy is improving now that Republicans have regained power, but emphasizes that there are still a host of economic problems that haven’t been solved in Elkhart. As for the shrinking unemployment rate in Elkhart, “they changed how they report unemployment numbers,” he told me, so they’re not believable.

Ah, the “damn lies” contingent. When the facts are in opposition to your preconceived political bias, the facts must be wrong. For the record, I remember a version of this among liberals during the Bush years: yes, unemployment numbers were at a certain rate, the popular talking point went, but it didn’t reflect those who had “given up looking for a job.” I’m quite certain I repeated that line myself, and it may or may not have been true at the time. I now hear that same line repeated by Republicans in regards to current unemployment numbers. And thanks to the internet, it’s really easy to find links bolstering whatever argument you want to make.

Now let’s meet another Elkhart resident with some really good reasons for hating Obama:

Andi Ermes, 39, offered a number of reasons for disliking Obama. She said Obama didn’t attend the Army-Navy football game, even though other presidents had. Obama has actually attended more Army-Navy games than George H.W. Bush. She said that he had taken too many vacations. He has taken fewer vacation days than George W. Bush. She also said that he refused to wear a flag pin on his lapel. While it is true that Obama did not wear a flag on his lapel at points during the 2007 campaign, it was back on his suit by 2008. Ermes told me the news sources she consumes most are Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, and a local conservative radio show hosted by Casey Hendrickson.

What did I say about hate radio and Fox News? This is particularly stupid because, really, who gives a shit if someone wears a flag pin or not? And it just goes to show, there’s nothing a Democrat can do to earn the votes of the brainwashed. Just as there was literally nothing Donald Trump could do that would lose the allegiance of these same brainwashed folks. As long as you have that “R” behind your name and spout the same stupid approved points, you are golden with these folks.

I’m not sure what the solution to this is. It all seems part of a larger social and demographic unraveling. I also wonder how uniquely American this is. Other countries have the internet, fake news, partisan news media and biased columnists. Has the poison of hyperpartisanship affected Canada, Australia and the UK? Do people blindly not accept facts that challenge their preconceived worldviews in France and India and China?

If living in a cocoon of ignorance is more palatable than moving one’s biases one inch to the right or left, we are all truly doomed.

6 Comments

Filed under 2016 Election, 2016 Presidential Election, economy, unemployment

“Real Black”

[UPDATE]:

Rupert Murdoch regrets the error.

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Rupert Murdoch on Twitter last night:

real black

Nobody knows how to be a “real black” person like an elderly white media mogul whose business model consists entirely of using pretty blonde things to scare the crap out of other elderly white people.

11 Comments

Filed under 2016 Presidential Election, FOX NEWS, President Barack Obama, racism

Just Folks

Right-wingers have called for the fainting couches because President Obama used the word “folks” when discussing post-9/11 torture. Specifically, he said,

“We did a whole lot of things that were right, but we tortured some folks.”

It apepars Obama’s use of the word “folks” has right-wingers more upset than the actual torture. Last night on Real Time With Bill Maher the Token Conservative™ derided Obama’s use of the word as “glib,” while Dan Froomkin Tweeted that it was a “malapropism” and inappropriate:

That’s just a sampling of the outrage, you can ask the Great Gazoogle for more.

Meanwhile, let’s take a trip into the Memory Hole and go back to Sept. 11, 2001 and President Bush’s very first comments about the tragedy while he was still at Booker Elementary School reading My Pet Goat:

I have spoken to the Vice President, to the Governor of New York, to the Director of the FBI, and have ordered that the full resources of the federal government go to help the victims and their families, and — and to conduct a full-scale investigation to hunt down and to find those folks who committed this act.

This was just minutes after the attacks. But the attackers were “folks.” I wonder if Dan Froomkin and the rest called for the fainting couches back then?

But by all means, let’s continue to attack Obama for using the word “folks,” not the Bush Administration for their actual torture policy. Our discourse in this country is so stupid.

11 Comments

Filed under 9/11, conservatives, President Barack Obama, President Bush, torture

Email FWD Electric Boogaloo BS

Comments now closed. Too much ignorant RW propadanda which, I might add, has absolutely nothing to do with the post. Yes, everything is always Obama’s fault and Bush The Lesser was wonderful. Fuck off, Jim.

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Apparently this photo is making the rounds of Uncle Ernie and Aunt Bertha’s email:

earpiece3

It purports to show 73-year-old Bill Moyer attending a VFW speech by President Obama. The funny thing? The picture’s been ‘shopped. It was actually taken at a speech made by President George W. Bush in 2005.

Hilarious.

Apparently the picture has made the rounds, photoshopped to allegedly be taken during speeches by Sen. Ted Kennedy, Vice President Joe Biden, and Nancy Pelosi.

This reminds me that a lot of the anti-Obama bumper stickers I’ve been seeing are clear rip-offs of anti-Bush stickers and memes we libs sported during the last administration. Last week I saw a car with a sticker reading “Somewhere in Kenya a village is missing its idiot,” which of course first appeared as an anti-Bush sticker, with “Texas” in place of Kenya.

Some of the right’s attempts to co-opt liberal slogans are a little odd and seem to miss the point. I’ve seen a few “1-20-17 End Of An Error” stickers around. We liberals sported those same stickers under Bush, the date of course reading 1-20-2009. The point of “end of an error,” naturally, was to reference the Supreme Court decision. Conservatives don’t seem to get that.

You guys need to get your own memes. You’re sorta looking like you don’t have any of your own ideas.

23 Comments

Filed under George W. Bush, internet, President Obama, propaganda, protests

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.

41 Comments

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

Here’s Obama Holding Up A Gas Station

[UPDATE]:

I may owe Jim Hoft an apology. It seems “skeetgate” may have started with … wait for it .. the New York Times.

Here’s their original headline on the skeet story:

Liar Liar Pants On Fire

Liar Liar Pants On Fire

And here’s what they changed it to after the White House released the photo of Obama shooting:

Skeetgate

Yeesh. Remind me again how the internet killed journalism?

Anyway, for those harping on about President Obama’s shooting form, here’s a picture of my sister, taken about 10 years ago when she was visiting from California. We brought her along to a shooting party some friends of ours have in Kentucky every December. What’s in season in December, you may wonder? Mistletoe, of course!

NinaShooting076

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Maybe Marsha Blackburn will shut her yap now:

That Let Black People Shoot Guns?

So That’s What Happened To Barney The Dog

So, who’s going to be the first wingnut to claim this picture is ‘shopped? My bet: Jim (Dim) Hoft, dumbest man on the internet. Once he gets finished critiquing the president’s form, of course. It’s true: if Obama were to walk on water, Republicans would whine about how he can’t swim. (Editor’s note: the Skeeters have arrived! Perhaps Jim Hoft is only the 22nd dumbest person on the internet!)

16 Comments

Filed under President Barack Obama

Birth Of A Meme

Congratulations, America! On January 10 the dying institution known as the liberal media coughed out a bouncing baby meme for your enjoyment! Let us welcome this 15-pound whopper! It is adorable!

Apparently, according to the mainstream press, President Obama has “got a diversity problem.” This seems to be due to the fact that he’s nominating a man for Secretary of State to replace Hillary Clinton. I mean, I’m trying to think of the reaction if he nominated a woman to lead the Department of Defense, anyone want to hazard a guess? Women still can’t serve in combat, and we’ve got Republicans who think a woman on the front lines would “impair missions” because of lady parts and upper body strength and all. I think a female Defense Secretary would be a non-starter, but then, what do I know.

The “diversity problem” meme seems to have started at the New York Times, which ran a photo in which only Valerie Jarrett’s leg is visible. Hey, if you hide the one woman in the room behind a white guy then yes, you may have a point! Fail.

Anyway, the story has been picked up far and wide now. I’ve seen “Obama’s diversity problem” mentioned on CNN and MSNBC today, and the right-wing media is all over it, too. It’s the perfect talking point for conservatives, who are trying desperately to mask the Republican Party’s own unbearable all-white-male problem. And if there’s one thing conservatives love to do when faced with their own misdeeds and failings is point their fingers at the left and say, “see! You did it too!”

By the way, how many non-white, non-male House committee chairs did John Boehner appoint for the new Congress? That would be zero. How much tsk-tsking did the New York Times, CNN and MSNBC do on the all-white, all-male committee chairs? That also would be zero — or at least, if there was any, I missed it.

Also, these scolds have failed to mention that Obama’s first choice for Secretary of State was an African American woman. Woops. As Joan Walsh pointed out:

It’s rich when the very forces that made sure we didn’t have an African-American woman secretary of state complain that our first black president’s Cabinet lacks diversity. But that’s what they’re doing.

Y’all know that Obama is half white, right? I guess it’s his white half making the cabinet appointments in his second term.

/sarcasm

I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that this meme came straight from the Frank Luntz School of Republican Talking Points, fully vetted and tested by an array of (all white, all-Republican) focus groups. It’s just shocking when the so-called “liberal media” repeats this crap, but if there’s one thing we know about the “liberal media,” it’s that they are desperate to not appear “in the tank” for Obama. The media is and always has been totally fascinated with all things Republican, as the make-up of any Sunday morning panel shows. Back when Bush The Lesser was president we were told, it’s because Democrats aren’t in power. Now we’re told it’s because we’re not in the opposition. Can’t win for losing.

So, yes. Well played, Republicans.

9 Comments

Filed under Media, President Barack Obama, racism, women's rights

KitchenAid Flunks Social Media

KitchenAid, purveyor of crappy kitchen appliances made in China (and a division of Whirlpool, last seen shipping American jobs to Mexico), made a huge social media boo-boo last night. One of their social media team members sent this Tweet under the company profile:

Ha ha that’s so funny, joking about the president’s dead grandmother! Hilarious! I almost forgot to laugh!

Needless to say, there’s probably a job opening in the social media division of KitchenAid today.

2 Comments

Filed under 2012 presidential election, corporations, President Barack Obama, twitter

Dog Whistles

People are wondering what this whole Tucker Carlson-Matt Drudge-Fox News fail parade could possibly be about. The video is old, was well-covered in 2007 (even by Tucker Carlson!) and isn’t the shiny-sparkly game changer that had been promised.

But people, it’s not about you. It’s a wingnut dog-whistle for “reparations,” as the Fox chiron Tweeted by Salon’s Alex Seitz-Wald makes clear:

“Katrina victims shortchanged by government”? Oooooh. I get it! It’s another way of saying if Obama is re-elected, he’ll make sure black people get your money because of slavery ‘n stuff.

This is a classic dog whistle and what’s really curious to me is that it’s being used at all. Is the Fox/Drudge/Carlson crowd worred the folks to whom this message is directed — i.e., the racist base — won’t bother to vote? What do they know that we don’t?

It’s really quite puzzling that they keep throwing more red meat to the far right, the folks you’d think were pretty convinced that Obama is a danger to the republic on account of being a Socialist-Muslim-wealth-redistributing-blackety-black man. You’d think they’d be trying to appeal to the less crazy people. But maybe there are none.

Maybe there really are no undecided voters left in this election and all the Republicans can do is try keep their side motivated with crap like this.

5 Comments

Filed under 2012 presidential election, politics, President Barack Obama, racism

Return Of The PUMAs

Heh:

Republicans debuted a new ad Thursday in which a frustrated former Obama supporter expresses her disappointment with the president. The only problem: The woman in the video is actually an RNC staffer.

Woopsies! What makes this ad extra sparkly is that the so-called “disgruntled Obama supporter” is a woman and Hispanic. More demographic bang for the buck!

This part really made me laugh:

The RNC says its ad, which first appeared on television Thursday is not dishonest.

“It’s a lighthearted ad to show how millions of Americans feel about President Obama — he’s not the person we thought he was and it’s time to break up with him,” an RNC official told TPM. “But let’s be clear, it is an ad.”

Really, Republicans? Millions of Americans feel this way? And yet you couldn’t find one to speak on the record and make a TV ad for you? Why is that? Could it be because, like unicorns and leprechauns, they don’t exist? And certainly not in the color and gender that you want them to?

I’m not saying there aren’t former supporters out there who aren’t unhappy — I certainly didn’t get everything that I wanted from this Administration. I’m not thrilled with 100% of everything Obama has done — drone attacks and renewing the Bush tax cuts for rich people being two examples. But I’m not an idiot. I’m not stupid enough to think I’ll get those things by switching to the other side.

People who are disappointed in Obama feel that way not because he turned out to be a “socialist” but because he wasn’t socialist enough. Idiots. I’ll certainly be 1,000% happier with President Obama in the White House over the next four years than that tool Mitt Romney and his “corporations are people, my friend” approach.

No, this is just the PUMA campaign recycled. You remember the PUMAs — those supposed Hillary Clinton supporters who campaigned for John McCain when Obama got the nomination? Because they were supposedly so pissed off at the Obama campaign’s misogynist attacks? So they campaigned for McCain, whose policies were the antithesis of Hillary Clinton’s? Yeah, we were supposed to buy that wide load of bullshit, but we all knew them to be a McCain front group funded by some secretive right-wing bazillionaire.

Republicans don’t have any original ideas. The “disgruntled Obama supporter” is just PUMA v.2012. Because Republicans think Americans are stupid. But we know better.

7 Comments

Filed under 2012 presidential election, Republican Party