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Sunday, March 29, 2009

Take The Limbaugh Challenge
(Updated below)
The Manhattan Institute's Andrew Klavan throws down the gauntlet:
Therefore, I am throwing down my gauntlet at your quivering liberal feet. I hereby issue my challenge -- the Limbaugh Challenge: Listen to the show. Not for five minutes but for several hours: an hour a day for several days. Consider what he has to say -- the real policy material under the jokes and teasing bluster. Do what your intellectual keepers do not want you to do and keep an open mind. Ask yourself: What's he getting at? Why does he say the things he says? Why do so many people of goodwill -- like that nice Mr. Klavan -- agree with him?

Media Matters for America picks it up.

Also, you can read the links at the end of the transcript of my hilarious conversation with El Rushbo.

UPDATE I: FAIR's Steve Rendall has much more.

April 5, 2009. Today, The LA Times editorial page gave space to four prominent LA area progressives to respond to Klavan's challenge: Marc Cooper Director of Annenberg Digital News at the USC Annenberg School for Communication, Laurie Ochoa Editor in chief, LA Weekly, Norman Lear Writer, producer and founder of People for the American Way, and Constance L. Rice Civil rights attorney in Los Angeles. All have incisive insights about Limbaugh. I think Cooper had Limbaugh correctly pegged:
Call Limbaugh's rants offensive, racist, extremist or just plain intellectually insulting, if it makes you feel better. I think it's more useful to understand him instead as a form of religious experience, one of the more dogmatic strain. He's a completely reliable inspiration and reinforcement for those who are embittered and battered and who confuse their natural allies for their enemies. He's an electronic opiate for the masses. For Limbaugh's audience is not a happy lot. They are completely convinced that an unholy coalition of liberals, homos, feminazis and overly entitled minorities are responsible for the mess of their own tiny, dead-end lives.

But I will grant Limbaugh one slim glimmer of genius. Unlike similar demagogues (I'm thinking of Lou Dobbs and Sean Hannity), Limbaugh makes no claim to be a little-guy populist. Instead, he's a perfect mouthpiece for the most elite portions of our society. He's a virile defender of wealth, privilege and greed. The rather fabulous trick he pulls off is to attract millions of little-guy listeners and make them believe that their interests are somehow the same as those of the jillionaires Limbaugh idolizes and celebrates.

Friday, March 27, 2009

New Post
On the Moon blog, I have a new post on Sun Myung Moon, the Unification movement, and 1970's pop culture.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Must Read
Karl Frisch "The right's toxic assets"

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Must Read
Media Matters corrects the misinformation circulating in right-wing circles that President Obama mindlessly read teleprompter comments intended to be read by Irish Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen and thanked himself in a speech. I first heard this canard on Rush Limbaugh's radio show.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

I added a fourth update to my recent post on talk radio.

My Once-Every-While Look at Weird Keyword Searches that People Used To Get to This Site
People familiar with this blog know that when I check my Statcounter stats and collect the really weird keyword combos that people have used to get to my site (here is my last post on the subject--it has links to previous posts). Here are the latest group of search terms that people has used on Google and other search engines to get to this site:

hillary clinton satanic rituals
impotence wally george [note: Wally George (1931-2003) was an abrasive right-wing TV talk show host]
sermons onlion of the tribe of judah
john hagee urban legend
nikki cappelli hot pictures
why do women of cornerstone church have to wear dresses and have their hair long
harold & kumar go to white castle blonde nude
cheech and chong my ass hole is burning
rolling stones satanic cult threat
susan estrich suck dick
daschle comments debate reverend moon writing prayers
nikki cappelli nude go daddy
amway quixtar chickenhawks
jeffrey kuhner repulsive
tammy bruce's body
sean hannity wedding picture
xxx prostate milk blogspot
if you like harold & kumar you will also like
cindy hensley mccain hot nude pics
i hate bernard goldberg
cheating deceitful horney wife likes to 69 and her ass kissed movies
does al franken really hate those right wing motherfuckers media player
kristen powers hot legs [I think the person meant Kirsten Powers]
impotence cures blogspot
dexter yager illuminati
bill frist cheesestick santorum
pl ass site online
cheesecake nudes

Monday, March 23, 2009

I know I meant to post over the weekend but a friend from out of town was over my place for the weekend.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Posting Over the Weekend
I promise

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Wish I Wrote It
In one paragraph, Salon's Glenn Greenwald tells us what is wrong the DC press corps:
Journalists love to depict themselves as hard-nosed, rambunctious, ornery adversaries of establishment orthodoxies and political power. The reality is the opposite: there simply is no class of people more reverent of the political establishment and more devoted to protecting and defending its prerogatives. Of all people, journalists ought to be embarrassed to publicly play the role of decorum enforcers when it comes to how the politically powerful are treated. They should be the last ones -- not the first ones -- demanding that controversial political figures be treated with the type of profound reverence typically reserved for religious leaders and monarchs. Identically, in the most minimally healthy political culture, high political leaders would be the least entitled, not the most entitled, to be shielded from cutting political criticism.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Must Read
Robert Parry on the Washington Post. DC currently has the Moonie Times--it doesn't need an imitator. The article brings back memories. It was just a few short years ago that dishonest hacks like the late Michael Kelly were considered to be a serious voice in our nation's discourse by the "kewl kids" in DC. Fortunately, Kelly has become almost completely forgotten in just a few short years.

Posting a long article later today or early Monday
In the meantime, check out my YouTube video about Sun Myung Moon.

The post is postponed for a while. Sorry

Friday, March 13, 2009

Must Read
Glenn Greenwald on contemporary media culture and journalistic ethics.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Congresswoman Scrubbed from Upcoming Moonie Event
Read more on the Moonie blog.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Ann Coulter and the White Supremacist Council of Conservative Citizens (CofCC)
I didn't read Ann Coulter's latest book Guilty: Liberal “Victims” and Their Assault on America (though I did receive a lot of hits for my blog that directed people to sites of people who had read the book). David Neiwert's blog links to an article by Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center who points out that in Guilty, Coulter defends a virulently racist group, The Council of Conservative Citizens (CCofC).

No big surprise: Coulter, who was raised in an affluent Connecticut suburb, has also defended the display of the Confederate battle flag.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Limbaugh Strategy is Going to Work: A Few Reasons Why
(Updated below) rush limbaugh cpac lunatic
Some people think it's a strategic mistake for prominent Democrats to try to make Rush Limbaugh the leader of the Republican Party. A few of the reasons: 1) The controversy lines Limbaugh's pockets; 2) The controversy increases the number of minds poisoned by Limbaugh's vitriol; 3) Limbaugh benefited enormously after the Clinton White House took him on.

Some of these things are undoubtedly happening. More people are listening to Limbaugh and some of those people who started to listen will become "ditto-heads." However, the benefits of making Limbaugh the face of the GOP outweigh any disadvantages. Before I discuss the overwhelming benefits, I'll first discuss why the Clinton administration failed and why Democrats and progressive now will succeed.

1993 ≠ 2009
When Bill Clinton won the 1992 presidential election, the response by Limbaugh and other talk radio jocks was swift and decisive: Limbaugh and the various Rush clones went on the warpath. When Deputy White House Counsel Vince Foster committed suicide in 1993, Limbaugh and talk radio were an integral part of what journalist Trudy Lieberman called "the Vince Foster Factory," a group of prominent right-wing media people who were putting forth conspiracy theories that Bill and Hillary were responsible for Foster's death (years after several investigations debunked the right's theories, Limbaugh has continued to act as if the Clintons had murdered Foster).

How did the Clinton administration respond to this wing-nut onslaught? They put Lanny Davis on it. The Clinton administration didn't know what hit it. That's understandable but they did very little to counter the media wing-nuts. In fact, during the 1990's, the only effective hits on Limbaugh were by Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting and a former Saturday Night Live writer, but these efforts were too little, too late. The Clinton administration's fecklessness and ineptitude are no big surprise. I have written about how the Clintons dealt with the Unification movement (here and here). It also didn't help that much of the mainstream media has been clueless about Limbaugh (e.g., here and here).

The year 2009 is a lot different from 1993. For one thing, in 1993, the right had a powerful media apparatus and noise machine and progressives were way behind (for a discussion of this inequality, read Robert Parry's thoughtful analysis). That has changed since 2000. A few quick reasons: 1) The emergence of Media Matters for America in 2004. In the 1990's Limbaugh benefited because there was no paper trail because people weren't recording and transcribing Limbaugh's radio show. When I started this blog, I listened to Limbaugh and transcribed many outrageous things Limbaugh said (e.g., a racist parody commercial that Limbaugh aired). When Media Matters was established, its staff could not only monitor Limbaugh's radio show, but they had the ability to monitor Hannity, Savage, O'Reilly and other right-wing talkers. 2) The rise of the progressive blogosphere. 3) The rise of progressive commentators such as Keith Olbermann, Rachel Maddow and the increase in popularity of Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert.

The Internet as Great Equalizer
Sure, there has been a recent increase in listeners but also an increase in people researching Limbaugh on the Internet. As I have pointed out, the net is the bane of movements and people who seek to control others. The more people who research Limbaugh on the net, the more people dislike him. It also doesn't help Limbaugh that in the past few years,the following have occurred: 1) Limbaugh problems with hillbilly heroin have emerged; 2) Wife Number 3 left Limbaugh; 4) The infamous mocking of Michael J. Fox's Parkinson's symptoms became a national story. The upshot is that the more Americans know about Limbaugh, the less they like him, namely because he is an unlikable person.

Demography as Destiny
As Ruy Texiera and John B. Judis pointed out a few years ago, demography favors the Democrats. The GOP has depended on the Southern strategy to become a white Southern party. The US is increasingly becoming a non-white society; the GOP has overplayed its hand and has become, to use the words of Zell Miller, "a national party no more." There's a strong generational component also. The real and latent bigotry as well as the terminal unhipness of the Republican right has made Limbaugh and the GOP anathema to younger voters. To an 18 to 30-year-old, Limbaugh must seem like the oldest man in the world. Polling research by Stanley Greenberg indicated that Limbaugh had an approval rating among American younger than 40 of 11 percent. Eleven percent! Having Limbaugh as the face of the GOP will accelerate the party's "death spiral."

Addendum: Battle of the Loons in the 3 to 6 PM Time Slot michael savage weiner loon wingnut
Right-wing talk radio is a vast wasteland. An example of this is the 3 to 6 PM EST weekday time slot . The radio hosts with the largest audiences are Michael Savage (née Weiner) and Mark Levin. Both Savage and Levin are raging lunatics (I had written about Savage when his first political book came out--also here). Don't believe me: listen to these two men rant on their radio shows. For instance, today on their radio shows, Savage called President Obama as a "dictator in the making" and Levin referred to Media Matters and similar progressive groups as "brownshirts."

The recent Limbaugh controversy is great not only for the reason I've listed but because it is dividing the hard right. Some rational right-wingers like David Frum are being attacked not only by Limbaugh but by other wing-nuts such as Levin. The other day, Frum, who has written a couple scathing articles about the campaign to elevate Limbaugh as the nominal leader of the GOP, responded to attacks by Levin by calling the show--listen to the call here--it's priceless.
mark levin loon
Also, having a unhinged wing-nut like Savage being the third most influential radio talk show host is great for dividing the right because less rabid right-wingers know what a nut Savage is (though it amuses me to no end that an unhinged Levin routinely attacks Savage as a nut).

A case in point, before George W. Bush left office in January, he invited several prominent right-wing radio hosts for a meeting in the White House. According to radio host Neal Boortz, when the radio hosts were together before Bush arrived, one topic of discussion among the hosts was how Savage will sooner rather than later "implode."

It's fun when they eat their own.

UPDATE I: Just a few more thoughts on Limbaugh. David Frum's description of Limbaugh ("A man who is aggressive and bombastic, cutting and sarcastic, who dismisses the concerned citizens in network news focus groups as “losers.” With his private plane and his cigars, his history of drug dependency and his personal bulk, not to mention his tangled marital history, Rush is a walking stereotype of self-indulgence") is spot on. I've listened to Limbaugh since first hearing about him when 60 Minutes did a story on him. Limbaugh has a huge ego (that obviously he uses to try to mask his massive insecurities). That ego has been bad for the GOP. It's hilarious when we watch Michael Steele and other prominent Republicans apologize and grovel before Limbaugh, but more importantly, it reinforces the view that the modern Republican Party is a cult of fear in which people like Harry Whittington and John Dilulio are forced to apologize when they did nothing wrong. . . The essence of the post was to underscore how the media rules of the Clinton years don't apply now. During the Clinton years, mainstream journalists were either cowed or looked the other way when Limbaugh pushed his Vince Foster conspiracy theories or made racist comments. With Media Matters, The Daily Show, the blogosphere, and MSNBC, Limbaugh is, at long last, accountable for what he says due to prominent commentators who review what he says. Not only that, but he's becoming increasingly accountable for what he has said in the past. There are now consequences for what Limbaugh says.

UPDATE II: TPM has more on Stanley Greenberg's survey research on Limbaugh. One key point of the survey research: although Limbaugh is overwhelmingly unpopular with Americans, 63 percent of Republicans think Limbaugh has too little or the right amount of influence over the Republican Party. Sam Stein has more analysis of the polling data.

UPDATE III: Eating their own update. I don't regularly listen to either Mark Levin's or Michael Savage's radio shows. Before I wrote this post, I knew they were not just competitors but two men who hated each other. I've never heard Savage slam Levin on his radio show but I have heard Levin rub it in concerning media markets in which his show has higher ratings than Savage's. Levin also refers to Savage's show not as "Savage Nation" but "Weiner Nation." I just did a little googling and found some hilarious stuff. This YouTube video has Savage doing an apoplectic rant (go to about 3:00 on the video). Here's another video slam of Levin.

UPDATE IV: With the help of Drudge, Hannity, Malkin and other members of the right's media infrastructure, Mark Levin's book Liberty and Tyranny: A Conservative Manifesto is now ranked #1 on

UPDATE V: Michael Alan Weiner (also known as Michael Savage), along with others such as Amir Siddique and Fred Phelps, are banned from Great Britain.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Eddie Bernice Johnson women peace
Democratic Congresswoman to Speak at Moon-sponsored Event on Capitol Hill
(Updated below)
Yesterday, on the Moon blog, I wrote about the Moon Tribune article reporting about how, once again, Sun Myung Moon has used his front groups to weasel his way back to Capitol Hill. This is typical of the Unification movement: arrange an benign-sounding conference ostensibly devoted to women and peace. Afterwards, use the footage from the event to accord legitimacy with Moon's followers, potential devotees, and others Moon wants to influence. Today, the Moon Tribune reports that Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) will speak at the conference.

UPDATE (3/05):
I checked my Statcounter stats and someone in the U.S. House of Representatives was reading this post.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

More Information about the Moon So-sponsored Event in the Rayburn House Office Building
I have a post up on the Sun Myung Moon blog.

Organization run by Sun Myung Moon to hold gathering on Capitol Hill involving yet-to-be named U.S. congresswomen.