Thursday, August 29, 2013

Part II: The Unbearable Lightness of Being David Sirota


Note:  Earlier this week I published a post about narcissism in zealots, and I used Tim Wise as an example. I also mentioned David Sirota because it was a twitter storm erupting around their tweets that inspired Part I: Tim Wise Meets a Buzz Saw Called Black Twitter. Initially, I planned to write about both men in one post, but there was such an abundance of material, I split the post into two parts.  


I don't like David Sirota. Honestly, I loathe him. I'm not one who usually loathes, but then again, I haven't encountered anyone with so many loathsome qualities, except Glenn Greenwald, who is vastly superior in the loathsome quality category.  Anyone who has had an encounter with Sirota is well aware of his inflated sense of his own self-importance as well as his mistaken notion that he possesses a great intellect. Forgive me for using an old clich√©, but if you look up the definition of narcissism in Webster's, you'll see Sirota's picture. Combine that with his zealotry, and the result is a self-righteous, self-important buffoon.


 You may very well ask what is his passion? Opposition to use of drones and NSA spying? Single payer health care? Climate change? If your answer is none of the above, then you'd be correct. His passion is an unquenchable hatred for President Obama. For example, shortly after President Obama's climate change speech, and the night Wendy Davis was filibustering the anti-abortion bill before the Texas state legislature, David Sirota was tweeting criticism of President Obama's climate speech, a speech that was generally hailed as wide-ranging and historical. When all of liberal Twitter was glued to the tweets coming from the Texas state legislature and celebrating Wendy Davis, Sirota took that moment to unleash his criticism of the President's speech, pointing out once again the President's "hypocrisy." In his blind hatred of President Obama, he misses his own hypocrisy. Don't forget this is the man who was a paid political operative for Gov. Brian Schweitzer of Montana, or as I like to call him, Gov. Clean Coal.

My first encounter with Sirota was during the health care reform debate. I responded to his tweet criticizing HCR by saying the reform package looked like a good compromise to me. His reply was:
"@desertcronenm Mitt Romney's GOP health care bill is Obama's bill. A verifiable fact. So logic suggests u like it because u like Romney/GOP." 
Of course, that was waving a red flag right under my nose. I certainly didn't take the high ground in our little debate, but snarky condescension has a way of triggering my inner childish self. However, I discovered during that exchange, he has an Achilles heel--his wife's resounding defeat in a Denver school board election, but more about that later. During that exchange, one impression began to form in mind - Sirota doesn't like to be crossed by ordinary folk. Evidently, I'm not the only one.


According to Dan Sachar, "when Sirota responds to comments – he keeps falling into this trap, continually calling Obama supporters blind supporters, insulting our intelligence with broad generalizations that include the notion that any criticism of David’s critiques of Obama MUST therefore come from cultists who can’t stand to hear any criticism at all. In other words, Sirota isn’t ever wrong, and if we take issue with his analysis we are guilty of 'blind worship' of Obama."


When I tweeted a comment about his tweet criticizing the climate speech, I knew he would come after me because his narcissism would surely overwhelm his brain. Predictably, he showed up, just as he had several times before when I commented some of his other tweets. As I said earlier, Sirota does not like to be criticized by the common folk, the peasantry, the groundlings; however, I was prepared. After all, I taught teenagers for 30 years so I know a few things about adolescent behavior. By then two of my followers joined in, and Sirota accused us of being "slacktivists," those on twitter who bitch but do nothing. He rattled off that'd he'd worked on the campaigns of Sen. Sanders and Gov. Schweitzer, never mentioning he was a paid political operative.


And, then, like fly to the honey, he asked what we'd ever done, what offices we'd ever held. Once again I reminded him that I'd actually run against and beaten an incumbent school board president. He suddenly ignored me and launched an attack on the African-American follower, never once referring to me or the other white in the conversation again. As several twitter followers observed, the criticism of ordinary folks who happen to be black particularly enrages him. Let me rephrase that--any criticism by any African-American, well-known or not, really perturbs him. Refer to his rebuttal of Melissa Harris-Perry's criticism of white liberals although she never mentions his name.


Probably his most egregious offense though, and generally directed toward AA's, is his quoting Martin Luther King Jr. to support his latest criticism of the President. Sirota, who clearly believes his intellect and knowledge is incomparable, cannot see that African-Americans really know Martin Luther King Jr. They really know not only the history, culture, and folklore of their own people but all American history, which includes political history as well. As a result, the verbal beat down he generally receives on Twitter is just brutal.


His narcissism blinds him. His zealotry cripples him. He is shouting into an echo chamber, only admired by those who reflect his own arrogance and white privilege. He doesn't care if we commoners buy into his garbage; he doesn't care if we are unmoved by his arguments. I spent 30 years persuading teens to love Shakespeare, poetry, and writing. You don't bully people if you want them to listen to you. Nope, he's found a small market for his Obama Hate and targets for his derision.  For all his pomposity, his self-aggrandizement, you know what he can't do no matter how dirty he fights, no matter how many of his liberal friends come to his aid? He can't win a school board position. But I can.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

An Open Letter to Chris Hayes

Dear Chris,

I'm sure you must be feeling anguish and anxiety over your show's dismal ratings, especially since you couldn't hang onto to Ed Schultz's audience, the pundit you replaced. The anguish must come from the blame you're receiving for Rachel's tanking numbers. Trust me. She's done that to herself. And certainly, you must feel anxious about losing your job at MSNBC. After all, look what happened to Cenk Uyger after Phil Griffin sent him packing. "Cenk Who?" you ask. My point exactly. So I'm going to offer you some unsolicited advice about how to shore up your numbers and increase your viewership.

Your weekend morning show "Up with Chris" received much critical claim, and I'm sure for good reason. I couldn't say though since I didn't watch you much. Praise was heaped on you for having diverse discussion panels of not only people from different racial, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds, education, and professions, but also different political parties as well. But see, that's where you lost me. Oh, I didn't mind the fact that you had Republicans on as guests. Not at all. However, I was irritated that you rarely took them to task for their blatant, outrageous lies.

I could see you had many fine qualities, so when you took over Ed's spot, I gave your new show a try. I liked it. I really really liked. You covered so many topics no other pundit was. Your guests were not only interesting but refreshing. You rarely had on the tiresome trio of Howard Fineman, Joan Walsh, and Ed Rendell.  That was a big fat plus in your favor. But you eventually gave in, didn't you? You and Howard Fineman took great delight in shredding the President for his "unprecedented attack on whistleblowers." Oh yeah, you were "emo" all the way. I looked up the numbers--7 at the time. SEVEN so-called whistleblowers. They really weren't whistleblowers, were they? Were they? Plus you never even mentioned that President Obama pushed hard for the protection of whistleblowers. That's lying, Chris, no matter how you slice it. Rachel does that a lot, too--lying by omission.

Advice: #1 Tell the truth. Be scrupulous even if doesn't fit your agenda.

One show particularly captivated me--the one with the young folks leading the fast food workers' protests in NYC. Wow! Those kids were articulate, concerned, and courageous. Kudos to you for giving them some publicity. I even told friends I liked your show, and believe me, I'll never hear the end of that. But then you latched onto Glenn Greenwald, and Snowden. Really, even before that, you were beginning to drone on and on. (Get it? Drone on.) Needless to say, you started losing me. Not because the use of drones shouldn't be discussed, but you overdid it. There are so many pressing problems beyond the world of white privilege that you no longer cover.

Ah, but then you hit pay dirt, the big time, a moment in the sun--the NSA security leaks. Your first reaction to Edward Snowden was to gush he's like Martin Luther King Jr. Seriously, Chris, aren't you now just a smidgy embarrassed now. Why exactly does the white punditry also want to toss out MLK Jr. comparisons when talking about President Obama? But I digress. You then began to trot out Glenn Greenwald ad naseum with a little dash of David Sirota.

Advice: #2 Lose your Libertarian friends. They are duplicitous, discredited hacks. I suggest you read more of The Daily Banter and Little Green Footballs and less of The Guardian and Salon.com.

Pay attention carefully to this.  You and your buddies have always misidentified President Obama's base. We ordinary common folk are his base, not the the likes of Hamsher, Greenwald, Moore, Adam Green, and Sirota. They and you have never spoken for the base. Guess who MSNBC's audience is? President Obama's base. That's right, the Obamabots and Obamatrons who mindlessly follow dear leader. Obamabots are just like I am although I happen to be an old white woman. Even though Obamabots cut across all spectrums of American life, young, old, black, white, Latino, Asian-American, Native American, we share many similarities. We are educated, and we are activists. We are politically astute and knowledgeable.

We also recognize bullshit when we see or hear it. The mistaken notion is that we never have any differences with President Obama, which is just absurd. Of course we would have differences with President Obama. What we object to is unfair and unfounded criticism of the President. What we object to are the vitriolic tempered 
tantrums thrown by so many of the professional left and libertarians.  We object to unreasonable expectations. We object to half-truths and lies. We don't object to fair criticism contrary to what you and your fellows may think.

We actually listen to President Obama's speeches. When he said change will take time, more than one president's term, we knew he was right. In fact, when he said change may take the terms of several presidents, we said, "Amen! We understand." When he said change happens because all of us work together for change, we said we know that and we have your back. Too many of you folks on the left saw unicorns and sparkle dust and never really heard the words the president said.

Advice:  #3 (probably the most important piece of advice I'm going to give you). Know your audience.

That doesn't mean that you are not free to criticize President Obama, but make sure you have a sound case for that criticism. To keep yourself honest bring in knowledgeable people who disagree with you and who can further a civil debate. Now that would be a novel idea for MSNBC.

I promise you, you may not bring in a huge audience but your ratings will start to come up and your viewership will grow if you just follow those three pieces of advice I have given you. Otherwise, not to be too unkind, you're toast.

Sincerely,

Ms. Desert Crone NM

Monday, August 26, 2013

Part I: Tim Wise Meets the Buzz Saw Called Black Twitter

The comparison between President Obama and George Zimmerman is to say that President Obama is a killer who profiles and stalks his victims. This is one of the latest vilifications of the President by the left-wing media. They allege that he profiled American traitor Anwar Al-Awlaki because he was a Muslim, and then killed him with an armed drone. The intentional ignorance of the facts surrounding the attack  by those who make this claim is absurd, but it also reaches a level of vitriol we haven't seen before now.

I can't even begin to explain how offensive this analogy is and how insensitive those making it are. During a time that the African-American community is grieving the loss of Trayvon Martin making this comparison is simply wrong. If this is their comparison, then by definition, not only is President Obama a murderer,  but Al-Awlaki is a martyr as surely as Trayvon Martin is.

Not only does the comparison show these left-wing pundits to be heartless as well as soulless,  but these comments highlight a level of narcissism that is breathtaking to behold. However, it is not altogether surprising since zealots so frequently demonstrate the qualities of narcissism. By that I mean, they believe in their cause so fervently that they are tone deaf to the opinions, causes, and even distress of others. Any dissenting opinion or questioning of the zealot's belief is met with derision and often cruelty. In particular I'm addressing tweets made by Tim Wise and political journalist David Sirota (his own description)* with one caveat. I've never seen Wise indulge in the childish behavior that is the hallmark of Sirota on twitter.

I assume Tim Wise has made comfortable living off educating white people on their own racism, which is not to say what he has written or spoken of in speeches and discussions is not worthwhile. However, in an ironic display of white privilege, Mr. Wise has joined forces with David Sirota by echoing his contention that President Obama can easily be compared to George Zimmerman as one who profiles people and then kills them.  What's astonishing about Wise's claim is that it comes from a white man who earns a living off his and others' belief that he understands the African American community.  In fact, his status, an open-minded white man, bestows upon him the privilege to address the racism in other whites. His contention that President Obama is like George Zimmerman undercuts his status as the enlightened educator of white bigots and racists because it shows an insensitivity to the African-American community, great disrespect for the President, and derision toward the President's supporters. His contention raises a couple of ugly stereotypes--black man as thug and African-Americans as robotic followers, comparisons frequently made by the right wing.

For example, Wise, who has long denounced the use of drones, tweeted a warning to those who support President Obama that they are less than credible if they try to defend the President's drone policy. Of course, this definitive statement effectively shuts down any debate with him over the use of drones. Whether Wise likes it or not, there is an argument for the use of drones. He, and I, for that matter, may not agree with it, but it deserves a hearing and debate. That would seem to be a more constructive approach to take rather than to tell the opposition "shut up, idiots."

Wise's stance is not dissimilar to those liberals who adopted the hash tag of "Stand with Rand," a man who is not only blatantly racist but holds views that are an anathema to liberals. By supporting David Sirota, whom I believe to have an unquenchable hate for President Obama, it is nothing short of endorsing Sirota's race baiting. In my view Tim Wise's comments about President Obama's use of drones and the comparison to George Zimmerman undermine anything he has written or said before. It demonstrates that his "drone zealotry" has nullified rational thinking in one who has been able to approach the topic of racism among whites effectively.

Wise exemplifies the piety that so many zealots adopt, a self-righteous view that prohibits any kind of rational discussion about the topic.  Wise, like so many on the far left,  simply dismisses those who
support President Obama. Maybe he hasn't used the word "Obamabot," the term that conveys the President's supporters as so-called mindless, brainwashed, ignorant followers, but that message is just beneath the surface of his tweets regarding drones; therefore, his opinions are worthless to me. Needless to say, I won't be reading Tim Wise's words any longer, not because I'm calling for a boycott. In my opinion, the underlying honesty and trustworthiness in his words were wiped away when Wise betrayed the very community he purportedly understands and supports.

In last month's dust up between Wise and what has now become known as Black Twitter, tweeps castigated Wise for his support of Sirota's comparison of George Zimmerman and President Obama.

Although he claims to be a warrior against racism and violence, his words do not reflect his concern about racism. In fact, the zeal with which he attacks President Obama belies a belief that so many white men have about an educated, intellectual, well-spoken Black man. No matter if a black man he has those qualities, he still needs a white man to help him lead.

Mr. Wise, check yourself first.

Author's Note: Obviously I wrote this weeks ago but didn't post it. Much thanks to my twitter buddies @Butterose, @bron_two and @Beulahmo for encouraging me to go for it.

Heartfelt thank you to @ribletsonthepan, whose words sparked this post.

*Part II: The Unbearable Lightness of Being David Sirota. (Coming soon)
Tim WiseAl AwlakiTrayvon Martin David Sirota

Sunday, August 25, 2013

An Open Letter to Michael Riedel: I've Seen the Lights Go Out On Broadway

Mr. Riedel - 

It seems you've struck a chord at the end of your August 16th, 2013 article, "Those lazy days of summer," with your chiding of the lack of coordination and/or participation when honoring the passing of important Broadway personalities by dimming the marquees at Broadway theatres. But you've also (surprise, surprise) gotten some comments that you probably didn't expect. While I would concede that coordination of the dimming of marquees could use a little more organization, I take issue with the follow up in your August 21st article,"A bright idea: Dim the lights on cue," and I believe a correction is in order, although I'm not expecting one.

You mentioned three specific theatres on 45th Street: The Booth, The Schoenfeld and The Jacobs in your experience. While I don't know what the situation at The Jacobs is, the Booth and Schoenfeld are currently dark. The marquees are on timers and since the theatres are dark, the house electricians are not in the building at the time. This is a major fact that weakens your argument. Hopefully it was just an error of omission or naiveté.

You failed to mention another 45th Street theatre, The Imperial - which is also dark, but perhaps you were too busy at the Jacobs demanding satisfaction to notice. The Marriott Marquis? Dark. And I can guarantee you that at least six other theatres did not dim their lights: The Cort, The Belasco, The Brooks Atkinson, The Broadhurst, The Roundabout's American Airlines and The Lyceum - all currently dark.

I can understand your disappointment at the stunning revelation that it's possible that all theatres don't dim their lights, and it's really a shame that it's something you finally took notice of when specifically looking for the tradition in relation to your friend. But the times change, technology advances, and the preference of a theatre owner to have their marquee lights on timers to make Broadway bigger and brighter is their prerogative. It has absolutely nothing to do with house electricians not being "dutiful" in their responsibilities, as you claim your misinformed "backstage worker" noted. 

Another sign of the changing times are the League contracts with the Stagehands' Union. "Back in the old days" house electricians were typically not given as many responsibilities on the actual run of the show in order to be on hand to take care of house matters including box office power issues or perhaps blown lamps or tripped circuit breakers in the restrooms just to name a couple of examples. Nowadays, more often than not there is only the house electrician for those duties and now they are additionally responsible for the run the lighting cues during the show, effectively leashing him/her to the lighting console. What happens to that theatre marquee in the event of a traditional 8pm dimming of the lights when their show begins at 7pm? It most likely will remain lit.

Now if, as you report, The Broadway League and their leaders are truly concerned about this storied tradition, perhaps Local One, New York City's stagehand union, can address it at their next contract negotiation - all due to your encouragement, of course - and state that in order to ensure all Broadway marquees are dimmed at the appropriate time and to fully implement the tradition, all house electricians should be called in at the designated time to dim the lights... and the League can foot the bill. Then we'll see how "concerned" the leaders of the Broadway League really are.

Sincerely, 
Broadway Carl

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Hurricane Katrina? OBAMA'S FAULT!

As if we didn't already know that the knee jerk thing to do if you're a Republican (the operative word being "jerk") is to blame all things on President Obama no matter what they may be, out comes a new report in which Louisiana Republicans blame the lack of federal government response to Hurricane Katrina - back in 2005 - on... You guessed it! President Obama. Even though he wasn't, you know, going to be  President for another 3 1/2 years.
"[Public Policy Polling], which provided its results to Talking Points Memo, found that 29 percent of Louisiana Republicans said Obama was responsible for the Katrina response. Twenty-eight percent put the blame on President George W. Bush, whose administration did in fact oversee the federal response to Katrina. Nearly half (44 percent) of the Louisiana Republicans polled didn't know who to blame."
More people blamed President Obama than the actual Commander-in-Chief at the time! Keep it up, Louisiana Republicans, that's a very special kind of stupid.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

President Obama's Weekly Address - August 10, 2013

A Better Bargain for Responsible, Middle Class Homeowners




"Over the past four years, we’ve worked to help millions of responsible homeowners get back on their feet. And while we’re not where we need to be yet, our housing market is beginning to heal. Home prices and sales are rising. Construction is up. Foreclosures are down. Millions of families have come up for air because they’re no longer underwater on their mortgages. 
Now we have to build on this progress. Congress should give every American the chance to refinance at today’s low rates. We should help more qualified families get a mortgage and buy their first home. We should get construction workers back on the job rebuilding communities hit hardest by the crisis. And we should make sure that folks who don’t want to buy a home have decent, affordable places to rent. 
...We need to wind down the companies known as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, make sure private capital plays a bigger role in the mortgage market, and end the era of expecting a bailout after your pursuit of profit puts the whole country at risk."

Sunday, August 4, 2013

This Is 40 - No, Not The Movie

Boy, that Paul Rudd. I tell ya, he kinda grows on you and really is a funny guy. I thought This Is 40 was a very good movie and as usual Rudd's quirkiness highlighted a couple of scenes that are going to be memorable for years to come.

You know what isn't so funny and is also memorable? The dysfunctional Republican led House not standing for anything except being against all things Obama. On Friday, the last day before their summer recess with a pending government shutdown looming on the horizon without a continuing resolution to continue to fund the government or raise the debt ceiling, Weeper of the House John Boehner led the House into yet another vote to defund The Affordable Care Act for the 40th time.

Yes, that's right. They've voted to repeal Obamacare forty times in the last three years, all so they can go home to their base and say they voted against trying to make health care accessible and affordable for almost everyone. They voted to roll back the access to health care for people with pre-existing conditions. They voted to stop kids from having the option of staying on their parents' health care until the age of 26. They voted against creating exchanges to make the health care industry a more competitive marketplace where you can get the best prices. All of this is a colossal waste of time and money because any passage by the House is DOA in the Senate.

This time they called it the Keep the IRS Off Your Health Care Act of 2013,” to try and marry it to the IRS non-scandal about how they didn't actually go after tea party groups applying for tax exempt status, but sure, let's keep going down that pathetic road.
“We’ve learned that the IRS has been abusing its power by targeting and punishing American citizens for their political beliefs,” said House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA). “And then recklessly spending taxpayer dollars on lavish conferences and bonus for its employees. This kind of government abuse must stop.”
It's all political grandstanding all so they can go home and have town hall meetings to do this:




Idiots.


UPDATE(7:15pm): Read Why They Hate Obamacare.

President Obama's Weekly Address - August 3, 2013

Securing a Better Bargain for the Middle Class




"Even before the crisis hit, we were living through a decade where a few at the top were doing better and better, while most families were working harder and harder just to get by... 

...I’m willing to work with Republicans to simplify our tax code for businesses large and small, but only if we take the money we save by transitioning to a simpler tax system and make a significant investment in creating good, middle-class jobs.  We can put construction workers back on the job rebuilding our infrastructure.  We can boost manufacturing, so more American companies can sell their products around the world.  And we can help our community colleges arm our workers with the skills they need in a global economy – all without adding a dime to the deficit. 

I’ll keep laying out my ideas to give the middle class a better shot in the 21st century, and I’ll keep reaching out to Republicans for theirs.  But gutting critical investments in our future and threatening national default on the bills that Congress has already racked up – that’s not an economic plan.  Denying health care to millions of Americans, or shutting down the government just because I’m for keeping it open – that won’t help the middle class."