Tom Toles: Political Cartoons from Tom Toles – The Washington Post


Tom Toles: Political Cartoons from Tom Toles – The Washington Post.

More on the Fox Effect …TPM

TPM Reader JOD chimes in with his experience with ‘the Fox effect’. I think it’s important to recognize in these stories that you don’t just stand up a new TV network and suddenly you’re changing the the political and racial attitudes of a whole generation of baby boomers and pre-boomers. There’s much more cause and effect at work. But these things can be powerful catalysts. There’s a reason why people invest in propaganda. It works. Just not in a vacuum.

Just a backup to what reader RL had to say…

I was brought up in a very multi-ethnic working class community where nearly everyone was more or less on the same socio-economic level. I ran around with white, black, Hispanic and Indian kids. We were all always in and out of each other’s houses and all of our parents got along very well. This was the 1970s.

My parents were strongly progressive, pro-integration and not at all racist as far as I could tell. I recall one time my father laid into me because I described a kid I’d had a fight with at school as a “beaner”. Racial epithets were not allowed in our house. Jimmy Carter, Kennedy, LBJ and FDR were the political heroes in our house.

Leap forward to the early 1990s and my father starts listening to Rush for some reason. By the late 90s he was fully ensconced in the Fox world and has remained there since.

The old man, now 70, sits around talking about ‘niggers’ and ‘beaners’, ‘wetbacks’, ‘ragheads’, ‘kikes’ and so on in the most hateful and disgusting way. He blames all of our nation’s ills on minorities as well as diseases like menegitis and for the nation’s moral decay. He has a bunker mentality as if a mob of angry brown people are going to show up at his door any moment. He also hates women, unions, gays and everyone else. The hate and fear that seethe from that man is stunning.

It is a shocking – and to be honest – very painful thing to see your father go from a tolerant welcoming man to an angry, hateful racist. I have no doubt at all that Fox and Rush had a massive impact on him and his attitude towards other people. I watched it happen.

Fox is powerful.

via TPM More on the Fox Effect ….

Princeton Study: U.S. No Longer An Actual Democracy–TPM

Asking “[w]ho really rules?” researchers Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page argue that over the past few decades America’s political system has slowly transformed from a democracy into an oligarchy, where wealthy elites wield most power.

Using data drawn from over 1,800 different policy initiatives from 1981 to 2002, the two conclude that rich, well-connected individuals on the political scene now steer the direction of the country, regardless of or even against the will of the majority of voters.

“The central point that emerges from our research is that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy,” they write, “while mass-based interest groups and average citizens have little or no independent influence.”

As one illustration, Gilens and Page compare the political preferences of Americans at the 50th income percentile to preferences of Americans at the 90th percentile as well as major lobbying or business groups. They find that the government—whether Republican or Democratic—more often follows the preferences of the latter group rather than the first.

The researches note that this is not a new development caused by, say, recent Supreme Court decisions allowing more money in politics, such as Citizens United or this month’s ruling on McCutcheon v. FEC. As the data stretching back to the 1980s suggests, this has been a long term trend, and is therefore harder for most people to perceive, let alone reverse.

“Ordinary citizens,” they write, “might often be observed to ‘win’ (that is, to get their preferred policy outcomes) even if they had no independent effect whatsoever on policy making, if elites (with whom they often agree) actually prevail.”

Via TPM: Princeton Study: U.S. No Longer An Actual Democracy.

Putin Has No Designs On 49th State: ‘What Would You Need Alaska For?’ TPM


The Russian president was asked Thursday if he had any plans to “acquire Alaska” during an annual televised call-in show.

“What would you need Alaska for?” Putin responded, perhaps out of jest, and reminded viewers that the territory was sold to the U.S. in the 19th century. “We live in a northern country, 70 percent of our territory is in the north. Alaska’s also the north. So let’s not get excited.”

Besides, the autocrat is currently busy acquiring the much warmer region of Ukraine.

Via TPM: Putin Has No Designs On 49th State: ‘What Would You Need Alaska For?’.

The Republican Position on Obamacare Makes No Sense Anymore | New Republic

For years now, undeterred by an imposing level of conservative schadenfreude, a handful of us have argued that the introduction of Affordable Care Act benefits in January would flip the politics of Obamacare, and the GOP’s repeal platform would collapse.

It’s April now and that worm is turning before our eyes, both on on Capitol Hill and in states across the country. Republicans have replaced an unabashed “full repeal!” mantra with a deluge of weasel words meant to conceal the fact that “repeal” is still the beginning and end of their health-care reform agenda. It’s still the goal—they’re just a little ashamed of it now. And that places an onus on Dems (and reporters and anyone else who believes politicians should own the consequences of their policies) to be extremely explicit about the benefits Obamacare is conferring, and what an unvarnished rendering of GOP health policy would really look like.

As Greg Sargent has been documenting over at The Washington Post, the ACA’s optional Medicaid expansion is wrong-footing Republican Senate candidates in expansion states like Arkansas, Michigan, and New Hampshire, because their position (repeal) now entails kicking tens or hundreds of thousands of people in their states off of Medicaid.

Continue reading: The Republican Position on Obamacare Makes No Sense Anymore | New Republic.

Tea Party Challenger Says Boehner Suffers ‘Electile Dysfunction’ TPM (VIDEO)

“If you have a Boehner lasting more than 23 years, seek immediate medical attention,” the ad’s narrator warns.

The ad, titled “When the Moment Is Right,” parodies a Cialis commercial to tout challenger J.D. Winteregg’s conservative ideals while linking Boehner to President Barack Obama.

“Sometimes when a politician has been in D.C. too long, it goes to his head and he just can’t seem to get the job done,” the spot’s narrator says over a clip of Boehner and Obama shaking hands.

“Used on a daily basis, Winteregg in Congress will help you every time the moment is right — to have your voice heard at the federal level,” the narrator adds. “When using Winteregg, it’s important to note that the borders will be secured, Second Amendment rights protected, Obamacare and Planned Parenthood will be defunded, and common sense will be used in solving the nation’s problems.”

The spot goes on to show Boehner golfing with Obama and giving a thumbs-up to the President during this year’s State of the Union address.

“If you have a Boehner lasting more than 23 years, seek immediate medical attention,” the ad’s narrator warns.

Winteregg is a high school French teacher taking on Boehner in May’s Republican primary with support from the Tea Party Leadership Fund, according to ABC News. He’s in a field that includes two other tea party challengers, but as ABC News noted, no sitting House speaker has ever been defeated in a primary election.

Via TPM: Tea Party Challenger Says Boehner Suffers ‘Electile Dysfunction’ (VIDEO).

Jim DeMInt: Big government didn’t free the slaves« The Dish

This was in response to Jim DeMint’s surreal attempt to force American history into his rigid ideology. Somehow, in DeMint’s imagination, the civil war was won without “big government.” But the federal government is never “bigger” than in wartime, its powers never so expansive. When that federal government is sending troops to conquer half the country, how much “bigger” can it get? You can totally see why Chait pounces thus:

Everybody knows the slaves were freed by Ronald Reagan, and he did it by cutting taxes.

Continue reading: Yglesias Award Nominee « The Dish.