Progressive Programmer

Progressive Politics or idle geek banter. What's on my mind when I'm irked, intrigued, bored or up too late.

Location: Michigan, United States


Olbermann, Limbaugh, Sharpton and the GOP Mindset

Keith Olbermann just had an extraordinary exchange between himself and Al Sharpton.

The subject was the conditions in New Orleans, looting, and the question of where support is.

Olbermann remarked that he had heard Rush Limbaugh earlier today saying that those that were still in New Orleans deserved what they had gotten, as they had chosen to live there. Olbermann went so far as to call him, "that Limbaugh". Denouncing the inherent inconsiderate nature of such a statement.

But Sharpton made the point that struck me.

The Right, as embodied by Limbaugh, Frist, Bush, Hastert, DeLay. They would move heaven and earth to save the life of one White Woman in Florida to combat the very idea of euthanasia (which technically it was not). A woman that a decade earlier had lost her ability to so much as ask for help, much less have coherent thoughts about the quality of her own life.

And they would sit on their ass and watch as tens of thousands of poor men, women, children, babies, and elderly bake in the New Orleans heat surrounded by water, sewage, gasoline and an abandoned city, now devoid of anyone with the means to have escaped ahead of the storm.

This is the culture of life. The culture of life wants to save brain dead white women and unborn children. The culture of life wants you to watch endless non-news about the disappearance of one white teenager in Aruba. The culture of life wants you to support your nation as it kills tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians in its Quixotic quest against a non-threat. The culture of life wants a zero-tolerance for looters policy to sound authoritative as babies die of dehydration. The culture of life expects you to take care of yourself, and if you can't, then it is your own fault for getting into that situation in the first place. Fuck off. You had your shot. Station in life, where you hang your hat, and whether you have the $40 at the end of the month to pay for the overpriced gasoline to get out of that home in time is all up to you.

Always I have argued with Republican friends--the reasonable ones--that not everyone was dealt the same cards on their original Birth Day. Not everyone has been given the same gifts by God, friends, family, or luck. Always those Republican friends believe that they deserve where they have gotten in life, and that no one, including the government, should be asking for their hard-earned cash to help the less affluent. It is always the fault of the lesser-affluent themselves. Circumstances are irrelevant in all cases and constitute class warfare if the question is raised.


But that's their thing. That's how they see the world. They earned everything they got. Their parents might have given them a nudge, but nothing more. Get a fucking clue.

Bush came away from his mega vacation one day early...Wednesday. Hastert doesn't know why we should rebuild. Condie Rice went to the show on Broadway.

All of these people support the Culter of Life. But none seem to support American Culture. New Orleans, as much as any city, represents distinctly American Culture. A melting-pot of language, music and revelry unlike any other. But it is desperately poor. Over 50% of the children in the state live below the poverty level. But no matter. Mostly black folk down there. They shouldn't have lived there in the first place. They should have gotten out while they had the chance. It's their own fault.

Michael Chertoff was interviewed on NPR this afternoon. He was asked if he had heard of thousands of people at the Convention Center in New Orleans, without water or food or sanitation. Elderly dying. Little girls being raped. Mr. Chertoff was eloquent in his cluelessness. Completely unaware of what had been on the television all day long on both MSNBC and CNN. Unaware that he, at the top of the agency charged with bringing relief to the affected areas, had not been informed of something every American with a remote already knew. That the situation there was desperate. That people needed help. And that noone seemed to be providing it. The man in charge was not in charge at all, folks. It took the Bush Administration 4 years since 9/11... 4 years of chasing ghosts and old demons in Iraq to not do a fucking thing about stateside preparedness. To gut the national guard's responsiveness by sending so many of them overseas. To cut funding for the levee system that allowed Lake Ponchartrain to roll into the city. To put someone in charge of Homeland Security and FEMA that is eloquent, but so impossibly incompetent that he is incapable of establishing a staff capable of letting him know the worst of a situation so large.

Mr. Chertoff said, that he had not heard of such things. That you couldn't believe every rumor from the streets of the area. That he wasn't in a position to argue about what the NPR Reporters had witnessed.

Get the people to our staging areas, he stated, and they can get water there.

Thanks, asshole.

I almost cried last night. A little girl was with her grandfather, their late model sedan stalled in hip deep water. She was standing on what I think was the highway divider next to the car. Soaked. Crying. Her grandfather, dismayed and dazed behind her. Both of them looked at the car, but it was the begging of the young girl that got me. She couldn't have been more than 2 years older than my daughter. And there she was, in the middle of a lake that wasn't there the day before, in the middle of a city that had been destroyed, begging and pleading for the people filming her, and those they were with, to help them. They just needed a push. To higher ground.

And there she stayed, as the vehicle the camera rode in pulled away.

I'm not liberal, I'm just paying attention

[Update Friday, 10:30 EST] Welcome to those coming from kos and, also, I just noticed, from BuzzFlash.

Some of the comments on the DailyKos diary where I cross-posted this entry are well worth the read.

Support the affected however you can.


Anonymous Ghostdog said...

So are you dead on. This is an amazing peice of writing that I will share with my friends. I watched Sharpton and the point struck me as well. Glad you wrote about it.

02 September, 2005 15:26  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow... you really hit the nail square on with this piece. Thanks.

02 September, 2005 19:45  
Anonymous ed said...

A man who couldn't find oil in Texas. A man who was a mediocrity until he was forty and handed a chunk of a Major League Baseball team by a few of his father's reich friends. A man who was elected governor on the basis of being his father's son. A man who was handed the presidency by a vote of some of his father's like-minded cohorts on the Supreme Court.

Why would anyone expect that this man could handle anything more complicated than a lemonade stand?

02 September, 2005 20:04  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Republican Campaign Song (If they were being honest)

We are rich and you are poor,
You shiftless, lazy clown.
So suck it up and work three jobs
Or we shut your utilities down.

You say you can’t afford your pills,
Well, we don’t care one bit.
According to Charles Darwin you’re
Clearly most unfit.

So Medicare’s been privatized,
And left you in the lurch.
We all know government doesn’t work,
So see your local church.

And gasoline has doubled,
Several times this year,
Hey, that’s the global economy,
You should stand up and cheer.

Our god is consistency.
We never change our minds.
Those liberals love reality.
We’ll whip their weak behinds.

So vote for Bush and never bitch,
Because we own your town.
Support more tax breaks for the rich,
And wait for trickle down.

And hang those liberals from the trees,
They get all the blame.
And even if you are on your knees,
You’d better play our game.

02 September, 2005 20:43  
Blogger cw said...


02 September, 2005 20:58  
Anonymous Ivory Bill Woodpecker said...

"If they were being honest"? Anon, supposing that the Elephascist Party (I refuse to call them Republicans since they support Empire rather than the Republic) could be honest is like supposing that water could be dry, or liquid nitrogen hot, or dung could smell pleasant, or--you get the idea.

02 September, 2005 23:14  
Blogger LiberalPride said...

Hurricane Bush strikes again...and again...and again...and again...and again...

And there's no disaster relief in sight!!

My God, when will the death and destruction from Hurricane Bush finally end and the recovery work that will take decades finally begin??

03 September, 2005 02:38  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow...this hits home more than anything else I've read. I'm sending it off to Republicans I know--like my sister. They hate getting mail from me, and I never stop sending it. :)

03 September, 2005 07:01  
Blogger Artist General said...

(From Come Together / Beatles)

...He one holy roller...

...Got to be a joker he just do what he please...

...Hold you in his armchair you can feel his disease...

[Neoconnic / psychopathic personality disorder]

...He got muddy water he one mojo filter...

He say "One and one and one is three"

Got to be good-looking 'cause he's so hard to see...



(And we don't know the half of it!)


From: "Chairman Ken Mehlman"

Subject: Support Elimination of the Death Tax

Date: Thu, 1 Sep 2005

03 September, 2005 12:10  
Blogger Artist General said...


W's take from Poppy's War-profiteered Estate? in the 10's O' Million$!

03 September, 2005 12:31  
Anonymous Dan Van Riper said...

Great piece on the so-called "culture of life," which, like all the rest of the antiamerican neocon/neolib corporatist propaganda is pure doublespeak.

Just as Homeland Security really means Insecurity, and No Child Left Behind means Most Children Left Behind, we are really talking about what is a deliberate and calculated Culture Of Death. How else do we explain the negligence of New Orleans, both before and after Katrina?

But, one criticism. Al Sharpton is a self serving jerk, an evil creep who worked hard to get George W. Bush a second term (two lines, cut and paste):,

It's not just that the Re-pubs ran his presidential campaign, took over his Harlem foundation, gave him money, and even wrote his speeches for him. It's that Sharpton barely made reference to Bush during the campaign, while he concentrated most of his attacks against the best candidate that the Democratic Party had to offer at the time, Howard Dean.

Remember the carefully edited "Dean scream?" Sharpton's Re-pub handlers carefully co-ordinated his attack on Dean with the corporate media.

When Sharpton showed up at Camp Casey outside Crawford this past August, I couldn't help but cringe. And whenever I hear of him becoming a "spokesman" for progressive Americans, I want to clutch my head and curse.

Do we have to put up with Sharpton? Can't we reject him?


03 September, 2005 12:58  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Couldn't agree with you more about Sharpton, Dan Van Winkle! He let himself be used as a blunt weapon to put the hit on Dean so he could run for prez. He is such a creep, yuck!

03 September, 2005 18:51  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very sorry for butchering your last name Dale van Riper!

03 September, 2005 18:52  
Anonymous CV said...

From time to time, the Reverend Al can really be eloquent.
Anonymous, Is your song public domain? It's kewl, I can see the Billionaires For Bush performing it, In DC on the 24th 25th and 26th of September. This will be an historic occasion.
Everyone that can possibly get there should.
Everyone that has been damaged by this gang of thugs must join together, it's less than 4 weeks, we need a million people in DC, a full weekend of assembly surrounding the WhiteHouse and Monday we Surround the Capitol, to express our displeasure with their recent performance, shall we say? This is much bigger than any lefty peace march, Just as mcolly tagged,"I'm not liberal, I'm just paying attention", that's going for more and more people. Katrina has ripped the scales from many eyes. Every state needs to think about its disaster preparedness, vis a vis the National Guard deployment, both personel and equipment. Expect to see a large turnout of Guardsmen that have returned from Iraq, to find their homes vulnerable. Expect Military Families, the other Cindys and those not yet. Carolinas and W Virginia out of gas for a couple of days, all these are red states, or were.
Come one, Come all, Come NOW.
September 24, 25 & 26th
Washington DC

03 September, 2005 19:32  
Blogger progprog said...

Sharpton, like all political animals, has done things both good and bad. Has said things both good and bad. And, has made points I agree with, and those I disagree with.

He typically gets high marks for drawing simple, clear, damning comparisons between how the Right sees the world, and he thinks Americans see the world.

The comparison between the Schiavo situation and those affected in New Orleans is simple and powerful, and straight to the point. You see exactly what the priorities of the GOP are and they would be hard pressed to successfully argue the point.

So, yes, you can reject him if you choose to do so. But don't close your ears entirely.

Another point of his that stuck with me during the campaign season, was this (paraphrasing) :

Why does the administration consider it an honor for a poor man to die fighting in Iraq, but a burden for a rich one to pay taxes here?

Ask that question of your Republican friends.

03 September, 2005 20:52  
Blogger 456hea said...

Frist will be even worse than Dumbya. Oh I know you say, "How could anyone be worse than Dumbya?". And you would be very justified in saying such a thing; however, just trust me, Frist will be even worse. He's not quite as dumb. Dumb, but not as dumb as the dumbest of them all, Dumbya.

03 September, 2005 21:21  
Blogger liberalprogressive said...

these sick repugnikans are the first to scream that liberals 'hate america first' but its clear that despite their self professed love of america, that they hate americans. anyone who can stand by and blythely watch people die when this didn't have to happen this way, is just sick, sick, sick.

03 September, 2005 21:53  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I couldn't agree with you more. Homeland Security? What a joke! The HSA and FEMA really fu**** up. We should all demand the firing of both Michael Brown and Michael Chertoff. If they had any shame, they would be embarrassed at their lack of effectiveness, and resign....

04 September, 2005 10:53  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"had an extraordinary exchange between himself and Al Sharpton..." like uhh, who else could be in an exchange with another person than "himself?" Don't tell me, you were up late again, right?

04 September, 2005 12:54  
Blogger progprog said...

Of all the typos in the post, you choose to question my phrasing in that sentence? Fair enough.

I suppose at the time, I was thinking it might be useful to clarify that Limbaugh was not present. Many cable news shows have discussions between the purportedly neutral host, and one each on the pro/con or liberal/conservative side(though typically it's more akin to conservative/neutral, or conservative/conservative).

More likely, I was anxiously typing away, and didn't give much thought to the phrasing. Perhaps it was an extraordinary exchange I had between myself and my keyboard =)

04 September, 2005 17:48  

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