‘They made the world’s largest pizza, so we burned down their city hall’

Over the past few years right-wing radio, in a seemingly coordinated effort, has cast George Soros as the Great Satan. I’m not sure how, or why, he became Public Enemy No. 1, but to conspiracy-minded conservatives he’s the puppet master of the shadowy Marxist underground plotting to take over the world.

But according to Neil Clark in the New Statesman, Soros’s role was crucial in the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe. From 1979, as an advocate of ‘open societies’, Soros financially supported dissidents including Poland’s Solidarity movement, Charter 77 in Czechoslovakia and Andrei Sakharov in the Soviet Union, donating $3 million a year according to Clark. In 1984, he founded his first Open Society Institute in Hungary and pumped millions of dollars into opposition movements and independent media.

Meanwhile, the left, in a seemingly coordinated effort, has come up with their own Soros, or Soroses. Anonymous a month ago, the Koch Brothers have emerged as archetypal robber barons funding a reverse class warfare.

The KOCH brothers must be stopped. They gave $40K to Scott Walker, the MAX allowed by state law. That’s small potatoes compared to the $100+ million they give to other organizations. These organizations will terrify you. If the anti-union thing weren’t enough, here are bigger and better reasons to stop the evil Kochs. They are trying to:

1. decriminalize drugs,

2. legalize gay marriage,

3. repeal the Patriot Act,

4. end the police state,

5. cut defense spending.

So about that third party …

Jimmy Carter: Worse than Timothy McVeigh

That’s the consensus of 43 conservative bloggers asked to rank the 25 worst figures in American history. Charles Manson didn’t make the list. Neither did Jeffrey Dahmer or John Wayne Gacy. Or even Jim Jones. An ineffectual one-term president who deregulated the beer industry ranked first, followed by Barack Obama and FDR. McVeigh finished 9th — right behind Ted Kennedy and the president who passed the Civil Rights Act.

This is what happens when rabid partisanship infects the brain. Say goodnight, perspective.

Fearing Minnesota

I’ve criticized the rhetorical excesses of certain conservatives during the health care reform debate, and I’ll be equally unsparing toward hyper-paranoid partisans eager to play the victim:

Think about it – do you really feel safe in Michele Bachman’s state of Minnesota any more? I’m not sure we should assume we’re safe anymore at all in our own country. You better check your car bumper stickers to make certain you don’t have one that reveals that you voted for Obama. After all, Bachman’s encouraging her constituency to become “armed and dangerous” Americans. Last time I checked, Minnesota was not a state full of Al Qaeda terrorists, which means if armed and dangerous Minnesota folks are in the mood to go target hunting, people like you and me are in big trouble.

It Depends on How You Define ‘Outburst’

Much has been made of the SOTU “face-off” between President Obama and Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito. Leave it to both sides to try and score political points of a non-issue.

“It almost defies logic, reason and respect; however, Barack Hussein Obama did the unthinkable during his first State of the Union Speech and tried to intimidate the Supreme Court of the United States,” wrote one conservative blogger.

“So much for separation of powers, but Obama thinks he is above everything.”

Meanwhile, on “Meet the Press” this morning presidential adviser David Axelrod described Alito’s silent rebuttal as a “inappropriate outburst.” Really? Mouthing the words “not true” qualifies as an outburst?

Both Obama and Alito may have broken tradition but the exchange hardly merits hand-wringing. Presidents can, and do, disagree with Supreme Court decisions. And justices, like everyone else, have the right to disagree with the a president’s assessment. Neither was trying to usurp the other — they were just being honest.

when partisans attack

Far right Republicans accuse the opposition of giving aid and comfort to the enemy. Far left Democrats accuse the opposition of being the enemy:

You’re helping Hitler. You’re as a bad as Hitler.

Hard to say which is worse, but that’s a pretty fair assessment of the state of political discourse among those who speak the loudest.

partisan media prevailing

MSNBC, having recently surpassed CNN in ratings for the first time, has added another liberal stalwart, radio yakker Ed Schultz, to its nightly line-up.

Fox News, MSNBC’s conservative counterpart, has also seen a ratings spike, thanks in large to the baffling popularity of nutcase Glenn Beck.

No one should confuse these purveyors of propaganda with legitimate news operations. Their success is troubling.

That’s because there’s pretty good evidence that we generally don’t truly want good information — but rather information that confirms our prejudices. We may believe intellectually in the clash of opinions, but in practice we like to embed ourselves in the reassuring womb of an echo chamber.