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Friday, August 7, 2009

Fight Hysterical Republican McCarthyite Propaganda... with Random Headline Generators!

I don't read a lot of Sibby Online. If I want to read a constant stream of verbatim transcripts of Rush Limbaugh, I'll just go to the source. Or I'll just shave my head with a cheese grater, which would provide an equivalent level of pleasure and enlightenment.

But a couple days ago, an amazing stream of absurd propagandist headlines compelled me to drop by Steve Sibson's blog. I just had to ask if he was using a random headline generator to crank out the daily quota of jingoistic culture-war keywords required by Limbaugh Central to keep skewing the Google juice. Consider this sampling of Sibby headlines from just this week:
When you can't think of anything original to say, I guess it's understandable that your headlines would fall into a pattern.

But the fact is, Steve's pumping out the memes. How are we mild-mannered lefty bloggers to compete with such prodigious mindspace manipulation?

With technology:

The Madville Times Random Headline Generator: build yourself a copy today, and fight peevish misogynist totalitarian theocrat oppressors everywhere!

Actually, Steve's constant meme-flogging reminds me of some analysis I did of the software the state tested in 2002 to grade student essays. To get a good score, you didn't have to actually say anything coherent. You just had to keep repeating a loose set of keywords related to the given topic, sprinkle in a few verbs and preposition, et voilĂ ! a perfect score... or in this case, Google juice.


  1. For many reasons there's a lot of scared and vulnerable people aware their lives are in decline. Losing jobs, homes, and sense of stability. They need understanding and support but are being exploited by wing nuts. It's reckless, shameless and frightening. Really it shows a complete absence of caring for people who are suffering. Many need help through united efforts of job creation and health care.

    And locally, we all want the LAIC to succeed in their mission and have the resources they need, as well the right mix of accountability. We have people struggling here, right now.

  2. Agreed 100% on the LAIC, John. We're all on the same team: we just disagree with the members of the inner circle on how the team ought to be run.

    As for taking advantage of scared and vulnerable people, that's a keen observation. Funny: I thought Republicans were criticizing Democrats for taking advantage of a crisis to push their agenda. Seems like the Republicans are reading the same playbook. It'll sure put a spoke in the GOP's wheels if the economy starts to turn around.

  3. The right wing has no persuasive tool but fear anymore.

    "The healthcare reform plan will euthanize seniors!"

    "Obama is a scary black foreigner who hates white people!"

    "Gun registration is a secret way of telling the gubbermint which houses to raid so they can confiscate your firearms!"

    "The gubbermint is going to adopt Marxism so they can take all your money and give it to godless furriners!"

    When the economy does start to turn around, they will doubtlessly spin it as a bad thing which must be stopped. Because they only way they can motivate their base is through fear.

  4. You wouldn't have had to use the custom sort. As long as you started your selection in column B, it will sort by column B.

  5. "Mild-mannered lefty bloggers" cannot compete with "hysterical Republican McCarthyite propaganda" any more than I could take on a metaphor in the 50-meter freestyle.

    I don't think the purveyors of this nonsense represent the true sentiments of the Republican party. I do, however, believe that some of the outrage (whether faked or not) displayed in recent "town hall meetings" does in fact exist among real Republicans -- and among more than a few Independents, too.

    I'm disturbed by the sheer amount, as well as the relative proportion, of baloney emanating from both the left and the right these days. I'm having difficulty gleaning the truth from all the noise, especially in regards to the health care issue.

  6. Now Palin is in the game with these untrue statements:

    "The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama's 'death panel' so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their 'level of productivity in society,' whether they are worthy of health care," the former Republican vice presidential candidate wrote.

    "Such a system is downright evil."

  7. Oh, brother—and she tells us not to make stuff up.

    W.A./Olivander: note also the fear-mongering on Obama's truth squad: his people send out an e-mail asking folks to tip them off to Rightist lies, and suddenly Obama is trying to control the press and draw up enemies lists. You can't even mount a decent rebuttal without being accused of fascism. Utter detachment from reality.

  8. Steve Sibson8/08/2009 8:53 AM

    "I don't think the purveyors of this nonsense represent the true sentiments of the Republican party."

    I agree, that is why one of the posts Cory listed above slams Pat Powers, "THE" GOPer of the South Dakota blogosphere. So Cory's headline, that points to a "Republican" inspired agenda is completely false.

    So now the headline controversy is in your court Cory.

  9. I'm not finding any humor in hateful headlines. Coded words lead to whacked out behavior.

    I'm posting this link to a video and have grave concern over what future town hall meetings bring and over safety of others.


  10. I posted the address in post above but an active hyperlink is in order.

    Link to video

  11. Yes, heaven forbid I lump Steve Sibson, participant in the blog cabal that helped Thune beat Daschle in 2004, in with the Republican party. What, Steve, are you now officially registered as a Whig?

    The propaganda being spread to block health care reform (and protect what? a broken, unjust status quo? a failing worldview? chances for electoral victory in 2010?) is 99% Republican-generated. I stand by my headline.

  12. Steve Sibson8/08/2009 10:50 AM

    Jackilope's youtube piece is the real propaganda from MSNBC, who is owned by GE, who is to receive billions if Obamacare is passed. I thought the Progressive left was in opposition to plutocrats? Why the fear mongering to silence the truth? And Cory, did I not post a GE/Daschle piece that tied into the VA/Thune post you did? Seems like you have more to agree with Thune on than Daschle on this major issue.

    Like the banking system, the problems in America's health care system is too much government intervention.

  13. Most media - including the hate rhetoric that spews from Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, and Sean Hannity is corporate. These guys don't care who is hurt, just like the health insurance industry that will deny claims of the ill - because it's all about money. They are all making a killing.

    Frank Schaeffer, however, makes some really valid points and has been at both sides of the agenda movement. He's woken up and taken a hard look at what is around him and what has evolved.

    Steve, I'm sure when someone who has stored up those guns goes off (as we've witnessed now with Dr. Tiller and at the Holocaust Museum in DC) - you will be the first to throw up your hands and claim no responsibility - even though those you listen to most have used those code words and use those very code words on your blog. What you listen to and quote is hugely propaganda and it's all about riling up the uneducated masses with organized GOP groups. When you look at the astroturf masses out to disrupt a town hall meeting, many of these white, elderly folk are already on Medicare for pete's sake.

    For those who embrace to be "Pro Life", I have to ask why you are so rabid about preventing ensuring affordable health care to all. I have neighbors across the street that due to lay offs do not have health insurance. The cost of it privately is out of reach for so many. Cancers are not detected because there aren't preventative checkups being had. Families are bankrupted due to medical expenses. How is any of this pro life or pro family? What can you possibly suggest to address these issues other than being mad because a Democratic President brings this to light? Why is it the only route in the astroturf disruptions to turn up the crazy? Heck, you've recently got Glenn Beck suggesting poisoning Pelosi, GOP Todd Akin of MO joking about rallies where Dems are getting lynched (a very strong term in MO), anti-reform rally Tea Baggers hanging Dem. Rep Frank Kratovil in effigy, it's not even subtle references now.

    Sorry you don't like the reflection in the mirror Steve.

  14. What she said—right on, Jackie!

  15. Some people want one simple answer that applies to everything and are easily led (and very reactive). Granted most answers are simple, but these angry people are reacting without knowing the issues. People like Limbaugh, Beck, (Olbermann too) are mostly concerned about their huge egos. At least Olbermann seems factual, but it's not news. Most informed people are not "purveyors of this nonsense", but Republicans are not stepping up to the plate to stop it.

  16. JohnSD wrote: "Most informed people are not "purveyors of this nonsense", but Republicans are not stepping up to the plate to stop it."

    I agree. To watch this happen and to not speak out isn't honorable. The problem is, those that do speak out wind up going back and apologizing to Rush a day or so later.

  17. Okay, so all the Republicans think (and shout) that the Obama administration is a bunch of commie marxist radicals, and all the Democrats think (and shout) that Republicans are, without exception, right-end wingnut loons.

    Let's ramp up the rhetoric as much as we can, and stuff wax into the little holes in the sides of our heads.

    Finally, at some critical point, some threshold of chaos, the scene will break down into a megabrawl, with everyone rolling on the ground and screaming (ROTGAS).

    I love it! Hope is audacious indeed.

  18. Steve Sibson8/08/2009 4:20 PM

    "Frank Schaeffer, however, makes some really valid points and has been at both sides of the agenda movement. He's woken up and taken a hard look at what is around him and what has evolved."

    What is around him is the same good versus evil battle. Sadly Frank has switched sides.

    And simply dismissing the truth by calling it propaganda doesn't change the truth. And promoting more government intervention when government intervention is creating the problem is the real propaganda. Only the uneducated masses would go along with that insanity.

    Question: Should someone else pay for your $1 million per day health care bill? And if so, for how many days? Those questions need to be answered before we continue down the road of socialism.

  19. This post was hilarious.

    Republicans think the Obama administration are commies and such, and Democrats think that many Republicans are right-end wingnut loons. We recognize that there are distinctions between the loons and moderate Republicans. But at least the crazy far right, unlike Obama's commie sympathies, actually exists. They assert themselves more every day. Birth certificate conspiracies, violence at town halls, random blog titles with multiple ridiculous (and often contradictory) adjectives spliced together.

    When we call the other side out, it isn't a lie. A part of the truth behind it is the fact that they believe what they say about the Obama administration. The part of your comment dealing with Republicans justifies and legitimates the part about Democrats (if you simply remove "without exception").

    But I really enjoyed the title generator. I may even need to use it over at Red, Blue & Purple.

  20. Damn socialist programs, like the military.

  21. Adam Feser! Thanks for dropping by! And thanks for the link!

    Dratted socialism, indeed! Imagine what would happen if we privatized the military and let Blackwater fight our wars. Yikes!

  22. Steve, you'll support spending millions on political campaigns to preserve the life of fetuses and force mothers to undergo childbirth. Are you saying you won't join a social effort to pay an adult citizen's medical bills? You already pay other people's bills with your private insurance premiums, don't you? Do you ask your private insurer to cut others off?

  23. Stan,

    You are missing the point. Most things are gray. Demagogues try to make things black and white to make a simple non-thinking argument. Slicing two extremes does not make someone a moderate (it's not math). Adam correctly points out that sometimes one end is more extreme than the other, and we have to decide what's reasonable. Don't we all reach out for absolutes? There just aren't many.

  24. And: It was the scared middle that allowed people to get marched off to extermination camps. So it's terribly difficult to hear the crazy right-wing nuts call Obama a fascist. Someone who represents overcoming our own oppression and tyranny in this country. It is just beyond what I can comprehend really.

  25. Steve Sibson8/08/2009 8:17 PM

    Cory, I thought we all paid the same premiums to the same private insurance compancies. If we don't then that would violate the government's price discrimination laws.

  26. But Steve,

    Why is the government intervening with price controls?

    Let the market decide!

    Oh, yeah. I forgot. Their primary concern is making money.

    Steve, if you lost your job, would you want your children to be without health care?

  27. John and Adam,

    I didn't mean to make any point at all, really; but I observe a trend: people shouting at each other more and listening to each other less.

    Speaking of word generators, Cory, I love some of your Word Verification samples. Is their such a thing as a "hologen" light bulb?

  28. Steve: Sorry, I didn't get that last comment. Please clarify, if inclined.

    [Stan: hologen?! Cool! If I find any at Ace Hardware, I'll send you a couple so you can project historical characters all around your yard. :-)]

  29. Steve,
    It's your phrases, your headlines, your quoting and promoting Rush and his ilk on your blog that illustrate exactly what Frank Schaefer is talking about. When syntax is that extreme, that hateful, and that fear invoking it is inciting violence. (Ironically, more like Hitler, actually.) I also gave a sampling of examples (Tiller, Holocaust Museum, "lynching" term in MO, there's also now violent threatening phone calls into unions who are attempting to counter the crazy) and all you can counter is "Schaeffer is on the wrong battle of good vs evil"?

    Good vs evil? How can you even be on a side that enables denials of life saving medical treatment or denial of coverage, or prices so high that average people cannot afford coverage and call yourself on the "good" side? Why are you a corporate greed enabler? Sorry, but how are violent threats, hanging a Congressman in effigy, wearing Nazi t-shirts at town hall "good"? Oh, murder, violence is okay if *your* team is doing it? Lessee, it was you that dismissed Schaeffer and called his interview propaganda. Project much?

    Schaeffer is alarmed as to what has morphed and I agree wholeheartedly with him. Instead of looking at the situation which is the growing gap and situation of health care insurance, prices, and those covered - there are older, white, white-haired folks already covered on MEDICARE that get riled up and played due to hate rhetoric and fear. Instead of discussions, the mode encouraged is "Yell" and "Disrupt". You are only an enabler of that and not bringing anything to the table to assist in problem solving. Steve, these tactics are creating potential domestic terrorists. You must be so proud of your "good side".

    Cory did already answer your question regarding who is paying and the answer is all of us paying into the system. I'll also add that we've already got our military, our govt. workers, the elected, and the elderly on a system that none of them would give up. Having a public option and bringing Govt. into providing something competitive is going to be a route that brings more honesty back into health insurance reform and will bring rates and coverage back to where farmers, small business or family owned business can afford to cover their families.

    I'll add that I feel that the pharmacy, the health care system and the health care insurance system at present has more and more Americans going without. I'd much rather have my taxes go toward making sure a family isn't bankrupted due to medical expenses or having a mother or father get preventative check ups so that they can catch a disease early so that they can take care of their kids. I'd much rather have my taxes go into that system than the trillions spent in War or going to Xe/Blackwater.

    Steve, when you sit and listen to fellows that spew propaganda (Rush, Hannity, Glenn Beck, and insurance corporations that are spending 1.4 million a day - people's premium money!) trying to scare us so that they can continue to rake in big bucks, does it ever occur to you that you are not a player but one being played?

  30. Upon reflection, I'll concede that "hysterical Republican McCarthyite propaganda" is a fair description of the goings-on in some of the conservative media. A lot of Republicans appear to be supporting such propaganda, even if only by failing to denounce it.


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