« January 2007 | Main | March 2007 »

43 posts from February 2007

February 16, 2007

Frameshop: "Horror Vacui" on Iraq

Addressing the American Enterprise Institute at the Mayflower Hotel, yesterday, President Bush invoked that old principle of physics: "nature abhors a vacuum" (horror vacui):

People understand the consequences of failure. If we were to leave this young democracy before the job is done, there would be chaos, and out of chaos would become vacuums, and into those power vacuums would flow extremists who would be emboldened; extremists who want to find safe haven.

As we think about this important front in the war against extremists and terrorists, it's important for our fellow citizens to recognize this truth: If we were to leave Iraq before the job is done, the enemy would follow us home.

I am no physics scholar, but it seems that Bush is flat out contradicting himself with this logic.

Continue reading "Frameshop: "Horror Vacui" on Iraq" »

February 15, 2007

Frameshop: Return of 1990s-Style Right-Wing Violence?

1990s Political Disruptions Began As Hate Mail, But Led to Murder
In the heat of last week's Republican attack on John Edwards, Frameshop proposed the establishment of a new DNC task force to be charged specifically with protecting Democratic candidates--and by extension the U.S. electoral system--from the cancer of organized Republican smear.

On the heels of that prescription, the Republican smear of Edwards metastasized in two directions: a Christian nationalist group (Fidelis) that had long been in political remission, suddenly sprang back to life and sent blackmail letters to the campaigns of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton and---most alarmingly--the threat of home-grown authoritarian violence against American citizens that had been at bay since the abortion clinic murders of the 1990s, suddenly re-emerged in the form of hate mail calling for the sodomy, rape and murder of two young women formerly employed by the John Edwards' campaign.

Many will argue that this right-wing hate mail should not be cause for alarm, but statistics from abortion clinic murders in the 1990s may suggest otherwise:  that the latest smear jobs against Democrats may signify a retrenched effort by right-wing American authoritarian groups to use media-driven campaigns of political disruption as a strategy for inciting street-level political violence.

Continue reading "Frameshop: Return of 1990s-Style Right-Wing Violence?" »

February 14, 2007

Frameshop: Franken Sets the Stage

Al Franken officially launched his bid for Senate in Minnesota with what can only be described as a masterly online video message (transcript).  Absolutely flawless. 

Since I am a graduate from Carleton College back in the days when Paul Wellstone was still teaching, I am a softy when it comes to "Minnersoter" politics--albeit not a soft spot for those monstrous winters. 

Franken's video message, in which he discusses why he will make a great Senator, sent me back to my memories of Northfield and the Twin Cities.  Citing Wellstone's famous line, "The future belongs to those who are passionate and work hard,” Franken makes a disarmingly honest and clear pitch for why a comedian can do the serious work of Senator.   

I have no doubt that he is full of passion and tireless energy, but Franken's speech revealed another quality that will likely be the key to his success in his bed for election--a quality often associated with Ronald Reagan of all people:  the ability to weave a big story out of small details, and to set the stage for us to understand the promise of America.

Continue reading "Frameshop: Franken Sets the Stage" »

Frameshop: CNBC's Larry Kudlow is Donohue Board Member


When Bill Donohue launched his vicious and dangerous attack on John Edwards, it should have been dismissed as quickly as it began.  Unfortunately, Donohue was able to intervene in the  2008 Presidential election because he has well-placed, loyal allies in the mainstream media--allies who went unnoticed and unnamed as such, even as they used their position to give Donohue free and open access to FCC regulated television broadcasts.

Larry Kudlow is one such person.

A prominent and known figure on CNBC as a result of his financial analysis show Kudlow & Company, two facts are not widely known about Kudlow:

  1. He is a recovering alcohol and cocaine addict
  2. He is a board member of Bill Donohue's Catholic League

With this latter fact in mind, we can turn to the CNBC broadcast of Kudlow & Company aired February 9, 2007.

Continue reading "Frameshop: CNBC's Larry Kudlow is Donohue Board Member" »

Frameshop: Right-Wingers Call for Sodomy, Rape, Murder of Dem Staffer

With the media campaign of Bill Donohue (Catholic League) dominating the media, several people have now taken it upon themselves to push the attacks on Democrats to new and disturbing levels--turning an obnoxious smear campaign into an hitherto unimaginable level of violent, criminal threats on the life of female campaign staffer. 

In emails sent to the personal website of Amanda Marcotte, vocal critics of Democrats have now issued threats calling for her to be sodomized, raped and murdered.

This is the America we live in, ladies and gentleman.

This is not made up.

Bill Donohue waged a cynical campaign to destroy the Presidential hopes of a Democratic candidate, and apparently inspired by his media campaign to act on their own, several American citizens have now decided to destroy the life of a young woman.

Continue reading "Frameshop: Right-Wingers Call for Sodomy, Rape, Murder of Dem Staffer" »

February 13, 2007

Frameshop: Threatening Letters Sent to Clinton, Obama

Hot on the heels of the Republican smear campaign against John Edwards, another radical Republican group claiming to speak for Catholics has stepped up to make a name for itself--this time by sending threatening letters to Hillary Clinton and Barak Obama.

Several days ago, Josphe Cell, President of an organization called Fidelis, sent identical, thinly veiled threatening letters to each of the Democratic presidential hopefuls.  The letter "requested" that each "publicly condemn" the Edwards campaign for its "anti-Catholic and anti-Christian."

The letter concluded with what has become the "holy trinity" of this smear campaign--reference to a double standard vis-à-vis "gays, blacks and Jews."  This reference to unfair treatment of Christians relative to "gays, blacks and Jews" line has become the hallmark of William Donohue relentless smear campaign against John Edwards.

Continue reading "Frameshop: Threatening Letters Sent to Clinton, Obama" »

Frameshop: The Day Bill O'Reilly Was "Anti-Catholic"

In November 2006--less than 3 months ago--Bill O'Reilly of FOX News was attacked as an "ignorant" anti-Catholic "tyrant" by Bill (a.k.a. "Onion Dip") Donohue of the Catholic  League.  O'Reilly's offense?  He dared to criticize the political positions of the Pope. 

And yet--despite having been the subject of a full frontal attack by a man who has been denounced repeatedly by American Catholics and experts on the history anti-Catholicism--O'Reilly has now joined in to help amplify the very same kind of campaign that Donohue once waged against him, but is this time waging against John Edwards.

Given this history, anyone who locks horns with O'Reilly on this subject should avoid getting draw into the "Christian haters" frame and focus on O'Reilly's past tussle with Donohue himself.

In particular, to control the frame, the question to be asked is: Why didn't you resign, Bill, when Donohue accused you of being anti-Catholic?

Continue reading "Frameshop: The Day Bill O'Reilly Was "Anti-Catholic" " »

February 12, 2007

Frameshop: Bill "Onion Dip" Donohue



Prior to Bill Donohue leading his Republican smear campaign against John Edwards, the President of the Catholic League was most famous for accusing the Lipton corporation of perpetrating an anti-Catholic "atrocity" in the form of--an onion dip commercial.

For those who missed it, Lipton ran a print ad in the June 13, 2001 edition of The New York Press featuring a person holding a bowl of onion dip while waiting in line to take communion--the implication being that this person planned to dip the Eucharist in the onion dip.

Reasonable humor?  Clever Madison Avenue marketing?  Not according to Bill Donohue.  In his eyes, the onion dip ad was an anti-Catholic "atrocity."   

Continue reading "Frameshop: Bill "Onion Dip" Donohue" »

Frameshop: Donohue Once Named Onion Dip Ad Anti-Catholic "Atrocity"


The newest Republican media darling to lead the smear machine against Democrats, William A. Donohue, has made a career by claiming that even the most trivial mention of Christianity should be treated as a violent hate crime or genocidal atrocity. 

Not only are Donohue's so-called "atrocities" against Catholics the claims of a charlatan, but his entire approach has been discredited by leading Catholic voices.   

After reading the following summary of Donohue's past writings, any political media booker who invites Donohue to their studio does so at the risk of discrediting the professionalism and credibility of their organization.

Continue reading "Frameshop: Donohue Once Named Onion Dip Ad Anti-Catholic "Atrocity"" »

February 11, 2007

Frameshop: DNC Must Launch New Task Force on Republican Smear

The recent Republican smear attack of John Edwards' should serve as a bellwether of how the Republicans will once again try win the White House, and of what Democrats must do to moving forward to defend ourselves.

This me we know as fact: from this point forward until the election day 2008, every leading Democratic candidate will be attacked by the multi-headed hydra of the Republican smear machine.  As a result, the 2008 election season will be marked by a destructive, highly-funded, well-organized, succession of smears--all of which will have shady ties to the RNC, the assistance of a complicit and unwitting broadcast media, and a clear mission of delivering election victory for every Republican. 

For two successive Presidential elections, Democrats have watched candidate after candidate savaged by a well-organized, heavily-funded, and goal-oriented Republican smear machine with roots extending to the inner-circle of the current Republican administration.  But even as we continue to see Republican smear campaigns rise up and attack, we Democrats continue to work alone rather than working in concert to deal with this problem.

That must change.

2008 must become the year Democrats band together to defend ourselves and--by extension--the American system of free and fair elections from the insidious threat of Republican smear campaigns. 

Continue reading "Frameshop: DNC Must Launch New Task Force on Republican Smear" »