Jules Marshall posted a must watch animation from RSA Comment:
…radical sociologist David Harvey asks if it is time to look beyond capitalism, towards a new social order that would allow us to live within a system that could be responsible, just and humane.
Very much worth watching. My comments are below the video.
The trigger to the financial mess is greed. The idea that the system is open-ended, that the sky is the limit, is simply irresponsible. All systems have limits. We’ve reached the limit of capitalsim. And, to be sure, many will simply dismiss this argument as “socialism”. But, as Harvey’s argument posits, there are important points to be gleaned from a socialist approach. You can’t throw the baby out with the bathwater on this issue. This doesn’t mean that people don’t have the right to pursue financial success. What it does mean is that the way that success should be measured needs to change. Warren Buffett has the right idea. There’s a responsibility that comes with financial success. It’s good economics. And, Buffett understands that. The problem is, it’s become a political football.
The tragedy for the USA is that the political atmosphere is super-charged with partisan political nonsense. True discussion is almost impossible. At the moment, Conservatives have shown themselves to be more interested in refuting their core beliefs, at the expense of the stability of the country, for political power. Liberals are lost in an over reactive loop of fixing failed Conservative policies with overreaching programs that miss the big picture. The result is inconsistent economics. Add to this the polarized atmosphere of the poltics of fear that dominate, and it’s a mess.
Engaging in a coherent debate under these circumstances is impossible, let alone implementing a cogent economic plan.
I fear that something truly horrendous will have to occur for people to break free of their ideological constraints and deal with the issues at hand properly with intellect and maturity.
We shall see.Read More
President Obama is taking undeserved heat from the right for playing golf during a time of national crisis. So much so that the White House felt compelled to actually address the issue. If you’re feeling a bit struck by deja-vu on this matter, it’s because we’ve seen this divisive and silly meme before.
During the presidency of George W. Bush, there was a lot of melodramatic consternation on the left about Bush’s playing golf during a time of war and / or national criss. A lot of it was no doubt due to this unfortunate moment. There were even unfounded rumors of his playing golf during the Katrina disaster, as if taking personal time to golf during crisis were proof of incompetence. It was all rather silly for a number of reasons, the foremost being that living a life of constant crisis management like the presidency requires does not also require that life simply stop. Life goes on, even during wartime. Down time is important.
During World War II, Gen. Dwight Eisenhower was a well known golf enthusiast, and took as much time as he could during the war to indulge his passion for the game.
From the section “Ike and Golf” at the Eisenhower Commission website:
His problem was, of course, how to fit golf into a very busy schedule. When he went to London in May of 1942 he picked living quarters some distance from the city so he could find some peace and quiet. The house he rented near Kingston was named Telegraph Cottage and the backyard fence luckily opened on the 13th hole at Coombe Hill Golf Club. During his stay in England Ike never played a full round at Coombe Hill, but he often played three or four holes before going to work in the morning. After the Allied invasion of Normandy, Ike placed his offices in a school house at Reims in the Champagne region of France – but he chose the Guex Golf Course clubhouse as his living quarters. Once again he had little time for golf, but he practiced through a few holes when he could.
Thus, it stands to reason that if it was okay for the Supreme Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force – the man who planned D-Day – to golf during arguably the greatest crisis in modern history, then it’s probably okay for a president to golf during the “War on Terror” or to golf during the Gulf Spill Crisis and other presidential moments of crisis. Ike continued his love of playing golf during his presidency.Read More
One day a few years ago an e-mail arrived in my inbox. It was from someone named “Jon Swift”. It was a simple comment on a post I’d written as well as a a nice compliment. It was then and there that I knew that whoever Jon was, he was a nice guy. And, it wasn’t that long before another email arrived asking if I’d link to his blog and he’d link to mine in good faith as well. It was as simple as that. An uncommon touch on the internet to be sure. And, so I headed over to his blog and became instantly hooked. It was some of the best political satire on the web. Probably some of the best anywhere for that matter. Cutting, intelligent, complicated, observant, funny, irreverent and completely withering if you were a real conservative true believer. There was a refined and smoldering writer in Jon Swift to be sure.
His name was Al Weisel and he passed away the other day at the age of 46. Skippy has a nice write up that sums it all up amd has a list of memorials to Al.
Al became tired of blogging and his output became less and less. Two years ago he stopped suddenly and I wrote and asked if he was okay, a few of us were wondering, and he wrote back saying that he just got caught up in life and that he would be blogging again soon. And, he did for about a year, then he stopped again early in 2009. His interest waning yet again. I missed him the past year. His views were sorely missed. And, I figured that like many of us, the blog was simply becoming a burden and I simply hoped that one day he’d start again and we’d all be laughing out loud once again. Then came the sad news in an email from Brendan Keefe that Jon Swift /Al was gone.
Sometimes there are no words. Except thanks Al. You were a prince. It was a pleasure fighting the good fight with you, and sharing a laugh across the internet.
Now go read some of the best satire anywhere. You will laugh out loud. Trust me.Read More
Monday link dump…
- Cheney: Waterboarding should have been an option for underbomber – “I was a big supporter of waterboarding. I was a big supporter of the enhanced interrogation techniques,” he said. Of course, for years the CIA has maintained that torture does not produce actionable intel. And, of course, the public practice of torture (they went public with this remember) is more PR than anything. I am of the opinion that Cheney understands that torture does not create actionable intel. But, the propaganda value is simply too great in his view. This is the discussion we should be having…
- Cheney Struggles To Explain Terror Contradictions – Dick Cheney has never been one for consistency of message, nor of adhering to the established facts. It’s unfortunate that he now feels comfortable undermining a sitting president (no matter his political affiliation) in order to secure his own personal legacy and save his ass.
- Biden: Cheney ‘not entitled to re-write history’ – See above.
- A Terrorist Tried In Federal Court: The Case Of Aafia Siddiqui – When we examine the facts, it becomes clear that the GOP is using terrorism as political fodder. So, facts such as this get brushed under the carpet. It’s bad for the coutnry and it’s bad politics. But, they are a party in decline after all…I am for trying terrorists in civilian courts. So is the Pentagon.
- Critical Mass: Dem Agenda Opens Right-Wing Doors – Mandatory reading…
Is health care a right or a privilege? Here’s the answer:
May 12, 2009
Dear Mr. President,
I wanted to write a few final words to you to express my gratitude for your repeated personal kindnesses to me — and one last time, to salute your leadership in giving our country back its future and its truth.
On a personal level, you and Michelle reached out to Vicki, to our family and me in so many different ways. You helped to make these difficult months a happy time in my life.
You also made it a time of hope for me and for our country.
When I thought of all the years, all the battles, and all the memories of my long public life, I felt confident in these closing days that while I will not be there when it happens, you will be the President who at long last signs into law the health care reform that is the great unfinished business of our society. For me, this cause stretched across decades; it has been disappointed, but never finally defeated. It was the cause of my life. And in the past year, the prospect of victory sustained me — and the work of achieving it summoned my energy and determination.
There will be struggles — there always have been — and they are already underway again. But as we moved forward in these months, I learned that you will not yield to calls to retreat — that you will stay with the cause until it is won. I saw your conviction that the time is now and witnessed your unwavering commitment and understanding that health care is a decisive issue for our future prosperity. But you have also reminded all of us that it concerns more than material things; that what we face is above all a moral issue; that at stake are not just the details of policy, but fundamental principles of social justice and the character of our country.
And so because of your vision and resolve, I came to believe that soon, very soon, affordable health coverage will be available to all, in an America where the state of a family’s health will never again depend on the amount of a family’s wealth. And while I will not see the victory, I was able to look forward and know that we will — yes, we will — fulfill the promise of health care in America as a right and not a privilege.
In closing, let me say again how proud I was to be part of your campaign — and proud as well to play a part in the early months of a new era of high purpose and achievement. I entered public life with a young President who inspired a generation and the world. It gives me great hope that as I leave, another young President inspires another generation and once more on America’s behalf inspires the entire world.
So, I wrote this to thank you one last time as a friend — and to stand with you one last time for change and the America we can become.
At the Denver Convention where you were nominated, I said the dream lives on.
And I finished this letter with unshakable faith that the dream will be fulfilled for this generation, and preserved and enlarged for generations to come.
With deep respect and abiding affection,
YouTube vid of Bob Dylan’s banned satirical song about paranoid right wing racists written in 1963 as a response to the popularity of the John Birch Society. It was dropped from The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan due to political concerns and remained unreleased until the Bootleg disc in the mid 90′s.
Could have been written today. Scary.
Talkin’ John Birch Paranoid Blues
Well, I was feelin’ sad and feelin’ blue,
I didn’t know what in the world I was gonna do,
Them Communists they wus comin’ around,
They wus in the air,
They wus on the ground.
They wouldn’t gimme no peace. . .
So I run down most hurriedly
And joined up with the John Birch Society,
I got me a secret membership card
And started off a-walkin’ down the road.
Yee-hoo, I’m a real John Bircher now!
Look out you Commies!
Now we all agree with Hitlers’ views,
Although he killed six million Jews.
It don’t matter too much that he was a Fascist,
At least you can’t say he was a Communist!
That’s to say like if you got a cold you take a shot of malaria.
Well, I wus lookin’ everywhere for them gol-darned Reds.
I got up in the mornin’ ‘n’ looked under my bed,
Looked in the sink, behind the door,
Looked in the glove compartment of my car.
Couldn’t find ‘em . . .
I wus lookin’ high an’ low for them Reds everywhere,
I wus lookin’ in the sink an’ underneath the chair.
I looked way up my chimney hole,
I even looked deep inside my toilet bowl.
They got away . . .
Well, I wus sittin’ home alone an’ started to sweat,
Figured they wus in my T.V. set.
Peeked behind the picture frame,
Got a shock from my feet, hittin’ right up in the brain.
Them Reds caused it!
I know they did . . . them hard-core ones.
Well, I quit my job so I could work alone,
Then I changed my name to Sherlock Holmes.
Followed some clues from my detective bag
And discovered they wus red stripes on the American flag!
That ol’ Betty Ross . . .
Well, I investigated all the books in the library,
Ninety percent of ‘em gotta be burned away.
I investigated all the people that I knowed,
Ninety-eight percent of them gotta go.
The other two percent are fellow Birchers . . . just like me.
Now Eisenhower, he’s a Russian spy,
Lincoln, Jefferson and that Roosevelt guy.
To my knowledge there’s just one man
That’s really a true American: George Lincoln Rockwell.
I know for a fact he hates Commies cus he picketed the movie Exodus.
Well, I fin’ly started thinkin’ straight
When I run outa things to investigate.
Couldn’t imagine doin’ anything else,
So now I’m sittin’ home investigatin’ myself!
Hope I don’t find out anything . . . hmm, great God!
Not a mob obviously. The term has been tossed around in some cases, accurate in others. It’s like dealing with a bunch of hecklers. And, Al Franken does well. People do want to know the facts. But, it’s so heated out there, as you can see, it’s not easy. There’s a lot of work to be done.Read More
Links of the day:
- Who is paying for the Iraqis to have universal single payer health care? You are.
- Glenn Beck Watch: ‘Is Obama The Anti-Christ?’ – An oldie but goodie. Glenn Beck wondering aloud if Obama is the Prince of Darkness come to end the world. Fear of a black planet at play.
- Johann Hari: Republicans, religion and the triumph of unreason – “The election of Obama – a black man with an anti-conservative message – as a successor to George W. Bush has scrambled the core American right’s view of their country. In their gut, they saw the US as a white-skinned, right-wing nation forever shaped like Sarah Palin.” Read the entire thing…
A few links worth reading:
- Five Symptoms of Republican Schizophrenia – Lots of illogical minds out there… that’s what happens when hate dominates….
- Revealing Hate: Inside White Supremacist World – Much of the current political atmosphere in the USA can be traced to the increase in hate based thought…. It’s more common than you think….
- Health Care Reform: Sorting Facts From Fiction…. – Good facts versus fiction… much needed in these times…
- Why the deficit hysteria? I only wish we’d borrow more… – Robert Reich’s interesting take on the deficit…
From Glenn Greenwald – It’s time to embrace American royalty:
…all of the above-listed people are examples of America’s Great Meritocracy, having achieved what they have solely on the basis of their talent, skill and hard work — The American Way. By contrast, Sonia Sotomayor — who grew up in a Puerto Rican family in Bronx housing projects; whose father had a third-grade education, did not speak English and died when she was 9; whose mother worked as a telephone operator and a nurse; and who then became valedictorian of her high school, summa cum laude at Princeton, a graduate of Yale Law School, and ultimately a Supreme Court Justice — is someone who had a whole litany of unfair advantages handed to her and is the poster child for un-American, merit-less advancement.
From Motorman Mark – Why Middle America Must Be Crushed:
There are a large number of US citizens, traditionally referred to as “Middle Americans,” who are engaged in small, private industry-jobs that have an uncertain future and that live and die on the prospects of a marketplace that is unhindered by taxes and government regulation. Even if they live in a rental unit, they live in communities dominated by the concerns of low-income home owners-people who do not know how to get along with more than $500 a month spent on housing costs-to whom the yearly property tax bill is a very big deal. They can’t spend too much breath decrying the expense of the local school system, or the roads, or the courts and emergency services-each of which provides them an obvious benefit. So what do they get mad at?? “Government.” Whatever that means.
A pattern emerges. We worship an ideal which most of us will never attain and deny what we truly are in order to insure at least the fantasy that we are part of the aristocracy. An aristocracy that devours us as we cheer it on in the hope that they will let us in the door.
It’s a perspective that is enforced and propagated by advertising and marketing as well.
Something better lay ahead to be sure… Break free.Read More
Weekend reading list….
- Matthew Yglesias » Bias, Racism, Being a Jerk, and Abuse of Power – Good insights…
- Peter Daou: White Cop, Black Professor, Bi-Racial President: An Explosive Media Combination Even more good insights…
- You Hate Journalism? It WAS the Hiring Practice…Stupid. – Good article on how bad media became bad…
- Feeling the Wrath of Bill O’Reilly’s Army – A bit o’ the fascist tactics of Falafel Bill.
The “birther” movement is an extreme right wing disinformation campaign that proffers the idea that President Obama is not a US citizen, and was born abroad in Kenya. Here’s the rub: there are no actual facts to support this claim, rather the disinfo subsists on a form of cognitive dissonance – denial – and is propped up by a series of logical fallacies, from burden of proof to sweeping generalizations to just plain old bullshit.
It’s eliminationism in its purest form: marginalize your opponent to the point that they are a non-citizen, illegitimate, then cut off the discussion by dismissing any introduced facts as untrue. (Or made up, imagined, crazy, over sensitive, etc.)
For example, when the State of Hawaii confirmed that Obana’s birth certificate was indeed real and official, the birther movement simply denied it to be true and then went one better and denied that the birth certificate has yet to be provided as proof! Brilliant in a way. But, also, the very definition of a lie. Here’s the simple true logic: denying a fact (or its existence) does not create a new fact. (IE: Denying Obama’s birth papers are real does not mean he is not a real citizen.) That’s just crazy.
As an emerging issue it’s a double edge sword and difficult to discuss since it’s clearly a disinformation campaign with one aim: to stoke the racial hatred and undermine Obama’s legitimacy as President. And, its proponents love nothing more than to keep the hate fires burning.
Yet, in reality, Obama’s citizenship is a non-issue, it’s been proven beyond a doubt according to standards that have been suitable for every US President who has been elected prior. (But of course, to the racist, those standards are not good enough for a black person, let alone a black person named Barack Hussein Obama.)
FactCheck does a superb analysis of the “scandal” and analysis of the original certificate. The allegations are so completely incorrect and fabricated that it deserves nothing more than ridicule. The problem is that it’s wrapped in hate and irrationality, thus, there’s simply no middle ground from which to establish a coherent debate. Any introduction of fact is dismissed outright. That’s why hate based tactics are so difficult to fight against. Those who wage this type of tactic, (and those who believe it) simply deny the facts, deny the existence of the hate and the racism. It’s a figment of the imagination. Those looney Liberals!
There will always be those who want to believe what they believe, damn the facts. And, that is how “conspiracies” live and breath. That is how hatred and racism gain a foothold. If they don’t really exist, then why are they a problem? Neat, right?
In the past few days the birther movement has slithered into new territory. It is now being disseminated by traditional outlets on TV and radio – Lou Dobbs of CNN and Rush Limbaugh have both lent their “support” – and that means it should be dealt with properly. No longer simply a fringe issue spun in dark dank dive bars, afluent suburb BBQ’s and hidden corners of the internet by nut job conspiracy theorists, it’s now being lent “credibility”. While it’s true that neither Dobbs nor Limbuagh are known for their objectivity or adherence to the facts, and they both clearly suffer from a deeply rooted hate based approach in their worldview and broadcasts, the fact remains that their broadcasts are swallowed whole as the gospel truth by millions. Sad, but true.
Interestingly, the birther movement can be traced back to the Obama campaign itself during the 2008 election. It’s a public relations effort gone bad. Apparently, a decision was made, in the spirit of transparency to release Obama’s birth certificate. Historically, presidential candidates have not released such information. Rather, it was presented during qualification of the candidate, but not made public. So, by releasing the birth certificate the Obama campaign opened a Pandora’s Box. Once it was made public, it meant it was open to intense scrutiny – most of it incorrect – that would be passed around the internet as fact and eventually make it’s way to less discerning minds, like Dobbs and Limbuagh, and those who listen to them.
At it’s root the birther movement is racism. It’s meant to create the impression that Obama is illegitimate, lower than a US citizen, not one of us. It’s meant to stoke the fires of suspicion and hatred towards immigrants and people of color. It’s not unlike the “Obama is a Muslim” meme. Same thing.
So, next time someone says to you that Obama’s opponents are not racist, cite the birther movement. Cite the Obama is a Muslim meme. And, if that doesn’t get their attention, show them this picture. (scroll down)
If they still don’t get it, call it as you see it.
The only way we will defeat racism is to make it unacceptable. And, those who make excuses for it are just as unacceptable as those who are openly racist.Read More
Don Surber on the (obvious) White House health care PR push…
A real debate would be between Obama and someone on the other side. Maybe Sarah Palin. Maybe Fred Thompson. Maybe Mitt Romney. There is no shortage of people who would love to clean his clock on this issue.
Mighty impressive list there. Nearly choked on my bagel.
Amusing how conservatives get their underwear in a twist when the Obama Admin uses the public relations tactics that the Bush White House perfected to a razor’s edge.
This is a close second:
When liberals write “faux outrage” they mean that conservatives have a legitimate concern.
Actually, no. When liberals write “faux outrage” they mean to call conservatives on their use of “paranoid style” and other mock forms of propaganda that are solely meant to incite an emotional response devoid of real facts.
It’s telling that Surber feels it entirely necessary to downgrade the point initially, since it does come from the king of right wing disinformation, Matt Drudge… Surber writes:
I was not going to bother with this issue. I saw the headline on Drudge — “ABC turns programming over to Obama; news to be anchored from inside White House” — and figured Matt was having a little fun with the news. A little summertime hype.
Always trust your gut Don. You had it right, then dropped the ball.
But, then… it’s all about us versus them, isn’t it?
You can’t make this stuff up…. mixed messages from the once mighty wurlitzer.
Karl Rove: Maureen Dowd is “twisted, deranged“.
Former White House adviser Karl Rove lashed out at New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd on Fox News Channel Wednesday, saying Dowd was a “nasty, snarky person” with a “twisted, bitter little heart.”
“I think Maureen Dowd is a bitter, twisted, deranged columnist for The New York Times who misses no opportunity to show her disdain for the conservative side of the aisle,” Rove said on Fox News Channel.
“I actually went to an editorial board meeting at The New York Times and wasted a couple bucks on some flowers to give Maureen Dowd … give her a smile on her face. And that didn’t even work,” he recalled. “This is a dour, downbeat liberal.” (emphasis added)
Don Surber – “Why the left ridicules women” :
Too many American liberals cannot handle a strong, good-looking, intelligent, independent woman who disagrees with them — and so they make the crude, cruel and sexist remarks — including those about raping them or their 14-year-old daughters. [...] They are like little boys who cannot handle a strong woman. These women dare challenge them intellectually, and so we get crude counterattacks.
Rove is obviously angered that Dowd rebuked his effort at wooing her with flowers… which is kind of creepy and he’s shocked she didn’t kiss his bald pate? Hilarious.
More at Memeorandum.Read More