liberalism

webuzz: health care, rights, swine flu, domestic terror…

Posted by on Jun 11, 2009 | 0 comments

Links of the day:

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Rush Limbaugh: Pied Piper of the GOP

Posted by on Jan 30, 2009 | 0 comments

The Conservative media icon is leading his brethren to their demise.

Last week on Campbell Brown’s show on CNN, Republican Strategist Ed Rollins was asked about Rush Limbaugh and the perception by the public that the GOP is a “bunch of white guys”, and that Obama won, according to Limbaugh, because he was black, and Rollins  replied:

“The reality is Rush is an entertainer. “

It’s a point that is overlooked and needs to be brought to the fore, most especially  since Limbaugh (by the weight of his ego and because a huge power vacuum exists in the Conservative movement at the moment), is the de facto leader of the GOP. But, he’s only a media visage. Not a policy maker.

Rush Limbaugh is an entertainer, a clown, an angry white guy with an axe to grind. There is no delicate way to put it. And, like Sarah Palin, he is only a partisan media image, an anti-intellectual icon created in order to stir anger and hatred amongst the GOP base. Limbaugh is not interested in actually solving problems or offering any workable solutions. He is a propagandist, and a symbol of a power structure and media tactic that is on the decline and inherently detrimental to the work of restoring public confidence.

Take for example Limbaugh’s recent Op-Ed in the Wall Street Journal. His importance to the current debate on the economic crisis is non-existent and ill-informed. Limbaugh’s “economic proposal” is nothing of the sort,  it is only more of the same policies that have already failed.  As neo-con pundit David Frum presciently noted  last fall when assessing the reaction that most Conservatives would embark upon after an Obama election victory:

One thing that will certainly happen is a fundamentalist response…”‘If only we had been more consistently conservative, none of this would have happened; there’s still a conservative voting majority out there, and Bush alienated them with his too-centrist policies and various deviations from conservative orthodoxy; McCain was obviously unacceptable and if the voters turned down ham and eggs, it’s because they wanted double ham and double eggs.(emphasis added)

Rush Limbaugh has shown Frum’s prediction to be true. And, one has to ask: given Limbaugh’s obvious hatred for all things Liberal, and his public statement that since Obama’s policies are “socialist” he wants Obama to fail, if Limbaugh’s Op-Ed is even on the up and up.  Is Limbuagh to be believed? Who is to say his ultimate goal isn’t to sacrifice economic recovery for an Obama slide in popularity and the return of GOP dominance once again? His partisan goals have to be considered. He is obviously more interested in his ideological pals getting back into power than seeing the country regain it’s economic footing. The question for Limbaugh is: If economic recovery meant implementing policies you did not agree with, could you see beyond your ideological blinders? Because as it stands, not even Nobel Laureate’s in Economics have any clear answers as to how to solve the economic crisis. And, it’s hard to believe that Rush Limbaugh is the one who figured it all out.

Beyond this, there’s the sheer ridiculousness of an entertainer like Limbaugh hoisting himself into the economic debate and the political process. Via Skippy, John Cole over at Balloon Juice puts it quite succinctly:

to put this into perspective, imagine the reaction if rhandi rhodes was penning editorials in the ny times dictating the course of policy for the democrats, and the democrats were embracing her pearls of wisdom. i can’t believe the republicans are going to gamble their future like this, but then again, nothing they do surprises me. and, in fairness, considering i voted for bush twice, i am not really in any position to say the country won’t be stupid enough to fall for this. i am living breathing proof that yes, we are that dumb.

And, I have to think it’s more than that. Is political sabotage in the works? Digby writes it seems more than plausible, and I have to agree. A quote from Limbaugh that shows his inner thoughts on Democrats:

I mean, if there is a party that’s soulless, it’s the Democratic Party. If there are people by definition who are soulless, it is liberals — by definition. You know, souls come from God. You know? No. No. You can’t go there.

Continues Digby:

That sure sounds like your garden variety unhinged terrorist to me.Sirota reminds us why it’s not a good idea to negotiate with terrorists, especially one with little power. It tends to do the opposite of what you want it to do.

And, the zeal to see Obama fail apparently extends to GOP House members. From the David Sirota post that Digby refers to:

How do you know House Republicans aren’t negotiating in good faith and are acting as legislative terrorists? Because their rantings are verifiably crazy (h/t Steve Benen):

Representative Virginia Foxx, Republican of North Carolina, said that former President George Bush’s signature tax cuts in 2001 had created years of growth but that the nation’s problems started when Democrats regained majorities in Congress in the 2006 elections.

Again, only legislative terrorists desperate to sabotage the economy would make such deliberately insane statements. Only legislative terrorists would insist that the economy was Teh Awesome under George W. Bush. Only legislative terrorists would ignore the basic facts that most Americans innately know, and that were perfectly summarized by Washington Post.

As I’ve said previously: extremists (or legislative terrorists)  need to be marginalized and kicked to the curb with cogent policy and intellectual integrity. Non-partisan exchanging of ideas is democracy. Holding the process of government hostage and working for failure of policy that could work when you have no alternatives goes by another name.

Go sign the petition and let Rush Limbaugh know that his voice is heard but if he chooses to place ideology before the real debate and the process of implementation of policy that could work (while offering no viable alternatives) then he will be met with ridicule and contempt.

Entertainers and charlatans have a role, but when they become obstructionalists purely to ensure that their ideological power structure (that has been proven to be devoid of any further role) remains in power, then they’ve crossed a line. How we deal with it properly within the rule of law and our democracy will be the test of our mettle.

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obama nation or abomination

Posted by on Jan 22, 2009 | 0 comments

Those are the two competing perspectives. It says a lot about where the USA is at, and where it is headed in the days to come  It should be said though that those who support the new president are being positive, and forward looking. Those who do not support President Obama are being negative and whining a good deal. Draw your own conclusions.

While the media treats the economy like it treated the Iraq war – swallowing disinformation whole -there’s also plenty of advice for the new President floating around. What not to do, what to do. There’s hopeful statements that look forward to success, and statements hoping for failure. (Hard to believe, but true.)

And, there’s a lot of petty nonsense being proffered as well. A lot.

It’s important to remember a few things: If we are going to climb out of the hole we are in, we have to be united. We can’t do it splintered. Yet, there are factions among us who plan to do nothing but stoke partisan divisions. They aren’t interested in solutions, only power, and the way they obtain power is by creating hatred, fear and divisiveness. It’s what they do. They know nothing else. They are incapable of seeing past their hatred and ideological blinders.

After 9/11 George W. Bush had a golden ticket to unite and rally the nation behind him. But, he and his Administration and the GOP chose instead to divide the nation through fear, intimidation and disinformation in order to solidify power. They chose bipartisan bully tactics  rather than solve problems. They chose to dismantle government, and when that government was needed to do the peoples work (Katrina for starters) it was unable to do the work. And, today, we need the government to work.

So, the road ahead is pretty plain: Those that do not join the discussion, engage the process and participate should have the temerity to take the bench. But, they do not. So, they must be marginalized, because that is the only language they understand. If you don’t have the intelligence and insight to pull yourself from the game when you’ve fumbled the last two plays and it’s 4th and long, the coach will do it for you.

That’s life. And, whining about it only solidifies just how incompetent and marginal you’ve become. So, bitch away. We’re listening.

And, when you’re ready to rejoin the world of ideas, problem solving, non-partisan discussion and negotiation, and hard work that lay ahead, we’ll welcome you back.

But, no one is holding their breath.

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Progressive Revolution

Posted by on Jan 20, 2009 | 1 comment

Quote of the year:

The entire history of American political debate can, in some sense, be described as the argument between the hope of progressives for a better future vs. the fear of conservatives who want to protect the way things are now.

Alternet has an excerpt from the new book The Progressive Revolution: How the Best in America Came to Be by Mike Lux which “argues that it’s time to stop playing into conservative fearmongering. ”

I couldn’t have said it better. Please read the entire excerpt, you won’t regret it. Very uplifting.

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dubya morality syndrome

Posted by on Jan 16, 2009 | 0 comments

The term “moral clarity” gets tossed around a lot in political rhetoric, especially from the conservative side, but it’s pretty difficult to find it actually being practiced. It’s as if the very definition of morality has been turned on its head to mean what Bush (and his followers) want it to mean, rather than adhering to any actual definition of morality. And, if the definition is not actually clear, how can it be acted upon?

“Moral clarity” has been used for too long as a propaganda tool by the right, to the point where it has become unrecognizable and meaningless. The gap between rhetoric and action is just too deep and wide, and that gap is at the root of nearly every issue we face from the economy to terrorism. Without true moral clarity, you can’t “win hearts and minds” as the saying goes. And, without hearts and minds, you’re dead in the water.

It’s a contradiction that liberals have been harping on for years (and I’ve written about it as well calling the Bush Admin out for choosing PR over policy for starters) and it is an important discussion the nation needs to engage with great intensity if we are going to reestablish our footing and our vision on a wide range of issues.

True moral clarity requires strong leadership, bipartisan engagement and a defined vision that allows an actionable response. The Bush White House has shown none of these attributes the past 8 years.

The brutal truth is that the outgoing president has never been a man of moral clarity in regard to policy and its implementation. Rather, he has been a steadfast apologist,  proffered an eliminationist perspective and practiced the skirting of Constitutional law and human rights to secure political power, enforce American hegemony around the world and conservative “values” at home. It’s universally seen as a failure to some degree because of this very moral contradiction. Not surprisingly, the President shows not one iota of understanding of this fact. In his farewell address last night, George W. Bush, said the following:

As we address these challenges – and others we cannot foresee tonight – America must maintain our moral clarity. I have often spoken to you about good and evil. This has made some uncomfortable. But good and evil are present in this world, and between the two there can be no compromise. Murdering the innocent to advance an ideology is wrong every time, everywhere. Freeing people from oppression and despair is eternally right. This nation must continue to speak out for justice and truth. We must always be willing to act in their defense and to advance the cause of peace. (emphasis added)

There’s a basic moral contradiction in Bush’s statement above: Is it moral to create the circumstances (invading Iraq under false pretense) where innocent Iraqi’s are murdered in order to advance the American ideology of freedom and democracy? Further, is it moral to kill some Iraqi’s to free the rest from oppression and despair?  Or are those an exception to Bush’s moral clarity?

Over at Washington Monthly, Steve Benen notices the same hypocrisy at work in a later very similar statement from the address when the President said:

Like all who have held this office before me, I have experienced setbacks. There are things I would do differently if given the chance. Yet I’ve always acted with the best interests of our country in mind. I have followed my conscience and done what I thought was right.”

Writes Benen:

When reflecting on his two terms, in other words, Bush’s argument is that he didn’t deliberately fail. He acted with the nation’s best interests in mind? He did what he thought was right? Well, of course he did. What president goes around trying to undermine the country, making decisions he hopes are wrong?

The president, in this sense, set the bar as low as it can go. When parents tell a little-leaguer, “It doesn’t matter if you succeed, just do your very best,” it’s the right way to offer support to a child. Similarly, Bush seems to think having the right intentions, as he perceives them, should count, regardless of the results. He’s effectively asking the nation, “How about an ‘A’ for effort?”

I’ve heard quite a few Bush defenders of late quibble with the notion that his presidency should be considered an abject failure. But how much debate can there really be when Bush’s pitch to Americans can be boiled down to, “I gave it my best shot”?

Not much of course.

Now we have to find the path of true clarity. Rather than getting lost in moral ambiguity, apologia and eliminationism, we need to embrace non-partisan good old hard work and the power of intelligent ideas and programs that we know through experience actually work.

And, as far as morality is concerned, we need to disengage from the old tribalist and nationalist jingoism and patriotic threat mongering that has defined the past two terms. The problems before us are dire and serious. The time for partisan politics as usual is long gone.

And, for starters, how do we actually apply moral clarity in a world of such profound violence and atrocities?

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the mighty right wing machine rattles on and on

Posted by on Aug 23, 2008 | 0 comments

The other day on Hardball on MSNBC, an interesting moment occurred.

Chris Matthews and guests Howard Fineman and Andrea Mitchell started out discussing Obama’s looming VP choice, the various “front runners” on the “short list” (a completely made up list by the media, since no one has a clue, but they make it sound like they do.) and then they switched to discussing McCain’s choices for VP, (which they are equally as clueless about) in particular Joe Leiberman. It went like this:

FINEMAN: Well, I don‘t know. First of all, I think a lot of conservative activists, including Rush Limbaugh, wouldn‘t take Joe Lieberman, either. They respect him. The same with Sean Hannity. But they…

MITCHELL: They wouldn‘t take him. They‘ve already said (INAUDIBLE)

FINEMAN: They said they wouldn‘t take him…

It’s an extraordinary admission that went entirely overlooked. Here are three major media players discussing how conservative media pundits have a powerful role in choosing who will be the Republican choice for VP. The equivalent simply does not exist on the Liberal side. Which Liberal media pundit has that much power? None. An important point to remember in these times.

One of the basic tenets of the modern conservative movement is a hatred for the “mainstream media”. The “conservative wisdom” is that it’s riddled with Liberals and that Liberals control it. Far from the truth obviously.

Yet, by their own logic, Limbaugh is the enemy, since he is a member of the mainstream media who literally has a role in controlling our lives and our government functions. Yet, they don’t seem to mind. It’s about ideology of course. It has nothing to do with the higher ideals of democracy and freedom of the press and everything to do with limiting the message to only those ideals they profess, limiting it to conservative ideas. It’s basic fascism and eliminationism.

And, seeing it referred to in such a blase manner on Hardball was shocking to say the least.

When I was a boy, I would read about how military and press people had control of the process of government in the Soviet Union, and it sent a cold, rippling shiver down my spine that I always remembered.

That feeling has returned.

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the right wing echo chamber has a party

Posted by on Jul 31, 2007 | 5 comments

(Updated below)

It’s always interesting to me how the right wing reacts to certain articles that espouse ideas that are so close to their own. Most especially when those ideas are from the most hated of enemies, the despised New York Times. Catapulting the propaganda via the right wing blogsphere. From Memeorandum:

New York Times:

A War We Just Might Win — VIEWED from Iraq, where we just spent eight days meeting with American and Iraqi military and civilian personnel, the political debate in Washington is surreal. The Bush administration has over four years lost essentially all credibility.


You’ll notice a few similar points repeated over and over: The two writers are “liberals” from a “liberal think tank”, Brookings Institution. Neither is really true. Anyone who thinks that Brookings is liberal hasn’t been paying attention.

This smells of a well organized propaganda campaign if ever there was one. “Liberals say the war in Iraq can be won.” Good headline that. And, it’s great fodder for the spinning masses, who can reverse the direction and turn it into something like: The War The Dems May Lose. Brilliant. But, ultimately misguided. Lies come apart. A lesson that these clowns can’t seem to quite comprehend.

And, this isn’t the first time that Kenneth Pollack, the co-writer of the NY Times article above, has carried water for the Bush White House. He did so in August of 2006 in the Washington Post:

Much as Americans may want to believe that the United States can just walk away from Iraq should it slide into all-out civil war, the threat of spillover from such a conflict throughout the Middle East means it can’t. Instead, Washington will have to devise strategies to deal with refugees, minimize terrorist attacks emanating from Iraq, dampen the anger in neighboring populations caused by the conflict, prevent secession fever and keep Iraq’s neighbors from intervening. The odds of success are poor, but, nonetheless, we have to try.

In essence: “Stay the coarse.”, which was the Cheney Administration mantra, and remains so today. I wonder who sent the e-mail to all of the right wing shills above alerting them to the NY Times article this morning? Nicely done. But, pretty obvious.

Of particular note is how the wingnuts swallow this fish whole. No calls for confirmation of the points in the article, as they’ve done with Scott Thomas Beachamp. Considering that the article is in the evil librul traitorous New York Times, you’d think that would neuter the credibility of the article, right?

Yet, there it is, in black and white and they love it. LOVE IT.

Food for thought. There’s a reason behind it all.

Update: Atrios agrees. So does John Cole, and Glenn Greenwald.

Update 2: Think Progress looks at some of the inconsistent facts from O’Hanlon and Pollack’s article.

Update 3: McQ at The Qando Blog steps up and begins the spin when he writes :

The SNAFU Principle has decided reaction to this particular article today smacks of a conspiracy. The proof?

“You’ll notice a few similar points repeated over and over: The two writers are “liberals” from a “liberal think tank”, Brookings Institution.”

Huh. We’re listed with the conspiratorial cabal, but as I scan the post, the words “liberal” and “Brookings Institution” are nowhere to be found. What, did I miss the memo?

And to seal the deal, to make the conspiracy claim irrefutable, he declares breathlessly in an update:Update: Atrios agrees. So does John Cole, and Glenn Greenwald.

Oh, well run up the white flag, the big three have spoken.
Yeesh.

The name of the post? Uh, “The right wing echo chamber has a party”. Yeah, I know … irony impaired. At least the blog lives up to its name.

Of course no mention of the substance of the article, not that any was expected.

Interesting for a couple of reasons.

First, McQ seems to think that simply because the words “liberal” and “Brookings Institution” aren’t in HIS posting, that I am wrong, because, you know, I MUST have been talking specifically about HIS blog. Well, no. Sorry, I don’t read it. But, if one is to, oh I don’t know, think about it for a moment, the liberal New York Times, the liberal think tank Brookings… Not a great jump in logic or facts there McQ. Click on some of the dozens of other links I provide, well, it’s pretty obvious. And, it’s quite clear that the word “Liberal” and “Brookings” and “liberal” and “New York Times” go together in the minds of many on the right. Playing childish games doesn’t alter that. But, I’ll give McQ a A for effort. A C- for execution since he falls onto the tried and true “tin foil” hat offensive attack. Poke that puppy with a stick.

Second, I never said it was a conspiracy. I simply said it was a good example of how the echo chamber worked. And, one way it works is via e-mail to a few of the bigger bloggers and it rolls from there. Same thing happens on the left. It’s not a conspiracy. It’s how propaganda is catapulted. Give it a nice kick, and the masses of true believers, like McQ, will eat it up and do all the work. The blogsphere is fantastic in this regard. But, it also shows a level of informational organization (and ideological group think) when so many link to a single article so quickly. Especially when that article is an Op-Ed in the NY Times, it being one of those places that the right loves to link to so frequently, the hub of extremist right wing thought that it is…

My further point was also quite clear: the massive linking was an example of how the right has no compunction about dismissing liberals, except when when fake liberals spout right wing talking points. (See Joe Lieberman) They get pretty gold stars when they can call people who espouse conservative ideas liberals, in some twisted exercise in proving that all liberals were wrong because a select few from the ranks disagree. The Times functions in that way as well. “Read what it says in the New York Times, of all places” is crowed. Add to it the little bit of cognitive dissonance about the NY Times being the citadel of hated liberalism except when it’s spouting right wing talking points… It’s an important observation that is shared by many.

McQ doesn’t address the fact that neither O’Hanlon or Pollack, or Brookings for that matter, are not actually liberal. It’s a misrepresentation that is used to the advantage of the right. Nor does he address the selectiveness of the right in embracing the hated NY Times when it suits their agenda. A clarly propagandistic practice in both instances.

Third, I didn’t address the “facts” in the O’Hanlon and Pollack article simply because I felt that three of the links I provided, Greenwald’s, Think Progress, and Media Matters had already covered that ground more than adequately. Perhaps McQ didn’t click on them or read them, so he was ill informed.

Finally, McQ seems to not understand exactly what the SNAFU Principle is… and gets hung
up on that first word. Pretty typical. It’s a lot of syllables to be sure, and literary. Here’s a clue, McQ. Maybe you should read the book.

So, in the end, it’s rather telling that McQ decides to invoke the tinfoil hat attack, and the condescending attack, when it is plainly clear what I was saying. It must have hit pretty close to the mark to get him all riled up like that, don’t ya think? Maybe he’s just upset cause he never got an invite to the party.

(Correction: For some reason, the WaPo quote that I placed in the final draft reverted back to one I had in a prior draft. The blockquote code in the Memeorandum quote seems to be the culprit. I’ve corrected it.)

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catching up on the news…

Posted by on Apr 29, 2007 | 0 comments

  • David Hallberstam died this past week. NPR has a nice retrospective up, and Glenn Greenwald was kind enough to post a bunch of links to Hallberstam’s essays, with commentary. Required reading.

    On the adversarial relationship between journalists and political officials

    – patriotism and courage

    on 9/11

    on journalists and Vietnam

  • Rush is getting heat for what we’ve always known him to be –a racist.

    Kevin Drum gives us the low down, and Digby follows up with more essential reading which includes this important point:

    Rush is not some misunderstood schlub who just made a few slightly off-color jokes and doesn’t understand why it bothers some people.He’s not even a nasty old racist/misogynist creep like Imus who just thought he could demean anybody he felt like and make big money doing it. Rush Limbaugh a professional cog in the GOP machine who has been helping to set the political agenda in this country for more than a decade. He knows exactly what he’s doing when he plays on racist stereotypes and it isn’t just for the laughs.

    In a nutshell: racism creates divisions in the Liberal ranks and motivates the Conservative base. Keep people arguing, they can’t unite against you. If you caught Imus’ producers appearance on Hannity and Colmes, his stuttering excuse ridden “we’re the victim” stance is typical, and it’s no coincidence it’s being played 24/7 over at Fox News. Wingnuts are all about making excuses for their own bad behavior.

  • Over at New Black Man, Mark Anthony Neal’s post “Niggerology” 101: A Conversation with Jabari Asim is also a must read; a nice solid dose of reality regarding an emotional and important topic, one that needs to be discussed and dealt with properly.
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    Kermit goes grunge

    Posted by on Apr 8, 2007 | 0 comments

    Sad Kermit sings “Hurt”. This made me laugh hard. I know more than a few people who actually embrace that self destructive, posing “hurt myself” attitude and it has always annoyed me a good deal. I’ve never agreed with it. (Although, I admit to dabbling in it to a certain degree. Who hasn’t.)

    It’s not part of the punk mentality that I experienced in the 80’s. The downer grunge scene was much more self absorbed and fake. When you did see such things expressed in punk, it was usually expressed by the more fringe elements of the skinheads, mostly right wing. Body art and piercing has been interpreted by some as being self inflicted pain, but it’s not the case usually.

    Sure, life can suck, but life is great too. Ying yang baby. What are you going to do about it? Burn circles in your arms with a hot hash pipe? I understand the strong allure of addiction and chemical abuse. Been there. It’s a form of hurting oneself. But, eventually, you have to live or die. Which is it going to be?

    So, obsessing on the pain, in a poser arty way, has always been useless to me. It’s akin to obsessing about dying, or obsessing about committing suicide but not really doing it. Trying to feel alive by inflicting pain-a response. It goes nowhere in the end. It’s hanging onto only one facet of existence to the detriment of the equally as important opposite aspect. An endless loop of self absorption. In the end, you either live, or you die like Layne Staley. or Kurt Cobain. What a waste, cause they had so much more to say, and do. And, this video pretty much sums it up. Enjoy. (c/o Mobius )


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    Authenticity

    Posted by on Dec 8, 2006 | 3 comments

    Brother Daniel posted this and it is worth posting again…

    Do not assume that order and stability are always good, in a society or in a universe. The old, the ossified, must always give way to new life and the birth of new things. Before the new things can be born the old must perish. This is a dangerous realization, because it tells us that we must eventually part with much of what is familiar to us. And that hurts. But that is part of the script of life. Unless we can psychologically accommodate change, we ourselves begin to die, inwardly. What I am saying is that objects, customs, habits, and ways of life must perish so that the authentic human being can live. And it is the authentic human being who matters most, the viable, elastic organism which can bounce back, absorb, and deal with the new…

    The authentic human being is one of us who instinctively knows what he should not do, and, in addition, he will balk at doing it. He will refuse to do it, even if this brings down dread consequences to him and to those whom he loves. This, to me, is the ultimately heroic trait of ordinary people; they say no to the tyrant and they calmly take the consequences of this resistance. Their deeds may be small, and almost always unnoticed, unmarked by history. Their names are not remembered, nor did these authentic humans expect their names to be remembered. I see their authenticity in an odd way: not in their willingness to perform great heroic deeds but in their quiet refusals. In essence, they cannot be compelled to be what they are not.

    Philip K. Dick

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    finding a way in the middle east

    Posted by on Dec 8, 2006 | 4 comments

  • Tony Blair says that the war in Iraq is not being won by the coalition and a new poll asserts that 9/10ths of Iraqi’s want the US out of their country.

    Conservatives are desperately struggling to deal with this information and reconcile it with their blind allegiance to the buffoon who led them into the war in the first place.

    Bottom line: The buck stops at Bush, and he is entirely responsible for the abysmal leadership- Paul Bremer anyone?– which has led to current dire situation. So, the Kool-Aid drinkers come forth with desperate proclamations we’ve seen before- “Bush was right.” (Remember the horrific propaganda song? Good for a laugh.)

    Sad would be the appropriate word here, if only for the fantastical ability Conservatives have to not face reality. War in Iraq? Not a hard call. If you cared to just think about it all for a minute, without being an ideological fool.

  • What we need in Iraq and in the Middle East is a competent and global effort at diplomacy. You know, leadership, the other side of the gun? Something that Bush and his loyal supporters have loathed, and will continue to loath because they simply don’t have the intelligence to do it, nor the backbone to admit they were wrong. It’s come to that I fear. What other reason could it be? I’m willing to listen and learn if anyone has any ideas.

    Meanwhile, write to a newspaper and show your support for a diplomatic effort in the Middle East. We need to fight the diplomatic fight, and find a solution to the occupation of Iraq. That much is quite clear.

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  • International World AIDS Day

    Posted by on Dec 1, 2006 | 0 comments


    Today is International World AIDS Day.

    People living with HIV:

    * 39.5 million people worldwide
    * 37 million adults
    * 17.7 million women
    * 2.3 million children under 15

    New HIV cases in 2006:

    * 4.3 million total new cases
    * 3.8 million adults
    * 530,000 children under 15

    AIDS deaths in 2006:

    * 2.9 million total deaths
    * 2.6 million adults
    * 380,000 children under 15

    HIV by Region 2006…

    Sub-Saharan Africa:

    * 24.7 million adults and children living with HIV
    * 13.3 million women living with HIV
    * 2.8 million adults and children newly infected with HIV
    * 5.9% adult prevalence
    * 2.1 million adult and child deaths due to AIDS

    South and South-East Asia:

    * 7.8 million adults and children living with HIV
    * 2.2 million women living with HIV
    * 860,000 million adults and children newly infected with HIV
    * 0.6% adult prevalence
    * 590,000 adult and child deaths due to AIDS

    East Asia:

    * 750,000 adults and children living with HIV
    * 210,000 women living with HIV
    * 100,000 adults and children newly infected with HIV
    * 0.1% adult prevalence
    * 43,000 adult and child deaths due to AIDS

    Eastern Europe and Central Asia:

    * 1.7 million adults and children living with HIV
    * 510,000 women living with HIV
    * 270,000 adults and children newly infected with HIV
    * 0.9% adult prevalence
    * 84,000 adult and child deaths due to AIDS

    Caribbean:

    * 250,000 adults and children living with HIV
    * 120,000 women living with HIV
    * 27,000 adults and children newly infected with HIV
    * 1.2% adult prevalence
    * 19,000 adult and child deaths due to AIDS

    Latin America:

    * 1.7 million adults and children living with HIV
    * 510,000 women living with HIV
    * 140,000 adults and children newly infected with HIV
    * 0.5% adult prevalence
    * 65,000 adult and child deaths due to AIDS

    North America:

    * 1.4 million adults and children living with HIV
    * 350,000 women living with HIV
    * 43,000 adults and children newly infected with HIV
    * 0.8% adult prevalence
    * 18,000 adult and child deaths due to AIDS

    Western and Central Europe:

    * 740,000 adults and children living with HIV
    * 210,000 women living with HIV
    * 22,000 adults and children newly infected with HIV
    * 0.3% adult prevalence
    * 12,000 adult and child deaths due to AIDS

    Middle East and North Africa:

    * 460,000 adults and children living with HIV
    * 200,000 women living with HIV
    * 68,000 adults and children newly infected
    * 0.2% adult prevalence
    * 36,000 adult and child deaths due to AIDS

    Oceania:

    * 81,000 adults and children living with HIV
    * 36,000 women living with HIV
    * 7,100 adults and children newly infected with HIV
    * 0.4% adult prevalence
    * 4,000 adult and child deaths due to AIDS

    All figures from UNAIDS AIDS Epidemic Update 2006

    The day also serves as a reminder that AIDS remains a grave threat to global public health that requires a sustained global response.

    Please remember those who have perished. And, have no doubt, we are witnessing a genocide.

    Give a damn.
    (c/o Schmuel)

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    go vote…

    Posted by on Nov 7, 2006 | 0 comments

    A graphic from now defunct Impact Press for the 2004 election that still applies… .

    Tell your friends to vote tomorrow. Make a lunch or dinner date to go vote. Kick the bums out.

  • Find your polling place.
  • Bring a camera or a video camera and document the vote or any irregularities you might encounter.
  • Assuming you are a registered voter then learn about your candidates. If you aren’t, or aren’t sure if you are a registered voter, then register and vote next time!
  • Media Matters has the Top 10 Election Falsehoods, Myths and Talking Points. Read More
  • webuzz – slouching towards…

    Posted by on Oct 31, 2006 | 2 comments

  • Bush signs law to make declaring martial law easier.
  • Billmon on the “Enemies of Truth”:

    …in years to come progressives may look back and sigh for the good old days when journalistic “objectivity” still encouraged the corporate media to give the truth and conservative propaganda equal weight, instead of just mindlessly repeating the latter.

    Read it all.

  • Video the Vote is charged with recording inconsistencies in the election process here in the US. Ask yourself a simple question: What does it mean when it has come to this? It means the US is a banana republic.
  • Avedon hits the nail on the head:

    …gun control is a red herring and we should really be talking about why we have so much violence in America even when compared with countries that have far less restrictive gun laws.

    Well, for starters, we are a violent nation, founded on violence. It’s hardwired into the American psyche. Violence is almost an American right, like the right to drive alone in your car around the block to get a pack of smokes and a six pack when you could walk.

    But, more to the point, violence is fostered in the American society on a level that is not only acceptable, it’s encouraged and propagated. It’s business. Big business. From prisons to nuclear missiles. Violence and money go hand in hand and are at the root of the American Dream – Freedom = Money and the right to defend that freedom by any means is practiced freely. So, is it any surprise that people feel vindicated in their belief that it’s entirely acceptable to kill someone for violating their territory whether it be a physical or a conceptual boundary? My two cents…

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  • More Rushkoff and Pinchbeck

    Posted by on Oct 11, 2006 | 0 comments

    Part 3!


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