policy

how racism works at a healthcare town hall

Posted by on Aug 17, 2009 | 0 comments

When we think of racism our minds generally conjure up stark and frightening images – Klu Klux Klan rallies, burning crosses, and the like – but in reality, the bulk of racist activity is very short term, and deceptively simple in how it works.

Racist actions are embedded into our cultural behavior and often occur pretty much unremarked upon every single day. A reality that most white people have no clue about, and most people of color quietly endure day in and day out. People of color are simply treated differently than white people, especially by authority figures such as police officers and security.

It’s no secret. Although the fact of its existence is denied by those practicing the racial based actions.

The following video shows how it works, and captures the exact moment a person of color is treated differently for the same offense as a white person.

A black woman is at a health care town hall and is asked to show a Rosa Parks poster by a reporter. A white man walks over to her and tears up the poster. The woman responds with anger and shock and the security men escort her out. Meanwhile, how do you think whites are treated? It presents an interesting problem.

So, why treat whites with kid gloves while you quickly escort a black woman out when the offense is the same? And, aren’t we really talking about a free speech issue here? Yes, of course we are… But, skin color affects the results.

In the end, it’s clearly eliminationism – treating one group as inferior to another.

And, that IS truly Un-American.

Meanwhile, people are carrying guns to Obama events. And, these are the ones doing it in the open. How many do you think are showing up with concealed weapons? If a Liberal showed up at a Bush event strapping a handgun to his thigh, the outcry would have been deafening. That person would be in jail.

But, the extremist right has got everyone so afraid of everything that no one wants to do anything.

We’ve become a country ruled by the mob and the threat of violence.

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health care scare

Posted by on Jul 16, 2009 | 0 comments

A lot of extreme right wing blogs are at Red Alert in reaction to the health care debate. Fear is the only challenge they can offer to pretty much every issue on the boards. It’s a psyche loop they can’t remove themselves from… and it’s sad to watch. Just click on some of the reaction links at Memeorandum. Fear fear fear. Disinformation. Pathetic. The party of “No” is morphing into the party of “Oh no!!!!!!”

And, the Daily Show weighs in. (via Lean Left)

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Drag Me to Health – Universal Health Care
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political Humor Joke of the Day
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webuzz: right wing disinfo watch

Posted by on Jun 16, 2009 | 0 comments

While conservatives can’t seem to govern, they know who to sling propaganda with the best of them. The current theme is twofold: right wingers are the victims, and anything bad that happens, liberals are to blame for it. A few examples plucked from the interwebs…

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

Posted by on Jun 11, 2009 | 0 comments

Links of the day:

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Gingrich invokes Daffy Duck Defense against North Korea

Posted by on Apr 5, 2009 | 0 comments

“That’s the last straw! Now I use my secret weapon!”

From Raw Story:

Only hours after North Korea launched a rocket, Newt Gingrich was on television saying the United States should have preemptively attacked the nuclear-armed country – with an electromagnetic pulse.

“We do not appreciate the scale of threat that is evolving on the planet,” the former House Speaker said on Fox News Sunday. “And North Korea is a totally irresponsible dictatorship run by a person who is clearly out of touch with reality.” […]

Pressed by Fox host Chris Wallace, Gingrich mentioned a few preemptive possibilities for stopping North Korean: “There are three or four techniques that could have been used, from unconventional forces to standoff capabilities… I’d recommend look[ing] at electromagnetic pulse…which changes every equation about how risky these weapons are.”

An electromagnetic pulse is a short, high-intensity burst of electromagnetic energy which can damage electronic and electrical equipment.

Here’s an explanation of the technology. Interesting choice of words: “out of touch with reality”.

Gingrich is essentially offering a form of mutually assured destruction, since the US has nuclear devices, and it is widely believed that North Korea does as well.  As if simply attacking a crazy despot won’t provoke him to use his nukes. Gingrich then goes on to predict the outcome of his own tactic, without actually realizing it:

“One morning, just like 9/11, there’s gonna be a disaster,” the former Georgia congressman said. “And people are going to look around and say ‘Gosh, why didn’t anyone think of that?’ Well I’m telling you, the time to think about it is before the disaster, and not after.”

All too eerily familiar. Witness the Daffy Duck Defense:

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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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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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Yes, Virginia, the U.S. occupation of Iraq is about oil

Posted by on Dec 23, 2008 | 0 comments

The Jakeneck Archives. An oldie but goodie from June 12, 2003:

The problem with public relations spin, deception and lying is it will come back to haunt. You’d think that the Bush White House would have learned that lesson from the Clinton experience. But, no.

In the spirit of “If you see it in The Sun, it’s so.“, the current administration has worked assiduously at priming the public relations pump, spreading the word, insisting that the once over and now continuing war against Iraq is not about oil. The sound bite rhetoric is familiar to us all: “This is not about oil. This is about a tyrant, a dictator, who is developing weapons of mass destruction to use against the Arab populations.”

The problem is twofold: 1) the intelligence used in the failed attempt to convince the world that Iraq had viable WMD’s is suspect, the search effort is slowing down, and all of this is creating great trouble for British Prime Minister Tony Blair. 2) The truth is hard to ignore. Statistics are brutal in their logic. The economic/oil situation is not a constant one at all. It is in flux. And, at risk.

The fact that it was always about oil is becoming much more clear. Especially since members of the Bush administration and advisors own words regarding Iraq and Hussein don’t shy away from mentioning oil as a primary concern. As stated in a “Letter to the President” dated January 26, 1998, signed by Elliott Abrams, Richard L. Armitage, William J. Bennett, William Kristol, Richard Perle, Peter W. Rodman, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz and several others: “It hardly needs to be added that if Saddam does acquire the capability to deliver weapons of mass destruction, as he is almost certain to do if we continue along the present course, the safety of American troops in the region, of our friends and allies like Israel and the moderate Arab states, and a significant portion of the world’s supply of oil will all be put at hazard.” (Italics mine.)

That seems pretty clear doesn’t it? But, the massive PR push the past few years had a very specific task- to convince the populace both in the US and abroad that the war was over more palatable issues- terrorism, human rights, spreading democracy. Things that make us feel good about invading another country. Anything except oil. Because, there is always the great possibility that, as stated in “The Trouble with Powell“: “the American people do not want their young dying for $ 1.50 a gallon oil.” But, deception is deception. And, it would appear at this juncture that it may have gotten out of control. And, investigations on the WMD problem are coming. Even if the Bush White House and Republicans don’t want it.

Which begs the question: Would they investigate the possibility of cooked Intel if the WMD’s were wearing a blue dress? That old double standard is a drag, isn’t it?

Yes it is.

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the web and the city

Posted by on Oct 18, 2008 | 0 comments

With the changing economic climate and a real need for new structure and paradigms, been thinking a great deal about how we can change how the world works. And, living in a city like NYC, a lot of what I see that works (and what doesn’t work) needs to be extrapolated (and dealt with realistically) into the world at large. And, the web works in great ways (and not so great ways)… Steven Johnson talks about both and more from TED.

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drilling down

Posted by on Sep 19, 2008 | 0 comments

Jon Stewart… video.

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the green the bad and the ugly

Posted by on Aug 20, 2008 | 0 comments

A few from Starre… my fav Eco chick.

She has a new book out. Get it now. Thank you. Come again.

Finally, go green with Twitter…

Just watch your back. We live in uncertain times. And, I’m not talking about getting blown away by some sicko dip wad while eating your ding dong at the school cafeteria, but that sucks too.

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mccain obama and the 800 pound gorilla

Posted by on Aug 20, 2008 | 0 comments

  • It’s rather interesting that David Gergen seems ready to proclaim John McCain president after a single joint appearance in what most observers admit was a decidedly pro-McCain venue and host. Forget the controversy… Just remember every two bit pundit in the media sphere wants to anoint the president, be it Obama or McCain. None of them have a clue.
  • If ever there was a shining turd of an example of why the entire world and a good portion of the US public think the president and his administration (which we put into power not once but twice) are morons, here’s a good one.

    Russia is a state that is unfortunately using the one tool that it has always used, that will make it – that – when it wishes to deliver a message, and that’s its military power. That’s not the way to deal in the 21st century.

    Now that you’ve closed your mouth to stop your chin from hitting the ground…. An intelligent adult is left with only one of two conclusions: either Sec. Rice is an idiot or she’s so audaciously arrogant to think that we are idiots. Either way, it’s pathetic to a degree that just makes me cringe. They are such complete amateurs. It’s embarrassing.

    And, Iraq and Afghanistan rage on…. because extremists are in power here as they are in Russia.

    Lest we forget that the current president called the Russian leader “Putty Put” and looked into his soul and trusted him. What a clown.

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    the iraq war follies get serious

    Posted by on Jun 17, 2008 | 0 comments

    This paragraph from Cursor is pretty historical:

    Iraqis put the brakes on negotiations for a status of forces agreement, with Prime Minister Maliki even floating the idea that ‘Iraq might ask the U.S. to leave,’ and the shadow of ‘America’s Ziggurats‘ looming ever larger in the background.

    So, this is where we’re at: The Bush Administration and their supporters claim that we are winning in Iraq, yet we still can’t leave. The issue that creates this paradox for them is simple: empire. They set it up like it was going to be a cakewalk, it wasn’t, so they played up the “we’re winning” game even during the darkest of times when an average of 100 Iraqi’s were dying a day, and now that things have settled down, they can claim it’s working, but that means it’s over, right? Not really. It was never about winning or losing, it was about occupying Iraq for the long term.

    It’s about the oil and the structure of power in the Middle East. The neo-con world view depends upon a permanent US military presence in the Middle East to replace the one we lost when we capitulated to the demands of Osama bin Laden and exited Saudi Arabia.

    From Cooperative Research History Commons:

    The withdrawal of US troops from Saudi Arabia has been bin Laden’s most persistent demand since the troops entered the country in 1990. For instance, in his 1996 fatwa (see August 1996), he said, “The latest and greatest of these aggressions incurred by Muslims since the death of the Prophet… is the occupation of the land of the two Holy Places… by the armies of the American Crusaders and their allies.” [Daily Telegraph, 4/30/2003] One senior US military official says the decision to leave was made partly to help relieve internal political pressure on the royal family: “The Saudis will be happy when we leave. But they’re concerned that it not look as if it’s precipitous, because it will look like bin Laden won.” [Washington Post, 4/30/2003] One unnamed senior Saudi prince who participated in high-level debates about the withdrawal says, “We are fighting for our lives, and we are going to do what is necessary to save our behinds.” [New York Times, 4/30/2003]

    The Iraqi’s are either finally understanding that it’s not about freedom, it’s about empire, or they are finally getting the courage up to fight back.

    You remember that old saying about how lies always catch up and bite you in the ass?

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    bush a liar or incompetent

    Posted by on Jun 17, 2008 | 0 comments

    In the LA Times, James Kirchick writes that Bush didn’t lie about the run up to war. He was simply given bad intelligence. So, Bush wasn’t lying, he was incompetent? Personally, I think it was both.

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