Sunday, July 31, 2011
Republicans despise Elizabeth Warren because she is vigorously opposed to their kleptocratic conspiracy to make the financial markets completely safe for unscrupulous manipulators to cream off huge dishonest and coerced profits:
An honest market will give companies that provide fair value to their customers a chance to flourish, free from competition with cheaters. And an honest market will give American families better information, better prices, and better products — and a chance to achieve real economic security.
Granted that the well-fanned flames of anti-shariah panic spring from bigotry in almost every instance.
The more tangible effect of the movement, opponents say, is the spread of an alarmist message about Islam.... The anti-Shariah campaign, they say, appears to be an end in itself, aimed at keeping Muslims on the margins of American life.The loons who oppose any mosque in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, don't do it because they are in fact in any danger at all. They do it because they hate Muslims, don't want them living next door, and don't want them worshipping any god but theirs.
They've reached the point where most of them will grudgingly give Catholics a pass, at least until they get the Southern Baptist theocracy they want established. And this will differ from shariah how exactly? I am the lord thy god, and thou shall have no other gods before me. It's such a huuuge difference to smite a heretic in the name of god, instead of the name of god in Arabic.
But I digress.
The truth is that, despite anti-shariah's genealogy of bigotry, I don't want any ecclesiastical law - not canon law, not rabbinic law, and especially not shariah - to determine the outcome of cases in American courts. I want secular law to dominate. I'm happy to have diverse ethnic and religious people in America, but America is a shared political idea of common liberty under law. It shouldn't be a place where one neighborhood has rights for women and one neighborhood can treat them as chattel.
Sure, we have only attained this enlightenment ourselves recently. That only means we shouldn't draw self-flattering conclusions about how wonderful we are, not that we should surrender the real progress we've made as if it weren't really progress after all.
One actual case I've heard of in which shariah was considered (in Florida, of all places, if I remember correctly) was a family law case submitted to an Islamic arbitrator by mutual consent of the parties. Since both the man and the woman were represented by American lawyers, that sounds pretty reasonable. Still, think of the social pressure on the woman to accept her lesser legal standing and thus to achieve a lesser outcome. A Muslim woman who immigrates to America should (and does) gain all the rights of the American woman she has become.
Here's another case in which justice was delayed, though not denied:
Critics most typically cite a New Jersey case last year in which a Moroccan woman sought a restraining order against her husband after he repeatedly assaulted and raped her. The judge denied the request, finding that the defendant lacked criminal intent because he believed that his wife must comply, under Islamic law, with his demand for sex.America is in no danger whatsoever of the establishment of widespread shariah. None. The anti-shariah movement is built to frighten and manipulate credulous wingnut fools. Keeping them in a constant state of uproar and fear - so typical of conservatives - is an electoral strategy designed as red meat for the bigoted, nativist base of the Republican Party.
The decision was reversed on appeal.
The correct political reply from the left is not to defend shariah. We don't want to own this sort of statement:
“There’s a conflation between the idea of Islam being a universalist, proselytizing religion and reducing it to a totalitarian movement,” said Mohammad Fadel, an associate professor specializing in Islamic law at the University of Toronto. “All good propaganda is based on half-truths.”Islam is not a universalist religion. It's not inclusive. It's absolutist. Its social and political incarnations in the Middle East, Asia, and Africa practice by and large only the barest religious tolerance - if any. Speaking of propaganda based on half-truths...
Perhaps our political response should start by mocking the silly fears of ignernt teabaggers. But mainly it's to say quite calmly and directly that we all live under the Constitution and English Common Law, and that we don't need any precedents, statutes, or case law from any religious legalisms. For example, we don't need Michele Bachmann submitting to her husband like a good little religious wife - fundamentalist Christian or Muslim, take your pick, we don't want either.
Update: Outrage piled upon outrage, so thick and high I could quote almost any single paragraph. Here are two short ones:
Ms. Mohammedi’s uncle visited her in jail to say she had shamed the family, and promised that they would kill her once she was released. Her father, an illiterate laborer who works in Iran, sorrowfully concurred. He cried during two visits to the jail, saying almost nothing to his daughter. Blood, he said, was perhaps the only way out.Do we actually imagine in a century we could fix this lawless backward society? It would take a mythic race of avenging Amazons killing every uncle who murdered his niece and every father who acquiesced. As brutally and publicly as possible.
“What we would ask is that the government should kill both of them,” said the father, Kher Mohammed.
Rupert Murdoch's sterling reputation at risk!
As news of the scandal continues to blemish the tradition of journalistic excellence and dignity exemplified by News Corp.–owned outlets such as the New York Post and the Fox News channel, Murdoch himself has remained focused on rectifying his missteps, starting with paying those affected out of his own pocket.
“Look, anyone who knows me knows that I have never cared about money,” said Murdoch, explaining that his distress over invading the private lives of citizens far outweighs his concern for his company’s quickly falling stock prices. “While some of my competitors focus on sensationalist or partisan headlines to sell papers, I’ve always been willing to do whatever it takes to ensure my products are as fair and committed to the truth as I myself am. After all, truth and fairness are what people have come to expect from Rupert Murdoch.”
“You don’t get to be the world’s most successful media mogul by being unscrupulous,” Murdoch added.
Or at least his sterling...
Friday, July 29, 2011
Robert Reich has it right:
Why is Obama not using the bully pulpit? Perhaps he no longer trusts that Americans will hear him. Whatever the reason—that he’s embroiled in the tactical maneuvers that pass for policy-making, or intent on preserving political capital for the next skirmish, or cynical about how the media will relay or distort his message—he doesn’t try. ...Politics is always disappointing, always filled with compromise. But it's not always like this. Barack Obama and Harry Reid wasted 2009. They should have killed the filibuster, told Joe Lieberman and Ben Nelson to go fuck themselves, and passed a truly Democratic program - $1.5 trillion in stimulus with a much higher proportion of public works and infrastructure spending, a much more progressive income tax, an end to hedge fund managers only paying 15% on their income, inheritance taxes, major banking reform (motivated by a drumbeat of prosecutions, perp walks, and prison for the Wall St. abusers), health reform that at least included a public option and started right away, faster withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan, and more.
[H]e allows himself to be trapped by situations (the debt-ceiling imbroglio most recently) within which he tries to offer reasonable responses, rather than be the leader who shapes the circumstances from the start. He cannot mobilize Americans around the truth, in other words, because he is continuously adapting to the prevailing view. That’s not what Americans thought they were getting when they elected Obama president.
We need more Democrats who'll stand up to Republicans and their teabagger mainstream. Extreme conservatism is not sweeping the country. It swept the 2010 mid-term election because American voters lashed out stupidly in the wrong direction - or stayed home while the wingnuts voted their favorite ignoramuses into office.
If you're going to be a one-term President - a fate that I think awaits Obama in 2012 - you should at least govern on behalf of the people who elected you.
Sunday, July 24, 2011
Thank god we don't have any armed lunatic wingnuts here in America.
Police identified the suspect as Anders Behring Breivik, 32, a right-wing fundamentalist Christian, while acquaintances described him as a gun-loving Norwegian obsessed with what he saw as the threats of multiculturalism and Muslim immigration.Hmm, lots of familiar grievances... Unemployment, however, is below 4% in Norway and not part of Breivik's grievance list. Damn socialist economy!
Will this attack damage Norway's social democratic consensus, as 9/11 and the Bushists' exploitation of it did ours?
Thomas Hegghammer, a terrorism specialist at the Norwegian Defense Research Establishment, said the manifesto bears an eerie resemblance to those of Osama bin Laden and other Al Qaeda leaders, though from a Christian rather than a Muslim point of view. Like Mr. Breivik’s manuscript, the major Qaeda declarations have detailed accounts of the Crusades, a pronounced sense of historical grievance and calls for apocalyptic warfare to defeat the religious and cultural enemy.It's worth noting that 93 dead (known so far) from a total population of under 5 million has close to twice the demographic impact of 9/11. In their awful grief, Norwegians now have the chance to show resoluteness or panic, just as we did ten years ago. Most likely, they will show a mix, just as we did.
Saturday, July 23, 2011
It's the President's fault that the House Republican caucus won't compromise on anything.
In a letter sent out earlier to House lawmakers, [Speaker John Boehner] blamed Obama for the deterioration of the talks, saying that the president insisted on including tax increases.Holding one of our federal government's three main political institutions, the Republicans want to make radical changes in an 80-year-old vision of the country. And they'll hold their breath until they turn blue to do it, ignoring the damage to the economy that they will do.
“It became evident that the White House is simply not serious about ending the spending binge that is destroying jobs and endangering our children’s future,’’ Boehner wrote. “A deal was never reached and was never really close.’’
“In the end, we couldn’t connect,’’ he added. “Not because of different personalities, but because of different visions for our country.’’
Of course, it has been obvious to me for three and a half years that they were willing to sabotage the economy for political gain. The oblivious voters rewarded the screaming infantile Republicans in 2010. Why would they be measured, mature, and responsible now?
It's going to be a long downhill ride.
Monday, July 18, 2011
News of the World displays almost every feature of the business environment that robber barons, plutocrats, and teabaggers want:
- Disposable employees pitted against each other
- Almost all power and reward at the top
- No accountability at the top for anything but money
- Management by fear
- The right to be completely arbitrary, chiseling, and ruthless
- Relationships dominated by force
- Money the only value
Rupert Murdoch has done one of two things:
- Built a far-reaching multi-national criminal and espionage organization intentionally, or
- Been duped over and over again by malicious and unprincipled executives.
News America was led by Paul V. Carlucci, who, according to Forbes, used to show the sales staff the scene in “The Untouchables” in which Al Capone beats a man to death with a baseball bat. Mr. Emmel testified that Mr. Carlucci was clear about the guiding corporate philosophy.
According to Mr. Emmel’s testimony, Mr. Carlucci said that if there were employees uncomfortable with the company’s philosophy — “bed-wetting liberals in particular was the description he used” Mr. Emmelt testified — then he could arrange to have those employees “outplaced from the company.”
Sunday, July 17, 2011
Gay marriage isn't all sweetness and light:
At the end of the morning, Justice Sunshine lived up to his name and granted us relief from our bond. My ex and I, after not having spoken for several years, jumped for joy in the hallway of that court, weeping with relief. She flung her arms around Allen and shook Todd’s hand. Then she capped six and a half years of waiting with a classy punch line: “Now don’t you kids rush into anything.”Just like any other marriage.
Click image for full Adam Zyglis/Buffalo News cartoon.
Update: Trickle-down cruelty:
All told, President George W. Bush added $4 trillion to the national debt - and there was no debate about raising the debt ceiling at that time, which was raised seven times. What is often missed in these discussions is that deficits have always been the objectives of hard right-wing Republicans and some equally conservative democrats who see them as an excuse for cutting social benefits and generating massive amounts of inequality that benefit the rich
Saturday, July 16, 2011
He would have made this case forcefully and pointedly for his entire presidency.
Some people ... are wishing our economy harm for political reasons, and those are people whose attitudes will have terrible consequences for virtually every working family in this country in terms of higher interest rates, in terms of significant job loss, in terms of making a very unstable global economy even more unstable. ...
Those are the choices that our right-wing Republican friends are giving us. Default with horrendous economic consequences for working families in this country and for the entire global economy or massive cuts to programs that working families desperately need. ...
In my view a group of people in the House whose views represent a small minority of the American people are holding this Congress hostage. It is time for the American people to stand up and say, enough is enough; the function of the United States Congress is to represent all of our people and not just the wealthy and powerful.
If Barack Obama had made this case instead of trying to please everyone - something Republicans chose never ever to permit anyway and damn the consequences for America - the teabaggers and wingnuts would not have won in November and would not be holding everything good about American government hostage to their neo-Confederate agenda.
Obama would have said, as I'm saying, You wanna call me a socialist? Whoop-de-do. You would anyway, you goddamned aristocrats and robber barons.
Friday, July 15, 2011
Republicans have turned a dispute over a technicality into a religious war, which no longer has any relation to a reasonable dispute between the elected government and the opposition.Look, the damage is already done, with or without a default. The Republicans from teabaggers to alleged mainstream conservatives have clearly demonstrated that the consensus that has held since 1776 - that we're good for our debts - is over. It's not safe anymore for other countries to treat the dollar as the world's reserve currency.
Ya think China is happy or sad about this?
On general principles - that knowledge and insight are dispersed widely, that any organization large enough to be a coalition of interests is bound to make compromises against what's right for the benefit of what's possible, to name two - blind orthodoxy is almost always wrong. When you see Republicans who routinely passed debt limit increases under Duhbya hold the nation's credit-worthiness hostage under President Obama, you know they're rank hypocrites whose principle is not knowledge much less wisdom, but instead only what power they can derive from a political position.
How then can I claim that the Democratic Party and its interest groups are consistently right on every issue?
I can answer this question in three ways:
- The Democratic Party is not consistently right on every issue. In fact, it's often badly wrong and compromised not just for practical gain but also morally. The Democrats are in bed with corporate lobbyists and the wealthy, just as the Republicans are. The difference is one of degree - Dems are bad, Repubs are actively evil.
- The Democratic Party is in fact not liberal enough, and I've criticized it many times on that score.*
- Democratic policies, politicians, and interest groups are reasonably often wrong. Republicans are decisively wrong in their platform. Democrats, like all humans, are subject to excess both personal and political.
“It is commonplace, if you are a resident of the city of Chicago, to see work crews on which only a couple of people are working and others appear to be standing or sitting idle,” Mr. Ferguson said last week. “The remarkable thing about this is they are doing exactly what they are supposed to do. We have basically codified wasteful overstaffing.”The purpose of labor unions is to gain a fair day's wage for a fair day's work, not to featherbed. Detailing five guys to walk along behind an asphalt paving machine with hand tools is a day's pay for a smelly stroll. I've heard conservatives use the phrase "unsustainable model" about all labor work rules, but that phrase surely applies to this.
Of course, it's a Democrat who's trying to reform his fellow Democrats.
* A second introspective question: Given answer 2, how do I differ from conservatives who said that Duhbya's greatest fault was his lack of sufficiently extreme conservatism?
Those teabaggers who started during the 2008 campaign to disclaim Duhbya on grounds that he was a moderate (oh, what bullshit) only did it when he was no longer useful to them, when they were facing loss of the government. I've been criticizing President Obama right along. Sure, I was euphoric that he had been elected, but I had believed him to be the least liberal candidate in the Democratic primaries, and I think events since his election - particularly putting Tim Geithner and Larry Summers in charge of economic policy - have proven Obama to be a tepid centrist.
Conservatives march in lockstep when they hold power. Democrats and liberals debate, dissent, and compromise.
Psychological projection. A messiah is what fundie wingnuts want, and they assume we reason as badly as they do about how the world should be.
Michele Bachmann has the overwhelming narcissism to think that God wants her to be President. Because her husband says so. Oy vey.
Monday, July 11, 2011
Republicans often accuse Democrats of the politics of personal destruction. This is obviously ridiculous
If Democrats actually had any grasp at all of destroying a public persona, Newt Gingrich would be living in obscurity. He'd still be paying off his Tiffany's debts by skimming tax exempt contributions into partisan accounts, which he has always done with wild abandon. He'd be slushing up other, more palatable reactionaries, but no one would listen to him on TV about any organization he fronted.
Being out of the limelight would doubtless vex a man with such outsize appetites and ego, but he made his bed. More than once. And Democrats can barely even make him lie in it!
George Allen should be an embarrassment even to his fellow Republicans. Except that they are beyond embarrassment. Macaca moment? His would be a macaca life. Instead, he's leading the pack to return to the Senate as Jim Webb retires. He couldn't even destroy himself.
David Vitter! Vitter didn't get caught with a dead girl or a live boy, but somehow the Democrats have been unable to make him vanish into the world of wingnut welfare. With his Harvard education, he should be fabricating bullshit Heritage Foundation studies that show how only conservatives deserve redemption from requiring hookers to go by the name Wendy when they were doing things his actual wife Wendy no doubt would not do. Instead, re-elected to the Senate on family values and no doubt trying to be more discreet.
If Democrats actually practiced the politics of personal destruction, they would at least be following these morons around getting their peccadilloes on digital video. Vitter's a two-time loser. How likely is it that he'll be able to give up the call girls? Allen actually needs his racism in southern Virginia. Gingrich? Another two-time loser whose third wife is well past Newt's historic limit of fidelity.
These are Republicans who deserve to be outed. They're rank hypocrites or bigots. They'd be bringing their personal destruction on themselves, with only a nudge or two from us. Larry Craig's bullshit wide stance - that's some stretchy tighty-whiteys - doesn't concern me much. Even Paul Ryan's plutocratic taste in lobbyist-purchased wine is a dust devil among hurricanes.
Meanwhile, conservatives are constantly busy trumping up scandals against Democrats and our institutions. The #bornfreecrew was searching Anthony Weiner's life on the web for solicitation of underage sex. When they didn't find that, they settled for a photo of the shape of his semi-erect penis, clothed in underwear. Weiner didn't show his junk and didn't get laid, but the conservatives - who do actually practice the politics of personal destruction - laundered their hit through Andrew Breitbart and hounded Weiner into resigning.
Laundered? The very idea that Breitbart could clean anything is absurd. He's a known liar and propagandist, yet even that has not destroyed his credibility with big media. They still provide faux balance and write stories that sanitize his defenses as if they were plausible. They still give him a platform to defend his dishonesty with more dishonesty.
It was one of Mr. Breitbart's Web sites, BigGovernment, that highlighted the heavily edited video clip of Shirley Sherrod, a black official at the Department of Agriculture, apparently saying that she had been biased against a white farmer she was supposed to help. Ms. Sherrod's full speech actually demonstrated the opposite, but do not expect Mr. Breitbart to be embarrassed.An operative who falsely maligned a Democrat by airing a deceptively edited video clip to make a racist point still gets to call Democrats racists on the thinnest pretext. Without the reporter noting even in objective-speak that Breitbart is full of bullshit. Without editorial smirking. Without consequence. In fact, Times reporter Brian Stelter gives much more space to conservative sources than to liberal ones. He even outsources his objective analysis to David Frum:
He says there is an election-year strategy under way to ''falsely malign opponents of the Democratic party as racist'' and that he will continue to fight it.
David Frum, a former fellow at the American Enterprise Institute who now edits FrumForum.com, said some conservatives argue that the ends justify the means in cases of faulty journalism.Frum is well known to play it straight down the middle since he wrote speeches for Duhbya and then was a fellow for the American Enterprise Institute.
''Many conservatives have worked themselves into such fear that Barack Obama is not only wasting our money but actually trying to overthrow the Constitution that those fears can justify almost anything,'' he said in an interview on Friday.
Well, someone had to say that. After all, Stelter had just quoted two other conservatives with their slightly negative takes on the scandal of falsehoods. Of course, both Shep Smith of Fox (the best journalist there, and that is damning with faint praise) and Glenn Lowry of NRO (one of the black loonies that wingnuts look to for reassurance that they can't possibly be racist since they like a few good ole black fellows) try to paint Breitbart's dishonesty as part of a larger problem.
It's almost as if the Times is afraid of the wingnut propaganda machine's ability to sustain permanent campaigns to damage their opponents.
Sure enough, if the Atlantic fucking Ocean buffers them, the New York Times will report on Rupert Murdoch's propaganda empire. They'll investigate the climate of fear and retribution of Fox-across-the-Pond:
“ ‘Fat, Jealous’ Clare Brands Page 3 Porn” was The Sun’s headline in response. Its editor, Rebekah Wade (now Rebekah Brooks and the chief executive of News International, Mr. Murdoch’s British subsidiary), sent a busload of semi-dressed models to jeer at Ms. Short at her house in Birmingham. The paper stuck a photograph of Ms. Short’s head over the body of a topless woman and found a number of people to declare that, in fact, they thoroughly enjoyed the sexy photographs. “Even Clare has boobs, but obviously she’s not proud of them like we are of ours,” it quoted a 22-year-old named Nicola McLean as saying.So the Brits are coarser than we are. Or at least they print coarser stuff. We leave it to hate radio and web propaganda that pretends to scoop journalists.
When Fox comes up over here, our journalists are about as brave as British politicians over there. In other words, not at all. Remember when the White House attacked Fox as not a news outfit? Our chickenshit media rushed to defend the indefensible. I think they did out of fear. A reporter never knows when he'll need to whore out to sustain his lifestyle, and the web looks a lot more like small time street hustling compared to sucking up to Roger Ailes, however distasteful that no doubt is.
Something Breitbart said to defend his character assassination of Shirley Sherrod is a confession:
It's warfare out there.He's the one making war. Until we on the left cotton onto that fact, we'll continue to be hounded from office. We'll continue to cave in the face of the wingnut noise machine. We won't win many elections.
They're fighting with stilettos with poisoned blades and attack sinister. We're being reasonable and taking adult positions. We've been thinking it can't get worse for three fucking decades. Yet each crop of radical conservatives is worse than the one before it. Because there are no punishments for their craziness.
The Republicans already give us blame for Chicago rules. "They put one of ours in the hospital; we put one of theirs in the morgue." It's long past time for us to start destroying some of our enemies.
Because this is a war for the soul of America. And we're losing to a bunch of plutocrat haters whose policies are very unpopular. It's time we showed up on the real battlefield and fucked a few of them up. Oh, they'll still draw their wingnut welfare from some Koch brothers foundation, but they'd at least have to keep their respective Callistas past their expiration dates. And eventually even billionaires will get tired of servicing a thousand oily egotistical needy assholes.
I don't have high hopes. If thirty years of decline haven't convinced our tepid Washington Democrats that there are no referees, that self-help is the only way to go, I'm not sure they're capable of waking up to the conservative party commissars now.
Sunday, July 10, 2011
America, incredibly, has fallen again for the same old Republicans and their same old bullshit:
[M]y mind wanders over the past ten years. Republicans got the tax cuts they wanted. They got the financial deregulation they wanted. They got the wars they wanted. They got the unfunded spending increases they wanted. And the results were completely, unrelentingly disastrous. A decade of sluggish growth and near-zero wage increases. A massive housing bubble. Trillions of dollars in war spending and thousands of American lives lost. A financial collapse. A soaring long-term deficit. Sky-high unemployment. All on their watch and all due to policies they eagerly supported. And worse: ever since the predictable results of their recklessness came crashing down, they've rabidly and nearly unanimously opposed every single attempt to dig ourselves out of the hole they created for us.There are two possible outcomes of the debt ceiling negotiations. Either President Obama gives the insane Republicans everything they ask for in their worst temper tantrum, or America will default.
Why would the results be any different? Republicans already know that they can kneecap the economy and not only escape all blame for their irresponsibility but in fact they can pin the blame on Democrats. For the simple reason that the American polity is sick, probably mortally wounded. The voters are balky, panicky, irrational. The media are by and large stupid and determined to pretend that stupidity has an equal call on our attention and respect, while intelligence and information are as despised as they were by jocks in middle school.
A default would shake our economy to the core. America derives huge benefits from the dollar and the T bill being the world's reserve. A reckoning on that score is coming anyway, but this would accelerate the world's departure to a broader basket of currencies, including the renminbi. Since the wealthy investor class would be inconvenienced (in their net worth if not in their daily lives), Obama will probably cave.
Thus again the middle class will suffer, the plutocrats or their lobbyists will buy $350 bottles of wine for the likes of Paul Ryan (R-austerity is for others), and the economy will go to hell.
Yet Americans, misinformed and goaded toward the right by a bought and paid for media, will vote for and scream for more Republican bullshit.
Thursday, July 7, 2011
Orrin Hatch (R-say anything to stave off an even more extreme wingnut) joins the Limbaugh lying liars:
"The top 10 percent are paying 70 percent of all income taxes. The top 50 percent pay something like 98 percent of all income taxes. Fifty-one percent don't pay anything," Hatch said.He knows this is intended to deceive. He knows the Democratic rejoinder is true. Still, he says the lie anyway.
"Democrats say they [the 51 percent] pay payroll taxes. Well, everybody does that because that's Social Security. They pay about one-third of what they're going to take out over the years in Social Security," Hatch said.
Wednesday, July 6, 2011
Monday, July 4, 2011
Another feckless Democrat only now realizes the bad faith and bullying of the dark side:
[New Jersey Senate President Stephen] Sweeney’s beef with the governor goes much deeper. He feels the governor [Chris Christie (R-ya wanna make someting uv it?)] has acted in bad faith.Sweeney's lack of the most basic ability to discern the willingness of a Republican adversary to screw anyone for political gain completely disqualifies him from national office. We already have enough naive Democrats in Washington.
The governor’s budget, he says, is full of vindictive cuts designed to punish Democrats, and anyone else who dared to defy him. And he is furious that the governor refused to talk to him during the final week.
"After all the heavy lifting that’s been done — the property tax cap, the interest arbitration reform, the pension and health care reform — and the guy wouldn’t even talk to me?" Sweeney asks.
Saturday, July 2, 2011
Chickenhawks fail at the fundamental moral task of putting themselves in the place of those whose lives are at risk:
For chickenhawks like Rush Limbaugh and Dick Cheney who grew up during Vietnam conscription, deft draft-dodging provided them safety and psychological distance from bloodshed. As the data show, compared to draftees, that distance likely made them feel comfortable demanding other people face death on the battlefield, knowing that they wouldn't face such a fate themselves. Put another way, having avoided the draft, there was no "self-interest" in opposing war -- indeed, there was only self-interest in promoting wars in a media and political environment that increasingly rewarded rank bellicosity.It's no wonder they can't put themselves in the place of the needy. They have no familiarity with the golden rule, the foundation of morality.
Someone else always gets his heart ripped out, not them.
Only these sheep are as bare-toothed angry as they are ill-informed and illogical:
Without exception, however, every reader objecting to my criticism of talk-radio ethics mentioned Soros. It was like being scolded by parrots. Most called Soros a commie -- highly unlikely for a billionaire financier and philanthropist -- although I know very little about his views.
It's called the straw man fallacy: refuting arguments nobody's made.
Then there's the argumentum ad populum, another favorite of talk-radio fans: somebody with a big audience must be correct. Furthermore -- motive again -- I must be jealous of their success.
That's pretty much like saying Rush Limbaugh's jealous of President Obama. You buy that?
Look, these guys are playing you for suckers. They're reading scripts written to trick you into believing that the bigger Scrooge McDuck's bullion pile is, the better it is for you. Take away the call screeners and the mute buttons, and most of them wouldn't last two weeks. Talk radio is the political equivalent of wrestling.
Friday, July 1, 2011
Democrats have no clue that we're at war.
Gov. Deval Patrick (D-establishment), whom I helped elect twice, says complimentary things about Grover Norquist:
Grover Norquist — the brain and able spokesman for the radical right...Sorry, no, you may know Norquist from the Dunster House dining hall at Harvard, but he's evil. Stop pretending we're all in the same goddamn fraternity. We're not.
He wants to establish a plutocratic oligarchy that would just as soon line you up against a wall as feed you. He's everything that's wrong with elite America, a whore to wealth who enjoys his role.
We need to say so. Time for liberals to understand that pussyfooting in defense of a sane and reasonable America is a vice.
Zillions for offense, not a penny for anything else.
Even saying fuck, fuck, fuck, which I seem to be doing a lot lately, is not cathartic enough to glide past $3.7 trillion.
I know. Debunking Jeff Jacoby is like striking out a kindergartener with a high hard one. It makes you feel like the pre-adolescent asshole who's barely passing 7th grade but gives the short-bus kids a hard time just to feel superior to someone, anyone.
Jacoby's got nuthin'. Well, he has reflexes, sure, I'll grant that. But hardly any higher function.
He hangs his whole column on a thin tissue of thoughts that any intelligent sixth-grader could refute. For example:
Hmm. While we're in the argument-by-introspection wayback machine, let's venture back another forty-four years before Loving v. Virginia. No one was a fervent proponent of interracial marriage in 1923. Or, at least, not for very long before they were fucking lynched.
This is the quality of wingnut reason - debunked as easily as falling out of a kayak and hitting water. Yet the Jacobyns will continue their claims that gay marriage doesn't feel like marriage to them. Because they can't do the complicated moral reasoning of the golden rule, so they have to fall back on their stunted, childish intuition of what's icky to their daddy.
Near the end, Jacoby makes a prediction:
I suspect Jeff will likely continue to be a reflexive right-wing doofus with a silly boy's scraggly beard. Therefore, he will be. (Yeah, bullshit as reasoning, even if it's probably going to come true.)
Then the capstone:
Which of course is why we're so keen to hang onto polygamy - have to keep that permanent definition out of Jacoby's own Torah. Or why the specific, wife-protecting strictures on a just divorce in the Old Testament (reacting to a previous social norm of disposing of menopausal wives, you think?) have given way to fundamentalist covenant marriage. Unchanging? Ask Britney Spears. Ask Henry VIII, for Christ's sake.
This banal crap passes for reasoning in today's ascendant conservatism. Just fucking shoot me now.
America is choosing to slurp up plutocratic bullshit:
[H]ow do you revise the historical narrative when the evidence of what led to economic catastrophe is so overwhelming and the events at issue so recent? You and your political allies just do it. And you bet on the old axiom that a lie is halfway around the world before the truth can tie its shoes.
If you are Rep. Paul Ryan, you ignore the fact that our federal budget deficit has ballooned more than $1 trillion annually since the financial collapse. ... Instead of focusing on the real cause of the deficit, you conflate today’s budgetary disaster with the long-term challenges of Medicare so you can shred the social safety net.
If you are Alan Greenspan, you retreat from your 2008 epiphany in which you acknowledged your “state of shocked disbelief” that “the whole intellectual edifice” of your deregulatory ideology had collapsed. ... [A]fter driving the economy over the cliff, you offer to give driving lessons.
If you are JP Morgan’s chief investment officer, you refute the statement that your chairman and chief executive, Jamie Dimon, made to the FCIC in 2010 blaming the failures of major financial institutions on “the management teams 100 percent and . . . no one else.” ...
If you are most congressional Republicans, you turn a blind eye to the sad history of widespread lending abuses... You refuse to acknowledge what went wrong and then try to stop efforts to make it right.
Societies that fail to learn true and hard lessons from events, fail. Failure is the path that our richers and betters have chosen for us. They have propagandized vast portions of the population into believing that liberals are blame, when we are the exact people who have been most right about how to structure an economy to nurture the middle class and grow the fastest. Instead, like the Russians before us, we are destined for oligarchy, authoritarianism, and the end of the American dream.
I think we're past the tipping point. After the Bushists fucked up everything, and Democrats swept into office in droves, Karl Rove's thousand-year permanent majority for government by wealth is tantalizingly within reach for the forces of reaction. And all Democrats can do is dither and cave.
Republicans will buy the 2012 election, the Supreme Court has put it on the block. They will own all three branches of government. They will kill the filibuster, as we should have, and consolidate their already firm grip on the federal judiciary. They will sweep away the twentieth century to restore the Gilded Age, despite the repeated clear and dismal failures of their economic policies. But this century's Vanderbilts and Rockefellers will be ecstatic. That's what they're buying.