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Archive for February 14th, 2007

Mexico, February 14th, 2007

Posted by Charles II on February 14, 2007

Reforma had an interesting piece (via SdP) by Manuel J. Jáuregui, confirming what I have long sensed:

“The routine assassinations, kidnappings, and other symptoms of narcotrafficking which overwhelm the nation is just the tip of a most dangerous iceberg which conceals the utter collapse of order and the justice system. …

They do not exaggerate, because for those who know it is a fait accompli, that the narcotrafficking heads have supplanted the government in many communities, largely in the rural zone, but increasingly in cities, strategically along the so-called ‘narcotics highway’ from south to the northern frontier.”

The question of course, comes in what to do about it. Do you (a) calmly empower community-based grassroots organizations to take steps to stop it, or (b) hysterically launch a massive drug war in whose crossfire are caught many civilians and police?  The Calderon government has definitely gone with column b here. SEVEN police/ex-police killed in Monterey ALONE since the start of the year? 

Speaking of hysteria, the Calderon government has launched a fear campaign around Al Qaeda blowing up their oil wells. Why Al Qaeda would bother when inadequate investment by the Mexican government is accomplishing the same end is unclear.

Can’t get health insurance? If you can get someone to drive you to Mexico City, tourists get free medical attention.

In Oaxaca, the government has installed scabs in the classroom. The teachers’s union, needless to say, is not amused.

Posted in Mexico | Comments Off on Mexico, February 14th, 2007

The Sweet Taste of Liberty

Posted by MEC on February 14, 2007

Stephen Colbert isn’t afraid to say it: “Dessert has a well-known liberal agenda.”

But now Ben & Jerry’s is bringing some balance to the freezer case, by adding Stephen Colbert’s Americone Dream to its flavor lineup. It’s vanilla ice cream with fudge-covered waffle cone pieces and caramel.

Mr. Colbert is donating his share of the profits to charity through the Stephen Colbert Americone Dream Fund, which will distribute the money to various causes.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

The revolution within and The Dixie Chicking of Amanda Marcotte

Posted by Charles II on February 14, 2007

“A perplexed European asked me a question: Why, she asked, have there been no general strikes in America to end its aggression in the Middle East? Why, she asked, are Americans so unwilling to force their government do what must be done?
These are not new questions. Everyone with an inkling of history and a modest awareness of international news realizes that Americans, completely contrary to the foundation myth of the American Revolution, are incredibly docile….[P]robably the single biggest reason why Americans do not take more direct actions like a general strike is their legitimate fear of losing their livelihoods. ”  

 —Zbignew Zingh

“On April 24, 2003, with the Iraq War barely a month old, NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw asked Bush about the boycott of the Dixie Chicks. The President responded that the singers “can say what they want to say,” but he added that his supporters then had an equal right to punish the singers for their comments.“They shouldn’t have their feelings hurt just because some people don’t want to buy their records when they speak out,” Bush said.  “Freedom is a two-way street.”

So, instead of encouraging a full-and-free debate, Bush made clear that he saw nothing wrong with his followers hurting Americans who disagree with him….

Sometimes, Iraq War supporters even turned to threats of violence.During one tour, lead singer Maines was warned, “You will be shot dead at your show in Dallas”…

[W]hat’s most troubling is that this intolerance toward dissent is not simply overzealous Bush supporters acting out, but rather loyal followers who are getting their signals from the top levels of the Bush administration.” 
–Robert Parry

No nation can be called democratic if it is not free of fear. These examples illustrate how the right-wing threatens dissenters with loss of livelihood or worse as a means of imposing dictatorial control.

Michael Lind described the relationship between corporations, the Christian Right, and the think tanks as The Triangular Trade.  A similar relationship has developed between the right wing political apparatus, the media, and tame liberals. The political machine issues creates some sort of meaningless controversy, which is magnified by the media. The public would ignore this but for the fact that some tame liberal frames the non-controversy as though it were a genuine moral issue.

The public hears the moral issue, even if it has learned to tune out the noise machine.

For example, the noise around Nancy Pelosi traveling with the security that the law indicates that the third person in line to the presidency should receive was framed in at least three ways:

  1. Pelosi demanded the plane because she is an arrogant limousine liberal
  2. Pelosi would be depriving the troops of a more comfortable plane
  3. Pelosi would be damaging the environment by wasting gas

The first two frames are aimed at the Republican base. But the third attempts to frame the issue in a manner that might appeal to the center/left.

It’s the way they sell cereal on the grocery shelf: package the same empty carbohydrates, artificial colors, and sugar in as many different boxes as one can and hope that someone buys. People like Joe Lieberman, Brendan Nyhan, Joe Klein, and even David Corn play the part of tame liberal, suppressing dissent through ad hominem attacks rather than quietly saying, “I don’t agree, and this is why.”

Since there’s no way the Pubbies will cost Pelosi her job, they weren’t able to use that lever.  But with Amanda Marcotte, we saw the exact same sort of multi-framing, with the anti-Catholic frame being used to appeal to the center and the incivility frame being used to play to the left. It might have worked were the right not tottering under the burden of its own anti-religious hatred and its own gross incivility.

For Amanda, the noise machine did go after employment. It would be amusing if the net effect were to cost Mr. Donohue his own.

In examining the uprising in Oaxaca, I learned something interesting. Nothing– not demonstrations or strikes or violence troubled the power structure. But when people lost their fear, the power structure became terrified. They still have the place under military lockdown. They are still losing, day by day.

The real revolution begins within, when we reflect on what we are really afraid of and why. Are we afraid of losing a job at a time when we are losing our country, our freedoms, even our identity as liberty’s lamp to the world?  As Europe shows us, we can only really have the freedom to be a democratic society if we accept– and through solidarity support– one another as brothers and sisters in The Beloved Community.

In other words, what we try through timidity to preserve, we will lose. And what we are brave enough to lose, we will keep.

What are we willing to do without to keep our freedom?
Update: Amanda was Dixie Chicked.  And she is doing us all proud by showing her attackers that she isn’t afraid and she isn’t backing down.

Posted in Amanda Marcotte, beat the press, distractions, GOP bullying, GOP/Media Complex, Pelosi, The smear industry | Comments Off on The revolution within and The Dixie Chicking of Amanda Marcotte

Another Government Official Indicted

Posted by MEC on February 14, 2007

Ex-CIA official indicted over agency contracts

The CIA’s former No. 3 official and a defense contractor were indicted on Tuesday on charges stemming from a federal contracts investigation that landed former Republican congressman Randy Cunningham in jail.

Kyle “Dusty” Foggo, who had been appointed executive director of the agency in 2004 by former CIA Director Porter Goss, was charged with improper conduct involving CIA contracts following a wide-ranging investigation that involved five agencies, including the FBI and the CIA’s inspector general.
Before Foggo resigned from his position last May, the CIA acknowledged that its inspector general was investigating whether Foggo helped steer any agency contracts to his long-time friend Brent Wilkes, a San Diego businessman.

Brent Wilkes was also indicted.

Posted in BushCo malfeasance, government malfeasance | Comments Off on Another Government Official Indicted

No Crony Left Behind

Posted by Phoenix Woman on February 14, 2007

Christy Hardin Smith on Team Bush’s determination to put cronies before country.

Posted in big money, budget, Bush, BushCo malfeasance, gravy train, Iraq war, WTF? | Comments Off on No Crony Left Behind

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