Mercury Rising 鳯女

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Archive for the ‘distractions’ Category

Hippie punching, the 2010 elections, and the Restaurant at the End of the Universe

Posted by Charles II on October 5, 2010

Amid the favorable response to Susie Madrak’s well-aimed rebuke to David Axelrod over “hippie punching,” one wishes there were a little more introspection. “Hippie punching” is the denigration by one person of another for the purpose of distinguishing the one doing the denigration as a reasonable sane-left person, as opposed to the supposedly crazy-leftist hippie. But without understanding the history of conflict within the left and if approached without at least a modicum of humility, simple resentment of those who “punch hippies” is self-destructive. Since I first wrote about this issue almost a decade ago, I think that what I have to say might have some small merit.

Probably not even a better historian than I am could give a precise date for when the cycle of conflict within the left began. There’s no question that during the McCarthy era, the so-called “anti-communist left” joined with the rest of the political establishment to sacrifice not just the American Communist Party and other radical organizations, but the Constitution itself on the altar of loyalty to the state.

I only wish that leftists who talk but do not work constructively was only a myth. But for my entire life, I have walked the walk for social justice, and I know the territory.

Decrying this person or that as an enemy are an example of why the left is such an abject failure in the US that it has not elected a single congressman under the Green/Labor/New Party/etc. tickets.

This failure comes from an insincerity in seeking solidarity, solidarity not just with the people deemed to be worthy, but even with people who are adversaries on many issues.

It comes from a blindness, a failure to see that the battles last years and generations.

It comes from a failure to understand that the people who do good are often deeply flawed and that the people who do harm are not always the usual adversary.

It comes from a smallness of spirit, which demonizes potential allies only because it is so impotent to generate real change.

While we should feel free to criticize, let the criticism be directed at behavior, not–whenever possible–at the individual. Yes, leaders do have to be criticized by name and should be criticized whenever they do something wrong. But when criticism is directed against whole classes of people, it can become destructive. When it’s directed against potential allies, it’s self-destructive.

I don’t know what creates a generation as great as the one which endured the Depression. We had many financial crises that serious before it. I don’t know what creates a generation like the civil rights generation. There were moments in history before when it might have come together, but did not.

But I do know that only when there is a larger vision will it ever be achieved. Clearly not enough Americans are willing to pay the price to get what I think most of them see as good and desirable. Some of those unwilling to pay the price are on the left. Some are so perverse that they almost seem to be in the employ of the right (as, indeed, some have in the past proven to be). Yet I refuse to demonize even them.

Let every person search his or her conscience and decide on which side s/he stands: with destruction or with life. This generation—you and I—will decide the magnitude of destruction of global warming, the depth of the repression in the United States, the number of civilians to be killed in our failed wars. Unlike Milliways, there’s no time travel back after dessert. Will only one in five of us even register an opinion at the ballot box, and will only 1% of us make the difference in deciding between such extremes?

As for me, with eyes open and fully informed by history, I will vote. (adapted from a comment at The Sideshow)

Let’s be clear: during the Cold War, there was a threat to the United States, a threat which manifested itself in the late 1940s through the blockades of Berlin and Korean War. These were aggressive actions undertaken by the communist nations. However, like Al Qaida, the threat to the US was both smaller and of a different nature than the public was led to believe. There was absolutely no justification then, just as there is no justification now for the wholesale sacrifice of civil liberties. It was self-defeating, self-destructive, and morally reprehensible.

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Posted in Al Gore, Bush, Congress, DINOs, distractions, hippie punching, Obama Administration | Tagged: | 2 Comments »

Washington Post Lies About What Polls Say So It Can Push Pete Peterson’s Agenda

Posted by Phoenix Woman on June 21, 2010

Bsom has the scoop:

A stunning front-page article in Saturday’s Washington Post moves the paper firmly into conservatives’ dream universe on deficit policy. “Stimulus plans run up against deficit fears” by Lori Montgomery serves up this whopper:

If Congress doesn’t provide additional stimulus spending, economists inside and outside the administration warn that the nation risks a prolonged period of high unemployment or, more frightening, a descent back into recession. But a competing threat — the exploding federal budget deficit — seems to be resonating more powerfully in Congress and among voters.

There you have it: the budget deficit is an issue that’s resonating more with voters than the issues of high unemployment or the possibility of further economic downturn generally. It’s a trendy right-wing meme of the last few months, but here it is in the news pages of the Washington Post.

But is this notion supported by what the polling actually says? No. Not even close.

Bsom then goes on to list several polls that show that the public’s biggest concern is not the deficit. Other issues, such as jobs, rate much higher.

Posted in 'starving the beast', (Rich) Taxpayers League, deficit, distractions, environment, Pete Peterson | 3 Comments »

Pity Washington DC

Posted by Phoenix Woman on June 20, 2010

All of its major newspapers are in the hands of neocons or paleocons, and none of them have your interests at heart.

Case in point: Wall Street billionaire Pete Peterson, the Nixon Cabinet member who has been trying to destroy Social Security for the past two decades in the name of “fixing the deficit”, apparently now shares control of the WaPo’s newsroom with Fred Hiatt and can dump anti-SocSec and anti-Medicare pieces from his Fiscal Times propaganda rag into the Post whenever he wants:

It told readers that: “On the fiscal commission, Stern [Andy Stern, former head of the Service Employees International Union, one of members highlighted in the piece] is already looking for ways to break through the ideological camps on deficit-reduction.” In fact, individuals who are not motivated by ideology would note that the country’s projected long-term deficit problem is driven almost entirely by the broken U.S. health care system.

If per person health care costs were the same in the United States as in any other wealthy country, then the projections would show huge budget surpluses rather than deficits. It also should be possible for the people in the United States to take advantage of lower cost health care systems elsewhere even if the power of special interests like the insurance and pharmaceutical industry prevent reform here. This basic fact should feature prominently in any discussion of the long-term deficit that is not motivated by ideology. It is never mentioned in this piece.

But of course this is all part of the Southern Strategy: The corporate-religious bigot alliance to con white working-class Americans into voting for corporate tax cuts and against their own economic interests as a way to hurt people with darker skins than theirs. Once again, I bring Reagan advisor Lee Atwater back from the grave, all the way from 1981, to explain:

”You start out in 1954 by saying, ‘Ni–er, ni–er, ni–er.’ By 1968 you can’t say ‘ni–er’ — that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states’ rights and all that stuff. You’re getting so abstract now [that] you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites.

”And subconsciously maybe that is part of it. I’m not saying that. But I’m saying that if it is getting that abstract, and that coded, that we are doing away with the racial problem one way or the other. You follow me — because obviously sitting around saying, ‘We want to cut this,’ is much more abstract than even the busing thing, and a hell of a lot more abstract than ‘Ni–er, ni–er.”’

This is why his fellow Republicans were and are so angry at Michael Steele, who while he tries to be a good Republican has this unfortunate habit of remembering that he is a black man, and thus is incapable of hewing to the GOP lie that the Southern Strategy was never used after Nixon’s time. It is, in fact, not only still in use today, it is the basis of all Republican and conservative actions worth dignifying with the name.

Posted in 'starving the beast', (Rich) Taxpayers League, deficit, distractions, Pete Peterson, phony scandals, privatization, safety net, Silver Spoon Squad, Social Security, Southern Strategy | 3 Comments »

Seneca Doane Shows Us How It’s Done

Posted by Phoenix Woman on March 23, 2009

While DailyKos writhes in the midst of yet another food fight, Seneca Doane steps up to the plate and shames the food fighters:

As many of you may know, I have been pushing people to make phone calls to NY-20, through this DCCC link, to help Democrat Scott Murphy defeat his opponent, Jim “Jimmy Disco” Tedisco, who chickened out of a debate this week, in the election on March 31 that will choose a member of Congress to replace now-Senator Kirstin Gillibrand.

By and large, you’re not doing it.  I know this because I am the #2 caller on that site, and I haven’t done that much.  (#1, bless that person, is way ahead of me.)  I had planned to do a lot this weekend, but I got an e-mail from my boss mid-day Saturday inviting me to either complete a work project ASAP or face ominous consequences, so I’m only up to 65 calls instead of the many more I’d planned to do.  Still, only one person is (admittedly way) ahead of me.

So the titular instance of abusive behavior on this site is about to come from me.  It’s directed at you.

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Posted in blogger ethics, blogs and blogging, distractions, doing the right thing | Tagged: , , | Comments Off on Seneca Doane Shows Us How It’s Done

If Somebody Posts Facts In Context, Does That Person’s Bias Render These Facts Untrue?

Posted by Phoenix Woman on August 19, 2008

When I showed some passages from a London Times story to some people I know, it was immediately and forever discounted because (drum roll) it came from someone (*cough*Booman*cough*) who allegedly is a big fat evil Hillary-hater.

Well, I’ve checked through a few of the previous posts by this alleged big fat evil Hillary-hater, and you can call me a bad self-hating woman, but I just don’t see that he hated or hates Hillary, at least not to an extent that seriously interferes with his critical judgment. What I did find (along with a prescient post that predicted her ultimate rejection by most primary voters in favor of candidates more strongly opposed to our continued presence in Iraq, and a very recent post that criticized Maureen Dowd for yet another bizarre attack on the Clintons) was that, in his latest post, he is echoing and fleshing out something that Joe Conason had hinted at in his Salon column last week — which is to say, that Hillary Clinton is being monstrously ill-advised, if not outright used and abused, by those who are her close advisors.

Here’s some of what Joe Conason had to say last week:
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Posted in 2008, Barack Obama, distractions, Hillary Clinton, John McCain, Republicans | 3 Comments »

“…now may not be the best time for a campaign trip.”

Posted by Phoenix Woman on June 20, 2008

Iowa’s governor had privately asked both major presidential candidates to please stay away from the flood-ravaged areas of his state:

An aide to Gov. Chet Culver said Thursday that Republican presidential candidate John McCain ignored the governor’s request to cancel a campaign visit amid a massive flood recovery effort in the state.

“As a courtesy — and as we did for Senator Obama — we privately made an effort to make sure that Senator McCain knew that state and local resources were still being deployed to support the flood fight and that now may not be the best time for a campaign trip,” Dillon said in a statement.

Senator Obama complied, instead working with local authorities to find out where help would do the most good, then directing his and his volunteers’ efforts to assisting with sandbagging and other efforts in the river towns not yet hit by the flood.

Senator McCain, on the other hand, blew off the governor and did his damned photo-op anyway. (Oh, and McCain voted against flood control money for Des Moines, calling it “pork”.)

Remember when Bush showed up in New Orleans and pulled first responders off the job for his photo-ops? McSame’s doing the same thing.

(Massive hat tip to dansac.)

Posted in 2008, abuse of power, Barack Obama, Bush, distractions, eedjits, John McCain, Republicans acting badly, rightwing moral cripples, wrong way to go about it, WTF? | 2 Comments »

This Headline’s Almost Correct

Posted by MEC on May 31, 2008

From the Associated Press: Analysis: US terrorism list also a political tool.

Omit the “also”. In Bush’s hands, the U.S. terrorism list is a political tool, period. For BushCo, terrorism is a political pretext. It justifies both their foreign policy and their domestic agenda. They use it to distract from their failures, to justify their abuses, to intimidate and punish their critics and opponents, to expand their power, and to enrich their cronies. Call it the Global War on Terror or Homeland Security, the ultimate purpose is the same: to frighten people into accept that Bush will do whatever he wants.

And we’re not supposed to notice that all this fearmongering and saber-rattling has made the world a more dangerous place. One of the dangerous effects of Bush’s political exploitation of “terrorism” is that it undermines our ability to actually do anything about terrorism.

Posted in BushCo malfeasance, distractions, terrorism | 3 Comments »

So Call Me Cynical

Posted by MEC on April 30, 2008

What they say: Obama looks to put controversial pastor behind him.

What they’re thinking: “But we won’t let that happen.”

Note that the headline suggests Senator Obama is responsible for tangling himself up with the Jeremiah Wright faux scandal, as if the mediawhores who keep writing about it have nothing to do with making this nonstory a Big Deal.

Photobucket

Posted in beat the press, distractions | 1 Comment »

Fruit Of The Poison Tree

Posted by Phoenix Woman on March 19, 2008

Isn’t it interesting that the only times Billo lets Democrats onto his shows is when they’re bashing other Democrats? That’s what happened last night, when former Kossack “alegre” apparently went onto O’Reilly’s show to tell everyone how evil Markos Moulitsas Zuniga is.

Ok, scanning through TV channels there on Fox was a stunning sight. A Hillery [sic] supporter whining to Bill O’Riley [sic] about blogging on Kos and explaining the so-called “strike”.

Not much for a diary and yet something needed to be said.

Are these people just totally insane? First, the idea of a strike happening in a voluntary non-paid situation, on a board in which they are arguable guests being permitted an opportunity to talk without paying a fee.

That alone shows they do not understand their situation, nor the purpose of a strike. One who claims to be a Democrat ought to take the labor movement with a enough seriousness to understand work stoppage and collective bargaining.<

That they carried tales of the situation to an channel that works against Democrats in general, and in particular to a program hosted by one who is not friends to Democrats or bloggers is amazing.

Hillary it seems should worry about friends like this as much as the opposition.

Another Kossack saw the same program, and noticed that a top Clinton advisor, Jehmu Greene, was on the show dissing Daily Kos as “liberal elitism at its worst” — and Clinton supporters at MyDD applauded this. Repeatedly.

Democrats and progs in general are letting cons like O’Reilly use them just to attack other Democrats.

Hillary fans are using garbage from WorldNetDaily and NewsMax — sites that got their start bashing the Clintons! — to attack Obama. Obama fans are mindlessly reciting long-debunked lies about Whitewater.

Stop it. Stop it now.

Posted in 2008, anti-truth, Barack Obama, Democrat-bashing, distractions, eedjits, Hillary Clinton, hissy kabuki, wrong way to go about it, WTF? | Comments Off on Fruit Of The Poison Tree

From Hell’s Heart, Spitzer Stabs At Thee

Posted by Phoenix Woman on March 15, 2008

If you’re a predatory lender, that is.

Dandelion Salad reminds us of why the banks wanted Spitzer gone. (Funny how David Vitter and Larry Craig are still in office, isn’t it?)

Posted in abuse of power, banking, big money, BushCo malfeasance, capitalism as cancer, David Vitter, Debra Jean Palfrey, distractions, DoJ, economy, Eliot Spitzer, GOP/Media Complex, government malfeasance, gravy train, Larry Craig | 1 Comment »

 
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