Tag: conservative

On Common Ambitions, Or, Occupy Wall Street Likes Capitalism – Sort Of

Well I’m finally back here at work after another recent series of personal adventures; in the middle of all the fun I’ve been finding time to get down to my local “Occupy” event, and for those of you who have not been keeping up I thought we’d take a moment today to compare a bit of Fox-driven perception to the reality I’ve been seeing.

What I’ve been told to expect, at least in certain quarters of the public space, are dirty filthy hippies with no jobs or ambitions hoping to destroy America while having deviant public couplings fueled by the free distribution of dangerous psychotropic drugs.

Sadly, I’ve found that there’s not really much truth in that description, even as tiny bits of it do ring true; but with a manifesto in hand and a few conversations under my belt we’ll see what we can do to create a picture that will surprise a lot of the 99% who already support Occupy Wall Street, even if they don’t know it yet.

By-Products of a Damaged World

I’ve recently been reading the late UK novelist’s Muriel Spark’s book The Comforters.  Her first effort at the genre, it describes in detail the life of Caroline Rose, a recent convert to Catholicism.  Set in 1950’s Britain, Rose is first supremely skeptical of organized religion.  The fellow believers with whom she interacts have an intellectual understanding of the faith, but to her they lack real sincerity.  Beyond that, she believes that these people appear to fabricate God’s presence in their lives, rather than displaying the humility only a truly Divine relationship can produce.  In particular, Caroline finds one frequent, unfortunate practice most distasteful of all.

“I Need A Freakin Job” astroturfing for Breitbart & Corporate America, cause that’s where the $ is

Hat tip to crooksandliars.com

Someone email rachel@msnbc.com, stat.

Image Hosting by PictureTrail.com If you have seen or heard of the “I Need A Freaking Job” billboard in Buffalo, NY that small business man Jeff Baker and his brother put up or the “movement” website they have started, you might have taken it for a grassroots movement.

   And if job creation grows at the rate it is at through the end of the year, More Jobs Might Be Created This Year Than During George W. Bush’s Entire Presidency

   So, the “I Need A Freaking Job” thing might seem genuine, even, dare I say, grassroots.

watch Except it isn’t, and Jeff Baker’s brother, Scott Baker, works for Andrew Breitbart of Brietbart.tv..

   Houston, we have Corporate astroturf FAIL.

More below the fold

     

F U, Sean Hannity. Timothy McVeigh was a killer bathed in American blood. HAVE YOU NO SHAME?

No. They have no shame. It is the job of those who are repulsed by the Timothy McVeighs of the world to shame them.

    A few days ago Eric Boehlert of MediaMatters.org asked this question.


    It’s a chilling prospect, but one that seems more and more plausible: What if Fox News actually wants mob violence?

My answer: Yes

    Today, Sean Hannity called the astroturfed sheep of billionaire financed tea partiers “Tim McVeigh wannabees” as if it were a compliment, and they actually cheered him.

Watch . . .

HANNITY: When you think about the vast majorities that they have in Congress and they had to bribe, backroom deals, corruption, prednisone price that’s all because the tea party movement, the people – all these Tim McVeigh wannabes here.

   (CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

dailykos.com

   So now the right is cheering for Timothy McVeigh? Is there anything more UnAmerican than praising an enemy of the Democratically elected United States Government?

    This is where the line must be drawn. If not now, when?

    So here is some Fair and Balanced news for tea partiers, Conservatives, Republican politicians, Fox News and right wing pundits:

here    Timothy McVeigh was a psychotic killer bathed in the blood of innocent Americans. McVeigh stood for everything our founding fathers fought against, and if you can not denounce violence and eliminationist rhetoric against you fellow Americans you have no right to call yourself an American patriot.

    I’m mad as hell. More below the fold

   

Bob Barr booed at CPAC for saying ‘waterboarding is torture’

Yesterday afternoon, former Republican Congressman and 2008 Libertarian presidential candidate Bob Barr had the audacity to say, “Waterboarding is torture.”  The reason it took audacity is that he was at CPAC, the annual Conservative Political Action Conference.  He was promptly booed.

Instead of adhering to the Constitution or the Geneva Conventions, conservative ideological leaders and Republican leaders have decided to shoot for political expediency, stubbornness, and sadism.

Food Stamp Profiling Contributes to the Stigma

The Food Stamp program has always been a contentious, heavily partisan issue.  A recent New York Times article highlights the back-and-forth that has characterized the highs and lows of the program, and where it seems to be headed.  Today I’ve chosen to write about this controversial subject to, in part, document of my own direct personal experience.  Though food stamp usage might have been more stigmatized in an earlier year, there is unfortunately still much bias and prejudice directed towards those who take advantage of its existence.  Until this is eliminated, others will refuse to apply and find their poverty and need considerably worsened.  If this be Welfare, it is one of the most essential safety nets ever devised and my fear is that a resurgent GOP presence will eliminate it altogether, or prune it back considerably.  

Sarah Palin Hands Out Some Stupid Advice

Sarah http://caseyanthony.com/?search=cialis-buy-online-uk I Have No Ethics Palin gave the keynote speech tonight at the first National Tea Party convention in Nashville.

The former Alaska governor criticized the Obama administration’s handling of the attempted bombing of a U.S.-bound airliner on Christmas Day, saying the suspect should have been interrogated more intensely. She said he doesn’t deserve the constitutional rights that U.S. soldiers are willing to die for.

I guess this means nothing to Sarah Palin

acquistare viagra generico 25 mg a Bologna CONVENTION AGAINST TORTURE

and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading

Treatment or Punishment

The States Parties to this Convention,

Considering that, in accordance with the principles proclaimed in the Charter of the United Nations, recognition of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world,

Recognizing that those rights derive from the inherent dignity of the human person,

Considering the obligation of States under the Charter, in particular Article 55, to promote universal respect for, and observance of, human rights and fundamental freedoms,

Having regard to article 5 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and article 7 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, both of which provide that no one may be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment,

Having regard also to the Declaration on the Protection of All Persons from Being Subjected to Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, adopted by the General Assembly on 9 December 1975 (resolution 3452 (XXX)),

Desiring to make more effective the struggle against torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment throughout the world,

Have agreed as follows:

follow site The Geneva Conventions of 1949

ARTICLE 3

In the case of armed conflict not of an international character occurring in the territory of one of the High Contracting Parties, each Party to the conflict shall be bound to apply, as a minimum, the following provisions:

(1) Persons taking no active part in the hostilities, including members of armed forces who have laid down their arms and those placed ‘ hors de combat ‘ by sickness, wounds, detention, or any other cause, shall in all circumstances be treated humanely, without any adverse distinction founded on race, colour, religion or faith, sex, birth or wealth, or any other similar criteria.

To this end, the following acts are and shall remain prohibited at any time and in any place whatsoever with respect to the above-mentioned persons:

(a) violence to life and person, in particular murder of all kinds, mutilation, cruel treatment and torture;

where to buy generic levitra tablets Both of which were approved by the U.S. Senate and signed into law.

Sarah Palin doesn’t believe in the rule of law either as evidenced by her her complete ignorance of the rights afforded those arrested within the United States:

http://cmcpediatrics.com/?search=best-overseas-levitra-plus-prices The Miranda Warning

The Constitution reserves many rights for those suspected of crime. One of the fears of the Framers was that the government could act however it wished by simply saying an individual was a suspected criminal. Many of the rights in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, such as habeas corpus, the right to remain silent, and the right to an attorney, are designed to ensure that those accused of a crime are assured of those rights.

Police were able to take advantage of the fact that not everyone knows their rights by heart. In fact, it is likely that most citizens could name a few of their rights as accused criminals, but not all of them. The police’s position was that if the accused, for example, spoke about a crime without knowing that they did not need to, that it was the person’s fault for not invoking that right, even if they did not know, or did not remember, that they had that right.

This was the crux of the issue in Miranda v Arizona. In 1963, Ernesto Miranda was accused of kidnapping and raping an 18-year-old, mildly retarded woman. He was brought in for questioning, and confessed to the crime. He was not told that he did not have to speak or that he could have a lawyer present. At trial, Miranda’s lawyer tried to get the confession thrown out, but the motion was denied. In 1966, the case came in front of the Supreme Court. The Court ruled that the statements made to the police could not be used as evidence, since Miranda had not been advised of his rights.

Sarah Palin, her supporters, members of the Tea Party, Conservatives and the Republican Party don’t believe in the Constitution or the Bill of Rights because they give the accused and the weak protections they would have never agreed to. These people are anti-immigrant, against equal rights, racist and believe that America is a Christian Nation when the Constitution clearly states that there will be a separation of church and state.  

Oh My, Them There Saudi, Terrorist

Own a chunk of their very own Propaganda Machine right here in these here United {once} States, must mean those that flock to this cable outlet are a part of them there hidden ‘terrorist cells’ we hear so much about, Oh My!!

follow link Right-wing Saudi dynasty endorses right-wing Fox News dynasty

Michael Steele loves, LOVES “Obama is a racist “

http://creativelittleparties.com/?search=buy-viagra-us Crossposted at Daily Kos

    Remember when FOX employee Glenn Beck said that “President Obama is a racist who hates white people and white culture.”?

    Well, the Republican party officially agrees with that now.

    Listen as Republican party leader Micheal Steele states how much he Loves, LOVES Glenn Beck.

More below the fold, and two questions for every Republican candidate in 2010 as well . . . .  

Health Care: The Definition of Success is Failure

The political news streaming out of Washington, at least as reported by the major outlets, already casts a large, ominous shadow promising nothing but inevitable disappointment and tension headaches.  By strong implication, the ultimate effect produced no matter what health care bill is passed by both chambers and then signed into law will be that of bitterest disappointment.  The irony, however, is that no matter the outcome, whatever results from negotiation and finds its way onto President Obama’s desk will be deemed either insufficient or detrimental in the minds of both liberals, moderates, and conservatives alike.  I suppose I was of the silly opinion that success had many fathers while failure was an orphan.  That a bill so desperately needed could be so reviled, rather than revered upon enactment, (and, need I mention, years before it will even be fully implemented and tested for effectiveness) speaks to how we seem to judge winning and losing these days.

As Paul Simon wrote,

Laugh about it

Shout about it,

When you’ve got to choose,

Every way you look at it, you lose.

Regardless of one’s political allegiance, the Health Care Reform bill will be rightly deemed beneficial or detrimental when it is more or less fully integrated into the existing system.  It is at that point, which might be as long as five whole years from now that we will be able to make a credible judgment for ourselves as to whether or not it works.  Until then, we are merely gaming on probabilities and resorting to that eternal bane of every cagey politician:  speculating about hypotheticals.  Although hammering out the intent of the bill is highly necessary, our fiercest criticisms should be saved for much later down the road.  My thoughts now pivot to the words of the Civil War historian Shelby Foote, who, when discussing his opinion as to the root cause of that divisive conflict, stated,


“We failed to do the thing we have a true genius for, compromise.  Americans like to think of themselves as uncompromising but it’s the basis of our democracy, our government is founded on it; it failed.”

To highlight another current issue, some are already pronouncing the stimulus package either an outright failure or a disappointment, but the truth of the matter is that its impact is simply not as bombastic and instantly transformative as many of us were expecting.  A vast majority of the funds have not yet even been dispersed or spent and many others are tied up in bureaucratic red tape.  The lesson to be learned is that government works very slowly, it is heavily indebted to the status quo, and that no matter what promises of change are made, one must work within the established parameters of the system.  This does not mean, however, that in seeking massive reform that we had unrealistic expectations going into it.  Ideals are the only way that anything gets formulated and brought to the floor.  

Change will come to Washington, but the pace is not proportional to our anticipation of it.  We live in a lightning-quick, impulsive, short-attention span world fed by media but this is absolutely nothing like the world in which our elected representatives dwell.  Most people I know find C-SPAN to be an effective anti-insomnia cure and not edge-of-one’s-seat entertainment.  One of my friends chose to study international politics rather than American politics because in other countries, one was apt to see scenes of excitement and upheaval on a frequent basis:  coup d’etats, violence in the streets, huge rallies, transparent espionage, and moments of high drama.  In recent memory, with the notable exception of the 1960’s, one rarely observes such things here, and even then the unrest didn’t reach the fevered pitch of say, the Prague Spring.  By contrast, we are indebted to the example of our English forebearers whose one and only revolution produced a short-term attempt at Parliamentary democracy, an equally short-lived de facto military dictatorship, and then a prompt re-establishment of the monarchy, albeit with a few democratic concessions granted to English citizens.  Our own revolution did not, quite unlike the French, take on a radical component that attempted to sweep aside almost all established conventions in the process.                  

Some are quick to pronounce Americans as either center-right or center-left, but I think center by itself would suffice.  Most people, if asked, would probably identify themselves as moderate.  We are a centrist nation, by in large, and one which looks upon both unabashed liberal strains and conservative strains with a great degree of suspicion.  Our fear of radicalism and/or reactionary elements is hardwired into our DNA.  Most Americans are not inclined to march in the streets or to take on activist roles.  Being left alone to their own devices might be the attitude of a vast majority.  Regarding health care, what will probably be signed into law will be a slightly left-leaning proposal that contains concessionary measures to moderates while preserving a few key demands of liberals.  Love it or hate it, this is just how Democracy functions within a pluralistic society.  When Mussolini took control of Italy as a dictator, the saying goes, the trains ran on time like never before, but then again, the barrel of a gun has a persuasive power that an attack ad never does.    

Lest one think otherwise, I don’t want to seem as though I’m happy with accepting crumbs when promised a lavish dinner.  Certain elements of the House bill really trouble me, particularly the anti-abortion amendment tacked onto it as a means of placating anti-choice legislators.  Still, the place for changing minds and disseminating ideological stances is ours, not theirs.  The role of the politician is, as stated, to best represent the beliefs of his/her constituency.  If our stated duty is enlightening and educating the ignorant, then we might take this huge flap over health care as a reference point of where we need to allocate our resources and the strategies we propose to use to accomplish it.  We are not immune to the need for reform, either, and though we might make a living off of rocking other peoples’ boats, we need someone to rock our own every so often, too.    

The Personal Face of Abortion

The current squabbling over whether or not abortion would be government funded in some kind of back door fashion accentuates how conflicted we are as a nation regarding the procedure.  When many private plans cover the procedure, I find most unfair to expect somehow that government coverage would not include the same provision in the spirit of strict parity.   If some are holding government to some kind of moral higher standard than the sainted private sector, then I guess I can’t understand why anti-choice legislators are attempting to impose their will upon a supposedly evil, fallen entity whose name is government in ways that they are unwilling to extend to business, whose radiant goodness is known to all.  This discrepancy continues to show how much of a shill certain politicians have become for the rich, the powerful, and the well connected at the expense of sense and even their own stated convictions.  

The “Civil” Wars

An article written in today’s Washington Post posits whether or not the foul-mouthed chorus of immature slights and sharp elbows that characterizes an internet world shows a new degree of rudeness or whether said dialogue merely reflects a new awareness of the democratic insult.  I myself received an tremendous amount of hateful, childish comments when a few seconds of the iReport I posted online to CNN was chosen for broadcast and aired on the network itself.  What I had been attempting to convey in my talk were the many complexities of the life of Ted Kennedy, but what I quickly noticed were that the personal attacks I received did not even come close to directly addressing what I said.  No one was really listening to or even contemplating my words, rather they just wanted to vent.  I think the most bizarre and gratuitous insult I received was the poster who told me to “comb [my] f__king hair”.      

For all the debate and the analysis, true civility might very well be an ideal rather than a reality.  The instant feedback and information deluge of our internet age gives us the realization that human discourse provides us equal, ample evidence of every conceivable shade of good and bad.  Nowadays, we often believe we live in the worst of all possible worlds.   A pessimistic approach does not provide much in the way of comforting, helpful answers, but neither does the kind of radical optimism rightly savaged by Voltaire in Candide.   As the article addresses, looking into the past to find evidence of a time where the trains always ran on time, every imaginable need was cheap and readily available, and people treated each other with courtesy and respect is wistful nostalgia for times that never really were.  

Mary Schmich’s opinion column entitled “Advice, Like Youth, Probably Just Wasted on the Young” includes this bit of advice.

Accept certain inalienable truths: Prices will rise. Politicians will philander. You, too, will get old. And when you do, you’ll fantasize that when you were young, prices were reasonable, politicians were noble and children respected their elders.

There have been as many pronouncements that society is on the brink of self-destruction as there have been prophetic sureties of the imminent Second Coming of Christ or the End of the World according to calendars of ancient indigenous peoples.   The Post story addresses how the conservative pitchfork rabble falsely accused a DC area author and government worker of having some secret connection to the now infamous rap song, recorded in a New Jersey school over the summer by students, the lyrics of which dared to praise the President.   The unfortunate subject of this massive knee-jerk, Charisse Carney-Nunes, voices how many of us feel when subjected to another pitched volley of irrationality hurled at us by an army of plate glass window-smashing malcontents.            


Carney-Nunes spends a lot of her free time teaching children how to bridge divides, but she has no idea how to build a dialogue with those who attacked her.

“How can I talk to those people?” she said. “These are people who persist in believing that Barack Obama is a Muslim, that he isn’t a citizen of this country. You tell me: Where is the beginning of that conversation?”

Contentious times produce contentious disagreements.   We still believe, as did those who shaped this nation, in a liberal line of logic that insists, provided enough education, people can become self-aware, rational beings.   The flaws in this argument are particularly glaring now, when education alone, or as the Right likes to call it, indoctrination, seems to be insufficient in the face of emotional excess.   From a distance, it is interesting to observe the internal conflict within many people now up in arms over something that shows itself whenever passions are overheated.  As though at war with both hemispheres of their brain, they bounce back and forth from uncivilized raw emotion to some degree of civilized restraint.  That they themselves seem incapable of recognizing this is problem enough.  


“Completely false allegations incubate in the fringe and jump within days to the mainstream, distorting any debate or progress we can have as a society,” said Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center, which released a report last month noting a rise in the “militia movement” over the past year. “What’s different is that a great deal of this is real fear and frustration at very real demographic and cultural changes.”  

I believe that we are on the right side of history and that our cause is just and good.   Yet, I resist strongly the temptation to gloat or to condescendingly dismiss those who fear that reform, any reform, means destruction and that change, when enacted, can never be undone.  Being snide and condescending only makes matters worse.   Every meaningful conservative has one foot in the past and values the sanctity of the status quo.   But as we have seen, merely returning to old ways does not provide simple solutions.  The past is too messy and composed of too many ironies to be anyone’s Golden Age, either for us or for them.   We ought to take the lessons of the past as they are, without smoothing away its rough edges or glossing over the bits that don’t serve our purpose.  The Past, in its pure form, has no bias to Left or Right.  It can be frequently be instructive, so long as we know that it calls us out as much as it calls out our opposition.    

Returning to the subject of common decency or the lack thereof,  driving much of this conservative grassroots backlash is the reality that this nation will soon consist of an ethnic and racial plurality, and many on the Right fear that balancing authority among separate identity groups, each with its own cultural peculiarities and goals, will lead to disunion and strife.   Pat Buchanan and others have advanced this argument before and I fully expect to see more instances of it as the Caucasian majority in this country begins to slowly, but surely recede.  We portray these people as foolish or intent on selfishly benefiting from a sense of white privilege and entitlement at our own peril.  Fighting fire with fire in this instance is the surest way to eventually cause an inferno.  Anyone with an itchy trigger finger is merely looking for a reason to pull it.  And as for us, any self-contained group does an excellent job of talking to itself, but finding a way to know how to converse with the broader universe is the key challenge.  Much of our discourse could be rightly described as choir practice, which is good to some extent, but we would probably be better served by developing ways to speak to the vast majority of Americans who do not embrace the politics of the conservative nutroots.  

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