Sunday, April 14, 2013

People are talking

This week on Virtually Speaking Sundays, Digby and Gaius Publius review an exciting week of Obama's transformational presidency.
Every episode of Culture of Truth's most ridiculous thing from the Sunday talk shows manages to infuriate me, but they've been particularly steam-inducing lately. I'm so glad CoT watches these things so I don't have to. Last week's, on What the Base Wants, really made me want to punch out some pundits (and the Dem operatives who give them their talking points).
Maira Sutton of EFF and Sierra Club Trade Representative Ilana Solomon talked about trade and globalization on Virtually Speaking with Jay Ackroyd.

On The Majority Report, Matt and Michael sat in for an ailing Sam Seder and did a great interview with Feministing Executive Editor and Fast Food Forward organizer, Samhita Mukhopadhyay, who "explained the importance of the living wage movement spearheaded by fast food workers in New York City, the danger of how we frame poverty in America, Michelle Obama's powerful recent speech on guns violence and opportunity and how Anonymous is helping expose rape culture."
Previously, Sam interviewed Mark Blyth about Austerity: The History of a Dangerous Idea, and "the three big reasons austerity is a problem, the impact of global trade on austerity policies, the history of the idea of austerity, why the United States is in a stuttering recovery and the Europeans have created self created depression by practicing austerity, why growth is the answer to debt and why austerity is such a dangerous and resilient idea."

Waste in government: "Iraq War Could Have Paid For 100% Renewable Power Grid."

"Just comprehend the magnitude of what is being said here. Obama misleads on targeted assassinations. Or "lies", as we say in English.
Lambert thinks this decision is a failure, but I don't think so. More and more policy decisions these days seem to be based on the idea of "saving money" by making it as difficult as possible for people to determine whether they qualify for programs, and how to get into them.

"'The revolution starts in the ATOS smoking area' - on welfare, addiction, and dependency"

No one could have predicted that we might lose our moral authority by becoming torturers.

Mitch McConnel's got a habit of having "revelations" that people have eavesdropped on him suddenly crop up just in time to deflect some attention from his other nefarious activities. This isn't the first time it's happened and it's hard to believe that the group that keeps doing it isn't being paid somewhere up the line by McConnel himself.

Russell Brand as one of Thatcher's children: "Perhaps, though, Thatcher "the monster" didn't die yesterday from a stroke, perhaps that Thatcher died as she sobbed self-pitying tears as she was driven, defeated, from Downing Street, ousted by her own party. By then, 1990, I was 15, adolescent and instinctively anti-establishment enough to regard her disdainfully. I'd unthinkingly imbibed enough doctrine to know that, troubled as I was, there was little point looking elsewhere for support. I was on my own. We are all on our own. Norman Tebbit, one of Thatcher's acolytes and fellow "Munsters evacuee", said when the National Union of Mineworkers eventually succumbed to the military onslaught and starvation over which she presided: "We didn't just break the strike, we broke the spell." The spell he was referring to is the unseen bond that connects us all and prevents us from being subjugated by tyranny. The spell of community." I know people who just see him on Ross' show won't believe me, but Brand is smart, insightful, and as this piece shows, a thoughtful and very fine writer. His facility for unpacking and re-purposing metaphor is downright impressive. "It always struck me as peculiar, too, when the Spice Girls briefly championed Thatcher as an early example of girl power. I don't see that. She is an anomaly; a product of the freak-onomy of her time. Barack Obama, interestingly, said in his statement that she had "broken the glass ceiling for other women". Only in the sense that all the women beneath her were blinded by falling shards. She is an icon of individualism, not of feminism." Thatcher was indeed a queen bee - nothing new about that.

Jay Ackroyd linked this wonderful piece that starts off with a stray kitten and takes us through the meaning of FDR's warning about fear itself and the people who have been hiding under the porch terrified of everything ever since.

It's amazing what you can buy on the internet. And I'm sure that's a much lower price than it usually costs to buy them!

Neat picture of the sun with this week's solar flare.
This picture of a comet and the Milky Way over a snowy field and against the Northern Lights is not a trick.
Unseen reality: The Milky Way over a darkened city in Shanghai.


  1. Love letter from the veal pen:

    Had Obama seriously threatened to prosecute substantial sectors of the business and the financial community for their role in the financial crisis when he first took office in 2008, he would not have gotten the stimulus bill, the modest financial regulation bill that he did get or health care reform.

    1. Repaired link

      [Indent]>>>>>...Now, sure, its loads of fun to imagine an alternate reality in which a fiery populist president "takes his case to the people" and develops such titanic, fierce, ferocious and powerful grass roots support that American big business has no option except to meekly accept the president's firmly populist agenda. And yes, we can all cheerfully recite Roosevelt's stirring line "I welcome their hatred" as the great rhetorical model for how a really tough populist Democrat could deal with the business community.

      But, come on, let's face it, if intense grass roots support for that kind of muscular populism had really existed in recent years, Dennis Kucinich or John Edwards would have won the Democratic primaries by a landslide in 2008, blowing away the far more centrist Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama. In 2004 Howard Dean would have walked away with the Democratic nomination without raising a sweat and in 2000, Ralph Nader would have outpolled Al Gore. Right wing populists like George Wallace and Ross Perot pulled a major slice of the national vote in their campaigns in past decades while no left wing populist in the post-war era has ever even come close. You can't just go around simply assuming and asserting the existence of some huge, sleeping left-wing populist majority that is just waiting to be mobilized as if it were a given fact of American political life when somehow or other it never seems to be able to drag its butt out of bed and go out to vote for firmly populist candidates on election days....<<<<<[End indent]

    2. Maybe you can explain how we got from "muscular populism" to "utterly corrupt Obama-Holder DOJ" as the only alternative, CMike.

      And for extra credit, tell the class how this kind of lame apology for Obama's outrageous behavior will lead to better policy outcomes in the future, whether from Obama himself, or from other right-wing Democratic corporatists.

    3. CMike is quoting the absurd excuse-making of the Obamapologist there, you understand, not giving a defense of the corrupt Obama administration.

    4. Frankly, it's hard to tell what CMike is saying, when all he does is quote an apology.

  2. Like the pledge.

    As for fear, can you say false dichotomy? Aren’t liberal democrats googly-eyed terrified of republicans. Worse yet, per Charles fine comment on your last post, aren’t they terrified of talking to “Sue Bob” and “Cooter.” Daily Show liberalism, mocking the stupid proles, has gotten us nowhere but it’s fun to hang out with folks just like us. There’s plenty of fear to go around—it’s essential to tribalism which is in turn essential to preventing change.

    1. PS Dig the pic of Shanghai. A frequent visitor, I'd add that many Chinese cities (espec. Beijing) achieve the same daytime phenom by simply pumping untold number of particulates into the air. Sadly, they make their way to my little archipelago too.

      I'd also recommend Looper's killer vision of a future Shanghai.

  3. I'm the one who recommended Jim Wright to Jay, and I'm pleased as punch he's getting more attention. He's been writing for six years, he's almost unknown in the left blogosphere, there are a lot more good pieces up on his blog, and I hope he agrees to come on VS.

  4. It's such a joy listening to Gaius Publius, who never lets a tree get in the way of the forest.