Sunday, April 28, 2013

You read it here last

It's handy to have Ta-Nehisi Coates to bust the myth that liberals somehow had to make a "deal" with racists to get the New Deal. That was rubbish, of course, because everyone wanted it, whether they were racist or not. Well, everyone except the royalists and banksters and spivs. But, you know, I don't feel like I have to "own" racists from before I was born. They lived in a different time when there had been no New Deal, and without the New Deal, social progress was just not going to happen with anything like the speed and breadth it has since then. And, of course, it isn't just racism. Note, for example, that while Coates mentions race and gay rights, sexism in general is still so pervasive, so accepted, that it isn't worth the ink. That isn't just Rush Limbaugh and Republican leaders, it's pretty much everyone most of the time. And yet, at the same time, it's pretty clear that Obama's superior poll ratings through the 2012 election season (even before the 47% video went viral), owed a great deal to the GOP's persistent and suicidally stupid sexism in their public performance. We're better than we were because we've had the chance to be better than we were. I don't see much point in talking about the evil psychology of racists as "Fear of the Other" - something liberals supposedly do not suffer from - when it's really pretty universal and sometimes it's not at all bigoted or stupid to fear the Other when, you know, the Other might just be coming to kill you. And much as I know that it's very satisfying to see headlines about a "study" that says something about how conservatives are intellectually or morally inferior to liberals, I can't help feeling that it's juvenile to harp on it and maybe a bit stupid to be suckered by this kind of categorization. The simple fact of the matter is that we are all conservative to the extent that we don't want to see the good stuff around us bulldozed to benefit someone else who doesn't care that they are taking something valuable away from us (forests, jobs, Social Security), and we're all "progressive" when there seems to be a real possibility that we can see of making our lives better. What we need to pay attention to is that there really are powerful people who have an interest in making sure we can't tell the difference between the bulldozer and the good stuff, and one of their best weapons is telling us we are all too different from each other to ever make common cause.

The proposal to expand social insurance is making real inroads, and Elite conventional wisdom is losing on Social Security.

Nothing seems to be able to stop Obama's drive to wreck the economy with his Grand Bargain, and nothing stops people from going on TV and lying about how sucking more money out of the economy will create "growth".
Nice clip of Chris Hayes explaining what Max Baucus leaving elective office means, what his "centrism" means, and what "the center" really is - it's the center of power.
Fun floor speech in favor of gay marriage in the NZ parliament.

"A left-right populist alliance against the big banks? This week, Sens. Sherrod Brown and David Vitter are introducing a bill designed to make failure by the big banks less likely, in order to defend our economic system from another 2008-style meltdown. As the two senators put it, the measure would 'ensure that all banks have proper capital reserves to back up their sometimes risky practices - so that taxpayers don't have to,' while requiring that the largest banks 'have the most equity, as they should.'"

It doesn't matter how many times terrorists tell us they are attacking us because we are bombing the hell out of their homes, there is still this fantasy about how "they hate us for our freedoms" and they have this weird religion where it's okay to bomb the hell out of other people's homes. And Glenn Greenwald talked to Bill Moyers about how we've become used to living in a state of fear.

Dean Baker did a nice job of unpacking that NYT story about Denmark, where they editorialized against it in a "news" story. The only problem is, Denmark does seem to have already started "tweaking" the system, having apparently picked up the same right-wing fever over poor people being too rich. As we have seen in America and Britain, such "reforms" do have the long-term effect of eventually weakening the economy as a whole. (Thanks to Nihil Obstet for the tip in comments below.)

"Bradley Manning is off limits at SF Gay Pride parade, but corporate sleaze is embraced." Sometimes the "gay movement" can be such a bunch of straights.

Guantanamo is back in the news again, and The Talking Dog took the opportunity to do another interview with a Gitmo lawyer, Patricia Bronte, "a civil rights attorney in Chicago, and represents two Guantanamo detainees (Musa'ab al Madhwani and Saad al Qahtani). She is also one of the signatories to a recent letter by dozens of habeas lawyers to Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, asking for his intervention concerning the recent events at Guantanamo, including a growing hunger strike among detainees."

Sometimes it's not an accident when a "study" result is conveniently wrong.

Matt Yglesias is sounding like a centrist sociopath.

On The Majority Report:
Robert Greenwald talked to Sam about his new film and The War on Whistleblowers.
Jeremy Scahill discussed his book Dirty Wars: The World is a Battlefield. Scahill had some interesting analysis of how Obama got sucked into the thinking of the crazies who have been running American foreign policy.

Jeffrey Sachs is breaking with the establishment. Well, he's still in it, he's still part of the elite neo-liberal brain trust - but he's now speaking out on the pathology and condemning the repeal of Glass-Steagall and the pathological greed and corruption of Wall Street. That's a big deal. (Video with transcript.)

The feel-good story of the week starts when a student protests the presence of an anti-sex wingnut as a speaker at her school and her principle, who brought the lying anti-sex creep there to try to terrorize the students, tries to retaliate with threats to the student, asking how she'd like it if he warned the college where she'd been accepted that she was someone of "bad character". By the time I saw the story at Gawker, Wellesley College had tweeted their response: "Katelyn Campbell, #Wellesley is excited to welcome you this fall.," linking to the original story. Gawker also told us, "And things may get worse still for Aulenbacher: Students plan to bring up his actions at a local board of education meeting taking place tonight."

The police aren't there to protect YOU: "Norristown is not alone. Cities and towns across the United States have similar laws, sometimes referred to as "nuisance ordinances" or "crime-free ordinances." We represented a domestic violence victim in Illinois, who after years of experiencing abuse, decided to reach out to the police for the first time. The police charged her husband with domestic battery and resisting arrest. Yet only a few days later, the police department sent her landlord a notice, instructing the landlord to evict the victim under the local ordinance based on the arrest. The message was clear: calling the police leads to homelessness."

"Why I'm stepping down as a GP over NHS 'reforms' [...] I am proud to have been an NHS GP. I believe the way a society delivers its healthcare defines the values and nature of that society. In the US, healthcare is not primarily about looking after the nation's health but a huge multi-company, money-making machine which makes some people extremely rich but neglects millions of its citizens. We are being dragged into that machine and I want no part in it. The politicians responsible for this must live with their consciences, as it is the greatest failure of democracy in my lifetime."

"Terry Pratchett's Discworld Might Be The Highest Form of Literature on the Planet."

Iain Banks returns from honeymoon, posts new message.

This news story is silly, but somehow I couldn't resist.

Couldn't resist this picture, either.

Portraits of Men

The art of Diane Millsap

Mark Evanier has posted video of an interview with Woody Allen from when he came to Britain to promote Bananas.


  1. On Matt Yglesias and the other centrist sociopaths -- I wonder when they'll discover this great economic plan developed by Jonathon Swift in the 18th century. There just wasn't real support for its implementation back then, but if it were published today, our economic and political establishment would hail it as bold new thinking that the silly left should quit being all moralistic about.

  2. The graphic nicely sums up why I no longer "teach". Though I do have "students".

    Our schools don't teach, they indoctrinate. We don't graduate critical thinkers, we certify drones sufficiently literate to perform the task at hand yet just braindead enough not to question why, or what are the consequences upon the seventh generation. As a retired college instructor I indict not only the K12, but the entire system, which today joins the church and pornography, joins seemingly innocuous community organizationes and the Ambien, Prozac, Viagra and crotch-shots on Fox/CNN Kool-Aid as the third leg of the Corporatist (Fascist) domination of the masses.

    Somewhere out there Goebbels and his buddies are rolling on the floor laughing their asses off.

    No fear.

    1. The Infidel of the Roundup over @ Crooks & Liars this morning links to a BQ Brew look at the corporate colonization of public schools. Floyd, of Pink, called that ball.

      Viewed from this mountaintop it's all really rather humorous.

      No fear.

  3. Link to Iain Banks doesn't work.

    That article by Yglesias was simply weird. Sure, Bangladesh is poorer than the US and will have inferior physical plant. But most safety is free, the result of good planning and proper training rather than capital investment.

    What Bangladesh--not to mention the US--needs is greater worker power. That ultimately flows from an excess of demand for, over supply of, labor.

  4. And much as I know that it's very satisfying to see headlines about a "study" that says something about how conservatives are intellectually or morally inferior to liberals, I can't help feeling that it's juvenile to harp on it and maybe a bit stupid to be suckered by this kind of categorization.

    Thank you.

    1. EYaw, it is pretty chicken-shit, pretty "morally inferior" to pick on dumb-fucks. Brass tacks, ones and zeros it's bullying. Nerd Bullies, but bullies never-the-less.

      The verbal (and physical) abuse I have suffered is moot in the generally accepted venicular.

      No fear.

  5. "sexism in general is still so pervasive, so accepted, that it isn't worth the ink"

    Well, I've got some ink to show how sexist our society is. For instance, even though men are only 56% of victims of violent crime, and 80% of victims of murder, some people didn't see the need for the Violence Against Women Act to be passed a second time! Despite the fact that an American woman's average life expectancy is only five years longer than a man's, there are multiple federal agencies for women's health but none for men's! And a mere 57% of US college students are women, compared to a whopping 43% who are men!

  6. Replies
    1. Funny! Worth reading just for the opening sentence.

      Matthew Yglesias—a Norelco marketing experiment to see if a hand-drawn Sharpie beard on a peeled potato could sell men's earrings—wrote a morally and intellectually odious article at his second job yesterday. His Slate column, "Different Places Have Different Safety Rules and That's OK," addressed the deaths of 161 workers in a factory collapse in Bangladesh with the tone they so richly deserved: bored.

      First time I've seen that site. Thanks for the link.

  7. Re: Yglesias -- Inside the Beltway is also inside the biggest imperial war-making machine on the planet. You can see why liberals start to feel they have to sound "tough-minded" to even be heard in such a place, but it's still ugly to see. "Our lives are worth more than your lives" -- pretty much sums up imperialism.