Friday, February 25, 2011

Recent blocks...


Anybody seen a Democratic President?

I get it, Obama is on thin ice politically (for which he has largely himself to blame, it might be added). But this milquetoast political cowardice at this stage just isn't going to cut it. Who votes for a weak leader out on the ice in slippers, flopping around getting nowhere, much less helping anyone who's drowning?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Democracy yet to come?

To the defining disease of our time, caused by fundamentalist economic hubris: meet your cure. (More here.)

Scott Walker must resign

Walker incriminates himself, admits to having considered bringing in thugs to taint protests with violence. This is priceless:

via The Other 98%, Mother Jones, FDL, etc. etc.

What's most amusing is Walker's utter lack of surprise at the shit "David Koch" is saying. The conversation is at once less overtly offensive than you might expect and more offensive than ever in the mundanity of the cozy relationships of power it reveals. Also, Walker is unbelievably stupid.

But then that sort of goes without saying for anyone who's been hand-picked for the job of neo-Stalinist Reaganbot.

What's happening in Wisconsin

• In NYTimes-speak.

• In you-tube:

(and more)

• In Kossack

• In teh facebook

• In blog


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Jon Stewart, no longer funny

Our feelings exactly:
...Calls for"civility"are usually just a way to shut people up and sadly, I'm fairly sure that the only people who listen to Stewart are liberals who are getting the idea that it's wrong to get in the streets or call out the other side in rough language. Conservatives just think he's a useful idiot. I find this attitude very perplexing coming from a comedian, especially one who commonly does things which could be perceived as unfair, silly and undignified.

This is why Colbert's satire is so much more effective and, frankly, much braver. His satire is firmly aimed at the right, so he cannot take both sides. That's why it works --- it takes a position. By contrast, I'm increasingly not finding Jon's church-lady finger wagging all that funny, much less cool, and I fast forward though his opening segments more often than not. If I wanted a nightly lecture on proper behavior I'd consult Miss Manners or go to church.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Obama's Budget: "Shared Sacrifice" My Ass

How insulting to everyone's intelligence. The most obvious take-away from Obama's budget is that the poor and middle class have just lost another in a long streak of losing battles in the ongoing class war of the last several decades. And politicians like Obama still have (or rather pretend to have) the naïveté to wonder, why it is so hard to convince the vast majority of our citizens that "big government" isn't the problem, and isn't just another extension of big international greed. The logical explanation for team Obama's political idiocy is to follow the money for 2012, but there is probably a deeper psychological, or biographical element at work as well. Obama is beating himself up to prove a point to the nation, and to Republicans about real sacrifice. He is clearly Jesus, and we just aren't willing to hear him.

Meanwhile John Boehner, Prince of Pork, is still getting his $456 million earmark. And the Rethuglicans still won't be happy until not only are people literally freezing in their houses but their Social Security and Medicare are gambled away just like their mortgages. Congratulations, David and Charles Koch...the America you want is coming to pass. And congratulations to Obama, for holding on to that precious moral high ground.

nb. Keep your eyes on Wisconsin.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is an Anti-Democratic Piece of Shit, cont.

Read all about it....

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Will the wave of democracy in the Middle East ever reach US shores?

Obama today, quoted from DailyKos:
So Brenda and her husband know what they can do without. But they also know what investments are too important to sacrifice. Their daughter, Rachel, is a sophomore in college with a 4.0 grade point average. The tuition is a big expense. But it’s worth it, because it will give her the chance to achieve her dreams. In fact, Brenda is looking for a second job to ensure, as she told me, “the money is there to help Rachel with her future.”

Really? This is where we've landed? In a place where a special-ed teacher from Missouri, with a husband on a half-pay pension, is considering taking on a second job to pay for the tuition of her 4.0 GPA daughter? And the president of the United States is holding this up as a good model? [link added]

Where is the federal student aid for a family like this?

Why isn't investing in our young people up there with investing in all the broadband, clean energy and research? In fact, how can you be investing in research for the future without investing in educating future researchers?

Still, this address today will probably score well with most audiences. Families are struggling, and belt-tightening by government will be welcomed. And at least the president is continuing to push the investment angle, which is certainly not a message that's going to be trumpeted at CPAC or on Fox News this week.

Bob Herbert today:

When the game is rigged in your favor, you win. So despite the worst economic downturn since the Depression, the big corporations are sitting on mountains of cash, the stock markets are up and all is well among the plutocrats. The endlessly egregious Koch brothers, David and Charles, are worth an estimated $35 billion. Yet they seem to feel as though society has treated them unfairly.

As Jane Mayer pointed out in her celebrated New Yorker article, “The Kochs are longtime libertarians who believe in drastically lower personal and corporate taxes, minimal social services for the needy, and much less oversight of industry — especially environmental regulation.” (A good hard look at their air-pollution record would make you sick.)

It’s a perversion of democracy, indeed, when individuals like the Kochs have so much clout while the many millions of ordinary Americans have so little. What the Kochs want is coming to pass. Extend the tax cuts for the rich? No problem. Cut services to the poor, the sick, the young and the disabled? Check. Can we get you anything else, gentlemen?

The Egyptians want to establish a viable democracy, and that’s a long, hard road. Americans are in the mind-bogglingly self-destructive process of letting a real democracy slip away.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Egypt's Future

Well, actions will always speak louder than words, but Obama surely deserves as much credit for nurturing the conditions (with one good speech, especially) hospitable to Egypt's inspiring and now genuinely potential democratic revolution as Reagan ever did for tearing down the Berlin Wall. What happens to Suleiman the torturer sort of remains to be seen, but apparently the military is not pleased with him, and clearly he is reviled by most Egyptians who (rightly) equate him with Mubarak or worse (link via)...DemocracyNow has been streaming live all day, and together with the irreplaceable Al Jazeera (now being broadcast, instead of hunted, by the liberated Egyptian state television!) has been covering, amidst incredibly poignant interviews, what appear for the moment to be various encouraging signs that the working class Egyptian military is prevailing in being serious about real and meaningful reform. Mubarak's assets are allegedly frozen by the Swiss, and should they ever find their rightful way back (with interest) to an Egypt working over the next couple of years toward real independence and social democracy, perhaps they would no longer have to force the poverty of structural adjustment and privatization on their people, not to mention the looting of public money or torturing people at the behest of other countries for a living.

Israel's current rulers of course, with their Medieval Fortress Economy, would rather have a friendly dictator back than dare to dream of true democracy, peace or human prosperity.

One probably cannot overstate the significance of the newfound global self-consciousness, universal courage, resolute peacefulness, humanity eloquence and above all pride of the Egyptian people (and throughout the region, and the world). Let's dare to hope not, at least, beyond the end of this historic day.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Parrhesia in Egypt, and How the US should be standing for universal freedom, but isn't

Real patriots of the United States (as opposed to drum-beating nationalists, or realpolitik bloggers/hobbyists with delusions of self-importance, for whom politics is first and foremost a kind of spectacular soap opera), have every reason to be infuriated with the Obama administration's pathetic series of public statements and ongoing policies regarding Egypt.

Here is the man Obama sends to Egypt. Unfortunately for Obama's meticulously-maintained image campaign, Wisner doesn't mince his words and reveals a little bit too much truth of the situation for comfort.

Here is the man the US currently and openly supports to replace Mubarak, and that only once Mubarak steps down more or less at his own pace. Plus ça change...suffice to say, Suleiman is a well-known US-trained torturer reviled in Egypt, a CIA stooge and all-around bad, bad man, no different than Mubarak with the exception that instead of remaining in a self-imposed protected bubble he actually has real blood on his hands(much more here, also here and here).

As always, the real news (and inspiration) is on ground level with the people. (Much more here.)

If only we had governments around the world capable of acting on their behalf in such moments in true democratic fashion, that is to say, willing to take risks for actual democracy (as opposed to being lapdogs to the violent corporate cycles of rape and repression, with a status quo of mass poverty, unemployment and privatized misery dialed up every new and wondrous "technological breakthrough" moment to make even Reagan's former criminal high finance advisers and thieves blush). Is appeasing Israel, and following the crazed and thoroughly discredited ongoing mandates of Bush's "WAR ON TERROR" really that important to Obama (let alone the vast majority of Americans), such that we in the US must throw all our weight behind the only alternative to Mubarak we still trust to torture people for us, and keep the ministers of high finance assured of some working illusion of order?

If the Egyptian people have demonstrated anything over the past two weeks of caring for one another, and in courageous solidarity against both state brutality and World Bank oppression, it is that they deserve better.

Update: via Huffington:

Part 2
and Part 3.

Hell, even Anderson Cooper seems to have woken the fuck up, after some admirable reporting from the streets and in harm's way (where real reporting used to be done and still is, full-time at least by one of the best remaining genuine news organizations on the planet).

Update II: Also some rag called the NYTimes: Mr. Suleiman’s Empty Promises

Friday, February 04, 2011

Pro-Democracy Christian Protesters, Protecting Muslim Prayers in Egypt

This is an excellent article:
"Revolution is like a love story," said Alaa Al Aswany, the Egyptian novelist whose writings about the hypocrisy of the Egyptian government and the need for free elections have helped inspire the pro-democracy movement. "When you are in love, you become a much better person. And when you are in revolution, you become a much better person."

More seriously

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Social democracy works, Republican lies and class warfare, Harper's Magazine

"The bottom two-thirds of America would be better off in Europe."

New proof that Republicans who blame the poor are wrong, as if any were still needed.

• Harper's Magazine publisher John R. "Rick" MacArthur is apparently a gynormous cunt:

Being dedicated to the survival and well-being of Harper’s Magazine, and hoping to further its 160-year-old tradition of bringing you the very best in journalism, essays, and fiction, we, the members of the Harper's Union, are asking for your help. In 2010, we lost five of our most experienced editors and now are asked to lose two more, including Ben Metcalf, who was a driving force behind the organizing here. We have shown numerous means by which Harper’s Magazine might cut costs and increase revenue without laying off its most skilled and experienced editors, and in particular we have urged the magazine's foundation to raise funds from outside sources. This possibility has been rejected by the labor lawyers representing John R. “Rick” MacArthur, our publisher. They argue that fund-raising takes time, and that there is no time to be wasted in reducing our editorial staff by two union members. We wish to counter this argument by showing Rick MacArthur how much money can be raised in just a few days via the extraordinarily useful medium of the Internet. Please pledge what you can and pass this on, with the assurance that all funds promised here will be offered, in friendship, to the Harper’s Magazine Foundation. If the pledges we garner are refused by the foundation, your generosity will cost you absolutely nothing; if accepted, they will help to sustain America’s oldest, and finest, monthly.