Tags: 9/11, 9/11/01, 9/11/12, adult behavior, bigotry, dick cheney, Egypt, george w. bush, hatred, iraq, Libya, manipulation, politics, terrorism
When I saw the story teaser — “Why Can’t Muslims Remain Calm?” — I was expecting more “they’re subhuman” bullshit that’s popular again after the killings of Christopher Stevens, the American ambassador to Libya, and three members of his staff. The teaser misled me. This is the gist of the author’s argument:
“This week’s events have certainly reminded us that there are Americans who hate Muslims, and there are Muslims who hate Americans. And if friendship between Egypt and the United States is contingent upon no American ever saying anything that will offend the religious sensibilities of Egyptians, then it is time to declare that friendship dead. President Obama can no more control anti-Muslim bigotry in America than President Mohammed Morsi can put a lid on anti-Americanism in his country. But the haters don’t have to win the day. In this, Egyptians (and, more importantly, their political leaders) could take a lesson from the United States.”
While I believe the author is correct that the American government led by President Obama has reacted in a measured way to recent events, he gives Americans too much credit. America only appears to be better behaved.
Just as politicians and political actors in Egypt and Libya are playing on emotions to control power, the Bush/Cheney administration used the emotions of the American people after the attacks of September 11, 2001 to justify what turned out to be an enormously expensive (both in money and lives) yet ultimately failed attempt to move Iraq’s assets into the hands of a small group of people. Americans aren’t marching in the streets, throwing rocks at foreign embassies, but we don’t have to. We outsource the violence. We can — and do — sit comfortably in our Barca loungers while drones drop bombs on the people we hate. Americans are, in the end, no more adult than Egyptians or Libyans. We are just as easily manipulated by those who foment hate as a means to their particular end.
Tags: FedEx, Santa Rosa, US Postal Service
It really annoys me to hear people speak disparagingly of the United States Postal Service. The post office is specifically authorized in Article I, Section 8, Clause 7 of the United States Constitution. It’s worked really well for more than 230 years. If not for the ridiculous budget cuts, Congressional refusal to allow price increases and hamstringing, the Post Office wouldn’t be in the sad condition it’s in today.
What private business is going to deliver a birthday card to your sister who lives across town the day after you drop it in a box for less than $1? Not FedEx. They want $7.65 to deliver a letter across town overnight. FedEx wants almost $12 to get a letter from New England to the West Coast in five days. The United States Postal Service? Forty-five cents.
Charlie Pierce is absolutely right, people didn’t come by their ridiculous complaints about the post office without help:
The entire modern conservative movement consists of an ongoing attempt to sever the relationship of a self-governing people to their government, to break down the concept of a political commonwealth. Many of the conservative attempts to wedge people apart through the use of an Other to be feared and despised — whether that was black people, or empowered women, or immigrants, or gay people — have been framed to attack the government’s attempts to ameliorate discrimination against the groups in question. In modern conservative thought, then, and in the mindset it seeks to ingrain on the people of the country, the government is the ultimate Other.
In doing so, the corporate masters of the conservative movement are good with all of this because they seek a wary, frightened and insecure people. Those people are too cowed to make waves, too spooked to assert their rights as citizens, too confused to demand accountability.
There is a reason why we used to build buildings the way we built the post office in Geneva, with its mural and its marble, and its great arching windows and its Doric entablature. It wasn’t because we were profligate. It was because we considered self-government, for all its faults, to be something precious that belonged to all of us, and that it should be housed in places that looked as though we valued it enough to celebrate it and protect it at the same time. They were monuments we raised to ourselves, because we deserved them.
If you think government is the problem, you haven’t been paying attention.
Tags: #OWS, congress, House of Representatives, politics, US Senate
Tags: #OWS, 1936, 1942, Alfred T. Palmer, defense contractors, Dorothea Lange, food stamps, fraud, historical photograph, politics, USDA, welfare
Hundreds of defense contractors that defrauded the U.S. military received more than $1.1 trillion in Pentagon contracts during the past decade, according to a Department of Defense report prepared for Sen. Bernie Sanders.
USDA’s 15 nutrition assistance programs are the first line of our Nation’s defense against hunger. … In FY 2001, 17.3 million people recipients received a total of $16.0 billion in benefits. In FY 2008, average monthly participation increased to more than 27.7 million people and benefits totaled more than $31.8 billion – an increase of 60 percent in participants and 99 percent in benefits during that period.
Food stamp fraud isn’t people signing up who aren’t eligible, it’s retailers “paying EBT cardholders in cash for half of the value of their food stamp benefits, then pocketing the remainder.” But that is small potatoes compared to what the defense industry is getting away with.
Tags: #OWS, Bibb County, Erick Erickson, Georgia, greed, Macon, Occupy Wall Street, politics, poverty, The Other 99%
It seems to me that those who are bitching about their situation over at Ewick Ewickson’s “We Are the 53%” are bitching about the same things as the Occupy protestors and their supporters. The only difference is, Ewick’s group thinks those making $20,000/year and less are responsible for our economic mess and should just die in a fire, or at least live in fear of their house catching on fire.
It’s pretty rich that Ewick should bitch about having three jobs. His radio job alone pays well enough to comfortably support four families.
The county in Georgia where Ewick lives?
Almost 22% of of his fellow residents have income below the poverty line (the threshold for a single person is $11,161; for a family of four, including two children, $21,756), an increase of almost three percent since the 2000 census. The median household income in Ewick’s home county is $37,367.
Despite not selling the house he bought in 2001 because he would have to take a small loss, Ewick had enough cash laying around to spend over $400,000 on a second house.
The median value of owner-occupied homes where he lives? Approximately $115,000. In fact, 40% of the homes sell for between $50,000 and $100,000.
Ewick is not working two other jobs to put food on his family or a roof on their heads. If he’s so overburdened by his two extra jobs, perhaps he should consider quitting one or both so that someone who is looking for a job can have one. Unemployment in Georgia more than doubled between 2008 and 2011. Almost four out of five of Georgia’s children lives in poverty, one out of five of Georgia’s adults below age 65 lives in poverty. Less than one in ten Georgians over age 65 lives in poverty. Clearly, those old people are living high on the hog and Social Security benefits should be reduced, or at the least raise the retirement age to 70, so we get their numbers more in line with everyone else, so Ewick doesn’t have to pay the same or a higher percentage of his income in taxes than the moochers.
Next time Ewick takes a flight from Georgia to wherever, perhaps he should contemplate how less safe he would be without government regulation of airplane construction, air-traffic controllers, pilots, airlines and government investment in airport infrastructure.
Eliminate all regulations and corporations can completely eliminate reports of airplane crashes. Ewick would have no idea how many passengers the airline operating his flight had killed that week, leaving the “free market” free to kill Ewick.
Since poor people rarely fly, the only hazard to them would be planes falling on their houses. Certainly, a larger number of One Percenters, like Ewick, would be dead from preventable plane crashes, but if they want to live by the “free market” (except, of course, when their businesses fail and they get bailed out by the evil government), they’re going to die by preventable accident.
Let’s hope the other 99% don’t die from starvation or dangerous job conditions or curable disease or cancer caused by environmental pollution before enough of the One Percenters are dead from their beloved unregulated “free market” so that the surviving 99% can reestablish civilization.
Tags: #OWS, Dennis Potter, mass media, monopolies, MSM, politics, Rupert Murdoch, The Singing Detective
Tags: Eric Cantor, John Boehner, Mitch McConnell, politics, Republicans, Tea Party, teabaggers
Tags: america, Benjamin Franklin, democracy, Democrats, imperialism, Margaret Thatcher, mass media, oligarchy, politics, Republicans, Ronald Reagan, Russell Lee
In every way imaginable, the Right opposes both the inclusiveness and expansiveness that characterized the last three centuries of democratic advance. It is not coincidental that its two great avatars, Thatcher and Reagan, confirmed their political position by breaking strikes.
The American polity is foundering in a perfect anti-democratic storm created by, in combination, a depth of inequality that appears unyielding to any prescription and that is maintained by a sclerotic political system; a state that can be mobilized only for self-destructive imperial adventures; a dangerously irrational subset of the citizenry fed toxic propaganda by an hypertrophied mass media; and a financial plutocracy that seems to have outreached all possibilities of containment. If this tendency continues, democracy will become less a contested terrain and more a land of myth and legend.
From Farewell to Democracy? by Philip Green
Tags: abor unions, Charles Mason, Jeremiah Dixon, Maine, Michigan, New Hampshire, politics, rightwing thuggery, Thoma Pynchon, unions, wisconsin, workers rights
Neither has slept well for a Fortnight, amid the house-rocking Ponderosities of commercial Drayage, the Barrels and Sledges rumbling at all Hours over the paving-Stones, the Town on a-hammering and brick-laying itself together about them, the street-sellers’ cries, the unforeseen coalescences of Sailors and Citizens anywhere in the neighboring night to sing Liberty and wreack Mischief, hoofbeats in large numbers passing beneath the Window, the cries of Beasts from the city Shambles, — Philadelphia in the Dark, in an all-night Din Residents may have got accustom’d to, but which seems to the Astronomers, not yet detach’d from the liquid, dutiful lurches of the Packet thro’ th’ October seas, the very Mill of Hell.
“Worse than London by far,” Mason brushing away Bugs, rolling over and over, four sides at five minutes per side, a Goose upon Insomnia’s Spit, uncontrollably humming to himself an idiotic Galop from The Rebel Weaver, which he attended in London just before Departure, instead of Mr. Arne’s Love in a Cottage, which would have been wiser. Smells of wood-smoke, horses, and human sewage blow in the windows, along with the noise. Somewhere down the Street a midnight Church congregation sings with a fervency unknown in Sapperton, or in Bisley, for that matter. He keeps waking with his heart racing, fear in his Bowels, something loud having just ocurr’d … waiting for it to repeat. And as he relaxes, never knowing the precise moment it begins, the infernal deedle ee, deedle ee, deedle-eedle-eedle-dee again.
When I read this passage in Thomas Pynchon’s novel Mason & Dixon (page 292), I shuddered, because I imagine this could well be the kind of life most people in this country will be living again in not too many decades if the “conservative,” anti-education, anti-progress, pro-corporation have their way.
They are willing to not just violate the law but set themselves above it in order to destroy once and for one of the most important founding principles of this country — “all men are created equal” — by denying the rights of working people to a living wage and a safe workplace.
“Pennsylvania Politics? Its name is Simplicity. Religious bodies here cannot be distinguish’d from Political Factions. These are Quaker, Anglican, Presbyterian, German Pietist. Each prevails in its own area of the Province. Till about five years ago, the Presbyterians fought among themselves so fiercely, that despite their great Numbers, they remain’d without much Political Effect, — lately, since the Old and New Lights reach’d their Accommodation, all the other Parties have hasten’d to strike bargains with them as they may, — not least of these the Penns, who tho’ Quaker by ancestry are Anglican in Praxis, — some eve say, Tools of Rome. Mr. Shippen, upon whom you must wait for each penny you’ll spend, is a Presbyterian, the City Variety, quite at ease as a member of the Governor’s Council. As for the Anglicans of Philadelphia, the periodick arrival in Town of traveling ministries such as the Reverend MacClenaghan’s have now split those Folk between traditional Pennites, and Reborns a-dazzle with the New Light, who are more than ready to throw in with the Presbyterians, against the Quakers, — tho’ so far Quakers have been able to act in the Assembly as a body, and prevail, — “
This is what it was like in the 1760s, before the United States Constitution established a barrier — the Founding Fathers thought — between Church and State. Are we going back to this?
Is it already too late to save the dream that America once was?
Tags: Alan Grayson, Bush tax cuts, economic inequality, jobs, unemployment
Give three million Americans a job earning $30,000 a year for ten years, or give the top one percent of income earners enough money to smoke two luxury cigars every day, lit with $100 bills, for ten years.
That is a tough call, isn’t it?