Is the American Dream becoming a Nightmare?

March 27, 2011 at 10:49 am | Posted in civil rights, God machine, Historical, Labor, politics straight up, Reality Bites | Leave a comment
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A view of Ewen Breaker of the Pennsylvania Coal Co. The dust was so dense at times as to obscure the view. This dust penetrates the utmost recesses of the boy's lungs. A kind of slave driver sometimes stands over the boys, prodding or kicking them into obedience. Location: South Pittston, Pennsylvania. 1911 January. Lewis Wickes Hine, photographer. (Library of Congress) (Right click on image to view larger)

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?

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Fantasy Island

October 17, 2009 at 3:47 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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York Beach, Maine.  c1901.  (Library of Congress)

York Beach, Maine. c1901. (Library of Congress)

David Sirota sums it up:

So the notion that Snowe’s vote – or any GOP vote – is inherently pivotal to health care reform is a fantasy created by the Beltway media and the Democratic congressional leadership. The former is desperately trying to manufacture headline-grabbing drama; the latter is looking for a Republican excuse to water down the bill and protect corporate interests – all while absolving Democrats of legislative responsibility.

Megan McArdle: Murder Apologist & Advocate

June 1, 2009 at 6:25 pm | Posted in Bush, God machine, law, terrorism | Leave a comment
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Sand destroying once fertile land. Maine.  Published 1936 May.  Paul Carter, photographer

Sand destroying once fertile land. Maine. Published 1936 May. Paul Carter, photographer

This is absolutely the most disgusting thing I have ever read. That her friends and family don’t shrink back from her in horror brings shame on them.

Megan McArdle spends the first few paragraphs of her response to Ezra Klein explaining how she’s pro-choice. I guess that’s an attempt to give her argument a patina of reasonableness. Her mind-blowing argument is that we should not impinge the terrorists’ ability to terrorize us:

We accept that when the law is powerless, people are entitled to kill in order to prevent other murders–had Tiller whipped out a gun at an elementary school, we would now be applauding his murderer’s actions. In this case, the law was powerless because the law supported late-term abortions. Moreover, that law had been ruled outside the normal political process by the Supreme Court. If you think that someone is committing hundreds of gruesome murders a year, and that the law cannot touch him, what is the moral action? To shrug? Is that what you think of ordinary Germans who ignored Nazi crimes? Is it really much of an excuse to say that, well, most of your neighbors didn’t seem to mind, so you concluded it must be all right? We are not morally required to obey an unjust law. In fact, when the death of innocents is involved, we are required to defy it.

This is what eight years of the lying, skeevy Bush/Cheney cabal has wrought. We now live in a country where torture goes unpunished and murder is not only justified but described as a reasonable response to “an unjust law.”

How is this not a nightmare?

How is this not deeply twisted and anathema to everything this country is supposed to represent?

The mind reels.

UPDATE: Apparently McArdle is channeling Francis Schaeffer, a 1980s advocate of using terrorism to achieve the goal of making abortion illegal.

Wow.

May 6, 2009 at 1:20 pm | Posted in civil rights | Leave a comment
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State capitol building (Maine State House), Augusta, Maine. Plan of octagonal drum.  Drawing by Charles Bulfinch, architect, circa 1829.

State capitol building ("Maine State House"), Augusta, Maine. Plan of octagonal drum. Drawing by Charles Bulfinch, architect, circa 1829.

(BangorDailyNews) Gov. John Baldacci on Wednesday signed a gay marriage bill passed just hours before by the Maine Legislature.

Baldacci made his announcement within an hour of the Maine Senate giving its final approval to LD 1020. The Senate voted 21-13 in favor of the measure after a short debate.

“In the past, I opposed gay marriage while supporting the idea of civil unions,” Governor Baldacci said in a written statement. “I have come to believe that this is a question of fairness and of equal protection under the law, and that a civil union is not equal to civil marriage.”

The House of Representatives gave its approval on a 89-57 vote Tuesday.

This may not be the end of the issue in Maine, however, as it could be brought to a referendum to be decided by voters. Let’s hope that the voters in Maine are as intelligent as their governor.

UPDATE: Sadly, the referendum was defeated.

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