Daily Topics - Tuesday - April 20th 2010
"Only when the last tree has died and the last river been poisoned and the last fish been caught will we realise we cannot eat money." ~Cree Indian Proverb
Hour One - Are teabaggers, the media and people like Michelle Bachman and Sarah Palin moving the country so far right that it's dangerous to democracy?
Mark K: I have said here that my principle concern about Thom’s arguments about free trade—besides being reduced to overly simplistic talking points—is the slight hint of race creeping in, and we have already talked about the effect of inflammatory speech. Why is it that we never talk about our massive trade deficits with Canada and Europe as a whole? Is it because in the minds of many every problem does in some fashion, no matter how tenuous, boil down to race?
I also heard Amy Goodman’s conversation with Charles Bowden over the weekend; I suspect that the character of this conversation was much different than the one Thom had with Bowden. In regard to free trade, Bowden was far more critical of its effect on Mexico’s impoverished than he was of that “sucking sound” that Americans like to whine about. Jobs that are going to Mexico are generally in response to American manufacturers inability to compete with cheap Asian-made goods, not to any sinister plan concocted by the Mexicans. There is also an inherent contradiction in the anti-Mexican rhetoric on the jobs front: if in fact so many jobs were being lost to Mexico, then why has the number of undocumented workers in this country rise so dramatically since NAFTA was passed?
It can’t be because of all those jobs allegedly being sucked into Mexico. That “problem” is clearly overstated, or not put into context. What we do know is that after NAFTA was passed, 22 million more jobs were created during the Clinton years, and millions of undocumented workers who couldn’t find all those jobs going to Mexico went north (nobody knows the true extent of unemployment in Mexico, since at least a quarter of the economy is “informal”). But they first had to abandon their farms to go to the cities in search of these alleged jobs, because competition from American produce made making a living untenable for many impoverished Mexican farmers. Someone needs to stop with this self-pitying attitude; after all, we are still the bully on the block.
I don't think Palin/Bachman are moving the country to the right. I think they're drawing out the closeted bigots that have been here the whole time.
....I don’t know if I should be mortified to confess that since childhood I have been a Stooge fanatic, but I’m not (mortified, that is). After all those incomprehensible repackagings of a half dozen shorts each, Sony Pictures finally got it right by releasing a multi-volume DVD set of all the Three Stooges shorts in chronological order; pocketbook issues prevented me from indulging myself beyond the 1934-1945 all-Curly stuff, but 24 hours non-stop worth of shorts is “Moe” than sufficient to “nyuk” myself out.
But I didn’t really want to talk about that, or those arrogant knuckleheads employed by United Airlines. I once found a pay stub of one of these people on the ground; they get paid that much for sitting around, occasionally getting off their fundaments to yell out some harassing comment at us? I think I get their real problem: it drives them nuts to see that you don’t have to be white and swell-headed to do what they do just as well.
Now it’s time to get to the point of this post. Not all of the Stooges’ shorts were good; some were dumb as dumb is. But at least you always got what you were expecting to get—the moronic logic, the head bops, the eye-pokes, the stomach punches. Rather dispiritingly, it appears that the Obama administration does not want anyone to know what we will be getting with Justice Stevens’ replacement on the Supreme Court. The frontrunner appears to be Elena Kagan, who what little we know of her judicial philosophy seems to have something to disturb just about everyone. Since everyone knows so little about her philosophy, things like the recent “outing” in a CBS blog can easily be magnified by a factor of ten by the Republican base, while Kagan’s apparent support of some of the worst abuses by the Bush “war on terror” has some on the left discombobulated. The Republicans will attack anything that moves or breaths if it has anything to do with the Democrats anyways, but the left should be afraid of getting bopped, poked or punched by another depressing “compromise” move by Obama without any real pay-off.
Since Obama is going to get a fight no matter who he chooses, why not pick an intellectual heavyweight from the left who will, if not receive the support of Republicans, will by superior moral and ethical force be a challenge to any Republican who wants to score political points attacking him or her—and be a real counterweight on the court who will occasionally wake-up Justice Kennedy out of his philosophical slumbers? But if Obama wants to play it safe, he will merely be a stooge.
Aren't there laws prohibiting incitement to riot, and do not these laws apply to all Americans, rather they're KKK/Neo Nazi members or Congressmen/Congresswomen?
I can tolerate hate groups being allowed to wallow in hate, but when you encourage violent actions you're an accessory to the action. Much like Charlie Manson was guilty of murder, not because he wielded a knife or gun, but because he encouraged and ordered his followers to commit murder.
Does anyone else appreciate the irony of the man who presides over what amounts to an hour-long version of the "2 minutes hate" invoking the image of Big Brother?
mstaggerlee, here's a simple sound bite/bumper sticker for the simple people to understand: "Glen Beck is a Hypocrit"
mstaggerlee, btw you can replace the name Glen Beck, with just about any fox commentator or neo con... works the same.
They preach that others who think and live differently are not only wrong but Evil in God's eyes - to me that IS dangerous. They think their God gave them the Earth to rape - which will be dangerous for us all in the end.
These are the same people who feel like their religious convictions make them able to decide what is normal and good for everyone, while usually only living with/in hate and not in love of their God. This "we know/llive best" strain of hateful thinking has been used against the Native Americans, Jewish people, Gay/Lesbians - ETC. Now it has morphed into the angry white Christians hating a government that they feel incorporates elements of these "evil" people. What they don't realize is that they have a false paradigm to begin with. When you knock down their carefully crafted house of cards, all they are left with is their irrational hate. America is strong Because of our rich diversity! I think that Palin (Limbaugh etc) encourages the continued ignorance and hate of our differences - the language the Tea Party uses even envokes violence in the mind!
Reload, kill the bill, - and the ever popular "The tree of Liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots" Which is a great quote from Thomas Jefferson until you realize that it has been twisted (and in my opinion appropriated) by crazed admirers of the terrorist Tim McVeigh. (He wore this on quote his back while murdering Americans.) So why do so many of the tea baggers use this quote?! Also, what is with the cold-war era anti-communist people? Do they know what year it actually is? As a younger "mixed-race" American woman who considers herself progressive - I feel somewhat assaulted just by the false information they constantly feed into our culture - besides the obvious green light to violence they seem to have. I think these people have real anger and very little information - and that is being fed and focused by very well known hate speakers.
I am currently reading Richard Clarke's book, "Breakpoint." I can only read about a chapter at a time --- it is alot to think about (and it does scare me.) It would be SO easy to take down this country by taking out poorly-defended coastal internet routers, which connect the U.S. to the rest of the world.
This is so frightening because it is so plausible.
Thom, don't forget the early formation of the Freikorps groups that formed right after WWI prior to the NDASP and Thul Society collaboration. Freikorps = Militia (for the most part). These groups were the backbone for a lot of right wing political coups in the early '20's.
It absolutely amazes me that people actually listen to that garbage (Michael Savage and company)! It's very harsh on an energetic level. When I listen to it, I feel like I've been assaulted.
And it's not just the message. It's the method. If Thom spoke his message in the same manner, I would be just as turned off.
@Mark K -
re: Jobs that are going to Mexico are generally in response to American manufacturers inability to compete with cheap Asian-made goods, not to any sinister plan concocted by the Mexicans.
Did Thom, or anybody in this venue, say that it WAS an evil Mexican plan? Can't say that I've heard that sort of thing from ANYBODY anywhere near the CENTER, let alone the left. (Pay no attention to the goons on the right - they've given up on stuff like "logic", and all that other liberal claptrap).
re: Is it because in the minds of many every problem does in some fashion, no matter how tenuous, boil down to race?
For some, no dobt, it does - BUT NOT TO THE FOLKS IN HERE! Mark, my friend, I often think that you look for a racial bent where none necessarily exists. If American manufacturing jobs are vanishing because China makes prison labor available to manufacturers, would a tarrif on goods manufactured in China be "racist"? Would your opinion about that change if YOU were Chinese?
Is nationalism, of necessity, racism in reverse? I don't think so.
I know there is a lot of fear cropping up about the similarities between the Nazi's in the '20's and Today's Tea Party, but one of the biggest differences between Germany then and America now is this, Germany had the collective boot of vengeful allies at its neck, whereas America does not.
Germany had vegence on its agenda, (much like France had pre-WWI over Alsace-Loraine). America doesn't have the united cause, it just doesn't.
@Wendy, I completely agree with your comment... in fact its why I rarely if ever listen to Rhodes and Maloy, I agree with their political veiw, but their method is grating (to me).
@Maxrot I'm not a Randi Rhodes fan, but Mike Malloy is great for when I want to vent. When it all gets to be too much, Mike Malloy provides a good outlet. But, like you, I can't listen to him on a daily basis. I prefer a much more positive environment. Glad to see you do too. =)
I really appreciate your Nazis in the 20s and today's tea parties comment --- it is hopeful.
BTW, I thought today'sTom Toles political cartoon ("Hedge Fun") was funny*:
*I always remind myself that humor = tragedy + timing!
@Wendy, I'm certain there are many progressives that do like the style of Rhodes and Maloy. I think its a wonderful sign that there is such a diversity of progressive talkers, that I can identify the ones I like vs. the ones I don't. Much better than just one monolithic voice droning on and on until you just tune out.
@Nels - Somehow, I find Beck worse than the rest. He combines the worst aspects of all the other neocon pundits with the revival-tent preachiness of a Jimmy Swaggart, and the combination is frighteningly effective when applied to his particular audience. Limbaugh and the rest at least make some pretense of speaking on the level of the intellect (what KIND of "intellect" that might be is so far open to debate that we can't even begin to address it here, but I think you know what I mean). Beck is TOTALLY about emotional appeal. Logic be damned, don'tch'a see the swastika on the blackboard??!!
There might not a conspiracy to teach kids that the Earth might be in trouble - but (to state the obvious) there's a strong conspiracy to say the Earth isn't.
If you can't get to the Tom Toles cartoon with the above link I posted, try this and click on the first link:
@Maxrot - Absolutely!!
@ Wendy, Nels -
Funny - I find Randi VERY enjoyable. Yes, I occasionally get a bit upset with her, especially when she takes a caller's initial point incorrectly, and spends the remainder of the call trying to overshout him, but NOBODY, IMHO, puts more effort into research and show prep.
Tell ya what, guys - DON'T listen to her show, but subscribe to her newsletter anyway - you'll find more links to really prime debunks for neocon talking points in one of her newsletters than you will in a month on this blog.
@Quark, I guess this will not be a good comment for you to dwell on. America may be heading the way of the Ottoman Empire did prior to WWI, in which massacres of certain groups of its citizens was not all that uncommon. The Armenian genocide did not start during WWI, it started well before that, some notable events can be found in the 1800's up to WWI.
These are the historical accounts Thom should be comparing the current environment to. He should also review the Balkans in the same time period. There was a lot of atrocities being committed in these areas that were all but sanctioned by the local and national governments.
I understand what Thom is talking about, but it seems that he's drawing his comparisons from the wrong thread of history. The era of WWI, prior, during and afterwards is very illuminating, its a shame most people know little to anything about it. The more I read, the more I realize I know nothing, yet feel I know more about why the 20th century shaped up the way it did, than most people know about it. The 20th century didn't begin with WWII. WWI really reshaped Europe and the World, and not just its maps.
Jon Stewart's take on "taxing the wealthy":
re: Kerry/s spiel: should our children be afraid of the future? Not necessarily, but we damn well better be afraid for them....
I will give your comment alot of thought. Incidently, I grew up with my mother admonishing me to eat everything on my plate because I should consider the terrible life of "the starving Armenians." She said her mother told HER (when a child) the same thing.
@mstaggerlee, I don't know for me its a toss up between who's the bigger hypocrite, Beck or Palin. Though I guess I can see the argument that Beck is more aware that he's full of crap, whereas Palin is more likely just going along with what her handlers tell her.
I'm in no way trying to slam any other progressive host, I'm just saying some styles don't hold my attention, and I think that's a good thing, because thoses styles are probably appealing to others who don't like the shows I do.
I appreciate the newsletter suggestion, but I don't even find the time to read Thom's newsletter (no offense Thom/Louise, please keep sending the newsletter, rarely I do read it over).
@mstaggerlee - I will give Randi's newsletter a try. I agree that she know her stuff, I just don't prefer her on-air presence, I guess. Thanks for the info!
Quark, the whole Eastern European/Middle East area has tragically been so churned up by religious persecution from at least Roman times, I doubt you could walk more than a mile in the area without there being a story of suffering and oppression to be told about a particular spot (though more than likely most of the stories have been forgotten, conveniently).
"I know there is a lot of fear cropping up about the similarities between the Nazi's in the '20's and Today's Tea Party, but one of the biggest differences between Germany then and America now is this, Germany had the collective boot of vengeful allies at its neck, whereas America does not."
I will agree that the situation in the interwar period in Germany was different in some ways than the situation today, hyperinflation, and after effects of the "war to end all wars," yet the similarities remain ominous.
As we have seen in American communities from New Orleans to Detroit, the Rust Belt's abandoned mills to the vanishing family farms, the average American has seen the promise of a better tomorrow evaporate before than eyes. The idea that children will have a better quality of life than parents is gone, and it is expectations, after all, that fuel resentment.
You also mentioned the German WWI veterans. They certainly endured hell. But we should not deny the very real pain that our own veterans today feel. Timothy McVeigh was one, and if memory serves correctly, one of his tasks in the first Gulf War was to bury Iraqi soldiers alive in their trenches with an armored bulldozer.
Thom, Carrie has a problem with the u.s. defense department and not you or me if she doesn't think global warming is real. Unlike Carrie, the defense department has to live in the real world that deals with facts, empirical evidence and likely scenarios based on that evidence and not on ideology or what someone believes to be true like Carrie does.
Climate Change Seen as Threat to U.S. Security
The changing global climate will pose profound strategic challenges to the United States in coming decades, raising the prospect of military intervention to deal with the effects of violent storms, drought, mass migration and pandemics, military and intelligence analysts say.
Such climate-induced crises could topple governments, feed terrorist movements or destabilize entire regions, say the analysts, experts at the Pentagon and intelligence agencies who for the first time are taking a serious look at the national security implications of climate change.
Recent war games and intelligence studies conclude that over the next 20 to 30 years, vulnerable regions, particularly sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East and South and Southeast Asia, will face the prospect of food shortages, water crises and catastrophic flooding driven by climate change that could demand an American humanitarian relief or military response.
Nels - The format of Randi's newsletter is essentially -
Statement - link. Statement - link. Statement - link.
Or (if you will) - here's what _I_ think is goin' on, and HERE are some FACTS to back up my opinion.
Dry reading indeed - until you find yourself talkin' to a Con. ;-)
Thom should have asked Lukas if she believes in James Watt’s philosophy that a biblical Armageddon is just around the corner, and so there is no point in concerning ourselves about environmental protection. The guy I know who is developing an electric cab, and who is a “common sense” conservative, is apparently the kind of person that Lukas thinks is trying to make money off the global warming “hysteria.” He told me that it is a mistake to try to convince right-wingers about global warming; it makes more sense to talk about the long-term effects that "greenhouse" gases have on human health, and that since oil will eventually run out, there is great money-making potential in getting into the green energy business now, instead of waiting until it is too late.
@Robert S. did you get a chance to review my comments about the parallels to modern America and the Ottoman Empire?
I'm not now, or ever trying to make the comparison between how war experiences are harsher in one war vs. another. Only a soldier that endures his experience can know what was is endured. My comment about the German war veterans was that on top of their PTSD, they also had to endure the blame for the loss and on top of that, there was an enormous percentage of German young men that went through the war and returned to little to do but join a Freikorp group or Communist group, socialist group etc... more so because the only thing they wanted was a return the to the comradary of the trenches. Our WWII soldiers had similar issues when they came home, a lot of biker gangs in the '50's began as veterans getting together to ride motorcycles (that's a poor example, but the best I come up with off the top of my head). But even after WWII in Germany their veterans weren't treated as they were at the end of WWI, more so because the Allies didn't kick the country while it was down.
@mstaggerlee, surely you're not expecting me to talk to a Con. I'm an red-headed Irishman, trying to talk sense to an obstinate moron is more than my temper can handle ;-)
My concern about Rhandi is her absolute devotion to the US Military. While I absolutely support the care of our troops and veterans, I deplore the resources expended, the missions endeavored, the "America Uber Alles" approach to foreign policy that every administration has exhibited in my lifetime.
My husband's grandfather came to this country from the Ukraine because he was tired of being conscripted to fight by one side or another.
One interesting fact: my father's great uncle, a Jewish Hungarian officer, fought on the German side of WWI...
...and a good example, biker gangs, the Hell's Angeles started as WWII fighter pilots...
But, I would not put the folks working on Socialist/Communist labor organizing on the same road as those organizing the Putsch, which it should be recalled were financed by the industrialists in league with the Thule Society.
It is certainly true that WWI (the first conflict over oil) and its aftermath has reverberations that persisit to this day. The breakup of the Ottoman Empire by the allies into fiefdoms controlled by the British and French when the Arab communities were promised self determination is never brought up by those who maintain that Israel the only mideast democracy. Who installed the House of Saud and protected them? Or the Monarchies/Dictatorships in Jordan, Iraq, Egypt, Syria, etc.
The reverberations continue.
And now we've seen swastika banners flying on Los Angeles' City Hall grounds. I'll grant the First Amendment right to their assembly, but to my knowledge, neither the Mayor or City Council have denounced them.
Re: Carrie Lukas segment.
A couple of months ago I was blogging here after the show, when a right winger started going off about the myth of Climate Change. His argument boiled down to "Google it, you'll find support for my point of view everywhere." So I did, discarded all the opinion sites (there's a lot), until I found NASA's report on it, copied the link to the blog and didn't hear from the genius again. My main point to him that this was the official report compiled by the Goverment, an agency that didn't have the luxury of finding it advantageous to find in favor of technology changing the environment. I think I also found some other links to a British agency with similar findings, but I didn't figure he'd accept a foreign source.
My point being, you can find any information you want on whether there is or isn't climate change going on, but rarely (if ever) can you find trusted scientific agencies that deny climate change. Also don't let a Google search complicate an argument, always remember to discard the opinion sites (which are there in force).
That was one of my favorite days on this blog.
Dog fighting ruling;
I just heard about a court ruling (not sure if it was a state supreme court or your 'Supreme Board of Directors') throwing out a conviction on free-speech rights where someone had been selling videos of dog fights. Haven't looked, but just how is it different from kiddie porn?
I'm sure plenty of tea party types are cheering, and I'm not a rabid animal rights activist, but basically someone I see kicking a dog might want to look at the steel toe of my boot before he decides to do it again..
Not couching violence, of course, but let's try a hypothetical..
If some dog fight organizer was caught (is it illegal in only some states?) and let's say he was put in jail with some agressive animal lovers.. Would it be someone's right of free speech to sell videos of that 'punishment'?
Hey, it is film of an illegal act, some might say obscene, what's the difference?
I might just sign up for pay-per-view..
There are generally two ways to become wealthy: steal or let your parents steal and then inherit.
@Quark, fascinating family history. I can certainly understand how that would be an issue there (though until now never considered it).
@Rick in Canadia, where's Canadia? is that a new Disney theme park?
You know that old saying..."Behind every Great Man is a Great Crime."
Well, I'm not the only Canadian named Rick, so I used it a while back and just liked it..
Canadia; home of the Canadians.. ;-) Eh?
Jailing the Banksters;
On Law and Order, they would charge them with negligence leading to suicides..
The show would end before your Supreme Board of Directors set them free..
If you can't jail the owner of the coal mines...
@Robert S. that is an interesting fact about your Uncle, however, prior to WWI, Germany wasn't all that more anti-Semitic than the rest of Europe. Which isn't saying that Germany wasn't rife with Antisemitism then, in fact most of Western Civilization was guilty of it too.
I wasn't putting the veterans that joined the Freikorp/NDASP on the same philosophical level as the ones that joined the Communist/Socialist groups, in fact many of the street fights and local government clashes were between the two extremes. However, both sides were militant. I just don't see America in that much turmoil, heck we're not even to the point we were in the Great Depression, when a government coup was threatening.
I would also have to disagree with WWI being the first war over oil, it wasn't until the advent of the tank that Oil became all important to warfare. The roots of it really goes back to the Franco-Prussian war and the Kaiser's inept handling of diplomacy that allowed France to maneuver treaties with Russia, and Britain along with secret agreements with lesser European States so much so that they could have their war of revenge and reclaim Alsace/Loraine. I have to agree with a scholar who said it best, "WWI was not in the interest of any of the countries that got involved."
@Rick I see. Here in Texas we have "Tex-Mex" i.e. "Donde estan mis tenny shoes?" Also, they used to call Texans (or caucasian US settlers) "Texicans!"
I guess it turned out to be true that one President's ceiling is the next President's floor. even Obama.
re: Edible money... I like chocolate coins... maybe we can make fruit roll up dollar bills. ;-)