Posts Tagged ‘America’

Kenneth Rexroth addressed a conference of Western Writers in 1936 with an essay titled The Function of Poetry and the Role of the Poet in Society. For those not familiar with Rexroth, he was known as an eclectic radical:

A prolific painter and poet by age seventeen, Rexroth traveled through a succession of avant-garde and modernist artistic movements, gaining a reputation as a radical by associating with labor groups and anarchist political communities. He experimented amid Chicago’s “second renaissance” in the early 1920s, explored modernist techniques derived from the European-born “revolution of the word,” played an integral part in the anarchist-pacifist politics and poetic mysticism that pervaded San Francisco’s Bay Area in the 1940s, and affiliated himself with the “Beat Generation” in the mid-1950s.

The essay I’m excerpting for this post comes from a collection edited by Bradford Morrow, called World Outside The Window (New Direction, 1947). Right from the start Rexroth has my attention:

I believe that to a certain extent always, but in modern times especially, the poet, by the very nature of his art, has been an enemy of society, that is, of the privileged and the powerful. He has sometimes been an ally and spokesman of the unprivileged and the weak, where such groups were articulate and organized, otherwise he has waged an individual and unaided war.

Modern times? 1936, to most Americans, is probably ancient history. It is, after all, nearly 80 years ago. But there’s resonance—a 2015, post-modern overlay of that time between the Great Depression and the lead up to world war—that’s unsettling.

Later in the essay Rexroth describes some of the economic pressures on what could be possible if not for the lack of support for the arts:

Vanguard or rear guard, it makes very little difference today. Our most significant poets, whatever limited prestige and reputations they may enjoy, are nonetheless outcasts from this society. We may not all of us be extraordinarily distinguished or considered tremendously significant in the world of letters, but insofar as we are poets, we are enemies of this present society. None of us is in the position of my friend in New York. We either have some non-literary source of income, or we are employed by the WPA, but it is only an accident that we are all not so many Villons. The forces which control much of the world, forces which in America and in California are striving to suppress the democracy and creative freedom we have, have little use for us. They are committed to the belief that the sword is mightier than the pen. We are outcasts in their eyes already. None of us makes a living by poetry, although we think it one of the most important activities man has ever had or could ever hope to have as long as society remains as it is.

We have met to preserve the minimum conditions under which creative work is possible. We have not met to form a literary school or to persuade each other of the advisability of our individual techniques. We have not met to discuss Proletarian art, Surrealism, or heroic couplets. As writers we can make a significant gesture of defiance in the faces of those who are trying to remove America from the civilized world. But alone we cannot do very much else. There is a potential audience of all the producing classes of the West, which obviously we have not reached. We are conscious of the dangers which threaten what civilization we have. It is our job to awaken this audience to these dangers and to ally ourselves with the common people who have already awakened. It is they, not we, who will be the deciding factors in the coming struggle. Any moderately efficient fascist police could in a month silence or exterminate every honest writer in America. But they could not so easily dispose of farmers and workers, the common people upon whom the life of the country depends. It is still possible to rally the American people to the defense of their democracy.

I don’t know, Kenny. I think democracy is gone.

by lizard

I would like to ask every moron who thinks they are championing free speech by going to “The Interview” what they think about some other opportunities to support free speech in America. A decade ago, on the eve of America’s war against Iraq, Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks made some comments in London against the war. Conservatives across the nation threw a collective hissy fit:

In March of 2003, the drumbeat for war in Iraq had reached a fevered pitch. Despite massive protests throughout the world, over 70 percent of Americans supported the invasion. In that month, presidential approval also shot over 70 percent, the highest it would be for the remainder of George W. Bush’s tenure in office. Despite these currents, Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks spoke out during a London show on the eve of the war, saying “Just so you know, we’re on the good side with y’all. We do not want this war, this violence, and we’re ashamed that the president of the United States is from Texas.”

When media reports about the concert got back to the United States, all hell broke loose. Their record sales plummeted, they fell down the Billboard charts and a full scale boycott swept through their largely right-wing country music fan base. Country radio stations across the U.S. pulled them from circulation, with radio network giant Cumulus banning the Dixie Chicks from its more than 250 local stations. Former fans gathered to burn previously-purchased CDs and even, in one media spectacle, crush them with a giant farm tractor.

Unsurprisingly, conservatives welcomed this effort to economically discipline political speech. President Bush himself said of the debacle: “The Dixie Chicks are free to speak their mind. They can say what they want to say … they shouldn’t have their feelings hurt just because some people don’t want to buy their records when they speak out. … Freedom is a two-way street. ”

And how about criticizing the brutal, apartheid state of Israel? Chris Hedges recently found out that those nice University speaking gigs can go south when associating Israel with ISIS. From Mondoweiss:

I had been invited to talk next April 3 at the University of Pennsylvania at a peace conference sponsored by the International Affairs Association, but last week after Truthdig published my column “ISIS—the New Israel” the lecture agency that set up the event received this email from Zachary Michael Belnavis, who is part of the student group:

“We’re sorry to inform you that we don’t think that Chris Hedges would be a suitable fit for our upcoming peace conference. We’re saying this in light of a recent article he’s written in which he compares the organization ISIS to Israel (here’s the article in question). In light of this comparison we don’t believe he would be suitable to a co-existence speaker based on this stance he’s taken.”

Being banned from speaking about the conflict between Israel and Palestine, especially at universities, is familiar to anyone who attempts to challenge the narrative of the Israel lobby.

Here is the offending article. And here is another article by Hedges discussing banning dissent in the name of civility:

Dershowitz has called on Israel to use bulldozers to demolish entire Palestinian villages, rather than individual houses, in retaliation for Palestinian terrorist attacks, although collective punishment violates international law. In another context he defends the use of torture and proposes methods that include shoving a “sterilized needle underneath the nail.” He lambastes as an anti-Semite nearly everyone who has criticized the Israeli state; he once said “there is a special place in hell” for former President Jimmy Carter and that South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu is “one of the most evil men in the world.”

When Dershowitz spoke at Penn in 2012, David Cohen, the chairman of the university board of trustees and executive vice president of Comcast Corp., read to the audience a letter written for the occasion by the school’s president, Amy Gutmann, who was in California at the time. In the letter Gutmann praised Dershowitz and castigated the BDS movement, saying “Penn is blessed to have one of the largest and most active Hillel chapters in the country. And we are unwavering in our support of the Jewish state. Let me say it in the clearest possible words: we do not support the goals of BDS.”

The code word that the Israel lobby and its facilitators at universities use to silence critics is “civility.” Israel supporters are permitted to spout hate and calls for indiscriminate violence against Palestinians. Critics of Israel, however, even if they are careful to denounce violence and not to demonize Jews, are banned in the name of “civility.” It is the height of academic duplicity.

There is a similar duplicity at work within the dynamics of the emerging movement to address police brutality. Protestors are in the streets because black lives don’t seem to matter. The list of names is long, unlike the list of cops held accountable for their actions, even when caught on camera. And while the NYPD is busy fomenting an insurrection against the Mayor, the LAPD is investigating an incident that occurred at a party for a retired LAPD officer where a Jim Croce classic was transformed into an ugly piece of racial incitement:

“Michael Brown learned a lesson
about a messin’ with a bad … police man
And he’s, bad, bad Michael Brown
Baddest thug in the whole darn town
Badder than an ol’ King Kong
Meaner than a junkyard dog
Two men took to fightin’
And Michael punched in through the door
and Michael looked like some old Swiss cheese
His brain was splatter on the floor.”

So cops can say and do whatever they want, but when anger and rage is expressed by non-cops, you better believe arrests will be made. According to CNN, 9 people have been arrested in NYC for “making threats”:

Of the arrests, police said, at least three stemmed from postings made on social media, and at least two came from misdemeanor charges of false report incident, in which the suspects allegedly called 911 reporting threats made by a third party that were later debunked.

One arrest was made after the suspect phoned in a direct threat to 911.

And on Wednesday, a man was arrested on weapons, drug and harassment charges after he was overheard threatening to kill cops while talking on his cell phone inside a bank in Queens, according to the NYPD.
That man is accused of saying on the phone that he was going to kill a cop, and that Brinsley should have killed white police officers, according to a criminal complaint filed in court. The complaint says that when police interviewed the suspect, he elaborated that two white officers should have been killed “if the guy really wanted to send a message.”

In a tweet Thursday, Mayor Bill de Blasio thanked the police department and the civilian who saw something suspicious and acted:

“Thank you to the NYPD officers who today arrested a man who threatened to kill cops, and to the good Samaritan who provided key information.”

So how invested are those moronic movie goers in defending free speech in America? From artists to academics to disgruntled New Yorkers grappling with their wartime police department, speech is banned, marginalized, suppressed and outright criminalized.

It turns out there are different prices to pay for what is allegedly free in America, and that price depends on who has the power. Confused? Here’s a recap.

You can commit war crimes and lie a nation into war with no accountability but if you criticize that war you will be economically punished.

You can talk openly about killing, torturing and sterilizing Arabs and destroying whole villages as collective punishment and still retain an ability to talk to American college kids, but if you point out the depraved nature of the apartheid state of Israel you will be banned from campus.

You can kill black people with impunity if you have a badge and escape indictment nearly every time, even when there is video evidence of the crime, but if you make verbal threats you will be arrested.

Free speech in America, baby. Love it or leave it!

by lizard

An article that first appeared in The Atlantic two years ago seems to be getting some recent attention again. Maybe it’s because the absurd premise of Millennials being The Cheapest Generation keeps warranting derisive reminders that Millennials aren’t buying shit because they’re fucking broke. Instead of acknowledging that, we get crap like this:

In a bid to reverse these trends, General Motors has enlisted the youth-brand consultants at MTV Scratch—a corporate cousin of the TV network responsible for Jersey Shore—to give its vehicles some 20-something edge. “I don’t believe that young buyers don’t care about owning a car,” says John McFarland, GM’s 31-year-old manager of global strategic marketing. “We just think nobody truly understands them yet.” Subaru, meanwhile, is betting that it can appeal to the quirky eco-­conscious individualism that supposedly characterizes this generation. “We’re trying to get the emotional connection correct,” says Doug O’Reilly, a publicist for Subaru. Ford, for its part, continues to push heavily into social media, hoping to more closely match its marketing efforts to the channels that Millennials use and trust the most.

All of these strategies share a few key assumptions: that demand for cars within the Millennial generation is just waiting to be unlocked; that as the economy slowly recovers, today’s young people will eventually want to buy cars as much as their parents and grandparents did; that a finer-tuned appeal to Millennial values can coax them into dealerships.

Perhaps. But what if these assumptions are simply wrong? What if Millennials’ aversion to car-buying isn’t a temporary side effect of the recession, but part of a permanent generational shift in tastes and spending habits? It’s a question that applies not only to cars, but to several other traditional categories of big spending—most notably, housing. And its answer has large implications for the future shape of the economy—and for the speed of recovery.

There should be an entirely different assumption here, but it would be too troubling for the people who want to sell cars and houses: Millennial buying behavior reflects their reality of debt and service-sector job opportunities serving lunch to smug Baby Boomers who were born into opportunity and decided to tear the whole thing apart then blame the kids.

Some of the recent reactions to this article include a post featured on Moyers & Co. by Donovan Ramsey, who has this to say:

It’s not about smart phones, selfies or social media. Millennials aren’t making some of life’s biggest purchases because we’re broke. As James Carville might say, “it’s the economy, stupid.”

Reading the money pages of popular publications as a millennial can be infuriating. Every other article seems to stumble through clumsy speculation about my generation’s financial decisions, as if they’re so mysterious.

A recent article for The Atlantic calls millennials “The Cheapest Generation” and expends more than 2000 words to explain “why Millennials aren’t buying cars or houses, and what that means for the economy.”

“The largest generation in American history might never spend as lavishly as its parents did — nor on the same things,” it reads. “Since the end of World War II, new cars and suburban houses have powered the world’s largest economy and propelled our most impressive recoveries. Millennials may have lost interest in both.”

The word “debt” appears only once throughout the entire piece.

Closer to home, Dan Brooks chimed in with a post pointing out that Christmas is over and work still sucks:

Merry Kristmas, Kombat! kids. The holiday is over, but sloth persists. There is no Combat! blog today, because I need to re-metabolize insulin and do a little paying work. Fortunately, the rest of the internet continues apace. If you’d like to become enraged, the New York Times is hosting a Room For Debate on whether it’s smart for millennials to delay adulthood. Nearly all the respondents acknowledge that young people aren’t getting married and buying houses because the job market is terrible and real estate prices are absurdly high, but they go on to suggest that a generation is opting out of adulthood anyway. While we’re characterizing whole generations, I’m going to say that it’s a very Baby Boomer thing to be born into the best economy in American history, wreck it, and then damn your children for not wanting to own homes and work high-paying jobs. Those of you who like your broad statements a little more quantitative are encouraged to consider the four charts the defined the economy in 2014, including the alarming convergence in assets of the wealthiest .1% of Americans and the “bottom” 90%. Can you believe that 90% of this country opted out of getting rich? Neither can I.

Always the optimists, Zerohedge has a guest post about how we just enjoyed the last Christmas in America and another about the destruction of the Middle Class nearing the final stage. From the first link the author offers a little recent historical perspective on how we’ve gotten through the last few decades with energy and technology:

The economic stagnation, despite various stock market rallies and false starts, essentially lasted 10 years, from 1973 to 1982.

The malaise had a happy ending: huge new oil fields were discovered in Alaska, the North Sea, West Africa and elsewhere, ushering in a renewed era of cheap, abundant petroleum. President Reagan re-set Social Security for a generation and introduced a lower taxes, higher permanent deficits ideology that is now accepted as the only possible way to sustain the Status Quo: deficits don’t matter, even when they reach the trillions, because our good friends the Gulf Oil Exporters and Asian exporters will buy all our debt forever and ever, keeping interest low forever and ever.

(And if they drop the ball, then the Federal Reserve prints money and buys trillions of dollars of Treasury bonds. Sweet! We don’t need any external buyers, just the Federal Reserve creating money out of thin air.)

Then the U.S. created and launched two revolutionary technologies which both created new wealth around the globe: the personal computer (microprocessor and cheap RAM) and the Internet (TCP/IP, Ethernet, and the commercialization of Tim Berners-Lee’s World Wide Web with free browsers) spawning the generation-long boom of the 1980s and 90s.

Those “saves from stagnation” were one-offs; there will be no more supergiant energy finds, nor any equivalents of the Internet expansion cycle.

That’s just an opinion, of course. Maybe the next technological breakthrough will be in energy. I’m still hoping there is some value in this planet that will motivate a more evolved species of extra-terrestrials into intervening because this house of cards can’t stand forever.

The other piece posted at Zerohedge comes from Tom Chatham via Project Chesapeake and does such a great job framing the ongoing financial crisis in a succinct, easy to understand manner that I’m going to repost most of it here:

The events of the past few months seem astounding when taken in all at once. The plan to destroy the U.S. dollar and the American middle class is moving at an ever increasing speed.

At the recent G20 meeting the nations agreed that bank deposits would no longer be considered money. These bank deposits become the property of the banking institution and as such can be used any way the bank wants. This means that any money you deposit in a bank now is no longer yours but makes you an investor in the bank and subject to lose that money if a banking crisis takes down the bank.

The spending bill just passed by congress makes the American taxpayer responsible for any derivatives loses that banks may suffer. These derivative holders now have first priority when any funds are paid out and depositors are relegated to last place. FDIC insurance will have to pay out these funds but it has no where near enough money to pay the more than 300 trillion in losses that will be suffered in a banking crisis. That means any depositor has little hope of getting anything back. In order for depositors to get anything back massive money printing would have to take place making any payout amount to only pennies on the dollar.

And if you don’t think there is any danger of a banking crisis in America you may want to keep in mind that the Treasury Dept. has recently ordered $200k worth of 72 hr emergency kits for dispersion to every major bank in America. These are known by many as bug-out-bags and are used to support individuals when disaster strikes and they have to care for themselves for the first few days of crisis.

New legislation now gives pension plans the ability to cut benefits to pensioners in the future making the future welfare of these people uncertain. They say it is necessary to prevent these funds from going bankrupt. It will “apply to multi-employer pensions, where a group of businesses in the same industry join forces with unions to provide pension coverage for employees. The plans cover some 10 million U.S. workers,” You may be happy to know this will not affect congressional pensions, as long as they are funded by the taxpayers.

The sanctions being placed on Russia are beginning to destabilize the world in many ways. The sudden drop in oil prices will send ripples through many foreign nations and cause an already tense situation to become highly flammable. It seems this is what is wanted to provoke a new world war and hide the complicity of bankers and politicians in the coming destruction of the economy.

For the past few years those elite with knowledge of the coming monetary destruction have been putting their fiat dollars into any hard assets they can find. The recent record prices paid at auction for collectables is just one more indication that those in the know are moving into hard assets as fast as they can to preserve their wealth.

This diversification includes precious metals and land as well. I believe when there are no more metals or suitable properties available for purchase, these entities in control of this game will pull the plug and let everything collapse. Those holding fiat paper, electrons or other paper promises will be devastated as those assets evaporate into thin air.

You may feel some security knowing you have a good job but among the deposits that disappear will be billions in commercial accounts that belong to businesses. When these businesses lose this money, many will likely close destroying many jobs in the process. This will send ripples through the transportation, production and distribution system when it happens. In an economy made up of 70% consumer spending, this will be fast and devastating to those with few resources to fall back on when it happens.

There are three lessons that many people will learn in the coming months. If you do not have it already you may not be able to get it. If you do not have it physically in your hands you do not own it. If you cannot protect it you will not have it for long.

Maybe we should look on the bright side, the terrorists didn’t stop America from watching “The Interview” so good things are happening. And some people, like UM graduate and Obama toadie, Jim Messina, are helping the economy by buying a 2 million dollar house through some anonymous trust.

Kids, if you want to have nice things like your parents, try and be more like Jim Messina.

by lizard

The Missoulian has an article today about a state department program UM’s Mansfield Center has been awarded the past few years. Here’s the description:

Meier, with the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, has measured the University of Montana’s part in hosting the agency’s Professional Fellows Program, and he likes what he’s seen.

“We just awarded a new project next year for UM,” Meier said. “This particular project is focused on five Southeast Asian countries and is part of a broader initiative to boost U.S. engagement in Asia. We anticipate even greater numbers moving forward.”

The Mansfield Center at UM has been awarded the exchange program for each of the past several years. More than 75 professional fellows from five Asian nations have passed through Missoula to explore the state while growing their understanding of U.S. culture.

Whether their stay places them in the office of a local nonprofit, a government agency or a small business, the goal remains the same: to make them stronger leaders and improve the world through person-to-person contact.

“They get a chance to build the skills they can use at home, but also observe American practices and American daily life,” said Meier. “We want someone with a track record that has demonstrated initiative and leadership through the work they’ve done.”

So, the Mansfield Center is helping the Obama regime pivot to Asia by inviting “professional fellows” to absorb U.S. culture. What aspects of our culture will they explore first? Allow me, dear fellows, to make some suggestions.

Downtown Missoula is a wonderful place to drink alcohol to excess. Start downtown on a Friday night, but beware of a few things. Places like the Bodega and Stockman’s feature a subculture known by the slang term “bros“. Here is how the urban dictionary defines this subculture:

Obnoxious partying males who are often seen at college parties. When they aren’t making an ass of themselves they usually just stand around holding a red plastic cup waiting for something exciting to happen so they can scream something that demonstrates how much they enjoy partying. Nearly everyone in a fraternity is a bro but there are also many bros who are not in a fraternity. They often wear a rugby shirt and a baseball cap. It is not uncommon for them to have spiked hair with frosted tips.

If you are a female Asian fellow, it’s important to be aware that this subculture has aggressive mating rituals that relies on alcohol (and sometimes drugs) to prepare their victims mates for non-consensual sex, commonly referred to as “rape”. If you happen to become a target of one of these animals, your options for legal recourse may be lacking. Why? Because it’s your fault, as a woman, for doing things like wearing clothes that don’t totally obscure your female form, or making eye contact, or engaging in casual conversation. If you’ve had any alcohol to drink, then you definitely asked for it. So be careful, this is rape culture.

While you’re out and about trying to avoid getting raped by bros, another subculture may pique your interest: transients. Despite being an inaccurate term to describe chronically homeless individuals (don’t tell the Missoulian) these people are seen as threats to businesses downtown, even the bars who get bros drunk and rapey lament that their patrons are harassed by these societal outcasts. Instead of acknowledging the extreme lack of treatment options and the national joke that is our health care system, our city leaders passed (then reconsidered after threats of a lawsuit by the ACLU) ordinances banning sitting on sidewalks.

Creating criminals is something America is really good at. This is prison culture, and one area where America truly is exceptional:

The United States incarcerates more people than any other country in the world—more even than China or Russia. In fact, more people are in prisons in the United States than in all other developed countries combined. Professor Daniel J. D’Amico explains that as of 2010 over 1.6 million people were serving jail sentences in America.

Let’s say you make it through a Friday night without getting raped and/or giving all your money to panhandling transients. If it’s late spring, summer, or early fall, then you can experience Missoula’s various markets, where all kinds of locally grown/harvested food and locally made crafts can be purchased. Breath in the mingling aromas and watch hipsters mingle with aging hippies while kids run around having a blast.

Food and drink are at the heart of any culture, so what better way to learn about America? But don’t be mistaken, the delicious local fare found at outdoor markets and stores like The Good Food Store are not inexpensive. If you’re poor in America, where austerity keeps nibbling away at programs like SNAP, you eat whatever you can get.

In America, when it comes to food, corporate culture seeks ever-increasing control of the food supply. Corporations like Monsanto have patented their genetically modified food products and spend millions to keep information about their products from making it onto labels so consumers know what they’re buying. Currently their efforts are focused on ballot measures in Colorado and Oregon.

In Missoula, the water we humans need to live is controlled by the Carlyle Group. The link is to wikipedia, so just surface level. What lurks beneath, though, is a rabbit hole of intrigue that segues into another subculture, conspiracy culture.

To wrap up this little foray into American subcultures, all you need to know about conspiracy culture is the people who entertain possibilities outside the mainstream herding of corporate media are easily marginalized through the use of the pejorative term, conspiracy theory. To avoid the mockery and ridicule that accompanies the deployment of the CT pejorative, simply avoid any topic that has been mentioned by Alex Jones.

Welcome to America!!!

by lizard

Over 130 people have been killed as militants battle for control of Benghazi:

Heavy fighting flared on Sunday between Libya’s army and Islamist militias apparently trying retake one of their largest camps in the eastern city of Benghazi, military officials said.

At least 130 people have been killed in the past 10 days during street fighting in Libya’s second-largest city — part of a wider picture of chaos gripping the major oil producer three years after the downfall and death of Muammar Gaddafi.

Don Pogreba did make a little appearance in last week’s post about Libya as another example of Imperialism run amok, but it wasn’t to admit he was wrong. Instead it was to counter another commenter calling him out for his subsequent silence now that Libya is the failed state critics like me warned about:

Wow, I’m responsible for ISIS? I didn’t realize how much my blog mattered. Thanks, guys, for the affirmation of my importance.

JC certainly isn’t blocked at my blog, by the way, despite his repeated untrue claims that he is. You’ll find ample evidence of me being censored when I question his posts here, though. Does that mean he’s responsible for ISIS, too? Ebola? The disappointing final season of How I Married Your Mother?

I’ll admit I lack your sophistication to understand the nuances of blame. I look forward to being enlightened.

Well Don, let me try to enlighten you.

50 years ago America became involved in a little war in Vietnam. By late winter, 1968, it was becoming increasingly clear that America wasn’t doing so great. One quote from a US official after a village was decimated encapsulated the insanity engulfing the cheerleaders of that disastrous conflagration:

On February 7, 1968, American bombs, rockets and napalm obliterated much of the South Vietnamese town of Ben Tre — killing hundreds of civilians who lived there.

Later that day, an unidentified American officer gave Associated Press reporter Peter Arnett a memorable explanation for the destruction.

Arnett used it in the opening of the story he wrote:

“It became necessary to destroy the town to save it,” a U.S. major said Wednesday.

He was talking about the grim decision that allied commanders made when Viet Cong attackers overran most of this Mekong Delta city 45 miles southwest of Saigon. They decided that regardless of civilian casualties they must bomb and shell the once placid river city of 35,000 to rout the Viet Cong forces.

Sadly, not much has changed in 50 years. After half a century America remains a nation of brainwashed exceptionalists deferring to deranged political leaders still fighting a cold war with Russia.

Here is another quote from an article today by Norman Pollack, titled One-Sided Cold War. It’s the opening paragraph of the article, and does a good job of describing our current predicament with regard to reigniting a global showdown with Russia:

America’s shrill, expanding demonization of Putin, Obama now equating Russia and Ebola as paired dangers in the modern world, follows from its ideological-structural matrix of decline as the unilateral military-economic leader of the international order. Decaying societies don’t fare well in global history, especially when the inner rot of the political culture erodes the foundations of reason, moral principles, and humaneness, precisely where America now finds itself. The inner rot is not merely capitalism per se, although that gets it off to a good start because in practice characterized by petrifaction in the face of challenge and dissenting opinion, but capitalism as it presently exists in America, where the fear of social transformation (i.e., anything which jeopardizes the power of ruling groups, questions Authority, or otherwise destabilizes class relations) has yielded systemic militarization to keep capitalism on pace and secure. And even the militarization of capitalism, generally adequate to normalizing conditions of fascism, emergent or full-blown, in America has a particularity distinguishing the society from all others: its fusion of Exceptionalism and counterrevolution (each needed to sustain the other) dressed up in the language of liberal or humanitarian intervention in world affairs.

For those looking for a little Monday morning enlightenment, there you go.

by lizard

If fear makes people stupid, then Americans are probably the stupidest people on the planet. Stupid enough to still believe Saddam Hussein was behind 9/11 six years after invading and occupying Iraq? Yep:

Sociologists at the University of North Carolina and Northwestern University examined an earlier case of deep commitment to the inaccurate: the belief, among many conservatives who voted for George W. Bush in 2004, that Saddam Hussein was at least partly responsible for the attacks on 9/11.

Of 49 people included in the study who believed in such a connection, only one shed the certainty when presented with prevailing evidence that it wasn’t true.

The rest came up with an array of justifications for ignoring, discounting or simply disagreeing with contrary evidence — even when it came from President Bush himself.

Of our two worthless political parties, I think it’s safe to say Republicans are way better at scaring themselves stupid. Here are some of the ways 48 stupid people were able to insulate themselves from the reality that America went to war in Iraq based on lies:

By the time the interviews were conducted, just before the 2004 election, the Bush Administration was no longer muddling a link between al-Qaeda and the Iraq war. The researchers chose the topic because, unlike other questions in politics, it had a correct answer.

Subjects were presented during one-on-one interviews with a newspaper clip of this Bush quote: “This administration never said that the 9/11 attacks were orchestrated between Saddam and al-Qaeda.”

The Sept. 11 Commission, too, found no such link, the subjects were told.

“Well, I bet they say that the commission didn’t have any proof of it,” one subject responded, “but I guess we still can have our opinions and feel that way even though they say that.”

Reasoned another: “Saddam, I can’t judge if he did what he’s being accused of, but if Bush thinks he did it, then he did it.”

Others declined to engage the information at all. Most curious to the researchers were the respondents who reasoned that Saddam must have been connected to Sept. 11, because why else would the Bush Administration have gone to war in Iraq?

The desire to believe this was more powerful, according to the researchers, than any active campaign to plant the idea.

Fear is of course used by both political parties. Democrats, for example, don’t have a lot to offer these days except fear of Republicans. But Democrats are way behind when it comes to exploiting fear for political gain. When it comes to using fear, Republicans are number 1, as evidenced by the merging of ISIS and ebola into one of the stupidest alleged threats facing America:

A Republican senator says he sees the threat of ISIS militants intentionally infecting themselves with the Ebola virus and then traveling to America as a “real and present danger.”

“Well, it’s certainly something I’ve been thinking about ever since this Ebola outbreak started,” Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin said Wednesday of ISIS using Ebola on America’s Forum on NewsmaxTV.

NewsMaxTV cited Al Shimkus, a professor of national security affairs at the U.S. Naval War College, who said last week that that ISIS fighters could infect themselves with the Ebola virus and then travel to U.S. as a form of biological warfare.

Johnson said America should be preparing to defend ourselves against such a scenario, calling it “a real and present danger.”

“You really don’t even want to think about,” he said. “You really don’t even want to talk about, but we should do everything possible to defend ourselves against that possibility because I think that is a real and present danger.”

In lighit of this idiocy, merely advocating for a travel ban appears tame in comparison, but the outcome will be anything but. Here is a dude at Fox news acknowledging the travel ban would be worthless and possibly dangerous, but then he concludes we should do it anyway:

Fox News medical correspondent Marc Siegel came out in favor of a travel ban Thursday, arguing in the National Review that it would be impossible to enforce, utterly pointless, and potentially dangerous. If that sentence makes no sense, you’re in the same camp as the rest of us.

Siegel conceded the arguments, well-aired but not yet well-believed, that a travel ban would exacerbate the ebola outbreak by making potential carriers harder to trace, not to mention fomenting panic and distrust in the west African countries where the virus festers.

But, Siegel said, “we must worry about our own public psyche here in the United States. If our leaders can’t give us a sense that we are protected, we must achieve it by imposing a ban.”

He concluded:

I’m not convinced medically — I don’t believe that a travel ban against the Ebola-afflicted countries in West Africa will be particularly effective, it may even be counterproductive, and it certainly isn’t coming from the strongest side of what being an American means. But as fear of Ebola and fear of our leaders’ ineptitude grows, I think we must have a ban to patch our battered national psyche.

Stupid, stupid, stupid. But hey, Americans are scared, so let’s do it anyway.

Big Swede—the poster child for Republican, fear-based stupidity—has this comment in the last post:

Travel bans are inevitable. Either as a last minute “save” to at risk Dem incumbents or the threat of multiple lawsuits and costs incurred by Ebola laden air travelers.

Privately or by Governmental decree a couple more Duncans combined with chasing down of numerous passenger lists the flights will stop.

This comment isn’t as stupid as one may think at first glance. The second sentence seemingly acknowledges the travel ban is a political tool to effect political outcomes in the midterm elections, which is absolutely accurate. Sprinkle on some fear of litigation and the potential for travel restrictions does seem to be inevitable.

Unfortunately, stopping flights won’t stop the spread of Ebola. Explaining that to conservatives, though, may be like trying to tell them Saddam Hussein had nothing to do with 9/11.

Is there a fix for stupid? I sure hope so.

by lizard

America is back, bombing Iraq, and now Syria. America is bombing ISIS, and also a quick add-on, the Khorasan Group. C’mon, America, just dust off the nukes, you know, those nukes Obama, the Nobel Peace Prize recipient, wants to spend billions of our tax dollars to modernize.

Last week Congress voted to arm the exhaustively vetted moderate Syrian rebels, then skipped out of town to hit the campaign trail, because that’s really all these pathetic creatures can manage to do. From July to November, Congress put in a vigorous 8 days. From the link:

One vote on war and Congress is apparently all tuckered out.

House leaders announced Thursday that they were cutting their already abbreviated fall session short and sending lawmakers back home – and onto the campaign trail – more than a week early.

The decision came one day after the House approved both President Obama’s request to arm Syrian rebels and a bill that prevents a government shutdown at the end of the month. The House had initially been scheduled to remain in Washington on Friday and during the first week of October, but Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) told members they could leave on Thursday afternoon and wouldn’t be called back until after the November congressional elections.

The Senate is expected to pass both measures on Thursday and leave for the campaign trail by the evening.

Party leaders often shorten the floor schedule ahead of elections to give their members more time to campaign, but this year’s session is brief even under those standards. Including the five-week summer recess, Congress will have been in session for a total of about eight days between the end of July and the middle of November.

I mean, Jesus, how can we put up with this shit?

On Sunday, there were also some nice people who would like to avoid societal suicide, and they came out for a march—400,000 of them. Despite the fact it was mainly a toothless PR stunt, it was still impressive to see the Sunday tv network circle-jerk sessions blackball the event:

The People’s Climate March on Sunday was perhaps the largest climate change protest in history. Hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets of New York City. Celebrities and high-profile politicians were among the marchers. The protest was a huge topic on social media.

All in all, it was a perfect opportunity for some of America’s biggest news organizations to cover the topic of climate change, something that usually gets either ignored or badly handled. For Sunday talk show hosts, there was even a nice political hook, since the march was pegged to a UN summit that President Obama will be attending.

Well, so much for that idea. It seems climate change remains one potentially world-shattering issue that just can’t get any respect on television. No Sunday morning show except MSNBC’s “Up” so much as mentioned climate change, or the march, save for one stray reference on “This Week” by The Nation’s Katrina vanden Heuvel. She pointed out that the march was actually gathering right outside the ABC studios in Lincoln Center where the show is taped.

Congress doing nothing is not new, neither is corporate tv news giving the cold shoulder to climate change as the world burns and floods and storms.

Sad. It didn’t have to be this way.




  • Pages

  • Recent Comments

    Miles on A New Shelter for Vets or an E…
    success rate for In… on Thirty years ago ARCO killed A…
    Warrior for the Lord on The Dark Side of Colorado
    Linda Kelley-Miller on The Dark Side of Colorado
    Dan on A New Shelter for Vets or an E…
    Former Prosecutor Se… on Former Chief Deputy County Att…
    JediPeaceFrog on Montana AG Tim Fox and US Rep.…
  • Recent Posts

  • Blog Stats

    • 1,688,193 hits
  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 2,736 other followers

  • June 2021
    S M T W T F S
     12345
    6789101112
    13141516171819
    20212223242526
    27282930  
  • Categories