A site devoted to issues of public concern in the area of Burlington, Wisconsin, across the United States, and in the world at large.
Friday, March 26, 2010
Wingnut Watch - Blaming Dems for Threats Against Dems
"As Mankind becomes more liberal, they will be more apt to allow that all those who conduct themselves as worthy members of the community are equally entitled to the protections of civil government. I hope ever to see America among the foremost nations of justice and liberality." - George Washington
A voice from our liberal founding in response to the Hatriots, the Teabaggers, Rush Glenn and the threst of those lashing out like frightened children with bigotry, threats and violence.
A number GOPster leaders have condemned these acts and threats they incited while making excuses for them out of the other side of their mouths and some are actually blaming Democrats for the Rightwing threats and violence, including Eric Cantor (GOPSter - VA) “Democrat lawmakers are feeding the public’s frenzy over the threats by discussing them so openly in the media.”
He also brought up a bullet hole in his office windo and intimated that the Left is doing this too . . . so there! Not so.
For the two wrongs make a right excuse makers: Richmond police say the bullet that hit a window of Republican Virginia Congressman Eric Cantor's office had been randomly fired skyward.
In a news release, Richmond police said that the bullet had been fired into the air early Tuesday. It hit the front window of a building that houses Cantor's campaign office as it fell to back earth at a sharp angle.
I'm sure Mr. Cantor will be issuing a retraction today.
Frum Fired From AEI For Forthrightness
critical of the GOPstructionist (disasterous (for them) handling of healthcare reform and the GOPropagandist stoking of haterd and fear through lies, hyperbole and manipulation David Frum, G.W. Bush's speech writer was shown the door at the American Enterprise Insitute. Apparently they don't consider truth telling to be an "American Enterprise at the institute as AEI demonstrated their illiberality with regard to diversity in view points.
Mr. Frum paid the price for marching out of lockstep with GOPleadership at AEI, EIB and Foxnoose as evidenced by his resignation letter below: http://www.frumforum.com/
This will memorialize our conversation at lunch today. Effective immediately, my position as a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute is terminated. I appreciate the consideration that delays my emptying of my office until after my return from travel next week. Premises will be vacated no later than April 9.
I have had many fruitful years at the American Enterprise Institute, and I do regret this abrupt and unexpected conclusion of our relationship.
Very truly yours,
Thursday, March 25, 2010
Israel is a Democracy?
Graphic and Shocking!
I'll admit, I usually sigh and roll my eyes at any news coming out of Israel/Palestine, it just seems so intractible and futile (then again so did the South African version of apartheid). There's plenty of blame to go around, but the Israeli's hold all the power and I've had it up to here with their intransigent behavior, our media's one-sided coverage and our government's unshakeable one sided support. Not only is it morally wrong, but it's endangering us and our troops (see below).
One of the truisms trotted out all the time is that Israel is the only democracy in the middle-east and our interests are aligned so we must support Israel no matter what. I'll leave the "interests are aligned" thing alone for now. what I question is whether Israel is really a democracy. Israel's population is roughly 7M of which about 2M are Arab citizens who enjoy for the most part equal status with the Jewish citizens, although not entirely. There are about 12M Palestinians and about 7M of those live in the occupied territories (insisde the boundaries on the map above) with the rest being refugies. How can one call a country a democracy where half or more of the people living under it's rule do not have equal rights and no real justice, self government or self determination? It's a huge stretch if you can do it at all. It's more like a little empire and empires NOT democracies. America should not blindly support empires, it's wrong and it's dangerous.
From The Nation Magazine: One of the many platitudes ritually invoked at the annual AIPAC conference is the claim that US and Israeli strategic interests are indivisible. It was repeated again this year, by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, among others, even as the allies struggled to patch up a nasty rift arising from the Netanyahu government's announcement of new settlement construction during Vice President Biden's recent visit to Israel.
But what if the claim isn't true? This year it was challenged from unusual quarters, when Gen. David Petraeus, Centcom commander, told the Senate that the Israel-Palestine conflict-and widespread anger in the Middle East over Washington's favoritism for Israel-is hampering regional partnerships and fueling recruitment by Islamist extremists. And while Biden delivered the usual boilerplate about standing "shoulder to shoulder" with Israel in his public remarks there, in private he was harsh; according to the daily Yedioth Ahronoth, he told Netanyahu, (Biden) "What you're doing here undermines the security of our troops who are fighting in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. That endangers us, and it endangers regional peace."
Here is a short, interesting history of Isreal's land grabbing and marginalization of the Paletstinian people that included the above maps: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2010/03/16-6
Oh and don't bother with calling me an anti-semite. Not only is that knee jerk response to any criticism old and tired, in my case it's just flat wrong.
Wingnut Watch - Kristallnacht
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
They can't even get the right address. Activist, malicious and stupid, they've hit the trifecta.
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Scary New GOPoll
A report on a new Harris Poll From the Daily Beast: http://news.yahoo.com/s/dailybeast/20100323/ts_dailybeast/7269_scarynewgoppoll
57 percent of Republicans (32 percent overall) believe that Obama is a Muslim 45 percent of Republicans (25 percent overall) agree with the Birthers in their belief that Obama was "not born in the United States and so is not eligible to be president" 38 percent of Republicans (20 percent overall) say that Obama is "doing many of the things that Hitler did" Scariest of all, 24 percent of Republicans (14 percent overall) say that Obama "may be the Antichrist." These numbers all come from a brand-new Louis Harris poll, inspired in part by my new book Wingnuts. It demonstrates the cost of the campaign of fear and hate that has been pumped up in the service of hyper-partisanship over the past 15 months. We are playing with dynamite by demonizing our president and dividing the United States in the process. What might be good for ratings is bad for the country.
The poll, which surveyed 2,230 people right at the height of the health-care reform debate, also clearly shows that education is a barrier to extremism. Respondents without a college education are vastly more likely to believe such claims, while Americans with college degrees or better are less easily duped. It's a reminder of what the 19th-century educator Horace Mann once too-loftily said: "Ignorance breeds monsters to fill up the vacancies of the soul that are unoccupied by the verities of knowledge."
The full results of the poll, which will be released in greater detail tomorrow, are even more frightening: including news that high percentages of Republicans—and Americans overall—believe that President Obama is "racist," "anti-American" "wants the terrorists to win" and "wants to turn over the sovereignty of the United States to a one-world government." The "Hatriot" belief that Obama is a "domestic enemy" as set forth in the Constitution is also widely held—a sign of trouble yet to come. It's the same claim made by Marine Lance Corporal Kody Brittingham in his letter of intent to assassinate the President Obama.
This poll is the latest and most detailed evidence of the extent to which Wingnuts are hijacking our politics. It should be a wakeup call to all Americans and a collective reminder, as we move past health-care reform, that we need to stand up to extremism.
John Avlon's new book Wingnuts: How the Lunatic Fringe is Hijacking America is available now by Beast Books both on the Web and in paperback. He is also the author of Independent Nation: How Centrists Can Change American Politics. Previously, he served as chief speechwriter for New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and was a columnist and associate editor for The New York Sun.
It's Waterloo All right: Theirs
From the Right: David Frum (Emphasis Added)
Conservatives and Republicans today suffered their most crushing legislative defeat since the 1960s.
It's hard to exaggerate the magnitude of the disaster. Conservatives may cheer themselves that they'll compensate for today's expected vote with a big win in the November 2010 elections. But:
(1) It's a good bet that conservatives are over-optimistic about November - by then the economy will have improved and the immediate goodies in the healthcare bill will be reaching key voting blocs.
(2) So what? Legislative majorities come and go. This healthcare bill is forever. A win in November is very poor compensation for this debacle now.
So far, I think a lot of conservatives will agree with me. Now comes the hard lesson:
A huge part of the blame for today's disaster attaches to conservatives and Republicans ourselves.
At the beginning of this process we made a strategic decision: unlike, say, Democrats in 2001 when President Bush proposed his first tax cut, we would make no deal with the administration. No negotiations, no compromise, nothing. We were going for all the marbles. This would be Obama's Waterloo - just as healthcare was Clinton's in 1994.
Only, the hardliners overlooked a few key facts: Obama was elected with 53% of the vote, not Clinton's 42%. The liberal block within the Democratic congressional caucus is bigger and stronger than it was in 1993-94. And of course the Democrats also remember their history, and also remember the consequences of their 1994 failure.
This time, when we went for all the marbles, we ended with none.
Could a deal have been reached? Who knows? But we do know that the gap between this plan and traditional Republican ideas is not very big. The Obama plan has a broad family resemblance to Mitt Romney's Massachusetts plan. It builds on ideas developed at the Heritage Foundation in the early 1990s that formed the basis for Republican counter-proposals to Clintoncare in 1993-1994.
Barack Obama badly wanted Republican votes for his plan. Could we have leveraged his desire to align the plan more closely with conservative views? To finance it without redistributive taxes on productive enterprise - without weighing so heavily on small business - without expanding Medicaid? Too late now. They are all the law.
No illusions please: This bill will not be repealed. Even if Republicans scored a 1994 style landslide in November, how many votes could we muster to re-open the "doughnut hole" and charge seniors more for prescription drugs? How many votes to re-allow insurers to rescind policies when they discover a pre-existing condition? How many votes to banish 25 year olds from their parents' insurance coverage? And even if the votes were there - would President Obama sign such a repeal?
We followed the most radical voices in the party and the movement, and they led us to abject and irreversible defeat.
There were leaders who knew better, who would have liked to deal. But they were trapped. Conservative talkers on Fox and talk radio had whipped the Republican voting base into such a frenzy that deal-making was rendered impossible. How do you negotiate with somebody who wants to murder your grandmother? Or - more exactly - with somebody whom your voters have been persuaded to believe wants to murder their grandmother?
I've been on a soapbox for months now about the harm that our overheated talk is doing to us. Yes it mobilizes supporters - but by mobilizing them with hysterical accusations and pseudo-information, overheated talk has made it impossible for representatives to represent and elected leaders to lead. The real leaders are on TV and radio, and they have very different imperatives from people in government. Talk radio thrives on confrontation and recrimination. When Rush Limbaugh said that he wanted President Obama to fail, he was intelligently explaining his own interests. What he omitted to say - but what is equally true - is that he also wants Republicans to fail. If Republicans succeed - if they govern successfully in office and negotiate attractive compromises out of office - Rush's listeners get less angry. And if they are less angry, they listen to the radio less, and hear fewer ads for Sleepnumber beds.
So today's defeat for free-market economics and Republican values is a huge win for the conservative entertainment industry. Their listeners and viewers will now be even more enraged, even more frustrated, even more disappointed in everybody except the responsibility-free talkers on television and radio. For them, it's mission accomplished. For the cause they purport to represent, it's Waterloo all right: ours.
Monday, March 15, 2010
Study Finds Liberals are Smarter
"The adoption of some evolutionarily novel ideas makes some sense in terms of moving the species forward," said George Washington University leadership professor James Bailey, who was not involved in the study. "It also makes perfect sense that more intelligent people -- people with, sort of, more intellectual firepower -- are likely to be the ones to do that."
I think that in focusing too much on what benefits individuals from an evolutionary standpoint the scientists quoted might be missing something that liberals inherently understand. That as social animals what benefits the whole group advantages both the group and the individuals in the group for better survival and reproduction. Humans have survived and flourished because we're social animals so it's a mistake to focus too much on natural selection at the indvidual level to the exclusion of social group that the species thrives in which has progressed from small tribes to nations to countries like America for which the term "nation" is really a misnomer and with hope eventually to the whole planet. If we can't make this next leap to a global society, I'm not sure we'll be around long.
At least we now know the reasons our arguments are more soundly constructed and reasoned. Yet there must be room for improvement In my case I've got the liberal monogamous male thing going, but I guess I'm not quite smart enough to be an atheist. It just escapes me how claiming to know the unknowable is smart.
BTW, I figured something out about the haloscan comments. If you cut and paste something in, you'll often get an error that you've exceeded the 3000 character limit, even if you not even close. It's due to the formating from the source document. But if you first paste it into the Notepad program, which at least on my computer is under Accessories, that will remove all formating and solve the problem . . . unless, that is, if you really do have over 3000.