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Noted With Interest, August 2009

Aug 26, 2009

The Terrible Bargain We Have Regretfully Struck
By Melissa McEwan. Sometimes, I think discriminating against another because they are different from us is as despicable and blameworthy as physically attacking them, and perhaps does greater long-term damage. From shakesville, Aug 14, 2009. Accessed Aug 26, 2009.

New Rule: No Shame in Being the Sorry Party
By Bill Maher. Did Obama really say that? There may be hope after all. From The Huffington Post, Aug 21, 2009. Accessed Aug 24, 2009.

Life After the Death of the Public Option
By Nate Silver. If you are in despair about Obama dropping the public option, you might read this, and it might make you feel better. From FiveThirtyEight, Aug 16, 2009. Accessed Aug 19, 2009.

Chris Hedges on Alex S. Jones’ “Losing the News”
by Chris Hedges. He is a long-time reporter and a passionate writer on the transformation of journalism. My favorite quotation from this piece: “It is by shattering the creed of objectivity, by standing unapologetically in the swelling ranks of the poor and powerless and challenging corporate power, that journalism will survive.” From Truthdig.com, Aug 13, 2009. Accessed Aug 15, 2009.

Karzai’s secret U-turn on Afghan rape law
by Jerome Starkey. Don’t you just love the folks we align ourselves with, spending trillions on them in a futile attempt to root out their bad guys while exterminating hundreds of innocents in the process? From The Independent, Aug 15, 2009. Accessed Aug 15, 2009.

Nader Was Right: Liberals Are Going Nowhere With Obama
by Chris Hedges. So sad, so true. We knew it then and voted for Obama because we wanted to win. Never again. From Truthdig.com, Aug 10, 2009. Accessed Aug 13, 2009.

Ouster of Honduran President Zelaya was Coup—Obama
Reuters. Obama scolds his critics who complain he is not doing enough to restore democracy to Honduras. Does anyone think the U.S. could not put Zelaya back in a New York minute if it wanted to? Does anyone think Zelaya could have been removed in the first place without U.S. approval? Can you say “disingenuous”? From the New York Times, Aug 10, 2009. Accessed Aug 11, 2009.

Is It Now a Crime to Be Poor?
By Barbara Ehrenreich. Barbara, it always has been! From the New York Times, Aug 8, 2009. Accessed Aug 10, 2009.

A Crowded Hub Away from Home
by Shoinn Freeman. Remember that co-pilot who crashed in Buffalo? She was making less than minimum wage. She wasn’t alone. From the Washington Post, Aug 4, 2009. Accessed Aug 5, 2009.

We’ve got Congress covered! This joint effort of the Participatory Politics and Sunlight Foundations is your one-stop shop for keeping an eye on what Congress is up to, tracking and emailing your members, and even participating in helping build the site through their wiki and other procedures. It is worth a careful look and frequent visits. Now, if we could only figure out how to keep such a good eye on that very busy and secretive Executive branch! Accessed Aug 1, 2009.

Taken to the Cleaners
We may as well just put them in shackles and rags, house them out back of the manse, and have done with it. From Economist.com, Jul 31, 2009. Accessed Aug 1, 2009.

Wall Street on Speed
by Robert Kuttner. How Wall Street (e.g., Goldman Sachs, etc.) scams the system to make its billions. From The Huffington Post, Jul 26, 2009. Accessed Jul 28, 2009.

tags: Noted with Interest

Birthers and Death Panels

Aug 14, 2009
The radical right owns the debates—all the debates—for two reasons: 1) by virtue of the outrageousness of their arguments (the Employee Free Choice Act’s card check provision will destroy democracy; health care reform will institute death panels; Obama’s presidency is illegitimate since he wasn’t born in the U.S.); and 2) by the complicity of the mainstream media in focusing its time and coverage entirely on that outrageousness. Oh, and a third reason: the Democrats’ unwillingness to come together in favor of any reform that might threaten their donor base, which is to say, any reform that favors the people’s interests over those of the corporatocracy.

No reform legislation that would satisfy the American people, let alone progressives, has been passed so far in the Obama administration, or will be passed in its remaining 40 months. This seems clear. As the stock market rises, making the fat cats happy, salaries languish and initial unemployment claims increased to over 550,000 for the week ending Aug 8.1 In July, our most important economic indicator, the growth in the gross domestic product, was minus 1 percent while China’s increased a whopping 14.9 percent.2 While the earth burns, an insufficient energy bill languishes in the Senate, awaiting further watering down on its way to passage.

The status quo is unsustainable. The golden goose—the physical, intellectual, and financial power of the people—lies wounded and gasping for breath. Two generations of a failed educational system has produced an inarticulate, angry populace that cannot reason or recognize their own self-interest, and are pawns in the hands of a cynical, grasping plutocracy.

There is one nonviolent solution to the cataclysms we face, and it is an unlikely one. Until the tanks begin rolling down Main Street, the power continues to be invested in the people and their elected representatives. We must join forces to find, fund, and elect representatives who are responsible to the people—all the people—and not to a tiny number of super-billionaires. If we cannot do that—and it is as long a shot as I can remember in a lengthy experience of the American political scene—we are finished, as a people, as a nation, and as a promise to the world.
1 Retails Sales and Unemployment Claims Disapppoint, by Phil Mintz, from Business Week, Aug 13, 2009, accessed Aug 14, 2009.
2 China Soothes Credit Tightening Fears, from Reuters, quoted in the New York Times, Aug 12, 2009, accessed Aug 14, 2009.
tags: New Political Party | Domestic Unrest

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