Sunday, October 23, 2011

No Apologies

 “I will promise you this, that if we have not gotten our troops out by the time I am President, it is the first thing I will do. I will get our troops home. We will bring an end to this war. You can take that to the bank. “ - Barack Obama Campaign Promise – October 27, 2007

While arguing about the Iraq war during the Bush lies that led up to it, I was attacked, almost run over, sucker punched, ridiculed, and slandered by people that really hated me for my position. Even people supposedly close to me said things like I'd be toast if I were to mouth off against the president in "some other countries." I always thought this was a kind of threat, and that the person who said it really wished that we lived in one of those "other countries" so people like me could be made to shut the hell up.

Well, now the big military adventure in Mesopotamia is over, and we're trillions of dollars poorer for it. And I still haven't heard an apology from the people who treated me like shit over this. And you know what? I don't really expect one. Because I know that I'm talking about people who think that anyone who thinks the middle class gets screwed in this country is a Marxist. And I know at least one of those people openly derides the "Arab Spring" because Arabs are dogs incapable of bringing democracy to themselves, so bringing it by gun is, supposedly, just fine, even if it does cost thousands of US lives and trillions of dollars. And I know at least one of these people has rich parents, so all he's worried about is the estate tax, although I'm sure punching hippies works for him as a side-line. Maybe there's some racism in there--some new found love for the well-debunked The Bell Curve.  And I know the rest of them simply don't want to admit I was right because, by-God, that would mean they were wrong about something.

Now you've all had a chance to admit you were wrong and apologize. Instead, you're out there spreading BS about Obama, lying about the economy, deriding the OWS protesters, and protecting the very captains of industry that got us into this mess. In the end, even though some of these people who said I would be toast are pro-choice, they'd apparently rather force women to give birth to their rapists' babies than vote to raise the income tax on millionaires.

Well, at least these Marxist Kenyan anti-colonialist socialist dirty fucking hippies have the right idea. George W Bush lied us into war, put foxes in charge of hen houses, and ran the world economy into the ground. And now you fucking losers want to blame Obama for the mess you created. And you know what? If there really was some justice in this world, you and all the rest of you Bush apologists would be toast.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

The Best Elements in the Country Are Not on the Right

"We are free today substantially but the day will come when our Republic will be an impossibility. It will be an impossibility because wealth will be concentrated in the hands of a few. A republic cannot stand upon bayonets, and when that day comes, when the wealth of the nation will be in the hands of a few, then we must rely upon the wisdom of the best elements in the country to readjust the laws of the nation to the changed conditions." -- James Madison, quoted by George Seldes in The Great Quotations: The Wit and Wisdom of the Ages.
George Seldes was the uncle of my friend Marian Seldes, the great actress. He was a journalist whose early work on the dangers of tobacco were suppressed by the tobacco industry. His political newsletter, In Fact, went after many powerful interests, especially the National Association of Manufacturers. This is from his wikipedia page:
Among the favorite targets of In Fact was the National Association of Manufacturers. Defense analyst Daniel Ellsberg, who subscribed to In Fact while an undergrad at Harvard, said, "I heard about the National Association of Manufacturers first from Seldes and more from Seldes than I ever heard again. If you were to read the mainstream press, you'd hardly become aware that such organizations existed, that businessmen worked together to pursue their own interests." In fact [sic] also attacked Charles Lindbergh for his Nazi sympathies, the American Legion for helping to break strikes, and labeled many captains of industry as "native fascists." Consumer advocate Ralph Nader said, "[Seldes] used the word fascism to reflect an authoritarian state of mind that tended to stifle free speech and dissent and also tended to believe that might was right."
Whenever I hear wingnuts saying that liberals are the real fascists, I think back to Seldes's day, when people really understood what fascism meant. As someone who was assaulted by Bush supporters many times because I dared to say that we had been lied into war in Iraq, I'm damn sure that it's not the left trying to stifle free speech and dissent. I was called a traitor by people I'd known for a long time because I wouldn't get on the bomb-Muslims bandwagon.

And now, those same people who were so wrong about Iraq, and about Bush's tax cuts to the rich creating jobs, or deregulation creating jobs, or lax oversight from Federal Agencies (foxes guarding hen houses) creating jobs, those same people are belittling Occupy Wall Street. Those same people are spewing supply-side crap about the lowest taxes in 60 years being too high, about Obama causing all the debt that was really caused by Bush, about regulations being the reason rich people won't spend all the money they're sitting on, and I'm just glad that George Seldes isn't here, because I'm afraid his head would explode if he was.

Seldes was, of course, called a communist because he dared to stand up against the rich and powerful (because to the right, there is no middle, you're either with them or you're a commie). He was a gadfly and a muckraker, something we could sure use more of today. Of course, there are some respected media critics in today's world who follow in Seldes footsteps, like Dean Baker. It's just that no one reads them, which, of course, was a problem for Seldes too. The big difference, of course, is that for Seldes, it was actual censorship and Joe McCarthy that stopped people from hearing what he had to say. Today, you can read Dean Baker's Beat the Press any time you want.
"A people that wants to be free must arm itself with a free press." -- George Seldes
But you can't just have a free press. You have to pay attention. When someone tells you that both sides are the same, that Obama is creating as much of a mess as George Bush, don't hit them like they would you. Just point them towards the truth. And keep reading it yourself.

h/t Rick Unger