Saturday, September 04, 2010

The Great American Stupids

Both Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino and Bristol "The Unwed Mother with Family Values" Palin are going to be on the next edition of Dancing With The Stars

I didn't think it could get any worse than Tom Delay on the show, but it can. American society has definitely hit a new low.

I was secretly able to get a copy of Bristol's audition tape. Nepotism is alive and well on Dancing With The Stars. 

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About Obama's base problem

Michael recently posted here about Obama's gay problem. Some good thoughts, but a little extension is necessary to get things in full perspective.

Obama does not have a problem with gays, he has a problem with the base across the board, and that is largely because he is underperforming across the board. That underperforming has a real cost in the enthusiasm gap.

If people turned out in 2010 at 2008 levels, the Democrats would be outright winning in North Carolina and very, very competitive in half a dozen other close races. As it stands, we will probably hold the Senate, but just barely.

Obama has not played hardball with Conservadems, let alone the GOP. He negotiates away the store before even coming to the table. He has not made proper or effective use of reconciliation in the Senate, and has not been forceful about the consequences of electing the Party of No. He has not been active in shaping policy and in selling policy in Congress.

He has not used his executive powers. He could order a stop to DADT, but he does not. He could choose not to defend anti-gay legislation in court, but he does not. HAMP is under "administrative" control and could work well if Obama chose to make it so. Congress voted down the idea of a Social Security panel, but Obama convened one anyway and stacked it with conservatives. He could restore full habeas corpus, but he does not.

Obama has direct control of TARP funds, and there are about $500 billion to play with. That's a lot of stimulus if he were to use it. He could use it to relieve distressed debt and turn a profit for the government while doing so. He could go after banks gouging customers by skirting credit card rules. He could be actively involved and upfront in pushing an agenda.

Another thing to consider is civil rights. As many people have noted recently, it's embarrassing when many prominent GOP leaders are to the left of Obama on gay rights. It's embarrassing when in debates such as Fiorina/Boxer the other night the GOP candidate justifies her opposition to equal rights by quoting the sitting Democratic president.

And gays have started to notice. You see, emphasizing one's own sexual orientation can lead one toward certain conclusions on civil rights but does little to inform one's opinions on taxation, protecting the environment, energy policy, immigration, etc. I think it's fair to say that a lot of gays lean Democratic not because they are inherently liberal so much as because they see few options as the GOP has been so hostile towards gays the last couple of decades.

In a recent column, Dan Savage observes that for all the rhetoric and chest-beating over recent past electoral cycles, the Democrats have done very little good, and the Republicans have done relatively little harm, at least in terms of revoking such gay rights advances as have been made. Bush got a blank check from Congress, yet we have no federal marriage amendment, and DADT and DOMA were Democratic inventions. Savage asks:

Say the GOP went to gay voters and promised to do no harm -- no FMA, no more culture war nonsense, no efforts to block gay people from becoming parents -- while at the same time pointing out that the Dems haven't done much good. That argument won't peel lefty and progressive gays and lesbians, a.k.a. the majority of gay and lesbian voters, off the Democrats. But it might convince conservative homos that they can safely vote Republican, blunting the Democrats' advantage with small-but-significant chunk of the electorate. (There are more gay and lesbian voters than Jewish voters.)

It's something the Democrats need to be considering.

The base is demoralized, feeling neglected and abused, if not outright misled. That's not good. Obama got people out because they felt they had something to vote for. That's not the case this year for Democrats. And they will pay in November if something doesn't change, and change soon.

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Two types of corruption in Afghanistan

by Peter Henne

Things just keep getting more complicated in Afghanistan. Amid the furor over an Afghan official implicated in a high-level corruption scandal, a New York Times article revealed the official had CIA ties. Yesterday, Afghan President Hamid Karzai compared the short-lived arrest of this official to Soviet-era actions. Karzai has also established a council to initiate talks with the Taliban, and today's reporting indicates the United States is taking a permissive view on corruption in the country in order to gain allies against the insurgents.

In a counterinsurgency (or COIN) campaign--especially one in Afghanistan--some complication is to be expected. There is a trade-off between ensuring our partners in the country are virtuous and defeating the brutal insurgents threatening the Afghan people. Local elites--a.k.a. "warlords"--are essential in securing the countryside, but tend to favor private goods for their supporters over public ones. And as distasteful as it might be, some talks with the Taliban may be needed, as long as they do not involve compromising on human rights in the country.

It's important, though, that US leaders don't confuse pragmatic COIN strategies with an easy way out of Afghanistan. This is because there are two types of "corruption." The first is that of the warlords, who stabilize areas in order to profit from them; this can involve extracting resources from the populace in a less than savory manner, but also includes fighting off challengers for control--namely the Taliban. The other type is the corruption of central officials: Karzai and his ilk. It is the same concept, but on a larger scale; as long as Karzai is the most powerful authority in Afghanistan, he will continue reaping private goods. This, however, involves tolerating Taliban control of some areas in order to maintain his hold on the rest of the country, and undermining the power of local elites--who are potential competitors--even if this means a lack of security for the populace.

And thus the distinction. Letting Karzai's indiscretions slide will result in instability throughout Afghanistan, and possibly a Taliban safe-haven. Looking the other way concerning the warlords' problematic actions will not be ideal, but can help to stabilize regions under their control, even if the central government is not directly involved.

It is important as US COIN strategy progresses over the next few months that policymakers realize this distinction, and don't let the pragmatism of working with local elites translate into tolerance for Karzai's corruption.

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Letting the terrorists win: Newt Gingrich and the "Ground Zero mosque"

Like a shark drawn to blood, Newt Gingrich, whose nature apparently is to pick at painful wounds in the body politic in order to score partisan points and, more important for him, to keep his name in the news and feed his massive sense of self-importance, is still beating the drum of bigotry in opposition to Park51, the "Ground Zero mosque" that is neither at Ground Zero nor, strictly speaking, a mosque. And, faced with a New York mayor, Michael Bloomberg, who has been nothing short of brilliant in articulating a defence of Park51 based on a lofty sense of what America is supposed to be all about, not to mention the reality that the power-that-be have given the go-ahead for Park51 despite the uproar on the right, Gingrich is coming up with all sorts of new and stupid arguments and obstacles to block it. At TPM, Rachel Slajda has the latest:

In a radio interview today, he said he wants the national government to step in and stop the developers from building the Islamic community center by whatever means necessary.

"I think the Congress has the ability to declare the area a national battlefield memorial because I think we should think of the World Trade Center as a battlefield site; this is a war," he said, apparently thinking that if Ground Zero was a national park, Park51 would be restricted from building near it.

And if that fails, he said, the state government should step in and use its considerable power to stymie the development. 

Funny, isn't it, how the anti-government Gingrich wants the government to step in and tell a private religious organization what to do? I suppose it's okay for the government to be heavy-handedly oppressive when it comes to Muslims but not when it comes to Christians or the "free" market. Gingrich certainly wouldn't want the government interfering in his world, telling him what to do, and yet government control is a fine weapon to wield against undesirables.

The reality, of course, is that Park51 isn't at Ground Zero. It's some distance away from it. Even if Ground Zero were to be declared some sort of "battlefield site," some sort of eternally sacred area, there would still be any number of private interests -- religious, commercial, etc. -- in the area. If Park51 should move, why not, say, restaurants and sex shops, video stores and whatever else is in the neighbourhood? Because "this is a war," says Gingrich, which grossly misrepresents what is actually going on. Park 51 would be a Muslim community center, but, as President Bush himself stressed (to his credit), the U.S. isn't at war with Islam. It would be one thing if Park51 were some sort of pro-al Qaeda, pro-jihadist facility, a terrorist training camp, but of course it's not. In attacking it, and calling for it to be moved, conservatives like Gingrich are labelling all Muslims anti-American jihadists, an appallingly bigoted and disrespectful thing to do -- not least because there are many Muslims proudly serving in the U.S. military and because there were American Muslims who died on 9/11. (And, as has been noted, there's even a mosque at the Pentagon.)

Not that Gingrich cares about any of this. To him, this is merely a fantastic opportunity to keep up a visible media presence on an issue that Republicans have manufactured, with the media happy to oblige, to attack Democrats ahead of the midterms. But in portraying the "war" as both a religious and a civilizational conflict, he is playing directly, through fearmongering, to the deep-rooted nativism and ignorance of a large swathe of the American populace, not to mention of the Republican base.

I return to Bloomberg, who in contrast to Gingrich has spoken so eloquently, and so nobly:

Whatever you may think of the proposed mosque and community center, lost in the heat of the debate has been a basic question: Should government attempt to deny private citizens the right to build a house of worship on private property based on their particular religion? That may happen in other countries, but we should never allow it to happen here.

This nation was founded on the principle that the government must never choose between religions or favor one over another. The World Trade Center site will forever hold a special place in our city, in our hearts. But we would be untrue to the best part of ourselves and who we are as New Yorkers and Americans if we said no to a mosque in lower Manhattan.

Let us not forget that Muslims were among those murdered on 9/11, and that our Muslim neighbors grieved with us as New Yorkers and as Americans. We would betray our values and play into our enemies' hands if we were to treat Muslims differently than anyone else. In fact, to cave to popular sentiment would be to hand a victory to the terrorists, and we should not stand for that.

For that reason, I believe that this is an important test of the separation of church and state as we may see in our lifetimes, as important a test. And it is critically important that we get it right.

I am tempted to say that Gingrich and those with him on this issue are with the terrorists -- and I will say that, because they are. In opposing Park51 they are proving to be very much like those attacked America on 9/11, not in terms of their violence but in terms of their articulation of a worldview that pits "us" against "them," that divides people instead of seeking to unite them, that clamours for war instead of working for peace, that mirrors the hatred and bigotry of our enemies with hatred and bigotry of our own. And in trying desperately to capitalize on and benefit politically from this issue, they are indeed letting the terrorists win.

America is better than this, is it not? America is better than Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin and all the others who are waving the flag and pointing it menacingly at Muslims, calling for the government essentially to crack down on a specific religion just because a tiny minority of that religion attacked America, and because they so badly want this "war" to rule our lives.

Gingrich passes himself off as an intellectual, but he's really just a thug who's read a few books and can speak coherently. He basks in bigotry and ignorance on this issue, as on so many others, and, no, Americans should not stand for it.

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Friday, September 03, 2010

Quote of the Day: Paul Krugman on economic policy, Obama, and the GOP

From Krugman's column in today's Times:

Next week, President Obama is scheduled to propose new measures to boost the economy. I hope they're bold and substantive, since the Republicans will oppose him regardless -- if he came out for motherhood, the G.O.P. would declare motherhood un-American. So he should put them on the spot for standing in the way of real action.

Over a year and a half into Obama's presidency, this is one of the lessons that we all should have learned but that, alas, seems to escaped notice at the White House: It really doesn't matter what the Democrats do, and it doesn't matter how much Obama tries to reach out to his opponents, Republicans have resolved to be not the loyal opposition that seeks to work with the government to advance a policy agenda to help Americans but to obstruct anything and everything that Obama and the Democrats propose to do.

There has been the occasional defection from the GOP ranks, but for the most part Republicans have remained united regardless of the issue. We saw this most notably on health-care reform, when some Republicans, like Sens. Snowe and Grassley, said they wanted to work with Obama and even seemed to engage constructively with Democrats at the committee stage, supporting early reform packages and talking compromise, but then, perhaps never genuine in their support, voted with their leadership to try to filibuster the bill, trying to block it from even coming to a vote, and then voted against it, a bill that resembled Republican reform proposals from the '90s.

Given what we have learned, there seems to be no point in trying to appease Republicans on anything. In the end, they'll be against it, just as they'll be against whatever Obama proposes for the economy next week. On this, Krugman is right. The problem is that Obama needs 60 votes in the Senate to get anything done, and that means not just winning over at least one Republican but keeping every Democrat on board, including quasi-Republicans like Nelson and Landrieu. Obama could (and perhaps should) propose "bold and "substantive" measures, but he and Reid will need to water them down a lot if they are to get them passed. And that's just in the Senate. There's also the not-insignificant matter of appeasing the various Democratic interests in the House, including Blue Dogs fighting for their political lives this fall and unlikely to fall in behind Obama on anything that smacks of government overreach.

Krugman gets this, of course:

The actual lessons of 2009-2010, then, are that scare stories about stimulus are wrong, and that stimulus works when it is applied. But it wasn't applied on a sufficient scale. And we need another round.

I know that getting that round is unlikely: Republicans and conservative Democrats won't stand for it. And if, as expected, the G.O.P. wins big in November, this will be widely regarded as a vindication of the anti-stimulus position. Mr. Obama, we'll be told, moved too far to the left, and his Keynesian economic doctrine was proved wrong.

But politics determines who has the power, not who has the truth. The economic theory behind the Obama stimulus has passed the test of recent events with flying colors; unfortunately, Mr. Obama, for whatever reason -- yes, I’m aware that there were political constraints -- initially offered a plan that was much too cautious given the scale of the economy's problems.

So, as I said, here's hoping that Mr. Obama goes big next week. If he does, he'll have the facts on his side. 

He will, and I hope he does go big at least to start with (before the necessary concessions to secure support), but what do facts mean in this political climate? Not much -- Republicans have no use for them and the public has proven receptive to conservative propaganda.

Ultimately, Obama will likely seek to do what is political expedient, not economically right (and necessary), and Democrats, fearful of losing a bloodbath in November, will likely roll over and let the Republicans win. But the result of all that will still be Republican victories across the land and an economy that continues to struggle, if not to worsen.

Coleridge: "If men could learn from history, what lessons it might teach us! But passion and party blind our eyes, and the light which experience gives is a lantern on the stern, which shines only on the waves behind us!"

Huxley: "That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history."

In other words: We're doomed.

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German Tea

By Capt. Fogg

"All Jews share a particular gene, Basques share a certain gene that sets them apart,"

said Thilo Sarrazin, a board member at The Bundesbank, Germany's central bank, and a former finance minister of the city state of Berlin. It's remarkable how, after all this time and all this science, Right Wingers just can't get genetics and evolution right.

It's not the first time Sarrzin has put his shiny black hobnail Stiefel in his mouth or gave geneticists cause to groan. His book, Deutschland schafft sich ab, (Germany destroys itself) which just came out, contains many gems like:
"In every European country, due to their low participation in the labour market and high claim on state welfare benefits, Muslim migrants cost the state more than they generate in added economic value. In terms of culture and civilisation, their notions of society and values are a step backwards."

Sounds familiar to me, but perhaps that's only my special Jew gene talking. You know, the gene for remembering. Is he only stating the truth despite "political correctness" or is he just another one the Inglorious Basterds missed? Depends on how much tea you drink, I guess. Of course he doesn't exist in a vacuum and there are Germans who applaud his audacity, if you can call it that. There are even Thilo T-shirts available on line.

"I don't want my grandchildren and great-grandchildren to live in a mostly Muslim country where Turkish and Arabic are widely spoken, women wear headscarves and the day's rhythm is determined by the call of the muezzin."

I guess he won't be resettling in Detroit or the Borough of Queens, but even there, it's a long way from where we are to sullying the ethnic/religious purity of the Vaterland or good old USA either.
Germany of course was once a place where Jews once made great strides toward blending in socially, professionally and even religiously and we see where that got them. Its conceivable that Muslims might make the same effort to become echt Deutsch, but will they see it as being worth it with Schmutz Taschen ( if you'll pardon my calque) like Sarrazin roaming about the beer halls and board rooms? Perhaps certain Muslims of my acquaintance will re-examine their strongly held assertion that Germany wouldn't have done what they did when they did it, when the thought arises that they might be next. I doubt it though.

Of course it's not going to come to that. Germany learned a lesson Americans are still refusing even to do the homework for and Sarrazin will have to find other employment: politics, possibly. I wonder how good his English is.

(cross posted from The Swash Zone)

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The Obama-is-a-socialist tag has always been a stupid one, but it's one conservatives, and particularly those either involved with or just supportive of the Tea Party "movement," keep pushing relentlessly. Obama, we are told, is trying to overturn the capitalist system at the very heart of the American way of life. If allowed to move ahead with his reforms, we are warned, he will turn the U.S. into some sort of European social democracy, with government controlling the economy and stifling freedom and entrepreneurship. To believe this requires a deep and abiding ignorance of reality, a refusal to see things as they are. But ignorance, of course, is hardly in short supply on the right.

While Obama has sought to expand government's role somewhat, nothing that he has accomplished -- nothing that he himself seems to believe -- comes close to socialism. If anything, he has sought to rescue capitalism, as FDR did before him, from its own self-destructive tendencies. TARP was largely an effort to get the economy going again; it was decidedly not an effort to have government take control of the economy. Even health-care reform, minus the public option, was just the sort of market-oriented approach that Republicans once backed. And Wall Street reform was more about protecting Wall Street from itself than it was about radically changing what is essentially a corrupt financial system.

And this isn't about to change. As White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said yesterday, "some big, new stimulus plan is not in the offing." The economy may still be struggling, that is, but Obama won't push what is really needed most at this time, namely, large-scale government spending to get the economy going again. But if there won't be another stimulus package, there may very well be just what Republicans want, namely, tax breaks for business (if not an extension of the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy). As the WaPo is reporting, Obama is considering "a package of business tax breaks -- potentially worth hundreds of billions of dollars":

Among the options under consideration are a temporary payroll-tax holiday and a permanent extension of the now-expired research-and-development tax credit, which rewards companies that conduct research into new technologies within the United States.  

Where exactly is the socialism here?

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Thursday, September 02, 2010

Net Neutrality and you

By Capt. Fogg

If you're reading this, you most likely have an interest in the future of the Internet and concern with the ownership thereof. Most of us assume it belongs to us, the way we once assumed the ' air waves' belonged to us -- just like the air itself. The electromagnetic spectrum now largely belongs to those who make a profit from it and the Internet may well follow suit. The phone and cable companies would certainly like to regulate what you may or may not get on line and how fast you get it as well as how much you'll have to pay.

What's at stake for them is the ability to sell you "premium" services over dedicated networks and to be able to "prioritize" or discriminate between traffic that takes up bandwidth and traffic they can make a buck on. Of course it's much more complex than this, but the outcome of FCC deliberations on Net Neutrality may very well have a huge effect on the flow of information and our assumption that everyone has a right to hear and be heard without interference; without corporate censorship.

Of course the ability of the FCC to do anything at all is in question following recent court decisions that seem to be part of the crusade against regulating anything and everything and without such an agency to provide a system of rules to protect a media that's fast replacing print and broadcast as our portal to the world, what you know, what you are able to know may well be determined by what makes the most money or most suits the interests of service providers. Indeed we've already traveled quite a distance down that path.

The FCC is now open to public comment. You can be sure that Verizon and Google, inter alia, are speaking very loudly and carrying a very big stick so if there's going to be any slim chance for the public to weigh in on Net Neutrality, your chance to be heard is now.

(Cross posted from Human Voices)

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The Wilding

By Carl
Weather is really strange.
There are five named storms roaming the Atlantic right now. The biggest, hurricane Earl, is about to scrape the Outer Banks of North Caolina and could even pose a threat to New York City by Friday afternoon.
Tropical storm Fiona looks destined to strike Bermuda. Tropical storm Gaston is foaming up the central Atlantic and a new depression that should get its name by the end of the day is beginning to percolate off Cape Verde in Africa.
And then there's Danielle, which has been wandering the Atlantic around Bermuda like a drunk hooker. First a tropical storm, then a hurricane, then a tropical storm and now again, a hurricane. Danielle and Fiona have both been kept away from the coast of the US by a Bermuda high that's been sitting over the northeast, which has brought its own troubles to cities like New York, Boston, and DC.
Earl groped his way along the edge and found a backdoor to the coast. Gaston may have an easier time of it. Soon-to-be tropical depression Hermine will be hot on the heels of Gaston.
The potential for a sort-of perfect storm, where Danielle, Earl, and Fiona combine, is small, but not impossible. A small shift north in the high that's deflecting Danielle would be required to squirt her westward and Fiona is already beginning to catch up to Earl. The string of low pressure areas...well, imagine three ball bearings on a sheet of rubber. The closer they get, the more likely it is they'll collide.
Keep in mind, September 1 is the tradition mark of the beginning of the heart of hurricane season. It gets worse before it gets better.
Only once in recorded weather history has the Atlantic gone clear thru the alphabet (there are no Q, X, Y, or Z names) and into Greek letters: 2005, when 28 named storms, and fifteen hurricanes including Katrina and Wilma, formed. The last tropical storm, Zeta, formed on December 30. It was not the latest storm to ever form, by six hours. 1954's Alice2 (the second hurricane with the name that season) holds that distinction.
Forecasts made before the hurricane season started predicted unusually heavy activity: at least 15 named storms, up to 14 of them hurricanes, with up to seven Cat3 or higher. After the start of the season, predictions were bumped up, and even then, the projectors made it clear they were understating the case.
Fasten your seatbelts, it looks like a bumpy night!    
(crossposted to Simply Left Behind)

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Will gays and lesbians turn Republican out of frustration with Obama?

Oh, please. I get that Obama hasn't done nearly enough for gay rights, and I've been deeply critical of him for not doing enough and for not being progressive enough (specifically on DADT and same-sex marriage), but there isn't about to be a mass migration of gays to the Republican Party just because a couple of somewhat high-profile Republicans, McCainiac Steve Schmidt and Bushie Ken Mehlman, the latter recently uncloseted, along with the independent-minded and barely Republican Meghan McCain, are publicly defending same-sex marriage, or because other Republicans with little profile at all are either softening their views on gay rights or daring to come out against their party's long-standing opposition not just to gay rights but to homosexuality generally.

At HuffPo, Sam Stein quotes an anonymous "prominent Democratic consultant" as saying that Obama should feel "uncomfortable" with all these Republicans to the left of him on gay rights. But what are we really talking about here? Schmidt, Mehlman, and McCain aren't exactly the movers and shakers of the GOP, nor do they really have that much public profile. McCain has greater media presence than the other two, but she doesn't have much influence, if any, on the party. "We get the bad rap as Republicans being against gay marriage," she told Fox News recently. "[Obama] isn't doing anything for the gay community." Republicans deserve the rap. This is a party, after all, that proposes putting a ban on same-sex marriage in the Constitution and that has a theocratic-oriented base that is deeply anti-gay, a party that from top to bottom espouses bigotry and that is moving further and further to the right. And while Obama hasn't done enough, it's just not true that he hasn't done anything. Earlier this year, for example, he banned visitation discrimination against gays and lesbians at any hospital that receives Medicare or Medicaid funding.

As Stein notes, "LBGT voters are not, of course, monolithic," and, while I am not gay myself, I certainly think it's fair to say that on most issues a significant majority of gays and lesbians are much closer to Obama and the Democrats than to the Republicans. Will frustration with Obama drive some of them to the GOP? Well, sure, but some heteros are turning away from Obama, too. What of it?

It seems to me that the anonymous consultant is fearmongering and that very few people are paying attention to what Schmidt, Mehlman, and a tiny minority of Republicans are up to. In contrast, the Republican position on gay rights, including same-sex marriage, is pretty clear, and there's no indication it's going to change anytime soon.

If some gays or lesbians prefer to back a party that hates them and that seeks to treat them like non- or unequal citizens, or as some hell-bound domestic enemy, well, that's their problem (and ours, to the extent that Democrats lose votes), but I suspect that most of them would rather register their displeasure and disappointment with the party that actually has a history of fighting for their rights, and seek to change that party's policy positions, than do that. With the Democrats, after all, in a party that respects difference and diversity, they can make a difference and actually secure equal rights. With the Republicans, ruled by a far-right fringe that has become the party's new mainstream, all they'll find is fear and loathing, welcomed by a few but detested by the rest. Is the choice not clear?

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Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Credit where credit is due

By Creature

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Facebook, Creep

I can't remember if I've ever posted a movie trailer here, but the full-length trailer for The Social Network, the David Fincher-directed film about Facebook (and founder Mark Zuckerberg) is brilliant, so much so that I'm actually quite excited about seeing the movie.

The music is the cover of Radiohead's "Creep," perhaps the band's best song, by Scala, a Belgian girls' choir, and the Kolacny brothers (Stijn conducting, Steven on the piano). It's a pretty amazing cover, and, needless to say, the trailer wouldn't be the same without it. Just consider the lyrics:

I don't care if it hurts,
I wanna have control.
I want a perfect body.
I want a perfect soul.

I want you to notice.
when I'm not around.
You're so fuckin' special.
I wish I was special.

But I'm a creep.
I'm a weirdo.
What the hell am I doin' here?
I don't belong here, ohhhh, ohhhh...

(By the way, check out Scala's other work. They do interesting covers of, for example, The Police's "Every Breath You Take," U2's "With or Without You," Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit," and the Red Hot Chili Peppers' "Under the Bridge.")

As for the movie, well, there's a lot of potential: Fincher's a really good director (Seven, Zodiac, Benjamin Button) and I really like Jesse Eisenberg, one of the stars of 2009 (Adventureland, Zombieland). And it could very well turn out to be one of the defining movies of our time, a movie about our time, and about our civilization, that captures the essence of who we are, for better and for worse. (Yes, I'm highly optimistic.)

Anyway, here it is. Enjoy.

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Me and Troy

Hello, my name is Michael, and I have a huge man-crush on the Pittsburgh Steelers' Troy Polamalu.

So I understand completely why his gorgeous hair is insured with Lloyd's of London for $1 million.

Though it seems a bit silly, and, if it weren't Polamalu, I might go so far as to call it a Sign of the Apocalypse -- not the hair, of course, the insurance policy, or the fact that such insurance policies are taken out at all (not by him, in this case, but by Proctor & Gamble (for whom Polamalu does ads for Head & Shoulders).

But I won't. Because he's awesome.

And because I'll be in Pittsburgh for the opening game of the regular season -- my beloved Steelers are taking on the Falcons -- and, with the team Big Ben-less (but with the great Hines Ward, if anyone can throw the ball to him), I'm really looking forward to seeing Polamalu and his (insured) flowing hair wreak havoc on Atlanta.

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Them crazy Republicans

In case it wasn't clear enough just how crazy (and how utterly divorced from reality) Republicans are:

A majority of Republicans believe that President Barack Obama "sympathizes with the goals of Islamic fundamentalists who want to impose Islamic law around the world," according to a survey released on Monday.

That figure, buried at the very end of a newly released Newsweek public opinion poll, reflects the extent to which a shocking bit of smear and misinformation has managed to become nearly commonplace within the GOP tent.

(Read the full poll results here.)

A full 14 percent of Republicans said that it was "definitely true" that Obama sympathized with the fundamentalists and wanted to impose Islamic law across the globe. An additional 38 percent said that it was probably true -- bringing the total percentage of believers to 52 percent. Only 33 percent of Republicans said that the "allegation" (as Newsweek put it) was "probably not true." Seven percent said it was "definitely not true." The rest (eight percent) either didn't know the answer or didn't read the question. 

And, as you might imagine, there's more:

Fifty-nine percent of Republicans, for instance, said they believed the president favored "the interests of Muslims over other groups of Americans," while only 34 percent of said he had been "generally even handed" in his approach.

Yes, the right-wing propaganda is working well, the lies spewed by the Republican smear machine, but the willful ignorance of Republicans is unfathomably enormous -- and, as this poll shows, simply appalling.

You can present them with all the evidence you have, undeniable proof that they're wrong, but there's just no reasoning with them, so much do they want nothing to do with the truth.

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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Honoring our troops, not scoring political points

By Peter Henne

I waited until now to post this, because I knew the power of Obama's rhetoric would require some reflection. For what it's worth, his speech commemorating the official end of combat in Iraq was respectful, and appropriate.

The President tried to frame this somewhat-milestone in a somber manner, highlighting the valor of our troops without turning them into a political prop. As a progressive who believes that the use of force is occasionally required, I felt that Obama's realistic assessment of war--the "darkest of human creations," in his words--was not as triumphal as some might like, but was refreshing in a way.

I wish I could say the same of his Republican critics. I really do; it would be nice if honor and respect could prevail in a moment like this. Boehner and McConnell released confused "prebuttals," in which they claimed that Iraq has improved without Obama's help and Obama has always opposed the war; they also repeated the tired refrain about "arbitrary" deadlines. Never mind the 2011 Iraq withdrawal deadline Obama is working towards in a gradual, responsible way was set by Bush. Or that Obama has had a consistent and nuanced position on the war since it began (for a good overview of this, see the timeline Jim Arkedis put together).

And this was preceded by a ridiculous 527 ad that included such laughable attack lines as blaming Obama for failing to catch Osama bin Ladin. It isn't the inaccuracies that annoy me, as right-wing attack ads are rarely very erudite. It is the fact that today we should be reflecting on the sacrifices our troops have made in service of this country, and vowing to support those who have returned, those in Afghanistan, and the 50,000 who remain in Iraq. Instead we get a vapid and unoriginal attack on Obama from GOP "leaders," and a shameless fear-mongering ad.

I should not have expected more of the Right, but I did.

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The Oval Office Iraq speech

By Creature

I guess I'm in no mood to nitpick, to fight. I thought the president's speech tonight was strong. He must be given credit for removing 90K plus troops. If president McCain was in there, I doubt the withdrawal would have happened at all. I can even overlook his kid-glove approach with Bush. Like I said, I'm in no mood to fight.

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Enough with Glenn Beck

Guest post by T.W. Wilson

Ed. note: The pseudonymous Mr. Wilson, I assure you, knows a lot about politics, having been on the inside himself, but is new to political blogging, and I encourage you to check out his blog, Lippmann's Ghost, mostly but not exclusively on U.S. politics. This is the first of what I hope will be many guest posts for us. It just makes sense to start with a rather direct piece on the greatest American ever, Glenn Beck. -- MJWS


Glenn Beck is an idiot. Anyone who doesn't think Glenn Beck is an idiot is an idiot. Despite this, we continue to respond to the boob as if he deserves respect in the great national conversation that is politics in America.

When we learned that a federal government official was quick to demand Shirley Sherrod's resignation before all the facts were known because he feared hearing the story shouted by Beck on his nightly rant, I could only shake my head.

When we begin to modify our words and deeds because we are afraid of how a liar and a fool might represent them in the public space, something is seriously wrong.

Certainly we need to counter lies when they are told, correct putative facts when they are wrong, and challenge ideologies when they are destructive. Let us never shy away from this responsibility. But let us not waste our time in this effort unless the things we challenge are having a significant impact on public policy debate and the decision making processes of our leaders.

Keith Olbermann, Rachel Maddow, Ed Schulz, and Chris Matthews, and many more, do yoeman's service in presenting an articulate and well-argued progressive perspective. I am becoming weary, however, of their obsession with Beck and his ilk.

See the first sentence above: Anyone who doesn't think Beck, Limbaugh, O'Reilly, and Hannity are idiots is an idiot. And further, anyone who believes their nonsense probably travelled in that goofy orbit long before Fox News was a glimmer in Rupert Murdoch's eye. In other words, they are not changing anything and, typically, responding to them doesn't change anything.

I'm not saying, to be clear, that some of their crap doesn't make its way into significant political discourse. I only ask that we be discerning about what is and what is not worthy of our notice.

When we respond to every particle of foolishness, we end up giving them twice the airing they would otherwise get and cut in half the time the rest of us have to discuss, debate and truly understand key issues the way adults need to understand them.

When one sibling is annoying another in the back seat of a car, a parent will sometimes say, "just ignore him, or he'll keep doing it." Okay, maybe Beck won't stop doing what he does if we ignore him, but we'll be forced to think about it a whole lot less, which can't be bad.

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Get yer act together, Dems!

I really don't take much stock in Gallup's "generic ballot" polls, not least over the summer (when people aren't paying attention to the news (not that they really do at other times either, but it's worse over the summer), but I can't help but be a little worried by the latest numbers showing Republicans with a 10-point lead, 51 to 41:

There's no discernible trend here. It's been up-and-down all year, with Democrats occasionally taking the lead, and the real concern would be if the gap fails to narrow again and, once the election season begins in earnest after Labor Day, Republicans maintain or expand upon what is a fairly solid lead at present.

So should the results of this latest weekly tracking poll "send a chill down the Democrats' spine," as Taylor Marsh suggests? Well, yes, but not because they're behind, but because what matters here is enthusiasm -- and what this poll shows quite clearly is that Republicans have an enormous lead over both Democrats and independents when it comes to enthusiasm:

I understand why Democrats' enthusiasm is low. Obama has been fairly successful thus far (health care, the stimulus, Wall Street reform, etc.), but he hasn't exactly governed up the lofty expectations of many, and the Democrats in Congress haven't exactly done everything they could have done with two solid majorities and, as usual, aren't exactly a unified force against the Republicans, succumbing to their typical internal conflicts and disagreements -- though, of course, the filibuster has effectively allowed Republicans, who are unified, who have determined to be not a loyal opposition but a party of obstructionism, and who wield what power they have (including the filibuster, which they abuse in terms of historical usage) with a vengeance, to block a good deal of what Obama and the Democrats have wanted to do. (And, too, the media, which regurgitate Republican narratives and talking points without much thought of their own, tend to overblow the situation, leaving Democratic voters with the impression that their party is deeply divided, dysfunctional, and doomed, sapping a good deal of whatever enthusiasm they might have.)

And this is what happens to parties that are in power, even if Democrats have only been in power at both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue since January '09, hardly much time.

Still, there's really no excuse for the enormity of this enthusiasm gap. I expect Republicans to be ahead, what with the surge of the Tea Party "movement" and all the Republican propaganda that has been unleashed upon the country, much of it based on fear, hatred, and loathing, much of it racist/nativist and directed at the Other, including a certain partially black man in the White House (as well as at Mexicans and anyone who doesn't fit in with the right's fringe ideology), but the increasing extremism of the Republican Party and the conservatives who support it should be generating enthusiasm among Democrats, not depressing it. Sure, Obama has been a bit of a disappointment in some regards, and Democrats in Congress have been somewhat pathetic, but do we really want the party of Sarah Palin to take over? Do Democrats really not get it? Are they so bitter or so stubborn or so stupid that they'd rather let the Republicans win than go to the polls and vote for what is, at worst, the significantly less bad of the two options?

I expect the enthusiasm gap to narrow and for Democrat to lose fewer seats in November than some expect (and as some polls predict). Ultimately, Democrats will do what they have to do, and right now Republicans, driven on by that fear, hatred, and loathing, may very well be maxing out on enthusiasm, with the base deeply enthusiastic even over the summer. History tells us that the party in power will lose seats in the first midterms, and, less than two years into Obama's presidency, we shouldn't expect an exception.

But Republicans are running as a far-right party, with teabaggers triumphant across the land, and this will only come back to bite them as they lose independents and whatever sensible Republicans are left -- assuming, of course, that Democrats don't wither away into electoral oblivion for lack of effort.

There's still a long time to go, in electoral terms, before November, but it's time for Democrats to start giving a shit.

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Just how crazy is Sharron Angle? (8)

(Welcome, Sun readers. For more on Angle's craziness, click here and scroll down.)

As the Las Vegas Sun's Jon Ralston reports, Angle, the far-right, insurgent Nevada Republican nominee for Senate (running against Harry Reid, of course), proudly declared in '06, when she ran for Congress, that she would have voted against the $62 billion in Katrina relief that Congress approved in September '05.

Only 11 House members voted against the package, which received broad bipartisan support. Far-right Rep. Mike Pence, whom Angle specifically mentions in her comments, voted for it, as did the Republican leadership, which at the time included Rep. Tom DeLay, hardly a big-government liberal. Sure, Republicans knew it would look bad to vote against relief, and against the victims of one of the worst natural disasters in American history, but at least most of them did the right thing, whatever their motivations.

Angle might have voted for it, too, or been pressured to vote for it, but the fact -- and it's on tape, thankfully, as Angle is whitewashing her past -- is that she came out publicly and determinedly against it.

Now, I'm all for budget sanity, too, but there are times when government has to step in and do what needs to be done, as in the case of historic economic crises and massive hurricanes that cause extraordinary damage to life and property. Just think back to those horrendous images of New Orleans, of so much of the Gulf Coast. You really want to play politics with that? You really want to hold out for offsets, or else?

That says an awful lot about just what sort of a human being Sharron Angle is. She's crazy, as we've known for some time, but evidently she's also cruel, the proponent of a conservative ideology, to the extent that she really understands what she claims to support, that seemingly cares nothing for human suffering, that pushes the failed trickle-down economic polities of the past at the expense of common decency, and that would have let Katrina's victims and homes, not to mention a great American city, rot.

It's good these tapes are out there, because we all, and Nevadans in particular, need to know just what Angle is all about.

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Monday, August 30, 2010

Arson at site of Islamic center in Tennessee

We may not know who did this, but I think we know what caused it (and who, ultimately, is behind it):

Federal officials are investigating a fire that started overnight at the site of a new Islamic center in a Nashville suburb.

Ben Goodwin of the Rutherford County Sheriff's Department confirmed to CBS Affiliate WTVF that the fire, which burned construction equipment at the future site of the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro, is being ruled as arson.

Special Agent Andy Anderson of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives told CBS News that the fire destroyed one piece of construction equipment and damaged three others. Gas was poured over the equipment to start the fire, Anderson said.

It's anti-Muslim bigotry, of course, but at this time, with conservatives like Palin and Gingrich screaming about the "Ground Zero mosque" and targeting Muslims as the anti-American Other, as jihadists to a man, woman, and child, is it any wonder we're seeing more of this lately? 

Palin, Gingrich, and their right-wing ilk -- and there are many of them, showing up regularly on Fox News and spewing their venom wherever they can -- may not have set the equipment on fire, but they certainly provided the gas.

(For more, see Greenwald.)

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Glenn Beck regrets calling Obama a racist. Maybe.

So Glenn Beck, it seems, regrets calling President Obama a racist last year, regrets saying -- on Fox News, of course -- that the president has a "deep-seated hatred for white people."

"I have a big fat mouth sometimes and I say things," Beck told Chris Wallace on Fox News yesterday.

Yes, that's true, he says "things," and I suppose he deserves a bit of credit for admitting that he said something vicious and stupid. I doubt Rush would ever do that.

But he is genuinely sorry, or just sorry his "big fat mouth" got him in trouble with his advertisers (and with some fellow conservatives), and is he now just saying he's sorry because of that whole "Restoring Honor" nonsense he's pushing? (Besides, he went on to say that Obama's worldview is based on liberation theology, which is a gross misrepresentation of Obama's worldview.)

Not that it matters, because the mouth will keep flapping dishonorably and he'll keep saying vicious and stupid things, about the president and about anything and everything else he doesn't like.

He's Glenn Beck, after all. That's what he does.

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Sunday, August 29, 2010

She Walks On Water

Kingmaker, The Power Behind the Throne, The Most Powerful Woman in America, The Second Coming, The Chosen One - these are some of titles being anointed to Sarah "All-Mighty" Palin, The Thrilla from Wasilla in the wake of Joe Miller's apparent upset victory over Lisa Murkowski last Tuesday in the Alaska Republican Primary for Senate.

Murkowski is the incumbent, having been appointed to the seat by her father in 2002. In 2004, when forced to run, she was victorious in the general election. Murkowski is considered a 'moderate' Republican. Other than the fact she is pro-choice and pro-stem cell, there is nothing moderate about Murkowski. She is given this label just because compared to most of the whackos in the GOP (see Bachmann, Michele and Foxx, Virginia), Lisa M is somewhat sane. Like all the lemmings in the Senate, Murkowski votes for whatever McConnell tells her to vote for. (every now and the, the Chinless One lets Susie or Limpie or Brownie deviate a bit to help with their media image)

The Murkowski family HATES Sarah Palin (chalk up another bonus point for Lisa) - it is the Hatfields and the McCoys. Palin defeated Lisa's father Frank (the one who appointed her) in the 2006 gubernatorial election. Palin of course did not finish the job she was elected to do - resigning 18 months before her term was over to indulge her ego and become the rich white man's wet dream.

Joe Miller is now poised to become the Republican candidate for Senate in Alaska. By any test, Miller makes Murkowski look like Ted Kennedy. Miller is a complete nut job - a Sharron Angle with an X-Y chromosome. He is pro-life with no exceptions, wants to privatize (aka get rid of) Social Security and tows the line on a whole slew of other Teabagger issues. With Alaska being overwhelmingly Republican (considering the state is the biggest recipient of Federal Dollars per capita, that is quite amusing) and Democrats showing the country what spineless wussies they are - the odds are Miller will be the next Senator.

But what has made this election so special is the fact that Palin campaigned for Miller and the media has deemed his victory is due to the sprinkling of Palin Fairy Dust.

from Christina Bellantoni at Talking Points Memo (of all places!):
it's her ability to totally change the dynamic of a given race that sets her apart not only from current GOP rivals but even most other politicos in recent memory. Whereas others can provide an incremental push to unknowns and incumbents alike, only Palin has demonstrated the ability to pluck a candidate from virtual obscurity and rocket them to political stardom -- and, often, to an unexpected win.

Lets take a look at the Palin record of plucking from obscurity and sending across the tape - Miller and Nikki Haley in So. Carolina.  That is it.  Palin has endorsed such other "unknowns" as Rick Perry and Carly Fiorina - who would have won their respective primaries with or without her.  Palin also endorsed Rand Paul and Sharron Angle - both won.  Did she make a difference - who knows?, she might have - we don't have the luxury of running the election again without Palin dropping her stinking feces in the races.  Angle benefitted from the chicken trading of Sue Lowden and Paul already had plenty of media attention - due to the uncanny ability of Teabaggers to generate Nielsen ratings.  Palin also endorsed Karen Handel in Georgia (who lost) and Rita Meyer in Wyoming (also a loser).  According to the Washington Post, Palin's batting average is .667 - great if you are in the MLB, lousy if you are Palin the Perfect.

Palin is only a kingmaker because the media (mainly Fox, but also cable outlets, wire services, papers and other assorted mass media machines run by white men) has chosen her to be some sort of combo of Eva Person, Aimee Semple McPherson and Marilyn Monroe.  If Palin looked like Meg Whitman or Virginia Foxx the media wouldn't waste 5 seconds of their time on her - and those magical red slippers would have been transferred to some other Wicked Witch.  It doesn't matter that Palin is a complete moron, that she only ever criticizes, that she has yet put forth one coherent idea, that she isn't qualified to clean up dog shit (moose shit yes, dog no), that she is a typical fear-monger filled with hate, and that she is a self-indulgent narcissist who puts herself ahead of everything (including her children and her elected job as governor) - the media follows her around like a bunch of aging teenagers after David Cassidy, Leif Garret or the Bay City Rollers.

There is no way to prove if a Palin endorsement actually helps or hurts.  But a Palin seal of approval will generate FREE national media attention - something a Nikki Haley or Joe Miller could never afford or would would never have gotten otherwise.  So in that case, having Palin cooties is probably worth it in a GOP primary.  There is no doubt she is the most polarizing figure in all of America today.  Nobody is lukewarm on Palin - you are either with her or against her.  And the people who adore - her brainless descamisados - well they don't just adore her, they worship the ground she walks on as the holiest of holys.  I bet many scrounge the garbage for her used napkins.  I guarantee not ONE of her followers can name a single accomplishment or idea Palin has (except tax cuts - which doesn't count because every Republican and teabagger is required to put forth tax cuts as the be-all and end-all of ideas).   Then again I guess I cannot blame them - she hasn't had an accomplishment.  But none of this matters in 2010 American politics - what matters is that Palin is hot to trot and there is a Black man in the Oval Office.  All the rest is just tripe.

Miller won in Alaska - the Palin playground and Haley won in South Carolina by a huge margin in the runoff.  Sarah might not be as "loved" as she once was in the 49th state - but they elected her in 2006.  And South Carolina - home of Mark Sanford, Joe Wilson, Jim Demented and Lindsey Graham - that alone speaks volumes about the voters in the Palmetto State.  Between the local and national media attention she gets (for no reason other than she makes people like Rush Limbaugh put the viagra back in the vial for a day), there is little doubt that her influence in Alaska during a Republican primary - is still strong.  I wonder if we pay Russia the same $7.2 million Seward paid the Czar in 1867 if they will take Palin off our hands - both Palins - Sarah and Todd.  They can leave Bristol - I have to see her on Dancing With the Stars.

If Joe Miller pulls this out, he owes Palin.  He is now officially The Manchurian Alaskan Candidate  - Raymond Shaw to Palin's Elinor Iselin.  Everytime the Queen of Diamonds herself, Sarah Palin, says teabag - Joe will have to jump.  This is far worse than being brainwashed - it is Palinwashed.  And it is a life sentence.

One day the media will wake up and realize they have been following the 21st century version of a snake-oil salesman.  Palin is a charlatan - a good looking one, but a charlatan nonetheless.  It's actually OK for the media to follow such drivel as Lindsay Lohan or Paris Hilton - neither of them have any delusions of grandeur of having their fingers on the Nuclear switch or leading a crusade into the Middle East.  Propping up the modern day version of Semple-McPherson and Peron is a dangerous MO in a country that worships the stupid.


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Glenn Beck, you're no Martin Luther King... not even close

I actually don't have much to say about Glenn Beck's idiotic, insulting "Restoring Honor" rally at the Lincoln Memorial on Saturday.

Everything was just so predictable. How could it not have been? Anyone familiar with Beck and his far-right shtick knew what was coming, and it all came, Sarah Palin included, as expected. We've seen it all before, we've heard it all before, and the only difference was the scale, the backdrop and the size of the crowd, and therein, on the anniversary of Martin Luther King's historic speech, was it so deeply insulting.

As C&L's David Neiwert put it, the rally was "just a long-winded and boring sermon," and overwhelmingly, predictably "white":

It was essentially Beck's call for a return to the religious life in America -- which was why he assembled 240 representatives of various churches in the crowd and dubbed them his "new Black Robe Regiment". This part was particularly creepy, since it came with an admonition that religious leaders needed to focus on "fundamental values" -- as defined by Glenn Beck, of course.

This means, naturally, that the "social justice" for which Martin Luther King fought -- and which Glenn Beck has vigorously condemned -- would not be part of those fundamental values.

As predicted, the whole show was a hoax -- a civil rights rally for easily frightened white people.

Yes, that's exactly right, from what I could tell, from my perch here in Canada, where we don't have a Glenn Beck and where social justice is built into who we are as a nation, where it defines us as a people despite our own conservatives who seek to undermine it. I was insulted as a human being who admires King and what he stood for, and I was insulted as one who has spent a lot of time in, and who loves, America, but, thankfully, I am somewhat detached from the madness of Glenn Beck, if only because there is a national border, however undefended, between us.

And yet I remain focused on what I and others have referred to as the American right's descent into madness, one of the defining political developments of our time, perhaps the defining political development of the decline and fall of the American Empire.

Here's the NYT's Bob Herbert: "America is better than Glenn Beck. For all of his celebrity, Mr. Beck is an ignorant, divisive, pathetic figure." Yes it is and yes he is. More:

Beck is a provocateur who likes to play with matches in the tinderbox of racial and ethnic confrontation. He seems oblivious to the real danger of his execrable behavior. He famously described President Obama as a man "who has a deep-seated hatred for white people or the white culture."

He is an integral part of the vicious effort by the Tea Party and other elements of the right wing to portray Mr. Obama as somehow alien, a strange figure who is separate and apart from -- outside of -- ordinary American life.


Facts and reality mean nothing to Beck. And there is no road too low for him to slither upon.

And yet he will undoubtedly remain, for the foreseeable future, a leading figure on the right, the articulator of an ascendant strain of conservatism that, along with the anti-tax, pro-business libertarianism of old, has taken hold of the Republican Party and that is widely popular in non-establishment conservative circles, that is, with the Tea Party "movement" and the Republican base.

When King spoke, on August 28, 1963, it was not about himself, and not really even about his own "dream," but about something so much larger than that, the promise that America held as a nation, the promise of white and black, and everyone else, coming together in common purpose to make the future a better place, a fairer place, a more socially just place. It was an historic speech, and it remains today one of the finest moments of American history.

When Beck spoke yesterday, on August 28, 2010, it was all about himself, about his vision, about remaking America in his own image. What I noted -- and, again, this was so predictable -- was the enormous egotism of it all. Who is Glenn Beck to speak at the Lincoln Memorial on the same day King gave his historic speech there? An arrogant, self-satisfied blowhard teeming with conspiracy theories and a self-interested ideology of fear, hatred, and loathing.

America is still a great and beautiful country in many ways, as King understood, but Beck's "America," as we heard yesterday and as we hear day after day from him and those like him, is an ugly distortion of that reality. What it seeks to restore is the ugliness of America's past, the divisions that threatened to tear America apart, the ignorance and closed-mindedness that are enemies to genuine progress, to genuine liberty.

We can ignore Beck if we like, at our risk, given his popularity, but what we really need to do is to articulate as forcefully as we can King's vision of America as a land of freedom and opportunity for all, as a land that is fair and just and inclusive. This is the vision that then-candidate Barack Obama articulated so brilliantly in his speech in Philadelphia in March 2008. American history has been the story of the quest for that more perfect union envisioned by the Founders. The American Empire may or may not be in irreversible decline, but to me that quest is still a noble one, and one that ought to guide American politics now.

Glenn Beck, those like him, and those who support him, like today's conservatism generally, is an obstacle to that quest, an obstacle to the realization of a better and more perfect America. He, and the ugliness he stands for, must not be allowed to prevail.

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