Apparently, the turkeys are plotting total world domination.
Apparently, the turkeys are plotting total world domination.
The new generation of public intellectuals and pundits owes a lot to guys like Chalmers Johnson, who died yesterday at 79. This guy was one of the foremost experts on both America’s ascension as an empire and its inevitable decline, and he wrote the now-classic books Blowback and The Sorrows of Empire
Like Noam Chomsky and Gore Vidal, Johnson’s formed his worldview during the Cold War; his friend the progressive realist Steve Clemons calls him “a one time hard-right national security hawk” in the great piece he wrote today about the man. Most of us discovered Johnson after the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991 and he’d cultivated his views about American imperialism. The Left in this country loved the irony of this academic with the old-school-Establishment-wonk demeanor breathing fire against Yankee hegemony. He’ll be missed.
Unemployed Man and his trusty sidekick, Plan B (who was forced out of the workplace for being too expensive to insure by his former employer) have a word with the “Hero in Chief” in a panel taken from Erich Origen and Gan Golan’s The Adventures of Unemployed Man graphic novel.
Obama better have a fuckin’ Plan B is all I can say…
Shawn Carter a.k.a. hip-hop mogul Jay-Z sat down yesterday with top African-American public intellectual Cornel West at the New York Public Library for a talk—moderated by Library director Paul Holdengräber—that was to be centered ostensibly around his memoir Decoded, but ranged through a wide variety of topics and modes.
It bears notice that despite Jay-Z’s superstar pop status and the hype surrounding the book, the appearance didn’t bear an airing on, say, MTV. I truly wonder why.
Love him or hate him, Carter’s journey from Bed-Stuy’s Marcy Houses projects to mega-millionaire mogul maps almost directly to the 30+-year story of hip-hop from marginalized urban phenomenon to global cultural movement. And West’s contextualization of the rhymer’s work and writings within the urban African-American artistic experience is pretty striking.
The status commonly accorded to Jay-Z as the greatest rapper of all time amounts to truly tedious hype. But there’s no denying that the man’s got power, perspective and a dangerous mind.
Although you have to take nearly everything you read on crackpot blog World Net Daily with, not just a grain of salt, but an entire mountain of it, every now and then you can find some useful information there. Hardly ever, I grant you, but still there is at least some value in checking in at WND from time to time to get what the crackpot-on-the-street viewpoint is in America (i.e. the kind of stuff Sarah Palin or Michele Bachmann would read and think was true).
Sometimes, it’s pretty straightforward what you find there, such as this article indicating that a voter survey by a conservative group, Concerned Women for America, found that only economic issues trumped moral/ethical issues in the minds of many who voted. Considering that it’s mostly older Americans and evangelicals who vote in midterm elections, this is unsurprising, but it also lends absolute credence to the theory that the Democrats really lost because their base couldn’t be bothered to show up. The same can’t be said of the GOP, because they came out in droves last week.
But here’s the thing that’s brewing in the background, which will be coming to the foreground in the months ahead: Encouraged by a large turnout by social conservative voters, pro-life activists are demanding immediate returns from the massive GOP electoral victories in the U.S. House of Representatives.
What in practice this will mean, in the short-term, I can’t predict, but the standard GOP trope of giving lip service to repealing Roe v. Wade during the campaign, getting elected with the conservative Christian vote and then promptly doing nothing about it—a time-honored tradition dating back to the Reagan years—has been played out. These people want action and they want it now. From WND:
A separate poll conducted by the Faith and Freedom Coalition found that evangelical Christians formed “the largest single constituency in the electorate in the 2010 midterm elections.”
Evangelicals represented 29 percent of the vote in the 2010 midterm election, nearly a third of the total, and they broke nearly 4:1 for the Republicans. Another 12 percent of voters were religious Catholics, who voted 3:2 for Republicans.
Even if those numbers do sound rather high, what does this tell us about the civil war that’s about to break out among GOP members of Congress? Clearly, a Republican candidate can no longer get elected without appealing to the wingnut and evangelical wings of the party constituencies. The Tea party has, for all intents and purposes, already taken over the GOP and drives its agenda, but at the moment, some familiar faces are still in office, like Richard Luger, Lindsay Graham, Orrin Hatch, Olympia Snow and other establishment, moderate Republicans. There’s already been noises made from Tea partiers about bumping off Hatch, Snow, Graham and Luger. If they don’t get what they want out of the perceived mandate of the midterm vote, things could get very bloody in the GOP.
One thing seems certain and this is the fact that the Senate and Congressional Republicans of the Bush era we came to know and loathe so well are—sooner rather than later—going to get pushed out. The battle seems to me like it has already been won.
“Pro-lifers now have the majority in the House,” said Jill Stanek, a prominent prolife columnist and blogger. “I’m optimistic the Republican leadership got the message they’re on a two-year probation and they’re going to do as much as they can to help the preborn.”
“I think that’s true,” said Nance. “The Republicans were given the majority again on a wait-and-see basis. They shouldn’t misunderstand that the vote was for their party. It was for specific principles and against the monstrously unpopular Obama initiatives like health care, with its pro-abortion provisions, and the bailouts. If the Republicans want to be successful they have to address the issues that gave Boehner the gavel.
“We will be there to hold them accountable.”
Former Colorado Rep. Marilyn Musgrave, now a director with the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List, noted that her organization succeeded in both electing pro-life women to Congress and removing pro-abortion women.
“We helped elect eight new prolife women, and our expectation is they will show a great deal of courage on this issue,” Musgrave told WND.
Do I think that there will be a repeal of Roe v. Wade? Honestly, no. They’ll posture about it, but it’ll go down in committee or just get vetoed, or tied up in court in a worse case scenario. That’s what the pols will do, but will that be enough this time? But what I am fascinated to see is how the Republican establishment is going to be pushed to the margins of their party by the extremists on this issue. And it’s going to happen…
The current iteration of the GOP’s overal identity and platform already bears scant little resemblance to the party of Eisenhower, Nixon or Reagan. When the last GOP member of the Bush-era Congress has been dumped by the Tea partiers, will they even keep the Republican name and trademark? What would even be the point?
Pro-life leaders tell Republicans they’re ‘on probation’ (World Net Daily)
Illinois Rep. John Shimkus—candidate for chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee—is sure that climate change is no big whup. How does he know this? The Bible tells him so: God promises Noah he’ll never again destroy the earth and all living things. Whew! We’re all safe! Even us unbelievers!
Progress Illinois gives more reasons why Shimkus, of course a Republican, is probably not the best man for the job:
During a discussion at a hearing about the Environmental Protection Agency’s ruling that greenhouse gases threaten public health and the environment, Shimkus noted that carbon dioxide is a natural result of breathing and asked, “Does EPA propose we stop breathing?” (They do not.) At a dinner held by the Sangamon County Republicans in February, Shimkus suggested that the sight of farmers “ice-fishing on ponds in Southern Illinois” is the latest evidence that global warming is a “hoax.” Oh, and let’s not forget the time Shimkus expressed fear that curbing carbon emissions would “take away plant food.” (Scientists disagree.)
This idiot should be pointed at and laughed at. Instead we elect ignoramuses like this to Congress! We’re doomed!
“Too progressive! Not progressive enough! It’s the bloggers’ fault!”
Read This Modern World at Salon
The Hill blog reports that outgoing Florida Governor Charlie Crist is considering pardoning Jim Morrison for a crime that was most likely never committed.
In his last two months in office, Florida Gov. Charlie Crist is considering a December surprise: a posthumous pardon for Jim Morrison, lead singer of The Doors, for indecent exposure charges after an infamous 1969 Miami concert. In a phone interview with The Hill, Crist said “stay tuned” regarding the idea of a posthumous pardon for the singer who died in Paris in 1971. Crist said he won’t make the decision lightly, noting the many complexities surrounding the 41-year-old case. Numerous sound recordings from the show exist, for example, but Morrison’s defenders say none of the scores of photographs from the show prove the exposure charge. “We would have to look into all of that,” Crist said.
Archival footage of Morrison’s Miami trial (no sound).
Via The Daily Swarm
Artist/prankster Matt Cornell’s supplement to the “What Has Obama Done So Far?” meme.
Of all the attempts to analyze the post-election “now what?” question, by far, the clearest-headed effort has come from Peter Dreier, a professor of politics at Occidental College in Los Angeles. He composed his thoughts in an email that he sent to friends, family and colleagues, and now this email is going viral. Here’s an excerpt:
Amazingly, as Harold Meyerson notes in today’s Washington Post, Americans who blamed Wall Street for the nation’s economic problems favored Republicans over Democrats by a 14% margin!! It is time to reframe the debate over which party is in Wall Street’s pocket!
In his column Tuesday, Robert Reich reminds us that during FDR’s first term, almost every major business organization and leader, as well as almost every daily newspaper in America, attacked his New Deal ideas — such as Social Security and the National Labor Relations Act — as unwarranted “big government” and even “socialism.” During his re-election campaign in 1936, FDR mobilized public opinion against his political enemies. “Never before have these forces been so united against one candidate as they stand today,” he thundered. “They are unanimous in their hate for me — and I welcome their hatred.” FDR won re-election in a landslide. Reich suggests that Obama and progressives should follow FDR’s example.
Obama’s biggest victory (which the Republicans now hope to repeal) was the passage of the historic health care reform. As I wrote last May in the American Prospect, that victory happened because progressive groups — unions, consumer groups, community organizing groups, and others — mounted a grassroots protest campaign that saved the health care bill from defeat. The activists focused public attention on the influence and greed of the insurance industry, and gave wavering Democrats, including the President, the support they needed to push for a reform bill. Progressives and liberals need to sustain an permanent protest campaign focusing on the outrageous greed, irresponsible practices, and political influence-peddling of big business. It would help if the President and the Democratic leaders were partners in this “inside/outside” strategy.
In an op-ed in yesterday’s Los Angeles Times, Marshall Ganz, who helped design Obama’s grassroots organizing effort in 2008, argues that Obama needs to find his voice as an inspiring “transformational” leader, and, in doing so, help unleash the potential power of his 2008 supporters.
We need to constantly reframe the public debate to remind Americans that the Republicans, like Cong. John Boehner (the likely next Speaker of the House) and Sen. Mitchell McConnell, are wholly-owned subsidies of corporate America. That’s where they get their money. That’s their agenda. In case you’ve forgotten already, here it is again.
Boehner, McConnell, and their corporate sponsors have already declared war on Obama, the Democrats, and any attempt to tame corporate abuses, or reduce income inequality and poverty. McConnell today repeated that his top priority in Congress is to make Obama a one-term President. As Ganz, Reich, and others have written, this is no time for Obama and the Democrats to compromise principles for the sake of an illusionary bi-partisan consensus. Boehner, McConnell, DeMint and the other Republican leaders have absolutely no interest in bipartisan compromises.
Read more: Thinking Through and Beyond the Election
Thanks for the heads up, James McCardle!