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White America Has Lost Its Mind

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Hey, you know something people? I’m not black, but there’s a whole lots a times. I wish I could say I’m not white”—Frank Zappa, “Trouble Every Day”

There is a well-written, fascinating—but fucking depressing—cover story (avec an awesome Drew Friedman cover illustration) by Steven Thrasher in the Village Voice today. Not much for me to add to this, I snarked myself into exhaustion yesterday, just read it and weep amongst yourselves:

About 12:01 on the afternoon of January 20, 2009, the white American mind began to unravel.

It had been a pretty good run up to that point. The brains of white folks had been humming along cogently for near on 400 years on this continent, with little sign that any serious trouble was brewing. White people, after all, had managed to invent a spiffy new form of self-government so that all white men (and, eventually, women) could have a say in how white people were taxed and governed. White minds had also nearly universally occupied just about every branch of that government and, for more than two centuries, had kept sole possession of the leadership of its executive branch (whose parsonage, after all, is called the White House).

But when that streak was broken—and, for the first time, a non-white president accepted the oath of office—white America rapidly began to lose its grip.

As with other forms of dementia, the signs weren’t obvious at first. After the 2008 election, when former House majority leader Tom DeLay suggested that instead of a formal inauguration, Barack Obama should “have a nice little chicken dinner, and we’ll save the $125 million,” black folks didn’t miss the implication. References to chicken, particularly of the fried variety, have long served as a kind of code when white folks referred to black people and their gustatory preferences—and weren’t many of us already accustomed to older white politicians making such gaffes? But who among us sensed that it was a harbinger that an entire nation was plunging into madness?

Who didn’t chuckle, after all, the first time they heard that white people had doubts that Barack Obama had even been born in the United States and was therefore ineligible to be president? It sounded like one of those Internet stories in which some (usually white) writer does his best to prove something everyone knows to be true is actually the exact opposite. And you go along with it for a few paragraphs to see how long the writer can convince you that what you know is right is actually wrong.

Seemed like that, didn’t it? After all, what was the beef? Obama’s father was Kenyan, and the kid was born in Hawaii—which is barely a part of the United States to begin with (only a state in 1959!). His mother was white, and after the Kenyan guy left, she married an Indonesian guy, so little Barack lived in Jakarta for a while before coming back to Hawaii to be brought up largely by his white grandparents. . . . And that’s it? Come on, this was after-school-special material, the kind of thing that brings a tear to your eye because little half-Kenyan/half-white Barry made good, not the stuff of conspiracy novels.

But the more you shook your head at it, the more it seemed to have taken root deep in the lizard part of the white nervous system. Obama is not an American. He says he’s Christian, but he has a Muslim-sounding name. He’s not black, he’s not white. . . . Is . . . is he even human?

Today, Newsweek has found, nearly a quarter of Americans believe that Obama is a Muslim, with barely 42 percent of the nation accepting his claim that he’s a Christian. CNN finds that a quarter of Americans also believe that Obama was “probably or definitely” born in another country.

Harris found in an online poll that 14 percent of Americans believe in their hearts that President Barack Obama is the antichrist, with nearly a quarter of Republicans saying so.

Read more of White America Has Lost Its Mind (Village Voice)

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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The sickening truth about wealth disparity in America
09.28.2010
03:04 pm

Topics:
Economy
Politics

Tags:
Socialism Now

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Timothy Noah, writing on wealth inequalities on Slate, lays out some astonishing facts about just how much of America’s wealth is owned by the mega-rich:

I noted that in 1915, when the richest 1 percent accounted for about 18 percent of the nation’s income, the prospect of class warfare was imminent. Today, the richest 1 percent account for 24 percent of the nation’s income, yet the prospect of class warfare is utterly remote. Indeed, the political question foremost in Washington’s mind is how thoroughly the political party more closely associated with the working class (that would be the Democrats) will get clobbered in the next election. Why aren’t the bottom 99 percent marching in the streets?

One possible answer is sheer ignorance. People know we’re living in a time of growing income inequality, [Paul] Krugman told me, but “the ordinary person is not really aware of how big it is.” The ignorance hypothesis gets a strong assist from a new paper for the journal Perspectives on Psychological Science: “Building a Better America—One Wealth Quintile at a Time.” The authors are Michael I. Norton, a psychologist who teaches at Harvard Business School, and Dan Ariely, a behavioral economist (and blogger) at Duke. Norton and Ariely focus on the distribution of wealth, which is even more top-heavy than the distribution of income. The richest 1 percent account for 35 percent of the nation’s net worth; subtract housing, and their share rises to 43 percent. The richest 20 percent (or “top quintile”) account for 85 percent; subtract housing and their share rises to 93 percent. But when Norton and Ariely surveyed a group whose incomes, voting patterns, and geographic distribution approximated that of the U.S. population, the respondents guessed that the top quintile accounted for only 59 percent of the nation’s wealth.[Emphasis added]

Sickening, huh? If you threw up a little in your mouth as you read that, I think you’re in good company. SOCIALISM NOW!

Read more of Theoretical Egalitarians: Why income distribution can’t be crowd-sourced (Slate)

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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Embarrassing headline title on Fox News Channel
09.28.2010
02:02 pm

Topics:
Amusing
Politics

Tags:
Obama
Maine
Portland
Fox News Channel

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They probably just should have spelled out Portland, Maine.

(via TDW)

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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The Tea Party Coloring Book for Kids!

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Fuck me:

A wonderful book of The Tea Party for Kids! Teaches children (and parents) about the origins of the Tea Party and what it involves. A very pleasant song, coloring and activity book on Liberty, Faith, Freedom and so much more! Get involved, participate, self reliance, freedom of choice, work, government-of-for-by the people, Leadership, Ingenuity, Jobs and responsibilty!

The Tea Party Coloring Book for Kids!

 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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Simpleton Rand Paul is a member of AIDS-denying conspiracy theory group

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According to the Louisville Courier-Journal. Republican extremist Rand Paul—who, natch, has had Sarah Palin fundraising for him—is a member of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, the same group who are supporting Nevada’s batshit crazy GOP Senate nominee, Sharron Angle, who seems to believe that abortion causes breast cancer and that Medicare is “immoral” and “evil” (but letting elderly people is what Christ would have wanted???)

Excerpted from “Rand Paul part of AAPS doctors’ group airing unusual views”:

Republican U.S. Senate nominee Rand Paul belongs to a conservative doctors’ group that, among other things, has expressed doubts about the connection between HIV and AIDS and suggested that President Barack Obama may have been elected because he was able to hypnotize voters.

The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, based in Tucson, Ariz., advocates conservative and free-market solutions on health care and a variety of other political issues.

But it also uses its medical journal and Website as forums for unorthodox medical views.

Maybe their blog is where Sharron Angle got her information for her comments about “autism” (I added the quotation marks, watch the video and see why. What galls me about this woman is how proud of herself she seems! She is PROUD of being ignorant. You can’t top that, she’s on a suicide mission!):
 

 
Group promoting Angle event: Medicare “evil” and “immoral,” Obama is a “covert hypnotist” and HIV may not cause AIDS (Las Vegas Sun)

Via Charles Johnson at Little Green Footballs, who is doing some very important work

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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Paul Krassner: Stand-up comedy fundraiser for Peace & Freedom Party in Los Angeles
09.27.2010
07:16 am

Topics:
Heroes
Literature
Politics

Tags:
Paul Krassner

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Nice to hear that Dangerous Minds pal, “raving, unconfined nut” and legendary countercultural figure, Paul Krassner, will be receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award from prestigious writer’s organization PEN, on Saturday afternoon, December 11, at the Oakland Public Library in Oakland, CA. Knowing Paul, I’m sure he’s is as thrilled as he is amused by this wonderful recognition.

Also, if you happen to be lucky enough to live in Los Angeles, then next Sunday, you are in for a treat. Michael Simmons, writing in the LA Weekly:

Paul Krassner has led a remarkable life: Lenny Bruce’s collaborator, editor of The Realist , co-founder of the Yippies, stand-up agitator and investigative satirist. All of it is chronicled in his autobiography, 1993’s Confessions of a Raving, Unconfined Nut: Misadventures in the Counter-Culture, an essential bible for troublemakers and recommended reading for those seeking aid, comfort and laughs amid our glut of bad news. Krassner never endeared himself to the powers-that-be and the book’s title designation was courtesy of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. As George Carlin said, “The FBI was right: This man is dangerous—and funny, and necessary.” An expanded Confessions… is being published in paperback this October and will be available by Kindle and Nook as an eBook from New World Digital later this year. (One can see Paul reading sections on paulkrassner.com.)

As a combination book launch and benefit for candidates for the Peace & Freedom Party, Krassner will perform tonight with comics Marc Maron, Rick Overton, Ann Randolph, Jimmy Dore, Kelly Carlin, Gary Gordon, Jann Karam and MC Paul Lyons. The Peace and Freedom Party was founded in 1967, the same year as the Yippies, and are fielding candidates on the California ballot in November for U.S. and State Senate and Congress. If you want your vote to stand for justice without corporate pursestrings attached, voting for Peace and Freedom folk is a choice—not one endorsed by the L.A. Weekly , but a choice nonetheless.

Powerhouse Theatre, 3116 Second St.; Santa Monica CA, October 3rd, reception starts at 6pm.

Below, a fun interview I did with Paul Krassner in the Summer of 2009. I always enjoy seeing Paul (and his lovely wife, Nancy) immensely:
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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A Democrat not afraid to call it as he sees it: Alan Grayson kicks ‘Taliban Dan’ to the curb
09.26.2010
05:42 pm

Topics:
Current Events
Politics

Tags:
Rep. Alan Grayson

 
I certainly hope the rest of the Democratic candidates are paying close attention to Rep. Alan Grayson’s campaign playbook. He’s the only one among their ranks with any balls.

Best political of the season, don’t you think?

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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What if the Tea Party took over the Sunday Comics?

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Wunderbar! Lots more of these parodies, courtesy of Ward Sutton (writing as “Joe Smith”) at the Boston Globe.com
 
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Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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Obama can abolish unemployment—if he wants to—here’s how
09.26.2010
01:17 pm

Topics:
Current Events
Economy
Politics

Tags:
Unemployment

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This short editorial was found on the Roosevelt Institute’s website and was written by Henry C.K. Liu. I’m reposting it here in toto—hopefully Henry won’t mind—because it’s a breathtakingly simple—and brilliant—way to help get the country out of this mess. Call it New Deal II, call it Socialism, call it whatever you want, this is a great idea, one worthy of a think tank bearing the Roosevelt name. At a certain point, they ARE going to have to do something like this—there are simply too many unemployed people to tell them all to go fuck themselves when their unemployment checks run out, don’t you reckon? If the Tea party types like Sharron Angle and Alaska’s Jo Miller get their way, WHAT do they expect will become of the people whose UI has ended and who face homelessness and destitution?

Obama and Congress have done plenty—too much if you ask me—to bail out big business, the banks and Wall Street. If Obama doesn’t get his thumb out of his ass and DO SOMETHING BOLD AND MEANINGFUL for the poor in this country, there are going to be riots and violence breaking out all over the place. But it doesn’t have to be that way, as this short essay points out:

The first year of the Obama presidency has been a monumental disappointment. By now, the President’s populist rhetoric of “change we can believe in” rings hollow against the hard data of the sad shape of the economy.

The critical bottleneck to recovery is the continuing loss of jobs. Conventional economic wisdom asserts that employment is the lagging indicator. Unemployment cannot be expected to fall until after the economy recovers. But in an economy that suffers from overcapacity due to low wages, as the world economy does today, economic recovery from excessive debt cannot be achieved without full employment with living wages to produce the needed rise in demand to absorb overcapacity. The government, despite its enormous power to intervene in the economy on the supply side, is stuck in a self-perpetuating vicious cycle of stagnation caused by unemployment that in turn causes stagnation.

Yet all is not lost. The President needs only to reestablish his political leadership with bold and effective action to deliver help directly to deserving workers rather than to failed undeserving financial firms that are allegedly too big to fail. One way to do this is for President Obama to use the coming State of the Union address at the beginning of the second year of his presidency to announce that he will be the first president in US history to abolish unemployment in the US economy. He will be the president who will smash the destructive myth that structural unemployment is needed to hold down inflation even in a deflationary cycle.

This is not an impossible task. The US now has 6.5 million unemployed workers, 4 million of whom joined the unemployment rank during the first year of the Obama presidency. The President can introduce a Full Employment Program starting February 1, 2010 to give a job to every American who wants one, to be funded by a Full Employment Fund constructed out off already-appropriated but yet unspent bailout and stimulus money. These jobs can be socially constructive jobs such as teachers, nurses, caretakers of children and seniors, police, artists, health workers, writers, inventors, etc., with the prime function of increasing demand in the economy.

At the rate of the 2008 national average wage of $42,000, a program to fund 6.5 million jobs will cost $2.7 trillion a year. In the past two years, the government has committed over $20 trillion in various form of bailout and stimulus packages, with very little to show for it in the form of economic recovery. The not-yet-spent portion of this $20 trillion can fund full employment for more than three years at a declining rate. As this money is injected into the economy in the form of living wages, the resultant rise in demand will increase the utilization of the capital assets to reduce overcapacity. A balance between supply and demand will be maintained by full employment to permit the economy to grow again.

The resultant growth in the economy will reduce the spending rate of the Full Employment Program way before the allotted money is depleted. With full employment, the US economy of $14 trillion GDP can grow at a 6% annual rate, producing an additional GDP of $560 billion the first year. The $2.7 trillion Full Employment Fund will be repaid in less than 4 years.

That is a change we can believe in.

Roosevelt Institute Braintruster Henry C.K. Liu is an independent commentator on culture, economics and politics.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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Leftwing media wakes to the the facts (or lack thereof)
09.24.2010
10:04 am

Topics:
Current Events
Media
Politics

Tags:
John Boehner

 
I have no idea if this is true or not and I really don’t care in the slightest, aside from the obviously pleasurable schadenfreude that comes with seeing a sanctimonious right-wing tightass feel the heat. Who really gives a shit if Oompa Loompa-orange Republican House leader John Boehner (OH) is having an affair or not (besides, of course, his wife or election opponents?) To me, the bigger story here is that some folks on the Left have (finally) decided to get a little nastier in the lead-up to the crucial mid-term elections. IT’S ABOUT FUCKIN’ TIME!

Republicans have demonstrated for well over 20 years that they will say and do anything to get into power and hold onto it. No lie is too big or too small for the GOP. Facts? Don’t talk to me of facts because no one CARES about facts anymore and the Republicans have known this since at least the Reagan-era. (I recall watching the televised Iran Contra hearings and thinking at the time: “These fucks are going to get away with this because the story is too complicated for the general public to care about it.” Sure enough… next came the Savings and Loan crisis where George Bush the first used billions in taxpayer money to bail out friends and his son, Neil. Another story too complicated to rile the public up much, of course).

In this day and age, politics IS skullduggery and that is the way the game’s got to be played. Do two wrongs ever make a right? Probably not, but in modern American politics it’s got less to do with doing unto others as you would have them do unto you and a lot more about doing it TO them before they can do it to you. If one side plays by those rules, then the other side has no choice but to play the same. It’s about time the Left realizes this. Read more at The Daily Kos and Page Six.

One last thing: Note that he doesn’t deny it. No proof of anything, but if I was asked if I cheated on my wife, I’d have a ready answer. Why doesn’t Boehner?

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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