Check out my podcast, Gadgetcast, where we discuss the latest tech news and biggest political stories of the week. Episode 3 just went live today. Gadgetcast can also be found in itunes.
After a political season marked by the rhetoric of violence, why is anyone surprised that we see violence? Why do public figures who go around using violent rhetoric always act surprised when there is violence?
I filmed this in 2009 at a local "tea party" protest in St Clair Shores, MI. At the time I found the casualness with which this woman started chanting "Nothing better than a dead liberal!" and the nonplussed reaction of the other protesters around her, chilling.
This was after we had already seen politically motivated assassination attempts against liberals, like Jim D Attkinson in 2008.
Is it any wonder that the shooting yesterday took place in Arizona, the same state we heard Sharon Angle proposing "second amendment solutions" to her "Harry Reid problem"?
Once again we see those who espouse the ideology of "personal responsibility" refusing to take ANY responsibility for their own use of violent rhetoric. For now, the Radical Right is feigning surprise and sympathy but they will be back out fomenting anti-liberal, anti-Democratic hate and violence again Monday morning.
The best way for the left to fight against this is to shine a huge spotlight on those doing it and expose the hate mongers for what they are. Shine a light the real effects their violent rhetoric has on society. Shine a light on the mindset that spawns these people who mistakenly think they have "second amendment remedies" to their electoral losses in a civil democratic society.
"Illegitimis nil carborundum" - Don't let the bastards grind you down.
Are you Evil? Conservatives think so.
The most basic and fundamental difference between Conservative and Liberal philosophy goes back to the debate between Sir Edmund Burke and Thomas Paine, and whether it is mankind's nature to be good or evil.
As explained by the conservative Burke in his book, "On the French Revolution", conservative philosophy stems from a belief that man is, by nature, evil and therefore must be strictly controlled and harshly punished. Those are the only functions of government in the conservative mind, which is why to this day they believe the only proper functions of government are police and military. Any good that comes from mankind, they believe, is the exception, not the norm and it is only the result of strict discipline stemming from a fear of punishment that allowed a rare individual to overcome their evil nature.
Liberals believe, as explained by our founding father Thomas Paine in "The Rights of Man", that man's nature is essentially good and that evils done by man are the exception, not the norm. They believe that man's primary drivers are self-fulfillment and the desire to take care of their immediate family or tribe.
What this means is that when faced with the same scenario, different people will see different things based on their expectations of mankind. For example, when confronted with unemployment, liberals first think of the good, hard working people who are being screwed out of their living for slightly higher corporate profits and they create programs to help those people such as unemployment insurance. Liberals believe people are good and therefore they want to work and they desire the self-respect and fulfillment that comes from an honest day's labor. They also believe in a fair, living wage for an honest day's work.
Conservatives' first reaction, on the other hand, is to blame the unemployed for being lazy, (or worse, unionized) and thus deserving of being unemployed. For example, the Republican senate candidate in Arizona, Sharon Angle, called the unemployed "spoiled" and "lazy". When conservatives see a program designed to help people, such as unemployment insurance, their first thought is that someone might abuse that system and thus we should not do it. If you have ever talked to a conservative about unemployment or welfare in general you have inevitably heard some variant of the same argument, "Why should I help those lazy drug dealers?" or "Why should my money go to help worthless bums who don't want to work?". Because conservatives believe man is essentially evil, they believe that most other people do not want to work and they would rather sit around all day doing nothing.
In a recent article by the Detroit Republican Examiner, at examiner.com, he openly admits that racism influences his right wing views. He also continues with a call for "rioting" and "blood shed" if Republicans don't get their way in November. This article is noteworthy for the unusual honesty displayed by this particular conservative Republican, showing how his extremist views are propped up by common conservative beliefs.
You can read more here:
This has been a bad week for the GOP. Their usual modus operandi of obstruction and personal destruction isn’t working for them anymore.
Republicans appear to be waking up to the fact that they are in serious trouble come November. They have spent the last few years trying to appeal to the extremists in the tea party crowd and alienating the rest of America in the attempt. The Republicans have already been reduced to a southern regional party after the last few federal elections. By trying to align themselves with the tea party, they set themselves up for spoilers come November. Third parties in the American system only serve to drain votes away from one party and the tea party movement, being a conservative movement, threatens the Republican party far more than the Democratic party.
The Republicans new “Let me see your papers” immigration law in Arizona has caused a firestorm of controversy and criticism. Even several prominent Republicans have called it “unconstitutional”. It threatens to drive Latino voters away from the Republican party completely. Despite the claims by talking heads on Fox that it will not lead to racial profiling, the law says that police officers are now "required" to demand documentation from anyone who "looks" like an illegal immigrant. When asked what an illegal immigrant looks like, not even the Republican Governor who signed the law could answer. In fact, no Republican has been able to answer that very simple and straightforward question. This law is reminiscent of the kind of ham-handed legislation we saw during the George W. Bush years that is tailored to appease the most radical parts of their political base with little to no thought given to the lives of real people that it affects. One Sherriff in Arizona is already refusing to enforce the law, calling it "abominable" and a "national embarrassment."
Then in a move that seemed calculated to make themselves look bad, Republicans spent the first part of this week defending Wall Street abuses against new regulations. They tried to block debate on new regulations from even beginning, very clearly siding with Wall Street against the American people.
Now some Republicans are so frustrated with the narrow appeal of their party and its obstructionist tactics that yesterday they chose to change their course and stop blocking debate on much needed financial reform. But was it too little too late?
After more than a year of partisan obstructionism can the Republican party turn itself around into a productive part of the government that is actually willing to work with the majority in good faith? It does not appear likely at this time, which will probably mean more losses for Republicans this November.
The practice of hiring private contractors for jobs traditionally done by the U.S. Military has been an extremely costly mistake, in both blood and money. An effort to end it has been put forward by Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Representative Jan Schakowsky in the house. House Bill HR 4650 and Senate Bill S 3023 are collectively known as the "Stop Outsourcing Security Act" and are intended to put a stop to this practice that wastes American tax dollars and puts American soldiers at risk.
Private contractors are far more expensive than normal U.S. soldiers. Their salaries are reportedly starting at around $100,000.00 a year doing the same jobs as U.S. soldiers making an average of $25,000 a year. It is reported that we have more private contractors in the middle east than we do soldiers, upwards of 180,000. That's about $18 billion dollars wasted, that are putting our soldiers and their mission at risk, and which could have been used for 4 times as many normal soldiers or better equipment for the soldiers we have there.
One of the advantages of a self-sufficient and mobile Army, like America had in WW2, is that when the fighting gets tough, everyone there is also a trained soldier and can pick up a weapon and fight. Private contractors are civilians, and in a fight, they become liabilities that slow everyone down and consume valuable resources because soldiers have to protect them as well as fight the enemy.
Read More: http://www.examiner.com/x-45752-Macomb-Cou...
The Myth of Small Government
Whenever I ask a conservative what exactly they believe, they predictably bring up a sound byte most of them don’t give a second thought: “small government”.
The problem with this sound byte is that it isn’t really a conservative belief. It is only something they give lip service to and it is designed specifically to avoid talking about what they really believe. The very idea that the government of a nation the size of America should be forced into constraints of an arbitrary size makes no sense to a rational mind. We need a government of a sufficient size to handle the needs of the citizens. It makes no sense to say "our government can never get larger than X". That is an arbitrary choice that has no basis in our actual needs whatsoever. It only serves as a simplistic talking point for conservatives to focus on instead of talking about complex issues like the proper role of government that may force them to rethink some of their extremist ideas.
What conservatives really believe, simply put, is that that the sole role of government is to “protect property”, which means their idea of government is nothing more than police and a military. Their vision of government is little more than a king and his army. If they can’t see a King doing it, they consider it an “entitlement” and don’t want the American government doing it. They can’t imagine a King providing unemployment insurance, social security or health insurance so they oppose all the American government doing any of those things. The problem with that is the preamble of the Constitution specifically states the purpose of our government is to do a lot more than merely protecting property, like providing for the general welfare, but conservatives who claim to support the Constitution conveniently ignore that fact.
The reality is, during the last decade, conservative Republicans oversaw the largest expansion of the federal government since the new deal. They created a brand new massive government bureaucracy, the department of homeland security. They also started not one, but two, unfunded and unending wars that have cost us over a trillion dollars. Then they also passed another massive corporate welfare package, Medicare Part D, also unpaid for. So despite their rhetoric, what America actually gets when we elect conservatives is a LOT more government and a LOT more government debt, but since their expansions are in the narrow realm of what they think government should do, police and military, they have no problems with massively expanding the size and cost of government. Predictably, as soon as the newly elected administration started talking about reforming health insurance, something conservatives don’t think government should do, they pretended to be outraged at the national debt and refuse to admit their own role in growing it to its current size.
Consider that military spending in all its forms now constitutes 53.3% of total US federal spending.
That means more than half the total spending by the federal government is going towards the military in one way or another, either to the pentagon, weapons manufacturers, military contractors (who earn over $100k a year per person and we have as many of them in the middle east as we do U.S. Soldiers), veterans in the form of disability benefits or for VA health coverage.
Consider that we have over 140 military bases on foreign soil, many of which serve no purpose except to cost us trillions and anger the locals as was the case with the Saudis who attacked us on 09-11-2001. We have an easy and obvious path to save trillions of dollars but conservatives oppose any cuts to military spending. Conservatives talk a lot about smaller government but they know to actually do it would negatively affect millions of average Americans, making it political suicide, therefore after a decade of being in control of all three branches of government they utterly failed to deliver on it.
Traditionally, liberals believe we should either have no standing army during times of peace or it should at least be minimal during times of peace. The original intent of the 2nd Amendment was to prohibit a standing army by making every citizen a member of a Switzerland-style militia. That has been warped by conservatives into a gun toting America where 2 year old routinely get shot by criminals with easy access to guns.
The reality is that everyone wants a less expensive government, but the debate needs to be about the proper role of government and the proper size of our military. Instead, what we are getting from conservative opposition right now is more Tim McVeigh-style anti-government rhetoric and talk of revolution and secession.
Teen Shot While Playing Prank
Police: Teens Were Ringing Neighbors' Doorbells
POSTED: Saturday, November 21, 2009
UPDATED: 7:25 pm EST November 22, 2009
Green Oak Township
GREEN OAK TOWNSHIP, Mich. -- The man accused of shooting a 15-year-old boy with a pellet gun after he ran his doorbell as a prank in Livingston County Friday has been released from custody.
One of the teen's friends told Local 4 they were ringing doorbells on Sumac Lane as a prank when the 69-year-old Robert Lupo confronted the teen and shot him in the lower back.
"We were running away and the guy was outside and he yelled at us," the teen's friend said. "While we were running, he got shot, my friend, it hit him in the back, like inches away from his spine. Then we had to pick him up and carried him to my house."
The teen was taken to University of Michigan Hospital in Ann Arbor, but is now recovering at home.
Lupe was arrested and taken to the Livingston County Jail. He was later released without the filing of charges.
Matt Merl is the father of one of the teens who was part of the group who pulled the prank.
"I'm still in shock, actually," he said. "I can't believe out here, in the middle of nowhere, someone would do that to a kid."
Merl said he doesn’t understand why Lupo was released.
“I thought it was attempted murder,” he said.
The Livingston County Prosecutor’s Office was unavailable for comment and a knock on Lupo’s door went unanswered.
Neighbors in the area said the man is particular about his yard and lawn and not friendly to anyone who goes near it.
Green Oak Township is about 35 miles northwest of Detroit.
I wish they had this when I still lived in Bay City. Its an independent film and music festival and they also have workshops on how to make your own independent film.
Clickondetroit is claiming there were thousands of people at the astro-turf "tea party" in Troy yesterday. I never even heard about it. Did anyone go? Anyone take pictures or video of the nutters in the wild?
We Can't Afford to Wait Vigil
In support of health care reform.
Grosse Pointe City downtown, Kercheval & St. Clair corner (Map)
Grosse Pointe City, MI 48230
Wednesday, September 2nd, 7:00 PM
Message from your host, suzanne r.: Light up for Healthcare. Bring flashlight/candles; we will meet at the corner, then walk up Kercheval to Cadiuex, cross the street and walk down the other side to Border's Books. It's a five short block walk. Homemade signs, positive slogans welcome; please nothing derogatory.
Reform supporters needed at anti health care reform town hall at Troy High, Wed. Aug 26th 7 pm
Heads up to readers in MI House District 41 / Oakland county. The ODCP is try to drum up attendees an Anti health care reform town hall sponsored by Marty Knollenberg.
The time / location is Wednesday, August 26 from 7- 9 p.m. at Troy High School located at 4777 Northfield Parkway, Troy, 48098.
AntiqueLibertyLover :: Reform supporters needed at anti health care reform town hall at Troy High, Wed. Aug 26th 7 pm
Try to make it if you can. The old adage about 90% of politics is showing up seems truer than ever.
How dare they try to help poor sick people without letting insurance companies increase their return on investment to their shareholders. Won't somebody please think about the shareholders!!!
The ten most recent threads posted on the Democratic Underground Discussion Forums.
All heart and no cattle...
Wash Post Media Critics accuse Al Jazeera network of supporting ousted elected leader Morsi
By Leopolds Ghost
Snowden journalist set to make "biggest" disclosure yet
By Leopolds Ghost
Operation American Spring has taken the first step in its goal to remove Obama from office
Hi, No Elephants
By Leopolds Ghost
Sorry I've been Out Of Touch Lately.
By Leopolds Ghost
Impeachment is the only cure for the Supreme Court
Did "NoElephants" pass away??
The ten most recommended threads posted on the Democratic Underground Discussion Forums in the last 24 hours.
Use the tools below to keep track of updates to this Journal.