Archive for the ‘GOP’ Category
And, in terms of thoughtful advice, that’s the best Bill Kristol can offer. Kevin Drum comments:
From Bill Kristol, during an appearance on conservative radio host Laura Ingraham’s show, bringing his megawatt analytic powers to bear on the problem of ISIS in Iraq:
What’s the harm of bombing them at least for a few weeks and seeing what happens? I don’t think there’s much in the way of unanticipated side effects that are going to be bad there.
You can’t make this stuff up. We liberals often accuse folks like Kristol of mindlessly advocating military action all the time, no matter what. But we’re exaggerating, aren’t we? Nobody literally wants to unleash an air campaign just to see what happens. Nobody just casually ignores the possible drawbacks. That’s ridiculous! Why do we insist on juvenile caricatures like this?
I don’t know. Why do we?
In reading this profile of one of the last professional pickpockets, I noted the ripple effect of meme evolution:
These are lean years for pickpockets. People carry more credit cards and less cash; men wear suits less, and tightfitting pants more. The young thieves of today have turned to high-tech methods, like skimming A.T.M.s.
Displaced by cultural change.
Notice how intimately the Internet is woven into the above cultural change: it’s throughout that particular cultural change. And the Internet (including music, video, Twitter, forums, news, blogs, and so on) is a perfect meme medium: enormous reach and rapid mutation and selection. And, as noted above, the ripple effects are enormous (cf. Ferguson MO, identified as a hotspot via Twitter).
Indeed, the international criticism of what is happening in Ferguson is quite severe: the US no longer occupies any sort of moral high ground, and with its recent military failures and destructiveness, respect for it has ebbed. The Week magazine carried an abstract of a column by Daniel Haufler that appeared in Berliner Zeitung:
America is a de facto apartheid state, said Daniel Haufler. Blacks have ostensibly had civil rights for 50 years, but in reality “white reactionaries have fought unabated against equality.” Today, discrimination against African-Americans is pervasive and devastating. When unarmed teenager Michael Brown was hot dead by a white cop after being stopped for jaywalking in Forguson, Mo., he was just one more in a long line of black victims. [Indeed, we have another not far from Ferguson: two white cops show up to confront a man behaving irrationally. Within 15 seconds they had shot him dead. The police chief explained that he had attacked them with a knife, wielded overhand. A video made with a smartphone shows that the police chief's statement was false. - LG]
Whites, by contrast, can “brandish machine guns at the police”—as did supporters of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy—without fear of reprisal. And it’s not just the police but the entire government that is arrayed against black Americans. Systematically denied equal access to education and employment, they are demonized when seek government benefits. in fact, the higher the black population in a state, “the lower that state’s social spending.” Ongoing white resentment of the civil rights movement that took away their privilege is the reason the U.S. is the only developed country in which a major party, the GOP, “wants to abolish the welfare state.” That party is also actively trying to change state electoral laws to diseenfranchise African-Americans. It isn’t just the police that must change—-it’s the entire culture.
Very clear-sighted, I’d say—and note particularly this Kevin Drum post from today, regarding the last points.
But the point is: things are shifting rapidly. That is, cultural values are not so insulated by distance and language and expense of travel as once was true: Internet again.
So we’re in the midst of a major meme war, in effect, or—more appropriately—Cambrian Explosion of memes, evolving rapidly, exchanging patches of meme-DNA, and so on.
I don’t think it would go this far against someone this powerful unless… but we’ll see. What I know.
Paul Krugman explains the issues well:
If climate change doesn’t scare you, and our failure to act doesn’t inspire despair, you’re not paying attention. And the great sin of the climate deniers is their role in delaying action, quite possibly until it’s too late.
But there are other, smaller evils; and one that strikes close to home for me is the campaign of personal destruction waged against Michael Mann.
Mann, as some of you may know, is a hard-working scientist who used indirect evidence from tree rings and ice cores in an attempt to create a long-run climate record. His result was the famous “hockey stick” of sharply rising temperatures in the age of industrialization and fossil fuel consumption. His reward for that hard work was not simply assertions that he was wrong — which he wasn’t — but a concerted effort to destroy his life and career with accusations of professional malpractice, involving the usual suspects on the right but also public officials, like the former Attorney General of Virginia.
As you can imagine, I find it easy to put myself in Mann’s shoes; obviously a lot of people would like to do something similar to me, although they haven’t (yet?) found a suitable line of attack.
Now for the slightly encouraging news: Mann filed suit against National Review for defamation. And as D.R. Tucker points out at Washington Monthly, the latest response from NR sounds very much like a publication running scared.
Also encouraging is the evident inability of NR to understand how you defend against a charge of defamation. You don’t repeat the false allegations — sorry, guys, but courts also have access to Google and Nexis, and can find that all the charges have been rejected in repeated inquiries. You try, instead, to show that you made the allegations in good faith. But of course they didn’t.
Good for Mann in standing up here; he’s doing all of us a service.
The articles at the links are interesting.
Elias Isquith writes in Salon:
In a fittingly tawdry and absurd turn to a campaign and post-campaign that’s been defined by nothing so much as its silliness, the man who previously made the bombshell accusation that Mississippi Sen. Thad Cochran’s campaign offered him $15 for every vote he could provide from the African-American community now says he was lying — and that he was paid $2,000 by a spokesperson for Cochran’s opponent to do so. . .
Truly, the GOP is at work trying to destroy American democracy. Any tactic is accepted. The goal—the only goal—is to win. No interest in governance whatsoever, but very interested in feathering their nests and building a foundation for a good lobbying job.
In fact, some state GOP officials have openly admitted that their initiatives to combat “voter fraud” are really aimed at keeping from the polls as many Democratically inclined voters as they can, because the GOP’s idea of democracy does not include having other points of view represented. Kevin Drum has the (brief) story and facts.