Friday, July 23, 2010

The Story Behind the Murder of Shirley Sherrod's Father

The must-read for the day: The Story Behind the 1965 Killing of Sherrod’s Dad.

Her dad was named Hosie Miller, and he was a deacon at Thankful Baptist Church in Newton, Ga., toward the southwest corner of the state. He was also a farmer who, according to CNN, grew corn, peanuts, cotton and cucumbers and raised hogs, cows and goats. Forty-five years ago, Hosie Miller was shot to death — in the back, no less — by a white farmer in what his daughter now describes as ostensibly a dispute over a few cows, although the exact circumstances were murky.

A grand jury investigated the case, and no one was charged. All of the grand jurors were white, as was typically the case before the passage of the landmark civil rights legislation of the mid-1960s. From that incident, a movement was born. Indeed, according to this article, Shirley Sherrod’s mother — Grace Hall Miller — became the leader of the civil rights movement in Baker County after the killing, organizing marches and other protests from her home. The then 17-year-old Shirley Miller decided to stay in the South and become an activist; she soon married one of the leaders of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee, or SNCC, a man by the name of Charles Sherrod. Shirley Sherrod told CNN that “”I decided to stay in the South and work for change.”

How unusual was it for a black man to be killed by a white man in the Deep South up through the mid-1960s with no one brought to justice? Way too common.

Don’t miss the rest.

Puts the whole Breitbart scandal in a new light. Edited video to make a person look bad. Her mother was amazingly brave, to react to an unjust murder by becoming a civil rights organizer.

I salute Shirley Sherrod and her journey, it shows in the best way what this country is all about.

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Race v Racism

We will not get beyond “race” then until we deal with racism itself. Folks however keep putting the cart before the horse. Dealing with racism is a much more difficult proposition than dealing with race. Confronting racism means confronting privilege. It means confronting the reality of power, and the possibility of a redistribution of resources. In a society in which white privilege grants most white folks the right to believe wholeheartedly in the myth of meritocracy, the idea that they have everything they have solely based on their own merit and hardwork, rather than having a huge help from centuries of racial privilege, dealing with racism is a veritable nightmare. So rather than do that, we keep talking about “race.

For 200+ years slaves were not allowed to accrue anything: wealth, inheritance, family valuables, not to mention intangible lessons a mother/father passes to their children, the identity you have as a family member, and had no part in the fabric of American classics, nepotism and cronyism. The advantage did not end in 1863 or 1865 as the South did its best to intimidate with “Jim Crow” laws until 1964.

Tea baggers, who whine about anything no matter how farcical, just say “get over it”.

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How To Argue With Andrew Breitbart

I would love the transcript of this. Very funny.

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Missing The Point On Trig's Birth

A reader writes:

Your reader's excellent email describing the dialogue between Palin and her doctor reminded, oddly, of that recent video that went viral about the stupidly insistent person that wanted an iPhone 4.  I imagine Palin's dialogue with her doctor sounding more like that video:

Palin:  My water broke, and I'm having contractions.  I want to give this speech, then fly to the hospital in Wasilla.
Doctor:  You should stay in Texas and go to the hospital.  Due to your age, your pregnancy is considered high-risk and you could have complications during delivery.
Palin:  I don't care.
Doctor:  Your baby has been diagnosed with Down's Syndrome and could have other problems, and it's very important that you be in a facility that handles high-risk deliveries when he is born.
Palin:  I don't care.
Doctor:  If your water broke, your baby is at risk of infection until he is delivered.
Palin:  I don't care.
Doctor:  Since this is your fifth pregnancy, labor could progress very quickly and you could have the baby at any time.
Palin: I don't care.
Doctor: If you went into labor on the flight, you could disrupt all the other passengers by forcing an emergency landing.
Palin: I don't care.
Doctor:  Okay, if you don't care about any of that, tell me, what the fuck is so great about the hospital in Wasilla?
Palin:  It's in Alaska where there are mooses and bears.

And where no one will ask any questions.

No one wants to ask these questions that point out a crazy delivery of a baby that was high risk to begin with, but Obama's birth certificate, no problem.

Why ask about something that happened when you can keep a fake rumor alive to help recruit your nascent racist Tea Bagger.

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Tea Party Bumkins Mind Your Business

Not sure who’s advocating it, but I know who’s against it — the know-nothing, down-home [Tea Party] country folk who don’t live in or particularly like NYC. I wondered why they were so upset about the WTC bombing on 9/11. I thought they hated NY and the pinko liberals who live here. I would have thought they’d be happy to see a big piece of it go up in smoke. I guess they don’t worry too much about consistency. Gotta love how they tell us to MYOB when it comes to country life, but don’t mind meddling in the way the Big City works.

The same country folk who have wealth redistributed from the big cities’ taxes to run their little podunk, monochromatic towns.

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DADT: Doing The Right Thing

"Samuel Stouffer’s classic 1949 study The American Soldier demonstrated with regard to white-black relations, the more contact that white and black soldiers had with one another, Stouffer argued, the more favorably they felt about racial integration."

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Thursday, July 22, 2010

Keith Olbermann’s Special Comment

Manipulation of a society, words not made to inform, but to inflame.

"thanks to the perpetual fraud machine that is Fox News and the scum that is this assassin Breitbart" - Keith Olbermann on Shirley Sherrod and who made it possible.

Consider the source.

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Context Is Everything

Serwer provides some:

For all the sound and fury, Breitbart's video was nothing more than an alibi, an attempt to collectively exonerate the right from a charge of racism by turning it back on the NAACP. This is the precise origin of the oppositional culture developed by some conservatives in the aftermath of the 2008 election. It is broadly premised on convincing conservatives they face a similar kind of institutional racism black people have faced throughout history, while maintaining that the sole obstacle to black advancement is the same culture of grievance they're so desperate to imitate. Glenn Beck saying today's America is "like the 1950s except the races are reversed," isn't an observation; it's a demand for absolution. This is the same selfish white guilt rightly mocked when possessed by liberals, curdled into a bitter stew of defensive anger and epic self-pity. Yet even Beck thinks Sherrod was wronged.

Conservatives and the GOP, who have about one black or brown friend between them, could witness about 1000 acts of passive or outright racism toward minorities when the first "reverse racist" hint of an event is turned into a talking point and righteously proclaim their willful false equivalence, "see, they do it, too". Of course they would use "they" to encompass all the slighted groups in one fell swoop. It's what racist do.

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Context Is Everything

Serwer provides some:

For all the sound and fury, Breitbart's video was nothing more than an alibi, an attempt to collectively exonerate the right from a charge of racism by turning it back on the NAACP. This is the precise origin of the oppositional culture developed by some conservatives in the aftermath of the 2008 election. It is broadly premised on convincing conservatives they face a similar kind of institutional racism black people have faced throughout history, while maintaining that the sole obstacle to black advancement is the same culture of grievance they're so desperate to imitate. Glenn Beck saying today's America is "like the 1950s except the races are reversed," isn't an observation; it's a demand for absolution. This is the same selfish white guilt rightly mocked when possessed by liberals, curdled into a bitter stew of defensive anger and epic self-pity. Yet even Beck thinks Sherrod was wronged.

Conservatives and the GOP, who have about one black or brown friend between them, could witness about 1000 acts of passive or outright racism toward minorities when the first "reverse racist" hint of an event is turned into a talking point and righteously proclaim their willful false equivalence, "see, they do it, too". Of course they would use "they" to encompass all the slighted groups in one fell swoop. It's what racist do.

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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Sherrod: I'm a Victim of Breitbart, Fox 'Racism'

Shirley Sherrod, the former Agriculture Department Georgia Director of Rural Development, says she is a victim. A victim of poor reporting and, as she contends, clear bias and racist coverage from both Andrew Breitbart and Fox News.

"When you look at their reporting, this is just another way of seeing that they are (racist)," Sherrod told me about Fox in a lengthy interview Tuesday night. "But I have seen that before now. I saw their reporting as biased during the Bush Administration and the Clinton Administration."

Fox is not News or journalism. They are entertainment catered toward a non-curious, fact-free spoon-fed, whining, white, aging, misanthropic suburbanite.

Breitbart is a joke. Fox reporting is a joke. Values espoused by the two are jokes.

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What the NAACP Sees And the Media Doesn’t At Those Tea Party Rallies

July 19, 2010

What the NAACP Sees, and the Media Doesn’t, at Those Tea Party Rallies

By Michael Shaw

" target="_blank">cometstarmoon</a> via Flickr via ThinkProgress via NAACP</p>" width="500" />

photo: cometstarmoon via Flickr via ThinkProgress via NAACP

Sadly, I’m afraid Matt Bai’s inclination to write off the friction between the NAACP and the Tea Party as mostly lingering baggage between an older generation of black activists and older white Teabaggers comes off as wishful thinking.

If the NAACP is feeling a little paranoid, it’s because the Tea Party has become a vehicle for white fears and coded (and visually, at least, not-so-coded) scapegoating as the country does becomes more brown and education and real opportunity does stays down — that, compounded by the hesitancy of traditional media to show the kinds of pictures that bring out just how fringe the white so-called movement really is.

(This photo is posted with the NAACP’s resolution to condemn extremist elements within the Tea Party, and accompanies a montage of other examples. I should also point out, by the way, that the guy posing with the “Monkey See” sign at is not exactly a senior citizen.)

Anything close to equality or improving the rights of a group in the minority is always seen as a slippery slope to 'white slavery" by the Tea Party. Funny how 12% of the population is going to enslave the country.

By why use common sense or live out what your religion would prescribe when you have fear and zero empathy on your side.

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Obama Signs Wall Street Reform Into Law


After several pen strokes, and plenty of pomp, the Wall Street reform bill became law this afternoon. At signing ceremony at DC's Ronald Reagan building, President Obama declared "These reforms represent the strongest consumer financial protections in history," adding that "unless your business relies on cutting corners or bilking customers, you have nothing to fear from reform."

All this talk about Democrats losing momentum. Umm, yeah. Add getting our Supreme Court Justice nominee [Kagan] in easily, too.

So goes that Liberal Media bias.

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Chris Mattews: Right Wing Mania Assails Modern America


Chris Matthews vents about the Right Wing Mania and gets it exactly right.

Transcript: " Let me finish tonight with the Right Wing Mania hitting this country. I’m not talking about people worried, angry even over the bad economy, the high unemployment, the deficit, the rising national debt. Who isn`t worried about those things? Everything that`s been happening in this economy — highlighted by the financial crisis of the fall of 2008 is scary. It`s only added to the concerns — highly justified I think — about the growing tendency of this country to rely on borrowing, not just to offset economic downturns which we were taught in school made sense, but as standard operating procedure.

No, the right-wing mania runs deeper and does no good for America. The Tea Party people just love attacking government— government itself. It`s their favorite attack target: government. As if they had this alternative to running things in a free democratic society. What is their alternative, I wonder?

Why are some talking secession from the Union, like Texas` Rick Perry, saying they`re for the Constitution but they keep talking about dumping all the parts they don`t like. Like the progressive income tax and direct popular election of senators. The only part they do like is the Second Amendment, not for hunting, not for sport, not for self-protection, but to challenge their favorite target — you know, government.

Sharron Angle, running for the U.S. Senate in Nevada, talks about Second Amendment remedies to things they don`t like Congress doing. Give that some thought. Congresswoman Michele Bachmann yesterday created a Tea Party caucus right in Congress itself, even while saying that no one in Congress was responding to Tea Party demands. No one? Not even Republicans? A while back, Bachmann got useful notoriety with her call on this program for a media investigation of Democrats in Congress for what she called anti-American attitudes. She`s talking pure Tea Party now: “the whole government needs to be dumped.”

I forgot something — race. Listen to the birthers. Catch their latest rant about the woman working at the A.G. Department down in Georgia, that mean distortion of her story, and you see a right-wing effort to rip the scab off of America`s hard racial history. People who push this line want to justify racism by finding it on the other side. They want to tear the country apart if it would relieve them of the duty of living in modern America, which I truly believe — despite all their anger — continues to march in making us a more progressive land, something they just can`t stand."

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Farmers in Sherrod Case: 'She Saved Our Farm'

Andrew Breitbart ended up manipulating the facts and spread them willfully. Is this the exception or the norm for a Right Wing newsperson to edit footage to deceive? It seems Breitbart can do no wrong within his base as his supporters love wearing the Black Hats in this western.

Dishonesty among Conservatives is just a means to an end. No need to atone, just another day at the office dividing and conquering.

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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Rupert Murdoch's Gamble Failed, Online Traffic Drops 90%

Less than three weeks after the Times [UK] paywall went up, data shows a massive decline in web traffic.

The Times has lost almost 90% of its online readership compared to February since making registration mandatory in June, calculations by the Guardian show.

Eff You, Murdoch. Glad people in the UK sent you a message

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Lazy Bankers Rewarded With Billions, US Workers Labeled Lazy By GOP

Funny how the same Republicans who do not want to help hard working, tax-paying Americans in between jobs with unemployment benefits for fear of making them lazy, are the same people who help script the laziest chapter in economic history with a regulation gutting, zero oversight and risk analysis averting investment banking industry that destroyed the world economy and insisted that billions in taxpayer bailout money, signed by Bush's TARP, should compensate all the very same CEOs who's horrendously lazy decisions created the mess.

A $405 unemployment check is way too much for Joe Paycheck to get by, but a $700,000,000,000 blank check to bailout the richest people on the block is a birth right. Remember, the original bailout request was $700 billion with zero oversight from Congress. Pure evil.

What a crock, the laziest politicians, the Party of NO, thinking hard workers who are out of work because of Republicans running the country into the ground are somehow lazy.

Might as well change my last name to Corporation so the Republicans will blindly give me loads of cash.

Cultural Divide Led By The Usual Suspects

"A great cultural divide is ripping the heart from this nation and Christians are partly responsible. I say that because 83% of the American people claim to be Christians. If those Christians lived as they are taught to live by the teacher they claim to follow, the American public square would be a very different kind of place. If one reads the New Testament—the charter for the Christian religion—one can discover rather quickly what that tradition is all about. Jesus tells his followers to tell the truth. Jesus tells his followers to make peace. Jesus tells his followers to turn the other cheek. Jesus tells his followers to bless those who persecute them and pray for those who misuse them. Jesus tells his followers to extend justice, especially to the poor and the dispossessed. Jesus tells his followers to serve as bridge-builders and agents of reconciliation. And Jesus tells his followers to love one another, even their enemies. But based on their words and behavior, we may safely conclude that many of the Christians who dominate America’s public square routinely reject the teachings of Jesus, in spite of their claims to the contrary."

Richard T. Hughes (via azspot)

False prophets make big profits.

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Politics Of "No"

Kind of stale when you have the same answer for every problem we are trying to solve.

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10 Percent Is Enough: Capping Interest Rates

It is time to re-instate usury laws by capping interest rates at 10%.

Why 10%? Because 10% is enough.

It is enough to allow credit to flow to all worthy borrowers. It is enough to allow bankers their fair share of profit. It is enough to protect families from permanent indebtedness. And it is enough to divert our economy away from the speculative gambling that has caused our present economic crisis, and back towards productive wealth creation in the industries of the future: green manufacturing, sustainable energy, and others that the American entrepreneurial spirit has yet to imagine.



Could all those Bible thumping Americans be against usury laws that for centuries held Christians from charging interest? You betcha.

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Wanted: Cheap, Disposable Labor To Deport Immediately

Arizonans want it both ways.

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Counterintuitive Contradictions Of Christians

"Conservative Christians are reeling from damaging family experiences — ranging from being beaten (in the interest of “godly discipline”) to being indoctrinated about science, sexuality and politics. And they’re in for disillusionment: finding out that their leaders (in the various personality cults they join that pass for “churches”) aren’t just fallen sinners in some general theological sense, but are actually cynical manipulators and willful liars, not to mention total hypocrites.
Frank Schaeffer

The Far Right is pro-torture and will defend the Governments use of it, but is against the same Government making health care more available, especially to children, calling it communist and demonic.

The willful liars will create campaigns to promote lies like "Death Panels" and call insurance reform a total takeover of the health care industry. All in the name of Jesus.

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Change Is A Process, Not An Event

Democrats Jump Ahead in Congressional Ballot

In the same week the U.S. Senate passed a Wall Street reform bill, a new Gallup Poll shows Democrats pulling ahead of Republicans in the generic congressional ballot, 49% to 43%.

The result represents the first statistically significant lead for Democrats since Gallup began weekly tracking in March.

"Whether the Democrats' edge is sustainable remains to be seen. Republicans held a four-point or better lead over Democrats in three Gallup weekly averages thus far this year, but in each case, the gap narrowed or collapsed to a tie the following week."

2010 elections will be the talked about and sold as a barn-burner for the sake of building a story to sell ads on TV, but Democrats will kick ass again. The GOP is good at dealing misinformation, but not winning elections.

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Tax Cuts Pay For Themselves? Yet More Republican Bullsh*t

Just like they are claiming to be deficit hawks now that Obama is in control, Republicans are the undisputed masters of shoveling bullsh*t and having their lemming on the Right believe them.

Democrats may tax and spend, but Republicans borrow and spend even more. Fiscally responsible, my ass. Paying back loans with interest. How can anyone with a 3rd grade education buy that BS? So what is you cut taxes, if you ultimately pass on bigger deficits to your kids, you are one evil person.

Add compassionate Conservative to the list of things that don't exist. All smoke and mirrors. These false positives that the GOP pushes has to stop. Now.

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Monday, July 19, 2010

G. O[bstruction] P.

Those who can't, run as a Republican. Those who can't act that foolish and run as a Republican, fake themselves into believing Libertarianism is a real platform. Those who think Libertarianism is not fake enough become Tea Partiers.

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Middle Class Denial: Wake Up!

“22 Statistics That Prove The Middle Class Is Being Systematically Wiped Out Of Existence In America”

From a slide show at The Business Insider:

01. 83 percent of all U.S. stocks are in the hands of 1 percent of the people.

02. 61 percent of Americans “always or usually” live paycheck to paycheck, which was up from 49 percent in 2008 and 43 percent in 2007.

03. 66% of the income growth between 2001 and 2007 went to the top 1% of all Americans.

04. 36 percent of Americans say that they don’t contribute anything to retirement savings.

05. A staggering 43 percent of Americans have less than $10,000 saved up for retirement.

06. 24% of American workers say that they have postponed their planned retirement age in the past year.

07. Over 1.4 million Americans filed for personal bankruptcy in 2009, which represented a 32 percent increase over 2008.

08. Only the top 5 percent of U.S. households have earned enough additional income to match the rise in housing costs since 1975.

09. For the first time in U.S. history, banks own a greater share of residential housing net worth in the United States than all individual Americans put together.

10. In 1950, the ratio of the average executive’s paycheck to the average worker’s paycheck was about 30 to 1. Since the year 2000, that ratio has exploded to between 300 to 500 to one.

11. As of 2007, the bottom 80 percent of American households held about 7% of the liquid financial assets.

12. The bottom 50 percent of income earners in the United States now collectively own less than 1 percent of the nation’s wealth.

13. Average Wall Street bonuses for 2009 were up 17 percent when compared with 2008.

14. In the United States, the average federal worker now earns 60% MORE than the average worker in the private sector.

15. The top 1% of U.S. households own nearly twice as much of America’s corporate wealth as they did just 15 years ago.

16. In America today, the average time needed to find a job has risen to a record 35.2 weeks.

17. More than 40% of Americans who actually are employed are now working in service jobs, which are often very low paying.

18. For the first time in U.S. history, more than 40 million Americans are on food stamps, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture projects that number will go up to 43 million Americans in 2011.

19. This is what American workers now must compete against: in China a garment worker makes approximately 86 cents an hour and in Cambodia a garment worker makes approximately 22 cents an hour.

20. Despite the financial crisis, the number of millionaires in the United States rose a whopping 16 percent to 7.8 million in 2009.

21. Approximately 21 percent of all children in the United States are living below the poverty line in 2010 - the highest rate in 20 years.

22. The top 10% of Americans now earn around 50% of our national income.

Work hard, make less. Export jobs. The race to the bottom continues.

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You Had To Have Had A Job To Get Unemployment

Tired of people thinking of unemployment benefits as welfare, it's not. It helps people who had jobs as they find a new one. In NYC, the most you get is $405 a week, thats $1600 a month. If you think someone is not looking for a job and living off their benefits, you are an idiot.

But if you're mega-wealthy, then the GOP thinks you need all the help in the world:

As Obama and congressional Democrats have been eager to point out, Republicans do not apply the same fiscal discipline when it comes to the Bush administration's soon-to-expire tax cuts for the wealthy. Letting the tax cuts expire would save $678 billion over ten years, according to the Office of Management and Budget.

"After years of championing policies that turned a record surplus into a massive deficit, the same people who didn't have any problem spending hundreds of billions of dollars on tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans are now saying we shouldn't offer relief to middle class Americans like Jim, or Leslie, or Denise, who really do need help," Obama said, referring to three people who joined him in the Rose Garden.

Unemployment checks go right into the economy. They don't trickle, they go straight in at the supermarket, the rent check and the corner store.

Millionaire congresspeople have no idea what it's like to live this way and don't really care to find out.

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Privatize The Profits

Capitalism is about one thing: aggregating the surplus productive value of the public for private interests. As we have said, it is about creating state sanctioned “investments” for the workers who produce the real wealth. Things like home “ownership” and mortgages, or stock investments and funds to absorb their retirement savings. That crushing 30-year mortgage with two refis is an investment. So is that 401K melting like a snow cone the beach. As the people’s wealth accumulates, it is steadily siphoned off by government and elite private forces. From time to time, it is openly plundered for their benefit by way of various bubbles, depressions or recessions and other forms of theft passed off as unavoidable acts of nature/god. These periodic raids and draw downs of the people’s wealth are attributed to “business cycles.” Past periodic raids and thefts are heralded as being proof of the rationale. “See folks, it comes and goes, so it’s a cycle!” Economic raids and busts become “market adjustments.” Public blackmail and plundering through bailouts become a “necessary rescue packages.” Giveaways to corporations under the guise of public works and creating employment become “stimulus.” The chief responsibility of economists is to name things in accordance with government and corporate interests. The function of the public is to acquire debt and maintain “consumer confidence.” When the public staggers to its feet again and manages to carry more debt, buy more poker chips on credit to play again, it’s called a recovery. They are back in the game. Dealer, hit me with two more cards,. I feel lucky.
Joe Bageant

The ownership model pushed most recently by Bush: it's your problem, you own it. The government is not going to help. Example: education is bad in your area, you send your kids to private schools. It's your problem to fix.

Well, not everyone is to own everything and society has to be there to pick you up. Capitalism is a ghost, it does not exist, but it gets thrown around as a way to justify ripping people limb from limb to make money. SMH.

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Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Welfare State For The Socialized Rich

With the advent of neoliberalism, or what some call free-market fundamentalism, we have witnessed the production and widespread adoption throughout society of what I want to call the politics of economic Darwinism. As a theater of cruelty and a mode of public pedagogy, economic Darwinism undermines all forms of solidarity while simultaneously promoting the logic of unrestricted individual responsibility. But there is more at stake here than an unchecked ideology of privatization. For example, as the welfare state is dismantled, it is being replaced by the harsh realities of the punishing state as social problems are increasingly criminalized and social protections are either eliminated or fatally weakened. The harsh values of this new social order can be seen in the increasing incarceration of young people, the modeling of public schools after prisons and state policies that bail out investment bankers, but leave the middle and working classes in a state of poverty, despair and insecurity. But it can also be seen in the practice of socialism for the rich. This is a practice in which government supports for the poor, unemployed, sick and elderly are derided because they either contribute to an increase in the growing deficit or they undermine the market-driven notion of individual responsibility. And yet, the same critics defend, without irony, government support for the rich, the bankers, the permanent war economy, or any number of subsidies for corporations as essential to the life of the nation, which is simply an argument that benefits the rich and powerful and legitimates the deregulated wild west of casino capitalism.
Henry A. Giroux

Why does the middle class not get the message: you are not the top 1%. You are getting screwed. Wake up.

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Bush Was On Permanent Vacation

"First 18 months in office Obama took 65 days off, Bush: 216."

Bush was the laziest President and gets a pass. Obama works twice as hard and gets half the credit.

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