The woman at 4:00 in this German Language Candid Camera-style show? Mind. Blown.
Open thread below.....
At TomDispatch, Andy Kroll writes:
The takeaway from Walker's decisive win on Tuesday is not that Wisconsin's new populist movement is dead. It's that such a movement does not fit comfortably into the present political/electoral system, stuffed as it is with corporate money, overflowing with bizarre ads and media horse-race-manship. Its members' beliefs are too diverse to be confined comfortably in what American electoral politics has become. It simply couldn?t be squeezed into a system that stifles and, in some cases, silences the kinds of voices and energies it possessed.
The post-election challenge for the members of Wisconsin's uprising is finding a new way to fight for and achieve needed change without simply pinning their hopes on a candidate or an election. After all, that's part of what absorbed the nation when a bunch of students first moved into the Wisconsin state capitol and wouldn?t go home, or when a ragtag crew of protesters camped out in lower Manhattan's Zuccotti Park and wouldn't leave either. In both cases, they had harnessed the outrage felt by so many Americans for a cause other than what?s usually called ?politics? in this country.
And they were successful?even in the most traditional terms; that is, both movements affected traditional politics most strongly when they weren?t part of it. The Occupy movement, for all its flaws, moved even mainstream political discourse away from austerity and deficit slashing and toward the issues of income inequality and the hollowing out of the American middle and working classes.
Avoiding politics as we know it with an almost religious fervor, Occupy still managed to put its stamp on national political fights. Last October, for instance, Ohioans voted overwhelmingly to repeal SB 5, a law that curbed collective bargaining rights for all public-employee unions. Occupy?s "We are the 99%" message reverberated through Ohio, and the volunteers who blitzed the state successfully drew on Occupy themes to make their case for the law's repeal. Mary Kay Henry, president of the Service Employees International Union, which spent $500,000 in Ohio fighting SB 5, told me at the time, "Every conversation was in the context of the 99% and the 1%, this discussion sparked by Occupy Wall Street."
The money that flowed into Walker's recall fight speaks loudly to the disadvantages a Wisconsin-like movement faces within the walls of electoral politics and the need for it to resist being confined there. On the post-Citizens United playing field, the unlimited amounts of the money that rose to the top of this society in recent decades, as the 1% definitively separated itself from the 99%, can be reinvested in preserving the world as it is and electing those who will make it even more amenable. The advantage invariably goes corporate; it goes Republican.
Historically, the Republicans have long been the party of big business, of multinational corporations, of wealthy, union-hating donors like Las Vegas casino mogul Sheldon Adelson and Amway heir Dick DeVos ? and in recent decades the Democrats have followed in their wake sweeping up the crumbs (or worse). And here?s the reality of a deeply corrupt system: unless Congress and state legislators act to patch up their tattered campaign finance rulebooks, the same crew with the same money will continue to dominate the political wars. (And any movement that puts its own money on changing those rules is probably in deep trouble.)
In the wake of the recall losses, the people of Wisconsin's uprising must ask themselves: Where can they make an impact outside of politics? The power of nonviolent action to create social and economic change is well documented, most notably by Jonathan Schell in his classic book The Unconquerable World. The men and women in Schell's invaluable history ? Mohandas Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr. and his civil rights fighters, the Czech dissident Vaclav Havel, and so many others ? can serve as guides to a path to change that doesn't require recall elections. Already mainstays of the Madison protests have suggested campaigns to refuse to spend money with businesses that support Walker. "Hit 'em where it hurts. Pocketbooks," C.J. Terrell, one of the Capitol occupiers, recently wrote on Facebook.
Blast from the Past. At Daily Kos on this date in 2003:
The question is rhetorical, of course. No one suggests that President Bush will really be impeached.
But it is a legit question, and it's especially surprising who is asking it: John Dean, Nixon's White House Counsel:
Krugman is right to suggest a possible comparison to Watergate. In the three decades since Watergate, this is the first potential scandal I have seen that could make Watergate pale by comparison. If the Bush Administration intentionally manipulated or misrepresented intelligence to get Congress to authorize, and the public to support, military action to take control of Iraq, then that would be a monstrous misdeed.
As I remarked in an earlier column, this Administration may be due for a scandal. While Bush narrowly escaped being dragged into Enron, it was not, in any event, his doing. But the war in Iraq is all Bush's doing, and it is appropriate that he be held accountable.
To put it bluntly, if Bush has taken Congress and the nation into war based on bogus information, he is cooked. Manipulation or deliberate misuse of national security intelligence data, if proven, could be "a high crime" under the Constitution's impeachment clause. It would also be a violation of federal criminal law, including the broad federal anti-conspiracy statute, which renders it a felony "to defraud the United States, or any agency thereof in any manner or for any purpose."
This is explosive stuff. And considering that the war's number one cheerleader?Bill Kristol?is now admitting Bush made "misstatements," it looks as though the whole WMD issue could very well be an albatross hung around Bush's 2004 re-election effort.
You all know I'm a relentless gossip about the Veepstakes, which is sadly diminished this year from last cycle by 50% because Uncle Joe went all Super-Ghey on Barack, making it impossible to kick him out of his Observatory Circle digs without incurring[...]
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The 70's. 1974 to be accurate, was a very good year for music.
And speaking of the '70's, our sister site Newstalgia has Marvin Gaye live in Tokyo from 1979.
Whatcha listening to this Sunday night?
Kudos to Martin Bashir for calling out Little Timmeh for being a Beltway sycophant (here - and by the way, the private sector REALLY IS DOING FINE)?
?and by the way, speaking of the insufferable status quo, I happened to come across this item featuring another hand-wringing liberal, albeit one who put his money where his proverbial mouth is (h/t Atrios), and I have a few reactions.
The author apologizes for engaging the wingnutosphere on their stupidity and thus indirectly validating their talking points. Sorry, but I don?t automatically consider that to be validation. The miscreants on the right do their very best to poison our political dialogue, and we?re supposed to just let their crap go unanswered?
The problem with that thinking is that it utterly ignores the so-called ?independent voters? who, basically, decide our elections any more and are prone to believe this stuff as gospel because they make up their minds about ten seconds before they enter the voting booth (not in all cases, though, I'll admit). And another problem isn?t that we engaged the right-wing crap poisoning our dialogue ? the real problem is that it went unanswered for so long that it became enshrined as ?conventional wisdom? (The Sainted Ronnie R and his ?welfare queens,? Bob Casey Sr. being denied the opportunity to speak at the Democratic National Convention in 1992 supposedly because he was pro-life, Al Gore claiming he invented the Internet?all of that garbage).
Yes, the Democratic Party needs to do a better job of explaining why A CARBON TAX IS A GOOD THING, and THE DREAM ACT IS A GOOD THING, and THE STIMULUS WAS A GOOD THING, and THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT IS A GOOD THING, and on and on and on. But that?s because what passes for the Democratic Party ?leadership? these days doesn?t have the spine that it should have inherited from its predecessors such as FDR, Harry Truman, JFK, LBJ, Jimmy Carter, etc., not because some impertinent left-wing bloggers such as yours truly take it upon themselves to speak truth to bullshit.
?and this song comes to me when I think of this wretched 112thCongress (typo at the end, by the way).
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Remember how everyone was laughing at North Carolina for pretending they could solve the problem of global warming-fueled sea level rise by ordering state workers to pretend it doesn't exist? Ha ha, said Virginians! Stupid North Carolina!
Except Virginia is denying sea level rise as well, reports Scott Harper of the Hampton Roads Virginian-Pilot. I'm not sure who to be most upset at - Republicans like Del. Chris Stolle for pushing sea level rise denial, scientists quoted in the article for cowardly refusing to stand up for facts, or the reporter for repeating Tea Party myths like "environmentalists stopped saying global warming" as fact (dear Scott Harper: see my previous paragraph).
For more in-depth analysis, see ClimateProgress on the reality rejection, Blue Virginia's Kindler on Del. Stolle's Orwellian tactics, and Climate Central on how 58,000 Virginians would be flooded out of their homes by the scientifically expected three feet of sea level rise this century.
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See below for information about the Jamaica Bay Ecology Cruise leaving from Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, on June 24.
Some years back I had the pleasure of providing overnight accommodations to a friend who had a layover in New York on his journey from the Midwest abroad, and because he'd never been in the city, I went to the airport to meet him and drag him all the way back to my place in Washington Heights -- not quite as long a distance as you could have within the five boroughs of NYC, but a long distance anyways.
The Air Train was up and running by then, providing -- for the first time! -- easy access from JFK to the Howard Beach station of the A train for the long trip back to my place, but I still feel kind of bad about what I did. Instead of doing the logical thing and planting us on the Manhattan-bound platform, I dragged my poor friend to the opposite platform, from which the A train begins what I consider an amazing trip across Jamaica Bay to the Rockaway peninsula.
I think of this as one of the amazing rail journeys a person can make for the price of a subway fare. I do it at least a couple of times a year, even if I have no desire actually to be in the Rockaways. I realized, though, that my friend had no interest in this little ocean voyage by rail, or in my labored efforts to explain the geography of our journey. I suppose it was understandable that his mind was more wrapped up in the long and laborious trip still ahead of him, and the several months he would be spending in his remote destination.
I thought about that day when I took my most recent trip across Jamaica Bay, but for the first time not all the way across the bay. At the Broad Channel station, the next stop after Howard Beach, I was getting off to meet a tour group led by the incomparable Justin Ferate, which would begin with a walk through the community of Howard Beach -- an extremely right-wing neighborhood with a heavy concentration of police and firefighters -- as the start of a mile-and-a-half walk to the visitor center of the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge. As many times as I've made the train crossing of Jamaica Bay, I never had any idea there even was such a destination.
I was caught short again when some of my fellow tour-group members not only had never done the Jamaica Bay train ride but really didn't even know where they were. They had followed Justin's instructions (in some cases never having set foot on an A train before) and arrived at the designated subway station and found the designated meeting place, but the rest was a mystery to them.
Jamaica Bay has always been a mystery to me, but not that kind of mystery. I've always been a compulsive map-reader, and when my family moved to New York when I was 12, and I began to become obsessed with the map of NYC, my eyes were riveted by that enormous expanse of bay bounded by the coasts of Brooklyn, "mainland" Queens, and the Rockaways. So when I saw that Justin was doing a walking tour of the Wildlife Refuge, I got my check in the mail immediately. And it was a terrific afternoon tramping around the most accessible portions of the refuge guided by Don Riepe, director of the Northeast Chapter of the American Littoral Society, and the enormously capable and charming Elizabeth, who works with Don.
It was a wonderful but exhausting afternoon, and I'm going to share something with "Urban Gadabout" readers which I somehow managed not to mention to readers of my DownWithTyranny "Sunday Classics" posts. (I'm figuring there isn't much overlap between the readerships, even making the large and presumptuous assumption that either has any readership.)
I've written several posts now based on the New York Concert Artists series of "Evenings of Piano Concerti," including today's, and while it's true that most of what interested me had already happened in the first three concerts, I never got around to mentioning that I blew off the fourth and final one, because that Saturday I would have had to go straight from the Jamaica Bay outing to Good Shepherd-Faith Presbyterian Church on Manhattan's West Side, with possibly time to stop at a conveniently located branch of my gym to shower. And the next day I had walking tours scheduled first in the Bronx (the second walk in Jack Eichenbaum's terrific Municipal Art Society series of South Bronx walks, which began in March with Mott Haven and concludes June 24 with Morrisania) and then in Brooklyn (the New York Transit Museum tour of several historic subway stations, which I wrote about recently).
There's more to that story, including tales of a number of other upcoming events around the city, but I'm going to leave that for sometime soon, maybe even tomorrow, in order to pass on news that Don and Elizabeth shared with us before we left the Wildlife Refuge.
June 24 - Jamaica Bay Sunset Cruises (3pm-6pm)
Leave from Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn aboard the "Golden Sunshine" for a narrated tour of Jamaica Bay. Learn about the history, ecology, wildlife and management of the refuge and see egrets, herons, osprey, peregrine falcon, terns, shorebirds and waterfowl. Cost: $45 includes tour, wine & cheese, fruit, drink, snacks. Call (718) 318-9344; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also make payment here. (With Gateway NRA and NYC Audubon.)
A senior Romney advisers decided it would be appropriate to try to undermine US foreign policy in a European paper in order to help Romney's chance in the fall.Good thing Romney wasn't running for president during the 1980s, he'd have been attacking Reagan from the other side of the Berlin Wall. (Romney was notoriously anti-Reagan, by GOP standards, until he decided he wanted to run for...
The votes have been cast and tallied and manipulated by Diebold, then reviewed by Nino Scalia who awarded the win to George W. Bush which was then overruled by me and now we have a winner(s) in our Bring Out Your Dead Breitbart Pix contest thing and ....[...]
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Yes, this painting actually existsIn the 2008 campaign, many conservative activists were unhappy with the campaign of Republican nominee John McCain. It wasn't simply that these movement conservatives?the forerunners of the tea party?felt that Sen. McCain was too much of a moderate, though that certainly was a consideration. Rather, it was that McCain distanced himself from the more vile and virulent aspects of conservative hatred of then-Senator Obama. As Politico reported in the closing month of the 2008 campaign:
McCain passed his wireless microphone to one woman who said, "I can't trust Obama. I have read about him and he's not, he's not uh ? he's an Arab. He's not ? " before McCain retook the microphone and replied:Sen. McCain may have wanted to go toe-to-toe with the junior senator from Illinois, but he did not define fighting the same way his conservative base did. He felt that while campaigns should show vehement disagreement on the issues of the day, catering to the extreme elements of the base that were motivated by xenophobia and racism were off-limits. Whether or not this ethos was a result of a sincere commitment to principle, or whether it was politically motivated by a fear of turning off the moderate voters who were sympathetic to Obama, is irrelevant. Whether strategy or conviction, McCain was laudably unafraid to express his feelings to his conservative base.
"No, ma'am. He's a decent family man [and] citizen that I just happen to have disagreements with on fundamental issues and that's what this campaign's all about. He's not [an Arab]."
The public display of fear and unease over Obama comes at the end of a week in which other Republicans at McCain and Sarah Palin events expressed similar frustrations, a product of exasperation at the prospect of the Illinois senator becoming president and their own nominee not doing enough to prevent it.
McCain?s campaign manager, Rick Davis, sought to tamp down concerns about the audience outbursts on a conference call earlier Friday, saying they were not a ?big deal.?
?The time has come and the Bible tells us you speak the truth and that the truth sets you free,? the man added.According to the current generation of conservative activists, being a "fighter" is not based on a clear ideological contrast. McCain's problem was not that he was perceived as a moderate, though that certainly did not help. Rather, inspiring the conservative base was dependent on something else entirely: being personally confrontational against against the opposing candidate, and embracing, rather than rejecting, the racism, othering, and xenophobic hate that was fueling the fire of the base.
Yet another voter implored McCain in plain terms: "The people here in Minnesota want to see a real fight."
McCain promised the audience he wouldn?t back down ? but again sought to tamp down emotions.
"We want to fight, and I will fight," McCain said. "But I will be respectful. I admire Sen. Obama and his accomplishments, and I will respect him."
At which point he was booed again.
"I don't mean that has to reduce your ferocity," he added over the jeers. "I just mean to say you have to be respectful."
Enter Mitt Romney, the Republican nominee about to square off against the very same Barack Obama, who is inspiring at least the same, if not much more, conspiracy theories and irrational hatred that he did during the 2008 campaign. One would assume that if McCain had trouble with the conservative activist base because of his moderation, Mitt Romney would be in even more severe trouble a fortiori, given Romney's previous support of abortion and his introduction of a health insurance mandate. And if conservative activists were motivated by ideology rather than by confrontation, that might be more of a problem.
Today's right-wing base places ideological agreement as a secondary consideration to vilifying and destroying its movement's designated bogeymen, regardless of veracity or consequence. Its icon is Andrew Breitbart, who had no problem with resorting to outright lying if it meant being able to score hard-hitting points against his chosen targets. During his lifetime, Breitbart was unapologetic about his outright vilification of those on the other side of the aisle. Mitt Romney has realized that he will never convince conservatives that he is one of them from an ideological point of view; instead, he has decided to gain their affection by doing the one thing that warms their hearts more than anything else: embracing extremist conspiracy theories and being a confrontational jerk.
Also part of this pattern has been the campaign's refusal ? mystifying to liberals and the media that praised McCain ? to stand up Trump's birther crusade. President Obama has even questioned the candidate's "moral leadership" as a result of his alliance with The Donald. But the Romney campaign sees instances like McCain's publicly rebuking a supporter who called Obama an "Arab" as moments of political weakness ? the equivalent of throwing the base into an ice bath when he most needed them fired up.Now, one might dismiss this strategy as dangerous: After all, embracing dead-end positions such as birtherism and engaging in renegade campaign tactics is supposed to turn off the middle-of-the-road voters upon which every election hinges. But Romney is past that point already: He figures that the centrist voters are irrelevant if he can't get the conservative base motivated to vote for him. And how is the conservative base motivated?
His campaign's most recent muscle-flexing stunt came Thursday, when Romney pulled off the surprise visit to Solyndra in San Francisco, using the bankrupt company's headquarters as a backdrop to hammer the president for "picking winners and losers" in the economy. Meanwhile, 3,000 miles away, campaign aides, interns, and volunteers crashed a press conference scheduled by senior Obama adviser Axelrod on the steps of the Massachusetts Statehouse. The rowdy crowd drowned out the speakers at times with loud boos, blew bubbles at them when they were talking, and interrupted with chants of, "Five more months!"
"My God, this is right out of Breitbart's playbook. I love it!" he said. "I swear to God, if he roller skates into the DNC convention, or hijacks an Obama press conference ? if he does either one of those I?m going to give my kid?s college money to his Super PAC.?But don't worry, everyone: The High Broderists will come along very soon to talk about how both sides are at fault.