In America, the ladder to success is often out of reach. With so many policies in our nation favoring the most wealthy, one might even say that it is willfully placed out of reach. Here is an article on some of the difficulties of advancing up the social and class ladder in American from the radicals [...]
Read The Full Article:
Open thread below...
At The New Yorker, Susannah Griffee writes:
While many Academy Award-winning movies have political undertones, only one film with politics as its primary subject, ?All the King?s Men,? has ever taken home the Best Picture trophy. In many cases, it seems, political movies got past the nominating convention, but just couldn?t win the election.
That's Broderick Crawford in his prime. Griffee goes on to touch on a few well-known films about politics, but pretty misses the mark by what she leaves out. It's certainly true that political films don't often make the Oscar cut. Indeed, sometimes, based on the Academy's choices, you'd hardly know any were being made, although George Clooney picked up an Oscar seven years ago for Syriana and Senn Penn and Dustin Lance Black each took one home for Milk in 2008.
Sixty years after McCarthyism devastated the ranks of some of the best Hollywood had to offer, it's hardly a surprise that explicitly political movies don't get made all that often, and when they do, they frequently are botch jobs. Mississippi Burning comes to mind. On the other hand, films with less explicitly political messages are fairly common, an example being Glory, for which Denzel Washington won an Oscar.
I would never, of course, try to outguess the Academy. The crème de celebrité have their reasons and their biases. Depending on your point of view, those reasons are worth exploring in depth or ignoring altogether, but whatever the case, I'm not going there tonight. Instead, here's a short list of political films you might have missed in 2011. Needless to say, not all of them made it to the big screen.
Got some of your own to let everyone know about?
Blast from the Past. At Daily Kos on this date in 2008:
As we get ready for tonight's debate, there's one story left over from the last debate that's still slogging through the lonely sludge of conservative blogs. During the last face to face with Clinton, Obama told of how an army captain had talked to him about severe shortages faced by American forces in Afghanistan. This captain told how his platoon was short of both men and supplies, and was forced to use captured materials to get by.
Since the Right Wing sites are capable of producing more instant experts than you can get from a bag of educated sea monkeys, they immediately began deriding Obama, claiming that he had made up the story. Didn't he know that platoons weren't commanded by captains? Didn't he know that our forces in Afghanistan have like six zillion bullets each? Most of all, didn't he know that the trillions we're pouring into Iraq has nothing, hear that, nothing to do with any possible shortages in Afghanistan.
You even had the spectacle of the former Republican chair of the Armed Services Committee, John Warner, demanding that Obama produce the captain in question. And then Obama... well, produced the captain, who confirmed everything Senator Obama had said. Which left Warner sputtering that he'd never heard of these issues, even though they occurred primarily on his watch as Armed Services chair.
Did confirmation of the story mollify the right wing bloggers? Hey, since when have facts stood in their way? [...]
That Rick Santorum could become the GOP front-runner is really shocking to me. His lies about what John Kennedy said about religion in America's public square completely disqualify him from the presidency, if he were not already utterly disqualified.[...]
Read The Full Article:
Even with all the gaffes and missteps, Michigan is looking good (or at least not bad) for Mitt Romney -- with a big assist from Rick Santorum's sorry performance in last week's debate. The last four polls all show Romney ahead. And the TPM Poll Average[...]
Read The Full Article:
The awful Drudge links this:
The Pentagon is readying for the possibility of intervention in Syria, aiming to halt Syrian President Bashsar Assad's violent crackdown on protesters, the newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat reported Saturday, citing a US military offical.Therefore, a brief memo to all the intellectually incompetent and/or lying bastards who supported and propagandized for the intervention in Kosovo, or in Libya, or in ... at this point, fill in almost any country of your choice. And the memo states only this:
According to the official, the intervention scenario calls for the establishment of a buffer zone on the Turkish border, in order to receive Syrian refugees. The Red Cross would then provide the civilians humanitarian aid, before NATO crews would arrive from Turkey and join the efforts.
The measure would pave the way for the US to declare an aerial blockade on Syria.
The intercession is to be modeled after NATO's efforts in Kosovo, which brought an end to the Serbian control of the region. NATO's plan of action included prolonged aerial shelling.
YOU HAVE BLOOD ON YOUR HANDS, MOTHERFUCKERS."Modeled after NATO's efforts in Kosovo..."
I've written about the Clinton administration's Balkans policy, in the second half of "Iraq Is the Democrats' War, Too," and in "Liberal Hypocrisy in the Name of 'Humanitarianism'."And about "the prospect of a ?second Srebrenica? or even ?another Rwanda? in Benghazi" that provided the excuse for regime change in Libya?
I suppose it might be advisable to remind you that the major excuse employed to this day by many liberals to "justify" the bombing campaign -- "But a genocide was going on!" -- was a lie. Yes, it was a lie. Read Diana Johnstone's book, Fools' Crusade: Yugoslavia, NATO, and Western Delusions, and read her article from February , "NATO's Kosovo Colony." You should read the entire piece, but here are a couple of brief excerpts from the latter...
In his most forceful words to date on the Syrian crisis, US President Barack Obama said Friday the US and its allies would use "every tool available" to end the bloodshed by Assad's government.It is Obama who claims the "right" to murder anyone in the world, including American citizens, whenever he chooses, for whatever reason he wishes. He further claims that his "right" is absolute, subject to no review or check whatsoever. This is the claim to absolute power.
"It is time to stop the killing of Syrian citizens by their own government," Obama said in Washington, adding that it "absolutely imperative for the international community to rally and send a clear message to President Assad that it is time for a transition. It is time for that regime to move on."
Title: I Still Miss SomeoneArtist: Johnny Cash
Happy Birthday Johnny.
Ken Aden is the only progressive candidate for Congress Blue America has endorsed this year in a deep red district. Arkansas' third CD, in the northwest corner of the state, has always been Republican as far as anyone can remember. The last Democrat who almost won was Bill Clinton... in 1974. And Ken is undaunted. As Digby hopes to explore with him at the live chat here on Tuesday-- 11am (PT), 1pm in Arkansas-- Ken is running a startling grassroots effort that should be a model for working class candidates-- who the DCCC refuses to support (they exclusively pick rich candidates or candidates with access to big money; i.e., not school teachers or truck drivers or almost anyone who's undergoing the same financial straits as the rest of us).
One of the first times I spoke with Ken he was busy helping organize Occupy Northern Arkansas. "I am a staunch and proud supporter of the Occupy Wall Street Movement," he told me... This is a true grassroots movement made up of young people, veterans, students, and folks from across the middle class just like me who are sick and tired of irresponsible corporations buying politicians of both parties while many in the government stand idly by and give corporate America the keys to the proverbial candy store. It's truly nauseating to know that so many politicians can be so easily bought, and not even loose an ounce of sleep over the fact that they are destroying everything which we hold dear. I firmly believe that more people need to become involved, and stand up for what is right! Corporate greed is the new pandemic in this country. The ratio of CEO pay to that of the average worker is a prime example of the kind of reckless behavior that corporations in this country are exercising on a daily basis. Just look at how many politicians Koch Industries has bought over the last ten years alone. As the next congressman from Arkansas I would support an amendment to destroy the destructive influence of Citizens United. The last time I checked, corporations are NOT and will never be real people.
If you can, please drop by Tuesday and meet Ken for yourself. Tomorrow afternoon he's formally file to be on the ballot and he's doing a money bomb to collect the nearly $3,000 he needs. If you can help, you can do it at the Blue America page. As Digby wrote to our members this evening: "Blue America endorsed Ken with great enthusiasm and we are spreading the good word about his grassroots strategic vision to progressive challengers across the country. We believe that this kind of creativity and energy can pay off. But he needs all the help we can give him to keep the campaign funded. He won't be able to match a corrupt Republican incumbent, not even close. But he has a good chance to win if he can put this plan into practice and defeat him with sharp grassroots tactics and hard work. Please donate here if you can."
Rick Santorum on Sunday took on separation of church and state. "I don't believe in an America where the separation of church and state are absolute," he told 'This Week' host George Stephanopoulos. "The idea that the church can have no influence or no involvement in the operation of the state is absolutely antithetical to the objectives and vision of our country...to say that people of faith have no role in the public square? You bet that makes me want to throw up."
The GOP candidate was responding to comments he made last October. He had said that he "almost threw up" after reading JFK's 1960 speech in which he declared his commitment to the separation of church and state. Santorum also on Sunday told Meet The Press host David Gregory that separation of church and state was "not the founders' vision."
Once again, the best discussions on Sunday morning happen on Up with Chris Hayes. This is a 17 minute clip, and impossible to clip, because all of it is so much more intelligent than anything the other bobbleheads try to do.
It also exemplifies a very real schism within the left on how to approach the unrest in Syria. On the right, it's an automatic call for American intervention, but on the left, we tend to be more nuanced.
Former White House Director of Policy Planning Anne-Marie Slaughter wrote an op-ed last week for the NY Times which called for the "humanitarian" need to protect Syrians from slaughter by creating "no-kill" zones and arming members of the resistance:
Simply arming the opposition, in many ways the easiest option, would bring about exactly the scenario the world should fear most: a proxy war that would spill into Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq and Jordan and fracture Syria along sectarian lines. It could also allow Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups to gain a foothold in Syria and perhaps gain access to chemical and biological weapons.
There is an alternative. The Friends of Syria, some 70 countries scheduled to meet in Tunis today, should establish ?no-kill zones? now to protect all Syrians regardless of creed, ethnicity or political allegiance. The Free Syrian Army, a growing force of defectors from the government?s army, would set up these no-kill zones near the Turkish, Lebanese and Jordanian borders. Each zone should be established as close to the border as possible to allow the creation of short humanitarian corridors for the Red Cross and other groups to bring food, water and medicine in and take wounded patients out. The zones would be managed by already active civilian committees.
Establishing these zones would require nations like Turkey, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Jordan to arm the opposition soldiers with anti-tank, countersniper and portable antiaircraft weapons. Special forces from countries like Qatar, Turkey and possibly Britain and France could offer tactical and strategic advice to the Free Syrian Army forces. Sending them in is logistically and politically feasible; some may be there already.
Crucially, these special forces would control the flow of intelligence regarding the government?s troop movements and lines of communication to allow opposition troops to cordon off population centers and rid them of snipers. Once Syrian government forces were killed, captured or allowed to defect without reprisal, attention would turn to defending and expanding the no-kill zones.
But Jeremy Scahill, who has written some of the best and conventional wisdom-challenging journalism about the Middle East, thinks this is just more of the same short term thinking that gets the US in trouble again and again. And there's good arguments for both (though I fall short of Slaughter's op-ed. There's no evidence that Syria poses a threat to the US at all and the vague allusions to Al Qaeda is eerily reminiscent of Bush administration-era scare-mongering. Spencer Ackerman writes:
Then there?s a more general problem with the Responsibility to Protect, as instantiated in Syria. The endgame of Slaughter?s proposal is a ?regional, and ultimately national, truce.? Then what? Do the international forces go home? Do they still patrol the ?no-kill zones?? Why, on the day after the truce, with Assad still in power, do both sides ? and particularly Assad ? bide time until a renewed attack looks advantageous? Do foreign forces stop arming the rebels after the truce?
Now, why do I say this is a broader problem with the Responsibility to Protect? Because it shows that the R2P is a military endeavor that still lacks actual, substantive objectives for militaries to achieve. If I am one of the Qatari SOF captains who has to aid the ?no-kill zones,? I don?t know from Slaughter?s guidance how to design my operational campaign. I get that I have to help the Free Syrian Army clear out a ?no-kill zone? of loyalist Syrian troops; I can presume that I must hold that zone. But what happens when I get mortar fire from the loyalists who?ve pulled back? Does protecting that zone mean I can push it outward? If it does, then I am escalating the objectives as Slaughter has described them; if it doesn?t, then I have failed to hold the no-kill zone. This is a military illogic that is all over the R2P. Advocates don?t want to concede that they?re actually calling for regime change ? often, they don?t want to call for regime change ? so they stop short of that, and call for separating combatants in the hope that a deus ex machina materializes. But the further they stop short, the more problems they hand off to the military commanders who must implement the R2P.
Bottom line: while there is nothing more horrifying than the violence we hear happening under Assad and I think Scahill is probably closer to the truth than Slaughter in terms of there being manifestly a civil war under way. But it cannot be the US interfering to decide the outcome for the Syrians. We cannot afford another open-ended, nebulous deployment that only causes resentment among the citizenry.