Tuesday, March 23, 2004
The Emperors New Clothes...Posted by C

A post over at Fanatical Apathy got me to thinking. Adam Felber ponders the question of why so many people still think the Emperor is clothed.

It has become pretty obvious to anyone with half a brain who is willing to look at the facts that the Bush administration was negligent regarding the real threat of terrorism pre-911 and that they planned to invade Iraq before they had 911 as a justification.

Why, then, isn't this "conventional wisdom?"

1) "Religious" conviction. Ever tried to argue with a Liberterian? They don't simply think that the "invisible hand" of the market can solve all the world's problems; they have a sort of religious conviction that it is so. They are not amenable to reason.

Similarly, a certain percentage of the population, spread across all classes, has a sort of religious conviction that Republicans are good and Democrats are bad. Period. This faith is extended to any Republican who ascends to the Presidency, or even the Republican nomination, and is not revocable. Thus George W. Bush is good, and what he does is good, and what he says is true.

2) Craven careerism. A certain number of career journalists and career politicians will support a Republican President and party under any and all circumstances. They have a plan: demonstrate loyalty unflinchingly now in order to reap favors later-- personal morals be damned.

3) "Objective" journalism. Journalists and editors, in a desperate attempt to appear objective, default to presenting Republicans and Democrats as the two sides in every story. So no matter what the Republicans get caught doing the story is framed as: Democrats accuse and Repulicans deny. Or: he says, she says. Unless and until the Republican and Democratic parties come out with a joint statement to the effect that the Bush administration was negligent with regards to Al-Queda and used 911 as a justification to prosecute a war they had no good reason to drag us into, the press will not treat those facts as facts.

What is to be done? I dunno.

Sunday, March 21, 2004
Very bad news for all...Posted by C

Buried in the LA Times yesterday.
A detailed survey of birds and butterflies in Britain shows a population decline of 54% to 71%, a finding that suggests the world may be undergoing the sixth big extinction in the Earth's history, this one caused by humans.And on page one there's an article about how the feds are saying children and pregnant women shouldn't eat tuna because of the mercury content. No mention of the fact that the Bush administration suppressed data on mercury emissions so they could reduce regulation of coal-fired power plants.

I just don't know what to say about this. I think it's very serious-- it's this kind of stuff that made me register as a Green Party member before there was a Green Party in the U.S. I think the shit's gonna really hit the fan before we get our priorities in order.

Update: And then there's the carbon dioxide thing on Sunday. See Dirty Greek.

Tuesday, March 09, 2004
Only in California...Posted by C

I'm so tired of my state being the political laughing stock of the country.

Some idiots want to give 14 year olds the right to vote.

Personally, I'd like to see the right to operate heavy machinery (ie. drive a car) be extended to only those over 18 years of age.

Thanks to Dirty Greek (who has a different opinion on the matter).

Friday, March 05, 2004
The Law Firm of Dewey, Cheatham, and Howe...Posted by C

Mark A. R. Keiman is mad about a radio advertisement:
Marijuana is a useful medicine for many conditions. At the Medical Offices of Cheech, Chong, and Tokem, our physicians know how to recommend it.
Unless I get further confirmation from him or somebody else, I say it was satire.

Update: D'oh! The name was a joke on Mark's part, though the rest of the post was serious. Just too subtle for me, I guess.

Don't crow yet...Posted by C

Karl Rove is still smart. Let's not underestimate him.

Anybody even vaguely liberal is champing at the bit, ready to vote Bush out of office today.

But it's a long time until the election.

Rove and Bush can pander to the base (and I mean base) right now, and for months to come. They're working on having the far right yahoos frothing at the mouth. Once whipped into a pro-Bush frenzy, they'll not only vote: they'll stuff envelopes, pound the pavement, write letters, etc. for the rest of the campaign season.

Bush can spend the last few months of the campaign fighting with Kerry over the middle.

Case in point: Folks think Bush making a "wedge issue" out of gay marriage is not only despicable, that it won't work. A simple wedge issue is not exactly what they have in mind, I don't think. Rather, they know the FMA is doomed. He'll solidify support among the yahoos now by supporting the FMA. When it comes time to fight over the middle, Bush will smugly say that Kerry doesn't support it because he's mushy, a waffler-- supposedly not for gay marriage, but not for the FMA.

For uncommitted voters who lean just a little one way or the other on the issue, or who are undecided or conflicted, that may look better for Bush than Kerry.

That's why Kerry should come out in favor of gay marriage as a civil rights issue, and get it behind him. Then he can pound Bush over it: "There's no threat to hetersosexual marriage from gays getting married, and George Bush knows it. He just wants to take survivor benefits, insurance, etc. away from gays, just like he takes benefits away from veterans, just like he lets jobs go abroad." (etc.) "It's just one more group he's willing to disenfranchise, to cheat out of their rights and their security, so that there's more money for those like his contributors who are already doing well."

I know Kerry won't do this. And I hope it's a small enough mistake that he'll win anyway.

Tuesday, March 02, 2004
Arnold the lawbreaker...Posted by C

So Arnold broke the law again. Evidently (KPPC) he exited the voting booth today and told the next person in line to vote for Props 57 and 58. (Those are the "stick it to the kids, not the rich" propostitions on today's ballot.)

You are not allowed to campaign in the polling place. There are prominent signs-- saw 'em myself today.

He should be prosecuted.

And he should be prosecuted for loaning himself millions of dollars in the closing weeks of the campaign that made him our Governer. (Can he claim not to have known it was against the law?)

Just thought I'd mention it, since no one else has.

I don't think he didn't realize that what he was doing today was out of line. As I've said here before, I think Arnold is one of those "two kinds of people in the world" people ("big" people and "little" people), and believes he can do whatever he damn well pleases.

Update: Looks like Mark A. R. Kleiman agrees with me about Props 57 and 58.

Update: Atrios got the illegal campaigning issue, too.

Now we've done it...Posted by C

We've added comments and Trackback. We'll see how it goes...

The Breadwinner Myth...Posted by C

Over at One Good Thing (scroll down to Feb 28) there's a post about The Mommy Myth.

I have a wife, and she's a mother, and she struggles with feelings of inadequacy, so I relate to this post.

Funny thing: I feel inadequate, too. Chronically. Somebody ought to write The Breadwinner Myth.

Which got me to thinking. If I remember my Marx correctly, he wrote that the dominant ideology of any society is the ideology of the ruling class. A better formulation, I think, is that the dominant ideology is the ideology that justifies the status quo. How is that different? Surely the ideology of the ruling class justifies the status quo.

Yes, but it justifies it for the ruling class. The ideology of the working class has to justify the status quo for the working class.

As it relates to the Breadwinner Myth, working class ideology puts the blame for the insecurity of the worker at the feet of the worker. Nevermind if what he's afraid of is downsizing. Nevermind if it's the destruction of Social Security by the ruling elite. Nevermind if it's the cost of living increasing while wages stagnate for a country full of workers. The "breadwinner" feels personally inadequate and guilty, and does not usually look outside for someone to blame.

And this supports the status quo. As long as workers blame themselves for their economic insecurity, the elites can loot the country's wealth.

On a related topic (really, it is) there's daycare for children.

Once upon a time a single income, and not a big one, could buy a house and support a family. Now it takes two incomes to do that. And the dominant ideology of the working class shifted accordingly: Suddenly women needed jobs to feel fulfilled. The absurdity of it. It would be one thing if "jobs" in general were fulfilling. "Work" can be fulfilling. But, let's face it, jobs are usuallly not.

In order for both women and men both to be in the workforce, we needed to start leaving our infant children in daycare. And the dominant ideology of the working class shifted accordingly: Suddenly children needed to be raised in herds in order to be properly socialized. It's a stupid idea, and the fact that it should become "common knowledge" virtually overnight shows just how powerful ideology is, and just how the material conditions of society determine ideology.

The elite of this country don't put their children in group daycare, do they? No, they employ nannies. And they surely don't believe children need to be raised in herds in order to be properly socialized, or they'd band together to create elite daycare centers and get rid of their nannies.

Am I saying women ought to feel guilty if they need to work, and need to put their kids in day care. No. I'm saying we should all be angry. We should all be angry at the elite for altering the "social contract." And we should demand a fairer shake for working people.

End rant.

When life gives you dilemmas, make dilemmanade.

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