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Archive for the ‘On Liberalism’ Category

If and when a politician or political pundit on the right brings up the old "Al Gore says he invented the Internet" can’t and shouldn’t we just ignore and disregard every thing he or she says from that point on?

It’s been 8 years now since since a little bit of slip of the tongue misspeak took place and and was exploited by the right as part of a political hatchet job and we all (or at least all the reasonably intelligent people in this country) know he has never said any such thing.

As part of the Democratic nomination process and debate responding to a question from Wolf Blitzer of CNN as to what would distinguished him from Senator Bill Bradley he clumsily said:

"…During my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the Internet. I took the initiative in moving forward a whole range of initiatives that have proven to be important to our country’s economic growth and environmental protection, improvements in our educational system."

When what he probably really meant to say and was instead implying was:

"…During my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in putting through legislation the was helpful in creating the Internet."

or

"…During my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating legislation that helped develop the Internet." etc. etc. etc.

Any pundit or politician on the right who really thinks Gore really meant to say that "he created the internet" really really needs to have their head examined to see if they have any cognitive working brain cells inside it or needs to have their head examined to see if they have any political thinking skills too since all reasonable people on the left and the right now know that was just a politically motivated rumor and lie intended to ridicule Gore.

The Assault On ReasonAs I was eating my lunch I just saw Contessa Brewer on MSNBC talking with two political wags about Gore’s appearing on the cover of Time magazine and the forthcoming publication of his new book The Assault on Reason and this Republican wag who I previously respected admired and listened to as an intelligent voice from the other side started in on attacking Gore with the old "he said he invented the internet" argument and instantly lost any respect I had for him and lost any interest from my perspective in listening to anything else he had to say.

Perhaps it is more important than ever right now to have intelligent discussions of the issues at hand today where both sides and all those that fill the gaps in between listen to and hear what is really being said to the right and left in the political spectrum and not have our time wasted with the meaningless and pointless political attack rhetoric like "Gore says he invented the internet". In spite of my own political leanings to the left I want to hear what intelligent Republicans and Conservatives have to say and I don’t want to have my time wasted sorting through and throwing out that kind of political bullshit.

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In the spirit of bipartisan cooperation and understanding I came up with this list of Conservatives voices I "like" and enjoy listening to (even though I don’t necessarily agree with them) because they present logical rather than just emotional partisan arguments. In other words listening to them my head doesn’t necessarily explode:

…to name a few. I also once enjoyed reading the late Jeane Kirkpatrick and I often read and still read William F. Buckley’s & his National Review. My late father was a big fan of Barry Goldwater so I’ve read both material about him and by him.

So far I’ve managed to resist publishing my list of the conservatives I can’t stand, think are repulsive and vulgar, and think aren’t worth listening too but it will be coming one of these days.

 

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Some great quotes from William Greider author of The Soul of Capitalism : Opening Paths to a Moral Economy and Who Will Tell The People? : The Betrayal Of American Democracy to inspire our thinking:

“If one benefits tangibly from the exploitation of others who are weak, is one morally implicated in their predicament? Or are basic rights of human existence confined to the civilized societies that are wealthy enough to afford them? Our values are defined by what we will tolerate when it is done to others.”

“The great, unreported story in globalization is about power, not ideology. It’s about how finance and business regularly, continuously insert their own self-interested deals and exceptions into rules and agreements that are then announced to the public as “free trade.”

“The US financial position is rapidly deteriorating, due mainly to America’s persistent and growing trade deficit. US ambitions to run the world, in other words, are heavily mortgaged. Like any debtor who borrows more year after year with no plausible way to reverse the trend, a nation sinking deeper into debt enters into an adverse power relationship with its creditors — greater and greater dependency.”

“The juggernaut — the best and biggest military force in the world — lumbers on, doing what it knows how to do best. It is unwilling to rethink its future, unable to let go of the past. Like the shark, it must keep feeding, only now it is feeding on itself.”

“Modern Americans are remarkably capable people, skillful and inventive in many ways, but they are not so good at talking to one another across their vast differences of social class and economic status.”

“Americans cannot teach democracy to the world until they restore their own.”

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Conservative Libertarian Charley Reese writing on What is the Mission?

What Is the Mission? by Charley Reese June 3, 2006
President Bush teared up on Memorial Day and said we must complete the mission in Iraq to honor the 18,000 wounded and 2,400-plus dead.

Well, I have a question. What is the mission?

Is it to overthrow Saddam Hussein? He’s been overthrown and is awaiting execution by a kangaroo court we selected to do the hit.

Is it to allow the Iraqi people to hold elections? They’ve held three elections – one for an interim government, one for a Constitution, and one for a permanent government, which is now in place except for two Cabinet positions.

Oh, I forgot that when the president was selling this war, he said the mission was to disarm Saddam because he had all those awful weapons of mass destruction. Well, of course, they didn’t exist, and now the president doesn’t talk about them.

But if the purpose was to install an elected government, why are we still there? Why are we spending half a billion dollars to build the world’s largest embassy, one that dwarfs Saddam’s palaces and that ticks off the Iraqi people? Why, after three years and billions of our tax dollars, do the Iraqi people lack electricity, clean water and sewers? They had all those things under Saddam until we destroyed them with our bombs and missiles.

And if we want the Iraqi army to handle security, why are its soldiers still driving around in Toyotas? Where are their armored personnel carriers, their tanks, their light machine guns and light artillery? Surely there is a lot of that stuff left over. Why doesn’t the president stop spreading heifer dust? We take an 18-year-old kid, give him 18 weeks of training and ship him off to combat. Is this administration saying it takes five years to train an Iraqi lad?

I think the only real mission left is to wipe the egg off the president’s face. The invasion of Iraq was unconstitutional. There was no declaration of war, just a namby-pamby, you-can-use-force-if-you-want-to resolution passed by those spineless mountebanks who inhabit Congress. It was illegal under international law, since Iraq had not attacked us or even threatened to attack us. Iraq was cooperating with the arms inspectors and telling the truth about the lack of weapons. That’s why the U.N. Security Council refused to give the president the resolution he wanted as a cover for his war.

Most of all, though, it was flat stupid, as anybody who knows the Middle East could have told him. To use a favorite phrase of his father, when the prez ordered the invasion of Iraq, he stepped into deep doo-doo of the camel variety. I doubt if he knows how to get out of Iraq even if he wanted to, and I don’t think he does. I think he intends to stay there indefinitely.

And if that’s his intention, then he should tell the American people that their sons and daughters will continue to die or be maimed indefinitely. The Iraqis are a fierce people. No elf is going to sprinkle fairy dust on them and make them fall in love with us. Why should they? We destroyed their country and caused the deaths of 500,000 Iraqi children just with the sanctions, not counting the thousands we’ve killed since then.

The Iraqis have many admirable traits, but I don’t think forgiveness is one of them. Does the president remember what the Iraqi father told an American officer when the officer asked what compensation he would accept for his son, whom one of our soldiers had killed? He said, "Ten dead Americans."

And what has the president’s blundering accomplished? He’s converted an old enemy of Iran into a new ally of Iran. Did he hear the Iraqi prime minister when he said no attacks on Iran from Iraqi soil will be tolerated? Did the president hear him when he said Iran has a right to enrich uranium? The president has created gas lines in an oil-rich country. He’s restarted inflation and the Cold War.

Perhaps we’re the ones who should be tearing up. We have two more years of this guy, and he still believes that, except for a misspoke word now and then, he’s done everything right. At least he’s smart enough not to go hunting with Dick Cheney. That’s our small consolation.

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I’m just so angry and fed up that I had wanted to write something regarding what the demagogue Bill O’Reilly had to say regarding the Massacre at Malmedy and the Haditha Investigation in his programed debate with general Wesley Clark but there are so many others who have written about it far better than I ever could.

For a short quick overview of the truth of what took place at Malmedy click for the Wikipedia entry on Malmedy (and as I’ve just discovered it seems the Bill O’Reilly-Malmedy Massacre issue has made it into the Wikipedia O’Reilly entry too.)

Bill O’Reilly is the very worst kind of demagogue and despite his marketing claims to the contrary is the #1 merchant of spin, deciet, and manipulation and needs to be exposed for what he is at every opportunity. This is not to say that there aren’t intelligent and serious voices on the conservative right that we need to listen to and work with with but Bill O’Reilly is very certainly not one of them.

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Is “NeoCon” now a pejorative terms in our society?In response to saying that the term "Liberal" has been turned into a dirty pejorative word I have heard acquaintances on the right say the Liberal-Left has done the same thing to the term NeoCon.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:Neoconservatism in the United States

Neoconservatism refers to the political movement, ideology, and public policy goals of "new conservatives" in the United States, who are mainly characterized by their relatively interventionist and hawkish views on foreign policy, and lesser emphasis on "small government" and restrictions on social spending, when compared with other American conservatives such as traditional or paleoconservatives.The prefix "neo" can denote that many of the movement’s founders, originally liberals, Democrats or from socialist backgrounds, were new to conservatism, but can also refer to the comparatively recent emergence of this "new wave" of conservative thought, which coalesced in the early 1970s from a variety of intellectual roots in the decades following World War II. It also serves to distinguish the ideology from the viewpoints of "old" or traditional American conservatism.

Unfortunately I think a lot a lot of these new Neocons act and behave like pit bulls fighting dogs (Ann Coulter comes to mind) and are more interested in being rude, insulting, and fighting with you (meaning us liberals) so the term does has developed a derogatory tone. I was saying just the other day that I this guy who’s a senior fellow (an economist) with a well known conservative think tank and I love talking with and listening to him (even though I don’t always agree) and I always learn something from the process. The key thing I noticed about him is he’s always courteous and shows respect for your opinions so I listen to him and think about what he has to say. Whereas by contrast there’s a neocon contractor I know and often cross paths with in the online trade forums such as the Journal of Light Construction and FineHomeBuilding’s Breaktime who is so extreme, insulting, and rude that you dismiss everything he has to say and your only choice since you can’t dialog and discuss issues with him is to fight back using the same inflammatory rhetoric

I think the neocon attack dogs have hurt conservatism and certainly helped create the extreme partisan stalemate we are in in this country.

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I’ve been thinking alot lately of how the neo-con pundits on the extreme right have taken the word “Liberal” turned it into a dirty swear word. I was then reminded of a website I visited a while called liberalslikechrist.org (yup you read that one correctly) and it had this little essay called A Day in the Life of Joe Middle-Class Republican Conservative which was written by John Gray of Cincinnati, Ohio origionaly as a TvNewsLIES Reader contribution.

A Day in the Life of Joe Middle-Class Republican Conservative:

Joeseph gets up at 6:00 am to prepare his morning coffee. He fills his pot full of good clean drinking water because some liberal fought for minimum water quality standards. He takes his daily medication with his first swallow of coffee. His medications are safe to take because some liberal fought to insure they are safe and work as advertised.

All but $10.00 of his medications are paid for by his employers medical plan because some liberal union workers fought their employers for paid medical insurance, now Joe gets it too. He prepares his morning breakfast, bacon and eggs this day. Joe’s bacon is safe to eat because some liberal fought for laws to regulate the meat packing industry.

Joe takes his morning shower reaching for his shampoo; His bottle is properly labeled with every ingredient and the amount of its contents because some liberal fought for his right to know what he was putting on his body and how much it contained. Joe dresses, walks outside and takes a deep breath. The air he breathes is clean because some tree hugging liberal fought for laws to stop industries from polluting our air.

Joe walks to the subway station for his government subsidized ride to work; it saves him considerable money in parking and transportation fees. You see, some liberal fought for affordable public transportation, which gives everyone the opportunity to be a contributor.

Joe begins his work day; he has a good job with excellent pay, medical benefits, retirement, paid holidays and vacation days because some liberal union members fought and died for these working standards. Joe’s employer pays these standards because Joe’s employer doesn’t want his employees to call the union. If Joe is hurt on the job or becomes unemployed he’ll get a worker compensation or unemployment check because some liberal didn’t think he should loose his home because of his temporary misfortune.

It’s noon time, Joe needs to make a bank deposit so he can pay some bills. Joe’s deposits are federally insured by the FSLIC because some liberal wanted to protect Joe’s money from unscrupulous bankers who ruined the banking system before the Depression.

Joe has to pay his Fannie Mae underwritten mortgage and his below market federal student loan because some stupid liberal decided that Joe and the government would be better off if he was educated and earned more money over his life-time.

Joe is home from work, he plans to visit his father this evening at his farm home in the country. He gets in his car for the drive to dads; his car is among the safest in the world because some liberal fought for car safety standards.

Joe arrives at his boyhood home. He was the third generation to live in the house financed by Farmers Home Administration because bankers didn’t want to make rural loans. The house didn’t have electric until some big government liberal stuck his nose where it didn’t belong and demanded rural electrification. (Those rural Republican’s would still be sitting in the dark).

Joe is happy to see his dad who is now retired. His dad lives on Social Security and his union pension because some liberal made sure he could take care of himself so Joe wouldn’t have to. After his visit with dad he gets back in his car for the ride home.

Joe turns on a radio talk show, the host’s keeps saying that liberals are bad and conservatives are good. (He doesn’t tell Joe that his beloved Republicans have fought against every protection and benefit Joe enjoys throughout his day) Joe agrees, “We don’t need those big government liberals ruining our lives; after all, I’m a self made man who believes everyone should take care of themselves, just like I have”.

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