Monday, November 16, 2015

Ideological Constipation

Saw the below picture on my Facebook feed.  Where to begin? Start with the observation that those who are impressed with this nonsense are conflating socialism with authoritarianism. It is a basic truism of our civic culture that a large majority of Americans have a painfully inchoate, almost infantile, understanding of socialism.

It should not be necessary to remind people that poverty and suffering can be found throughout the world. The difference is that the reactionary personality never attributes any of it to capitalism, not in, say, India, El Salvador, or Mexico, or for that matter, America's Deep South, which has characteristics much like less-developed countries, but invariably leaps to that conclusion when the country is identified, perhaps inaccurately, as socialist.  

The muddled thinking is most apparent when you realize the most advanced, healthiest, cleanest, safest, best-educated, and most-contented countries in the world are disproportionately socialist. It might help those in the shit-for-brains crowd to stop, read the previous sentence, and then actually try to get their head around it. No doubt they are ignorant of how effective America's socialist mayors and other municipal leaders were in their heyday; it is part of our history that is well-documented, but largely ignored today. It helped create the American middle class after WWII that was the envy of the world and one that I grew up in only to see greatly eroded with the rise of neoliberalism and the corporate welfare state. Try reading The "S" word: A Short History of an American Tradition...Socialism, by John Nichols. 
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At least one lawyer says Marc Rubio's campaign is one huge violation. According to Miles Mogulescu:
All of the money for Rubio's campaign ads to date has been illegally laundered through a non-profit organization that doesn't have to disclose its donors and is legally required to spend its funds for social welfare, not for the exclusive benefit of an individual such as a presidential candidate like Rubio.
Having helped establish and run non-profits, I think I understand Mogulescu's point. And Trump is the kind of guy who would have have called Rubio out on that, such as in the most recent debate. Not sure he did that, but none of these clowns actually wants undue scrutiny. We shall see.
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Mitt Romney recently went on record praising the Affordable Care Act, the same one he felt compelled to denounce when he ran for President in 2012. Romney wants to take credit for Obamacare, because it is modeled on Romneycare. He has a point, but he is pretty feckless on the issue; he could have run on his relatively moderate record as Massachusetts Governor, shown some leadership, and explain to that snarling and ill-informed Republican base why Mittbamacare was a big improvement and should be supported. Instead he ran from his own ideas only to re-embrace them later when there was no political fallout. That's what happens when you are no longer running for office and you don't give a shit what teabaggers think.
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It can be difficult deciding who merits the most laughably inane comment on any given day. So much competition, you know. But a few days ago, Bristol Palin made a strong case for herself when she said that Richard Dawkins, of all people, supports the 9/11 bombers. Professor Dawkins had said that he believed the hijackers had been sincere in their convictions, and that this demonstrated the power of religion to motivate good people to do evil things. Palin interpreted this as support for jihadists.

What a miserably ignorant woman. It seems to run in the family.

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