Oct 7th, 2008 by ravi
Don’t vote!

This a “PSA” from various movie and sports personalities (Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Aniston, Ellen Degeneres, Dustin Hoffman… even Sarah Silverman who otherwise has built a career out of anti-establishment behaviour, albeit with obligatory “radical” bra removal tricks and reference to herpes):

It is split into two parts. The first part has the personalities urging you to not vote, since it doesn’t matter. The second and longer part turns this around: well, if you care about [insert issue here] then may be you should vote?

This advertisement highlights the danger and possible self-defeating nature of this sort of cleverness, for unfortunately, the first part, taken seriously, makes its argument much better than the second one does. During the first part, the actor Leonardo DiCaprio exclaims “This is one of the greatest financial disasters in American history” closely followed by, I believe, the tennis player Andy Roddick asking us, “Why would you vote?”. Then come a range of voices:

Who cares? The economy is in the toilet!
Who cares about your children’s education?
Reading? Literacy?
Global warming?


Well played (if unintentionally)! Indeed we are in the midst of one of the biggest financial disasters in history. How do your representatives and candidates for PotUS act? They ignore the majority of you who were against this bailout and support it and pass it, including in it such wonderful measures as waiving federal acquisition regulations favouring minority and women owned businesses. Would your vote for McCain or Obama matter? Not really, since they both support the same action in response to the “one of the greatest financial disasters in American history”. Global warming? Both men support “clean” coal and off-shore drilling for oil. Children? McCain has battled all his congressional life against “quotas” and affirmative action, while Obama is worried about the excesses of 70s civil rights and is more interested in lecturing to black fathers.

Where the PSA shines (in the first part, that is) is in pinpointing exactly why your vote doesn’t matter: Who cares? Certainly not most of the candidates you will be permitted to choose from.

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Oct 1st, 2008 by ravi
Dean Baker’s free book: The Conservative Nanny State

[found via a post to PEN-L by Jim Devine]

Also available for download.

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Sep 5th, 2008 by ravi
Rangel keeps the party going

House Chairman Failed to Report $75,000 in Income – NYTimes.com

Representative Charles B. Rangel has earned more than $75,000 in rental income from a villa he has owned in the Dominican Republic since 1988, but never reported it on his federal or state tax returns, according to a lawyer for the congressman and documents from the resort.

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Sep 3rd, 2008 by ravi
The worm’s turn

House politics strikes ones of its savviest players:

House Tables Resolution to Censure Rangel – New York Times

The House of Representatives decided on Thursday afternoon to table, by a vote of 254 to 138, a Republican resolution to censure Representative Charles B. Rangel, the powerful New York Democrat who is chairman of the Ways and Means Committee. The resolution said Mr. Rangel “dishonored himself and brought discredit to the House,” citing a report in The New York Times on July 11 that Mr. Rangel occupied four rent-stabilized apartments in a Harlem building, including one that he used as a campaign office.

Rangel, to refresh your memory, is the same toad who thundered against Hugo Chavez (whose generosity fuels his constituents, unlike the lack of compassion of the leader he defends) in favour of the Imperial Presidency:

“You don’t come into my country, you don’t come into my congressional district and criticize my president,” Mr. Rangel, a Democrat, told stunned reporters on Capitol Hill.

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Sep 2nd, 2008 by ravi
Jon Stewart explains Fox Logic with an analogy

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Aug 18th, 2008 by ravi
Roseanne World

Thanks to her bad-mouthing incisive commentary on Brangelina, Roseanne’s blog is gaining (as she notes) a lot of new audience. I am one of them. And I plan to stay!

As the five of you who read this blog know, the Hillary Clinton primary experience pissed the hell off of an old-fashioned feminist like me and my spouse. And neither of us can stand Hillary, but that is exactly not the issue, as Maureen Dowd and every other “post-feminist” or n-th wave feminist who ♥s Obama but has to find some high-minded justification for the infatuation, don’t get. Roseanne on the other hand, gets it, and that’s why I am staying. Below are two bits from her blog:

Women’s struggle for equity and dignity will not be silenced, cowed, or stopped by any man, or any woman hating females like Peggy Noonan, Maureen Dowd, Arianna Huffington, Oprah Winfrey, Randhi Rhoades, Nancy Pelosi, or a host of other running dog lackeys of corporate whoredom. Have a nice day!

And:

It’s all a set up to get the females to think that they are being listened to, but it’s all planned canned and fixed. Obama is the nom, and there is no getting rid of him for the dems. If he had any brains he would announce right now that a vote for him is a vote for hillary, because she is his choice for vice, or his nominee for the supreme court…some triangulation would work for him. He has a blindspot where feminism and females are concerned, and he figures that claire mccaskill (sp) is all he needs. (kind of like when people say…”i asked my maid what she thinks of immigration, and she said”…..). He just doesn’t get it that it is female boomers that have kept the dem party alive since the sixties, and that he has insulted their intelligence. He just doesn’t get it, and neither does david axelrod. I do not think any men get it at all. As it was for me in Hollywoodland, men in power are not comfortable with any woman that is not serving them coffee. They tried to fire me off of my own show, like they have done to hillary clinton. It was her show and they fired her. they got all heady over winning against her, but that was all the winning they could do. now they have to crawl back to her and ask her to win it for them. they look like weak mama’s boys, which they are…however, america loves weak mama’s boys though…john mccain is the embodiment of that…

[ Link ]

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Aug 10th, 2008 by ravi
When others do it….

… “shock and awe” is called “disproportionate and dangerous”:

AFP: Georgia offers ceasefire as Russian blitz intensifies

Russia faced fresh criticism from the West, with the United States warning that the “disproportionate and dangerous escalation” of the conflict could damage relations between the two countries.

[ Link ]

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Jul 21st, 2008 by ravi
Seed: Noam Chomsky + Robert Trivers

Seed: Noam Chomsky + Robert Trivers

Robert Trivers: So you’re talking about self-deception in at least two contexts. One is intellectuals who, in a sense, go through a process of education which results in a self-deceived organism who is really working to serve the interests of the privileged few without necessarily being conscious of it at all.
The other thing is these massive industries of persuasion and deception, which, one can conceptualize, are also inducing a form of either ignorance or self-deception in listeners, where they come to believe that they know the truth when in fact they’re just being manipulated.

Click link for video and full conversation.

[ Link ]

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Jun 9th, 2008 by ravi
Kevin Alexander Gray on James Clyburn

Democracy Now! | Race, Politics, Dr. King and the Primaries in South Carolina

AMY GOODMAN: We’re talking right now to Kevin Alexander Gray in Columbia, South Carolina. The Republican primary is January 19th. The Democratic primary January 26th. Talk about your congressman, James Clyburn. He is the only African American congressman from South Carolina, one of the leaders in Congress. He’s overseas right now, appears to be extremely angry about what has been happening.

KEVIN ALEXANDER GRAY: Well, he hinted that he might support Obama, but I don’t think that that’s going to happen. Jim—first of all, you know, people say Jim was involved in the Civil Rights Movement. Jim was the head of the State Human Affairs Commission before he ran for Congress. And Jim has kind of been the pick of the status quo established white community for a long time. So I don’t see Jim leaving too far off of that plantation and bucking the party establishment in the state by picking somebody.

[ Link ]

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May 18th, 2008 by ravi
Heckled and Slimed

Hillary bashing is the sport of the day and here is Barbara Ehrenreich taking her best shot:

Hillary Revealed That Women Can Be Nasty, Deceptive Candidates Too

Hillary Clinton smashed the myth of innate female moral superiority in the worst possible way — by demonstrating female moral inferiority.

In case you are tickled by this awesome scientific generalisation (Hillary’s campaign tactics are a demonstration of not her individual moral inferiority but “female moral inferiority”), there is good news — the article is chock full of them, as we have Ehrenreich once again attempting to rationalise her arbitrary preference for Obama, this time using an ill-reasoned attack on Hillary. There are a lot of reasons to reject Clinton’s candidacy, but the problem for such intellectuals (as opposed to the garden variety hipster, who constitutes a good part of the Obama fan base, and who is pleased with the warm fuzzies of “hope” and “unity” and all that rot) is that almost all of those reasons ably apply for Obama as well (hence Ehrenreich’s first attempt, a while ago, to support Obama with a “change for its own sake” argument). So, Hillary’s silly story about Bosnia becomes a damnable lie, in Ehrenreich’s (and Maureen Down and every other self-proclaimed feminist opponent of Hillary’s) defensive arguments that equate “fall guys” like Karpinski and England, the ones who were punished, to the perpetrators of the crimes, Rumsfeld and Bush, who remain unpunished.

A whopping 87% of violent crime (as of 1999) is committed by the male of the species. Comparable, in Ehrenreich’s analysis, to “women’s capacity for aggression”, trivialised as “bitchiness” or “inexplicable, hormonally-driven, hostility”. Not that different, we presume, from rape and murder, 87% of which is accounted for by men. The counter-examples of Thatcher and Clinton, the Ehrenreich reasoning seems to suggest, nullify such statistics.

In one logic-defying stroke, Ehrenreich using the same example(s) — to wit, Hillary Clinton — both rejects female superiority (England, Karpinski and Clinton are the counter-factuals of this hard science) and also proves female moral inferiority.

Supporters of Hillary (and I am not one of them) are told that they should not be supporting her “merely” because she is a woman. That would be foolish, it seems. Is one to prefer then the all-out delusion that is the stock of those who equate Obama to Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King as a man “who best upholds” virtues?

Writings of women like Ehrenreich and her less intellectual counterpart in the Obama fanbase, Maureen Dowd, are a milder form of the betrayal of feminism that are seen in the actions of Rice or Allbright. Few (among feminists) have the goal of elevating woman as an ideal. The goal has always been to defend her against such unfairness as Ehrenreich’s singling out of England and Karpinski or her presentation of Clinton as an aggressive bitch in comparison to the mythical virtuous persona of Obama.

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