Friday, June 15, 2007

The Real Man

In many cases this post could be considered an adjunct to the 'Lowering The Bar" post below. It's something that is easy to see but hard to describe. I call it chest puffery. Glenn Greenwald calls it maybe a bit more accurately:

Glen Reynolds ....-- has fretted: "Are we turning into a nation of wimps?" It is the identity of the "we" in that sentence where all the meaning lies. Perhaps if "we" torture enough bound and gagged prisoners and bomb enough countries, "we" can rid ourselves of that worry.

Republicans have long tried to exploit masculinity images and depict Democrats and liberals as effeminate and therefore weak. That is not new. But what is new is how explicit and upfront and unabashed this all is now. And what is most striking about it is that -- literally in almost every case -- the most vocal crusaders for Hard-Core Traditional Masculinity, the Virtues of Machismo, are the ones who so plainly lack those qualities on every level.

There are few things more disorienting than listening to Rush Limbaugh declare himself the icon of machismo and masculinity and mock others as "wimps." And if you look at those who have this obsession -- the Chris Matthews and Glenn Reynolds and Jonah Goldbergs and Victor Davis Hansons -- what one finds in almost every case is that those who want to convert our political process and especially our national policies into a means of proving one's "traditional masculine virtues" -- the physically courageous warriors unbound by effete conventions -- themselves could not be further removed from those attributes, and have lives which are entirely devoid of such "virtues."

.....In the 1990s, this mentality manifested as the relatively innocuous trend whereby middle-aged men left their wives at home to go dress up in military costumes and march around on the weekend play-acting as "militia" comrades or, relatedly, as not merely advocates of gun rights, but as worshippers of guns themselves. But now -- really, ever since the 9/11 attacks so frightened so many of them and made them feel, to use Rush's formulation, as though they were besieged by "The Emasculating of America" -- this mentality has come to dominate our political culture, as those who so plainly perceive themselves (understandably) to be lacking the traditional masculine virtues degrade and exploit our political system in order to satisfy those cravings.

And Digby/Walcott noted:

The curious thing is that so many of the rightward bloggers and Fox Newswers who are hailing the Brits for their quiet stoicism and pluck don't seem to realize they're issuing an implicit rebuke to themselves and their fellow Americans.

They're saying, in effect, "You've got to admire the Brits for showing calm and quiet perseverance after these explosions--they don't get all hysterical, over dramatic, and over reactive the way we Americans do." They don't seem to realize the example shown by Londoners might be a lesson to them, a model they might follow instead of playing laptop Pattons at full volume every time they feel a rousing post coming on, supporting the president and the entire power structure of the government is their only way of proving to themselves that they are warriors.

They are damaged by their own contradictory past and as a result they cannot see their way through the haze of emotional turmoil to seek out and find real solutions to the problem of terrorism. They lash out with trash talk and threats and constant references to their own resolve because they are afraid. They've always been afraid.

Click the links for some delicious insight.

They have decided they know what a 'real' man is. And by golly they know what a coward is too. That would be you darned "cut and runners". They boldly proclaim 'If you knew just how dangerous it is you would most certainly agree with me'. Directly implying that they have the 'seasoned' view and those that disagree are just naive. It is an overbearing, overpowering need to exhibit their machismo, be it man or woman. It is an essence that goes right to the core of who they are.
What does it mean to be 'a man". Does it necessarily imply a warrior? Who was the greatest man that lived? Most in Christianity would say Jesus. The radical right is always happy to point to Mohammad as a warrior prophet. They love telling you how bad and evil he is while exhibiting the same character flaws themselves.
There is no core to the confused mind they inhabit. There is little in the way of a manly sense of personal responsibility although they utter the words incessantly.
Resilience, integrity, and ingenuity would seem to be far more manly values than those they are expressing. Now if they would just shut up and listen for a minute....

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Of The People, By The People , For The People

I don't really like the way they put this in something that sounds like a cheesy chain letter but it really is on the money. Especially the last paragraph.

Not too long ago, my wife and I attended a TV football party in south Tulsa. With a lopsided score, the conversation turned to a livelier subject -- politics. The crowd was, of course, top-heavy with Republicans. With each point expressed their faces became more flushed, eyes bulging a little more and veins popping in their foreheads as they railed against the liberal programs.

Finally a lone, liberal voice asked: "Will you people name me one bill your party ever passed to help the working man of this country?" The question created much din and clamor, and someone sputtered, "Well, what have the Democrats done?"

The liberal responded with a few programs and was interrupted by howling and disdain. He noted that he had not promised they would like the programs and he asked to complete his statement -- a difficult task to ask of Republicans.
He spoke of Social Security; Medicare-Medicaid; Peace Corps; unemployment insurance; welfare (for the poor and corporate); civil rights; student grant and loan programs; safety laws (OSHA); environmental laws; prevailing wage laws; right to collective bargaining (which brought about paid medical insurance, paid vacations, pensions, etc); workers' compensation; Marshall Plan; flood-disaster insurance; School Lunch Program; women's rights.

He spoke of the Fair Labor Standards Act, which established a minimum wage, instituted child labor laws, and set up time-and-a-half pay for over a 40-hour week.

He mentioned FHA-HUD with its public housing, urban renewal and 44 million residential homes (before WWII almost 70 percent of our nation were renters; by the 1970s this had been reversed).

And farm-conservation subsidies -- USDA programs, Farmers Home Administration (the bankers didn't want to make rural loans), small flood-control lakes (more than 3,000 in Oklahoma alone), rural water districts, rural electricity (REA).

The GI Bill was passed, which the Republicans at the time bitterly opposed. They were salivating over millions of returning veterans to hire as cheap labor. More than 8 million have used college benefits, creating millions of entrepreneurs; most of us had never dreamed of college. For the unemployed GI, there was $20 a week for 52 weeks to help get started (a lot of money in those days). The Veterans Administration provided more than 2 million home loans.

For the bankers at the football party, it was pointed out that the liberals saved their industry with the creation of FDIC and FSLIC, insuring their deposits, and saved Wall Street with the establishment of the Securities Exchange Commission.

The oil men came on bended knees to FDR at a time when East Texas oil was 4 cents a barrel and begged him to save their industry. He did; pro rationing overturned the rule of capture and the days of flush production were over. Prorating has served this great industry (and nation) well.

And the list went on and on, but of course this group didn't let him get halfway through. He noted they were weary, inattentive, so again he challenged them to offer up any Republican legislation examples.

"I'm sure your party has authored one or two comparable bills from time to time, but I can't think of any, and apparently you can't either. What it boils down to is this: the liberals dragged you into the 20th century scratching and screaming with your heels in the mud, fighting anything that's progressive, everything that's made this country great. You Republicans have never understood that the spending power of blue-collar workers, obtained through Democrats and unions, is what really made this country great. You really believe "The Good Life" was obtained from your own endeavors. You cloak your greed in religion and patriotism, railing against any form of tax, never comprehending that these programs have benefited all of us and our country."

I am frankly wondering if we have sunk too far to ever get back to the America that the framers envisioned. With the advance of globalism and corporatism the whole idea of our country and what it means may have to be rethought.
The right is happy to tell you how much one should fear the "one world government". They divert you attention by directing you to the U.N. Meanwhile the globalists continue on their merry way with the sheeple none the wiser.
We are becoming a heavily indebted, disdained,in endless war, nation. Our Constitution and liberties are being infringed on in the name of fear. If their are people who would still prefer our present course we need another national conversation about what we want our country to represent and how we bring that about. Sounds like a good topic for an election. Will we get past swiftboating and charges of malfeasance back and forth to get to the issues? Not likely.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Keep Lowering The Bar

This website is getting better all the time. Make a visit to Sadly No! I love this part of this piece; we must become more like the evil we hate:

Michelle has a solution, of course: we must become as cruel and brutal as the evil ragheads. We need to gather our kids together and hand them fake guns and make them sing songs about destroying the vile serpents of Mahomet! “And how are we preparing the children of the West to defend themselves against these little soldiers of Allah?”, asks Michelle, showing her familiarity with the device known as the ‘rhetorical question’:

In New York City, one nursery school dragged 3-year-old toddlers to the office of Rep. Eliot Engel, where they sang “It’s a Small World” around a 12-foot “Tree of Peace.” The children’s teacher, Valerie Coleman-Palansky, defended the stunt thusly: “I think it’s appropriate for 3-year-olds to know that the world needs to be a peaceful place for everybody to live in and a safe place for everybody to live in.”

You see the problem here, folks? While in so-called Palestine, children are being told to grow up into human hand grenades, we here in pussified America are teaching our kids nonsense like ‘the world should be at peace’ and ‘people need a safe place to live’! Good grief, why don’t we just wrap ‘em all in a hijab and throw them in the East River?.....

.............You see what I mean? While the Muslim terrorists are breeding a generation of go-getters who are energetic and peppy enough to think of themselves as hopeless from birth and with no greater aspiration than to end up smeared across the roof of a bus, here we are in America, raising kids who feel good about themselves and who are optimistic about the future! We’re doomed!

I have been calling them "The Radical Right" for sometime now and I am left with no remaining doubt that these radicals make up the majority of what is now known as the Republican party. How anybody has pride in the principals they espouse escapes me.