Monday, March 17, 2008

The New Radical Right

I saw the expected right wing stuff on the expected right wing websites on Barack Obama and his pastor. My reply was to the effect of...I thought he was a Muslim!?
The responses were basically, well we must be right because he won't debate us and "I never said he was a Muslim". There is one person there who is a grown up though. I usually understand at least where he's coming from even if we continue to disagree. I suddenly recognized how rare that has become. There are very few on the right that even use it as an exercise in thought as far as I can tell.
I didn't want to give up in finding common ground with this guy so I have invited him to, if interested, see my response here.

First please view at least a portion of "Why Should God Bless America"

at the right wing values voters conference. The essence is we are a sinful place(except for them of course) and God will only bless America if we follow the path that these people are ascribing.

Marshal, you are right. It wasn't a very good response. It wasn't intended to be.
My response was a response not for debate but of frustration. Present company getting a partial redemption, the cognitive dissonance is just mind numbing. First the most important scary thing about Obama is that he is a Muslim. Now suddenly he is a Christian and oh no, how horrible, a black Christian! Onea them racist types. Wait, what happened to the Muslim story. Can we destroy that one first!?
Too many people are on to the game.

Yes, suddenly no one really called Obama a Muslim, oh no, but a lot of people spent a lot of time spreading the rumor and speculation and still insisting that he is some kind of enemy of the state. The fact is he was directly exposed to the Muslim world. He was also directly exposed to the Christian world. That sounds like a plus to me. Turn it into a negative if you want but it doesn't wash as a negative to me.

The right wing preachers have professed that 9/11 was Gods curse on the country for having homosexuals, that Gods wrath is responsible for New Orleans and whatever. All kinds of things that their followers understand as perfectly reasonable from the perspective of their religion. Yes, liberals usually point it out when they say wild stuff. Then they laugh and let it go. When Obamas preacher says that we encouraged the attacks because of our foreign policy and what has been done to other countries in our name or that blacks have been oppressed he is a horrible radical that is an enemy of the state for Gods sake! We must ring all the chapel bells in warning! What!? Oh but it's different cuz that is Obamas personal pastor and friend. And just remember, conservatives aren't nuancers either. Cognitive dissonance. You can't debate that.
I know, God Damn America. Certainly those are volatile words. He's talking about the things we are doing to destroy ourselves. Listen past the offensive words. I think no conservatives have. The roadblocks people at the bottom feel as they try to make it. The invasion of other countries for their resources and the domination of and propping up of dominators. See General Smedley Butler if you don't get it.

In his 1935 book, War Is a Racket, Butler presented an exposé and trenchant condemnation of the profit motive behind warfare. His views on the subject are well summarized in the following passage from a 1935 issue of "the non-Marxist, socialist" magazine, Common Sense — one of Butler's most widely quoted statements:

"I spent 33 years and four months in active military service and during that period I spent most of my time as a high class
muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism. I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. I helped purify Nicaragua for the International Banking House of Brown Brothers in 1902-1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for the American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Honduras right for the American fruit companies in 1903. In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went on its way unmolested. Looking back on it, I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents.

Once you understand that this is the REAL reason they hate us we can make some progress. How do I know this is the REAL reason. Because they said so! Listen! This is exactly what they will tell you! You wish the Muslim world would speak up against Al Qaeda yet when one is speaking out about the same air of moral superiority you reject it offhand as hate America first. The cogitative dissonance is beyond debate.

Regular people without any or few advantages should just get creative and pull their bootstrings. Bear Stearns(actually JP Morgan) gets 30 billion of taxpayer money. The guys at the top(the huge failures) walk off with their money and lots of people lose their jobs and lives are destroyed. What happened to get creative pull your bootstrings? What happened to the strong survive if they are smarter and better and that's what makes capitalism work? Socialism is OK for corporations but not for the people who are citizens. The only commons we have is large corporations. Please don't tell me. The cognitive dissonance is already twisted this far beyond recognition for me.

And now the piece de resistance, the thing that baffles me more than anything about the new radical right. ...The right, for my entire life, over half a century, has always been the ones most suspicious of government. Now they are all the way to corporate/government coverups and warrantless wire taps! Really, that is the most amazing and swiftest turnabout on longstanding fundamental issues I have ever seen. I have no idea who I am talking to anymore. Who are these people? That's why I have stated many times that these people are not Conservatives. I don't know how to approach them because they aren't anything I understand as Conservatives. I generally refer to them not as conservatives but as the radical right. I disagree with Tom Coburn on nearly every issue. Usually by a lot. He is however someone I recognize as a true conservative. There are few left(no pun intended). As a matter of fact I can only think of a couple others, Bob Barr for one. They certainly aren't among the talk show gurus.

I have lived in areas that lean left and sometimes quite a way left at various times. The area I have lived in for the last 7 or 8 years is farther to the right than most. 70 some percent range, so I understand conservatives and their issues well.
First, nobody to speak of wants to take your gun. Not unless you want to get quite specific. Let's put it this way, this right will be less abridged than most of the others.

I understand the fear of someone coming from the outside to attack us(that one might be worth some more thought my friend). I understand the feeling that we must stand strong and make sure nobody gets the idea they can get away with it. If we both understand those concerns why can't we spend some time talking about that and what the best solution might be instead of personality politics?
I understand that you don't want to give your money to the government to see them steal it or waste it. I think people that are lazy and won't go out and make an effort to be a productive part of society is dead weight. I think the rich who always get theirs(see golden parachute for one of many examples) whether they excel or "earn" it or not are worse than dead weight. They are thieves. Thieves who stole money for people that are out there making an effort to earn it. The fact that the former is beaten relentlessly on the right while the latter get...excuses... is beyond my ability to reason.

There is little honest debate anymore. It is all personality politics. Politics on the most shallow of bases. There is no debating that. It's a waste of time. I'm a person who is very willing to hear other points of view. I'm a person who understands that a part of life is that I don't get everything I want, that freedom means that as many people as possible get to live their lives as close to their ideal as possible. This should be the goal. But don't try to pass off up as down and down as up. It's treated like a football game with one taking the field against the other. It's not about "winning" to me. It is about solving problems in a way that benefits the maximum number of people. If you don't think like that, debate is fruitless. We aren't even talking about the same thing.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Many good points Ron, I'll just touch on a couple. The main difference between Rev Wright's presentation, or to be more precise the part that is shown in the media again and again, and that you show of the Values Conference was Image rather than so much the words or certainly the truth. Rev Wright was shown as an angry black wearing unconventional clothing saying God damn America which is taken as GD America. He was on the attack. The singers at the Values Conference were obedient, peaceful,even submissive blacks wearing very reserved choir clothing in their presentaion of the nation's ills. And of course they were not loud. Even the black male reading from the Bible was exorting obedience not rebellion. Nevermind that the Causes for comdemnation of the people and a nation by Jesus and the prophets was much closer to what the Rev Wright was saying than the "sin" issues at the Values Conference. My other point is really a question. How many people will actually read Obama's speech regardless of their politics and Why did he select today to deliver the speech when it will in all probability be significantly overshadowed in the news by the FED action and attendant focus on very real financial concerns? BTW, one of MSN's Wall Street pundits has actually called the FED's actions giving to the rich and taking from everyone else. In other words, Class Warfare.

Larry in New Mexico

12:01 PM, March 18, 2008  
Blogger Ron said...

Larry, good points. Your comparision of the two churches was interesting. Reread it and see who you think are most likely to be sheeple. Guess which church has a God of guilt and shame. Which one has a God to lift them out of guilt and shame? People are so polarized it has become almost pandemic in our society. People think that is what we should be doing when it comes to politics.
Our society is as diverse as anywhere in the world. We can use the resources that provides a country or we can keep looking for more ways to divide ourselves.
I have no interest in personality politics, especially when there are so many things that need to get handled and post haste.

10:29 PM, March 18, 2008  
Blogger Marshall Art said...

First of all, Ron, thanks for the invite. Secondly, you are all over the road here, so I'll respond the best I can.

Regarding Obama as a Muslim.

I think initially it was a fair concern to wonder as to the leanings of this unknown quantity known as Barak Hussein Obama. That he did have Muslim exposure to an extent in his early childhood is something that isn't unusual for the son of a Muslim, but to what degree is no longer a question for most on the right. We have conceded that it was minimal at best (or worst, depending on one's POV). Far more problematic for conservatives is his socialist opinions and his evasiveness in responding to direct questions regarding his record, when he can be cornered long enough to be asked.

Regarding the choir and the song they sang, I don't much care at who's conference it was sung. I find most such emotions as overwrought and overblown descriptions of what is truly wrong with America, and I prefer to focus on and encourage what is good about America. But it the audio wasn't crystal clear, so perhaps I missed something. And BTW, those of us on the right are well aware of our own sinful natures and your "(except for them of course)" was a lame shot to be sure.

So now Obama calls himself a Christian. Well. We can look on his stance regarding abortion and homosexual marriage to understand just waht kind of a Christian he is. Add to that the blatherings of his "spiritual mentor", and it only gets worse.

Side Bar: I am well aware of the United Church of Christ, as I am a member of just such a congregation. The denomination supports many things with which I totally disagree. Why do I remain? There are many reasons, but one of great import is that each congregation is autonomous and not required to follow any decrees or directives from the national body. Also, I do speak out against the heretical positions of the UCC and also am working to see what interest there is in breaking away. Should there be no interest, I might leave or hang my hat on the more conservative leanings of most of the congregation. I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.

Obama's church, also UCC, is particularly offensive to me in that they have plenty of official positions regarding allegiance to their "home" of Africa and nothing regarding their allegiance to America. Wright has inspired a continuing attitude of victimhood amongst his faithful in his diatribes against the nation from the perspective of white oppressing blacks. This also is abhorent since as a Christian preacher, he should never be making such divisive comments as we are all God's children. He pits black against white and rich against poor. Quite detestable.

And that's the distinction between what he says about the country and what Robertson and Falwell have said about the country. The right wing dudes have spoken about what is wrong without racial overtones. They have said that we are all responsible for the deviant direction the country has taken and generally because God has been pushed aside in the pubic arena. Wright just preaches against white dudes and rich dudes. On top of that, he has given props to Farakhan and Qadafi and blames white America for all the wrongs across the globe.

Now you back him up with your exerpt from some joker of 100 years ago. What have his detractors said? It is not uncommon for some people in the service of our country to become "whistle blowers" once retired, but like Joe Wilson, not really be the hot shot they claimed to be in their "expose". Can you say "John Kerry"?

Now, to be sure, I won't say that America is blameless for some problems in the world. We've made our share of mistakes. But people like Wright don't much care about accuracy or forgiveness or realizing we can't be perfect. He'd rather just rag on us as if he is our judge. And we just aren't focussing on the profanity. He freakin' claimed AIDS is a plot to wipe out the blacks of America!!! And Obama didn't have the balls to stand up and slap him down for the stupidity of such a statement!!

It is one thing to look back like a Monday morning quarterback and say, "Yeah, we shouldn't have given arms to the mujaheddin, because they became the Taliban and look what happened," or after the hostage crisis of the Carter admin, that we shouldn't have supported Iran's enemies at that time because now Sadam is using our stuff against us. Hindsight can really piss me off if it is so superficial. You want to talk about nuance, but you'll ignore the fact that sometimes in foreign affairs one must support one jerk in order to defeat a greater jerk for the sake of our own interests. And we don't invade countries for their resources and haven't since for a couple hundred years. We will however, protect the ability to access resources. This is part of the situation in Iraq and what makes holding Iran in check so important.

Now I don't know to whom it is you refer when you speak of why "they" hate us. If you mean the Muslims you are way off base to think it has anything to do with American foreign policy. They hate us because we do not accept their religion.

Corporate welfare. I don't much care for it myself. If a company can't compete, they go out of business. That's as it should be. There may be an argument for supporting them when one considers the amount of employees that lose out when a company goes under, but to my mind, they shouldn't be working without trying to create a personal situation that can easily survive a layoff. But that's still a debatably good reason to help them out. Such exists for the individual as well in several forms. (As for BearStearns, it is my understanding that assistance given them was to prevent a run on all banks due to their trouble. It wasn't to help them recover, but to last without the downsides until they can be bought out, which JP Morgan apparently did.)

Keep things straight regarding conservative positions on government. The feds have the duty to protect our borders and to fend off our enemies. Warrantless wiretapping of foreign jerkwads is essential given the state of technology these days. We do not defend "cover ups" but defend against left-wing accusations of them that are unwarranted.

Personality politics isn't necessarily a bad thing if the personality in question is a bad choice for office. It is a dodge to bring up personality politics when the personality of the politician is questionable. We need to be sure we aren't electing a jerk, and we need to make sure the jerk the other side is supporting is exposed for the jerk he/she is.

Solutions to problems are not always debatable. There's no debate as to whether I should be allowed to carry a gun. It is my right as stated in the Constitution and the fact that some want to pretend the founders couldn't envision firearms more efficient than theirs is beyond MY ability to reason. That women should not be able to kill their unborn for reasons unrelated to the preservation of their own lives is not a debatable issue. My point is that where there is raging debate between the two sides is on points that can be proven one way or the other, but the left will far too often ignore facts in making their argument. That's when it gets nasty.

"I think the rich who always get theirs(see golden parachute for one of many examples) whether they excel or "earn" it or not are worse than dead weight."

Who are these rich guys of whom you speak and how do YOU know they don't deserve what they've gotten? Where do you get off accusing them and calling them thieves? What the rich guy makes has nothing to do with what you make or the people beneath him in whatever company he's with. We on the right don't excuse bad behavior and whether the ne'erdowell is rich or not is irrelevant.

So, in the spirit of debate, I will visit here on occasion and take you on where I deem necessary. You seem exasperated at Game's place, perhaps not so here. By the same token, you are more than welcome at my place. Snarkiness is not prohibited.

11:12 PM, March 18, 2008  
Blogger Marshall Art said...

Wow! That was long. Sorry.

11:12 PM, March 18, 2008  
Blogger Dedanna said...

IMHO he plays the race card too much. I could give a flip about his religious allegiance.

8:20 AM, March 20, 2008  
Blogger Ron said...

Marshal, thanks for your thoughts. I haven't the time to respond now but it will surely get broached as we go down the line. I do agree that some things are beyond debate. Warrantless wiretaps on any US citizen is one of them for me. Blanket warrants are another. If you guys would go back to being suspicious of the government and get them out of my private business we could be in complete harmony on that issue.

6:33 PM, March 20, 2008  
Blogger Marshall Art said...

In what way are they in your private business? I think you need to separate criminal law from national security. To get warrants for spying on drug dealers or mafioso is one thing. To encumber the feds as they seek to prevent further encroachments of our sovereignty by foreign scumbags is an entirely different matter. The criminals aren't generally interested in murdering civilians by the hundreds or thousands, but the foreign scumbags are.

But more importantly, what makes you think the feds have any interest in spying on you? No sir. Your rights have not been forsaken by the Bush admin's anti-terrorist policies.

12:51 PM, March 22, 2008  
Blogger Ron said...

I disagree marshal and if we can make sure that these efforts are limited to the foreign scumbags I a go with that. As soon as it applies to American citizens then we need a different measure. It's happening to American citizens. If it wasn't they wouldn't be admitting it, which they have.

2:27 PM, March 30, 2008  
Blogger Marshall Art said...

I'm unaware of any such admissions.

1:14 AM, April 06, 2008  

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