Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Obama Speech In Philadephia

I am sure that there will be all kinds of people talking about the Obama speech who saw only 2 or 3 minute snippets of it. I think everyone should see it in full context so I have tried to make it easy.

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.