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Déjà Vu. It's all over, again.

vastleft's picture

In 2004, Ron Suskind related a conversation with an unnamed Bush aide, which has come to symbolize the trip down the rabbithole that is the Bush presidency.

The aide said that guys like me were "in what we call the reality-based community," which he defined as people who "believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality." I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. "That's not the way the world really works anymore," he continued. "We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality -- judiciously, as you will -- we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors ... and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.''

Substitute "movement" for "empire," and is it just me that thinks this is exactly what the Obama Fan Base is telling us seven days a week?

Oh, well.

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Submitted by lambert on

Terrible pain will do it, of course. Then again, perhaps not. I wonder what shocks Our Betters have planned for us under the aegis of Unity?

[x] Any (D) in the general. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

nezua limón xolagrafik-jonez's picture
Submitted by nezua limón xol... on

i dont understand why all of you have such passion against obama and clinton and yet wont consider a third party. it just seems odd. surely you cannot vote for obama with all you feel and know about him?

i don't appreciate a few things about him as well. such as his knocking the "division" of the late 60s and early 70s. bullshit i say. i have great love for the radicals of that era. and i personally would rather knock the Right off their criminal asses than make peace with them. so i'm not part of your OFB or whatever. but i know that if i felt as strongly against him as ustedes seem to...i could never put a check in that box on voting day. i'd feel an utter capitulator and hypocrite.

how will you reconcile doing so?
___________________________
.delusions of un mundo mejor.

nezua limón xolagrafik-jonez's picture
Submitted by nezua limón xol... on

i may be wrong about clinton, about your feelings on her candidacy, cannot remember offhand, the last post on her. something about insurance i think? i'll have to scan back.
___________________________
.delusions of un mundo mejor.

Anna Granfors's picture
Submitted by Anna Granfors on

...and you've got a really good point, here...I think it boils down to one word, "habit". this is what we've always done. somehow, the candidate has always been not what we want, but better than the alternative.

I would *wholly* consider a third party (and a fourth and fifth) if there were any real possibility of it succeeding. but I can't justify voting my conscience to spite my face.

(and, as always, I'm praying for a transformative event of some kind that results in a miracle--Gore, Edwards--but I know better than to pray, unfortunately.)

nope. go, Obama. yay. :(

Submitted by lambert on

We aren't saying that Bush == Obama, at all. What we are saying is that many of Obama's rhetorical stances and tropes are eerily similar to those developed and used by the Conservative Movement -- all poison pills for progressive policies, I might add, as indeed they were funded and designed to be.

And we're the subject matter experts in this -- we've been systematically dismantling them for years, and with some measure of success (especially considering zero funding). If we say Obama's sending a right wing dog whistle, it's because we're intimately familiar with them. It's like reading the mind of your ex from a gesture or a look, even though the relationship was horrible and ended very badly.

That said, to me a third party means more Republican rule. There's no time to create one, and look at Nader. But even with all Hilbama's faults, they're not sociopaths. So it's not all that hard to vote D in the general.

[x] Any (D) in the general. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

Pragmatics (which is really what the body of Anna's comment says, anyway). An ugly word, but a necessary one in the face of the Godwin-tempting authoritarian, sociopathic Republican Party of today.

Job #1 is getting the Repubs out of office.

Job #2 is more and better Democrats or feasible independents. Either one is fine by me, and the latter opens expansive possibilities that are devoutly to be wished for -- if it can be done without falling down on Job #1.

Absolutely sad, and absolutely true, is that an independent is not going to stop Bush's Third Term from coming to fruition. Quite the contrary, an independent just may have siphoned enough votes away from Gore to sway the 2000 election. A tired subject, but also a true one, at least extremely arguably so. But if anyone wants to tread much further down that memory lane, they'll have to do it without me.

In the short term, I wish a fraction of the energy that went into third-party vanity candidates (or to be less dismissive, votes invested today to support future viability of independent candidacies) went to the much maligned "more and better Democrats agenda." We actually have proven that we can knock Bush Dogs off the Democratic ballot. Yet there is precious little energy invested in this initiative, save for the efforts of the Blue America folks, to whom I have made a few targeted donations.

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

http://www.correntewire.com/illinoise

We first need to understand that Americans are a religious people... substantially more people believe in angels than do those who believe in evolution.

Being Teh Awesum, he doesn't say they're right to believe it, but he doesn't say "Holy shit, we've got an education crisis that's going to make us a laughing stock and ruin our competitiveness," either.

Baby Jesus' favorite instrument is the dogwhistle, and Obama is trying to out-Huckabee Huckabee.

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

As Lambert has well articulated here many times -- and I expect you'll agree with this -- one of our key functions is to make Democrats feel the heat when they reject or disempower true progressives and, more importantly, those who suffer most at the hand of the Conservative Movement.

John McCain doesn't give a rat's ass what some liberal blogger says, but if enough progressives call bullshit on Obama's support for rightwing memes, we might be able to straighten him out.

The GOP base is masterful at keeping its elected representatives in line. We're trying to play a comparable role in the left-spectrum version, but focused on sound, humane policies as opposed to hate-based, faith-based, and corruption-based policies.

I'll probably never love Obama (though I invite him to surprise me), but I'll gladly tout him as a damn sight better than any Repub. And, BTW, most of our criticism of him won't hurt him with those centrist and disaffected Repubs he's courting, since we're saying he's going too far in that direction. Not exactly bad news from their perspective.

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

If one channels one's dissatisfaction with Hillbama into indie voting or non-voting in the general, that helps no one but McCain, Romney, or whatever authentic patriotic hero the Repubs serve up.

nezua limón xolagrafik-jonez's picture
Submitted by nezua limón xol... on

i do agree with holding their feet to the fire. i feel no hesitancy to do so myself. and i've gone off on them all at various times. i guess it just feels as if you guys are on a crusade lately. it feels as if its become a bit...lopsided? just my impression. i'm sure you know more about the horserace dynamics than me. so do you honestly feel that all the criticism will affect obama's stance for the positive? if so, than i'm for all of it, every last word and snipe and so on. i guess i'm undecided as to whether so much of it does good or harm. but i respect your reasoning.

i'm certainly not as happy with him as i'd like to be either. part of the polarity in US politics it seems is sort of like the polarity in grateful dead listeners. if you like "box of rain" you are afraid to say so, because you will soon be expected to dance naked with rose petals tied around your neck. or something. meaning nuance is lost. i dont appreciate some of what he says. and some of it really worries me. but then i do recognize a real leader when i see one. and he is one. and that brings...unknowns. meaning, he can move things. i have no doubt of that. what will he move? i guess thats the scary unknown. but there is no other leader running like him today. and that inspires me just in its newness.

i also never fail to figure in that he has to do a bit of consoling and appealing to peoples we dont want him to. there is no WAY a black man could even get as far as he could without it. and the GOP would stomp all over him in a heartbeat if he were to not do so. so as a survivor and a strategist, i forgive him some of it. again, tho. there are the scary unknowns.

what is not unknown is his vote on the iraq war. and what is not unknown is his ability to rouse unprecedented numbers.

lambert, i appreciate you stating your bonafides, but its not really needed with me. i mean i agree with so many of the things you point out, i'm not trying to throw your acumen into doubt. but again, it doesnt feel lately like you all are putting heat on obama so much as maintaining an active anti-obama stance. but that could be subjective on my part. i'm willing to admit it may well be.

finally i really heartily disagree with any and all who say they cannot vote their conscience because of a b or c. that's not how voting your conscience works. that's not how principle works. principle works because it is the idea, the idea with no fear, the knowledge that i am standing for what i feel is Right. it has nothing to do with the pragmatic fears and cautions that leap up in the shadow of principle. so we dont have to vote our conscience, but let us not justify it by offering possible bad scenarios if we do. to me thats like saying "if that mob attacks you, i'll stand in front of you, or i would, but that might cost me my teeth."
___________________________
.delusions of un mundo mejor.

Submitted by lambert on

See discussion with farmer on Shystee's post. Acumen is no guarantee of correctness. You write:

but again, it doesnt feel lately like you all are putting heat on obama so much as maintaining an active anti-obama stance.

I'm not sure what difference you have in mind, here?

Absent money, the only way to affect a politician is pain. So I'm trying to inflict it--or to give others the tools to inflict it.

As a subsidiary goal, "name it and claim it." We've been right about a lot of things before, with the exception of not being paranoid enough about how willing our elites are to betray us. Some things are important to get down on the record while they are happening.

[x] Any (D) in the general. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

I find it curious that you feel it's OK that Obama doesn't follow his conscience, because as a black man he couldn't get elected if he played it straight, but that I as a voter am wrong if I don't vote for my ideal candidate, instead choosing the lesser-of-evils that I think can get elected. Maybe that's not what you're saying, but that's what I read it to mean.

If the (seriously electable) choice comes down to two evils or an evil and a not-so-good, or whatever, I will show up and vote for less evil. I'm funny that way.

shystee's picture
Submitted by shystee on

So I could vote for Edwards in the CA primary. I might switch back later...

Believe me, Nez, I have gone round for round about third parties and voting your conscience over the course of the many years of discussing things on this blog.

I hate the "shit sandwich" rationale: a half shit sandwich (D) is better than a whole one (R), but what if I don't want to eat shit at all? The democratic process is supposed to be about picking the candidate that represents your concerns and values. Unfortunately, as usual, the candidates that have any shot at winning are all... full of it.

This is the solution I have come up with.

Submitted by lambert on

I should refer to this more often Shystee because as usual it's fucking brilliant. Maybe you could update it for the current situation....

I'm not sure the "right" pincer is "policy focus." More of a discourse focus. Trying to combat the newspeak so that more reasonable, less insane policies can even be thought about, let alone discussed.

[x] Any (D) in the general. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

nezua limón xolagrafik-jonez's picture
Submitted by nezua limón xol... on

i'm not sure where this discussion on farmer is, or why i should see it...i'm okay with this current conversation. feel free to quote or link if it helps you make your points here, i'm cool with that.

by saying i dont question your acumen, i was both being honest as well as trying to defuse the confrontational nature that seems to spring up here when anyone speaks positively of obama or seems to not go along with the thread that prevails at corrente lately (and maybe that is part of the "difference" i have in mind, to answer your first question. it sometimes doesnt feel like a conversation where the unstated goal is improving his stance and run as you and VL state is the agenda, but rather one meant to continually deflate and undercut. however, as this distinction is—as i already said—subjective, i won't argue this part.) what i meant was, there is no need to list your bonafides with me. after all, i wasn't attacking them! to remind you, i was only questioning how you would reconcile voting for him after such obvious displeasure with his run and his stances. which i think you answered just fine.

on the final note you make, i know that some of the blogosphere is caught up in "being right" or establishing a record wherein they were right X amount of times. i do not share this approach. tho i do understand it, i think. it is simply part of a philosophy i do not use to motivate myself. stating that particular difference, tho, i think is off the track and would take more time than i have at the moment.

thanks for the time and the thoughtful comments.
___________________________
.delusions of un mundo mejor.

nezua limón xolagrafik-jonez's picture
Submitted by nezua limón xol... on

"I find it curious that you feel it’s OK that Obama doesn’t follow his conscience, because as a black man he couldn’t get elected if he played it straight, but that I as a voter am wrong if I don’t vote for my ideal candidate, instead choosing the lesser-of-evils that I think can get elected. Maybe that’s not what you’re saying, but that’s what I read it to mean."

well, i think we may be at the point (and i like to call it as early as possible as i am pretty busy) where we simply disagree and have decided not to agree. i dont wanna wave dicks or play logic or anything. i do not see it the same, a black man running for president and you voting third party or not. and i think you are intelligent enough to know they are not the same. but even if you do, i don't mind. i'm okay with us simply seeing this differently. and i really dont want to fight with you over related topics, i only had one basic question which i asked and feel was answered. thank you.

and i'm totally fine with you considering all scenarios. and even i'm not...who cares? :)

___________________________
.delusions of un mundo mejor.

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

I don't intend it as dick swinging or anything like that. It was an earnest question about whether a voter needs to be held to a higher and less-pragmatic standard than the candidates are. Seems to me the candidates are at much more whim to exercise flexibility (and perhaps get away with it), than we are, other than possibly pleasing ourselves or sacrificing today for tomorrow with votes for what are, sorry to say, unelectable candidates.

If you're satisfied with the discussion stopping here (or back at your last comment), I'll certainly respect that, knowing all too well about borrowed time.

Submitted by lambert on

I ask in all honesty. (Here's the link to farmer's comment, before I forget. You're kinda in the middle of one of the sprawling conversations that we get into, so in my head it's all the same.)

I'm asking the question, Nez, because I'm seeing some trigger words in your comment like "confrontational nature" and "deflate and undercut"--as well as your reassurance that you're not "attacking."

Bad ideas deserve to die, and so they should be attacked. Xenophon gave me an old-fashioned beating on racism back on the Michael Vick's thread and he was 100% right to do so. I learned a lot, and if that was the way to get my attention, then so be it. It wasn't personal. (Now, if there's no engagement on the plane of ideas, things may get personal. Tit for tat is considered an optimal strategy in many situations, and mockery and derision are thoroughly appropriate tools of discourse in a non-aristocratic society like we once thought ours was.

What I'm getting around to getting at, is that for many in, sigh, the younger generation, argument is viewed as personal, that a person can't have a wrong idea without being somehow invalidated. (This connects directly, for me, to the idea that being "divisive" is always wrong, since the clash of ideas can certainly be viewed as divisive.) That attitude, if it is real, I find almost impossible to comprehend, since I don't see how it's possible to apply critical thinking in a group setting if argument is always personal. Is the flip side of doing so much (I feel) to damp down racism and sexism the idea that disagreement must also be damped down?

Am I onto something here, or am I an outlier, or, er, wrong?

NOTE Remind me to figure out how to get the source code for your vids into the sidebar so people can copy and paste it. It's on my list, but I have a long list.

[x] Any (D) in the general. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

Why so much harping on Obama's foibles?

To quote Stevie Wonder, "When you believe in things you don't understand, then you suffer. Superstition ain't the way."

Obama isn't just a good politician with a decent track record and a great speaking style. He's also become a cult figure. If you spend enough time debating with what we've come to call the Obama Fan Base, you'll see what I mean.

The cultishness is insulating him from the sometimes quite worrisome implications of his statements and, perhaps one day, his actions as The Most Powerful Man in the World, as the business cards say.

I don't like cults, they scare me, because I think "playing logic" is an essential part of the game of life in a civilized society. Though art and love, for two essential examples, aren't all about logic, without logic you have drowning women until they prove they're not witches, the Reagan Revolution, and faith-based wars, and all kinds of other not really great stuff.

In any case, I truly respect your smarts, your talent, and your passion. And I do hope you'll find time to answer Lambert's question, because I am feeling a "you just don't understand" vibe, too, and I crave understanding, especially with good people who are trying to do good things.

Submitted by lambert on

This is not part of the "Are we dick swinging" thread, but just a general comment:

and i’m totally fine with you considering all scenarios. and even i’m not…who cares? :)

Well, er, I care. I understand that threads take investment of time, and if you need to call it early, then by all means do so. That said, if you walk away, you may be depriving me, and Corrente readers, of the opportunity to understand a truth that you see but I/we have not yet seen. (Assuming, arguendo, that I'm not caught up in a dick-swinging contest, and won't see the truth no matter what. As recommended by many, I play tit for tat, so I answer perceived game playing with game playing. But you're family ;-)

[x] Any (D) in the general. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

nezua limón xolagrafik-jonez's picture
Submitted by nezua limón xol... on

rest assured the respect is mutual. and it's not that i think Fight is bad! i believe in Fight.

as far as trigger words, well, lambert. do you see the way you both are speaking to me now? that is respect for the person. and i think ideas can be wholly destroyed or attacked or swatted down while maintaining utter respect and love, even, for the person who wields them. i in fact think this is more powerful than wrapping messenger and message into one ball to be creamed across the field and over the bleachers, and a higher level of power to be shown and displayed.i dont think its generational...tho i'm open to that idea. i think its just my own mode of communicating, and what i've come to feel is the best way to approach these things. tho that doesn't mean i'm Right...it may just mean we have different modes and effort needs to be made to align our message so that we both see "lightbulb" when we say the word "lightbulb."

i don't want to reel off some quick answer to the rest of what you guys are saying. i think you make good points. and i'm not sure i know offhand every nitty gritty detail of why i'm reacting the way i am, or why i feel the line of "attack" on obama is not necessarily all for the best, or what i think about each point you bring up. it bears some thinking. so if you dont mind, im going to think on it a bit.

thanks for hearing me out. be well. and lambert, codewise, i just need to know what you need. if its the embed code itself for that MLK vid, i'll email that to you now in a text file.

___________________________

.delusions of un mundo mejor.

Submitted by lambert on

I ask in all honesty. (Here's the link to farmer's comment, before I forget. You're kinda in the middle of one of the sprawling conversations that we get into, so in my head it's all the same.)

I'm asking the question, Nez, because I'm seeing some trigger words in your comment like "confrontational nature" and "deflate and undercut"--as well as your reassurance that you're not "attacking."

Bad ideas deserve to die, and so they should be attacked. Xenophon gave me an old-fashioned beating on racism back on the Michael Vick's thread and he was 100% right to do so. I learned a lot, and if that was the way to get my attention, then so be it. It wasn't personal. (Now, if there's no engagement on the plane of ideas, things may get personal. Tit for tat is considered an optimal strategy in many situations, and mockery and derision are thoroughly appropriate tools of discourse in a non-aristocratic society like we once thought ours was.

What I'm getting around to getting at, is that for many in, sigh, the younger generation, argument is viewed as personal, that a person can't have a wrong idea without being somehow invalidated. (This connects directly, for me, to the idea that being "divisive" is always wrong, since the clash of ideas can certainly be viewed as divisive.) That attitude, if it is real, I find almost impossible to comprehend, since I don't see how it's possible to apply critical thinking in a group setting if argument is always personal. Is the flip side of doing so much (I feel) to damp down racism and sexism the idea that disagreement must also be damped down?

Am I onto something here, or am I an outlier, or, er, wrong?

NOTE Remind me to figure out how to get the source code for your vids into the sidebar so people can copy and paste it. It's on my list, but I have a long list.

[x] Any (D) in the general. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

Submitted by lambert on

... are important. So please give us your thoughts.

I got your mail and answered it. I think I may have been making the problem harder for myself than I thought...

[x] Any (D) in the general. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

Xenophon's picture
Submitted by Xenophon on

"i dont understand why all of you have such passion against obama and clinton and yet wont consider a third party. it just seems odd."

THis is a drive by posting but, the Empire thing.

Yeah it's true. (The myth of the rational man was destroyed with behavioral economics. We just don't say sheeple. How about happiness machines?)

We have no vote.

The parties are colluding.

They are agenda setting and moving us to acceptance of predetermined plans.

I'll be back

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

... this comment sticks out to me: "do you see the way you both are speaking to me now?"

Which makes me wonder, did you feel we weren't speaking to you respectfully before?

I'm inclined to think you were simply too busy to roll up your sleeves and wrestle out the issues with us. But if you felt there was some slight, I'd surely like to know what it was, because it was not intended.

Xenophon's picture
Submitted by Xenophon on

First! These comments are in no way a refernce to nez or any of ya'll. Respect.

As i try my best to get off line, I have to put a pin in this one. Lambert is right. The pedagogical structures changed in the mid 1980. Right around that time everybody got to play and everybody got a trophy. They didn't want to damage self esteem. I'm the last class to play on a team where you would get kicked off if you couldn;t hold your spot. I n swimming a freshman could sit down a senior, the captain even, you just had to be the fastest. And if you weren't fast enough you didn't even make the team. I went back to my HS team a couple of years ago and half the "team" could barely swim. They were on the team because it was good for their "sense of self."

Lambert, if you missed that ... go take a look again at children's programming. Barney, Teletubies, the death and rebirth of CTW (Children's Television Workshop). Look at the curricular changes from learning for content and learning to pass the test.

It will reshape your analysis. Seriously. Education policy is great place to watch the intersection of powers in terms of meme transmission. How do you think creationism got to debate with science?

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

(And this is directed to the important issue you introduced, not your keenness in bringing it up).

Though I understand that perceptions are highly variable, facts -- if they are available, and truly factual -- are irreducible. There may be important facts we don't know, which should change our perceptions when revealed to us. And that is very much what concerns me about the cult around Obama. New facts are, to quote a great man, stupid things to them. New facts are completely incapable of changing anything, unless it's proving Obama to be even more awesome. There is a word for that mindset and that word is "truthiness."

Does the post-CTW generation agree with me on the irreducibility of facts or not? If not, then mellow and not sensible becomes the new aspiration, yes?

Call me old school (I am), but I see it like McClatchy's John Walcott does (though I'm not invested, as he is, in defending newspapers as the main arbiters of truth), and he does so in the context of the Suskind quote:

Relying on The Times, or McClatchy or any other news sources, for the truth is infinitely preferable to the pernicious notion that there is no such thing as truth, that truth is relative, or that, as some journalists seem to believe, it can be found midway between two opposing arguments.

Halfway between say, slavery and abolition, or between segregation and civil rights, or communism and democracy. If you quote Dietrich Bonhoeffer or Winston Churchill, in other words, you must give equal time and credence to Hitler and Joseph Goebbels.

That idea that truth is a social construct first appeared in academia, as a corruption of post-modernism, but now it's taken root in our culture without our really realizing it or understanding its implications.

What began with liberal academics arguing that the belief of some Southwestern Indians that humans are descended from a subterranean world of supernatural spirits is, as one archaeologist put it, "just as valid as archaeology", has now devolved into the argument that global warming is a liberal invention.

As NYU philosophy professor Paul Boghossian puts it in a wonderful little book, "Fear of Knowledge":

" . . . the idea that there are many equally valid ways of knowing the world, with science being just one of them, has taken very deep root."

All knowledge, in other words, Boghossian explains, depends on its social, political, religious or other context, an idea that evolved, if you will, from Kant, Hume, Nietzsche, Hegel and William James.

Although this kind of thinking, either relativism or constructivism, in the language of philosophy, started on the left, conservatives feel empowered by it, too, and some of them have embraced it with a vengeance, on issues ranging from global warming and evolution to the war in Iraq, which until very recently they insisted was going well and didn't appear to be only because liberal, anti-American journalists weren't reporting all the good news that they just knew was out there somewhere in Diyala province.

"Journalists live in the reality-based world," a White House official said to Ron Suskind, writing for The New York Times Magazine back in the headier days of 2004. "The world doesn't really work that way any more. We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality."

I respectfully disagree.

The Church was wrong, and Copernicus and Galileo were right.

The Earth is not flat, and men did land on the Moon.

There is not one truth for Fox News and another for The Nation.

Kenneth Lay and Jeffrey Skilling were wrong, no matter how devoutly they may have believed their own propaganda.

President Bush was wrong to think that it would be a simple matter to make Iraq the mother of all Mideast democracy.

Or, as Georges Clemenceau said when he was asked what he thought historians might say about the First World War: "They will not say that Belgium invaded Germany."

I'm not talking here about matters of taste or of partisan politics or, heaven help us, of faith: Whether Monet or Manet was a better painter; or whether Jesus was the Messiah, a prophet or a fraud. Those are personal matters: beliefs, opinions and preferences of which we, and hopefully our Iraqi friends, must simply learn to be more tolerant.

But as Harry G. Frankfurt, an emeritus professor of philosophy at Princeton, puts it in his marvelous little book, "On Truth" (the sequel, I tell you truly, to his first classic, "On Bullshit"):

"It seems ever more clear to me that higher levels of civilization must depend even more heavily on a conscientious respect for the importance of honesty and clarity in reporting the facts, and on a stubborn concern for accuracy in determining what the facts are."

There you have it. That is why I do what I do.

Submitted by lambert on

There is such a thing as reality.

OTOH, I worked with an old psychotherapist once who would always become slightly more alert when someone would say, oh, "That's the reality of the situation." Because, so many times, operationally that means that the situation merely seems to conform to our deepest and most secretly cherished illusions....

("You call that a black swan?")

Which would be why the clash of ideas has survival value....

[x] Any (D) in the general. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

candidate or a Ron Paul 3rd-party run, both of which will suck GOP votes away from them.

I wish the media would grow the f*ck up already--we've never had such inane coverage--i thought Reagan's elections and 2000 were bad, but this is horrendous.

It's clear to me that the media (even when treated badly by Obama like now) will not get real with him until it's too late (prob not til the summer?), and they'll never treat Clinton fairly at all, and they'll keep on marginalizing and ignoring Edwards.

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

Where else exactly would be better? The primary process is exactly where the candidates should put out what they propose to do and hear back about it from the citizenry. If you can’t speak your mind openly to friends and family, there’s something very wrong with your relationships.

Nezua, in street terms. Say I live in a tough neighborhood and some bullies moved in down the street, started pushing everybody around including the kids and the old people. So my brother and I decide to do something and since this is near Xenophon’s place we can’t call the cops because they’re more likely to beat on us than to clear out the bullies they’re shaking down for graft money; it’s up to us to deal with it. Now say we disagree about how to proceed, about tactics, and the argument gets pretty heated and ugly, enough so that the whole block hears us cussing and shouting and spraying each other with spittle while we hash it out. Sounds pretty bad, pretty disorganized, but you know what? Once we walk out the door and head on down the street to clean it up, I have his back - no matter what got said before - because otherwise the bullies win.

I’m not wild about Obama but I have no trouble criticizing him now AND backing him in the general if that’s what I need to do, because ANY Democrat is light-years better than any Republican. If all I get out of this election is four years of decent federal court appointments and decent SCOTUS replacements, I will count it as a great victory.

Attorney General John Edwards has a nice ring to it; Supreme Court Justice Edwards sounds even better. We won’t get that from any Republican; what will happen is we’ll lose Roe and further erode the rest of our liberties, for another generation or more. I’m a starving man; half a loaf is better than more moldy crumbs.

(Hey Xeno; I’m lovin’ the afghan. Damn Barney and damn the Teletubbies and especially damn Veggie Tales. Where is Captain Kangaroo when you need him?)

chicago dyke's picture
Submitted by chicago dyke on

senior fellows brawl in the lunchroom!

honestly, i have little to add.

-i don't think obama is going to be the one; ~20 not-mostly-blacks-voting-in-the-dem-primary states are going to reveal themselves next week. we'll be arguing over who is more sexist in a short time and much of the controversies of this instant will fade away like smoke in a strong wind, forgotten.

-at the same time, he's not going away. he's the democratic "populist" with "momentum" on the ticket, and no matter what the numbers actually are, HRC or by the grace of the FSM, even edwards couldn't turn him down for #2. obama has more than his image carrying him forward, he's got...something. no matter what he may be, he's going to ride the construction that he's the "right man for the right time" for a while. as a media brand, he's profitable and exciting, and that will be milked. he isn't going anywhere for a while.

-but, natch:
the argument isn't about obama, it's about "unity" and why that meme must die. obama is merely the main messenger of the "unity" meme, today. the face will change, the idea will remain pernicious.

this blog is 1) the intersection of more than several sr writer-grade people 'of color' who aren't 1000% behind obama, & several wimmin for whom the same can be said of HRC, and at the same time way the Fuque out there on the amurkin political continuum. we're bound to be outliers, wrong, fools, vanguards, and just plain silly on more than one occasion. but why would you want to read anything else? at least we're not the liberal echo chamber here. i see that disease spreading and spreading in my beloved tubes, so much that i'd almost rather be wrong and outlying, than 'right' and deeply embarrassed later.

nez made a really good point: no black man makes it this far, this fast, without...somebody helping him. even a man as "black" as obama.

nezua limón xolagrafik-jonez's picture
Submitted by nezua limón xol... on

nah, sorry, lambert. i put that poorly, you are right. what i meant was the vibe we both were all giving back and forth became a bit more considerate and thoughtful than the sort of bouncing ping ponging, reactionary...oh, no its still true that you are also right i am too busy to "roll up my sleeves" and go point by point cuz i often feel people get each other or dont almost right away and then i sometimes get a sense that i know all i need to about our disagreement, not a bad thing, just meaning, i see where we wont meet, and i'm okay with where we do and ...not playing it all out? yet i hope you read what i did say and typed out, because i meant it. it is also true that i just dont feel hashing it out forever here does much of a damn thing in the end! no insult to you. we both know where we stand, i got a lot out of our conversation, i'm thinking on it, moving in my own place, taking fate for what it gave me from that. and i actually had a bunch of new good thoughts. and they will play out in my life. please dont take my disengagement here now as a slight. it was good for me. i have no urge to...do more with it here. :)
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