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Democratic Capitalism: An Oxymoron?

Old Mole Variety Hour: The Well-read Red
August 4, 2008

Democratic Capitalism: an Oxymoron

Good morning, comrades.  The website  of The International Endowment for Democracy has a page of quotations which I am drawing on for this commentary.

Queer youth documentary seeking participants

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The group of fabulous folks who created Youth Out Loud! (a documentary film and teaching tool) are actively producing an updated version, Youth Out Loud II. They are looking for help in contacting youth, teachers, school administrators and staff who would like to participate with this project about queer youth experience in schools.

Please share the message below with others who might be interested in making this queer youth documentary a success.  Thank you! And a special thanks to those adding their voices to the documentary!

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Contact: Darla Marcus

We Like Our Music Innapropriate, Thank You Very Much

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Uptight parent sends her daughter to The Rock N’ Roll Camp for Girls and she’s shocked that she comes back with some decent music:

A mother who sent her 8-year-old daughter to a Portland rock music-themed camp for girls says she is shocked by what she thinks is age-inappropriate material distributed to the young attendees.

The mother, who did not want to be identified, said her daughter returned home with music that contained graphic violent imagery and lyrics that were both sexually charged and racist.

The woman said the items were part of a welcome packet for girls attending the camp and that she checked them out before her daughter could listen to the music.

What Digby said

Once again, here's Digby, doing it better than most could even hope.

Really, read it. She is one of the best bloggers around.

-A

FNB Politics

Apropos of my earlier post, here's Rick Perstein from March 2007:

... Rush Limbaugh calls the insufficiently martial Iraq Study Group “James Baker’s Fruit Salad.” To those with good memories who pay very close attention, this is a reference to the former secretary of state’s preference that the report be considered in its entirety rather than picked over like a fruit salad. But, to right-wingers who’ve forgotten that (the lion’s share, no doubt), the nickname made just as much sense. The report recommended diplomacy. Isn’t that kind of … fruity? And, in a nod to Ailes, Limbaugh has taken to calling Fox News’s chief competitor “PMSNBC.”

The only Democratic leaders who aren’t feminized, of course, are the women. With them, it’s just the opposite. Limbaugh has a phrase he uses to explain why, supposedly, Hillary Clinton is never questioned aggressively: She produces a “testicle lockbox” into which male reporters must deposit their manhood. Nancy Pelosi, in Rush-speak, is “Bella Pelosi,” a nice two-for-the-price-of-one slur: For Dittoheads nostalgic for the 1970s, it suggests the mannishness of the loudmouthed New York liberal congresswoman Bella Abzug; for the rest, the homophonology is to Bella Lugosi—the Democratic leader is Dracula.

Read the whole thing. It's well worth it.

It's the corollary of the racist code I was talking about earlier. As Perlstein points out, the Right wins elections by rendering the Left's the Center's candidates unpalatable -- whether it's by invoking his Scary Blackness or her Butch Manliness.

Why should we care about this bullshit, as you have asked many times on the radio? Why don't we talk about the business end of imperialism and the violence and injustice being wrought everywhere? Because this bullshit works, and it results in halfwits and their undead puppetmasters occupying the halls of power. And then they are free to do what they will.

Photos working again!

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Hello everyone,

We've got more updates on the way but I wanted to make sure everyone knows that the ability to post photos is working again.  You'll find a photo icon (looks like a landscape picture) in the menu of the "body" area where you type descriptions of things.  You can link to a photo that is already on the internet by pasting a URL web address of that image, or upload your own.  Thanks for your patience!

We are also now on Flickr so if you've got great photos of the station, our events, or your show, please add them to our group photo pool.

Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair

Mother Jones has the dirt on the Pentagon's abiding interest in history as a means to maintain American hegemony. Seems the Defense Department believes that studying the Macedonians, Romans, Mongols, and Napoleonic French can impart lessons as to how we can shore up our military advantage:

In the summer of 2002, the Pentagon's Office of Net Assessment (ONA) published an 85-page monograph called "Military Advantage in History". Unusual for an office that is headed by Andrew Marshall, the Pentagon's "futurist in chief," the study looks back to the past—way back. It examines four empires, or "pivotal hegemonic powers in history," to draw lessons about how the United States "should think about maintaining military advantage in the 21st century." Though unclassified, the study was held close to the vest; a stamp on the cover limits its dissemination without permission. Mother Jones obtained it only through a Freedom of Information Act request. Though the report is far from revelatory, it provides a window into a mindset that unselfconsciously envisions the United States as the successor to some of history's most powerful empires.

The study looks a little like a high school text book, devoting chapters to Alexander the Great, Imperial Rome, Genghis Khan, and Napoleonic France and citing texts by Sun Tzu, Livy, and Jared Diamond. It attempts to break down exactly how historic empires sustained their military might across continents and even centuries. The study posits that the historical examples offer "insights into what drives U.S. military advantage," as well as "where U.S. vulnerabilities may lie, and how the United States should think about maintaining its military advantage in the future.

Now, I'm all for studying history, particularly when it's motivated by a desire to avoid re-making past mistakes. But the Pentagon's analysis of past empires begs a couple of prominent questions.

Racist dog-whistles

As usual, Digby says it better than I can:

Here's a piece of McCain campaign manager Rick Davis's press release from last week:

Barack Obama is the biggest celebrity in the world, comparable to Tom Cruise, Britney Spears and Paris Hilton. As he told Congressional Democrats yesterday, he has become the "symbol" for the world's aspirations for America and that we are now at "the moment ... that the world is waiting for."

Only a celebrity of Barack Obama's magnitude could attract 200,000 fans in Berlin who gathered for the mere opportunity to be in his presence. These are not supporters or even voters, but fans fawning over The One. Only celebrities like Barack Obama go to the gym three times a day, demand "MET-RX chocolate roasted-peanut protein bars and bottles of a hard-to-find organic brew -- Black Forest Berry Honest Tea" and worry about the price of arugula.

Yet, despite all of the fans, paparazzi and media adoration, the American people still have questions: Is Barack Obama prepared to lead?

This press release is, of course, supporting a McCain attack ad depicting Obama as a massive celebrity and associating him with the likes of Britney Spears and Paris Hilton. As wingnut attacks go, though, this press release swings for the fences. Not only does it hit on many of the classic effete, liberal-elitist themes -- love from the Euros (200,000 in Berlin); fussy, non-manly eating habits (organic tea and arugula); and obsession with appearance (trips to the gym) -- it manages to throw in a couple of good-ol' racist GOP dog-whistle tactics.

Now, what do I mean by GOP racist dog-whistle tactics?

Wouldn't want to be rude

Apparently, the myriad violations of the Constitution carried out by the Bushies warrant an investigation. But criminal prosecutions? Convictions? We wouldn't want to be rude.

From Salon.com:

Aug. 4, 2008 | WASHINGTON -- On the campaign trail in April, Barack Obama was asked whether, if elected, he would prosecute Bush administration officials for establishing torture as American policy. The candidate demurred. "If crimes have been committed, they should be investigated," he said. But he quickly added, "I would not want my first term consumed by what was perceived on the part of the Republicans as a partisan witch hunt, because I think we've got too many problems to solve."

Too many problems to solve, indeed. Like torture, for instance -- and also unlawful imprisonment, warrantless spying, war profiteering, an illegal invasion, election theft, voter fraud, politicization of Cabinet departments, signing statements, the outing of covert agents, and on and on and on ...

And here's the would-be President, worried about what might be "perceived on the part of the Republicans as a partisan witch hunt." Because that would be, y'know, rude.

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