London: The Result of Removing Hope

Read Tony Wikrent's piece about what's going on in London.  Then read the one by Brian Alexander on the MSNBC site.

I no longer know what to say about what goes on in the world.  The fact that the people of Wisconsin do not see that the rich (the Republicans) do not represent their interests, that they believe they are going to end up on the up side of the divide between the rich and everyone else that is our world... well, that just confirms the depression I've felt since the Tea Party started stealing my heritage (my 5-greats-grandfather, for whom I'm named, fought in the American Revolution).

The fact that few people in the US or in England, or in any place where there is a vibrant middle class, no longer realize that they are able to be that middle class because their cultures pay some attention to the poor... well, it seems to be forgotten.

False Equivalency and Anders Breivik

"Well, he did the same thing!"

We've all heard that.  And we are all getting rather sick of seeing it, again and again, in our political discourse.

At least, I am.

Writing in today's New York Times, Ross Douthat tries to blunt criticism of the Norway Madman's connection to American right-wing crazies.  The Times, in another story, says Breivik was "deeply influenced by a small group of American bloggers and writers who have warned for years about the threat from Islam."  Douthat seems to believe that pointing this out is the equivalent of finding similarities in things the Unabomber wrote with Al Gore's Earth in the Balance.

What Douthat conveniently forgets is that there is no sign that Theodore Kazcynski was ever influenced by Al Gore. The same is not true of Breivik and right-wing bloggers.

Balance Bull: The Threats Are Real

Last May, the Academic Freedom Committee (I am a member) of my union at the City University of New York (CUNY), drafted a resolution of support for Frances Fox Piven.  The resolution reads, in part:

Whereas, Frances Fox Piven, Distinguished Professor of Political Science and Sociology at the Graduate Center, has been the object of unrelenting scurrilous attacks by Glenn Beck, David Horowitz, and others on the political extreme right; and...

A Look at "Stochastic Terrorism: Triggering the Shooters" (from DailyKos)

Michael Collins

"The stochastic terrorist is the person who uses mass media to broadcast memes that incite unstable people to commit violent acts." G2geek, January 10, 2011

Daily Kos diarist G2geek published an essay on January 10 that deserves attention and further analysis. He argued that rash media figures activate lone wolf types through "emotional rhetoric." When the lone wolves commit an assassination, bombing, etc., the emotional rhetoric of media personalities makes them stochastic terrorists. Why? The volume and intensity of their rhetoric will inevitably launch a lone wolf terrorist on the unsuspecting target for assassination. G2geek says that the theory does not yet apply to the Giffords assassination due to limited information on the assassin. However, the author provides examples of previous political murders used to support his argument and theory.

Inside the Net

For a quarter of a century, I generally traveled rough. Not at the level of the homeless, but close enough to share, occasionally, their sleeping places, their means of getting about, their ways of finding food. Generally, when moving about, I was below the safety net—and did suffer its lack. Police were not friends to me, and even a US passport sometimes provided surprisingly little help. In Prague in 1968, I was turned away by the Marine guard at the embassy entrance. Filthy, long-haired, my papers did not redeem my appearance.

Sarah Palin Can't Dominate the Polls:

And so I am left wondering how this can help any GOP candidate?

Last week a Quinnipiac Poll showed that the more people learned about Sarah Palin, the worse her numbers got. This week? A new poll with about 2/3 of Republicans giving her favorables is the only thing propping her dismal numbers up. Outside of the ever shrinking minority of GOP voters the Dems give her about 15% favorables and the idependents? About 33%.

Given the trends of the last few election cycles, slightly growing number of Dem affiliated voters and the fast growth of indies and a continued decline in GOP membership? She could probably come close in the election for Mayor of Wassilla right now. But that is about it.

Has anyone mentioned to the GOP that the fact that they have wildly unpopular leaders - outside of their own party base for certain - and their continued advocacy for failed and incompetent policies that got us in an economic ditch may be leading to their continued decline? When it comes to the Free Market Run Amok? Voters can and will "just say no!" after what the last 30 years of Reagan/Bush trickle down voodoo just did to the American economy.

And as a side note below the fold:

California's Landmark Combat PTSD Case: Former Army Ranger Sargent Binkley Receives Treatment, Not Jail Sentence

Promoted. Originally posted 2009-01-14 14:59:25 -0500. -- GH

If you ever feel less than empowered, if you ever wonder if members of society can actively play a role in shaping how its returning veterans are treated beyond the accolades given at welcome home parades and Veterans Day potlucks, look no further than the citizens of California for one shining example of how its done.

Back in September 2007, I linked to a piece by John Corté that ran in the San Francisco Chronicle in my PTSD Combat post Combat Veterans, PTSD and Prison. Corté's article introduced us to a former West Point graduate who served in Bosnia and Honduras who was arrested and facing a possible 12-year stint in jail for holding up two pharmacies to feed his painkiller addiction, the same medication the VA prescribed -- over 15 times -- for injuries suffered while the former Army Ranger was based in Honduras.

Civilian doctors had also diagnosed PTSD.

His watershed case has gone to trial and the verdict was delivered yesterday. [ABC-San Francisco news report is now available online; KTVU also has their news report up, which includes interviews with his parents.] Full details in extended.

Lions for Lambs ... a few thoughts

bumped -- Friday night movie watching after a strange VP nomination today -- cho

"Lions for Lambs" is a haunting movie. There are three separate stories being told that all weave together.

Meryl Streep is (of course) awesome as aging journalist, Janine Roth. Roth has been invited to interview Senator Jasper Irving (Tom Cruise's character). Cruise is devilish as the charming Senator trying to sell the war.