Archive: October, 2008

The droppin’ of Gs …

My grandmother, the one who lived in a log cabin for a while, the single parent of nine, once told me to stop droppin’ my Gs because people would think I was either uneducated or talkin’ down to them. Sure enough, I’ve noticed through the years that bosses always drop their Gs when they’re rappin’ with workers on the factory floor, and politicians do likewise when they want to sound like a guy or gal you’d like to be drinkin’ a beer with. There are two candidates in the presidential race who drop their Gs. One is Sarah Palin. The other is Barack Obama. (More)

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Paul Weyrich, Grover Norquist, Newt Gingrich, Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, Karl Rove, and George W. Bush — thanks for the memories !

So many dislodged wingnuts, so little time to fete them. Can’t thank everyone who helped tear the wheels off the conservative movement and elect Barack Obama and Joe Biden, but a few of the major mechanics compel recognition.

Paul Weyrich, the uber-religionist and founder of the Heritage Foundation, for spending a lifetime trying to replace our democracy with a theocracy, for linking conservatism inescapably with homophobia, antisemitism, and sexism, and for red-baiting a docile media into becoming a fearsome adversary.

Grover Norquist, for recruiting George W. Bush and enabling him to become the Typhoid Mary of conservatisim, and for keeping up the bray for smaller government even as American families came desperately to need a bigger one.

Newt Gingrich, for kicking off the first hubcap by ostentatiously overplaying his hand, turning the soft underbelly of free market philosophy up to the sunlight, and destroying the myths that all ideas are good ideas and conservatives are more family oriented than liberals.

Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and their widemouth colleagues on right-wing radio for raising the profile of conservative dogma so high everyone could take a look for themselves and decide, “Hey, that really sounds stupid.”

Karl Rove and George W. Bush for releasing the fullness of crackpot conservative thinking, namely that if markets are free, you really don’t have to work hard or produce anything of value in order to become rich, that if there are no traffic laws everyone will voluntarily obey the speed limit, and if there are no policemen people will be less inclined to burgle and mangle one another.

Using Bush as a clueless conduit, Rove piled up the biggest budget and trade deficits in our history, transferred so much wealth to the wealthy that Gordon Gekko began to look like a philanthropist, and spread the American model of capitalism so widely that the world now stands undivided before the abyss of economic collapse.

Weyrich, Norquist, Gingrich, Limbaugh, Hannity, Rove and Bush. Names that will live in infamy for siezing control of our government and putting to work all of the greedy schemes conservatives once dared talk about only in the confines of their steam rooms and cigar bars. Those ideas failed. So miserably that the moneyed class they were intended to serve now survives at the pleasure of the government they fortuitously weren’t able to reduce to nothingness.

Conservatism and the American model of capitalism are now roadkill. Frighteningly, it remains to the imagination what will replace them.

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Alaa Al-Aswany’s new novel, Chicago, debuts at Politics and Prose this Friday night

The last time I used this space to promote a book signing at Politics and Prose bookstore, only three people showed up and I was, well, mortified. Please don’t embarrass me internationally by failing to join me this Friday night, October 24 at 7 p.m. at P&P when the courageous Egyptian novelist Alaa Al-Aswany reads from, comments on and signs his new book Chicago (Harper Collins). (Politics and Prose is located at 5015 Connecticut Avenue, NW in Washington, DC.) P&P says Al-Aswany, “Employs the same narrative structure that was so effective in The Yacoubian Building. These linked stories focus on the physicians in the Histology Department of a Chicago hospital. The heavy hand of Egyptian security threatens several of the characters — even in the United States.” (More)

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October 16, 2008

Who’ll stand up for ACORN and John Lewis?

Certainly not Barack Obama. As our tightrope-walking candidate for president, he can’t afford to do much more than he did during the final debate Wednesday night: minimize his association with ACORN and mildly castigate Congressman Lewis. But the rest of us can’t stand with our fists by our sides and watch a terrific progressive organization and the most moral man of our times get sucker-punched by a lowlife political punk like John McCain. The New York Times weighed in with an ACORN-supportive lead editorial, but so far the only public leader to speak out with any forcefulness on either of McCain’s slanderous attacks has been AFL-CIO President John Sweeney. (More)

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October 14, 2008

The end of small government as we know it

Actually, even an uninterrupted chain of conservative presidents from Carter to Bush II never really came close to changing our federal government from “big” to “small,” except in the colloquial sense, when “big” is used to describe magnanimity and generosity, as in “he’s just a big person,” or when “small” is used to connote meanness and selfishness, i.e. “my, my, my, why don’t we all just get small.” Yep, we certainly got there alright, “small,” when it comes to our government’s attitude on human rights, immigration, other countries, welfare mothers, even the middle class. But in terms of size, budget and the number of federal contractors feeding at the trough, our government actually got bigger, especially under George W. Bush. Thank goodness they failed to drown it in Grover Norquist’s fabled bathtub, otherwise we wouldn’t have been big enough to prevent a bodacious worldwide Depression. Maybe now we can admit that a robust federal government is needed for more than just making war. And maybe, just maybe we can discard all that old claptrap about “big government,” and replace it with a sensible expression like, “government that is big enough.” (More)

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October 1, 2008

Deregulation Is Dead

 Over the past forty years, U.S. presidents from Carter to Reagan to Bush and Clinton and Bush have unleashed and doggedly whipped the five horsemen of the free market apocalypse — deregulation, privatization, detaxation, globalization and deunionization. Today, those riders lie writhing in the dust, dumped there by the steeds of crackpot conservatism, corporate thugism, ignorance, hubris, and greed they rode. One of them is deader than a door nail. The era of deregulation is over. (More)

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