Hello! Here is a roundup of some of the most interesting items from a very few of my favorite sites. I hope you find them interesting!
By George Lakoff
George Lakoff is an American cognitive linguist and professor of linguistics at the University of California, Berkeley. He has written extensively of how Progressives need to frame the issues, and the ways in which the Right is so effective at doing so. I think he is on to something. He offers concrete suggestions—for example, instead of talking about “entitlements” we need to re-frame that and use the term government “services” or “necessities.”
The central issue in our political life is not being discussed. At stake is the moral basis of American democracy.
The individual issues are all too real: assaults on unions, public employees, women’s rights, immigrants, the environment, health care, voting rights, food safety, pensions, prenatal care, science, public broadcasting and on and on.
Conservatives believe in individual responsibility alone, not social responsibility. They don’t think government should help its citizens. That is, they don’t think citizens should help each other. The part of government they want to cut is not the military (we have 174 bases around the world), not government subsidies to corporations, not the aspect of government that fits their worldview. They want to cut the part that helps people. Why? Because that violates individual responsibility.
But where does that view of individual responsibility alone come from?
The way to understand the conservative moral system is to consider a strict father family.
I think the jury is still out as to the spread of protests here in the US, but I think we should do everything in our power to support them and to keep up some momentum. And that’s where I am grateful to the Egyptians for schooling us in how it’s done! But as much as I admire the uprisings in the ME, I am personally more concerned about the dire situation here in the US. I don’t want to allow myself to get caught up in overseas movements when there is do much to do here. Not is not an either/or, of course. But we do tend to be easily distractible.
Meanwhile, another protest movement aimed at protecting the poor and middle class is in the works. Cities around the country are preparing for a February 26 Day of Action, “targeting corporate tax dodgers.”
Learning from the UK
The strategy picks up on the UK Uncut campaign, begun when a group at a London pub—a firefighter, a nurse, a student, and others—came up with an idea that is part flash mob, part sit-in. In an article published in the Nation, reporter Johann Hari tells the story of the group’s frustration about government cutbacks. If Vodafone, one corporation with a huge back-tax bill, paid up, the cutbacks wouldn’t be needed. The group spread the word over social media, and held loud, impolite demonstrations. The idea quickly went viral, and flash mobs/sit-ins materialized at retail outlets across Britain, shutting many of them down.
The Dems had better get their messaging in order ASAP! And stop the disreputable meme that the US is BROKE! We are absolutely playing right into their hands.
In a rare early morning weekend vote, the House approved an aggressive plan Saturday to eliminate dozens of federal programs and offices while slashing agency budgets by as much as 40 percent, drawing out more than $60 billion in deficit savings.
Yet Boehner’s victory could prove ephemeral as he faces staunch opposition from Obama, who vowed to veto the bill, and Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.), who declared it “draconian.”
The Senate is expected to take up its version of the spending measure the first week of March, just before a March 4 deadline for when the current funding resolution expires. With Democrats pushing to keep spending at 2010 levels for the remainder of this year, the two sides begin a grueling negotiation process more than $61 billion apart.
For the first time in a long while, I disagree with Ezra—NO, we do not need to cut entitlements! Fuck you. (But some really cool graphs on where the money is spent.)
If the next step in this declension is less face time for Palin on Fox News, then we’ll have proof that pigs can fly. But a larger question remains. If the right puts its rabid Obama hatred on the down-low, what will — or can — conservatism stand for instead? The only apparent agendas are repealing “Obamacare” and slashing federal spending as long as the cuts are quarantined to the small percentage of the budget covering discretionary safety-net programs, education and Big Bird.
An opposition this adrift from reality — whether about Obama’s birth certificate, history unfolding in the Middle East or the consequences of a federal or state government shutdown — is a paper tiger. It’s a golden chance for the president to seize the moment. What we don’t know is if he sees it that way. As we’ve learned from his track record both in the 2008 campaign and in the White House, he sometimes coasts at these junctures or lapses into a pro forma bipartisanship that amounts, for all practical purposes, to inertia.
The comments on this OP-ed are really depressing.