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!

What Conservatives Really Want

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.

Wisconsin: The First Stop in An American Uprising?

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.

House approves dramatic cuts in federal spending in 235-189 vot

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.

Related stories:

Congress, Obama brace for showdown as government shutdown looms

In Wisconsin and Washington, budget battles reshape political landscape

Ezra Klein on What the budget says about America

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.)

The G.O.P.’s Post-Tucson Traumatic Stress Disorder

Frank Rich:

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.

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Redemption Song II
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Redemption Song II

Thanks for posting this, Cher. I read Lakoff’s article with great interest.

It is especially important, to my mind, that he’s made explicit the conservative attact against women as a class: indeed, from demanding that rape victims not be called “victims properly-so-called” until a (largely male) judiciary finds in their favor, to twisting the words of Rep. Speier (who didn’t “admit” to having an abortion, but instead offered the painful decision she and her husband had to make faced with a wanted, but health and possibly life threatening, pregnancy as an example why sweeping anti-abortion legislation is draconian) the conservatives are on the move to put women in their place. For conservatives, patriarchy rules and, to that extent, they are in no way morally superior to “them over there”; indeed, they are arguably of a piece with the Taliban and other masculinist hegemony writ large.

Bah!!

PocketWatch
Member

Cher – bringing the discussion about Lakoff up to the top…

I believe we all “spend” our votes, just like we spend dollars. We invest in one side or the other, depending on emotions, not rationality. With that in mind, we are faced with a “free market” (not-so-free it turns out, since we are ALL captured by language from one side or the other and the MSM andother sources) in which to spend our franchise.

I find it strange that liberals and progressives act mainly in an Adam Smith style of more-or-less rationally looking at issues, weighing pros and cons, and coming up with a stance. Conservatives, on the other hand, are, in the main, waiting for that “strong leader” to tell them what to do and think about any given issue… unquestionably, even if what they are told to “spend” their vote on is clearly against their own interests, and all based on emotion rather than fact or analysis.

Yet, it is conservatives and the right which claim to be oh so analytical – the adults in the room. (There is a phrase that is a classic ‘framing’, BTW)

cyrano1
Member
cyrano1

Lakoff in my view is absolutely right. Simplicity at the expense of a broader understanding: the mindset of individual responsibility versus shared responsibility in ourselves and towards our fellows. While I’d like to think we can follow his advice and re-frame the message for broader appeal to conservatives, the infrastructure for message delivery (our MSM) belongs to those we’re trying to re-train.

This morning watching CNN, two people were interviewed to answer the burning question of whether or not Wisconsin teachers should return to the classroom. Both responded that they should. Job neglect by self centered protesters all at the expense of frustrated parents! The real message that collective bargaining rights hangs in the balance was again not heard.

Our MSM really is in control of the terms used to describe the message. That we have a small corner of MSNBC is nothing short of a miracle.

DawgBone
Member

The fact that corporations own the MSM makes me pessimistic about the future of our republic.

Monopolistic control of information is the worst form of monopoly.

New Zealand is nice this time of year …

cyrano1
Member
cyrano1

It’s still so maddening isn’t it? I think we’re all suffering from outrage fatigue. New Zealand sounds nice!

Abbyrose86
Member

WHAT CONSERVATIVES REALLY WANT…

I truly believe it is simpler than all that…they want POWER and their way or the highway…anything else is unacceptable and will result in their infantile and utter resistance.

WISCONSIN, THE FIRST STEP IN AMERICAN UPRISING?

I certainly hope SO!….Americans need to wise up and wake up to the fact that they have been living in a dream world, one provided to them by Madison Ave and Hollywood, that just does NOT reflect the reality of the actual DATA and numbers! In UNITY we have strength to overcome our oppressors and YES we do have oppressors they are the corporate oligarchs, plutocrats or whatever word you like to describe them…but it all means the same thing…those who wish to CONTROL the world BY their own desire to own ALL the resources of the world in order to FOIST upon the world, THEIR version of HOW the world should be…I too, have had my fantasies of world domination….who hasn’t?

HOWEVER, mine does not include a authoritarian and draconian methods to deal with those who are less fortunate…unlike the sociopathic powers that be…I don’t see those who aren’t the same as me, as my ‘lessors’ and don’t feel the need to control my subordinates. On the contrary…I feel the need to do away with those who feel they are better than everyone else. Perhaps there was method to Robespeirre’s madness???

As far as the Ezra Klein…well we will save that for another day…

AND as far as the GOP…it’s WAY too late and I’ve had too much wine to REALLY express how I feel about any of their ideas…I might have a coronary and end up in the ICU if I truly let go on what I think about their ideas.

KB723
Guest
KB723

Abby, get some rest and maybe you can tell me more tomorrow. Best Wishes I have been trying to find the exit door for the last half hour… Maybe just stumbling around too many beers I take it…

Abbyrose86
Member

LOL…goodnight KB…see you tomorrow, I hope!

KB723
Guest
KB723

😎 Abby I hope so as Well.

PocketWatch
Member

What do conservatives really want?

Depends on the conservative, I think.

You have the “top” guys and strategists, like Karl Rove and so on, who are hired guns and mouthpieces that are truly sociopathic, IMO.

Then there are the ordinary folk who generally just want to be left alone, have no interest in anything outside thier own lives, have less than a normal amount of curiosity, and have a mindset that says that ANYONE that tries to tell them what to do is bad. No thought about all the things that others have provided them, and they do indeed, like thier safety nets. Comfortable in ignorance, easy in their self-centeredness, and smug in knowing they are always right, no matter what the argument. Facts are bothersome things.

Then there are the third type, the thinkers. They have actually thought out their stances and can logically make an argument.

Each group wants different things. The first, power and money. The second, to be left alone by everybody. The third, a simpler government that works well and is easy to understand, and that gives them their money’s worth.

Just guessin’ here…

Abbyrose86
Member

GOOD points PW…and you are right to differentiate between those who have power and those who don’t.

Dbos
Member
Dbos

yep “off with their heads”

Abbyrose86
Member

Truly there are some people who should not not be allowed power and privilege …the Koch brothers DO come to mind when I think of it…and off with their heads isn’t TOO far from what I’m thinking…as I said…maybe Robespierre had a point…OK…he took it TOO far, but…he had a point.

Abbyrose86
Member

Ok Cher…I’m officially disgusted. I don’t even know where to start!!!!

Truth
Member

Cher, in order for you to see this message, I post it here: if you have a little bit of time could you make a post with only the Huff links? We could save it in media/HP as a research tool. Chase suggested this, and I think it’s an excellent idea.

***Edit: Please for the reference list, in case you want to do it, only links that you have previously checked. I read about half of the so called progressive link and got sick . The person had no clue and defended AH for everything. It looks as if someone has to throw the mud yet. Sigh.

jkkFL
Guest

YAY! Cher- this is really one of the things I’ve been wishing for.. a brief roundup with references!!

intotheabyss
Member
intotheabyss

174 bases around the world? More like any where from 800 to 1,000 bases around the world. Tom Englehart has done a fabulous job of documenting our expanding military empire.

UpstateSC
Member
UpstateSC

Great job Cher! Glad to hear you will do this every day.

ParadisePlacebo74
Member
ParadisePlacebo74

Excellent set of articles! This is something that I would like to more of.

KillgoreTrout
Member

Well done Cher. Professor Lakoff’s analysis is great. He is pretty much right on the money. I do have one point of contention with him though, his referring to these people as, “conservatives.”
I think the people he refers to are way beyond classic conservatism. They have entered the territory of far right wing fanaticism. They seem to ignore, or misinterpret the phrase, “for the common good.”
But as I say, he is right on the money when he mentions their obsession with personal responsibility.
How often have we heard a person on the right say, “Well they just have to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps?” What they don’t realize is, first one must have boots.

Abbyrose86
Member

Good points Kilgore and I think you are definitely on to something.

2ndClassCitizenPundit
Member

Great job. Looking forward to seeing more like this.

Truth
Member

Wow, Cher! That’s great! I get just overwhelmed by the sheer amount of news, but the format you present here is excellent. Thanks!