I figure I should just put up a banner ad urging all DI readers to go read Glenn Greenwald every day. He is that good at identifying important issues of the day and making sense of them. Today he pointed out the hypocrisy of the conservatives who are urging that we need to cut the debt, but who are wiling to run the economy into the ground with endless warmongering.
[I]t’s vital that we continue to splurge for military spending that is almost equal to what the entire rest of the world spends combined, and that we continue to spend 6 times more than the second-largest military spender (China). Why is that? Because we may need to fight our fourth, fifth and sixth wars (not counting the covert ones) and must remain ready to start those wars at a moment’s notice. There are many things one can say about someone plagued by that warmongering mentality; that they are serious opponents of borrowed spending and debt financing is most assuredly not one of them.
Representative Anthony Weiner nails it with this short statement:
Today was a local election day. We have a new polling place in our ward. Instead of the school to which we walked for years, it is now in a nearby church basement. It seems a good use of the space on an off day.
But as I deposited my ballot, I had a creepy feeling. Suddenly Jesus was in my personal space, uninvited. How well does this mesh with the separation of church and state?
Here’s a cool idea: Write the Fourth Amendment on your chest in a marker, and then refuse electronic scanning at an airport, henceforth removing your shirt and thus displaying the Fourth Amendment.
Actually, it’s not a cool idea, Aaron Tobey used this technique of self-expression, and here’s what the TSA did, as described at Lowering the Bar:
they cuffed him, interrogated him, had the airport police charge him with “disorderly conduct” (favorite of official thugs everywhere), and then contacted the cops at his university and suggested that they report Tobey to the Dean of Students.
There are a few news media figure who are taking principled stands regarding the the horrific way that the United States government is treating Bradley Manning, who has not been convicted of any crime. Glen Greenwald is one of the few with scruples. Other principled voices can be read at Alternet, including Lynn Parramore, who (rightfully) suggests that we’d be outraged if we viewed a fictitious movie of someone being treated as badly as Manning, but since it’s happening in real life we don’t give a shit. Jane Hamsher of Firedoglake has admirably covered the story. Andrew Sullivan has weighed in. Barack Obama has fully earned the title of America’s Second Modern Torture President. This is not hyperbole. Bradley Manning is being tortured by the United States. We are enthusiastically treating Manning the way we treated the (mostly innocent) prisoners at Gitmo. We are doing to Manning what we criticize when other countries do it.
Dylan Ratigan of MSNBC has also presented the story with energy. The torture is bad enough, but the silence by mainstream Democrats is infuriating. We’re running a great country, aren’t we? No need to speak out about Wall Street corruption, massive problems with health care “reform,” the right to assassinate U.S. citizens, government spying on its own citizens, and not blatant torture.
Daily Show host John Stewart eviscerates those asking teachers and other unions to make sacrifices in the name of cutting the budget deficit, especially when those same people (literally!) did not ask the same from Wall Street bankers following the trillions of dollars of bailouts and easy money:
Incidentally, much of the rhetoric is centered around asking the unions to “contribute more” towards their benefits package, but how does one contribute more than 100%?
I recently spotted this excerpt in Wikipedia (I left the footnote references so you can backtrack):
A heavy smoker, Rand underwent surgery for lung cancer in 1974. Although she had long opposed government assistance programs, she eventually accepted Social Security and Medicare payments for herself, under the name of “Ann O’Connor”, and her husband as well. A July 1998 interview with Ewa Joan Pryor, a New York state social worker, conducted in 1998 by the Ayn Rand Institute, revealed that Pryor assisted the two with filing. Federal records obtained through a Freedom of Information act request confirmed that between December 1974 and her death in March 1982, Rand collected a total of $11,002 in monthly Social Security payments. O’Connor received $2,943 between December 1974 and his death in November 1979.
Rand, is often cited today by conservatives touting extremely limited federal government, including many Tea Party advocates who are currently collecting social security payments and Medicare benefits. Here is the Wikipedia opening paragraph on Rand:
Rand’s political views, reflected in both her fiction and her theoretical work, emphasize individual rights (including property rights) and laissez-faire capitalism, enforced by a constitutionally limited government. She was a fierce opponent of all forms of collectivism and statism,