Monthly Archives: May 2009

They are going to take your guns away (and your baby food!)

Manufacturers of cans for beverages and foods and some of their biggest customers, including Coca-Cola, are trying to devise a public relations and lobbying strategy to block government bans of a controversial chemical used in the linings of metal cans and lids.

…Industry representatives weighed a range of ideas, including “using fear tactics [e.g. “Do you want to have access to baby food anymore?” as well as giving control back to consumers (e.g. you have a choice between the more expensive product that is frozen or fresh or foods packaged in cans) as ways to dissuade people from choosing BPA-free packaging,” the notes said

get disgusted here

US and Israel

For those who haven’t been following the issue…the Obama and Netanyahu administrations are increasingly at odds.  That was predictable and predicted.
The key issue is settlements, not Iran, at least not yet

Update: A short but good (and promising) description of the present situation from  Matt Yglesias

From our “some things never change and we appreciate why” file

Former President George W. Bush will make a stop in Michiana on Thursday. He is scheduled to speak to the Economic Club in Benton Harbor this evening. Mister Bush will answer questions that have been submitted.

think progress

Just the sort of intellect one wants as President.

So, just who is slipping over the border to get all that good healthcare availble elsewhere?

Everyone knows that lots of Canadians come to America in search of medical care. But what everyone knows is wrong: a careful study concluded,

The numbers of true medical refugees—Canadians coming south with their own money to purchase U.S. health care—appear to be handfuls rather than hordes.

On the other hand:

Driven by rising health care costs at home, nearly 1 million Californians cross the border each year to seek medical care in Mexico, according a new paper by UCLA researchers and colleagues published today in the journal Medical Care.

Special bonus quote for the day – “Precisely!” category

Douglas Holtz-Eakin wants a conservative version of the Center for American Progress. But as Matt Yglesias points out, there are plenty of think tanks on the right, funded at levels beyond the left’s wildest dreams. If CAP is running rings around right-wing think tanks intellectually — which it is — it’s not due to a lack of institutions or funding.

So what’s the right’s problem? That’s easy: conservative think tanks are short of new ideas because new ideas were the last thing the billionaire funders of those institutions wanted. What they wanted, and still want, is validation of their prejudices…

Paul Krugman (read the whole blog post, particularly the quote from David Broder)

Quote of the day – “only the disadvantaged are priviledge these days and that just isn’t fair” category

if conservatives continue to be unable to restrain themselves from loud whining about how society unfairly tilts the odds in favor of Puerto Rican girls growing up in housing projects in the Bronx, they’ll presumably continue their current trajectory of alienating Hispanic voters.

Matt Yglesias

Republican Party – victims dispossessed (but they know who dispossessed them)

From Rush Limbaugh’s radio show yesterday…

“…if ever a civil rights movement was needed in America, it is for the Republican Party… If ever we needed to start marching for freedom and constitutional rights, it’s for the Republican Party. The Republican Party is today’s oppressed minority.”   see here

This notion or sense of victimization has been an abiding undercurrent in the new conservative movement.   For example, Christianity is commonly held to be under dire threat even while constituting 75% of the American population (atheists at four tenths of one percent).  Or, if we were attending to the last several days’ complaints from the modern right re Sotomayer’s nomination to the SC, one gets the clear notion that the Court and American society just has no place for white men of European descent.  The end, clearly, is nigh.

This isn’t new in American culture.  But Limbaugh and others in the modern conservative movement have merely tuned it to a high pitch.  From Richard Hofstadter’s famous essay, The Parnaoid Style in American Politics…

The paranoid spokesman sees the fate of conspiracy in apocalyptic terms—he traffics in the birth and death of whole worlds, whole political orders, whole systems of human values. He is always manning the barricades of civilization. He constantly lives at a turning point. Like religious millenialists he expresses the anxiety of those who are living through the last days and he is sometimes disposed to set a date fort the apocalypse. (“Time is running out,” said Welch in 1951. “Evidence is piling up on many sides and from many sources that October 1952 is the fatal month when Stalin will attack.”)
As a member of the avant-garde who is capable of perceiving the conspiracy before it is fully obvious to an as yet unaroused public, the paranoid is a militant leader. He does not see social conflict as something to be mediated and compromised, in the manner of the working politician. Since what is at stake is always a conflict between absolute good and absolute evil, what is necessary is not compromise but the will to fight things out to a finish. Since the enemy is thought of as being totally evil and totally unappeasable, he must be totally eliminated—if not from the world, at least from the theatre of operations to which the paranoid directs his attention. This demand for total triumph leads to the formulation of hopelessly unrealistic goals, and since these goals are not even remotely attainable, failure constantly heightens the paranoid’s sense of frustration. Even partial success leaves him with the same feeling of powerlessness with which he began, and this in turn only strengthens his awareness of the vast and terrifying quality of the enemy he opposes.
The enemy is clearly delineated: he is a perfect model of malice, a kind of amoral superman—sinister, ubiquitous, powerful, cruel, sensual, luxury-loving. Unlike the rest of us, the enemy is not caught in the toils of the vast mechanism of history, himself a victim of his past, his desires, his limitations. He wills, indeed he manufactures, the mechanism of history, or tries to deflect the normal course of history in an evil way. He makes crises, starts runs on banks, causes depressions, manufactures disasters, and then enjoys and profits from the misery he has produced. The paranoid’s interpretation of history is distinctly personal: decisive events are not taken as part of the stream of history, but as the consequences of someone’s will. Very often the enemy is held to possess some especially effective source of power: he controls the press; he has unlimited funds; he has a new secret for influencing the mind (brainwashing); he has a special technique for seduction (the Catholic confessional).
It is hard to resist the conclusion that this enemy is on many counts the projection of the self; both the ideal and the unacceptable aspects of the self are attributed to him. The enemy may be the cosmopolitan intellectual, but the paranoid will outdo him in the apparatus of scholarship, even of pedantry. Secret organizations set up to combat secret organizations give the same flattery. The Ku Klux Klan imitated Catholicism to the point of donning priestly vestments, developing an elaborate ritual and an equally elaborate hierarchy. The John Birch Society emulates Communist cells and quasi-secret operation through “front” groups, and preaches a ruthless prosecution of the ideological war along lines very similar to those it finds in the Communist enemy.* Spokesmen of the various fundamentalist anti-Communist “crusades” openly express their admiration for the dedication and discipline the Communist cause calls forth.
On the other hand, the sexual freedom often attributed to the enemy, his lack of moral inhibition, his possession of especially effective techniques for fulfilling his desires, give exponents of the paranoid style an opportunity to project and express unacknowledgeable aspects of their own psychological concerns. Catholics and Mormons—later, Negroes and Jews—have lent themselves to a preoccupation with illicit sex. Very often the fantasies of true believers reveal strong sadomasochistic outlets, vividly expressed, for example, in the delight of anti-Masons with the cruelty of Masonic punishments.