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Ohio really did go to President Obama last night. And he really did win. And he really was born in Hawaii. And he really is legitimately President of the United States. Again. And the Bureau of Labor Statistics did not make up a fake unemployment rate last month. And the Congressional Research Service really can find no evidence that cutting taxes on rich people grows the economy. And the polls were not skewed to oversample Democrats. And Nate Silver was not making up fake projections about the election to make conservatives feel bad. Nate Silver was doing math. And climate change is real. And rape really does cause pregnancy sometimes. And evolution is a thing. And Benghazi was an attack on us, it was not a scandal by us. And nobody is taking away anyone’s guns. And taxes have not gone up. And the deficit is dropping, actually. And Saddam Hussein did not have weapons of mass destruction. And the moon landing was real. And FEMA is not building concentration camps. And UN election observers are not taking over Texas. And moderate reforms of the regulations on the insurance industry and the financial services industry in this country are not the same thing as Communism.

Listen: last night was a good night for liberals and for Democrats for very obvious reasons. But it was also, possibly, a good night for this country as a whole. Because in this country we have a two party system, in government. And the idea is supposed to be that the two sides both come up with ways to confront and fix the real problems facing our country. They both propose possible solutions to our real problems. And we debate between those possible solutions. And by the process of debate, we pick the best idea. That competition between good ideas, from both sides, about real problems in the real country should result in our country having better choices, better options, than if only one side is really working on the hard stuff.

And if the Republican Party, and the conservative movement, and the conservative media is stuck in a vacuum sealed, door locked, spin cycle of telling each other what makes them feel good, and denying the factual, lived truth of the world, then we are all deprived, as a nation, of the constructive debate between competing, feasible ideas about real problems.

- Rachel Maddow | November 7, 2012

The media didn’t hand it to Obama; after all, the Number One cable news channel, Fox, is right-wing. The Number One newspaper, the Wall Street Journal, also has a right-wing editorial slant (and is owned by the same guy who owns Fox News). The Number One talk radio show is Rush Limbaugh, and Sean Hannity is Number Two, and Glenn Beck is Number Three. When you control all the largest media outlets, it’s time to stop grousing about liberal media bias.

- Paul Begala | The Five Stages of GOP Grief | The Daily Beast

(via think4yourself)

I want conservatism to revive, I want it to be connected to reality, to what’s going on in the world, to the changing demographics of our society, the changing nature of our society—and come up with constructive proposals to help solve our problems. I want the Republican Party to make Obamacare better, rather than actually just abolish it. I want the Republican Party to accept that climate change is happening, for goodness sake.

I don’t think they’ve been open to persuasion so far, but I think the one thing they understand is losing….

[Mitt Romney] had the Republican base. He did not lose this election because he wasn’t conservative enough. He lost the moderates in the middle in places like Ohio and places like Florida where he just couldn’t afford to. I think it’s a triumph of an actual campaign against pure cynicism and lies, and I think that is a huge victory for the American people.

- Andrew Sullivan on The Colbert Report, November 6, 2012

America is different now, more so with every election cycle. Ronald Reagan won his mandate in an America in which 89 percent of the voters were white. That number is down to 72 percent and falling. Fifty thousand new Latino citizens achieve the voting age every month. America will soon belong to the men and women — white and black and Latino and Asian, Christian and Jew and Muslim and atheist, gay and straight — who can comfortably walk into a room and accept with real comfort the sensation that they are in a world of certain difference, that there are no real majorities, only pluralities and coalitions.

- David Simon (via theatlantic)

(via theatlantic)

theatlantic:

The Best Photos of the Entire Presidential Campaign

Presidential campaigns are about policies, interest groups, slogans, personalities  and, to the chagrin of very serious people, images. But there were some amazing photos taken during the 2012 election — candidates campaigning in tough conditions from fried food fests to pouring rain, of funny faces, of candidate confrontations, and of devoted spouses. 

[Images: White House, Reuters, AP, Getty]

We live in a country of unimaginable abundance. It shouldn’t be so hard to find common ground.

- Liberals Are Ruining America. I Know Because I Am One. | Steve Almond | The New York Times

A century ago, as an early great champion of progressivism, Teddy Roosevelt dismantled our society’s engines of greed. Under the leadership of presidents from F.D.R. to L.B.J., left-wingers waged war on corporate excess, institutional racism and poverty. There was a widespread and galvanizing belief in government as a force for good in the lives of the disenfranchised.

By contrast, consider the popular response to the Great Recession. The Tea Party — inflamed and partly financed by well-funded lobbying groups — took to the streets to blame government for a crisis caused primarily by Wall Street. Liberals did little aside from condemning the Tea Party. It wasn’t until the Occupy Wall Street movement began, nearly four years later (at the instigation of the Canadian magazine Adbusters), that those on the American left began to protest economic inequality, and even then the movement could articulate no specific policy goals. The same general passivity marked our reaction to the perceived moral atrocities of the Bush era, from the war in Iraq to domestic surveillance to our torture program.

The most insidious effect of our addiction to right-wing misanthropy has been the erosion of our more generous instincts. At least for me. I’ve come to regard all conservatives as extremists, a mob of useful idiots plied by profiteers, rather than a diverse spectrum of citizens, many of whom share my values, anxieties and goals. When I hear the crowd at a Republican presidential debate cheer for capital punishment, I write them off as sadists, rather than accepting them as citizens seeking a means of keeping themselves safe. Slagging conservatism has become my one acceptable form of bigotry.

- Liberals Are Ruining America. I Know Because I Am One. | Steve Almond | The New York Times

This, to be blunt, is the tragic flaw of the modern liberal. We choose to see ourselves as innocent victims of an escalating right-wing fanaticism. But too often we serve as willing accomplices to this escalation and to the resulting degradation of our civic discourse. We do this, without even meaning to, by consuming conservative folly as mass entertainment.

… The real problem is that liberals, both on an institutional and a personal level, have chosen to treat for-profit propaganda as news. In so doing, we have helped redefine liberalism as an essentially reactionary movement. Rather than initiating discussion, or advocating for more humane policy, we react to the most vile and nihilistic voices on the right.

… The demagogues of the world, after all, derive power solely from their ability to provoke reaction. Those liberals (like me) who take the bait, are to blame for their outsize influence.

Rather than taking up the banner and the burden of the causes I believe in, or questioning my own consumptive habits, I’ve come to rely on private moments of indignation for moral vindication. I fume at the iniquity of Pundit A and laugh at the hypocrisy of Candidate B and feel absolved — without ever having left my couch. It’s a closed system of scorn and self-congratulation.

But what’s really happening when I scoff at Sarah Palin’s latest tweet amounts to a mimetic indulgence: I’m bleeding the world of nuance, surrendering to the seduction of binary thinking.

- Liberals Are Ruining America. I Know Because I Am One. | Steve Almond | The New York Times

b3nfriend:

Get voting, folks.

(Source: filibustarhymes, via barackobama)

On Government “Benefits”

politicalprof:

Amongst all the noise this election cycle about who gets government benefits, who pays for them, and indeed the fact that almost everyone uses some government program or the other, one missing theme has been: what is government for?

This may seem like a ridiculous question, but I want to suggest that were we to consider it more carefully, many of our arguments about government might be cleared up. (Of course, what, then, would politicians, commentators and bloggers do?)

The Preamble to the US Constitution offers a useful place to start. It really identifies three main purposes for government: national security, domestic security, and the provision of collective benefits that citizens determine they desire but would struggle to achieve on their own. The Framers’ language is more, well, eighteenth-century than that, but that’s basically what it says.

The first of these, national security, is obvious: fairly or not, it’s usually true that if one cannot defend one’s borders from foreign forces, one’s community will almost always be absorbed by another. Likewise, the second, domestic security, is a necessity: if a government cannot protect the lives and properties of its citizens, it can hardly be called a government at all (visit Somalia if you need evidence to back this point up).

Notably, while those two expectations of government may not be that controversial in the abstract, they become considerably more so in the specific. How big a military, how many prisons, just how one ought to secure the citizens of a community: each of these issues and many more are subject to significant—and entirely legitimate—debate.

The third of the core purposes of government, the provision of collective goods paid for by citizens’ taxes and fees, is at the heart of contemporary debates about government. Some groups, libertarians and tea partyists among them, have decided that the government should provide few to no public services on the theory that: 1) government using taxes and fees to provide these services is a form of theft; and 2) the private sector is best able to provide these services cheaply and efficiently. In contrast, the six socialists who live in America believe the government ought to do more to level the playing field and ensure a floor of services under which no citizen could fall. Most everybody else thinks something in the middle.

But here’s the thing: most everybody benefits from goods and services that we have agreed to finance, whether through taxes, fees or interest payments on borrowed money. We drive on public roads and attend public schools. We live in a security regime that, while often onerous, has ensured the US has not been invaded in 200 years and that most streets—but not enough—are usually safe. The water is normally safe to drink and no one almost ever gets electrocuted when they flip on a light switch (which relays government-regulated power to your light bulb).

It’s all well and good to argue about what we think government ought to do and how it ought to do it. But don’t kid yourself. Most of us — not enough of us, but most of us — benefit from living in a basically safe and secure country. That’s true whether you’re in the 99%, the 47%, or the 1%.

A fact worth remembering … and protecting.

The central banks all express alarm at unemployment; the central banks all do not a damn thing to combat it. The governments all express alarm at the behavior of the titans; the governments all do hardly a thing to forcibly reform them. And, in politics, we are trapped. The titans finance the elections, the titans underwrite the people who write the rules, the government looks to the ranks of the titans when seeking officials to lead the economic decision-making process. All of this four years after their recession. Their crash. Their failures. All of it just the same as during the four years before the collapse, or worse.

- The titans, ascendant | Daily Kos

"You have a lot of chicken here in Frankenmuth. Oh yeah, chicken and, you know, noodles. It’s good German food right here. What a wonderful place…This is so much fun. It’s so much fun running for president… To all be together on a morning like this and to be in the bright sunshine and in a beautiful place and to be running for president with your help."

"This is not about me. You’re not here because I’m some spectacular speaker, you all know that. You’re not here because the Republican Party is the answer to all things, you know better than that. You know, instead, that this is America. And America is the answer to all good things."

- Mitt Romney

Ugh. So many things. Chief among them being that nobody, from my cousin who posted this and all other reactionary Tea Party memes, to the author of the post he shared, bothered to use the computer sitting in front of them to look up the content of the book or the provenance of the photo. Which is funny, given that the post urges everyone “to be aware of what our president is thinking—or planning.”
Someone posted a link to the Snopes article which helps put things into a less apocalyptic context and gives a brief description of what the book is about without foisting on you the burden of reading it, but I don’t think my cousin bothered with that either.
There ought to be something like Godwin’s Law for conversations about the president. 
As an online discussion about Barack Obama grows longer, the probability of someone mentioning his birth certificate approaches 1.

Ugh. So many things. Chief among them being that nobody, from my cousin who posted this and all other reactionary Tea Party memes, to the author of the post he shared, bothered to use the computer sitting in front of them to look up the content of the book or the provenance of the photo. Which is funny, given that the post urges everyone “to be aware of what our president is thinking—or planning.”

Someone posted a link to the Snopes article which helps put things into a less apocalyptic context and gives a brief description of what the book is about without foisting on you the burden of reading it, but I don’t think my cousin bothered with that either.

There ought to be something like Godwin’s Law for conversations about the president. 

As an online discussion about Barack Obama grows longer, the probability of someone mentioning his birth certificate approaches 1.

Obama is the son of a white mother and a black father, a marriage that remains objectionable to many Republican voters in two of the last states forced by the Supreme Court to allow interracial marriage. A 1967 court ruling on the case of a Virginia couple struck down laws against interracial marriage still on the books in 16 states, including Mississippi and Alabama.

A few states, including Alabama, kept the laws even though they could no longer be enforced. Alabama finally repealed its law in 2000 through a public referendum, though 40% of the electorate voted in favor of keeping interracial marriage illegal.

The PPP poll released Monday showed some changes, with 67% of Alabama Republicans saying they believe interracial marriage should be legal, though 21% said it still should be against the law. In Mississippi, 54% said it should be allowed, while 29% said it should remain illegal.

-

Poll: Obama’s a Muslim to many GOP voters in Alabama, Mississippi

I’m sorry, 29% of GOP voters in Mississippi and 21% in Alabama believe interracial marriage should be illegal? What century is this?

(via mohandasgandhi)

tyleroakley:

Just so you know. (via)

tyleroakley:

Just so you know. (via)

(via think4yourself)

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