The Republic of T.

Black. Gay. Father. Vegetarian. Buddhist. Liberal.

Digest for September 12th through September 15th

Here are some of the people writing about some of the stuff I wish I had time to write about, for September 12th through September 15th:

  • Drilling Mania | NDN Blog – At the root of the primitive appeal of drill, drill, drill is a desire to return to our oil-soaked past. While Americans seemed ready to flirt with renewables, with push coming to shove, they have sought the safety and security of the girl who brung us to the party: oil. There is only one problem with this desire to return to the inexpensive, American produced oil and gas of our past. It is fantasy.
  • Daily Kos: Small Town Values – When you look at something like the web page of Levi Johnston with it's proud declaration of being a red neck and it's joyful talk of "kicking ass," you're looking at a culture that's sick. When a candidate for vice-president denigrates the value of community service, you're looking at a culture that's sick. When you drop in on a GOP meeting and find boxes of "Barack Waffles" decorated by racist stereotypes and buttons bearing phrases like "If Obama is president, will we still call it the White House?" you're looking at a culture that's sick. It's sick, partly because it's a culture that's based on the assumption that some Americans are more equal than others, partly because it's a culture that denigrates education and achievement, partly because it's a culture that prefers convenient fictions to uncomfortable facts. But mostly because it's a culture that's forgotten what small town life teaches most clearly — that none of us can make it on our own, that we have to depend on our community for both acceptance and support, and that the best way to ensure that the community will be there for you is by being there for others.
  • Truthdig – Reports – Palin Falls Short of VP Standards – Consider this parallel: Does anyone believe that if McCain were president and had selected Palin under the 25th Amendment to fill a vacancy in the vice presidency Congress would have confirmed her? Not likely. In fact, it is even less likely that McCain would have even attempted to do so, for he would have embarrassed himself. While the Constitution does not expressly set forth qualifications for the vice presidency, it strongly implies them — and Palin falls short.
  • Truthdig – Reports – For Palin, It’s a (Christian) Man’s World – Sarah Palin may be a governor and a vice presidential candidate, but in the hyper-masculine world of the Christian right, she is subservient to a male hierarchy that claims to speak for God.
  • Country First — In These Times – Republicans have simply taken the famous parable to heart — the one about patriotism being the last refuge of scoundrels. As a political strategy, it’s not stupid. Following the Bush-DeLay-Abramoff era, many Americans rightly think Republican politicians are scoundrels. And so those politicians are trying to make sure “this election is not about issues,” as John McCain’s campaign manager said this week, but about a hideous hypernationalism only Joe McCarthy could love. Employing flag pins, war stories and Bible-thumping social conservatism, former P.O.W. McCain and Christian fundamentalist Sarah Palin hope their red-white-and-blue phantasmagoria will hypnotize America into voting Republican.
  • t r u t h o u t | A Palin Theocracy – Given McCain's age and state of health (his medical file was nearly 1,200 pages long), Palin would indeed be a heartbeat away from becoming president. But what would a Palin administration really look like?
  • Cousin John, where did you go? – St. Petersburg Times – A part of me is made very sad to write this article. As I've said, my family has followed John's life and career with no absence of pride. If there ever were a Republican we might consider voting for, it would have been my cousin John. But, as he continually demonstrates in this campaign, my cousin John is long gone. "Straight talk" has been replaced with "flip-flop." Saddest all, this is the same man who, when campaigning in 2000, told a crowd of supporters, "I don't think Bill Gates needs a tax cut. I think your parents do." My parents, John, need some help after the economic destruction Bush has wrought in the last eight years, but it's clear you're not the one who'll give it to us. America's working families no longer recognize you, nor does your own.
  • Op-Ed Columnist – She’s Not Ready – Op-Ed – NYTimes.com – For those who haven’t noticed, we’re electing a president and vice president, not selecting a winner on “American Idol.” Ms. Palin may be a perfectly competent and reasonably intelligent woman (however troubling her views on evolution and global warming may be), but she is not ready to be vice president.
  • This is Your Nation on White Privilege | Red Room – For those who still can’t grasp the concept of white privilege, or who are constantly looking for some easy-to-understand examples of it, perhaps this list will help. White privilege is when you can get pregnant at seventeen like Bristol Palin and everyone is quick to insist that your life and that of your family is a personal matter, and that no one has a right to judge you or your parents, because “every family has challenges,” even as black and Latino families with similar “challenges” are regularly typified as irresponsible, pathological and arbiters of social decay.
  • Palin and the Bush Doctrine – The central fact is that coherence, clarity and rationality were not, in fact, what sold the Bush doctrine in the first place. I don't mean to the PNAC crowd or the national security establishment that included Condi, Colin and most of Congress. I mean to the press and public. They were won by lies, dissemblance and the entirely emotional appeal to USA FIRST at all costs–that and the costs of treading against it. So, even if Palin looked like a moose in headlights, even if she eventually confused preventive and preemptive war–it might not matter. Palin ultimately hit the right emotional notes–the same rah-rah points that secured the Bush doctrine in the first place. 1) Islam=evil; 2) Defend the country at all costs. Duty before actual security; 3) the President is right and has to be trusted and supported.
  • The Washington Monthly – The big deal about the Bush Doctrine was that it changed our position radically. We used to affirm, along with all other countries, a right of what has normally been thought of as preemptive war: the right to respond to an imminent attack against us, when we have credible evidence that it is imminent. When a country is obviously on the verge of mounting an invasion or a strike against us — when its troops are rolling towards the border, or its missiles counting down — we have never thought that we had to wait for that country to actually attack before we did. But we did once claim this right only in response to evidence of an imminent attack, not to a general sense that another country was in some way threatening. The point of the Bush Doctrine was to change that: to say, as Bush said at West Point: "If we wait for threats to fully materialize, we will have waited too long." It was, basically, the acceptance of preventive war: war waged not in response to evidence of an imminent attack, but in response to the possibility that a country that was not attacking us now might attack us at some point in the future.
  • Michelle Haimoff: The Divided States of America: One Nation Under Two Gods – If we can't get agree on the major issues because we think we are saving each other (and what better intention is there than that?), then we will never be ideologically or theologically compatible as a country. We're trying to colonize each other when the only way to respectfully coexist is to compromise.
  • Diana Meehan: Myth America – A moral reformer who's a fundamentalist? A politician who's absent from the office a lot? A crusader who doesn't tolerate dissent? This is George W. Bush. Sarah Palin is George W. Bush in lipstick, hairstyle and heels. That's her myth.

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