The Republic of T.

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

Digest for October 20th

Here are some of the people writing about some of the stuff I wish I had time to write about, for October 20th from 10:22 to 13:13:

  • Censure Michele Bachmann – On last night's episode of MSNBC's Hardball, Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota charged Barack Obama and other members of Congress with sharing "anti-American" views. Defending the McCain campaign's automated phone calls attacking Obama's judgment and character, Bachmann called for a news media "exposé" of the views of members of Congress. Bachmann thinks that anyone who disagrees with her personal political agenda is unpatriotic. But she is the one who has a lot to learn about what it means to love America and what it takes to make this country great, as Katrina vanden Heuvel eloquently explained to Chris Matthews in response to Bachmann's ignorant ravings.
  • When the Gloves Come Off – Trust is the lifeblood of a democratic politics, just as faith and credit are the lifeblood of market economics. Each can be sustained in defiance of reality: a people can place its trust in demagogues, investors can bet their money on worthless assets. But only for a while. A day must come when the "pitiless crowbar of events" (Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn) breaks through the wall. That day has arrived.
  • SPREADING THE WEALTH…. – For that matter, what's the opposite of "spreading" the wealth? Concentrating it, which is effectively what McCain wants to do with his own economic plan — keep as much wealth as possible at the top, and wait for it to trickle down. Jonathan Cohn had a terrific item, explaining why "spreading the wealth" is a perfectly sound and reasonable approach to tax policy, and pointed to Adam Smith for support.
  • Michael Tomasky: The Republicans have lifted the lid off their rightwing id | Comment is free | The Guardian – It's true that we're hearing racial-code talk here and there. But the main fear tactic being employed now is something else. It's that Obama and his associates – and for that matter his supporters and even the regions of the country that he's destined to carry – are anti-American.' Last Friday, in North Carolina, Sarah Palin told a rally that she was proud to be "with all of you hard-working, very patriotic, um, very, um, pro-America areas of this great nation". She means here of course that there are anti-American areas of America, and they are where the liberals live, and the people there are voting for Mr Anti-America.
  • Jared Bernstein: Ideology Takes a Breather, Maybe – What is ideology anyway, and what's so bad about it? The dictionary says that ideology is simply a set of beliefs that form the basis of a system. Nothing wrong with that. Where you run into trouble is when the ideology itself blocks the system from learning, from self-correcting.
  • Dr. Dean Ornish: Something Good About the Economic Meltdown – I've heard statements like this over and over again. Suffering gets our attention and can be a powerful catalyst for transforming our lives for the better. Pain is bearable when it has meaning, when something good comes from it. Although no one looks for suffering, sometimes, despite our best efforts, there it is. How we deal with it can make all the difference in the world. We can understand its alchemy and the possibilities for transformation when it happens.
  • Could We Blame the Financial Crisis on Too Much Testosterone? Harvard Researchers Say Yes | Corporate Accountability and WorkPlace | AlterNet – Economist Anna Dreber and anthropologist Coren Apicella theorize that Wall Street's red-suspendered boys — or as I think of them, the greedy architects of the new recession — can't help themselves because they have more testosterone than average, which makes them take big risks to earn big prizes. That's an advantage when chasing woolly mammoths with wooden spears, but it's likely to cause problems in money management.
  • Predatory Scapegoating – Maybe now is not the time to be ungraciously partisan; perhaps in the middle of the tornado we "don't want to argue about causes," as Sarah Palin said of global warming. But let's make one thing crystal clear: neither this global economic catastrophe nor the impending plunge in our standard of living is the fault of poor blacks or other disenfranchised minorities. It should be obvious, I suppose: African-Americans are only about 13 percent of the population, and about 48 percent of them are homeowners. Yet I emphasize this because to listen to some widely exported theories by John McCain's surrogates and right-leaning radio shock jocks, you could get the impression that this all came about because penniless black slackers took out home loans they were just as unqualified for as the jobs they stole from more qualified white contenders.
  • Talking Points Memo | On the Couch – I get the sense that the further he drifts from his (perhaps former) ideals, the angrier he gets at those who (in his mind) forced him to stray.
  • Open Left:: Why Daddy Bloomberg Is Mad – What bee's in Bloomie's bonnet? Well, it's simple: rich, older men know best, and when anyone suggests otherwise, sometimes they flip out. This is all part of a NY-centric debate, but the implications are bigger: can the rich, the powerful, the elite and the class of incumbents write their own rules?
  • Truthdig – Reports – The Idiots Who Rule America – Our oligarchic class is incompetent at governing, managing the economy, coping with natural disasters, educating our young, handling foreign affairs, providing basic services like health care and safeguarding individual rights. That it is still in power, and will remain in power after this election, is a testament to our inability to separate illusion from reality.

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