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Showing posts from October, 2015

Subject-Object Confusion

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Anderson Cooper asked the Democratic candidates to name the enemies they have made.

Hillary Clinton said 'the Republicans' among others.

Anderson Cooper did not ask the candidates whom they thought were enemies. The question was really about who considered them, the candidates, as enemies.

It is undeniable that the Republicans have treated Hillary Clinton as an enemy since 1993 when she stepped out of the role of First Lady to work on health care reform. Long before ObamaCare, there was HillaryCare. And the Republicans have treated her as the personification of everything they hate and fear ever since. They invoke her first name to scare themselves.

Conservatives have a persistent subject/object confusion. It's some kind of cognitive problem. They think that what they do to others are, actually, being done to them.

Kim Davis thinks that she is being oppressed by gays, lesbians, and liberals because they protest her refusal to serve them. They think that subject (the one d…

He Kept Us Safe

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When Donald Trump questions the statement that George W. Bush 'kept us safe' he threatens one of the last remaining Republican defenses against accountability for the war crimes of the Bush administration.

If GWB did not "keep us safe" then what was all that about: 5000 US combat deaths, hundreds of thousands of Iraqi and Afghani deaths, the torture, the wiretapping, the trillions of dollars spent, even the long lines at the airport?

All of which bothered people at the time; they violated norms of behavior that most  had come to expect about our country. Norms like: The USA does not go to war except in defense. The USA does not invade countries at will. The USA does not torture people. The USA is not big brother. The USA is not so fiscally irresponsible as to pretend that making war doesn't cost money.

Many people already knew that such beliefs were illusions. But for many, they were still thought to be true. They were norms, or boundaries, people thought were in…

The DIfference between Denmark and The United States

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Bernie Sanders said we ought to look at the Nordic countries, naming Denmark first, as models for what social democracy looks like. Hillary Clinton says that we are not like Denmark.

When you look at charts about the social conditions of Denmark, you have to ask why we shouldn't want to be like Denmark.


In Denmark, it appears that the lives of all their citizens matter; in the USA, not so much.  In the US, black lives have not mattered and do not matter now.

If Black Lives Mattered in the United States, we would not accept the rates of childhood poverty that we have. We would not want to punish single mothers. If Black Lives Mattered, we would not think that all proposed social welfare policies are plots and scams. We would not be obsessed with the distinction between the deserving and the undeserving poor.

The difference between Denmark and the United States is not that we are an "entrepreneurial" nation and they are not. The difference is that the USA is paralyzed by i…

The agony of imposed silence

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Mass murder done with guns.

The anguish of grief.

The frustration with the seeming intractability of the problem.

The handwringing and despair.

The liberal church, in particular, seems to become a caricature of itself. Its religious leaders make anguished and angry statements, some of them starkly poetic, ending in very earnest, yet very vague calls for something to be done. Is it the kind of institution where you would risk your life, your freedom, your time, your money to make our common life better? Does the church seem like a body that is able to create people's power and change things? Or do all of its prayers, and pious thoughts, and candles, and poetry, and righteous anger testify to its powerlessness?

Mass murder with guns is a bigger problem than "sensible gun safety" legislation, but such laws are a necessary step in stopping the slaughter.

And we know what must happen to make such laws real. But, under the rules that have been imposed on the church, we cannot…

The Pope and The County Clerk

Here's why it's important:


A crucial part of the conservative cultural and political hegemony for the last forty plus years has been the alliance between the white Catholics and the White evangelical Protestants. That alliance depended on the Catholic hierarchy prioritizing all of the issues of sexuality and patriarchy above all other issues in its public theology. While the social teachings of the church have always had a pro-worker and anti-war content, the hierarchy was far more insistent that abortion and same-sex marriage were the issues that really count. Those were the issues that they mobilized voters about. No cardinal ever threatened to withhold communion from Catholic legislators who voted for war, or who supported the death penalty, or who voted tax cuts to the rich while cutting programs for the poor.

I have personally talked with lifelong Democratic voters who have been torn about voting for Democratic candidates for President, because they thought that the Churc…