Showing posts with label Fear. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Fear. Show all posts

Friday, June 15, 2012

Why Elites Fail | The Nation

Chris Hayes at The Nation Magazine and at Up with Chris Hayes on MSNBC has written a book called Twilight of the Elites: America After the Meritocracy on how ivory tower elites alienate the rest of the American Public on all sides of the political spectrum.  That discussion which can be seen above with the The Nation's editor Katrina vanden Heuvel coincides with the point of this blog.

Here I use examples from real life to explain complicated phenomena such as Barry Sanders running style to explain global warming and using statistics to explain other phenomena.   It is important to make knowledge available to the masses so they can make their own decisions.


Chris Hayes appeared on Democracy Now! to discuss his book more in depth using everything from the Penn State scandal to Wall Street to Iraq as examples.  You can purchase his book at the store tab above.
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Friday, September 9, 2011

9/11 Aftermath Survey

On December 31, 2004 I was at a spiritual retreat for New Years Eve.  We were having a discussion about moral dilemmas.  An older woman wearing a mink coat was asking about how much money she should give to those who were killed in the Indian Ocean Tsunami which had just happened.  She had said that she was saddened that 200,000 people were killed.  I had pointed out to her that  about that many people were killed in the Iraq War which began in 2003 according to a survey estimate which came out before the 2004 election.  She responded "yes but that has made us safer."

At the start of the Iraq War according to a Washington Post Poll (Sept 2003) 69% of Americans believed Saddam Hussein was linked to the 9/11 attacks when there was no evidence to support it, only rumors and fear.  A few of those who disagreed with this belief had alternative theories that it was the Bush administration who was behind the attacks which can be taken apart with some logic.  Fear is a powerful tool for overriding people's logic even about matters of life and death.  

The Aspen Ideas Festival had an interesting discussion of a recent survey of changes in US attitudes in the last decades.  The results can be summarized as the country has lost it's sense of optimism and it will be hard to turn around.  Many do not believe the death of Osama bin Laden will have a positive effect for the safety of Americans.  It aired on C-SPAN.  I cannot embed the video here but I can link to it below:

The key findings from the survey of 2017 individuals with half of them on the phone can be seen below. I will let you draw your own conclusions unlike the lamestream media.


Noam Chomsky gives an interview on how things have changed since 9/11.

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Friday, October 8, 2010

Bullying & Society

I've seen this video clip from the Ellen show make the rounds of Facebook and the web in the last few weeks. It is sad that it takes events like these or of Columbine for people to recognize the harmful effects of bullying. In school I was often called a faggot (I'm not) and worse and was bullied in other ways. The advice I got from adults was "ignore it, it will go away, it's just part of growing up" while it may be true for those who have a good face for playing poker but it never did for me. Of course being gay is not the only reason to be bullied. At least some parts of society are starting to recognize this age old problem, but are they ready to ask the deeper questions?

Much of what goes on in our schools is merely a reflection of the society as a whole. In schools it all occurs in a closed space. In our society you have the jocks like LeBron James, Serena Williams, and Ben Roethlisberger, the brains (nerds is my N word) like Bill Gates and Stephen Hawking, burnouts like Lindsey Lohan, beautiful people (you can think of examples), and everyone else just like in every school. There is often jockeying for position in society and schools which sometimes leads to conflict.

Bullying is about establishing a social hierarchy. It can be subtle by as cold stare or not. I am not a total saint in this myself. Sometimes to take the pressure off of me, I would pick on other kids.

Those in authority can set the tone for how those under them behave. For example, when our leaders engage in gay bashing, such as Sen. Jim DeMint R-SC saying that gays & lesbians should not be allowed to teach school, those who follow them will imitate and sometimes escalate. In another more telling example NY gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino has said inflammatory things about gays right after eight men were arraigned for torturing three gay men.

Eight Arraigned In Anti-Gay Bronx Attacks; One Suspect Still At Large

Another example of indirect incitement of bullying is Byron Williams who tried to kill people at the progressive Tides foundation but was stopped by the police. He confessed to being inspired by Glenn Beck, calling him a "school teacher." Richard Poplawski, who killed three police officers in Pittsburgh, Pa (less than a mile from my home), was also a follower of Beck's who was paranoid about Obama and guns. The journalist from Media Matters who interviewed Williams and has been following Beck's verbal bullying for years discusses it on Democracy Now!

Bullying is a symptom of larger forces in society. Kids are often better than adults at sensing which individuals do not fit the mold that society defines as "normal". It is the leaders who define who is and is not normal. Just blaming bullying on a few messed up kids with low self esteem (a myth that helps keep the problem going) or on violent video games (it does make the problem worse) with self esteem problems will not solve it entirely. It is necessary to recognize everyone's role in the problem.

The National Center for Bullying Prevention has resources for dealing with bullying at least on the school level. Research will have to be done to see how effective it is.

Final commentary which I cannot disagree with more. John Fugelsang says calling it bullying trivializes what it puts kids through. I argue that the International Monetary Fund saddling poor countries with debt is the same as bullies stealing unpopular kids lunch money. In the end, the name you give it matters less than correctly recognizing it when you see it.

Joel Burns' story telling teens that "it gets better" (echoed by President Obama) is moving but judging by his reaction the scars from his own bullying are still there and always will be. In some ways it does get better just as it has for African Americans in some ways since slavery, Jim Crow, and lynching ended, but is it as good as it would have been for them if those terrible things had never happened in the first place?

It "got better" for me when I was a freshman in college. Some guys in the dormitory were harassing me by jamming my door shut with pennies because I wouldn't be their patsy. The resident assistants were in their back pockets so I called the police on them. I have no regrets about it. The struggle for me was how does one handle not being bullied?

Dan Savage has picked up on the it gets better theme but only for LGBT's and has created an organization for victims of that type of bullying called the It Gets Better Project. He discussed the it on the Colbert Report. I still feel it doesn't address the core of the problem.

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Dan Savage
Colbert Report Full Episodes2010 ElectionMarch to Keep Fear Alive

New research by Media Matters shows how Beck and Fox News has been bullying the public about Obama's anti bullying efforts.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Why does the right demonize Nancy Pelosi?

In campaign ads by Republicans running this year, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's (D, CA) image appears the most as an object of fear even more than Barack Hussein Obama or any other, Democratic Leader. In right wing blogs more grotesque images of her appear such as the one reproduced here. Why?

Does she go around saying nutty things like Christine O'Donnell or Cynthia McKinney? Did she run away from her public service duties like Sarah Palin? Could she be she any more power hungry or sleazy than Newt (gives his first wife divorce papers while she was in the hospital with cancer) Gingrich, Tom (currently under indictment) Delay or Charlie (Dominican Republic Tax Shelter) Rangle? Is she any more of an aggressive power broker than Harry Reid (who may lose his job to another nutty ditz like Sharron Angle) or Rahm ("Obama's most loyal supporters are f_ing retarded") Emanuel?
The answers to these questions are no. If anything she disappointed some on the left when she immediately ruled out impeaching George W. Bush and Dick Cheyney after becoming speaker for their war in Iraq, warrantless wiretapping, torture memos, outing of Valerie Plame etc. and this is how they repay her?

Could it be because she represents the city of San Francisco in the House of Representatives? Hmm with what is this city often associated? The 49ers? The Golden Gate Bridge? Tony Bennett? Alcatraz? Not to the right wing in this country. For them it is homosexuals and the summer of love. Outright gay bashing is not is not as acceptable as it used to be so she has become a code word for it. has an analysis of how House member's voting in unison with Pelosi is exaggerated by Republicans in ads (and by Democrats who want to distance themselves from her).

NRCC Overstates Dems’ Voting Record with Pelosi
And Democrats spin the voting data, too

Democrat Jim Marshall uses hippie imagery of San Francisco to dissociate himself from Pelosi (he lost).

Pelosi gives an interview to Politics Daily where she answers the attacks on her and talks about other election issues. I've received many reactions on Facebook and here about my argument that the attacks on her are really coded gay/hippie bashing. She says the attacks on her are because she's effective which I don't really agree with either. I believe that she was more of a go with the flow politician who caved in when it mattered most on issues the health care Public Option. Judge for yourself whether the attacks on her are warranted.

Video: Melinda Henneberger Interviews Speaker Nancy Pelosi

The demonizing may have worked she will no longer be speaker in January but she ran for House Minority Leader. She won 150-43 against Heath Shuler because the House Progressive Caucus only lost one member on Tuesday while the moderate Blue Dog Caucus who demonized her too in their ads lost half of their members. In the one ad above, Jim Marshall D-GA lost 53%-47%.One Pittsburgh Congressman, Mike Doyle, has announced support for her. If that is the case look for more demonizing in 2012.

'Pelosi is not (Dems') problem,' Doyle says

**Check out**
Pelosi Easily Retains Leadership Post; Now She Must Lead | The Nation
Now that Speaker Pelosi will soon be Minority Leader Pelosi the focus should now be put on the Senate Democratic leadership