A few posts I think are worth your time…
Anglachel: Where Can I Piss?
Spousal Unit commented that the Wilentz article reminded him of something his own professor, John Schaar, said in response to a student’s question about why the Civil Rights movement’s use of very lofty ideology wasn’t a liability. Schaar responded it was because the high-minded rhetoric was always joined to very concrete aims like “where can I piss, you know?” Civil Rights mattered not because of the concept that all men are created equal, but because equality is enacted or denied in the most mundane circumstances, such as being able to relieve yourself in a private and sanitary manner, or order some eggs and toast when you are hungry, or sit on the first available seat on the bus, or have a sip of water from the cooler on this floor, not the one in the basement. The right to vote is, ultimately, the right to piss where everyone else does.
But how do you make bathrooms available to everyone? You have to institutionalize the normalcy of taking a piss. It’s not something exceptional, it’s not special treatment, it’s not a zero sum game where my gain is always and automatically your loss. It’s just about ordinary human affairs – you eat, you eliminate. To normalize a particular activity or condition means that it is institutionalized. Institutionalization is the proper goal of a political movement.
Atheist Camel: Probability or Purpose?: How do your religiously infected friends explain this?
Want to know how deeply your theist friends have swallowed the Kool Aid of unquestioning religious non-think? Want to gauge exactly how encompassing is their self delusion and surrender to vacuous apologetics? Want to witness what complete abandonment of reality sounds like? Ask them to explain Zahra Baker, then stand back and watch the dance of denial.
Glenn Greenwald: Democrats and the rule of law
Obama took a Constitutionally-mandated oath of office that he “will to the best of [his] ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” I wasn’t aware that Constitutional guarantees and the rule of law could be dismissed with the wave of a presidential hand because members of the President’s party in Congress want it to be. If that is true, then that reasoning justifies most of what Bush and Cheney did as well. The whole point of having a Constitution is that the Government is barred from doing certain things (e.g., depriving someone of liberty without due process of law) even when majorities demand it. This is Obama’s doing; he ran on a platform of restoring the rule of law and the Constitution even when political expediency demands otherwise; and nothing forced him to abandon Holder’s decision.
Matt Taibbi (Rolling Stone): Courts Helping Banks Screw Over Homeowners
You’ve heard of Too Big to Fail — the foreclosure crisis is Too Big for Fraud. Think of the Bernie Madoff scam, only replicated tens of thousands of times over, infecting every corner of the financial universe. The underlying crime is so pervasive, we simply can’t admit to it — and so we are working feverishly to rubber-stamp the problem away, in sordid little backrooms in cities like Jacksonville, behind doors that shouldn’t be, but often are, closed.
And that’s just the economic side of the story. The moral angle to the foreclosure crisis — and, of course, in capitalism we’re not supposed to be concerned with the moral stuff, but let’s mention it anyway — shows a culture that is slowly giving in to a futuristic nightmare ideology of computerized greed and unchecked financial violence. The monster in the foreclosure crisis has no face and no brain. The mortgages that are being foreclosed upon have no real owners. The lawyers bringing the cases to evict the humans have no real clients. It is complete and absolute legal and economic chaos. No single limb of this vast man-eating thing knows what the other is doing, which makes it nearly impossible to combat — and scary as hell to watch.
Related to Taibbi’s piece . . .
Ian Welsh: Wiping out property law and destroying counties to save the banks
I’ll spell out some of it here: the major banks are bankrupt. Bankrupt. Still. This is a massive giveaway to the banks if it occurs, and it will bankrupt most American counties, permanently, as well as putting record keeping on who owns and owes what not in the hands of a third party, but in the hands of MERS, a creation of the lenders. Given how the lenders have relentlessly engaged in fraud to try and foreclose on houses they do not have title to, this seems… unwise.
Riverdaughter thinks outside the box: I support overturning Roe v. Wade and so should you
But the parties have no intention of getting rid of Roe. The Republicans have just as much to gain from keeping it as a whipping girl as the Democrats need it as bait. Roe will just become a specter and personally, I don’t want even my proxy rights to be degraded into nothingness. It’s hard enough being a woman in the corporate R&D world, let alone as a second class citizen of the United States whose rights are negotiated away on a daily basis. As long as Roe is the law of the land, the focus will always be on “morality”. Whose morality? Does the state get to decide morality for everyone or just women? Are women always going to be at the mercy of someone else’s conscience? Does the establishment clause in the first amendment apply only to men? Those are the questions that need to be answered, not whether you have the right to decide in private to do something you do not have the means to carry out.
Yes, it’s scary to dump Roe. Yes, a lot of women depend on it to move forward in their lives. But killing Roe would send shock waves through the country. We should not be afraid to stand up for ourselves and demand recognition as free and equal persons, competent and able to decide for ourselves our own religions, consciences, bodily integrity and destiny.
So, take it down. Take it down now. The sooner the better. Give the Supreme Court a reason to reverse it. I not only dare you. I WANT you to do it, John Roberts. I have two daughters and I am not afraid of losing Roe. I’m more afraid that they will lose everything else.
The Heraclitan Fire: Language and the Will to Power – Part 1
I’m bemused by the trend, in recent years, of obfuscating, conflating and downright deliberate abuse of our language – especially our political language. It has left people confused (perhaps intentionally) about some basic terms and that, in turn, has left them confused about the realities of our current social/political/economic situation. This may seem picayune to some, after all harping on the language used to describe events can’t hold a candle to actually dealing with those events, right? Well, not so much; to the extent that we use and abuse language we define or obscure what we’re talking about. This is done in two ways: first by ignorance, people who are not clear about their subject or the definitions of the words they are using are red meat for the propagandists. The second way is by design. This is the special world of propaganda/advertising where the word and the meme are deliberately twisted to serve a commercial and/or political end. As Orwell pointed out, this is an unparalleled tool for establishing and maintaining control of a market or a society. And tyrannies of the left and the right have used it assiduously even a casual look at history will provide numerous examples.