Read this Susan Jacoby article: “The Worst Angels of our nature: Rage and Racism on the Campaign Trail

Susan Jacoby wrote the article below, published at http://newsweek.washingtonpost.com/onfaith/susan_jacoby/2008/10/the_worst_angels_of_our_nature.html:  (Definately worth a read…..)

“The Worst Angels Of Our Nature: Rage And Racism On The Campaign Trail

Like everyone else, I am worried about the economy and the financial panic I sense around me. But I am absolutely terrified–I tremble for my country–by the rage that has been expressed at Republican campaign rallies during the past two weeks. It is a rage that partakes of the worst forces in American history–xenophobia, racism, anti-intellectualism, religious fanaticism, envy, and utter contempt for truth and reason. Lest anyone suggest that this is a bipartisan phenomenon, I should point out that no one at Obama rallies is calling out for anyone to kill the other candidate. Worst of all is the behavior of Sarah Palin, a candidate for the second highest office in the land who stood on a platform, heard the cries of “treason” and “kill him” after her anti-Obama rant, and said absolutely nothing. She went on with her vile speech as if nothing had happened.

John McCain has belatedly realized that his campaign has unleashed forces that it cannot control; perhaps he came to that realization when he was booed at his own rallies for contradicting supporters who called Obama an “Arab” and a “traitor.” Pundits on the left and right (and Barack Obama himself) always preface their acknowledgments of McCain’s effort to calm the waters with an obligatory “to his credit.” Talk about unearned credit. McCain picked the rabble-rousing Palin as his running mate, and he picked her because she appealed to the far-right Republican base. Her speeches, with their accusation that Obama was “pallin’ around with terrorists,” followed by attempts to link Sixties’ radicals with the 9//11 bombers, leading logically to audience’s conclusion that Obama himself may be a terrorist, were certainly cleared by the Rovian McCain campaign strategists. That McCain is now recognizing that he may be inheriting the wind says nothing creditable about him. The least we can expect from respectable candidates is that they decry calls for murder and accusations of treason. You don’t deserve a gold star for doing that.

I am afraid, as others are afraid and reluctant to say so, that some unhinged Joe or Jane Six-Pack will pick up a gun and act on the passions aroused at these rallies. How can anyone who came of age in the sixties–whose youth was punctuated by the assassinations of John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, and Robert F. Kennedy, not be afraid? The ignorant and bellicose governor of Alaska badly needs a history lesson. Most of us demon liberals weren’t pallin’ around with terrorists during the sixties; what we were doing, too many times in our young lives, was mourning the loss of leaders who did try to speak to the better angels of the American nature.

The trouble begins with the notion that there is some special wisdom in the virtuous, uneducated Joe Six-Packs of this nation. I met my very own Joe-Six Pack (that’s what he called himself) a few weeks ago, and if he exemplifies the purported wisdom of ordinary Americans, we are in trouble that cannot be measured by any decline in the stock market. I wound up at the same table with Joe, the owner of a Polish delicatessen, in a packed bar as we waited in the Milwaukee airport for a delayed flight to New York. After volunteering the information that he was flying to New York for his niece’s wedding in Brooklyn, Joe said he wasn’t looking forward to the event because his niece was marrying a native New Yorker and they were “moving into some kind of hippie loft under some bridge.”

Then Joe started talking about the economy. He didn’t blame Wall Street nearly as much as he blamed ordinary Americans who, pursuing the dream of becoming homeowners, had obtained subprime mortgages with no down payment. “These people knew they couldn’t afford to pay back those loans,” he said, “and they didn’t give a damn because they hadn’t had to put down any of their own money. So they’re losing nothing when they get kicked out. No money down, and they’ve been getting free rent for as long as they’ve lived in the house.”

How, I asked, did Joe figure that people had been getting “free rent,” since most of them had been making mortgage payments–at increasing interest rates–for years. Wasn’t it possible that many of the homeowners facing foreclosure had simply not understood what it would mean for their monthly payments if the rate on the mortgages went up by, say, 5 percent? Wasn’t it possible that they thought they could make their payments when they signed the mortgages but subsequently lost their jobs? Or that someone in the family got sick and piled up medical bills that lend to bankruptcy?

“Don’t you believe it,” said Joe, whose face literally turned purple with rage. “So maybe they made payments for a while, but they were a lot lower than rent payments would be. That’s always the excuse with these people, that they’ve been unlucky, that they’re poor little victims.”

“These people.” I wanted to ask who “they” were and what separated them from “us,” but I didn’t have to. He exploded again. “You have a whole group of people who don’t really want to earn what they have. These bad home loans, they’re like special treatment for blacks who want to get into the best universities. You want it, you don’t have to work for it, the government will give it to you.” As soon as I boarded the plane, I took notes detailing everything about this conversation.

I hope that this Joe Six-Pack was just one Joe Six-Pack, and that there are many other blue-collar Americans who do not share such views, reeking of class and racial resentment and absent any awareness of the ways in which unexpected blows of fate can derail the honest efforts and hopes of hard-working people. We will, I suppose find out on Nov. 4. The fate of our nation rests on the hope that a majority of Americans are not as uneducated and angry as my Joe Six-Pack. I do know that a real leader ought to challenge such ignorance, wherever it exists, instead of praising is as an example of down-home American values. Any politician who provides fuel for the worst sort of American fire, or remains silent in the face of bigotry and threats of violence, is a disgrace to this country.

Please e-mail On Faith if you’d like to receive an email notification when On Faith sends out a new question.”

Thought provoking responses to David Brooks’ NYTimes Op-Ed, “The Class War Before Palin.”

The folowing are a few thought provoking responses to a very good Opinion article about ‘the class war’ waged between Republicans and Democrats and fires stoked by Sarah Palin, written by David Brooks, published in Today’s New York Times:

Re “The Class War Before Palin,” by David Brooks (column, Oct. 10):

Far worse than the prospect of class warfare is to suddenly wake up to the fact that we’ve been involved in class warfare for most of the last 40 years, and we’ve been losing decisively.

Can there be any doubt, when virtually all of the economic gains have flowed to those at the very top, while real wages have been stagnant since 1969?

Tax cuts that overwhelmingly favored the rich have led to wealth and income being more unequally distributed than at any time since 1929.

It is the Republican right that has pursued class warfare relentlessly since the days of Ronald Reagan. It is time that we recognize this and begin to claw back some of the losses we have sustained.

Terence Stoeckert
Hoboken, N.J., Oct. 10, 2008

The writer is an affiliate professor of economics and finance at Stevens Institute of Technology.

To the Editor:

David Brooks is right. The anti-intellectualism of the Republicans is astounding.

Average Joes and Janes want ideas from people smarter than we are, whether they come from the left or the right. With the recent collapse of our economy, the Bush administration didn’t ask “Joe Sixpack” for advice, but instead asked the best and the brightest — I hope.

Let’s stop the dumbing down of this country.

Elaine Gallinaro
Devon, Pa., Oct. 10, 2008

To the Editor:

David Brooks seems to acknowledge the blatant failures of the Republican Party — a party that favors fear-mongering and ignorance, and habitually supports candidates with limited education and worldviews.

This has led Republicans and this nation to ruin, and attracts the type of people who yell “kill” and “terrorist” and racial slurs at campaign rallies. They want a nation that disdains education and frowns on the educated.

We call the Navy Seals and Army Rangers “elite.” Shouldn’t we have someone who is elite, in terms of intellect and judgment, command them?

Robert Rundbaken
Ossining, N.Y., Oct. 10, 2008

Thomas L. Freidman’s Op-Ed in today’s New York Times, a lucid appraisal of an absurd VP selection for McCain and Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes: “I like paying taxes. With them I buy civilization.”

The following is an Op-Ed piece by ‘From Beirut to Jerusalem’ author, Thomas L. Freidman, published today in the New York Times: (see the original by clicking here.)

Criticizing Sarah Palin is truly shooting fish in a barrel. But given the huge attention she is getting, you can’t just ignore what she has to say. And there was one thing she said in the debate with Joe Biden that really sticks in my craw. It was when she turned to Biden and declared: “You said recently that higher taxes or asking for higher taxes or paying higher taxes is patriotic. In the middle class of America, which is where Todd and I have been all of our lives, that’s not patriotic.”

What an awful statement. Palin defended the government’s $700 billion rescue plan. She defended the surge in Iraq, where her own son is now serving. She defended sending more troops to Afghanistan. And yet, at the same time, she declared that Americans who pay their fair share of taxes to support all those government-led endeavors should not be considered patriotic.

I only wish she had been asked: “Governor Palin, if paying taxes is not considered patriotic in your neighborhood, who is going to pay for the body armor that will protect your son in Iraq? Who is going to pay for the bailout you endorsed? If it isn’t from tax revenues, there are only two ways to pay for those big projects — printing more money or borrowing more money. Do you think borrowing money from China is more patriotic than raising it in taxes from Americans?” That is not putting America first. That is selling America first.

Sorry, I grew up in a very middle-class family in a very middle-class suburb of Minneapolis, and my parents taught me that paying taxes, while certainly no fun, was how we paid for the police and the Army, our public universities and local schools, scientific research and Medicare for the elderly. No one said it better than Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes: “I like paying taxes. With them I buy civilization.”

I can understand someone saying that the government has no business bailing out the financial system, but I can’t understand someone arguing that we should do that but not pay for it with taxes. I can understand someone saying we have no business in Iraq, but I can’t understand someone who advocates staying in Iraq until “victory” declaring that paying taxes to fund that is not patriotic.

How in the world can conservative commentators write with a straight face that this woman should be vice president of the United States? Do these people understand what serious trouble our country is in right now?

We are in the middle of an economic perfect storm, and we don’t know how much worse it’s going to get. People all over the world are hoarding cash, and no bank feels that it can fully trust anyone it is doing business with anywhere in the world. Did you notice that the government of Iceland just seized the country’s second-largest bank and today is begging Russia for a $5 billion loan to stave off “national bankruptcy.” What does that say? It tells you that financial globalization has gone so much farther and faster than regulatory institutions could govern it. Our crisis could bankrupt Iceland! Who knew?

And we have not yet even felt the full economic brunt here. I fear we may be at that moment just before the tsunami hits — when the birds take flight and the insects stop chirping because their acute senses can feel what is coming before humans can. At this moment, only good governance can save us. I am not sure that this crisis will end without every government in every major economy guaranteeing the creditworthiness of every financial institution it regulates. That may be the only way to get lending going again. Organizing something that big and complex will take some really smart governance and seasoned leadership.

Whether or not I agree with John McCain, he is of presidential timber. But putting the country in the position where a total novice like Sarah Palin could be asked to steer us through possibly the most serious economic crisis of our lives is flat out reckless. It is the opposite of conservative.

And please don’t tell me she will hire smart advisers. What happens when her two smartest advisers disagree?

And please also don’t tell me she is an “energy expert.” She is an energy expert exactly the same way the king of Saudi Arabia is an energy expert — by accident of residence. Palin happens to be governor of the Saudi Arabia of America — Alaska — and the only energy expertise she has is the same as the king of Saudi Arabia’s. It’s about how the windfall profits from the oil in their respective kingdoms should be divided between the oil companies and the people.

At least the king of Saudi Arabia, in advocating “drill baby drill,” is serving his country’s interests — by prolonging America’s dependence on oil. My problem with Palin is that she is also serving his country’s interests — by prolonging America’s dependence on oil. That’s not patriotic. Patriotic is offering a plan to build our economy — not by tax cuts or punching more holes in the ground, but by empowering more Americans to work in productive and innovative jobs. If Palin has that kind of a plan, I haven’t heard it.”

“sex without condoms,” “the new engagement,” idea spreads among US teens…God help us survive this ignorance and return our children’s intellects and souls. :(UNPROTECTED SEX KILLS; U.S. YOUNG PEOPLE NEED TO KNOW AND ACT ACCORDINGLY!!)

WTH? Sex without Condoms is the new Engagement?? (click here to read original post at brownsugarpages.wordpress.com, will open in new window)

(Originally published by brownsugarpages.wordpress.com on July 25, 2008

So I was listening to the Freak Show on Wild 98.7 and I heard this soundbite from NPR’s Pendarvis Harshaw. . If you can’t hear the sound then here’s the basic summary of what was said:

the transition from condoms to no-condoms signifies a lasting commitment — more so even than walking down the aisle.

*DISCLAIMER*
THe ONLY safe sex is NO sex!! 

NEWSFLASH! in an “AIDS World,” UNSAFE SEX IS NEVER EVER EVER AN OPTION!  IT will KILL YOU!!! WAKE UP!!!!!

Please tell me this is a joke right?? This dude has the nerve to say; “Sex without protection is better than spending money on an expensive ring for a marriage that won’t last”! How stupid is that!? the risk you face of having unprotected sex with far greater then the cost of an engagement ring. Having a kid without the bonds of marriage is way more expensive than an engagement ring (child support for 18-22 years) getting an STD from someone who you “trust” is way more expensive in my opinion! Have we not learned anything about AIDS?? Just because you’re in a committed relationship does not mean you should have unprotected sex! How many times have we all heard of women (and men) that end up eith STD’s even though they were only active with one partner. This mess happens every day folks, it’s not a game and with the staggering rates they give about AIDS in the black community we need to stop playing! Stop using money as an excuse to substitute marriage with sex. If you can’t afford to marry then you can’t afford to have unprotected sex!

Maybe I’m just really old fashioned but there is no way in Satan’s home you should ever equate sex without a condom with marriage/engagement. Why? because we already have people (young girls in particular) equating love with sex, songs that switch the unedited “F***” to “love” on the radio versions making the terms dang near interchangeable when they are not. Sex does not equal love and unprotected sex does not equal commitment! This does not mean that the two of you will go marching down the isle. It means you need to drive down to the clinic!
Although I critized “Black in America” the woman with AIDS made a good point. She wasn’t loose, or fast or any of these things we associate with people who have STD’s. She’d been with this dude for a while and thought that when he wanted to have sex without a condom that he really was committing to her. She was actually ‘proud” but guess what. She got AIDS! This is why we have so many people with STD’s and the like. Everytime you have unprotected sex you put yourself at risk, I don’t care how much you love that person. AIDS will kill you, STD’s will kill your sexual health and babies will kill your social life.
Marriage is marriage and engagement is engagement. but unprotected sex is not either of those.
If the person you’re with (male or female) is not commited enough to give/wear the ring DO NOT have sex with them without a condom, and get tested often. Even if you are married get tested! Often!

You CAN see Russia from here.

Anderson Cooper 360 has a fun piece about the Alaskan island of Little Diomede, the one place where Americans can see Russian from their homes. (Click here to read article/watch clip) The following is an excerpt:

“When talking about what she says is her foreign policy experience, Sarah Palin told ABC news “…you can actually see Russia from land here in Alaska, from an island in Alaska.”
That quote made us want to go to that island.

So we did.

The island is called Little Diomede. It looks like a rock plopped into the Bering Strait. Only about 150 Alaskans live on the whole island. And just about two miles away; in full view of every single house on the island is the nation of Russia. Specifically, it is the Russian Island of Big Diomede which sits about 25 miles from the Russian Siberian mainland (which you can also see from the American island.) Most everybody on Little Diomede had relatives who lived on Big Diomede.

But decades ago, the Russian government sent them all to the mainland, and today, Big Diomede is limited to a Russian military presence. It’s also a full day in front of Little Diomede because it’s on the other side of the International Date Line. Little Diomede is fascinating. It looks like the moon would if you built a lunar settlement. It’s full of rocks, dirt, and craters. We were curious if Sarah Palin has ever visited this island. According to the natives, the answer is no.

As a matter of fact, no Alaska governor in the state’s nearly 50 year history has ever visited the remote outpost that still has little running water. We were curious what the Little Diomeders thought about Palin’s claim of foreign policy experience because of the proximity of Siberia. Interestingly, many of these Alaskans had no idea who Sarah Palin was! It turns out they have no TV on the island, and therefore, many don’t follow the news.

The island’s mayor has heard of her though. No American mayor resides in a city closer to Russia than Andrew Milligrock, and he says being two miles from Russia doesn’t give him any foreign policy expertise.

He does say she seems like an okay governor, but exclaims she should probably pay a visit to Little Diomede sometime. It may not help her foreign policy experience says the mayor, but would definitely help her domestic policy experience.”

Africans against Obama…”Sarah Palin Rocks!!!” Watch video of The Honorable James David Manning, PhD, African American Religious leader voicing his support for John McCain and Sarah Palin against “Hussein” Obama.

This man exists, press play botton, watch and be amazed:

read definition of sycophant by clicking here.

John Stewart’s Daily Show form September 3, 2008: “The Sarah Palin Gender Card”…Politicians, “Newsmen,”Hypocrisy and double standards on tape…funny.

Politicians being politicians, speaking out of both sides of their mouths:  (click here to watch, sad and funny), click here to watch this very entertaining collection of prominent politicos (Karl Rove, Dick Morris, and Bill O’Reilly to name 3 of the exposed) caught speaking out of both sides of their mouths and generally being hypocrites…click here to watch the video.

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