1:22. Rocky Anderson (Justice), Roseanne Barr (Green), Stephen Durham (Freedom Socialist), Peta Lindsay (Socialism & Liberation), Kent Mesplay (Green), Jill Stein (Green).
May 01 2012
May 01 2012
“Punting the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.
Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Punting the Pundits”.
Tom Engelhardt: The Obama Contradiction
He has few constraints (except those he’s internalized). No one can stop him or countermand his orders. He has a bevy of lawyers at his beck and call to explain the “legality” of his actions. And if he cares to, he can send a robot assassin to kill you, whoever you are, no matter where you may be on planet Earth.
He sounds like a typical villain from a James Bond novel. You know, the kind who captures Bond, tells him his fiendish plan for dominating the planet, ties him up for some no less fiendish torture, and then leaves him behind to gum up the works.
As it happens, though, he’s the president of the United States, a nice guy with a charismatic wife and two lovely kids.
How could this be?
Eugene Robinson: Witch Hunt for the Zombie Voter
Republicans are waging the most concerted campaign to prevent or discourage citizens from exercising their legitimate voting rights since the Jim Crow days of poll taxes and literacy tests.
Four years ago, Democrats expanded American democracy by registering millions of new voters-mostly young people and minorities-and convincing them to show up at the polls. Apparently, the GOP is determined not to let any such thing happen again.
According to the nonpartisan Brennan Center for Justice at New York University, which keeps track of changes in voting laws, 22 statutes and two executive actions aimed at restricting the franchise have been approved in 17 states since the beginning of 2011. By the center’s count, an additional 74 such bills are pending.
Of course, most of us know what’s wrong with the world. We know about the poverty, war, violence and disease. We’re conscious of the injustice, but not fully conscious of it, because frankly, we have enough to worry about in our own lives. As such, we’ve come to accept these injustices as simple facts of life – prepackaged side effects of the human condition, as natural and intertwined with our existence as water to a stream, beyond our capacity to effect in any significant way. This collective sense of powerlessness and default apathy is why we’re striking.
Our growing sense of isolation and disconnection, whether from ourselves, from those next door to us, or from those producing our food and products halfway across the globe, is why we’re striking. Our forced support of perpetual war waged for and by the 1% – whether explicitly with speech, or implicitly with inaction and tax dollars – without ever paying mind to the true causes and motives behind it, is why we’re striking. Our failure uptil now to connect the dots and realize that the benefits of a cheap iPod, lovely as it may be, would be far outweighed by the benefits of a truly just world free of exploitation, is why we’re striking.
Michelle Chen: Freeing the University: Education Occupation on May Day
Pop quiz: what’s the value of an American education? To some, it’s a booming industry that preys on debt-crippled students. But to the educators, youth and workers who keep the system running, school increasingly seems like it’s just not worth the struggle. This May Day, masses of working people-and students who are working to build a future for themselves-are converging in New York City to rethink education and test those ideas in the real world.
Everyone understands that merit and hard work should pay off somehow in the economy. But the narrowing and commercialization of education at every level, from preschool to postdoc, has drained people’s academic aspirations and bank accounts.
On May 1, following the massive 1T Day rally against the “student debt bubble,” the Free University of New York City will bring together various Occupy-inspired grassroots education experiments. Combined with other May Day-related Occupy demonstrations, the program of workshops and talks aims to put theories of “horizontal pedagogy” into practice by inviting regular folks to learn about and question the systems surrounding them: the economy, politics, and school itself.
Glenn Greenwald: Dog-Training the Press Corps
Journalists who heap the most lavish praise on the White House are rewarded with the most valuable treats
This weekend, the annual White House Correspondents’ Dinner was held, and it is – as Gawker’s Hamilton Nolan explained in the best analysis ever of that event – the purest expression of the total blending of political power, media subservience, and vapid celebrity in one toxic, repulsive, and destructive package. It’s imperial rot – the Versailles virus – in its most virulent form. Of course, Stephen Colbert, in the best political speech of the last decade, used his appearance at that banquet in 2006 to clearly set forth the rules by which they function:
But, listen, let’s review the rules. Here’s how it works. The President makes decisions. He’s the decider. The press secretary announces those decisions, and you people of the press type those decisions down. Make, announce, type. Just put ’em through a spell check and go home. Get to know your family again. Make love to your wife. Write that novel you got kicking around in your head. You know, the one about the intrepid Washington reporter with the courage to stand up to the administration? You know, fiction!
Chris Hedges: Welcome to the Asylum
When civilizations start to die they go insane. Let the ice sheets in the Arctic melt. Let the temperatures rise. Let the air, soil and water be poisoned. Let the forests die. Let the seas be emptied of life. Let one useless war after another be waged. Let the masses be thrust into extreme poverty and left without jobs while the elites, drunk on hedonism, accumulate vast fortunes through exploitation, speculation, fraud and theft. Reality, at the end, gets unplugged. We live in an age when news consists of Snooki’s pregnancy, Hulk Hogan’s sex tape and Kim Kardashian’s denial that she is the naked woman cooking eggs in a photo circulating on the Internet. Politicians, including presidents, appear on late night comedy shows to do gags and they campaign on issues such as creating a moon colony. “At times when the page is turning,” Louis-Ferdinand Celine wrote in “Castle to Castle,” “when History brings all the nuts together, opens its Epic Dance Halls! hats and heads in the whirlwind! Panties overboard!”
The quest by a bankrupt elite in the final days of empire to accumulate greater and greater wealth, as Karl Marx observed, is modern society’s version of primitive fetishism. This quest, as there is less and less to exploit, leads to mounting repression, increased human suffering, a collapse of infrastructure and, finally, collective death. It is the self-deluded, those on Wall Street or among the political elite, those who entertain and inform us, those who lack the capacity to question the lusts that will ensure our self-annihilation, who are held up as exemplars of intelligence, success and progress. The World Health Organization calculates that one in four people in the United States suffers from chronic anxiety, a mood disorder or depression-which seems to me to be a normal reaction to our march toward collective suicide. Welcome to the asylum.
May 01 2012
This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.
Find the past “On This Day in History” here.
Click on images to enlarge
May 1 is the 121st day of the year (122nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 244 days remaining until the end of the year.
On this day in 1786, Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro premieres in Vienna
By 1786, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was probably the most experienced and accomplished 30-year-old musician the world has ever seen, with dozens of now-canonical symphonies, concertos, sonatas, chamber works and masses already behind him. He also had 18 operas to his name, but none of those that would become his most famous. Over the final five years of his life (he died in 1791), Mozart would compose four operas that are among the most important and popular in the standard repertoire. This remarkably productive period of creative, critical and popular success for Mozart began with Le nozze di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro), which received its world premiere in Vienna, Austria, on May 1, 1786.
May 01 2012
|Arise ye workers from your slumbers
Arise ye prisoners of want
For reason in revolt now thunders
And at last ends the age of cant.
Away with all your superstitions
Servile masses arise, arise
We’ll change henceforth the old tradition
And spurn the dust to win the prize.
So comrades, come rally
No more deluded by reaction
So comrades, come rally
No saviour from on high delivers
So comrades, come rally