Post 1,009


Precedented I

Republican Warren G. Harding was our nation’s 29th President of the United States. His administration was infested with scandal. He died two years into his presidency, thus preventing him from doing even more damage. He was long considered the worst president ever, an impressive achievement, given some of the dopes who have held that job.

But then came Nixon to lower the bar.

Then Dubya.

Then Trump.

Even before they came along with their scandals and criminal behavior there were extremists who promised division, chaos and nothing to solve our national problems and challenges.

In the early 1960s the Republican Party was a groundswell of extremism, proudly led by Sen. Barry Goldwater (R-AZ). He was famous for saying chest-thumping, stupid absolutist things, like,

I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice! And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue.
He ginned up “the base” with such stuff, along with promises of nuclear annihilation. Goldwater and other far righties made fearful advances toward taking over the Republican Party and caused moderates more than a little worry. On July 14, 1963 Governor Nelson Rockefeller (R-NY) gave a speech addressing this very issue. Sections of it are below. I’m confident this will feel uncomfortably current.

I am now convinced that, unless the vast majority of Republicans who subscribe to these [extremist] principles are aroused from present inaction – whether this inaction stems from complacency, from fear or from a fantastically short-sighted opportunism – the Republican party is in real danger of subversion by a radical, well financed and  highly disciplined minority.

For it has now become crystal clear that the vociferous and well-drilled extremist elements boring within the party utterly reject these fundamental principles of our heritage. They are, in fact, embarked on a determined and ruthless effort to take over the party, its platform and its candidates on their own terms – terms that are wholly alien to the sound and honest Republican liberalism that has kept the party abreast of human needs in a changing world, wholly alien to the broad middle course that accommodates the mainstream of Republican principle.

This cannot be allowed to happen. The continuing commitment of the Republican party to its historic principles including its fundamental dedication to equality of opportunity for all men cannot and must not be betrayed. No temptation of political gain through cynical expediency can be permitted to becloud our commitment to principle and purpose.

After branding these extremists “the radical right lunatic fringe,” Rockefeller went on to say,

These people have no program for the Republican party or the American people except distrust, disunity and the ultimate destruction of the confidence of the people in themselves. They are purveyors of hate and distrust in a time when as never before, the need of the world is for love and understanding.

They have no concern with and offer no solutions for the problems of chronic unemployment, of education and training, of housing of racial injustice and strife, of all the other problems which must have answers if our democratic ideals are to be translated into living reality.

So much of what has happened over the past 50 years has been labeled “unprecedented,” including anything from the falsely named Tea Party and the Freedom Caucus to nearly everything Donald Trump has done or said over the past 9 years, perhaps foreshadowed by his fraudulent Birther defamation. But in fact, there is precedent for much of what we’ve seen, perhaps excluding Trump’s over 30,000 lies and his blatant attacks on the rule of law and his denial of actual reality.

It’s sad to say, but extremism never fully disappears. It waxes and wanes with new appearances of those who covet power for themselves above all else.

This stuff is precedented, including by the Confederates in the 1800s all the way into the 1900s; Nazis in the 30s and 40s; by Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan, both of whom thought they were above the law; and by the dastardly far right today using perversions of our laws to steal the vote from whole swaths of our citizens and to mount a multiple front assault to steal an election from our nation. It’s plain that these attacks on freedom, democracy and our Constitution come along regularly to torture our nation.

Fortunately, our justice system is now applying the proper elbow to the solar plexus of law breaking extremists. The political elbow blows, though, are left to us to deliver to make extremism wane before permanent damage is done.

Precedented II

Likely you remember those pictures for kids about which you’re asked to name what doesn’t belong, like a carrot in a tree. It’s more difficult to identify what’s missing from a picture.

It’s right that we have empathy for Palestinian civilians who have been wounded or killed and for their loved ones who are suffering. They are our fellow human beings in terrible circumstances, largely through no fault of their own. The media coverage of that is front and center. We are fed those images every day, but there’s something missing from that picture.

The only victims of the October 7 massacre to which the world media seems to be paying any attention are the hostages. The focus is largely on what happened next.

There is footage of injured Palestinians, but where is the coverage of the 3,300 injured Israelis? We see awful funeral processions for dead Palestinians, but what about the funerals of the 1,400 Israelis killed and the wailing of their loved ones? We see the destroyed Palestinian homes and apartments, but where are the stories and video of the thousands who had to flee their homes in terror on October 7 and who then came back to devastation? Even as so many Palestinians suffer, there are tens of thousands of Israelis suffering, too. Why the stark empathy disparity?

This is not unprecedented. This is standard unbalanced world attention orchestrated by Hamas and we’ve seen this time and time again. Hamas, like Yassir Arafat and his Palestine Liberation Army before it, uses the suffering of Palestinians to twist world opinion in their favor. They keep their own people hostage in areas they know Israel must attack in order to stop Hamas, so Palestinians suffer, making Israel look like the bad guys. It’s such an obvious PR scheme and the world falls for it every time.

People are calling for a ceasefire in the name of mercy, but it doesn’t work that way (see this). Were the IDF to simply pack up and go home now they would leave Hamas its weapons, its mob of terrorists and time to rearm. That would hasten the next October 7 style massacre of Israeli civilians. More brutally said, the lopsided empathy of the world, calling for a ceasefire, seems to prefer Israeli corpses over Palestinian corpses. Where is the mercy in that?

This manipulative PR stunt is not unprecedented. It is old and predictable and cruel.

Just For Fun

Here’s are five golden rules for spotting an idiot, this from Arwa Mardawi of The Guardian.

  1. Beware of anyone who describes themselves as a “proud non-reader of books.”
  2. Similarly, avoid anyone who thinks that every book should have been a six-paragraph blog post.
  3. Remember that wealth isn’t directly linked to intelligence.
  4. Dropping “AI” or “ChatGPT” into every second sentence is a major idiot red flag.
  5. Keep a wide berth from people who obsess about their IQs.

Here’s my favorite, linked to #3 above:

Click the pic for the source. Many thanks to JN for the pointer.

Today is a good day to be the light


  • Our governance and electoral corruption and dysfunction and our ongoing mass murders are all of a piece, all the same problem with the same solution:
  • Fire the bastards!
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One Response to Precedented
  1. David Houle Reply

    Could not agree more with your position on media coverage. Ironically I forwarded on FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER, A VIDEO CLIP FROM FOX NEWS(!!!) interview the son of a top Hamas leader on how vicious they are. News nation did one as well. As MSNBC AND CNN viewers, we ask why this guy has not been interviewed on either channel.