frank rich

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Frank Rich’s Op-Ed yesterday in the NYT was especially powerful. Here’s the most popular comment on it as of today, Monday morning. It’s by Jon Jost:

One of our problems is that for most Americans the concept of \”graveyard of empires\” doesn’t ring a bell, as most Americans, as they were taught, don’t think we are an empire, ergo, it can’t be our graveyard. We are instead the champions of liberty, saviors of Europe in WW2, pushers of democracy, and that is sufficient to explain our 700 military bases around the world, our policies of backing whichever corrupt dictator will suit the moment for us, and we’ll bend our perceptions to suit.

As one who spent 2 years in prison for refusing the draft (during the Viet Nam period all of 500 people went to prison thusly), and participated in the draft resistance movement, I must say the best thing for America would be to re-institute a draft that the likes of Cheney and Bush couldn’t evade or otherwise cheat on. This might have some meaningful effect on our foreign policy. It would seem the one thing (I was going to say two, but McChrystal missed on the other – controlling the press, which so far the government has done a good job on doing, unfortunately) the government learned from Viet Nam was that having a draft was to be avoided for political reasons. So now we have a professional military of so-called volunteers (economic refugees many of them), which consumes half the Fed budget, half the oil the US consumes (and hence must have oil wars), and the public sits on its ever broadening butt and doesn’t notice its economic situation is directly related to our Wars R US status.
Very Foxy.
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Gemli from Boston hits the nail on the head with this comment on Frank Rich’s great Op-Ed (as usual) in today’s NYT.

It’s futile to expect conservative Republicans to participate in government when their cynical goal is to dismantle government. They don’t simply have a philosophical difference with liberals as to how best to serve the populace. The pretense that serving the populace has any place in their philosophy vanished long ago. Occasionally you see their true face, when they call the president a liar during a national address, or when they apologize to BP for the government’s rudeness in expecting financial restitution for the disaster they precipitated.

The conservative tactic of lying to the ignorant to mobilize them into a great destructive army is the most reprehensible of their ploys. The idea that people like Limbaugh and Beck believe in the essence of their hateful rants is ridiculous. It takes intellect to deploy straw men with such aplomb, and to make convoluted illogical arguments without stepping on a logical landmine that might reveal the scam. I find it hard to stomach the idea that smart people would spend their time deceiving the ignorant for money and political power, but many conservative mouthpieces and politicians seem to be fine with it.

Conservatives view the populace as expendable pawns to be either manipulated or ignored as they implement their true goal of dismantling government to pave the way for our Corporate Overlords. Liberals are not always right or honorable, it’s true, but they don’t seem to move in such lockstep to the wishes of the corporate agenda, or to do it with such relish.

The political atmosphere is so strange of late that it’s like being in the Twilight Zone. And that TV program, so many years ago, gave a prescient warning that we might heed today: If you see a conservative reading something titled, “To Serve Man,” run away. It’s probably a cookbook.
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This is the title of the Op-Ed by Frank Rich today in the New York Times.

I’ve been reading through the over 800 comments on his piece, and here’s one by a Pauline from NYC that struck a special chord with me. The most popular comment, with over 1300 recommendations, is excellent as well. But none that I’ve read so far has hit the note of this one. But then again I’ve read only about ten of them.

Frank, the reality is that this anger has been building since last year, and it is not only the Tea Partiers.

As dangerous and deranged as these people are, people of every stripe are full of rage at the conditions in this country. For mostly valid reasons.

Quite apart from economic suffering, the daily assault of what life is becoming in America today renders people helpless — and that is the greatest incubator for rage.

The contemptuous dishonesty of the banks, to which anyone who has a checking account or credit card is subject; the corporate stranglehold on everything that touches our lives; the constant wars; torture as a regular topic of discourse; a destructive health care system in the hands of a corrupt, predatory industry; abysmal and worsening education standards and opportunities.

And all of this abetted, supported and kept in place by a platoon of corrupt, bribe taking political hacks.

This is not some crackpot interpretation!!! It is the reality that life in the USA is, and the average middle class person is being bled dry, daily.


Who would not be enraged? It is in fact astonishing that it has taken this long. But the saddest thing is that it’s the wingnuts who are making the noise.

If the mainstream, who are suffering badly, would in their own way make their voices felt, and stand up to the corporate/state union, they might stave off what all this portends: a slide toward fascism.

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…. the fact that our country is once again falling into a morass if not an abyss, namely Afghanistan. Not that it makes much difference what I say here. My loyal readership has dropped down to a precious few, while most of it, such as it is, comes from people searching for Frank Zappa, Pearl Harbor Day, or other things largely irrelevant to the present moment. How did I ever set up this blog for such an outcome?

Anyway, getting back to Afghanistan, Frank Rich in the NYT today has a block buster of an Op-Ed called “The Missing Link From Killeen to Kabul”. I think this is a must read for everyone, even those searching for Frank Zappa. (By mentioning Frank Zappa here, maybe some in their searching will chance upon this post?)

Here is the number one comment by readership popularity on Frank Rich’s article:

Fort Hood is an example of how religious doctrine can be used as an excuse for mentally unbalanced people to assume the role of the God they claim to worship. It’s not only Muslims who fall in this category, but Christians who blow up Federal buildings and murder abortion doctors. It also applies to ultra-Orthodox Jews who assassinate Israeli prime ministers.

There are hotheads of all types and sizes looking for a holy war. Cooler heads should prevail.

Afghanistan is the latest chapter in America’s attempt to play God in another fashion, by recreating the world in our own image. It’s time to quit wasting our soldiers’ lives and our resources and focus on what it will take to finally bring the U.S. infrastructure, education, and social safety net into the 21st century.

This comment, by Aredee of Madison, WI, is getting 560 reader recommendations with the second most popular getting 367. Practically all of the many comments on Frank’s article are for America getting out of Afghanistan. Check ’em out, after you read the article.

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Frank Rich has another sobering Op-Ed today in the Sunday NYT, The Guns of August. The nutjobs are those “real Americans” who carry all manner of guns during Obama speeches. This is just exercising second amendment rights, Jah? Bush never let this happen at any of his speeches. In fact unarmed protesters were herded off into corals far from the speech area. And now we have crackpot Senator Tom Colburn of Oklahoma blaming the government for violence against the government. Read the Op-Ed if it doesn’t make you sick.

Here’s the most popular comment on Frank’s Op-Ed:

As a native Oklahoman I am embarrassed at both our Senators. What Coburn and Inhofe both share is the Bush philosophy that God speaks to them. I have thought long and hard why our state would elect such idiots and have concluded it is directly connected to the fact Oklahoma ranks consistently at 49th in what it puts in education. I saw a recent survey that only 8% of scientists identify themselves as Republicans. If the Democrats really want to crush the remnants of the Republican party it must put more emphasis on education. If not we will be condemned to more McVeighs, Coburns, and all the rest who believe everything they hear on Fox.

This received 878 recommendations and it’s by Greg from Tulsa, Oklahoma.

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The irony is Obama is moving away from socialized medicine and caving to the drug companies at the same time the know-nothings are screaming socialized medicine. In other words, the problem is not that Obama’s plan is too socialistic but that it’s not socialistic enough. The American people are beginning to see him as a compromiser willing to throw away negotiations for lower drug prices to get the support of the drug industry. If the Republicans knew anything, which they don’t, this is where they could be attacking Obama instead of screaming socialized medicine.

This is what I learned today after reading Is Obama Punking Us? by Frank Rich, If Private Industry Loves Obama’s Healthcare Plan, Americans Will Hate It by Allison Kilkenny, and FLASHBACK: Obama Promises to Let the Government Negotiate Medicare Drug Prices by Huffington Post.

UPDATE: It’s not over yet!
We still need to keep the heat on Congress and the White House to make sure that whatever lands on Obama’s desk gives Medicare and any Public Insurance Plan the same power to negotiate with drug companies as the VA has.

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Yes, I’m mad again! Every so often I get into this go getem mad mood where I feel like taking to the streets, pitchfork in hand, ready to go after the bankers and the rich, in other words after the usual right-wing manipulators of American culture for their own ends. But I’ll probably just remain a passive radical…. although mad.

Anyway, Frank Rich lays it on the line this morning in his NYT Op-Ed piece, Bernie Madoff Is No John Dillinger. This should be required reading for everybody.

Bernie Madoff is no John Dillinger because John Dillinger was a widely sympathetic figure during the 1930’s: he went after the bankers who people blamed for ripping us all off during the great depression. Today Bernie Madoff, as portrayed in the corporate controlled media, appears to be the focus of the blame for our great recession while Wall Street and the bankers who have ripped us off to a far greater extent than Bernie Madoff get off practically scot-free. Bernie Madoff is no John Dillinger. Let us wake up!

Frank Rich quotes from Nobel laureate Joseph E. Stiglitz’s Vanity Fair article as follows:

“In the developing world, people look at Washington and see a system of government that allowed Wall Street to write self-serving rules which put at risk the entire global economy — and then, when the day of reckoning came, turned to Wall Street to manage the recovery. They see continued re-distributions of wealth to the top of the pyramid, transparently at the expense of ordinary citizens.”

Joseph Stiglitz is mad.

Frank Rich quotes Barney Frank who told bankers back in February:

“People really hate you, and they’re starting to hate us because we’re hanging out with you.”

Barney Frank is mad.

Here’s Rich’s final paragraph:

In 2009, too many who worked hard and played by the rules are still suffering, while too many who bent or broke the rules with little or no accountability are back reaping a disproportionate share of what scant prosperity there is. The tepid national satisfaction taken in Bernie Madoff’s terminal prison sentence should be a warning to the White House. In the most devastating economic catastrophe since Dillinger’s time, many Americans know all too well that justice has yet to be served.

And I’m one of those. How about you Barack?

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Populist Rage

Frank Rich hits a nerve today with his Op-Ed Slumdogs Unite! His 2nd paragraph:

The tsunami of populist rage coursing through America is bigger than Daschle’s overdue tax bill, bigger than John Thain’s trash can, bigger than any bailed-out C.E.O.’s bonus. It’s even bigger than the Obama phenomenon itself. It could maim the president’s best-laid plans and what remains of our economy if he doesn’t get in front of the mounting public anger.

And here’s his next to last paragraph:

This is why “Slumdog Millionaire,” which pits a hard-working young man in Mumbai against a corrupt nexus of money and privilege, has become America’s movie of the year. As Robert Reich, the former Clinton labor secretary, wrote after Daschle’s fall, Americans “resent people who appear to be living high off a system dominated by insiders with the right connections.”

Frank concludes with this:

The neo-Hoover Republicans in Congress, who think government can put Americans back to work with corporate tax cuts but without any “spending,” are tone deaf to this rage. Obama is not. It’s a good thing he’s getting out of Washington this week to barnstorm the country about the crisis at hand. Once back home, he’s got to make certain that the insiders in his own White House know who’s the boss.

For a good discussion of the Frank Rich piece see Frank Rich: The Surging Populist Rage. I fear there’s a defining moment in the Obama presidency coming up and we’re less than three weeks into it.

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