Gail Collins

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The ignorant, led by the nefarious, shepherded by the violence-prone, supported by the media are holding democracy hostage in America.

Think I’m crazy? Exaggerating? Scan some of the Op-Eds in the NYT online today for support of my sentence above, based as it is on a reader’s comment on Gail Collins’ Op-Ed.

James Carville many years ago said, “It’s the economy, stupid!” Well, now he should say, “It’s the stupid, stupid!” because America has gone stupid, if it wasn’t stupid already which it was.

UPDATE: For a thorough, heart-felt and rational discussion of where we are now with this, see Terry McKenna’s post, Chaos Theory – It COULD Happen Here!, in the Daily Renewal blog.

Here’s the most popular comment on Gail Collins’ Op-Ed at the moment:

What is going on in America today is in no tradition I can remember, and I am pretty old! I listened to Bill Maher tonight, and his New Rules were positively depressing–although funny in a “gallows humor” sort of way. For instance: 34% of Americans STILL believe that Saddam Hussein was involved in 9/11! 47% of Republicans TRULY believe that Barack Obama was not born in the US (maybe that’s a good thing?), Sarah Palin says Obama’s healthcare plan is “downright evil,” and would force her to take her Down Syndrom child before a “death panel” every five years!!! Eeeeek! Get me out of here!

Is it any wonder that our ill-informed, highly anxious citizens are massing at town hall meetings yelling at their congressmen to “Tell the Government to Keep Its Hands Off of My Medicare?” Who think that a Living Will is a “Death Panel?” OMG–is our citizenry really this stupid and uninformed? Will we ever get over ourselves–and the Civil War????

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Sarah Palin is being ripped to shreds by two NYT Op-Ed columnists, first, Gail Collins in Sarah’s Straight Talk yesterday, and today in Now, Sarah’s Folly by Maureen Dowd.

Reader’s comments are closed on Sarah’s Straight Talk, but the one with the most votes is #13 and reads as follows:

Palin’s incoherence and lack of concentration are her political strengths. The segment of the electorate to which she appeals does not value intellect or eloquence. In fact, these qualities are feared because they imply a lack of faith. A person who is well educated, thoughtful, and can answer questions directly, in complete sentences, is exactly what Palin’s supporters do not want.

Comments on Now, Sarah’s Folly are not closed yet, but the most popular one so far is #14 which reads as follows:

I believe it was F. Scott Fitzgerald who wrote, “When fascism comes to America, it will come wrapped in the flag carrying a cross…we will have fascism with a happy face.”

I can’t think of anyone who embodies that prophecy better than Good ‘Ol Sarah.

Finally, Debi has come up with some great quotes in her admittedly off-topic comment #3 to my previous post on the Bouncing Boltzmann Brain. Check her out!

What more could I add? 😀 ❓

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After reading Gail Collins’ Op-Ed (see previous post) in the NYT this morning I read Bob Herbert’s Holding On to Our Humanity and should have been utterly nauseated by the horrible crimes he describes happening in Darfur. That I wasn’t shows that I have become inured to hearing about this sort of thing. What can we do about it? I feel utterly impotent to act, to know what to do. How can mankind be so vicious to its own? I don’t know where to begin on this.

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Gail Collins in her Op-Ed today goes after the middlemen who are ripping off the students and making it practically impossible for young people to get a higher education today unless they are already Super Rich.

Here’s a couple of comments on her Op-Ed that I agree with:

The mess that is our student loan program is yet another legacy of the “Government is not the solution, Government is the problem” mantra bequeathed to us by generations of Republican (and all but Republican Democrats) “free market” fanatics: The same folks who brought the private health insurance catastrophe that has made our health care system the most expensive and least effective in the world. It’s time we cut that particularly hoary old Gordian knot and started to rely upon efficient and much less expensive government programs instead of the inefficient and horrendously expensive mess that “private enterprise” has handed us.

— calyban, fairfax, california

Well said, calyban!

Hello out there. White working-class ethnic here–from family with no interest in education, and no money to provide one to any of their five children (no birth control means lots of kids and no money for most people, FYI)-but I got a college education, thanks to scholarships, my own never-ending hard work, and low-interest loans, and graduated from college in 1981.

Anyone notice that this country is destroying its future, and any idea of reasoned discourse, in the name of fundamentalist capitalism, which is no less zealous and insane than jihad and Islamofascism that the phoney “All-Americans” claim to deride?

What would be All-American: to stop subsidizing the rich by taxing the poor. Education for all. A strong base for our future.

Stop the insanity of fundamentalist capitalism now. The right wing calls Obama “socialist”? What they mean is, they are afraid that the “socialism” that benefits them–that’s called insane capitalism, folks–has been revealed for what it is. A tax on our future, socialized risk, privatized gain.

America–let’s wake up together.

— Mother, Brooklyn

Right on, Mother! Down with socialized risk and privatized gain! TAX THE RICH!

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OUTRAGE, Outrage, outrage, oUtrAge, outragE, … etc., on and on, if you watched the Jon Stewart show the last couple nights you’d hear and see this in vivid technicolor emerging in captions from the many cable networks and network news shows.

Well, give me a break!

I agree with NYT Op-Ed columnist, Gail Collins, who said in her column today, Let’s complain about Barack Obama. Why doesn’t he sound angrier? Doesn’t he understand that his job right now is to be the Great Venter?

Sure he keeps saying he’s mad. But you can tell that he secretly thinks it’s crazy to obsess about $165 million in bonuses in a company that’s still got $1.6 trillion in toxic assets to unravel. “I don’t want to quell that anger. I want to channel our anger in a constructive way,” he said on Wednesday. Everybody knows constructively channeled anger doesn’t really count. It’s like diet pizza.

OK, where are the pitchforks and torches? If Congress, the Talk Show crazies, and the American People are really that angry, instead of just enjoying themselves spouting and fulminating, how come they aren’t taking to the streets like they do in some countries, and like they often did in this country back in the last century?

The sad result of all this overwrought outrage is that the friggin Republicans will be more likely to gain the political clout to block health care reform. “You’ve got to balance the budget, you tax and spender, Obama!”, they will scream all the louder. And the outraged American public may go along with this, thus yet again railing against its own best interests and preventing a much needed reform.

UPDATE: Joe Nocera has an even better piece than than Gail Collins’ above describing not only how overwrought this outrage is but how dangerous and distracting it is: The Problem With Flogging A.I.G.. There are real problems to be solved and the retention bonuses are negligible by comparison. C’mon Congress, let’s get back into the real world before it collapses!

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