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Leonard Pitts (Miami Herald) on denialism. Sound familiar to anyone?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
post #2 of 10
You see, like me, she can remember a time when facts settled arguments. This is back before everything became a partisan shouting match, back before it was permissible to ignore or deride as "biased" anything that didn't support your worldview.

If you and I had an argument and I produced facts from an authoritative source to back me up, you couldn't just blow that off. You might try to undermine my facts, might counter with facts of your own, but you couldn't just pretend my facts had no weight or meaning.

But that's the intellectual state of the union these days, as evidenced by all the people who still don't believe the president was born in Hawaii or that the planet is warming.

{...}

To listen to talk radio, to watch TV pundits, to read a newspaper's online message board, is to realize that increasingly, we are a people estranged from critical thinking, divorced from logic, alienated from even objective truth. We admit no ideas that do not confirm us, hear no voices that do not echo us, sift out all information that does not validate what we wish to believe.

I submit that any people thus handicapped sow the seeds of their own decline; they respond to the world as they wish it were rather to the world as it is. That's the story of the Iraq war.

But objective reality does not change because you refuse to accept it. The fact that you refuse to acknowledge a wall does not change the fact that it's a wall.

And you shouldn't have to hit it to find that out.



Bingo!  Well said.
post #3 of 10
'You see, like me, she can remember a time when facts settled arguments. This is back before everything became a partisan shouting match, back before it was permissible to ignore or deride as "biased" anything that didn't support your worldview.'

The writer is missing 'the good old days' that probably never existed. As İ read bits of history the lament in italics could come from many different eras and sides.

The internet has not helped this at all - too easy for fools of all persuasions to go online and be somebody with an opinion.

Now, to be someone with intelligence, knowledge and an opinion is really quite rare. Probably 99% of posts that would classify as opinion are part or total BS.

İ have long said that even the US electorate does not really have the education level necessary to understand the issues and vote in an election. This hasn't changed all that much since the 1700's when the constitution was written and the first elections were held. İt is far worse in what is referred to as 'the worlds largest democracy', İndia. There, the great majority make their mark on a ballot beside a party symbol as they are not able to read or write.

This applies equally to both extremes of the political/environmental spectrum. Today, bi-partisan seems to mean that the Republicans must sign off on the Democrats bills. İt don't work that way - bi-partisan means writing the bills from the start with all parties being considered.

İt would be nice to have a few more politicians in national office who don't read the polls every morning but actually have beliefs. At this moment İ can think of very few and they are spread out across the full range of beliefs. 
Edited by Russ - 2/21/10 at 11:13pm
post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
This applies equally to both extremes of the political/environmental spectrum. Today, bi-partisan seems to mean that the Republicans must sign off on the Democrats bills. İt don't work that way - bi-partisan means writing the bills from the start with all parties being considered.
 

In a political context, "bi-partisan" is just a polite way of saying "monied and corporate interests have to be given equal if not greater consideration than the greater good of the vast majority of the population."  I see no reason to continue that charade unless you are part of the former group.  The only reason we even believe there is such a thing as bi-partisanship is because the right-wing is so effective at convincing stupid people that monied and corporate interests give a damn about the greater good for anyone but themselves. 
post #5 of 10
Hi gcnp58 -  Sorry but İ still do not see much of a difference between a right wing or left wing demagogues. Both parties have their share of fools!

Until the administration moves to the center a bit more nothing of consequence is going to pass it looks like. Someone once said 'politics is the art of the possible'. Right now they are working in never-never land.

Please don't try to convince me that the more liberal democrats (say Pelosi) are not just as doctrinaire as many of the republicans. There are special cases such as Bunning that qualify for straight jackets for sure. 
post #6 of 10
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Originally Posted by Russ View Post

Hi gcnp58 -  Sorry but İ still do not see much of a difference between a right wing or left wing demagogues. Both parties have their share of fools!

Until the administration moves to the center a bit more nothing of consequence is going to pass it looks like. Someone once said 'politics is the art of the possible'. Right now they are working in never-never land.

Please don't try to convince me that the more liberal democrats (say Pelosi) are not just as doctrinaire as many of the republicans. There are special cases such as Bunning that qualify for straight jackets for sure.
 

The current political spectrum in the U.S. is slanted so far towards conservatism that this conversation borders on insane:  Pelosi only looks like a liberal to you because you, like so many others, are perfectly content to let the right-wing media tell you what a liberal should look like.  The health care proposals, for instance, are so tepid that they do nothing, and the only reason the Republicans are blocking them is to make the Democrats look bad since they have no real valid policy objections (and Republicans themselves proposed many key points not so many years past (I suspect the Democrats could adopt every single plank in the RNC platform, and the Republicans would still block that legislation, and you would still moan over the problem being that the Democrats were too liberal, because that's what every mainstream political commentator like David Broder was saying)).  In that sense, by my definition above Congress already got bi-partisan agreement in that nothing that has been proposed will make a real difference to people earning a living wage, but will protect a majority of the profits made by the insurance industry.  That you think the administration needs to move more to the "center" only shows how effective the right-wing media is in framing the debate, and how willing people are to ignore reality for something more convenient so long as they can see that their immediate self-interests are not threatened (putting this into the context of this particular forum, this is also the same reason why meaningful controls on CO2 emissions will be impossible). 

So you tell me, why do you think corporate profits should be protected above the interests of the majority of the people and why you think it is too liberal an idea to consider that people ought not to profit from providing health care?  Pelosi sure doesn't think that, but hey, maybe my definition of what a liberal should be is too skewed from reading Krugman and true socialists like Michael Aberti. 
post #7 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Russ View Post

Until the administration moves to the center a bit more nothing of consequence is going to pass it looks like. Someone once said 'politics is the art of the possible'. Right now they are working in never-never land.
 


I agree with gcnp on this one.  The Obama Administration has been extremely moderate thus far.  The health care reform bill is about as centrist as you can get.  There's not even a public option in there anymore.  Most economists agree the stimulus bill was too small, as another example.

It's sad that the Republican Party's obstructionist strategy has worked.  They're basically trying to make the administration (and America) fail so they can say "see, Democrats failed!" and win the upcoming elections.  So they vote against everything, no matter how centrist to make it seem like the proposals are just too darn liberal.  Then when they succeed in obstructing everything, everyone says Obama is too liberal and needs to move to the center.  It's insane.  Their tactics are so transparent and still people can't see through them.

I mean the stimulus was what, one-third tax cuts?  And almost no Republicans voted for it.  70-80% of Americans support the new jobs bill, and all of 5 Republicans in the Senate voted for it, and then probably only because Scott Brown led the way.  If he hadn't been elected, the jobs bill may very well have gotten zero Republican votes once again.

If anything the administration is far too centrist.  They've pursued a strategy of bipartisanship in an environment where bipartisanship is impossible, because Republicans vote as a block against everything in order to obstruct progress and play the blame game.  Yet people think the administration is too liberal.  It's nuts.
post #8 of 10
Always good to blame someone else for problems! Up until recently the Democrats had full control of both houses and could not manage to pass much legislation due to internal divisions (nothing to do with bi-partisan in many cases). Now they need to blame it on the Republicans (which are also a bunch of useless twits). Even today the Democratic party is far more conservative than much of the leaderships agenda is.

Obama is reaping what he sowed to some extent. During the campaign he was everything to everyone. İmpossible to maintain that when in office. İ was just reading how environmental groups are starting to give up on Obama. One because of the presidents backing for nuclear power. That fellow is being silly as nuclear will certainly be a part of the power mix for a long time to come.
 
The stimulus was a political pork pie - nothing more. How much is still waiting to be spent? Unspent stimulus funds at this point is time is really sad. 

İf you can't see the left wing demagogues in action then not much İ can say except that you are being blind.  

Whether the administration is too far left or too much in the center they certainly are managing to not get much done - that is the bottom line.
post #9 of 10
Well we certainly don't see eye to eye on this subject Russ, whether it's me who's blind or it's you.

The stimulus was political pork pie?  The stimulus funded countless programs which averted a potential economic depression.

You're blaming the Obama Administration for the Democrats' failure to get things done.  I'll grant you that Obama should have shown more leadership and taken an active role instead of "leaving the legislation to legislators".  Of course that has nothing whatsoever to do with being leftist or centrist. 

Democrats have a wide range of views from moderate to liberal.  It's very hard to get every single Democrat on board with any meaningful legislation.  Senators like Nelson and Lincoln come from Republican-leaning states and have to remain very moderate or risk losing their jobs.  Other Democratic senators come from liberal states and are expected to pursue progressive legislation.

Republicans have long been successful at getting their politicians to vote as a block, and Democrats have always struggled with this.  And the problem with the current politically partisan nature of our government is that if the party doesn't vote as a block, nothing gets done because you know 100% of Republicans are going to vote against most legislation.  As I said, they want America to fail so they can blame Democrats.

To blame the Obama Administration for failing to get Democrats to vote in line is rather unfair.  To claim the failure is because Obama hasn't been sufficiently centrist is simply illogical and incorrect.

As for environmental groups, I haven't heard of a single one which has 'given up on Obama'.  To do so would be rather stupid, since he's the most eco-friendly president in US history to this point.
post #10 of 10
İ do agree that Obama is better for the environment than anyone else in history. As you point out - we will disagree on some points in the political area.

On stimulus money - anything not yet spent isn't helping and last İ read approximately 50% is yet to be spent. İ am all for stimulus - İ just think the politicians (all of them minus a very few) have done an exceedingly poor job of stimulating.

İ really hope Scott Brown and others to be elected this fall can manage to break the mold. Whether he has the brains and strength to do so is to be seen. İt would be far better to have term limits for all senators and congressmen than to allow the old goats to build their empires in Washington as they do at present.

One part İ have trouble understanding though is the feeling that the Republicans have to try to help Obama pass the Democratic version since the Democrats are a diverse group and can't hold together. Maybe tell Phil Jackson that Kobe has to play for the other team part of the time to make things more even? İf the Harry & Nancy show can't get it done then they should get a couple of new people in their places.

1. An article from the NYT  http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/18/science/earth/18enviros.html?ref=earth

Environmental Advocates Are Cooling on Obama: WASHINGTON — There has been no more reliable cheerleader forPresident Obama’s energy and climate change policies than Daniel J. Weiss of the left-leaning Center for American Progress


2. Erich Pica, president of Friends of the Earth, whose political arm endorsed Mr. Obama’s candidacy for president, said that Mr. Obama’s recent policy emphasis amounted to “unilateral disarmament.”

“We were hopeful last year; he was saying all the right things,” Mr. Pica said. “But now he has become a full-blown nuclear power proponent, a startling change over the last few months.”
Edited by Russ - 2/25/10 at 4:08am
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