erik lundegaard

Politics posts

Tuesday March 19, 2013

Email to Jake: March 9, 2003

I sent this email to a group of friends on March 9, 2003:

Anyone been reading about the celebrity commercial wars? Martin Sheen & Co.? Liberal media articles mocking liberals. “Those know-nothing celebrities know nothing” is the gist. I've yet to hear much about the conservative response, led by former U.S. Sen. Fred Thompson, who, in his commerical (which I haven't seen), says the following in support of a possible war with Iraq:

When people ask, “What has Saddam done to us?” I ask, “What had the 9-11 hijackers done to us before 9-11?”

 So true! We're all guilty until proven invaded.

Jake responded. Same day:

Amen Erik.

The conservatives, whose recent ascendance was led by a B-movie actor turned president, have no business complaining about “know nothing celebrities.” Same for the liberal media complaining about fellow liberals. The reason the actors are making such noise about the war has a lot to do with the shameful absence of noise coming from the democrats in Congress. My senator Hillary Clinton, for her part, went out of her way last week to reaffirm her support of Bush's war plans.

And the fact that the media themselves accept the myth of the liberal media only tilts their coverage further to the right. According to polls, a majority of Americans believe Saddam was a 9/11 co-conspirator. No evidence has been produced, but who needs evidence when a steady barrage of slanted coverage will do?

Apologies that we were all so, so right, and the others were all so, so wrong.

Posted at 07:17 PM on Mar 19, 2013 in category Politics
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Email to Elin: March 2003

I sent this to my friend Elin in 2003....

How goes the war on your front? Here it's the same. The majority still favor Pres. Bush but Americans tend to rally round the president, any president, in times like these - even when we create times like these. Things will change if the war goes on too long, we create too many enemies (as we're doing), and the U.S. economy stagnates. Came across an appropriate JFK quote this morning from 1961: “The United States is neither omnipotent nor omniscient... We are only six percent of the world's population; we can't impose our will upon the other 94 percent of mankind.” Meanwhile the latest New Yorker magazine brings articles on our television coverage of the war (bordering on propaganda), W.'s lack of humility in his person or rhetoric, how the U.S. diplomatic community is viewing the war (scary line from a moderate on what's wrong with Europe: “What they're doing is listening to their public opinion, rather than leading it.”), and an article on the documents relating to Iraq's supposed nuclear program which helped pave the way for this war - even though, it turns out, they were forged. Not good. Most of my friends are against the war but then they're my friends.

Posted at 06:49 PM on Mar 19, 2013 in category Politics
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Saturday March 16, 2013

Sarah Palin, Big Gulp, and Freedom in America

Apparently Sarah Palin showed up at CPAC today and talked guns and gun racks, and took swipes at both Mitt Romney and Pres. Obama, and then, for the coup de grace, and displaying all of her wit, brought out a Big Gulp and took a sip.

Sarah Palin and the Big Gulp 

The use of right-wing food props immediately reminded me of Greg Stillson, the politician on a road to the presidency (and nuclear destruction) in Stephen King's 1979 novel, “The Dead Zone,” who, with a U.S. decal on his hard hat, threw hot dogs to the enthusastic crowds at his rallies:

“Hot dogs for every man, woman and child in America! And when you put Greg Stillson in the House of Representatives, you gonna say HOT DOG! SOMEONE GIVES A RIP AT LAST!”

I'm not the first to make the Palin/Stillson connection, either. “Around my house,” Mr. King told Salon.com in 2008, “we kinda laugh when Sarah Palin comes on TV, and we say, 'That's Greg Stillson as a woman.'”

The 32-oz. Big Gulp, in case you missed it, is a swipe at NYC's Mayor Bloomberg, who has attempted to limit, in restaurants and theaters, and for health reasons, the size of sugary drinks to 16 ounces or less. Jon Stewart among others has objected. I believe Stewart used the same prop as Palin. Is this the first thing the two have ever agreed on? Expect a mash-up.

Besides, didn't a judge strike down the Mayor's initiative earlier this week? But Palin wasn't going to give up a good prop when she had one.

Here's the bigger point. Yesterday, before a movie at Regal Cinemas in downtown Seattle, I got unaccountably thirsty and went to the refreshment stand to buy a soda. I just wanted a little, not much.

Me: What's the smallest soda you have?
Underpaid Regal employee: 32 ounces.

That's the small. But the employee was nice enough to sell me the kids' size, which is a mere 16 ounces. Which is still about twice what I wanted.

But that's freedom in America. You have the freedom to buy whatever the corporation is selling—for whatever reason it wants to sell it that way—without interference from the government.

Bottoms up.

Posted at 03:32 PM on Mar 16, 2013 in category Politics
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Monday March 04, 2013

Moynihan's 1967 Warning to Democrats Now Applies to Republicans

I've long contended that the radicalism of the left during the 1960s is now the province of the radical right. Whereas the left used to attack the judicial system (as unfair) and the education system (as creating “citizens” rather than “individuals”), the right now attacks both for different reasons. Judges are activists, teachers are de-incentivized unionized members. To give two examples.

I thought of this shift again while reading Rick Perlstein's “Nixonland” yesterday afternoon. On pg. 395, Perlstein quotes Daniel Patrick Moynihan, a Democrat but beloved by Nixon and the right, in a speech that became known as “The Politics of Stability.” This is what Moynihan said in 1967:

Liberals [must] see more clearly that their interest is in the stability of the social order, and that given the threats to that stability, it is necessary to make more effective alliances with politcal conservatives who share that concern, and who recognize that unyielding rigidity is just as much a threat to the continuity of things as is an anarchic desire for change.

All you have to do is underline these words:

Liberals [must] see more clearly that their interest is in the stability of the social order, and that given the threats to that stability, it is necessary to make more effective alliances with politcal conservatives who share that concern, and who recognize that unyielding rigidity is just as much a threat to the continuity of things as is an anarchic desire for change.

And substitute:

The far right [must] see more clearly that their interest is in the stability of the social order, and that given the threats to that stability, it is necessary to make more effective alliances with politcal moderates who share that concern, and who recognize that unyielding rigidity is just as much a threat to the continuity of things as is an anarchic desire for change.

See: Fiscal Cliff, Sequestration, Obamacare, pretty much anything that's been debated in Congress since Jan. 2009.

Eric Cantor and the Tea Party Right-Wing undermining the politics of stability

Eric Cantor and the Tea Party practice the politics of instability.

Posted at 08:08 AM on Mar 04, 2013 in category Politics
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Saturday March 02, 2013

America Held Hostage

I seem to get my best reading done now at 2 AM when I wake up and can't get back to sleep. That's my silver linings playbook.

Last night, this morning, I read the following in Rick Perlstein's “Nixonland.” It's about the gathering of power and paranoia by both Nixon and Kissinger during the first 100 days of their time in the White House in 1969:

Senator McGovern, with a former college professor's faith in the power of reason and dialogue, had gone to the White House to meet Henry Kissinger and suggest a plan [to end the war in Vietnam]: since our involvement was a disaster and a mistake, couldn't Nixon just say that his predecessors Kennedy and Johnson had comitted troops in good faith, but events had shown that commitment was no longer consistent with the national interest? Kissinger allowed that the war was a mistake. But he said America couldn't pull out because the right wing would go crazy: “We couldn't govern the country.”

And that, America, is why you can't have nice things. Because the right wing would go crazy.

Posted at 09:46 AM on Mar 02, 2013 in category Politics
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