October 2, 2018

Paul Krugman defends his privilege

Gary Taustine comments in reply to Paul Krugman’s opinion piece “The Angry White Male Caucus: Trumpism is all about the fear of losing traditional privilege”:

Dear Paul,

Have you ever considered, even for a moment, that the white folks who voted for Trump are not scared of losing the fictional “privilege” of which you speak, but rather, sick and tired of being told they’re privileged as they struggle to make ends meet?

Perhaps your own wealth and privilege make you feel guilty and uncomfortable, so you’d rather ascribe your charmed life to race instead of facing the fact that you, personally, are one of the few truly privileged people in this country.

From your ivory towers you and your fellow leftist one percenters haphazardly label everyone who disagrees with you as small-minded bigots, terrified of losing advantages they’ve never known and entitlements they’ve never enjoyed, and you wonder why you lost the election.

Here in Manhattan, where a MAGA hat is a 100 percent reliable form of birth control for men, I’m sure most everyone agrees with you, but that’s the danger of living in an echo chamber. Venture outside of your bubble and you’ll find that you’re part of a jaded, uninformed minority whose views of the working class are as ignorant as they are offensive.

This is not an issue of race; the only color of privilege in America is green, and the interests of the truly privileged one percent on both sides of the aisle are well served by suggesting their advantages are enjoyed by all 62 percent of Americans lacking melanin. If they didn't pit races against one another, eventually everyone might recognize the real enemy.

Some Dude replied:

@Gary Taustine
You sound better aligned with Bernie Sanders than with Trump. How do you figure that the poster man-child for upper class greed is going to help the working class? That defies even pretzel logic.

And Gary Taustine:

@Some Dude
I'm no socialist, I'm an independent capitalist, and I don't think Trump cares any more about the working class than Rian Johnson cares about Star Wars fans, but I know that the trade deals Trump has been shredding rewarded huge corporations with massive profits for outsourcing jobs. I also know that his tax cuts greatly benefit the super-wealthy while adding to the deficit, but they help those who really needed some relief as well, and the corporate cuts have resulted in historically low unemployment.

So when I see one side rewarding the wealthy while exporting jobs and the other rewarding the wealthy while creating jobs, logic dictates going with the latter.

September 29, 2018

Memories and Stories | Cuimhní agus Scéalta

Our memories are our stories. We can construct them in the spirit of vengeance or forgiveness.

Is ár scéalta ár gcuimhní, a bhfuil iad a tógáil i ndíoltas nó i ndíolghadh.

September 8, 2018

Unhinged

From Karli Thompson, Democracy for America, 7 September:

URGENT: Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski need to hear from you IMMEDIATELY about Kavanaugh's dishonesty on Roe v. Wade. Will you take a minute to make an emergency call to their offices now?

An email leaked to the New York Times yesterday confirmed what we already suspected: Brett Kavanaugh lied when he told Susan Collins that he believes Roe v. Wade is settled law.

Not only that, but during questioning yesterday, he referred to birth control medication as "abortion-inducing drugs" -- a construction used by the far right to demonize birth control and pave the way for severe restrictions on a woman's right to regulate her own body. ...

A vote for Kavanaugh is a vote to strip women of their bodily autonomy. Period. ...

From Zephyr Teachout, 7 September:

At last night's final debate, one of our opponents took the personal and petty attacks to a new level. He took a page out of the Republican playbook and used a gendered attack against Zephyr — calling her "unhinged."

Why? Because Zephyr correctly pointed out that he voted with Wall Street lobbyists to roll back key provisions of Dodd-Frank. ...

From Ben Jealous, Democracy for America, 8 September:

On Thursday night, at his rally in Montana, Donald Trump finally did it -- he attacked me personally:

"In Maryland, the Democrat candidate for governor wants to give illegal aliens free college tuition, courtesy of the American taxpayer. Come on in, free college!"

He attacked my plan to extend tuition-free community college to all Maryland residents, including DREAMers. And he attacked it with the same hateful language he always uses -- rhetoric meant to divide us. ...

[[[[ ]]]]

Almost all of such e-mails from these and other campaigns have this tone of desperate import and apocalyptic battle. Granted, they are to people who have already expressed support for the causes, or at least the people and organizations promulgating them, but frankly, they should be a complete turn-off to anyone who has any self-respect.

The first example about Kavanaugh is a baldfaced lie. Twenty years ago, Kavanaugh wrote, as legal vetter of an opinion piece in support of one of Bush's appeals court nominees, that the statement “It is widely accepted by legal scholars across the board that Roe v. Wade and its progeny are the settled law of the land” may not be accurate. He did not say that he himself does not accept it as such. And he told Collins that he does.

Similarly, regarding his reference to "abortion-inducing drugs": In the case in question he recognized that the general requirement of the ACA to provide contraception included, indeed, "abortion-inducing drugs" (such as RU-486), which some religious groups could not accept. He also stated in the same opinion "that the government has a compelling interest in facilitating access to contraception for the employees of these religious organizations".

Regarding the second example, I have not seen or even read about the debate in question, but in fact, Dodd-Frank protected potential home-owners only by severely limiting their access to credit. Instead of facilitating families to buy homes on fair terms, Dodd-Frank turned the market over to landlord/investors. The "rollback" that was made was actually good, raising the threshold of assets for a bank to be subject to the severe restrictions of Dodd-Frank. To criticize voting for that change simply because "Wall Street lobbyists" supported it does seem rather unhinged. And it is certainly unhinged to think the adjective is "gendered". Omarosa Manigault Newman's book Unhinged is just one major example of the term's frequent use in reference to Trump.

Finally, Ben Jealous: You weren't attacked personally. Your plan to provide free community college to illegal aliens was. And it was not done with hateful language, but simply mocked on its face.

Almost all "rhetoric meant to divide us" is coming from the Democrats like this. They mischaracterize, lie, and hide behind identity politics in an obvious inability to defend their own policies or honestly criticize policies they oppose. Anything that some of them might have to offer is getting overwhelmed by their continuing derangement over Trump's election. And as long as that dominates (persecution of Trump is in fact Teachout's primary campaign promise), they can not overcome their implicit disdain for voters.

(I am sure that fundraising e-mails from other campaigns are just as bad — I get only these "progressive" ones because I donated to Bernie Sanders's primary campaign. And they rather underscore that they aren't actually very progressive, but little more than politics as usual.)

August 27, 2018

An Mhaighdean Óg

Dá mbeidh’ áitreabh agam féin
No gabháltas a’s réim,
Caoirigh breágh’ bána
Ar árd-chnoc no sléibh,
Sláinte agus méin
Agus grádh ceart d’á réir,
Bheidhinn-se ’s mo ghrádh geal
Go sáimh ann san tsaéghal.

Tá maighdean óg ’san tír
’S is réaltan eólais í,
Grian bhreágh ar bórd í
A’s togha de na mnáibh,
A cum fada breágh
’S a cúilín crathach bán
’S gach alt léi ar lúth-chrith
Ó búcla go brághaid.

Dá mbeidhinn-se ’s mo rún
Ar choill ag buain cnó
No ar thaoibh lisín aoibhinn
’S gan dídionn orrainn acht ceó,
Bheidheadh mo chroidhe-se d’á bhreóghadh
Le díogras d’á póig
’S gur b’é grádh ceart do chlaoidh mé
’S do fhíor-sgair mo shnódh.

Dá mbéidhinn-se ’s mo ghrádh
Ar thaoibh chnuic no báin
’S gan feóirling ann ár bpóca
Ná lón chum na slighe,
Bheidh’ mo shúil-se le Críost
Le ár ndóthaint gan mhoill
A’s go dtógfadh mo stór geal
An brón so de m’ chroidhe.

Dá mbéidhinn-se ’s mo ghrádh
Cois taoide no tráigh
’S gan aon neach beó ’nn ár dtimchioll
An oidhche fhada, ’s lá,
Do bhéidhinn-se ag cómhrádh
Le Neilidh an chúil bháin
Is liom-sa ’budh h-aoibhinn
Bheith ag coímhdeacht mo ghrádh.

 

If I had a home of my own
Or a holding and position,
Fine white sheep
On a high hill or mountain,
Health in body and mind
And love in turn,
Myself and my bright love
Would live there peacefully.

There is a young maiden in the land
And she is a star of knowledge,
A splendid sun at table
And a pick among women,
Her long lovely form
And her waving fair hair
And her every joint aquiver with life
From buckles to breast.

If myself and my sweetheart
Were gathering nuts in the wood
Or beside a pleasant little rath
And nothing sheltering us but mist,
My heart would be sick
With passion for her kiss,
Such love would destroy me
And scatter my composure.

If myself and my love
Were beside hill or moor,
No farthing in our pocket,
No food for the way,
My hope would be with Christ
For our provision soon
And that my bright treasure
Would take this sorrow from my heart.

If myself and my love
Were beside tide or strand
With no one alive around,
The long night and a day
I would be talking
With Nelly of the fair hair,
My own pleasure won
To be with my love.

from Abhráin Grádh Chúige Connacht, Douglas Hyde (1893);
revised translation by Eric Rosenbloom (2018)

Tune by Eric Rosenbloom:

Dá dTéidhinn-se Siar

Dá dtéidhinn-se siar is aniar ni thiucfainn,
Air an g-cnoc do b’áirde is air a sheasfainn,
’S í an chraobh chúmhartha is túisge bhainfinn
’Gus ’s é mo ghrádh féin ar luaithe leanfainn.

Tá mo chroidhe chomh dubh le áirne,
Ná le gual dubh dhoighfidhe i g-ceartaidh,
Le bonn bróige air hállaidhibh bána,
’S tá lionndubh mór os cionn mo gháire.

Tá mo chroidhe-se brúighte briste,
Mar leac-oidhre air uachtar uisge,
Mar bheidh’ cnuasach cnó léist a mbriste,
Ná maighdean óg léis a pósta.

Tá mo ghhrádh-s’ air dhath na sméara,
’S air dhath na súgh-craobh, lá breágh gréine,
Air dhath na bhfraochóg budh duibhe an tsléibhe,
’Gus is minic bhí ceann dubh air chollainn glégil.

Is mithid damh-s’ an baile seó fhágbháil,
Is geur an chloch ’gus is fuar an láib ann,
Is ann a fuaireas guth gan éadáil,
Agus focal trom ó lucht an bhiodáin.

Fuagraim an grádh, is mairg do thug é
Do mhac na mná úd, ariamh nár thuig é,
Mo chroidhe ann mo lár gur fhágbhuidh sé dubh é,
’S ni fheicim air an tsráid ná i n-áit air bith é.

 

Were it me going west, from the west I’d not return—
On the highest hill, there I’d stand,
And the first fragrant branch I’d pick,
My own love that I’d quickly follow.

My heart is as black as sloe,
As black coal burned in a forge,
As bootsoles dirtying white floors,
And a deep melancholy over my smile.

My heart indeed is bruised and broken,
Like an ice-sheet on water,
Like gathered nuts are after cracking,
As a young maid after marrying.

My love the color of blackberries,
The color of raspberries a fine sunny day,
The color of black mountain heath-berries—
There was often a black head on a pure body.

It’s time for myself to leave this town,
Where the stone is hard and the mud is cold,
Where there is song without profit,
And a heavy word from the chattering mob.

I warn of love, and woe to who gave it
To yon woman’s son, who never understood it,
My heart in my stomach, where he left it black,
And I don’t see him on the street or anyplace at all.

from Abhráin Grádh Chúige Connacht, Douglas Hyde (1893);
revised translation by Eric Rosenbloom (2018)

can be sung to the tune of “Scarborough Fair”

August 17, 2018

“Much of the news media is indeed the enemy of the people.”

Comments to The Commons (Brattleboro, Vt.) editorial, August 15, 2018:

Ruby Bode comments...

Yet what press operations have been “reined in and silenced”? Facebook increasingly closes down TeleSur and Venezuela Analysis, and Alex Jones and InfoWars have been shut down in a concerted action by Itunes, Youtube, Spotify, and Facebook. Many other conservative broadcasters have been removed from or “shadow-banned” by Twitter and demonetized by Youtube. It is not the President’s critics being silenced, but his supporters, along with critics of American “liberal” imperialism.

Yet this editorial ignores all that and continues to wallow in the demonization of Trump that has appeared to be the mission of most of the press since election day 2016, not in the interest of “comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable” (where was that rabid sense of mission during Obama’s administration and Clinton’s campaign? where will it be when Trump’s terms are done?), but in what can only be called a naked antagonism to the results of an election. …

Ruby Bode continues...

… The advice to “think about and read your news critically” in fact provides good reason to distrust much of the press. The criticism of Trump “blaming the messenger” applies just as aptly to this editorial. Indeed, it closes in neo–John Birch Society fashion, “without the slightest hint of shame”, by evoking “a foreign hand”. The same brand of “incendiary rhetoric” – even the prurient obsession with prostitutes – was prominent against President Kennedy in 1963.

Jane Palmer replies...

Trump is not consistent in his criticism of the press. He only attacks the ones that don’t agree with him.

Ruby Bode replies...

And the only outlets that have been “reined in and silenced” are those who support the President (Infowars has been shut down in a coordinated move at Youtube, Facebook, Itunes, and Spotify, and many “conservative” Twitter users are repeatedly banned or “shadowbanned”), along with critics of “liberal” imperialism (Telesur and Venezuela Analysis have been repeatedly shut down on Facebook).

Ruby Bode further replies...

Also, Jane Palmer’s comment belies the premise behind this editorial. Trump is in fact consistent: He attacks those who unfairly attack him. His use of the broad terms “press” and “people” are the rhetorical exaggerations he is known for. Some press outlets are against some of the people, against those who voted for Trump and the increasing numbers who think he should be given a chance. And by agitating for his removal with John Birch Society–inspired hysteria, they are against our democracy itself.

TB Smith says...

The divisiveness brought on by this shamefully poor excuse for a president has been once again, borne out by this article, and the responses to it .. his most devoted followers are the most gullible and easily swayed sheeple since the “Kool-Aid party in Jonestown” ... those who stand up the most fervently to this dictator “wannabe”, will , in the end, see him and the fellow purveyors of his garbage rhetoric like FOX News, Alex Jones, Breitbart, etc., crumble and be dumped like stale crackers (pardon the pun) .. we must impeach this tyrant before too much damage is done, either from within or outside our borders.

Ruby Bode replies...

So it’s OK that access to outlets that simply recognize Trump as President is indeed being shut down? But isn’t that exactly what this editorial is against? Should outlets that cheered on Obama’s wars and love of Wall St have likewise been shut down? Only John Birch Society–inspired screeds against Trump indicate the “legitimate” press?

Ruby Bode replies again...

TB Smith’s comment in apparent support of the us-vs-them tone of this editorial illustrates why so many people distrust so much of the press (although, again, it appears to be only pro-Trump and anti-imperialist outlets that are actually being shut down): They are promulgating hysterical claims about fascism, Russians, and “crackers” not in the interest of the people, but wholly on behalf of the neoliberal/neoconservative program of Reagan, Clinton, Bush, and Obama to deny Trump the Presidency and even remove him from office – not democratically, but by coup if necessary. That makes the press rather anti-democratic and, indeed, against the people.

banar Singleton says...

Spot on...thank you for challenging those who would blanketly dismiss your opinion/facts to do their own “facts checking”. Unfortunately I fear many if not most of these sheep will be lead to slaughter thinking that they are going to the trough.
a day ago

Ruby Bode replies...

Since when does the press get a free pass? Remember the Maine? The mainstream press has always been promoting the agendas of the powerful, the parties of war and Wall St. Not questioning the criticism of President Trump (particularly as it is rarely about actual policy and is so often in apocalyptic tones) is no more responsible than not questioning the voices of support.

Bev Matias says...

Thank you for your efforts to disseminate the news of the day and resist the hate-filled and deceitful rhetoric of this administration. I cannot believe, still, in this country that it is necessary for the press and regular citizens to defend themselves. Only one quarter or less of the citizens believe a word he says yet you are forced to defend yourselves because his speech is so incendiary. The press is now officially our last line of defense.

Ruby Bode replies...

Last line of defense against what, exactly? Having to live with the results of a democratic election?

Judith Skillman says...

Excellent and informative writing about the media and about the state of our nation. We must support the press speak truth to power, now more than ever before.

Ruby Bode replies...

We are also obliged to criticize the press when they merely echo the lies of the powerful. In this case, much of the press has taken a side, not just against the policies of the President, but against the election itself on behalf of the parties of war and Wall St. Just as the US has in the past agitated in other countries for coups against democratic outcomes they don’t like, much of the press, including this editorial, is now agitating for a coup here at home.

See: “Press and editorial wallow in demonization of Donald Trump”, September 12.

June 9, 2018

FEAR etc.

Fear, m., a man

Féar, m., grass

Fear, v. tr., pour out, rain, give forth, send, grant, bestow

Fearthainn, f., rain; tá sé ag cur fearthainne, it is raining

Fearb, f. a welt, a stripe; a blotch caused by a satire, etc.; a groove, a notch; the notch-end, scroll or peg-box of a violin; al. “beaded edge or caiseal of a fiddle” (Car.); al. a dish or trencher; d’fhéach mé ar a feirb, I looked at the peg-box; bhí poll ar a feirb, the scroll was perforated; al. a word (Lat. verbum); al. fearb, feirbh.

Fearb, f., a doe or dear

Fearg, f., anger, wrath, fury

Fearn, f., the alder tree; alder timber; ... the letter F; al. a shield.

Fearr, a., comp. of maith; better, best ...

Fearsa, m., a verse

Fearsach, -saighe, a., full of small ridges as a strand (O’R.).

Fearsaid, f., a shaft; a spindle; the ulna of the arm (f. na láimhe), the fibula of the leg (f. na coise), a club

Feart, m., virtue, power, force, strength, efficacy, desert, merit, expedient; heed; a miracle, a prodigy

Feart, m., a grave, a tomb, a vault; a trench.