the left

Train wreck

A few posts ago, we linked to a publication, Rich States, Poor States, from ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council—a 40-year-old organization described as a "creepy right-wing group" by no less a sterling source of information than...Gawker.

ALEC is about—gasp!—"limited government, free markets, federalism." So it isn't any wonder that the left, especially in 2012, is boycotting ALEC.

It becomes particularly clear why there's so much ginned-up outrage over ALEC when you take a look at their most recent release: Economy Derailed: State-By-State Impacts Of The EPA Regulatory Train Wreck.

To be sure, it's not all bad news. At

For the past 42 years, Earth Day has been used to draw attention to environmental issues. In honor of Earth Day 2012, ALEC has released Economy Derailed: State-by-State Impacts of the EPA Regulatory Train Wreck celebrating the true story of America’s clean air and water successes by highlighting improvements in environmental quality over the past three decades...


...Economy Derailed also exposes the risks posed by the EPA’s recent regulatory onslaught. This excessive regulatory campaign has little to do with public health yet will have an immense impact on American quality of life.

“Economy Derailed” reveals that numerous EPA regulations are causing the shutdown of power plants across the nation, destroying jobs, raising energy costs, and decreasing reliability of electricity...
But as ALEC knows, one must never cross environmental extremists and their allies in their headlong rush to the Utopia train station.
And one must never, never point out that something is rotten in the state of Denmark, particularly when the stench threatens to overwhelm the re-election efforts of the most left-wing President in our history.
h/t's to Jim and to Ruth Ann at As A Mom

Attack of those paragons of civility and tolerance...


...cowardly leftists.  

But first:

...What the liberal mind is passionate about is a world filled with pity, sorrow, neediness, misfortune, poverty, suspicion, mistrust, anger, exploitation, discrimination, victimization, alienation and injustice. Those who occupy this world are “workers,” “minorities,” “the little guy,” “women,” and the “unemployed.” They are poor, weak, sick, wronged, cheated, oppressed, disenfranchised, exploited and victimized. They bear no responsibility for their problems. None of their agonies are attributable to faults or failings of their own: not to poor choices, bad habits, faulty judgment, wishful thinking, lack of ambition, low frustration tolerance, mental illness or defects in character. None of the victims’ plight is caused by failure to plan for the future or learn from experience. Instead, the “root causes” of all this pain lie in faulty social conditions: poverty, disease, war, ignorance, unemployment, racial prejudice, ethnic and gender discrimination, modern technology, capitalism, globalization and imperialism. In the radical liberal mind, this suffering is inflicted on the innocent by various predators and persecutors: “Big Business,” “Big Corporations,” “greedy capitalists,” U.S. Imperialists,” “the oppressors,” “the rich,” “the wealthy,” “the powerful” and “the selfish.”
The liberal cure for this endless malaise is a very large authoritarian government that regulates and manages society through a cradle to grave agenda of redistributive caretaking. It is a government everywhere doing everything for everyone. The liberal motto is “In Government We Trust.” To rescue the people from their troubled lives, the agenda recommends denial of personal responsibility, encourages self-pity and other-pity, fosters government dependency, promotes sexual indulgence, rationalizes violence, excuses financial obligation, justifies theft, ignores rudeness...
Written today?  No, over five years the whole thing.
And speaking of rudeness (to put it mildly) the Lonely Conservative, based in Onondaga County—language warning:
None of you have seen the vile comments left on this site day in and day out for weeks now. I send them to the dustbin of spam. But before doing so, I thought I’d start saving them for posterity, to remind me of the sort of disgusting, deranged, despicable and rotten people that walk among us. This is the civility of the left.
...This is the left. This is how they operate. Peggy Noonan was on to something when she wrote about the debasement of our culture, but she didn’t know the half of it...
And then, from late February, there's a rant at the Daily Kos (h/t Chrissy) imaginatively entitled, "Murdering, Lying, Thieving, Rat-F*** Republican Pieces of Sub-Amphibian Sh**..."
I could go on but you get the idea.
We toothless, shoeless, hillbillies here at Redneck Mansion hear a lot about how "uncivil" those on the right are. Hmmmm....
Of course, we know that the charmers noted above are not necessarily representative of the left as a whole. Nevertheless, in the interests of civil discourse, maybe y'all might want to rein in your

As we say in American English: WTF?

Astonishing. From Dr. Britt Minshall, " author of several books and a speaker on societal behaviors impacting politics, religion and wealth....He is also a former Security Agency operator and INTERPOL Officer. His police career was compromised when he became a Freedom Rider in the mid- sixties," writing in the UK Progressive:

For God’s Sake – The Diner Wars
...the money-profit, bunch hangs out at the Queen’s Diner, where owner John Boulous pontificates against the “do gooders” claiming he and his land owner groupies are losing fortunes in gas revenue. The Community Cafe (ironic name) is loaded with town folk, supporting the ban in favor of the environment and the peaceful community of the small town....
....Framed in Red, Queen’s Diner and their customers see life as money, profit, self interest and the accumulation of wealth. Plated on blue, the Community Cafe and its customers see life as moderation in wants, good air and water, sharing with others in fellowship, peace of mind and love of place....
Read the whole thing.  You'll be amazed...not only because the place is the Queen Diner, but also because the Community Cafe is a progressive clubhouse subsidized with Dryden taxpayer money while the Queen Diner (along with other privately-owned eateries in town) has to stand on its own two feet and has for years, thank you very much. So the juxtaposition of the two was appropriate in ways that the author of this screed couldn't have imagined. 
The author, as you have no doubt surmised, is an American Tory; the online progressive publication is British.
To misquote a certain First Lady, for the first time in my adult life I fully understand why we fought a War of Independence. 
Pip, pip, cheerio and all that.

Free radicals

Here at Redneck Mansion, there's always been a lot of haggling over definitions.  You know, like "It depends on what the meaning of the word 'is' is."  Or, "What does 'deficit' mean?"

Here's an interesting radical: an atom or group of atoms that has at least one unpaired electron and is therefore unstable and highly reactive. Free radicals can damage cells and are believed to accelerate the progression of cancer and cardiovascular and other diseases.
Hmmmm...hold that thought....
With respect to the Anschutz case...the Dryden town board are true believers when it comes to energy development (or more precisely, the lack of it) and probably only talk to fellow true believers.  It's likely that they and their supporters agree as to the strength of their case.
Or maybe they're just whistling past the graveyard.  Hard to say.
Town counsel, who gave his imprimatur to the ban language written by a board member, also an attorney (Shakespeare: "The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers.") may be at least somewhat excused for perhaps telling the board what they wanted to hear—after all, counsel is there at the sufferance of the board who effectively sign his paychecks.  
Since counsel is now getting paid to defend his legal reputation, he wins even if he loses....and the taxpayers get screwed no matter what happens.
Did the town board seek an independent, unbiased opinion as to the legal "niceties" and their chances of winning a lawsuit in this matter?  Apparently not, but it would have been wise since everyone involved—board members and counsel—was prejudiced.  Before spending $150K, investing $5K to get an unbiased presentation would have been the better and more reasonable course.
But it doesn't seem to have crossed their minds.  Naïveté...or arrogance...or something else?
If a private social services agency, say, faced a potential $150K lawsuit, it would tread very carefully indeed.  The possibility of ending up on the losing end after expending $150K of precious resources would loom large and might act as a deterrent to inviting such a suit. 
But what's $150K of taxpayer money?—there's always more where that came from.
Most importantly, though, defending leftist principles trumps everything else.
Words matter and language is important. The people defending those leftist principles, not just in Dryden but throughout Tompkins County and beyond, are way, way, way left of merely "liberal."  We should start changing the language we use to reflect that.  We could call them "progressives" (a historically correct term) or "leftists" or...something that more accurately reflects their really radical nature.  Wait—maybe that's it. Radicals...unstable, reactive, damaging.  They want to fundamentally change this country right down to the local, town level, something old-style "liberals" wouldn't have dreamed of.
And in context, the above quote from Shakespeare is even more apt:

God save your majesty!

I thank you, good people—there shall be no money; all shall eat
and drink on my score, and I will apparel them all in one livery,
that they may agree like brothers, and worship me their lord.

The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers.

Nay, that I mean to do.

Henry The Sixth, Part 2 Act 4, scene 2, 71–78

Look up Jack Cade.  Once the demagoguery begins, things never end well.
(more than a h/t: co-authored with TR)

Occam's razor

Fred Wilcox's op-ed piece in today's Ithaca Journal headed, "Time to 'take back America' from Tea Party" (definitely read the comments, too) reminded me to take another look at the program for the Left Forum, which "convenes the largest annual conference of a broad spectrum of left and progressive intellectuals, activists, academics, organizations and the interested share ideas for understanding and transforming the world." Their annual conference was held this past weekend in NYC:

Got it?

There were eight panels that in one way or another touched on the Tea Party movement. From some panel abstracts:

...The economic distress of the last two years,in theory, created the perfect storm for a left-wing revival. Instead, the corporate subsidized, right-wing populist Tea Party has tapped into anti-establishment sentiment throughout the country...

...Socialism has returned as a topic of intense interest in American political rhetoric via Palin, Beck, and the Tea Party, but these redbaiters seem remarkably unaware of the actual history of socialist influence over American politics...

...With the electoral system dominated by two corporate-funded parties and workplace organizing nearly impossible, most working people are inactive or drawn to right-wing movements like the Tea Party...

...The panel will the U.S., the Tea Party and the radicalization of the middle class in the crisis of neo-liberal capitalism...

Three of the eight panels dealt exclusively with the Tea Party: "Learning from the Tea Party," "The Tea Party and the Media," and one that Professor Wilcox would have found especially helpful, "Understanding and Responding to the Tea Party Threat"

“Popular Resentment Abhors a Left Vacuum: Understanding and Responding to the Tea Party Threat" will examine a number of interrelated questions:...* How severe is the threat to democracy, social justice, and livable ecology posed by the Tea Party? What are the future prospects of the Tea Party? * How should left progressives respond to the Tea Party phenomenon and the broader threat posed by the resurgent right in the Age of Obama?

Is that like the Age of Aquarius?  Good grief.
In case you think this is all just silly "proletariat v. bourgeoisie" yada yada, think again:
D.S.A. organizes Left Forum - which used to be called the Socialist Scholars Conference. That's right, the same socialist conferences that  D.S.A.'s old comrade Barack Obama used to attend while he was studying at Columbia University in the early 1980s.
In addition to the Tea Party panels and the traditional Marxist class-struggle stuff were panels on green jobs, the need for a united front against the right, abrupt climate change as the long emergency, aesthetics in protests(?), multiculturalism, white privilege, LGBT topics, Islamophobia, public education, higher education, transforming the food system, non-electoral strategies for change, degrowth, disarmament, environmental studies as radical ecology, narrowing the worldwide spectrum of healthcare, organizing poor whites, and many more including three on fracking, "Fighting Fracking with Art," "In Defense of Water: Building the Movement Against Fracking in NY and PA," and this one:
Capitalism Nature Socialism
Walter Hang is a familiar local name (whose views were addressed in an earlier guest post), as is IC's Maura Stephens. Wonder if she knows Fred Wilcox? Given the unbelievable interconnectedness of the left (never mind the campus proximity), it wouldn't be surprising.
Isaac Newton restated Occam's razor as, "We are to admit no more causes of natural things than such as are both true and sufficient to explain their appearances."  Well, some on the right have a hard time accepting the idea that the disparate groups represented at Left Forum are simply working together toward a common goal and instead posit more complicated explanations.
The simplest explanation is usually the best.
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