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MARK KARLIN, BUZZFLASH EDITOR FOR TRUTHOUT

Put aside the Fox fraudcasting lies and Tea Party vitriol for awhile. The state visit of President Hu Jintao of China has shown how the delusional triumphalism of the right wing has hampered America's growth.

It's nice to take a walk down Disneyland's Reaganesque Main Street and yearn for the days when America emerged as the empire of the Western world after WW II. But when you leave the theme park and look at the for-rent signs on abandoned retail shops, reality sets in.

Yesterday, I wrote about how the incessant whining and bitter sense of victimization of many white Christians on the right - focusing on Sarah Palin as an example - is a drag on the growth of our economy. It is hard to be innovative and economically entrepreneurial when you wake up with a belly full of bile and self-pity.

Then, the president of China shows up: a nation whose economy grew by 10.3 percent last year, a nation who owns a quarter of America's debt; a nation who now has tens upon tens of thousands of jobs that used to belong to Americans; a nation with a large trade surplus (while the US wallows in a huge deficit); a nation whose economy is growing so fast, it's biggest problem is inflation, not a lack of jobs.

If you walk into a Walmart, which champions an image of an all-American corporation, a good portion of the goods - if not most - will be manufactured in China or other Asian cheap-labor nations.

During Hu Jintao's trip, President Obama - a normally impeccably eloquent speaker - was reduced to pleading that America be allowed to sell more "stuff" to China.

You can walk around in an Uncle Sam hat with a misspelled sign about a so-called "Communist" president and yearn for a fairy-tale image of the pre-civil rights '50s, but a real Communist nation that has embraced global trade and imported Western jobs is beating the pants off of the grim weepers of the right.

It's time to tap into the kind of American ingenuity that moves us forward and stop wallowing in self-defeatist hate and politically manufactured nostalgia.

Published in EditorBlog

MARK KARLIN, BUZZFLASH EDITOR FOR TRUTHOUT

 

It's ironic that the politics of the right - that champions American "exceptionalism" and triumphant power - steadily complains about its self-perceived victimhood.

This week, Jon Stewart - who lances the boil of hypocrisy with such sardonic skill - devastatingly revealed the methods Sarah Palin uses to position herself as a victim. In fact, Stewart shows how Palin turned the Tucson massacre narrative into a story about her being the prime victim of the mass shooting. It's so brazen that it is almost breathtaking to watch Stewart dissect Sean Hannity's softball interview with Palin.

But listen to Rush Limbaugh, watch Glenn Beck or read some right-wing web sites. The common theme is that white people are victims.

This is, as BuzzFlash has noted before, a particularly appealing theme to white Christians who see the victimization of Jesus as the central religious imagery in their lives.

But after more than a decade of listening to and reading an unending litany of victimhood by the right, I am not very sympathetic.

The sense of white victimhood that Palin exemplifies, in almost a burlesque way, is not only an imagined grievance: it is destructive to America. It is exactly the opposite of a can-do spirit that pulls a nation together.

It's not only a job killer; it's just a killer of everything, including an aggressive economic policy that benefits all Americans.

Because you can't climb your way out of a recession by whining.

 

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Published in EditorBlog

MARK KARLIN, BUZZFLASH EDITOR FOR TRUTHOUT

The Republican Party isn't really a political organization at heart: it's a party of deceitful slogans.

For the past few years, most of the Republican mantras have been two- or three-word, emotionally resonating phrases that have been focus-group tested by Frank Luntz, who is kind of like a marketer for cigarettes. He'll make you think that inhaling is refreshing and cool, even while it is killing you.

So, it is somewhat ironic that the GOP is trying to roll back more health care for Americans by endlessly repeating a presumably Frank Luntz-generated message point that reform is "job killing." In fact, it's right in the name of the bill that they are passing in the House: H.R. 2, "To repeal the job-killing health care law and health care-related provisions in the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010."

Why the White House and Democrats didn't outbid the Republicans by calling the original law "The Lifesaving Health Care Act for Americans" we don't know, except that - as BuzzFlash has often said - the Democrats tend to try to explain policy instead of market it.

This is about keeping people healthy, after all, and saving people from becoming bankrupt over medical bills and helping Americans who lose their jobs keep their lives.

It is lifesaving health care reform.

Killing jobs is a nice, crisp, cynical slogan for the times; but saving lives should be the goal of Congress.

If you'd like to receive these commentaries daily from Truthout/BuzzFlash, click here. You'll get our choice headlines and articles too!

Published in EditorBlog

MARK KARLIN, BUZZFLASH EDITOR FOR TRUTHOUT

When is rising consumer demand bad for America?

When it comes in the form of guys buying guns used in killings as blood-sport collectors' trophies.

That's what happened in Arizona after the Tucson massacre, when the sales of the Glock handgun used by the killer soared:

Greg Wolff, the owner of two Arizona gun shops, told his manager to get ready for a stampede of new customers after a Glock-wielding gunman killed six people at a Tucson shopping center on Jan. 8.

Wolff was right. Instead of hurting sales, the massacre had the $499 semi-automatic pistols - popular with police, sport shooters and gangsters - flying out the doors of his Glockmeister stores in Mesa and Phoenix.

"We're at double our volume over what we usually do," Wolff said two days after the shooting spree that also left 14 wounded, including Democratic Representative Gabrielle Giffords.

In fact, the specific model - the Glock 19 - with which Jared Lee Loughner caused so much bloodshed, was in particular demand.

Gun fans aren't buying the Glock in such surging numbers

Published in EditorBlog

MARK KARLIN, BUZZFLASH EDITOR FOR TRUTHOUT

 

Bullets can kill dreamers, but they cannot kill dreams.

The assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1968 should teach us that. It should inspire us through the mourning and shock over the shootings in Tucson, and the virulent, violent rhetoric of those Americans filled with hate.

In Dr. King's most remembered moment, his "I Have a Dream" speech, he pronounced a clarion call for equality:

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal."

This is not just an equality of voting rights and freedom from discrimination: It is a call for economic justice and the freedom from being victimized by violence.

King implored us:

With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith, we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom

Published in EditorBlog

MARK KARLIN, BUZZFLASH EDITOR FOR TRUTHOUT

"Glenn Beck called me and told me to shoot Congressman Giffords, Federal Judge Roll, and gave me a list of other names of people to kill and maim," confessed Jared L. Loughner to the police.

Is this statement true? Was it actually made? Of course not.

But despite all the incendiary rhetoric of violent, right-wing media shills and politicians, despite Loughner's hatred of government that is entirely consistent with the Republican echo chamber line of agitating popular anger and violent recourse by denouncing the government as evil, the mainstream media still falls into dishonest "frames" of reporting on the Tuscon massacre.

It's almost as if they would require Beck's fingerprints on Loughner's Glock to connect the dots. As Media Matters has reported over and over again, Beck can be directly connected to inciting shooters in the past year, including the Oakland gunman who was on his way to kill staff at the Tides Foundation. The Tides Foundation has been a regular target of Beck's conspiratorial tirades, and portrayed as a sinister financial backer of the "evil" liberals. It's not the kind of target

Published in EditorBlog

MARK KARLIN, BUZZFLASH EDITOR FOR TRUTHOUT

Can you be rabidly anti-government and not be political?

Apparently the answer is yes, according to the mainstream media, and even some of the progressive press.

It is a bit shocking to read news analysis variations on the Tucson shooter that are phrased along the lines of "Jared L. Loughner was not considered political, although he did express anti-government feelings."

Published in EditorBlog

MARK KARLIN, BUZZFLASH EDITOR FOR TRUTHOUT

It might be a good day, as we mourn the shooting victims of Saturday's rampage, to rededicate ourselves to exposing the public policy issues that are creating the underlying fissures in our democracy.

One of them, of course, is our financial decline as a nation.

Of all the books written about Wall Street, no one conveys informed outrage about the pillaging of America by financial gamblers better than Matt Taibbi. A writer for Rolling Stone, Taibbi writes with the abandonment of Hunter Thompson and the roiling indignation of Norman Mailer.

In "Griftopia: Bubble Machines, Vampire Squids, and the Long Con That Is Breaking America," Taibbi puts the blame squarely on America's economic and political elite for turning the nation's financial destiny into a gambling casino.

As the fabric of American society unravels, nothing causes more social friction than a deteriorating economy. Taibbi doesn't attempt to maintain a "reasoned" analytical tone. He's furious at the highway robbery that took place

Published in EditorBlog

MARK KARLIN, BUZZFLASH EDITOR FOR TRUTHOUT

While the mainstream corporate media, for the most part, continues its exercise in false equivalencies about violence coming from the right and the left, anybody with an ounce of common sense knows that this is nonsense.

First of all, as just one of thousands of examples, if a high school student running for student council circulated a map of opponents who he or she was targeting with a rifle sight, that student would be summarily suspended or expelled from school. But Sarah Palin keeps on tweeting away, while she sends out an aide to say that she really didn't mean to imply than anyone was aiming a gun at her "enemies," which included Gabrielle Giffords.

Palin, who wants people to see her as the common person, is anything but common. She would be considered a dangerous demagogue in any nation but America, where she is a politician "too big to fail." (Although, one should note that at this particular moment she is tanking in the polls.)

I won't even get into the media shills who pour the gasoline, light the match and declare their innocence when someone grabs the match from their hand and sets the government on fire.

But here's one simple truth; the right has guns - millions and millions of them - but the left uses words as its political force of persuasion, not bullets. And the right-wing media shills, and the right-wing politicians

Published in EditorBlog

MARK KARLIN, BUZZFLASH EDITOR FOR TRUTHOUT

It's not about gun control; it's about the devastating impact of our gun culture.

As an advocate of gun control, I believe in the strong regulation of lethal weapons. It's just common sense.

But until we start changing the gun worship of far too many American males, we are going to have a difficult time stopping the ravaging of our society by bullets.

More than 10,000 Americans die in gun homicides each year, a figure that far surpasses any Western nation.

In Arizona, obtaining a gun is about as easy as getting a drink from a water fountain. Arizona gun laws are so lax that firearms stores in the state

Published in EditorBlog
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