Republicans Are “Coming For Your Privacy” Now – In Michigan!

I guess the Mackinaw Center For Public Policy has nothing better to do than to invade people’s professional and personal life. The Raw Story has the story of this conservative “think tank”…cough, spit, vomit, that has just filed a Freedom of Information request to find out if those left-wing professors at those “labor-centric” universities were sending emails from “government” issued email addresses on school time. They’re coming for your privacy, be afraid, be very afraid. With complete control of Michigan’s legislature and governorship, these right-wing assholes are on an all out crusade to cleanse the state of all those damn hippies. I can just imagine what our wing-nut nerd of a governor will do if they find something, just close all the public universities or some stupid shit like that. I’m only half joking, too.

Now, I attended Michigan State University’s Eli Broad College of Business and trust me people, it was not “labor-centric” at all. In fact, it was very “business-centric”. I can’t speak to the other two schools targeted by them, the University of Michigan and Wayne State University, but I can imagine that those business programs are also “business-centric”. I’ve taken a few MBA classes at yet another Michigan university and it was not pro labor either. I didn’t have a single economics professor, and I took about 6 econ classes, that was liberal at all. In fact, I usually had arguments with them whenever they trashed on liberals. And I had a professor for a General Business Law class, which I’m sure falls into that extreme liberal category, who had been one of Ronald Reagan’s speechwriters in the early 1980’s. We used to re-argue the 1984 election, he would always bad mouth Walter Mondale and I would stand up to him. It was all in good fun, we ended up being pretty good friends by the end of the class and he gave me an A. But trust me, the business program I was in for my first bachelors degree was not “labor-centric” at all.

And then of course there is the whole issue of invading people’s privacy, whether it is there work email or personal, neither should be accessible to the public, unless it is subpoenaed. What the hell, they’re going on a fishing expedition at the tax payers expense. From The Raw Story…

The Mackinac Center for Public Policy, a think tank backed by some big-name conservatives, has submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to professors at labor-centric schools, asking to see any emails containing certain key words, Talking Points Memo reports. The subjects mostly relate to the Wisconsin union protests: “Scott Walker,” “Wisconsin,” “Madison,” and “any other emails dealing with the collective bargaining situation in Wisconsin.” There’s one other, outlying subject the think tank would like to see emails about — the FOIA request also seeks emails that mention “Maddow.”

As in, MSNBC host Rachel Maddow.

Is it any wonder they are targeting Rachel Maddow, about the only great journalist on television (just a little exaggeration). Rachel must really scare these people on the right, because she is so damn good at exposing them and has such a great staff.

“Some days my job is weirder than others,” Maddow told TPM in response to her name being among the topics of interest to the Mackinac Center.


America Is Just Dumb Enough To Elect Republicans!

I’m sure most of you have heard about Newsweek’s citizenship test that they gave to a thousand Americans where 38% of them failed it. There were many stunning results, well stunning if you ever believed that the vast majority of our citizens were well informed. I wouldn’t call them all dumb, because ignorance is not necessarily “dumbness” in my opinion. There is a lot of room for education to take a role in changing those numbers, but of course, the Republican governors trying to prevent that from happening. Here are some of the results from the test by Newsweek, courtesy of Yahoo! News…

They’re the sort of scores that drive high-school history teachers to drink. When Newsweek recently asked 1,000 U.S. citizens to take America’s official citizenship test, 29 percent couldn’t name the vice president. Seventy-three percent couldn’t correctly say why we fought the Cold War. Forty-four percent were unable to define the Bill of Rights. And 6 percent couldn’t even circle Independence Day on a calendar.

If you combine those numbers with the ones showing the views of Fox News viewers, a picture develops that is pretty freakin scary, if you ask me. What is so maddening to me about the media is their wanting to use public opinion polls to set their agenda…AND IT’S THESE IDIOTS WHO ARE ANSWERING THOSE POLLS! On Morning Joe this morning (I watch when Joe is gone), they kept putting up results from a “pre-speech” poll with every Chyron generated graphic they put up. One of those figures was that 47% approve of the president’s actions in Libya…remember, that is a pre-speech number, with 17% unsure. Considering our political environment, those numbers are pretty good. I scoured Gallup’s site looking for the question that really stood out to me as stupid and it was something like “How do you think the Libyan action will turn out?” or something like that. The negative number was pretty high, from memory. But it immediately made me think, why are you asking the mostly ignorant general public to be prognosticators, when Forty-four percent were unable to define the Bill of Rights in Newsweek’s citizenship test. And the media is going to listen to these people?

Are You Anti-War Or Anti-Killing?

Since President Obama became president and inherited two very stupid wars…well one really stupid war (Iraq) and one pretty stupid war (Afghanistan), “critics” on the left and right immediately began to deed those wars over to President Obama. They worked their asses off to convince the media and their followers that these are now Obama’s wars and when you combine that with the GOP created meme that nothing can be blamed on the previous president, you end up with the strange world we currently find ourselves in. Whether our involvement in Libya is a “war” or not is a matter of semantics to me, a word.

On the right, it makes sense to blame it all on Obama, it’s politics man, that’s what they do. But when it comes to some critics on the left, primarily the firebaggers and the hard core pacifists, I don’t get why they don’t leave the blame where it belongs, at the foot of the Bush administration. I’ve speculated for months about the motivations of the firebaggers (Jane Hamsher and Glenn Greenwald) but it’s really difficult to pin them down, except that they seem to relish the attention they get from their grandstanding and have been trading on the “outrage of the week” with their latest fundraising drive. I’m not sure either Jane or Glenn have any moral base, they both lie and exaggerate and inflate damn near every issue they take on.

When it comes to the pacifists, which for many years I proudly claimed to be, I understand their reservations. I abhor violence and in my younger days, didn’t consider the gray areas whenever a military intervention occurred. I still feel very strongly that force isn’t ever the best option. As I get older, my views have evolved and things aren’t as black and white as I used to think. The Libyan situation is a good example of the difficulty of seeing everything as black and white. I used to have a “it’s not our problem” attitude…let these countries take care of their own problems. Part of my evolution of thought is a result of a project I worked on about 11 years ago for the Holocaust Museum of Houston. In that project, I interviewed several holocaust survivors and logged and selected clips from dozens of other survivor interviews. One of the major lessons that almost all of them wanted to share is that we must never let that happen again. We as a society must not sit back and watch as a despot murders and tortures “his” own people. I can never forget looking into “Walter’s” tear filled eyes as he said with more passion than I’ve ever seen, “we must never allow this to happen again.”

When President Obama said the following last night, it reminded me of that moment with Walter.

In the face of the world’s condemnation, Gaddafi chose to escalate his attacks, launching a military campaign against the Libyan people. Innocent people were targeted for killing. Hospitals and ambulances were attacked. Journalists were arrested, sexually assaulted, and killed. Supplies of food and fuel were choked off. The water for hundreds of thousands of people in Misratah was shut off. Cities and towns were shelled, mosques destroyed, and apartment buildings reduced to rubble. Military jets and helicopter gunships were unleashed upon people who had no means to defend themselves against assault from the air.

Confronted by this brutal repression and a looming humanitarian crisis, I ordered warships into the Mediterranean. European allies declared their willingness to commit resources to stop the killing. The Libyan opposition, and the Arab League, appealed to the world to save lives in Libya. At my direction, America led an effort with our allies at the United Nations Security Council to pass an historic Resolution that authorized a No Fly Zone to stop the regime’s attacks from the air, and further authorized all necessary measures to protect the Libyan people.

I know that the knee-jerk reaction from many is why Libya and not Syria or Bahrain or any of the other places where similar things are happening? Well for one thing, I’m not sure any of these other situations are really very similar to Libya, but for arguments sake let’s say they are. Are these people proposing that we help in all these countries. I doubt it. That thinking plays right into the “black and white’ syndrome that has infected too much of our society. The President addressed this idea as well…

In fact, much of the debate in Washington has put forward a false choice when it comes to Libya. On the one hand, some question why America should intervene at all – even in limited ways – in this distant land. They argue that there are many places in the world where innocent civilians face brutal violence at the hands of their government, and America should not be expected to police the world, particularly when we have so many pressing concerns here at home.

It is true that America cannot use our military wherever repression occurs. And given the costs and risks of intervention, we must always measure our interests against the need for action. But that cannot be an argument for never acting on behalf of what’s right. In this particular country – Libya; at this particular moment, we were faced with the prospect of violence on a horrific scale. We had a unique ability to stop that violence: an international mandate for action, a broad coalition prepared to join us, the support of Arab countries, and a plea for help from the Libyan people themselves. We also had the ability to stop Gaddafi’s forces in their tracks without putting American troops on the ground.

To brush aside America’s responsibility as a leader and – more profoundly – our responsibilities to our fellow human beings under such circumstances would have been a betrayal of who we are. Some nations may be able to turn a blind eye to atrocities in other countries. The United States of America is different. And as President, I refused to wait for the images of slaughter and mass graves before taking action.

So I guess the struggle I had with this decision to intervene shows that things aren’t always black and white, good or bad, right or wrong. In one instance, we watch as Gaddafi murders innocent people and oppresses the citizens in his country and in the other instance, we have Libyan troops being killed. They are people too with families and aspirations. Who really knows how many of Gaddafi’s forces support what they are doing or whether they feel they would be killed if they didn’t follow orders. So given this gray situation where there is no “good” or “right” or “black and white”, I think the President did exactly what we needed to do as a country. I do hope this sets a precedent where we as a country use our power to help minimize death around the world instead of contribute to it.

I guess I would say I’m anti-killing now, instead of anti-war. If intervening in a violent situation like Libya saves more lives than not intervening, I have to go with intervening.