Imam Feisal’s great service

Imam Feisal’s main mistake was to think we might be as good as we like to pretend we are, as good as the people who thought they could build and deserve a 1,776′ tall “Freedom Tower.” (What kitsch! The only question now is whether our failure or our success at building it would be more of a self-parody.)  How foolish of him to miss the more realistic view of America:  A political class of non-entities, a public discourse dominated by demagogues, a people desperate for a mob to join, and a great readiness to waste the passionate intensity we could use for things that ought to matter on intrinsically meaningless symbols, exponentiated phantoms suitable for focusing and intensifying deep-seated paranoia, bigotry, narcissism, and overall moral and intellectual incapacity.  His service has been to expose us to the world and to ourselves, and to expose American conservatives most of all, since they like to strut and posture as defenders of the holy principles, as hopeless hypocrites determined upon the path of inexorable decline, collectively deserving of the punishments that the world sooner or later deals out to people such as we’ve become. In the longer view, the unjust thing is that, even after the process has gone on for another generation, we’ll still probably be better off than most of our enemies. The just thing is that it will feel worse to us.

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Writing since ancient times, blogging, e-commercing, and site installing-designing-maintaining since 2001; WordPress theme and plugin configuring and developing since 2004 or so; a lifelong freelancer, not associated nor to be associated with any company, publication, party, university, church, or other institution. 

8 comments on “Imam Feisal’s great service

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  1. “His service has been to expose us to the world and to ourselves, and to expose American conservatives most of all, since they like to strut and posture as defenders of the holy principles, as hopeless hypocrites determined upon the path of inexorable decline, collectively deserving of the punishments that the world sooner or later deals out to people such as we’ve become.”

    “CK,I believe this supports your Contentions above,but let’s include the Democrats in the extreme hypocrite group. I’am citing two articles that argue factually that underneath the appearance,the Obama Administration tagteaming with Congressional Democrats are the “larger” threat to the Social Security Program than either the standard Republicans,or the Tea People.

    “The immediate threat to workers dependent upon Social Security benefits is not privatization, but rather the recommendations of the bipartisan panel to reduce the federal deficit. The panel is Obama’s, not the Republicans’, creation and is packed with opponents of Social Security. (A detailed discussion of the panel, its key members and its reactionary agenda can be found here. ) It is an open non-secret that the panel will recommend, after the fall elections of course, reductions in Social Security benefits and an extension of the retirement age. The fact is that “after meeting your responsibilities and paying into the system all your lives’, you will not “get the benefits you deserve.” That Obama can pretend to be a defender of the most popular social program in US history bespeaks his conviction that most Americans are either unaware of, or capable of being distracted from, his own promotion of an historic assault on Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.”

    “The issue of privatization is germane when one considers the members of the Commission approved by the President. There are questions of possible conflicts of interest. As James Galbraith has noted, the Commission has accepted support from Peter G. Peterson, a man who has been one of the leading campaigners to cut Social Security and Medicare. It is co-chaired by Erskine Bowles, a current Director at North Carolina Life Insurance Co (annuity products are a competitor to Social Security and would almost certainly be beneficiaries of the partial privatization). Bowles’ wife, Crandall Close Bowles, is on the Board of JP Morgan, and she is also on the “Business Council,” a 27 member group whose members include Dick Fuld, Jeff Immelt, Jamie Dimon and a plethora of other Wall Streeters.
    At the very least, these kinds of ties raise questions in regard to proposals for dealing with Social Security. Many members of the Commission stand to become clear direct and indirect beneficiaries of the privatization that the President is now warning against. It’s disappointing that these ties have not been fully explored by the press, and it is extraordinary that the President would exhibit such political tone deafness in making these kinds of appointments. It tends to undercut the message of his last radio address”

    For those of you that keep insisting that Obama is a Socialist,please consider the facts of Obama’s SS Commission.

  2. Personally, I’m open to the idea of raising the retirement age incrementally in light of longer lifespans, changes in the nature of work, and budgetary pressures – though I now believe it should come with strengthening of the “safety net” in light of apparent long-term structural unemployment. I don’t think we’ll get the improved safety net, however, until and unless Republican “small government” solutions have been tried and fail, or unless one or another catastrophe on the order of 2008 or worse (perhaps in assoc. with war) drives people back into the arms of the state.

    Privatization is something different, and I think a much bigger pill to force the political system to swallow.

  3. CK MacLeod wrote:Personally, I’m open to the idea of raising the retirement age incrementally in light of longer lifespans

    Here’s something you might have not considered. People like me have paid in from 1970 to the present. I would gladly wave all SS benefits due me in excange for what I paid in,ADJUSTED FOR INFLATION. I shouldn’t be penalized twice(1st penalty)/we need to cut the deficit(2nd penalty) the cost of Inflation on my entitlements. The SS Contract should be Fixed,based on my pay-in ADJUSTED FOR INFLATION,recipients should get a fixed payout per month based on the years they recieve the benefit/based on the above. The government should have absolutely no incentive to Inflate their way out of obligations.

  4. My Old Pal Jpod opines about the Real Mosque Issue,and he is correct,as far as it goes. What should have happened is that The Federal Government should have taken the responsibility for the development of Ground Zero,paid for by the citizens of all 50 states. A National Tragedy trumps the state/local tragedy of New York/NYC.

    PS. Not only is JPOD’s Contentions too Chicken little to take comments,Jpod is too Chicken Little to recieve email comments on his opinion. His posted email address( no “recipient”.

  5. @ Rex Caruthers:
    Perhaps, but that would have gone against the grain of small government/private sector first/localism. JPod is speaking statist heresy and should be sent out for re-education and self-criticism.

  6. Well no, Jpod isn’t asking for a federal role, he was just commenting on Pataki’s incompetence, which is a symbol of the inertia against doing
    anything, add to that any real oil exploration strategy, or any significant upgrade in the nation’s electrical grid, even after the 2003
    brownouts validated Cheney’s task force’s conclusions. It is not severe as say the local participation in Katrina, but it is part of the same problem.

    Similarly the slow march of the Gitmo bar, in delaying the necessary
    steps to adjudicate the status of the worst of the worst, often forcing the release of the likes of Al Shehri, al Harbi, and Al Rubbaish
    referred in the next thread, is problematic at best

  7. I may have taken Rex’s enunciation of his own position as a description of JPod’s. I remain too little interested in what JPod has to say on this or pretty much any subject to click and see for myself. Others will have to determine whether or not he truly requires self-criticism.

  8. Was 9/11 a national or a state/local disaster? The Feds should have had the replacement site rebuilt in 2003. That’s my opinion,not JPOD’s,he thinks it’s a NY/NYC issue.

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Noted & Quoted

TV pundits and op-ed writers of every major newspaper epitomize how the Democratic establishment has already reached a consensus: the 2020 nominee must be a centrist, a Joe Biden, Cory Booker or Kamala Harris–type, preferably. They say that Joe Biden should "run because [his] populist image fits the Democrats’ most successful political strategy of the past generation" (David Leonhardt, New York Times), and though Biden "would be far from an ideal president," he "looks most like the person who could beat Trump" (David Ignatius, Washington Post). Likewise, the same elite pundit class is working overtime to torpedo left-Democratic candidates like Sanders.

For someone who was not acquainted with Piketty's paper, the argument for a centrist Democrat might sound compelling. If the country has tilted to the right, should we elect a candidate closer to the middle than the fringe? If the electorate resembles a left-to-right line, and each voter has a bracketed range of acceptability in which they vote, this would make perfect sense. The only problem is that it doesn't work like that, as Piketty shows.

The reason is that nominating centrist Democrats who don't speak to class issues will result in a great swathe of voters simply not voting. Conversely, right-wing candidates who speak to class issues, but who do so by harnessing a false consciousness — i.e. blaming immigrants and minorities for capitalism's ills, rather than capitalists — will win those same voters who would have voted for a more class-conscious left candidate. Piketty calls this a "bifurcated" voting situation, meaning many voters will connect either with far-right xenophobic nationalists or left-egalitarian internationalists, but perhaps nothing in-between.

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Understanding Trump’s charisma offers important clues to understanding the problems that the Democrats need to address. Most important, the Democratic candidate must convey a sense that he or she will fulfil the promise of 2008: not piecemeal reform but a genuine, full-scale change in America’s way of thinking. It’s also crucial to recognise that, like Britain, America is at a turning point and must go in one direction or another. Finally, the candidate must speak to Americans’ sense of self-respect linked to social justice and inclusion. While Weber’s analysis of charisma arose from the German situation, it has special relevance to the United States of America, the first mass democracy, whose Constitution invented the institution of the presidency as a recognition of the indispensable role that unique individuals play in history.

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