Author Archives: OEN

How to Keep the Country from Going to Hell

I’ve told you about mantras I teach undergraduates. Here’s another one: “You can’t get anything done when fascists are sitting at the table of democratic politics.” A democratic community can tolerate a vast array of opinions. However, it cannot, and should not, tolerate opinions in which democratic politics is the problem. If it does, then nothing needing to get done gets done—and everyone suffers. Kaitlin Byrd put it another way: “Democrats are the entire spectrum of rational politics in this country. We don’t have a government, and we won’t, until we break the Republican Party.”

I think Byrd’s “spectrum of rational politics” is ideal for viewing the debate over “cancel culture.” This term is gaining traction thanks to Donald Trump’s lawyers accusing the House Democrats of “canceling” the former president’s constitutionally guaranteed freedom of speech during his second impeachment trial. And like most people aligned with Trump, or most people seeing opportunities in that alignment, they pervert reality. Truth is, the sacking and looting of the United States Capitol, which Trump incited, was an attempt to cancel a free and fair democratic election. These fascists did not fight for principles. They fought against democratic politics itself. (Indeed, many of them longed for a United States purified by blood and violence.)

 

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You Can’t Change This Hatred—You Have to Outnumber It

There’s an old saying: “When the horse is dead—dismount.”

It’s time to stop beating that horse, America. It’s not going anywhere.

I’ve tried for three years now.
I’ve tried to understand them.
I’ve tried to listen to them.

I’ve tried not to assign motive to them, not to speculate as to why they voted the way they voted, not to believe they consented to every cruel thing their vote birthed and enabled.
I’ve tried not to caricaturize them; not to make them into one-dimensional stereotypes, not to treat them as some fictional other whose presence posed a threat.

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Woman Accused of Stealing Nancy Pelosi’s Laptop Appears in Video Making Nazi Salute

Accelerationism

In political and social theory, accelerationism is the idea that capitalism and technological change should be accelerated. Accelerationism may also mean that capitalism and its negative processes should be accelerated in order to trigger revolt and the implementation of a new system. Wikipedia

On January 6, 2021, Riley June Williams, a 22-year-old home care worker from Pennsylvania, was one of roughly 800 rioters who breached the US Capitol building in Washington D.C. While many engaged in property damage and violence that day, Williams’ case stands out given her ex-partner has alleged to the FBI that she stole a laptop from Nancy Pelosi’s office.

This former boyfriend also alleges that her goal was to sell the laptop to a Russian intelligence agency, a claim January court documents say “remains under investigation,” but which has been denied by Williams’ lawyer who accuses the former partner of seeking revenge.

While Williams has not been charged with stealing the laptop itself, something she also denies, she faces multiple charges including violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds as well aiding/abetting others to “embezzle, steal, purloin.”

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I regret to inform you all that history will not save America from itself


I know you’ve been hearing this proclamation on network news and reading it in columns for years.

“History will judge us.” “History will repudiate Donald Trump and the January 6 rioters.” “History will see people like GOP Sen. Mitt Romney as heroes for bucking their own party.” “History will show that the Democrats were people who took a stand for our democracy and our values.”

This sounds good, but there is a danger in the notion that history will reveal the truth of our moment and sort the good from the bad. Past events don’t change, but the telling of history is a conversation that goes on for as long as we exist on this planet. In our own lifetimes Americans have discovered things they’ve forgotten, and rehabilitated individuals in our history who were once maligned.

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Texas Gets Lay’d: How the Bush Family turned off the lights

Maybe because Texas gave us that wet-lipped huckster Ted Cruz, you think the state deserves to freeze in the dark.

I get that, but it’s not their fault, at least not the victims burning family heirlooms to stave off frostbite.

“What happened was entirely predictable,” power distribution expert attorney Beth Emory said of the blackouts. She told me this twenty years ago, after the first blackouts in Texas and California, following the cruel experiment called “deregulation” of the power industry.

Until 1992, the USA had just about the lowest electricity prices in the world and the most reliable system.

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