And in Texas, what works is to swagger around like a tough guy, propagating a barely literate reading of the United States Constitution, and pretend to hate the federal government. And you rail about the rights that have been taken away, without being able to name one. And you publicly entertain having your state secede from the United States, and issue dire warnings about the galloping socialism in the land, and rage at the federal stimulus package and make a show of refusing to accept any of it, while quietly taking a cool $28 billion.

It is the refuge of a scoundrel to pretend to hate government, and further, to lie about the role that the American government — the richest and most powerful force for good in the long story of humanity — has played in the creation of the most profound economic engine ever, the America middle class. Notions of American greatness are inextricably intertwined with the American government, and anyone who claims that the government has only been an impediment to American progress is a liar, a fool, a rank opportunist, or a combination of the three. That GI Bill didn’t create itself. That Interstate Highway System didn’t build itself. Those astronauts didn’t send themselves to the moon. Your grandmamma and them didn’t get electricity in their farmhouse on their own initiative. Small business didn’t create a vast system of free public education, because an educated population makes for good workers and consumers. That was the government. The miracle of the free market didn’t end slavery, or solve the pernicious problem that followed of grotesquely institutionalized racism. Nor did the free market end child labor, and decide that food and worker safety were critical values to a civilized society, and essential to a civilized standard of living. That was the government, too.

There was a time, and it wasn’t that long ago, when Texas state leaders like former lieutenant governors Ben Barnes and Bill Hobby (both conservative Democrats) would go around the state explaining the tax bills that they were proposing to the people. Explaining that every dollar they proposed to take in in taxes would yield $8 on return of investment, because when you invest in people and infrastructure, you create the conditions for growth. And the people were enthusiastic for this arrangement, because most people know a good deal when they see it, and anyway, most folks used to have a strong notion of the ‘common good.’ That, of course, is the story of how this country was built, no matter how reactionary counter-narratives mangle the tale.”

Wealthy African-American entertainer sees no contradiction in treating gay Americans as second-class citizens, because of “morals”:

Irony wept:

“We have no trouble condemning slavery today, since we value a free world. We think that the freedom of all people to travel, and take up residence, and find gainful employment, along with the freedom of religion, conscience, and speech are much better values than they had in the ancient past. If that makes me a chronological snob, then so be it. In this aspect we are morally superior to people in the Bible, just like we’re scientifically superior when it comes to the superstitious practice of bloodletting.

One of evangelical’s finest, Charles Hodge, wrote a 40 paged essay titled, ‘The Bible Argument on Slavery,’ where he laid out the case on behalf of slavery just prior to the civil war. It’s a powerful case. It’s based upon the Bible, and reprinted in Cotton is King (Negro Universities Press, 1969). I have little doubt that if today’s Evangelical Christians lived in the South prior to the civil war, they too would’ve accepted his arguments because of the hermeneutical method of placing specific Biblical verses (Ex. 21:20-21) above Biblically stated principles (Gal. 3:28). [For this distinction see Willard Swartley Slavery, Sabbath, War and Women: Case Issues in Biblical Interpretation (Herald Press, 1984)]. “

Our only remaining source of moral clarity:

American Exceptionalism

June 17, 2011

“But the factory owners refused to pay 62 cents per hour, or $5 per day, as a measure unanimously passed by the Haitian Parliament in June 2009 would have mandated. And they had the vigorous backing of the US Agency for International Development and the US Embassy when they took that stand.

To resolve the impasse between the factory owners and Parliament, the State Department urged quick intervention by then Haitian President René Préval.

‘A more visible and active engagement by Préval may be critical to resolving the issue of the minimum wage and its protest ‘spin-off’—or risk the political environment spiraling out of control,’ argued US Ambassador Janet Sanderson in a June 10, 2009, cable back to Washington.

Two months later Préval negotiated a deal with Parliament to create a two-tiered minimum wage increase—one for the textile industry at about $3 per day and one for all other industrial and commercial sectors at about $5 per day.

Still the US Embassy wasn’t pleased. A deputy chief of mission, David E. Lindwall, said the $5 per day minimum ‘did not take economic reality into account’ but was a populist measure aimed at appealing to ‘the unemployed and underpaid masses.’

Haitian advocates of the minimum wage argued that it was necessary to keep pace with inflation and alleviate the rising cost of living. As it is, Haiti is the poorest country in the hemisphere and the World Food Program estimates that as many as 3.3 million people in Haiti, a third of the population, are food insecure. In April 2008 Haiti was rocked by the so-called Clorox food riots, named after hunger so painful that it felt like bleach in your stomach.

According to a 2008 Worker Rights Consortium study, a family of one working member and two dependents needed at least 550 Haitian gourdes, or $12.50, per day to meet normal living expenses.”

Besides being Willie Horton on steroids, the ad against Janice Hahn is also based upon a complete fallacy.

Benoit said a Miami Beach officer grabbed his cell phone, said “You want to be [expletive] Paparazzi?” and stomped on his phone before placing him in handcuffs and shoving the crunched phone in Benoit’s back pocket.

Update: Benoit’s video here