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Ear to the Ground

Noam Chomsky on Misguided Outrage

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Posted on Nov 9, 2010

Today on the list: President Obama confirms that his is a Republican health care plan, Noam Chomsky considers “a level of anger ... like nothing I can recall in my lifetime,” and a random act of culture that brings a Macy’s crowd to its feet.

On a regular basis, Truthdig brings you the news items and odds and ends that found their way to Larry Gross, director of the USC Annenberg School for Communication. A specialist in media and culture, art and communication, visual communication and media portrayals of minorities, Gross helped found the field of gay and lesbian studies.

The links below open in a new window. Newer ones are on top.

Chomsky: Outrage, Misguided
The U.S. midterm elections register a level of anger, fear and disillusionment in the country like nothing I can recall in my lifetime.

Senator Graham Wants a 3rd War—Iran
A veteran senator says the US should not be satisfied with stopping Iran’s nuclear program but should also destroy its military capabilities and deliver a major blow to the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps.

Financial reform has a terrifying loophole—and the banks found it
There were many factors that led us to the financial crisis of 2008—dangerous derivatives, irresponsible ratings agencies, negligent regulators—but one was more important than the rest.

Learning From The 2010 Midterm Elections, Part 2
It is often easier to give advice to others than to learn lessons oneself. What lessons should those of us who are self-conscious leftists learn from the midterm elections of 2010?

A Recipe for Fascism
American politics, as the midterm elections demonstrated, have descended into the irrational.

Philosophers Through the Lens
I have spent almost a quarter century photographing philosophers. For the most part, philosophers exist, and have always existed, outside the public spotlight.

Did Republican House Landslide Kill Net Neutrality?
The Federal Communications Commission has published the agenda for its November Open Meeting. It comes two days after the Democrats took their shellacking in the midterm Congressional elections. And once again, the FCC’s Open Internet proposals are nowhere to be found on the list of action items.

President Obama Confirms Strategy to Introduce a Republican Reform Model
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, partly because I couldn’t get the kind of cooperation from Republicans that I had hoped for. We thought that if we shaped a [health care] bill that wasn’t that different from bills that had previously been introduced by Republicans—including a Republican governor in Massachusetts who’s now running for President—that, you know, we would be able to find some common ground there. And we just couldn’t.

Thought Crimes
In Israel, the far-right Knesset member Michael Ben Ari has proposed a bill that would require entire film crews to pledge allegiance to Israel as a Jewish and democratic state, and to declare loyalty to its laws and symbols, as a condition for receiving public funding.

Economics and ethics?
Economics and ethics. OK, so they’re not two words that are often mentioned in the same breath. Not after the Chicago Boys in Chile. Or Jeffrey Sachs’s “shock therapy” in Bolivia and Andrei Shleifer’s financial shenanigans in Russia. Or, most recently, the role of economists leading up to the financial crisis, as exposed in Charles Ferguson’s Inside Job.

Flash Mob Hallelujah Chorus at Macy’s [formerly Wanamaker’s] in Philly:

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RayLan's avatar

By RayLan, November 9, 2010 at 11:46 pm Link to this comment

rico
‘All I know is he’s destroying the English language. “
Thank you for providing undeniable proof of your illiteracy.

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rico, suave's avatar

By rico, suave, November 9, 2010 at 6:12 pm Link to this comment

Mdgr:

As for Chomsky. I haven’t got a clue what he’s talking about. All I know is he’s destroying the English language.

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By rico, suave, November 9, 2010 at 6:11 pm Link to this comment

mdgr:

Let me clear up a technical issue regarding truthdig. Even though an item drops off the front page, it’s still alive if you ask to be notified of responses to your posts, right?

I got a response from an article six months old the other day. People really do scrouge around the old posts.

Don’t worry about the “Third Party” thread going away. It’ll stay alive as long as we want it to.

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By mdgr, November 9, 2010 at 3:23 pm Link to this comment

Rico,

This is mostly a response to you from the Reeve’s thread previously, soon to drop off TD. It also related to Chomsky’s observations here. I figure I’d copy and paste it top this most recent thread, though I see it rapidly being buried.

Thanks for pitching the ball to me so nicely on the older Reeve’s thread. Not to get too far-out for all the covert dialectical materialists on TD, my thesis wasn’t really that far-out. Things seem to happen when the time is right, and the same endeavors are like pushing rope uphill when the time is wrong.

I agree with your comparison to the Tea Party. Here, the rage noted by Chomsky that is circulating within the American psyche—not to mention its increasing incoherency and tendency toward the twin internal defenses of both projection and denial—propelled this party of crazies.

Leadership even magically appeared (Palin and her publicists). It will only get worse over the next two years because the internal dynamics will only be exacerbated. All I’ve been saying, though the meme isn’t exactly catching fire in this microcosmic community, is that an antithesis to that of the “Vichy-based party of collaborators” will also arise on the left, and it too will be a natural event.

Whether it will be strong enough to induce a critical mass of the progressive caucus in Congress to abandon the Democratic Party is doubtful—Kucinich doesn’t REALLY walk his talk, but he sure does like to talk it—though who knows? If it did, a third party would be born almost overnight.

There are those on TD who will opine that large-scale community action is needed to get this going, etc., and they indeed may be right. All I am saying is that if the progressive caucus did XYZ, then certain things would follow. And that temporal events (e.g., war with Iran, increasing joblessness and disillusionment with Obama, etc.) can be relied on to exacerbate the tensions.

But no, I do not think that ours is a time in which anything significant will happen along these lines. Progressives will continue to click their tongues, as they do on TD, and they will continue to vent through blog postings—while scratching their collective ass. The nuclear football may or may not be handed to someone like Palin, but America will continue to devolve into a police state and into an increasingly fascist state.

The entire planet will be affected by this and other events (climate change, etc.), and there will unavoidably also be a very big die-off. I would not be surprised if it reduced the size of Homo Sapiens (sic) by an order of magnitude—far worse than the Black Death did (33-50%), BTW. But Sapiens has long since passed its expiration date. It’s long since bumped-up against its evolutionary glass-ceiling, Captain Kirk notwithstanding.

Frankly, I think this latter event is not just necessary but much to be desired, though I’m less than thrilled at the collateral damage it will inflict in terms of pain and misery. Still, on balance, it seems to be necessary—no less so than the Black Plague was in its time and how, in its wake, the paradigms of the Dark and Middle Ages were all but swept aside, laying the groundwork for a Renaissance. But once again, it’s all a matter of timing.

Cheers.

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By garth, November 9, 2010 at 12:26 pm Link to this comment

Please, provide the transcripts.  The Voice box on my computer no longer works (I left the computer on all night a while ago, and this is the kind stunt that is being done—call it InterNet Interference E-type).

Besides, I like to read Chomsky.  To read him is to love him.  I was shaken awake by his book of a few years ago, Hegemony or Survival.  You know, the one Chavez recommended at the UN several years ago. 

I’ve bought and I’ve read some of his other works, The Chomsky reader, for example, and I am always amazed by his level of factual perception.  He must read a helluva lot.  The things that would turn me away at the headline; He expalins.

So what’s up with Chomsky, Larry?  I want, yes I, and it’s all about me, anyway; I want to read not listen to or watch his remarks.  (Okay, I’m way over the top.)

The rest of your selections too are also good, but I want to read how Graham of 2004 Intrigue fame wants to go to war with Iran.

I want to read how the Wall Street Reform Bill is really swiss cheese.

Et cetera, et cetera.

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