– I just finished reading David Neiwert’s new book The Eliminationists. It’s a very timely book, especially with all of the ridiculous comparisons people are making to Nazi Germany these days. Very few people seem to know the reality of what fascism was and how it came to power. At its core, it was a movement about cultural purity and national renewal. It was fed largely by a militant opposition to modern democratic ideals, civil liberties, and multiculturalism. The idea that it’s comparable to modern American liberalism is a notion so absurd that it really doesn’t even warrant serious discussion, yet it remains a constant theme on talk radio and even cable news. David is careful not to use the term fascist too broadly to describe the elements in our society that tend to exhibit traits similar to what bubbled to the surface in Italy and Germany in the early 20th century, but his book is a must-read for Americans who really want to understand that time in history and to be mindful of what could happen here.
– The idea of boycotting Whole Foods over CEO John Mackey’s somewhat clueless op-ed is probably the dumbest thing I’ve heard from progressives since they confused Don Imus with David Duke. For a good rebuttal to Mackey, Ezra Klein has a nice analogy here comparing markets for food with how we should approach health care by integrating public assistance with free market competition. But even though I don’t agree with Mackey’s ideas, he really wasn’t being an ass. If I boycotted every company with a CEO who bought into goofy libertarian groupthink, I’d quickly die of either starvation or boredom.
– On Sunday, The Seattle Times’ Ryan Blethen wrote the following:
Journalists have the right to write pointed critiques or damaging stories. This is never done lightly and must be backed up with fact. What we do can alter somebody’s life for better or worse. Almost every professional journalist is careful not to abuse this right of free speech.
There is nothing wrong with pushing the limits of the First Amendment, but there is a line where free speech can go too far and real damage is done. Bloggers are writing past this line and finding themselves in trouble.
I’m surprised that Goldy hasn’t responded to this yet (and maybe he still will), but I wanted to point out one thing. Everyone – not just journalists – have the right to write pointed critiques or damaging stories. For some reason, though, I always thought that journalists had an obligation to do it. I’d always thought that journalists exist to expose the corrupt, to explain the elusive, and to tell the truth in a world where many powerful people find comfort in lies. Journalists are supposed to be unpopular to the powerful, not their spokespersons. Maybe if the Times actually understood how profoundly they’re failing in their role as journalists, it would be easier to understand why so many bloggers are trying to fill the gap.
– Argentina’s Supreme Court ruled that it’s against their Constitution to arrest people for the personal use of cannabis. This is following the long-awaited decriminalization of drugs in Mexico, something that Bush Administration officials had actively prevented them from doing in the past.
– I haven’t written about it much, but I’m very concerned about the overuse of Tasers in what should be normal law enforcement activities. That said, I have no problem with repeatedly Tasering the people at TLC who brought us Police Women of Broward County.