MALALA, MATTHEWS AND MADDOW: Not being against!

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 30, 2013

Part 2—Being against Ted Cruz: We’ll admit it:

We were thrilled by William Dalrymple’s column in Saturday’s New York Times, which we repeatedly read. See our previous post in this series.

We were thrilled when we went upstairs to watch the tape of Malala Yousafzai’s address at the United Nations in July, on her sixteenth birthday.

We were thrilled to see this very unusual person declare her lineage from the greatest souls in world history, starting with “the Lord Buddha” and moving through Dr. King and Mandela. We’ll recommend watching that speech, which runs about 17 minutes.

Given the degradation of our own political culture, we were intrigued to see this unusual voice emerge from a different part of the world. In her address, Malala referred to the philosophy of nonviolence she had learned from “Ganghiji.”

She said she was honored to be wearing a shawl which had belonged to “Benazir Bhutto Shaheed.”

We looked up the honorifics. Roughly, she was referring to the great Gandhi and to Benazir Bhutto, martyr.

Beyond that, we were struck by the following statement, which instantly made us think of our own degraded culture:

“Dear sisters and brothers, I am not against anyone.”

The emphasis was hers. What does it mean, to not be against anyone?

We’ll recommend that you watch the address and see the way Malala unspooled it. We were surprised to learn that a widely-employed modern precept tracks to the 1929 autobiography in which Gandhi wrote this:

“Hate the sin and not the sinner” is a precept which, though easy enough to understand, is rarely practiced, and that is why the poison of hatred spreads in the world.

Whatever! At any rate, American liberals are now being trained, every night, in the best ways to be against. Consider the training we liberals received on The One True Channel last Monday.

At 7 PM, Chris Matthews appeared. He emerged from the weekend spilling with bluster.

Ted Cruz had said a very bad thing. Chris was quite strongly against.

“Cruz out of control,” the offended host barked as the program began. Then, he handed us this pile of bullroar:
MATTHEWS (10/21/13): Good evening. I’m Chris Matthews, out in Chicago. Let me start tonight with this:

It’s a little weird, but is Chicago part of America? Is Philadelphia, my hometown, where I’m going to address the National Constitution Center tomorrow? Is Philly part of America? Is LA? Is San Francisco? Is Austin, Texas?

The reason I’m asking this stupid question is because this partisan gunslinger, Ted Cruz, is out there today defining who is and who isn’t an American. Remember Michele Bachmann asking the press on this show to conduct a person-to-person investigation of who in the U.S. Congress is anti-American? Well, Cruz is worse.

The same senator who suggested the nominee for defense secretary was taking money from the Communists in North Korea now decrees what part of this country are in and which parts are out, which parts are American and which parts aren’t. This is McCarthyism writ large. Disagree with this guy, and be prepared for the accusations.
We agree with Chris on one basic point—he was asking a stupid question. He was also training American liberals in the best ways to be very dumb, in the ways to be dumbly against.

As you can see, Chris was training us to be against Ted Cruz. According to the red-faced host, Cruz had offered “an indictment against the great majority of Americans” over the weekend. Incredibly, Cruz had decreed which parts of the country are American and which parts aren’t!

“To oppose his brand of right-wing politics is to stand accused by him of being un-American,” the red-faced talker alleged. American liberals were being trained in the way to be against

At this point, gasping for air, Chris played the actual tape of what Cruz had actually said. Quickly, he paraphrased for us.

When he did, he played the ultimate Hate Card:
MATTHEWS (continuing directly): Cruz returned to his supporters this weekend, where he got shouts of approval Saturday night from his most fervent backers. Here he is, drawing the line between them and his following senators, and by the way, all the people represented in Washington.

CRUZ (videotape): Having spent the past month up in D.C., it is really great to be back in America.

MATTHEWS: Howard Fineman’s editorial director of the Huffington Post and David Corn is Washington bureau chief for Mother Jones. Both are, of course, MSNBC political analysts.

Howard, this isn’t a casual reference. This is, “We’re Americans, we white people out here in Texas, as opposed to people who live in the big cities, the ethnics, the blacks, the browns. Those people in Washington, those liberals, they’re not Americans.”

This guy either has a total lack of understanding of American history and the hell we went through in the McCarthy period or he knows it damn well and is playing that card. What do you think it is, knowledge or ignorance?
Wow! Even for Matthews, that was an especially ugly translation of a very familiar type of stock joke. According to Matthews, Cruz was saying that white people in Texas are Americans, but black people in cities are not.

Chris is determined to make you a hater. Sadly, Howard Fineman was up to the challenge posed by his terrible host. Both men are paid by The One True Channel to tell you things like this:
FINEMAN (continuing directly): No, no. I think— I think he knows what, I think he knows exactly what he’s doing. I think he knows what landmines he’s stepping on, and I think he wants to step on them because his basic appeal is emotional. It’s basically, "Us Against Them."

And of course, it’s highly ironic that he was speaking in the only state in the union, I think, that has an active secessionist movement going on, namely Texas.

MATTHEWS: Yes.
Howard even played the secession card, thus training us further in The Hate. Howard Fineman was teaching us liberals how to be against.

Can we discuss what Cruz actually said? He told a very lame, very stale joke, a type of joke which is completely familiar in our lamebrain politics.

Chris is completely familiar with this old trope. So is his echo, Fineman.

Please! In telling that tired old joke, Cruz wasn’t saying that Chicago isn’t part of America. Quite literally, Cruz was saying that Washington, D.C.—governmental Washington—isn’t part of America.

Just go back and read what he said.

This is the stalest reference in our very stale politics. In our view, it’s very tired and very dumb, but it’s also very familiar. As Matthews and Fineman understand, it isn’t a reference to Philadelphia. And it isn’t a reference to “white people,” or by ugly extension to “people who live in the big cities, the ethnics, the blacks, the browns.”

Matthews was simply spreading The Hate. As he has done for the past fifteen years, Fineman was playing along.

Way back when, these two fallen souls were spreading The Hate about Candidate Gore, working to get Bush elected. Now, The Channel pays them large sums to spread The Hate and The Dumb in a different direction.

Matthews was spreading pure hatred this night. Neither Fineman nor David Corn was willing to stand up and say so.

Three hours later, Lawrence came on. He too was eager to teach us how to be blindly, dumbly against.

This is the way an angry soul started his program that night:
O’DONNELL (10/21/13): The architect of the government shutdown, the senator leading the civil war inside the Republican Party, went home to Texas this weekend to continue his attack against the Republican Party. And when Rafael “Ted” Cruz went to speak to the Texas Federation of Republican Women, he got this welcome.

CRUZ (videotape): That is a slightly different reception than I get in Washington, D.C. And having spent the past month up in D.C., it is really great to be back in America.

O’DONNELL: Nice. Classy. So there is a senator who is standing in a state that literally went to war with Washington, D.C., actually seceded from the union because it didn’t want to be part of America, and he is standing there in that state claiming now that that state, which used to be Mexico and less than 30 years after being part of Mexico, told America that it did not want to be part of the United States anymore?

Ted Cruz is standing there in that state claiming that that state is America, the state that tried to rip the United States of America apart. And that Washington, D.C., and maybe the states that succeeded in holding America together, are not America.
Lawrence threw in Cruz’s formal first name, reminding us that he is Hispanic, perhaps hoping to spread The Hate. If you feel sure that isn’t what Lawrence did, you may not grasp the actual ways of our world.

Lawrence played the Hate Card hard in that opening statement. He even played a 150-year old War Card, the way people do in the Balkans.

He urged his viewers to stay angry about the fact that Texas seceded from the union in 1861. He pretended that Cruz was “maybe” saying that “the states that succeeded in holding America together are not America.”

We’re going to tell you a little secret about where this particular hatred comes from. We had no clue about the following point until it was explained to us by a journalist who, like us, comes from a mid-century East Coast Irish Catholic background:

We Irish! Newly arrived in the 1860s, we got conscripted to fight in that damn Civil War! Ever since then, we were told by this journalist, there has been a special animus within some of our circles against Those People Down There.

That would never have occurred to us. But the pattern does seem fairly obvious once it has been suggested. Example: To see Jimmy Breslin attacking Candidate Gore in 1999 for his “quaint Tobacco Row customs,” just click here.

Warning! You're being exposed to journalistic porn if you click that link! For background on that ugly, factually bogus column, see THE DAILY HOWLER, 5/2/08.

Most of Us Irish have long since moved on. But those of us with the reddest of asses simply can’t surrender The Hate. We just can’t quit The Dumb.

Matthews has been a highly paid cable spear-chucker since the 1990s. Through the early part of this century, he worked as a spear-chucker for his conservative owner, Jack Welch, against both Clintons and Gore.

Now, he’s paid to chuck his spears in a different direction. For unknown reasons, O’Donnell has the reddest ass that ever emerged from Dorchester, home of our cousins in childhood.

“I am not against anyone,” a new voice from a different tradition said at the U.N. Meanwhile, on cable, we liberals are trained every night in dumb ways to be against.

Go ahead—watch the tape of that U.N. address! Can you hear the difference?

Tomorrow: Rachel Maddow, against

About that tradition from Gandhi: Gandhi is commonly said to have advanced “eleven vows.”

You almost surely wouldn’t want to follow some of those vows. We stand with you on that!

That said, one of those vows was satya—“truth.” Presumably, Chris, Howard and Lawrence all knew they were stomping that value last Monday.

In fairness, they were advancing three higher vows:

The vow to be extremely dumb. The vow to serve the paymaster. And, of course, the most obvious vow:

The vow to be against.

We humans love to be against. Did you watch the U.N. address?

95 comments:

  1. You're a good man, Mr. Somerby.

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    1. an american who happens to have irish-catholic heritageOctober 30, 2013 at 12:47 PM

      hes a good american but a small man, imo.

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    2. The Irish are a small but feisty race.

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    3. an american who happens to have irish-catholic heritageOctober 30, 2013 at 1:29 PM

      americans who happen to have irish-catholic heritage are not really that feisty because 'we" as individuals get attacked as members of a group but we are not actually organized as a group to defend 'ourselves'. neat little trick. 'we' cant win. thats why somerby picks on them. hes a bully.

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    4. You are also utterly humorless.

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    5. Anonymous October 30, 2013 at 1:01 PM & 2:07 Pm:

      Leave now.

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  2. IMHO liberals have a particular animus against uppity minorities who are conservative. We continue to see this with Clarence Thomas. Thomas has a most impressive life story, rising from poverty and overcoming racial discrimination to become an intellectual leader of the Supreme Court. Yet, rather than celebrate his success, liberals hate him.

    Cruz, like Thomas, is bright and effective, and he thinks for himself. For these sins, liberals seek to destroy him.

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    1. As if there weren't a bunch of other reasons to criticize Cruz.

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    2. Well, that was pretty simplistic. I have yet to see any legal analysis that makes Thomas an intellectual leader. His opinions are poorly formulated and rank with Scalia's as butts for jokes in the legal profession.

      I don't seek to destroy Cruz because he is brilliant. That's the "don't hate me because I'm beautiful" argument. I don't even seek to destroy him. But his brilliance is all geared towards making himself powerful, not for serving his constituents, and for that I would work against his re-election.

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    3. He's doing a pretty good job of self-destructing.

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    4. Just personally, I'm not certain that Cruz, like Sarah Palin before him, is interested in "serving" at all, in whatever capacity.

      He seems much more interested, like Sarah Palin before him, to sell himself as a product to a particular market that will make him a multi-millionaire, like Sarah Palin before him.

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  3. "We humans love to be against."

    Right. We so much love to be against that we will link to a beautiful speech to demonstrate our own moral superiority in our own jihad AGAINST "Matthews and Maddow."

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    1. Or, perhaps, Mr. Somerby links to the "beautiful speech" in the hope that it can serve as a role model for how to conduct oneself, and as a contrast to the manner in which Matthews et al. conduct themselves?

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    2. "our own jihad AGAINST "Matthews and Maddow"

      Really??? You think so???

      We saw it as an opportunity to compare Masala, a vicitm of the Taliban, to Gore, victim of the Timesmen. Or was it to compare Cruz, victim of prejudice against southerners, to Gore? Anything is possible. We just don't know.

      KZ

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    3. This entire site is AGAINST.

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    4. "a role model for how to conduct oneself"

      Perhaps, Jonny, Bob can start to conduct himself in that manner too. Perhaps a better way to combat name callers is to refrain as much as possible from....name calling. Just a humble suggestion.

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    5. I'm not parsing every word written by Bob. Maybe you're right that he sometimes engages in name-calling or hyperbole. Part of me thinks that it's probably impossible to do a media critique without actually criticizing the media. But even if Bob isn't perfect in the manner in which he sends his message, why should that detract from the message that he's sending?

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    6. an american who happens to have irish-catholic heritageOctober 30, 2013 at 11:50 AM

      "But even if Bob isn't perfect in the manner in which he sends his message, why should that detract from the message that he's sending?"

      >>> bc u cant trust him

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    7. Why would you have to trust Bob in order to listen to Malala's speech and decide for yourself whether it represents a better way?

      Too much Bob-hate around here lately. Being Irish is no excuse. Some people don't even like it when Bob talks about baseball, on his own blog!

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    8. Thanks for defending Bob. I agree.

      But I do think Bob should show the same respect for the Irish as he shows for baseball. They have a lot in common.

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    9. "Or, perhaps, Mr. Somerby links to the "beautiful speech" in the hope that it can serve as a role model for how to conduct oneself, and as a contrast to the manner in which Matthews et al. conduct themselves?"

      This is odd, because Matthews is now on the tour circuit with his latest book, talking about how the two most powerful politicians of the 1980s, and ideological opposites, could sit down and work together for the common good.

      I also recall tuning into O'Donnell's show the night right-wing flamethrower Andrew Breitbart died suddenly and unexpectedly.

      Instead of condemnation of an "enemy", O'Donnell gave a heartfelt tribute to a man he wasn't ashamed to call his friend, despite their polar opposite differences.

      I'm sure they appreciate the pseudo-intellectual lecture from Somerby about how to conduct themselves. As do I.

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    10. an american who happens to have irish-catholic heritageOctober 30, 2013 at 12:49 PM

      12:43, good

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    11. an american who happens to have irish-catholic heritageOctober 30, 2013 at 12:50 PM

      confused and kz, good too

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    12. an american who happens to have irish-catholic heritageOctober 30, 2013 at 1:03 PM

      i never sockpuppeted.

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    13. Anonymous October 30, 2013 at 12:59 PM & 3:07 PM:

      Please leave.

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  4. So what I have learned today is that cable TV hosts on a for-profit network often pander to a targeted audience.

    I am shocked.

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  5. Perhaps there was a reason for the "Irish Need Not Apply" signs.

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    1. an american who happens to have irish-catholic heritageOctober 30, 2013 at 11:48 AM

      yes bigotry

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    2. No, it was because the Irish applying for unskilled jobs did not speak English, had no training, were from rural areas unfamiliar with city life, believed in superstitions different than the culture of New England, were often poor and engaged in things like stealing, did not believe in bathing or washing their clothes, were illiterate, were sometimes in poor health, and were often unreliable as workers. See "Gangs of New York" for a realistic depiction of the Irish poor in that time period. To an extent, shanty Irish were an embarrassment to middle and upper class Irish who had transcended their roots and did not wish to be reminded of where they came from. Add to that the traditional Irish cultural pugnaciousness and proclivity to drink, which is part of a stereotype (but also a well-documented cultural characteristic).

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    3. Even your own people admit there are too many red assed dumb spear chuckers among your tribe. Thank heavens for those protestant Irish or all of your people would be getting a bad name

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    4. an american who happens to have irish-catholic heritageOctober 30, 2013 at 12:32 PM

      as to "tribe", the the latest gene-based research shows that not only are the irish orange and green identical genetically, so are the 'welsh' and 'scots' identical to "the irish".

      also the english only show a minimal legacy from the germanic invasions (6%) and roman occupation (2%). they too are mostly "irish", so to speak . see the results of a huge gene-based study expounded upon in: “Saxons, Vikings and Celts: the Genetic Roots of Britain and Ireland” by Bryan Sykes or “Origins of the British” by Stephen Oppenheimer.

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    5. There are no races based on genes. Celtic people have important cultural differences.

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    6. an american who happens to have irish-catholic heritageOctober 30, 2013 at 12:45 PM

      Anonymous 12:19 says: "Even your own people admit there are too many red assed dumb spear chuckers among your tribe."

      >>> what is that, a bigotry twofer?

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    7. an american who happens to have irish-catholic heritageOctober 31, 2013 at 12:58 AM

      also irish says,

      "No, it was because the Irish applying for unskilled jobs did not speak English..."

      >>> by 1800 half of ireland spoke english. by the time of the genocide forty years later i would imagine 60-70% would have spoken english. and these english speakers probably would have been the most likely to migrate to an english speaking country like america.

      "...were from rural areas unfamiliar with city life..." - also irish

      >>> there was dublin and cork and belfast that some may have been from or traveled to on occasion before emigrating from ireland.

      "...believed in superstitions different than the culture of New England."

      they were christian too, just of a different sect, catholic mostly. i doubt the irish people actually believed in leprechauns if thats what you mean. but even if they did, is that enough to justify the violent bigotry they faced in america?


      "...were often poor and engaged in things like stealing."

      >>> they were poor bc of the bigotry they faced in getting work.

      "See "Gangs of New York" for a realistic depiction of the Irish poor in that time period."

      >>> you say that like you were there. i didnt have the stomach to watch that movie bc i heard it was based on an anti-irish book. . . . my advice would be to be very suspicious of historical accounts or movies based on historical accounts about the irish or 'irish-americans' coming from people who despised them, whether it be the the ancient romans, the english, 'english-americans' etc.

      "...the traditional Irish cultural pugnaciousness..."

      i visited ireland about thirty years ago. friendliest people you could ever imagine.

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    8. OK, what is your evidence that the resistance to hiring Irish in NYC was due to bigotry and unrelated to the quality of the unskilled Irish workforce? Why are there phrases like "lace curtain Irish" and "shanty Irish" in our language? More bigotry? Why did so many Irish immigrants become prize fighters, more bigotry? Why did they go into politics and the police force in disproportionate numbers? More bigotry? How do you explain Frank McCourt's autobiographical book Angela's Ashes? What about the depictions of the Irish by other Irish authors? Self-hatred?

      If you are of Irish heritage, why do you so often confuse Northern Ireland with the remainder of the country, as if Belfast and Cork were just names of cities?

      I have been to Ireland too, a lot more recently than you, and I am of more than Irish heritage. I don't consider my heritage to be a stick to beat Bob Somerby with.

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  6. an american who happens to have irish-catholic heritageOctober 30, 2013 at 12:00 PM

    somerby has been flamboyantly prejudiced against americans-who-happen-to-have-irish-catholic-heritage on this site for many years, despite himself apparently having some of that same background on his mother's side. he only singles out this 'group', (as though it really is a socially coherent group).

    he has used both techniques of the bigot. he has explicitly espoused that americans with iriish-catholic heritage have various bad characteristics. . . . second, he has repeatedly named people who have or appear to have irish-catholic heritage as the culprit of some misdeed, real or not, all out of proportion to their numbers in some group (such as the media); in the second method without mentioning their heritage.

    google his old site (no comment box), which lasted into 2011, in order to get the strongest bigotry:

    site:dailyhowler.com irish catholic (the old site)


    the new site has its share of bigotry as well, although not usually as raw. heres a couple of additional examples from the new site. in the first one, note particularly the responses of “lonely eyes” and “quickdraw” to somerbys column and to some of his more outspokenly bigoted readers, or somerby himself perhaps:

    http://dailyhowler.blogspot.com/2012/05/gail-collins-cares-and-wastes-time-and.html


    ---second example, note particularly the comments of “hugh mann”:

    http://dailyhowler.blogspot.com/2012/06/collins-rules-bit-of-regional-bigot.html

    site:dailyhowler.blogspot.com irish catholic (new site)

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    1. You're right, aawhthiach. They treated Hugh Mann like some dumb Mick instead of an intelligent sensitive fellow like yourself.

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    2. an american who happens to have irish-catholic heritageOctober 30, 2013 at 12:40 PM

      bigot

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    3. lying sockpuppet

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  7. an american who happens to have irish-catholic heritageOctober 30, 2013 at 12:05 PM

    lord bob says,

    "Please! In telling that tired old joke, Cruz wasn’t saying that Chicago isn’t part of America. Quite literally, Cruz was saying that Washington, D.C.—governmental Washington—isn’t part of America."

    >>> that would be far worse bc implicitly hes saying there should be no government which means effectively there should be no organized america, no federation of the states.

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  8. an american who happens to have irish-catholic heritageOctober 30, 2013 at 12:16 PM

    malala says, “Dear sisters and brothers, I am not against anyone.”

    this is semantic sleight of hand. sure she is *for* girls getting educated, but if the taliban is standing in the way of that, then she is definitionally against them or if you wish to be precise, against their anti-education acts.

    but how do you stop their anti-female-education activities without stopping them, the taliban? i cant see how. good luck to her if she thinks she has a plan that can somehow cause the taliban to decide to stop being the taliban.

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    1. I think Bob's reference to Gandhi regarding hating the sin, but not the sinner, answers your question. Gandhi certainly was "against" British rule of India, but I'm guessing that he would have said he wasn't "against" the British as human beings.

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    2. an american who happens to have irish-catholic heritageOctober 30, 2013 at 1:00 PM

      for the taIiban to be the taliban they must be throwbacks. the british always had ireland to pick on. they didnt need to continue occupying and looting the indian subcontinent as much as the taliban needs its ideology.

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    3. Why do you not capitalize any of the words in your sentences? Probably because you are lower case guy.

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  9. an american who happens to have irish-catholic heritageOctober 30, 2013 at 12:22 PM

    the malala comparison to american left oriented political pundits like mathews and odonnel is faulty.

    malala is a sunni muslim in a country which is 80-90 percent sunni muslim. the taliban is not against her for who she is but what she says and does.

    in america, the liberal pundits face a group in the gop which to a large extent is identity based, heavily white anglo-saxon/germanic and protestant, which tends to regard people who dont share their ethnic and religious identifiers as suspect americans.

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    1. How do you explain the nomination of a Morman as a presidential candidate, or Clarence Thomas as a Supreme Court justice? I don't think that the Republicans are identity-based (at least in leadership), even if most Republicans are of a certain ethnic and religious heritage.

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    2. an american who happens to have irish-catholic heritageOctober 30, 2013 at 12:38 PM

      ethnicity in romneys case trumps not being a mainline protestant. hes of 'anglo-saxon' origin as far as i have been able to determine. thomas seems to be a self hating african american. i imagine every group has them.

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    3. Mitt Romney had two things going for him as a Republican: A famous father, and beaucoup money. That will take you a long way in the GOP.

      As for Clarence Thomas? He's as useful as J.C. Watts and Herman Cain in the sense of, "Some of our best Republicans are black."

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  10. an american who happens to have irish-catholic heritageOctober 30, 2013 at 12:34 PM

    why dont the bigotted commenters declare their own ancestry?

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    1. There's only one race: the Hugh Mann race.

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    2. Better yet, why don't the bigotted commenters declare their own bigotry? Labels are shortcuts so that people can hate more effectively. Is that why you want to know who is who?

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  11. This would have been a more thrilling post if there was reference once again to the spittle from Matthews.

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    1. The blogger must be slipping - how else could he have forgotten to bring in the fact that Mathews said "Gore doesn't even look American" during the blogger's number 1 obsession - the 2000 campaign?

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    2. If things had gone differently with Gore/Bush, we might have (1) prevent 9-11, (2) not invaded Afghanistan or Iraq, (3) made progress on global warming perhaps preventing Katrina & subsequent huge storms & flooding nationwide, (4) dealt competently with the financial crisis perhaps averting the meltdown, (5) dealt with a meltdown with stimulus instead of inaction and bank-rescue, (6) not beefed up the intelligence community because no Patriot Act or NSA wiretapping or Homeland Security apparatus would have been justified by events, (7) avoiding gridlock in congress because fewer conservative supreme court justices would have been able to undermine campaign financing laws giving congress to Republicans. The world and the US would have been much better off. Don't you think that justifies a bit of "obsession" with the way the election was stolen in 2000?

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    3. That is certainly a rosy scenario.

      I have no doubt that a President Gore would have acted on the intelligence report "Bin Laden Determined to Strike", but to say that he would have definitely prevented 9/11? That's kind of a reach.

      And so is saying that he would have prevented Katrina and Sandy, and all the weather-based catastrophes that occurred in the eight years between 2001-09. Certainly, President Gore would have made much more progress in building the infrastructure necessary for the production and distribution of renewable sources of energy. But the horse was already well out of the barn by 2001, and to say he would have definitely prevented hurricanes and other natural disasters is foolish.

      As for "avoiding girdlock in congress", how? He would have gone into office with a GOP House and Senate. And if you can guarantee that he would have sidestepped the electoral catastrophe of an "angry white man" backlash that both Clinton and Obama suffered two years into their presidencies, he would have been facing solid GOP majorities in both houses of Congress for his entire two terms in office.

      Yes, I do agree that the election of 2000 was a catastrophe. But let's not get too carried away, shall we?

      And Bob's "obsession" is with his narrative that the catastrophe happened because the likes of Chris Matthews and Maureen Dowd said mean things about Gore.

      Which is ridiculously silly, and why he couldn't get any serious publisher to pick up the option on the book he was writing -- and still hasn't finished.

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  12. Malala comes from a collectivist culture in which individualism is undesirable. The US is an individualist culture that deemphasizes collectivist values (group-identity, community, family, harmony, conformity) in favor of individualist values (self-identity, creativity, self-reliance, individuality, conflict). It makes sense that she would find ideals in people stressing collectivist approaches. I think MLK also found strength in those approaches because he was a member of a minority group that could only exert pressure against a much larger majority through collective action.

    I do not believe that most of us are in the same situation as Malala or MLK or Gandhi. I do not resonate to submergence of self in shared values, nor do I admire passivity in the face of adversity. I believe in action (not acceptance), complaint not forgiveness. Frankly, Malala creeps me out, as does any culture in which someone like her would be shot on the way to school. I am against that and I believe it is OK to say I am against it. A community that tolerates such atrocities is not one I would ever want to live in and a group of people that would permit that and other behaviors, such as honor killings, acid thrown at women, suicide bombings in public places and so on, is one that has no values I can relate to. Intolerance of individuality and divergence from cultural norms is wrong, in my opinion. I will not embrace the values of those cultures (expressed by Malala, Gandhi, Buddha, Jesus, MLK or anyone else) because they tolerate a kind of group tyranny in which people enslave each other, guided by 12th century ignorance. Malala's virtue is that she has stood up to her culture's norms, not that she is "not against" anything.

    I agree with Bob that our liberal pundits exaggerate innocent remarks in order to hate conservatives and other targets. I agree that they are doing this for their own purposes, not to further liberal causes. I applaud his criticism of them. I do not agree that we should adopt Malala's world view or be a kinder and gentler movement, or be like MLK in our attempts to improve society. I don't think those approaches will be effective for us, nor do I believe we are so powerless it is our only way to succeed.

    I do think that if the information state is permitted to take hold, we may become a 1984-style totalitarian society in which Malala's approach may be the only way to challenge conditions. I hope we are not there yet.

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  13. "Lawrence threw in Cruz’s formal first name, reminding us that he is Hispanic, perhaps hoping to spread The Hate."

    Anyone wants to bet the blogger has ever criticized, even mildly, "Barack HUSEIN Obama"?

    Yeah right - "real America" has no more connections to bigotry than "states' rights".

    Ho hum - another day, and more hatred from the blogger for liberals, while professing to deplore hatred and being "librul".

    Can anyone point to ONE liberal point of view EVER advocated by the blogger? It could be said that preferring Gore over Bush Jr. can be considered liberal - but he has never said what Gore would have done differently from Bush. Jr.

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    1. Pretty incoherent.

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    2. Well, to explain how things work in the World of Somerby, it is never hateful to call Obama "Hussein" because mean things were also said about Bill Clinton and Al Gore.

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    3. That's a dishonest reading of Somerby. He doesn't deny that such things are "hateful," or whatever word you want to use. He just points out that the treatment directed at Obama isn't unprecedented, and therefore really can't be said (with rare exceptions) to be racially motivated.

      Moreover, he argues that one shouldn't be careless when discussing racial issues, and that it's not helpful to make accusations of racism that aren't well-founded.

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    4. Well, by that logic, isn't the treatment of Cruz also not without precedent, and therefore, really can't be said (with rare exceptions) to be racially motivated?

      Or is one of those "rare exceptions" applied when it is spoken by a favored Somerby target?

      As far as "the treatment directed at Obama isn't unprecedented," who was the previous president of the United States who was forced to produce his birth certificate, both short and long form?

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    5. I don't know what you mean regarding the treatment of Cruz.

      Regarding the birth certificate, I'd agree that's racially motivated. I don't know what Somerby would say. But the point is that Republicans have de-legitimized every Democratic President beginning with Carter, including accusing Clinton of murder and, ultimately, impeaching him. In general, the treatment of Obama is because he's a Democrat, not because he's Black.

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    6. You mean it can't be both? It can't possibly be because he is black AND a Democrat, even as you admit that forcing him to produce his birth certificate was racially motivated?

      Here's the flaw in Somerby's logic. He can't say that calling Cruz "Rafael" is hate-based, then cavalierly excuse calling Obama "Hussein" because mean things were also said about other Democratic presidents and candidates.

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    7. I don't recall Somerby doing that.

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    8. Then you haven't been reading Somerby. For just one example, go to the search engine and type in "rodeo clown".

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    9. As I recall, Somerby objected to blowing that incident up into a charge of racism (thereby losing the clown his job) when Obama was being treated the same way as previous presidents had been, including Bush and Clinton. Inclusion of Obama's middle name was gratuitous, but it didn't justify the overblown response, and that was Somerby's point.

      Do you think the clown should have been fired because the rodeo announcer made some lame jokes about Obama? Do you think the description of the event posted on the internet was supported by what occurred on the video? I don't. Cannot Somerby make that point without you thinking he is condoning racism? Are you incapable of nuanced thought?

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    10. Again, in his rush to advance his narrative that "liberals" throw around the R-word merely to advance their moral superiority, Bob and his minions missed the true significance of the rodeo clown episode.

      This was all launched, not by mainstream media, but by a pretty average guy with a Smartphone and a Facebook account. Before the sun came up the next morning, it had gone viral. Before lunch, politicians from both political parties in Missouri had weighed in, calling the performance disrepectful.

      The Missouri Rodeo Association reacted, banning the clown from future gigs at the state (read, taxpayer-funded) fair.

      Only after that, did the first mention of the incident appear in a "mainstream media outlet" -- the Web site of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

      One might ask how this story went viral, long before it was reported by any mainstream media outlet. That is, if one were interested in more than advancing his own narrative.

      And incidentally, Bob himself waited three more days, when the rightwing backlash was in full bloom, and dutifully typed up ever right-wing talking point. Without, of course, acknowledging the source.

      And which you now dutifully regurgitate.

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    11. And let's not forget those four minutes.

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  14. I agree with Bob. Texas has some very good schools.

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  15. I wish I could find the quote somewhere, but I'm sure Ghandi understood while that nonviolent resistance may have worked with the Brits, he would have wanted a lend-lease program with Roosevelt if he'd had Nazis to deal with.

    I'm sure it says more about my own spiritual shortcomings than it does about young Malala, but, impressive as she is, I'm always left cold by these political or humanitarian or spiritual prodigies. I retch and hit the remote every time I see the old Anne Frank movie on TCM. (Wasn't she self-consciously promoting herself for posterity rather than unknowingly giving us a glimpse into a beautiful soul?) I'm also reminded of Marjoe Gortner and Little Al Sharpton, boy bible-thumpers, prodigy preachers. Not too long ago, wasn't there this 12-year-old conservative pundit who could spout right-wing tropes with the best of them, citing von Mises and Hayek for good measure, with a radio show and a book to promote? In regarding such phenomena I'm reminded that in his prodigy days some called Mozart a "trained monkey." He didn't deserve that, but I'm not so sure about some of these other carnival acts. It's hard enough listening to platitudes spouted by those in their years of reflection; it's positively vexing to have to hear it from youngsters who haven't had enough time on the planet to fully understand what they're saying. The conservative boy turned liberal, I believe. Maybe Malala will discover boys and other fascinations suitable to her tender years, godblessher.

    But shame on me. C.S. Lewis once said he never cared for the society of children, but that that spoke poorly of him, not them.

    In the late 60s Paul McCartney once said of John and Yoko, "It is a humbling experience to be in the presence of two saints."

    I believe he was sneering when he said it.

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    1. Jeeves Stump,

      It's "Gandhi," not "Ghandi." And the former was utterly consistent in embracing non-violence. He wrote early in the World War II, that the British should stop making war against Germany, and he advised Jews to meet the Nazis without resistance even if that meant collective suicide.

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    2. I think that you've honestly expressed a common visceral reaction we have to the notion of loving your enemies.

      C.S. Lewsis described this sort of unmerited love as a burden we neither wish to give or to receive.

      Yet I think we instinctively understand the importance of holding on to some sort of hope and optimism for each other. Societies can't function in a climate where there is no will toward the benefit of the doubt. Even when that ground is a sort of polite fiction.

      The philosophy of The Great Souls is not one of tolerating evil. It not about pretending that terrorists are good people too, so we must speak of a Bin Laden as we might some hard-knock adolescent headed to detention.

      What it IS is a firm belief in "the good". Malala believes that most people wish their daughters to have every opportunity in life, and that this seed of goodness can be appealed to, encouraged, argued for, with an optimism that extends beyond her fundamentalist neighbors, to the guys carrying guns.

      Without that belief, there's no where to go. There's just enmity and contempt, starting with the obnoxious senator to the guy with the obnoxious bumper sticker.

      There are plenty of real reasons to be a Ted Cruz critic. Plenty of reasonable arguments to launch against his ideas and also against his actions. To condone, for one second, the tactics of Matthews and company is a dangerous thing. It's corrupting. It really does turn us into "ignorant armies" clashing by night.

      It is not in conflict with The Great Souls to point this out and to also argue that you AND your philosophical opponents are better than that.

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  16. an american who happens to have irish-catholic heritageOctober 30, 2013 at 1:09 PM

    of all peopkle to complain about preaching hatred. u r amazing somerby

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  17. an american who happens to have irish-catholic heritageOctober 30, 2013 at 1:13 PM

    lord bob says,

    "We Irish! Newly arrived in the 1860s, we got conscripted to fight in that damn Civil War! Ever since then, we were told by this journalist, there has been a special animus within some of our circles against Those People Down There."

    why single out the irish? Im guessing there was plenty of animus among the non-irish northerners who were drafted.

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    1. Actually, not so much. Look up the draft riots. They involved Irish immigrant men in NYC who were too poor to buy their way out of the draft as those with money could do. They perceived that they were being asked to go fight on behalf of African Americans who were not only not conscripted but were their competitors for jobs in the unskilled labor pool. They didn't see why they were being compelled to die for men who were doing better than they were socially speaking. There may have been animus among others, but the Irish had the riots, so that is why they are singled out. The complaint against the Irish continues because of the especially rancorous Boston busing demonstrations, which involved largely Irish American parents from South Boston objecting to integration of their schools. So that makes it appear the racial animosity has continuity in poor Irish communities. You can add to that the longstanding conflict between African Americans in NYC and police officers, who are traditionally Irish American (until court cases and affirmative action opened up police jobs to other ethnicities and women).That is why the irish tend to be singled out when talking about racial issues and animosity toward the South.

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    2. an american who happens to have irish-catholic heritageOctober 30, 2013 at 3:43 PM

      without the huge numbers of americans of irish catholic heritage and irish immigrants the nnorth might not have won the war.

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    3. an american who happens to have irish-catholic heritageOctober 30, 2013 at 3:47 PM

      note particularly the last sentence of the last paragraph of this quote in the last paragraph from page 96 of annual review of sociology, volume 5, 1979:

      “Irish Catholics, incidentally, are the most politically liberal Gentile ethnic group in the country; they are the most pro-integration of any Gentile group.”
      ------------------------------------------------------------------------------

      from page 96 of annual review of sociology, volume 5,1979:

      Four NORC articles monitoring racial integration (Hyman & Sheatsley 1964; Greeley & Sheatsley 1971; Greeley & Sheatsley 1974; Taylor, Sheatsley & Greeley 1978) have demonstrated that Catholics are more likely to support racial integration than other white groups, even outside the South. Taylor, Sheatsley & Greeley (1978) could find no evidence of the alleged white ethnic backlash against racial integration. They also found that Irish, German, and Italian Catholics outside the South continued to be above the Anglo-Saxon Protestant average in their support for racial integration. Indeed, Irish Catholics were even more likely than Jews to be willing to accept for their children a school where most of the students were black. More than 70% of the Catholic parents in the country, according to Greeley, McCready & McCourt (1976), report their children are in integrated schools. A positive correlation exists between Catholic school attendance and support for racial integration, as well as opposition to anti-Semitism.

      Reviewing the present state of the literature, Greeley (1978b) concluded that on the average Catholics remain where they were a quarter of a century ago-slightly to the left of center in the Democratic coalition, less leftist on most issues than blacks and Jews but more leftist than white Protestants, even white Protestants of the North who describe themselves as Democrats. Nie, Petrocik & Verba (1976) reported the same findings.

      In summary, despite conviction to the contrary in many quarters, Catholics continue to be moderate Democrats; more strongly than other than other Democrats and other white northern Americans, they support racial integra-tion. Irish Catholics, incidentally, are the most politically liberal Gentile ethnic group in the country; they are the most pro-integration of any Gentile group.

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    4. an american who happens to have irish-catholic heritageOctober 30, 2013 at 4:26 PM

      i have no link to above. can be found thru libraries who subscribe to jstor database.

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  18. Much as I enjoy Bob's writing, I am somewhat irked by the constancy with which he refers to "Dr." King without giving Mr. Gandhi *any* of his titles -- even while quoting Malala referring to the latter as Gandhi*ji* and knowing that it means the "great" Gandhi.. I am not sure what to make of this and am reluctant to infer any uncomplimentary motives from this repeated lack of respect, but it would be safe to say that it is careless writing from a usually very careful writer.

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    1. I think this reflects the fear of being thought racist. People are so careful to call MLK "Dr" because to neglect his title would appear racist, whereas racism against those of Southeast Asian heritage is not as salient as an American racial concern. I don't think anyone considers it disrespectful to refer to Gandhi without "Mr" because he is such an icon. People refer to Lincoln and Washington the same way, without any disrespect implied or felt.

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    2. (Same anon as 1:46)

      > I don't think anyone considers it disrespectful to refer to Gandhi without "Mr" because he is such an icon

      I would agree with you ...if referring to him in isolation. But if one refers to Dr. King and Mother Theresa, then why not Mahatma Gandhi, Gandhi ji or at least Mr. Gandhi?

      While you and I agree that he is an icon, I suspect that his contributions are not as generously recognized and acknowledged as you suggest...

      In any case, I would like to believe the motive that you mention above..

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  19. I'm not sure passive resistance is a good electoral strategy. Republicans seem to have done well in elections by stoking the hatred of their base - it helps to get them out to vote in the off-year elections. If MSNBC and liberal blogs are not just trying to build up viewer/readership - as Fox certainly is - they could be following the same strategy. Maybe they think that when Fox gives up this stuff they will.

    Passive resistance has worked - as in India - where a large population wants to get rid of a relatively small group of oppressors, or where it has been necessary to call attention to a problem. Does either of these apply to current political matters in the US?

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    1. That 'republican' strategy is simply divide and conquer. We can oppose it, or we can help them along with it, dividing the have-nots hopelessly into warring tribes that never get anything accomplished, perhaps someday finally ending in outright war.

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  20. Checked comments today to see a bunch of crazy Irish Guy posts.

    Was not disappointed.

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    1. an american who happens to have irish-catholic heritageOctober 30, 2013 at 3:36 PM

      im as american as you or anyone else. its implicit bigotry to label any american born citizen as something other than american. if a real englishman immigrated to america and had children here, would you refer to his american kids as "english"?

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  21. Enjoying bars and punch in the community room after Paster Bob's last sermon, one might ponder... just HOW did those tiresome Republican Jokes about our beautiful Capital city become so common place? Might it be the result of the kind of behavior The Pastor deplores every OTHER sunday, when he rails at how liberals just sit there and take it? And what about the other tribe, which raps itself in the Bible, is there NO time when they become accountable for their words and deeds. No, to heel the world and eat the sand thrown in our faces is truly the multicultural Man's burden.

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  22. To be fair and balanced, Cruz is spreading the hate too. Not racial hate, but anti-government hate. Which as far as I'm concerned, is not much better. The federal government, after all, is made up of people. Human beings like that federal park ranger berated by a Republican congressman just for doing her job and not allowing people access to a monument during the shutdown.

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  23. Shorter Howler: politics should be beanbag.

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  24. that federal park ranger berated by a Republican congressman just for doing her job...

    "'I'm just doing my job' is the excuse of the weak-minded. It is a desperate attempt to shift responsibility for one's actions to someone else and therefore take on the actions of a mindless, immoral automaton who is incapable of independent thought. Throughout history, countless atrocities and war crimes have been conducted under the excuse of 'I'm just doing my job.'"

    Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/030563_TSA_agents_psychology.html#ixzz2jJ2tVlSe

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    1. "...a mindless, immoral automaton who is incapable of independent thought.."

      Project much?

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