FIGHTING WORDS (“RAW CAPITALISM IS DEAD” EDITION)

William Greider:”The step-by-step rescues that the Federal Reserve and Treasury have executed to date have failed utterly to reverse the flight of investors and banks worldwide from lending or buying in doubtful times. There is no obvious reason to assume this bailout proposal will change their minds, though it will certainly feel good to the financial houses that get to dump their bad paper on the government.”

Dean Baker: “Financial institutions should be forced to endure the bulk of the losses with taxpayer funds only used where absolutely necessary to sustain the orderly operation of the financial system. The bailout must be designed to minimize the opportunity for gaming. The bailout should be designed to minimize moral hazard.”

Robert Reich: “Wall Street agrees to give bankruptcy judges the authority to modify the terms of primary mortgages, so homeowners have a fighting chance to keep their homes. Why should distressed homeowners lose their homes when Wall Streeters receive taxpayer money that helps them keep their fancy ones?”

James Kvaal: “Congress should also follow rapidly pass expansions of unemployment benefits and investments in clean-energy jobs. The immediate consensus behind passage of Paulson’s plan shows that, when it comes to addressing our country’s most urgent problems, money is no object. Congressional leaders did not blink at the 12- or even 13-digit outlay. We should remember that when it comes to other priorities, such as universal health care.”

Christopher Hayes: “But more than that, advocating a “strong dollar” under these circumstances is some old-school, hard money nuttiness. After donning a variety of ideological suits these last few days, McCain seems to have found his inner Andrew Mellon.”

FIGHTING WORDS

Nathan Newman: “Many conservative analysts try to explain the weakness of labor unions and social democracy in the U.S. through a whole range of culturalist explanations about the U.S. working class. Racism is often cited but as Blackmon’s book makes clear, one incredibly key but almost completely unmentioned factor is the southern gulag that destroyed free labor in a whole region of the country–with the full cooperation of northern capitalists who recognized the economic and political usefulness of a non-union region of the country to undermine labor in the rest of the nation.”

Dean Baker: “They are prepared to use the heavy hand of the government to ensure that small meat packers do not win out over bigger more politically powerful meat packers. It is clear that the Bush administration is not prepared to tell the big meat packers that ‘you are on your own.'”

Ann Friedman: “Their decisions are seen by the antichoice Republican base as affirmation that Palin shares their values. But the underlying message that each woman had a choice is a validation of pro-choice values.”

FIGHTING WORDS (FISA EDITION)

Matt Yglesias: “It’s almost as if the Republican Party exists to serve the interests of large business enterprises and very wealthy individuals, and tends to use national security and cultural anxieties as a kind of political theater aimed at securing votes so that they can better pursue their real agenda of enriching the wealthy and powerful.”

Russ Feingold: “But, Mr. President, the Senate has once again fallen for Administration tactics that have become so depressingly familiar. “Trust us,” they say. “We don’t need judicial oversight. The courts will just get in our way. You never know when they might tell us that what we’re doing is unconstitutional, and we would prefer to make that decision on our own. Checks and balances, judicial and congressional oversight, will impede our ability to fight terrorism.” And, sadly, these grossly misleading efforts at intimidation have apparently worked.”

Eve Fairbanks: “It’s like writing a story about the Capitol burning down and headlining it, ‘Many Cameramen Gather at Capitol.'”

FIGHTING WORDS (LARRY CRAIG EDITION)

Esquivalience: “Given the constant, daily harassment women endure (come on now, don’t tune out; stay with me, here) — harassment that makes us compress our daily activities into daylight hours, that circumscribes where we go, who we go with, and even what we wear; intrusive harassment, ruin-your-day, make-you-feel-powerless/angry/depressed harassment — the overzealous prosecution of the toe-tapper really pisses me off. It’s like those sophomore discussions one has of human trafficking, in which someone invariably says “but what about the men?”, and then the rest of the discussion, in some form or another, is overwhelmingly preoccupied with those minority cases.”

Richard Kim: “I’d love to see Mitt Romney elaborate on what he finds so “disgusting” about “I’m not gay” Craig, or Mitch McConnell explain why admitted john David Vitter is still in the Senate or why crook Ted Stevens hasn’t been stripped of his committee assignments. The mutually assured destruction of the party of piety and hypocrisy is the best-case scenario one could hope for here.”

Hilzoy: “Apparently, Tucker Carlson thinks that when a man grabs him, it’s appropriate to shove his head against a bathroom stall, but that when a man harasses a woman it’s just good clean fun. Why? Is it that same-sex sexual harassment is icky but heterosexual sexual harassment is fine? Or is it just that sexual harassment is OK as long as he’s not the victim?”

Jim McGreevey: “I pray that the tide of American history continues to sweep toward the inevitable expansion of freedom that recognizes the worth and dignity of every individual — and that mine is the last generation that is required to choose between affairs of the heart and elected office.”

FIGHTING WORDS

Heather Boushey:”These stories are not only wrong — the reality is that there is no increase in recent years in women, even women with advanced degrees, choosing to be stay-at-home mothers over working mothers — they also imply that most mothers have a choice to work or not. This couldn’t be further from the truth.”

Matthew Yglesias: “Insofar as the most extreme right-wing views of national security imaginable — Bill Kristol’s apparent belief that the USA should be perpetually at war with whichever country he was asked about most recently — are treated as respectable elements of the discourse, while the most mild deviations from establishment conventional wisdom are branded as “extremism” then bleating about the need to build bipartisanship in foreign policy only leads us in ever-more-militaristic directions.”

Mark Weisbrot: “The IMF wrote in their country papers on Bolivia that the country would be hurting itself by raising the royalty rates. They were wrong, as were most of the experts in Washington and the US business press.”

Ezra Klein: “To put the contrast another way, where Obama promised to radically change our politics, Edwards promised to radically change our policies.”

FIGHTING WORDS

Ezra Klein: “Siegel did not commit an act of pedophilia (or, for that matter, statutory rape), and he spent a decade plus feeling ashamed of it. And now, he has the gall to accuse Kincaid of pedophilia for believing that our culture sexualizes children.”

Greg Sargent: “When will Wolf Blitzer, Tim Russert and other bigfoot national pundits bemoan the fact that “sensible” and “courageous” moderate Chafee may have no place in his party?”

Thomas Frank: “What our modernized liberal leaders offer — that is, when they’re not gushing about the glory of it all at Davos — is not confrontation but a kind of therapy for those flattened by the free-market hurricane: they counsel us to accept the inevitability of the situation and to try to understand how we might retrain or re-educate ourselves so we will fit in better next time.”

FIGHTING WORDS: PRIMARY EDITION

Harold Meyerson: “Next Tuesday, in fact, Connecticut Democrats will be doing exactly what small-d democratic theorists would have them do: decide an election by opting for one clear policy alternative, as personified by one candidate, over another personified by the incumbent. From a big-D Democratic perspective, Connecticut’s Democrats are doing what Democrats are hoping a clear majority of voters everywhere will do this November: reject incumbents who have supported the failed policies of this administration, the war most particularly.”

Mark Schmitt: “The real reason the Vietnam War divided and discredited Democrats and splintered the liberal consensus was because – let’s not be afraid to admit it — Democrats started that war.”

Nathan Newman: “In some ways, what Newt argued is not that different from what many in the netroots have argued — it’s just that many in the blogs are far more tepid in admiting ideas and ideology matter than old Newt. The blogs practice ideological warfare sporadically, but then seem somewhat embarassed when moderates call them on it, as if it’s something kind of dirty.”

FIGHTING WORDS (MAY DAY EDITION)

Barbara Ehrenreich: “U-VA’s president could have defused the protest with time-honored delaying tactics, like promising to form a committee. Or he could have done the honorable thing and agreed to go with the students to the state legislature to demand more funds for wages. But no, he had to go and make national news by treating his most idealistic, morally responsible, students like common criminals.”

Charles McCollester: “The union has the right to accompany inspectors and provide documentation and testimony. The heart of the union presence, the local Mine Committee, meets monthly, receives additional training, has the right to inspect any part of the mine including its access, and must perform full inspections at least every two months. Critically, workers in a union mine are not afraid to speak.”

Nelson Lichtenstein: “These May Day demonstrations and boycotts return the American protest tradition to its turn-of-the-20th-century ethnic proletarian origins—a time when, in the United States as well as in much of Europe, the quest for citizenship and equal rights was inherent in the fight for higher wages, stronger unions, and more political power for the working class.”

FIGHTING WORDS

Thomas Frank: “History will record that in the week our laissez-faire government fiddled while a major city burned, the fourth most popular non-fiction book in the land, according to the New York Times, was an itemized account of the ways in which liberals are ruining the country.”

Deborah Pearlstein: “We are not doing well. And the unlimited-power executive holds a lion’s share of the blame.”

Eric Alterman: “When you think about it, it is a tribute to the American people that they remain as receptive to liberal arguments as they do, given how infrequently they hear them.”

Alek Felstiner: “And the political contributions, which are supposed to enrage the common man, are comically small compared with industry counterparts. In fact, they’re small compared with the $5 million/year Berman plans to spend on this campaign.”

E.J. Graff: “For nearly twenty years, across the country, lesbians and gay men have been doing what Laurel Hester did: letting others see the injustice within their personal tragedies.”

Zach Schwartz-Weinstein: “But it isn’t just about refusal. It’s about “A Better Way,” about a democratic, constituent, immanent (sorry) vision for how universities can be reorganized and what kind of work they/we can do.”

John Nichols: “The problem with the Bush administration’s support for a move by a United Arab Emirates-based firm to take over operation of six major American ports — as well as the shipment of military equipment through two additional ports — is not that the corporation in question is Arab owned. The problem is that Dubai Ports World is a corporation.”

FIGHTING WORDS (ALITO EDITION)

Barbara Ehrenreich: “In the ‘dress for success’ literature we learn not to look ‘too feminine’ or of course ‘too sexy.’ Shoulder length hair has to go; large breasts should be concealed under mannish jackets. Corporate dress guru John Molloy actually warns women against the “too busty” look, as if an elective double mastectomy might be a good career move.”

Robert Kuttner: “The world that Bush inherited was not an easy place in which to promote U.S.-style civil society, or a civil world order. But Bush has poured oil on the flames (or in his case, flames on the oil). It will take decades to undo the damage and restore a world in which pro-democracy again equals pro-America. In the meantime, we need nothing so much as an outbreak of democracy at home.”

Russ Feingold: “This administration reacts to anyone who questions this illegal program by saying that those of us who demand the truth and stand up for our rights and freedoms somehow has a pre-9/11 world view. In fact, the President has a pre-1776 world view.”

Ed Schwartz: “This President seems to be of the view that it’s an honor to die for your country but an imposition to pay for it.”

FIGHTING WORDS (ALITO EDITION)

Nathan Newman: “So subtract the Supreme Court and democratic reapportionment of the states might never have happened. And the anti-democratic rightwing recognized this and was prepared to make almost any deal to override the Supreme Court through a Constitutional Amendment, including cutting a deal with the labor movement.”

Robert Gordon: “The argument that he was just saying whatever it was convenient for him to say in order to get a job doesn’t sound too good coming from somebody who is now trying to get another job. There is something really slippery, or at least less than forthright, about his approach to his own record of actions and opinions.”

The Nation: “When in 1969-70 President Nixon nominated and lost both Clement Haynsworth and Harrold Carswell, the result was not “someone worse” but the pragmatic, humane Judge Harry Blackmun, who later wrote Roe v. Wade; when Bork was Borked, his replacement was Anthony Kennedy, who in 1992 joined fellow Reagan nominee O’Connor to reaffirm Roe.”

FIGHTING WORDS (INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS DAY EDITION)

Jon Stewart: “And let me say to you, Bill O’Reilly, and the entire O’Reilly clan, Feliz Navidad to you. Although I’m sure you’re concerned that that’s getting too prevalent as well in this country.”

Gordon Lafer: “By cutting back on tenured positions while refusing to recognize teachers’ unions, NYU is undermining both pillars of academic freedom. In this way, academic managers are pushing a new vision of higher education – not a community of independent scholars freed to boldly pursue their notions of truth, but a place of permanent insecurity, where everyone is afraid to speak out against those in power. Universities were supposed to be model citizens of the community, but no longer.”

Kenneth Roth: “In a one-party system intolerant of dissent, petitioning is one of the only ways that ordinary Chinese have to air their grievances. By using or allowing violence to squelch grievances, the authorities are effectively closing off some of the only political space in the country. They should realize that this endangers the very thing they are trying to protect—social stability.”

Jimmy Carter, the Dalai Lama, Shirin Ebadi, Desmond Tutu, Lech Walesa, Jody Williams et al:”Protecting the right to form unions is not only required by the Universal Declaration but also is vital to promoting broadly shared economic prosperity, social justice and strong democracies…Even the wealthiest nation in the world–the United States of America–fails to adequately protect workers’ rights to form unions and bargain collectively. Millions of U.S. workers lack any legal protection to form unions and thousands are discriminated against every year for trying to exercise these rights. We cannot remain silent in the face of these and other serious abuses of workers’ rights.”