FIGHTING WORDS

Matt Yglesias: “The difference is that throughout 2002 and 2003 the conventional wisdom in pro-war circles was that the war would turn out well, so the dissembling used to sell it wouldn’t be such a big deal and it was a bit naive of liberals to be obsessed with the lying point.”

David Cole: “It would actually make existing law worse by providing Congressional authorization for cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment in certain circumstances. Right now the authority for such action is a highly dubious executive interpretation; the proposed exemptions would give this questionable interpretation legislative approval.”

Jo-Ann Mort: “It says a lot about the state of the Dems and the state of the Republicans that on the same day President Bush bowed to his right wing by nominating a conservative candidate to the Supreme Court, the story broke that Democratic operatives were working out of a ‘war room’ in Arkansas, making Wal-mart and their slash and burn economic strategy palatable to the American people.”

Mark Weisbrot: “The past 25 years have been the worst growth performance in modern Latin American history.”

FIGHTING WORDS

Nathan Newman: “If progressives want a killer political response to Bush’s calls for making the Estate Tax permanent, it’s to keep the estate tax and devote the proceeds to long-term health care. The purpose is the same — preserving assets for the next generation — but ending the “sickness tax” would have far broader appeal than conservative wailing about a “death tax” that applies only to a a tiny percentage of the population.”

Sam Smith: “It was on this show that I got conservative journalist Marc Morano to admit he was a ‘a la carte’ socialist since he used Washington’s subway system. ‘You’re a subway socialist,’ I had told him. ‘You’re just not a healthcare socialist.'”

David Sirota: “This blunting of the left’s ideological edge is a result of three unfortunate circumstances. First, conservatives spent the better part of three decades vilifying the major tenets of the left’s core ideology, succeeding to the point where “liberal” is now considered a slur. Second, the media seized on these stereotypes and amplified them – both because there was little being done to refute them, and because they fit so cleanly into the increasingly primitive and binary political narrative being told on television. And third is Partisan War Syndrome – the misconception even in supposedly “progressive” circles that substance is irrelevant when it comes to both electoral success and, far more damaging, to actually building a serious, long-lasting political movement.”

FIGHTING WORDS

Anna Burger: “The truth is we do work hard. We’re driving trucks, and serving food, cleaning hotels, picking apples, building houses, pouring concrete, and stocking shelves. And American workers do play by the rules. But the rules no longer work.”

Greg Palast: “I admit, I was suckered by Galloway. I was the first journalist in the UK to rush to his defense on television when he was accused of wrong-doing. I wanted to believe in him, but the hard facts condemn him — and us, if we don’t act true to our moral imperative. Mr. Galloway told the Independent newspaper, ‘I’m not as Left-wing as you think.’ Indeed, he isn’t.”

Nathan Newman: “So a narrow focus on Delay might get him indicted, even convicted, but it won’t hurt the GOP that broadly. What’s needed is a clear focus on who the companies contributing the money were and what they got from doing so.
THAT is the story that converts a political he said-she said political fight into a meaningful symbol of Republican corporation corruption”

FIGHTING WORDS

Joe Stork: “Mubarak’s biggest challenge isn’t winning the election, but generating enough voter turnout to claim popular legitimacy. It’s no coincidence that recent police violence against the government’s critics occurred when protestors urged the public to boycott the polls.”

Nathan Newman: “the reality is that decent wages translates into better quality and less costs down the road, as a range of studies linked to on that page highlight. If we should have learned anything from Katrina, it’s that short-term cost savings translate into long-term costs.”

Barack Obama: “I hope we realize that the people of New Orleans weren’t just abandoned during the Hurricane. They were abandoned long ago – to murder and mayhem in their streets; to substandard schools; to dilapidated housing; to inadequate health care; to a pervasive sense of hopelessness. That is the deeper shame of this past week – that it has taken a crisis like this one to awaken us to the great divide that continues to fester in our midst.”

FIGHTING WORDS

Kevin Drum: “what’s the point of a strong economy if it produces higher poverty rates, declining private sector healthcare coverage, and stagnant incomes?”

Bill Scher: “By not representing all Americans, our constitution laid the seeds for own “arduous, difficult … painful process” – our own civil war…It killed more than 600,000 people and left a scar on the nation that lasts to this day. Such is the risk a nation takes when it does not fully represent all of its people from the beginning.”

Jonathan Tasini: “The concept of a House is one of comfort, stability, predictability, and ownership. In today’s world, it might behoove unions to behave less from a place of comfort and defense of the House, opting, instead, to launch campaigns that might, in fact, endanger some institutions…”

FIGHTING WORDS

Matt Taibbi: “Man travels to India, plays golf, sees Pizza Hut billboard, listens to Indian CEO mutter small talk, writes 470-page book reversing the course of 2000 years of human thought. That he misattributes his thesis to Nilekani is perfect: Friedman is a person who not only speaks in malapropisms, he also hears malapropisms. Told level; heard flat.”

Will: “At a bus stop in Surda an angry young man with a Palestinian flag on his T-shirt throws a rock at me and misses. Outside a pizza joint in West Jerusalem an angry young man with an orange ribbon on his backpack throws a bottle at me and misses.”

Geoffrey Stone: “A democratic society must protect itself against violent attack, but it cannot do so by preventing its citizens from hearing even sinister criticism that defends the use of violence.”

Katha Pollitt: “Exposing the constraints on women’s choices, however, is only one side of feminism. The other is acknowledging women as moral agents, trusting women to decide what is best for themselves. For [Feminists for Life] there’s only one right decision: Have that baby.”

FIGHTING WORDS

(The first in an intermittent series of round-ups of progressive thought from print and on-line media, with hopes of better contenting the pro-block quote and anti-block quote blocs among our readership)

Jo-Ann Mort: “the fact is that in progressive circles, where it’s considered unacceptable to be racist, homophobic,anti-environment or anti-feminist, it’s been okay to cross picket lines, look down on service and blue collar workers, and frequent anti-union businesses and purchase anti-union goods.”

Matt Yglesias: “Every once in a long while, there comes along a brave white person — employed by other white persons, writing primarily for an audience of white people, in a country dominated by white people — with the courage to demand that national policy be shifted in a manner more favorable to the interests of white people.”

John Lewis: “Some Americans believe that when the founding fathers declared this a democratic republic, our task was done. But democracy is not a state, it is an act.”