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.”

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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 (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.”

BORROW AT WILL

Faced with the prospect of having to cover something substantive, like Judge Alito’s long record of anti-worker jurisprudence, which Nathan Newman documented and Sherrod Brown wrote a letter about to Mike DeWine, the Cleveland Plain Dealer decided that the more interesting story was Brown’s use of Nathan’s work without attribution. As Nathan himself writes:

Were they deceived that Brown got on LEXIS, did the legal research himself, and wrote every word of the letter he sent Mike DeWine himself? This is the comparison to academic plagiarism, but the difference between students (and I teach two classes) and politicians is that we expect students to do their own research. Politicians have speech writers and use other peoples ideas without attribution all the time.

So the problem isn’t using other people’s ideas, but that somehow the American people assumed that Brown paid good money to staff for these unattributed ideas and the fact that he got them for free from a blogger is a scandal. Now, if I was a volunteer on the Brown campaign, and not a paid staff person, would all these conservatives beating their breasts over plagiarism still see a problem? I doubt they could do so with a straight face. So is the problem that I am an independent political activist offering my ideas to all progressive comers, without working for Brown specifically?

As Nathan notes, he posted the piece not only on his own website but on DailyKos, every page of which bears the disclaimer:

Site content may be used for any purpose without explicit permission unless otherwise specified.

But in case any intrepid Senate campaign staffers are out there looking to lift writing from a (less talented, younger, unmarried) blogger, let me offer an additional disclaimer of my own for Little Wild Bouquet:

Take whatever you want (as long as you don’t re-write it to mean the opposite). Please. Take it all. Have at it. No, really. This means you. You know you want it.

Please?

Anybody?

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.”