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A Favor

Hi folks. I left for vacation today to celebrate my fortieth birthday. I'll blog more about it when I have a chance. In the meantime, I have a request.

I haven't been following the threads today, but I still have had to field concerns and complaints via iPhone, which suggests that hostilities are still flaring at dagblog.

As a favor, or perhaps a birthday gift, I would like to ask you all to chill out. Please tone down your responses to one another and try to avoid the urge to lash out, no matter how much you think someone deserves a lashing.

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Michael Wolraich's picture

Occupy Wall Street to be Evicted

From Paul Newell, Democratic District Leader of New York's 64th Assembly District:

It appears that Mayor Bloomberg and NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly are planning to forcibly evict the Occupy Wall Street protesters from Zuccotti Park in the heart of Lower Manhattan.  This is unlawful, undemocratic and risks silencing what may be an important voice.

Please call Mayor Bloomberg right away at 311 (If you are outside of NYC right now, call 212.639.9675 instead.) and tell him not to kick the protesters out of Zuccotti Park.

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Michael Wolraich's picture

Lost in Liberty Square

It took me half an hour to find the Internet Working Group at the Occupy Wall Street demonstration in downtown Manhattan. The protesters have been here 24-hours a day for three weeks to denounce corporate greed and economic inequality. They sleep on the ground under blue tarps, which I discovered after almost stepping on one.

I wasn't sure what the Internet Working Group was, but it sounded intriguing. The www.occupywallst.org website promised a meeting at 5 p.m, so I took the subway downtown and plunged into the ragged mass of thousands packed into an unremarkable urban plaza of less than an acre. The organizers have been calling the park by its original name, Liberty Plaza, though they've refashioned it Liberty Square, which sounds more like an iconic protest setting and less like a suburban shopping mall.

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Once upon a time, a liberal Republican was a star

If presidential hopeful Rick Perry should awaken one night in a cold sweat with the Ghost of Republican Past hovering by his bedside, the apparition will likely take the form of Sen. Charles Percy, who passed away on Saturday after a long struggle with Alzheimer's disease.

Percy's political career ended when he lost his Illinois Senate seat in 1984, the same year that future Texas Gov. Rick Perry won his first election to the Texas House of Representatives as a Democrat. Charles Percy's fall from GOP wunderkind to party outcast offers a vivid illustration of the Republican Party's mutation from a vibrant and diverse coalition to the dogmatic cult of conservative ideology that it has become today.

Read the full article at CNN.com

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Michael Wolraich's picture

Palestinian Statehood and the Politics of Denial

For once, the stars aligned to favor an unlucky people. Defying the odds, the permanent members of the U.N. Security Council agreed to admit a country of refugees still struggling to build a permanent state. The Security Council's recognition did not change the "facts on the ground." The refugees still had to fight for sovereignty and security. But the international recognition offered them a symbol of dignity that they had never experienced. They were not just a people. They were a nation.

That nation was Israel. The year was 1949.

The Palestinians now seek to emulate Israel's example. President Mahmoud Abbas has defied the United States, the Arab League, and even Hamas by seeking full U.N. member status, which requires Security Council approval.

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Michael Wolraich's picture

Open Thread on Obama's Speech

You know that you want it...

My immediate take:

1. Right tone. Making America "great again" has resonance (albeit slightly backhanded). Obama staked out the optimistic position in contrast with Republicans' pessimism--generally a good strategy.

2. Clarity, at least relative to the cloudiness of his past 2.5 years. He pretty clearly delineated the ideological differences.

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Michael Wolraich's picture

Live Blogging Conservatives Gone Wild

Slightly late and exceedingly risky but why the heck not.

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Michael Wolraich's picture

Live Blogging Conservatives Gone Wild

Slightly late and exceedingly risky but why the heck not.

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Michael Wolraich's picture

Republicans Reject Obama-Boehner Speech Deal

In a stormy meeting on Thursday, Tea Party Republicans in the House of Representatives rejected Speaker John Boehner's compromise with President Obama over the schedule of the President's speech to a joint session of Congress.

The White House had sent Mr. Boehner a request for President Obama to address Congress on the evening of Wednesday, September 7. Such requests are considered routine and have been approved 47 times since 1962 without challenge.

But in the volatile political climate of 2011, nothing can be taken for granted. Many Tea Party-affiliated Republicans had campaigned against wasteful speechmaking in the 2010 election, and 216 had signed a "No New Speeches" contract sponsored by Grover Norquist's fundraising organization, Americans for Talk Reform.

"Americans don't need more speeches," argued House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in an hour-long discourse from the House floor last week, "They want the folks in Washington to shut the heck up."

Michael Wolraich's picture

Islam's Secret Strategy to Destroy America "Exposed"

For research purposes, I subscribe to a newsletter from the Christian Anti-Discrimination League.

The organization's title is a deliberate imitation of the Jewish Anti-Defamation League. Its stated mission is to combat "anti-Christian defamation, bigotry, and discrimination."

But its actual mission is very different. The CADL employs a common hate-group tactic by offering a veneer of "anti-discrimination" to rationalize its intolerant objectives. Another example is David Duke's National Association for the Advancement of White People. (I leave it as an exercise for the reader to figure out what organization it purports to imitate.)

I used the word "rationalize" rather than "mask" because groups like the CADL do not deliberately misrepresent their motivations. Dr. Gary Class, president of the CADL, very likely sees himself as a righteous defender of Christian civil rights, as do many of his subscribers. They really believe that they oppose discrimination.

That belief is not a lie for the general public. It's a delusion--a lie to themselves. It allows them to feel comfortable with their own bigotry by projecting those feelings onto the people they hate. By imagining that they are defending tolerant Christians from intolerant Muslims, for example, they cast themselves as innocent victims rather than predatory bigots.

If you look, you can see this tactic employed over and over by the right wing, and I have written extensively about it in Blowing Smoke.

Below the fold, please find the latest newsletter from the so-called Christian Anti-Discrimination League. The subject line is "Islam's Secret Strategy to Destroy America Exposed."

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Biography

Michael Wolraich is a non-fiction writer in New York City. He co-founded dagblog and has contributed  to the Atlantic, the Daily Beast, New York Magazine, CNN.com, TalkingPointsMemo.com, Reuters, and Pando Daily.

Books:

Wolraich is also the computer genius who maintains dagblog's state-of-the-art software, but he denies responsibility for technical glitches and advises users to "quit sniveling." In his spare time, Wolraich raises peach mold and performs live impressions of the law of gravity.

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