Morning No: No Skinny Babies

by: Natasha Chart

Mon Oct 12, 2009 at 06:00

- Heads up, babies are supposed to be fat. Under 6 months, the fatter, the better. There's no earthly frakking reason, barring an extremely rare case of genetic obesity, that anyone should ever have a conversation about putting an otherwise healthy baby, especially if they're breastfeeding, on a frakking diet. Ever.  

- The press corps' silence favors the powerful in their quest to steal everything that isn't nailed down, then come back with a pry bar for the rest.

- Why corn and soybeans rule the farm in Iowa and elsewhere. It's not the participants, but the system, that's wrongheaded.

- The takeaway from a recent roundup of Avedon's: the American public needs health care, more effective expressions of anger. Also, she alerted us to our threatiest threat, which is in your closet and coming to get you now. Eeek.

- I really feel for the Obama White House, being expected to come through on their promises, since it's true that changing the system is very difficult. Though maybe these yippee-ki-yay campaign gladhanders should have realized this earlier and thought through the "YES WE CAN!" theme a little bit better. Perhaps instead of having to hope today that we'll forget what they said last year, they should have run a 'maybe we could' campaign, or an 'incremental improvements are within reach' campaign. But they didn't. So now they're sitting up there in their fancy suits telling us pinstripe-challenged peons that they're unqualified for the jobs they applied for, and also that they were lying. Yet this reflects badly ... on us?

- You may have seen Michael Moore's Capitalism: A Love Story already. (If you haven't, please go see it.) For either follow up or studying in advance, this is the Citigroup plutonomy memo, part 1 (pdf) (via) and the Citigroup plutonomy report, part 2, (pdf) (via), describing the sorry state of our kleptocratic system of governance. Also, a blogger at the Wall Street Journal helpfully distilled the plutonomy report so you can get the gist of it straight from an eager acolyte of our overlords.  

- The problem with change is that, as it was once rightly said, power concedes nothing without a demand. Nonetheless, word your demand too politely and you will get exactly no response. Act like a bunch of violent anti-abortion, Operation Rescue-style terrorists, and the only kind of change you can guarantee is that you will shift the world by varying margins towards fearful authoritarianism, hatred and isolation along class, gender and/or ethnic lines - which makes violence a non-starter if you care about getting to a progressive end goal.

So what should we do? Peaceful protest won out for the abolition, women's suffrage, anti-colonialism and civil rights movements, yet they all required great masses of people to demonstrate over periods of years. Though unlike other countries with active national strike cultures, not only has a strike ethic diminished in stature as an option in the activist toolkit, the national media barely reports on such events unless they are violent, represent authoritarian ideologies, or can readily be mocked. People seeking peaceful change in the US are often effectively isolated from sympathetic peers around the world and at home and turn only rarely to collective action solutions to shared problems.

Maybe an idea like these Common Security Clubs, which try to gather small groups of neighbors to talk about economic issues face to face, could help. It's hard to say. But the injustices piling up in this world and this country have got to be addressed.

Natasha Chart :: Morning No: No Skinny Babies

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Morning, hellooo - still in the US? (4.00 / 1)
U.S. Can't Trace Foreign Visitors on Expired Visas
DALLAS - Eight years after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and despite repeated mandates from Congress, the United States still has no reliable system for verifying that foreign visitors have left the country.

New concern was focused on that security loophole last week, when Hosam Maher Husein Smadi, a 19-year-old Jordanian who had overstayed his tourist visa, was accused in court of plotting to blow up a Dallas skyscraper.

Last year alone, 2.9 million foreign visitors on temporary visas like Mr. Smadi's checked in to the country but never officially checked out, immigration officials said. While officials say they have no way to confirm it, they suspect that several hundred thousand of them overstayed their visas.

Eight years since 9/11, after seriously reducing civil rights with the Patriot Act, spending hundreds of millions on buraucratic monster DHS, harrassing dozens of millions of visitors when entering the country, and the US still has security loopholes that are bigger than a barn door. It's pathetic!

link on fat babies (4.00 / 3)
goes to Jill Richardson's corn/soybeans cross-post at DKos instead of the fat/skinny baby story.

Maybe you meant to link to this Denver Post story about the family denied health insurance because their four-month-old infant (in 99th percentile for length and weight) supposedly has a pre-existing condition ("obesity"). I diaried that here.

Join the Iowa progressive community at Bleeding Heartland.

Yes, when all other excuses for denying coverage fail, make stuff up! (4.00 / 2)
"Wow, all that baby fat on a baby!  He (or she) is obese!  Yeah, that's the ticket!  Aren't we insurers brilliant?"

[ Parent ]
in truth, it's no more immoral (0.00 / 0)
than all kinds of other "pre-existing conditions" used to deny coverage, like a benign heart murmur a child would grow out of with no treatment. Just more shocking to know that an insurance company would decide somebody's big, healthy baby is too fat to be covered.

Join the Iowa progressive community at Bleeding Heartland.

[ Parent ]
Actually, I meant to link to your DKos diary (0.00 / 0)
I had it open in a browser window and everything. Grrr. Fixed again.

[ Parent ]
Violence and change (2.00 / 2)
In general I agree with the observation that non-violent mass mobilization is at present the most sound approach tactically (forget questions of morals for the moment).

I partially disagree, however, regarding abolition and the civil rights struggles.  The abolition movement included many specific acts of violence, and advocates of violence, including Douglass, to whom Ms. Chart alludes. There were also countless but largely unappreciated and unacknowledged slave rebellions across the south.  And then there is this small thing called the Civil War that was absolutely unavoidable if the country was to adopt the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendment.  Both small and large-scale violence were critical.

Moving forward a century, a good argument can be defended that what made MLK and non-violent protest effective was the more frightening militancy of Malcom X, NOI, and later the BPP.  Without the threat of insurrection or violence, the non-violence protests are effectively crushed rather than slowly and begrudingly embraced (admittedly for many reasons) but in part because that route to change was perceived as preferable to the alternative.  Thus rather than polar opposites, non-violence and violence are interacting phenomena.

Then there is the fact the material gains urban blacks achieved following the major civil rights legislation - that is progress toward de facto rather than merely de jure equality - was in large part an elite response to the mid-to-late 60s riots. (That these gains were later reversed is another and very interesting issue). People in general may abhor violence, but it is the language of elites and they understand it.  A very careful study by James Button found important and statistically significant differences in the delivery of economic and social policy benefits to blacks living in areas experiencing riots compared to those living in areas without riots.

None of the foregoing is an argument for violence on either tactical or moral grounds given present circumstances.  But it does suggest some of the arguments made in Ms. Chart's post should be revisited.

Sometimes violence works.

Did they get you to trade your heroes for ghosts? Hot ashes for trees? Hot air for a cool breeze? And cold comfort for change?

the violence of Ku Klux Klan (0.00 / 0)
repulsed the nation

and when set against the non-violence of Martin Luther King, made MLK a hero

assassination of MLK gave civil rights the high ground forever

those slave rebellions -- did it work?

and the mass slaughter - a good thing?  And did it work?  see 100 years of repression to follow

change context, centuries of violence in Ireland.  effective?

[ Parent ]
"Sometimes violence works"? Tell THAT to the victims! (0.00 / 0)
Horrible. Of course, this "is an argument for violence" on strategical grounds, what else? I hate those terrorism appeasenicks.

[ Parent ]
Deliberately TRed for spreading support for violence. (0.00 / 0)
Imho Jacobsens comment isn't compatible with OpenLeft's rule "be excellent to each other". We all know past examples of people who have excused violence in this way. It always resulted in giving public support to the offenders. And almost always it contained phrases like "forget questions of morals for the moment". Yeah, sure, forget about ethics, the end justifies the means, and soon you start to think like Karl Adolf Eichmann. !No pasaran!

Folks, NEVER forget about ethics! And no excuses for violence. If you go that way, it will be all downhill fom there.  

[ Parent ]
WOW! Think before talking/writing, please (0.00 / 0)
My comments were (I think obviously) misunderstood.  I never said ignore ethics or morals in any absolute sense.  I said ignore for the purposes of argument about what was presented as a tactical question by the diarist and taken up by me as such.  If that was not transparent, I apologize.  I am as close to a pacifist as you will find, though largely on tactical grounds in the spirit of Gene Sharp rather than on moral grounds (I'll bet both Watchman and Gray have absolutely no idea who Sharp is or what his research finds).  I have never been in a physical fight or violence of any type with anyone at any age.  Not once in 40 years.  My disposition and training and history are to talk through disagreement.  I am a diplomat, not a warrior.

My goodness, if argument by way of historical description is taken as advocacy on this site we are in big, big trouble, especially when in response to empirical claims.  Please do not presume to understand my moral system without inquiry.  If you think the historical facts I describe (describe, not advocate) are in error, attack those, not me.  I think that is the essence of the code for this site; one I honored and one which I think those responding to my descriptive arguments are close to ignoring.

WATCHMAN: You are mistaken.  For the most part the KKK violence was accepted or ignored, especially in the south, but also in the north.  Look at KKK dominance of state  legislatures in Indiana and my home state of Oregon in the 1920s.  There is one point you make that underscores my argument, however, and I realize that you are talking about KKK violence in the 1950s and 1960s.  My argument was that violence made MLK more appealing and effective.  You merely offer another type of violence that had this effect, adding to the effect of black militancy that I described.  THAT IS MY ARGUMENT: Violence makes non-violence effective.  This is a counterpoint to the standard, and I think facile, claim they are mutually exclusive.  My argument was that sometimes violence works, not that it always or even frequently works.  So, your counter-examples prove little as a response.  

It's 1859.  Is your argument to the slaves: don't rebel because that is violence and it may not work.  I'm not comfortable offering that counsel.  Is your argument that the mass slaughter of the Civil War was not justified, if there was no alternative?  Please try and share that argument at a black church here in Detroit.

While I think Republican violence in N. Ireland merits criticism, what is your argument for it failing on tactical grounds?  Do you think the British forces would be gone without The Troubles that raised the costs of the occupation?  I'd sincerely love to see you flesh out that argument.  Remember: I am not advocating or justifying what the IRA did, I am suggesting that it worked, at least somewhat, to achieve the ends motivating its use.  And even if you did, my argument is that sometimes violence makes non-violence more effective.  I think that is precisely what the N. Ireland case proves.  Without the IRA, there is no negotiation with Sinn Fein.  The Palestinian case is another where remarkably disciplined non-violence struggle in 1987-1989 produced...what exactly?  But again, I was not saying violence always works or works today.  I was responding to specific examples provided by the diarist.

GRAY: I fear there is not much I can say that will overcome your (willful?) mischaracterization of my argument.  Reread my final three sentences and unbind your shorts, please.  Yeah, I am just like Adolf Eichmann.  That's consistent with the site's code, I am sure.  Regarding your I think clearly and inarguably unjustified TR, especially given that I was responding to specific historical claims rather than presenting advocacy, I will turn the other check and not return in kind.

If you think that violence always fails, you are, I believe, ignorant of history.  Revolutionary War.  Civil War.  Algerian war of Independence.  FSLN in Nicaragua.  The last known participant of the Jewish uprising in the Warsaw ghetto just passed.  Would you have counseled them against their violent uprising, because, you know, advocating violence is unjustified, genocide be damned?  Silly.  Dangerous.

The counter examples are legion, though obviously part of the assessment is a function of how one characterizes and measures the objectives of violence.

Please try and understand: (1) responses to historical claims made by others as compared to advocacy; (2) focusing arguments as contrasted with the view that something is unimportant (i.e., set aside for the purposes of the current argument questions of morals, in this case consistent with Ms. Chart's framework and empirical assertions about the effectiveness of non-violence.)

"Be excellent to each other" relates to the treatment by members of other site members.  I did not and have never violated that code.  You, I think, may have or have come perilously close.  "Be excellent to each other" does not mean refuse to provide arguments answering those made by others.  Having carefully developed my response, I am done with Gray.  I have no time for those who would cavalierly and unthinkingly respond to careful argumentation.

Did they get you to trade your heroes for ghosts? Hot ashes for trees? Hot air for a cool breeze? And cold comfort for change?

[ Parent ]
This is good, Chris. (0.00 / 0)
'incremental improvements are within reach' campaign.

The truth is, Obama had excellent marketing.  The slogans promised big, but mostly undefined "change," lost of "hope", with few details as to what we were hoping for, and lots of "Yes, we can," with few details as to what we could do.

When one really looked at what Obama's policy promises were, it really was 'incremental improvements are within reach.'

The slogans were never meant to be taken seriously, except by voters.


Uh, her name is Natasha Chart, not Chris. n/t (4.00 / 1)

[ Parent ]
Whoops. Didn't read the (0.00 / 0)
author's name. Thanks.

[ Parent ]
from the sideshow link (4.00 / 1)
There are 98,000 reasons to oppose what the right-wing calls "tort reform".  One of them is that the reason for malpractice suits, first and foremost, is malpractice.



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