Monday, November 3, 2014

Call Northside 666 — Or why the AZ. GOP now pretends to denounce the Paul Ryan Budget!

Perhaps The Devil made them do it.

Longtime readers of this blog will know from my generally-leftist positions as well as a past post that critiqued the Democrats broadly and Democratic Congressman Ron Barber specifically, that I'm no fan of Barber, as he has often voted in ways that are quite unprogressive, and even downright right-wing.

But the day before Halloween I received in the mail an attack advertisement against Barber from the Arizona Republican Party that is really quite astonishing in what it says, considering its origin.

That AZ. Republican Party origin is only mentioned in small print, sideways near the right edge of side 2.

It is not mentioned at the top, where the originating address and postage-paid permit number are to be found.

Anyway, they're denouncing him "What Makes Ron Barber So Scary? His Vote For The Terrifying Ryan Budget" and then they continue on to list some of the adverse consequences of that Ryan budget!

In fact, Barber apparently voted twice against the Ryan budget, but did vote in favor of the Ryan-Murphy budget deal:

That's still highly objectionable to me, to be sure, but not exactly the same thing. And here's the kicker not as objectionable to me as the Republican Party hypocritically misrepresenting its position on Ryan's (and other) slash-and-burn budget proposals. Paul Ryan has been the darling of the Republican Party, and his budget proposals have received a very high level of support from Party members. Seeing that Republican-originated ad, I could barely believe my eyes at the level of deceit that the Republican Party is apparently willing to engage in. (That is, unless they've had an epiphany, and actually no longer worship at the alter of Ayn Rand and Social Darwinisn, and their slicker modern advocates such as Paul Ryan. But I've not seen any such epiphany reported, nor seen any other indications of Republican moderation. In fact, just the opposite seems to be true).

Given the data-driven sophistication of modern campaigning, the Arizona Republican Party must have tested this advertisement in focus groups, and found it sufficiently effective to proceed with a mailing.

So I ask, first, of the Republican Party: Have you no shame, are there no limits to your hypocrisy and deceit, and do you really believe that those behaviors will go unnoticed? (And know this: Even though I consider Barber to be pathetically unprogressive as a Democrat, and the modern neoliberal Democratic Party itself an embarrassment in fights for social justice and swore that this election cycle I wouldn't vote for the lesser-of-two-evils the hypocrisy of your mailing will prompt me to vote for Barber on Tuesday). Hypocrisy in politics is nothing less than formalized lying to the electorate about one's position and intentions and I for one don't like to be lied to, doubly so on matters of great importance.

And more broadly I ask everyone: Is the American voter really, ultimately, as dumb as modern political campaigning suggests? (Yes, I know some of what P.T. Barnum, H. L. Mencken, Mark Twain, and others have said, but we are now many years later, so the question should be asked anew).

I'm not sure that I want to know the answers.

Text Copyright: Fred Drumlevitch

Fred Drumlevitch blogs irregularly at
He can be reached at FredDrumlevitch12345(at)

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Neoliberal Voyeuristic Entertainment, 2014


I won't begrudge these kids this visit to a fancy restaurant. It may well be highly memorable for them, and as an indirect result, one (or more) of them may grow up to become a great chef — or more fittingly, an activist pursuing things that really matter, such as social and economic justice, that have gotten short shrift in recent years at the hands of both major political parties.

Some may see this visit as "charming" — and indeed, in the most literal sense, it is. Still, considering that the tasting menu alone runs $220 per person at this restaurant, and that New York State Education Department data for the 2012-13 school year shows that 81% of students at this school are eligible for a free lunch, an honest look must also see that this arranged restaurant visit filmed for The New York Times delivers a neoliberal/neoconservative-style minimally-beneficial gesture with the usual out-of-proportion attention and laudation, an aura of voyeuristic entertainment from how these out-of-their-environment children will comport themselves, and perhaps even a hint of "My Fair Lady", writ small.


I note this morning that the NYT apparently changed the article's headline subsequent to my first screen grab, with both the original headline and the change revealing their (perhaps subconscious) pro-"1%" outlook, something that had escaped my notice at the time of my original post.

Their headline now reads "What Happens When Second Graders Are Treated to a Seven-Course, $220 Tasting Meal". Previously, it read "Can Second-Graders Appreciate A Seven-Course, $220 Tasting Meal?".

Now, these children are "treated" to the largesse of the upper class. Previously, the focus was on whether they could "appreciate" what they couldn't afford.

(In both cases, the primary photo run by the NYT was the same, a minority child at the restaurant table. My screen grab shows a food plate, because I made the screen capture as the Times' video ran).

Text Copyright: Fred Drumlevitch

Fred Drumlevitch blogs irregularly at
He can be reached at FredDrumlevitch12345(at)