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Educated at Rutgers College (BA) and UC Berkeley (Ph.D, English) Becker left university teaching (Northwestern, U. Chicago) for business, founding and heading SOTA Industries, high end audio company from '80 to '92. From '92-02 he did marketing consulting & writing; since 2002, he scribbles on politics and culture, looking for the wit in the shadows.
Impeachment Addiction Affliction: Pipe Dream, Meet Fool's Errand (13 comments)
One must seek ancient history, well before Clinton, to a golden age when impeachment was not the first, second and third war cry from bad losers. Why, all a president has to do these days is get elected and instantly one-third declares him unfit, dangerous and illegitimate. What country long survives when its majority choice is tainted as legitimate before the year is out?
Wednesday, July 23, 2014
Mocking Literalists Defy 'Literal' Science For 'Creation Myth' (7 comments)
My issue isn't that such fundamentalists are stupidly literalist (despite the ambiguity that is language), but that they embrace unreliable, transparently outdated literalism. Fundamentalists galore make their cosmic blunders worse by worshipping overtly child-like fables. If prudent literalism is your thing, why not instead go for something substantial, like the Principle of Conservation of Energy
Sunday, July 13, 2014
Run, Hillary, Run: Defy the Critics -- Expose Your Real Self, Never Say Die (5 comments)
The good news for Clinton objectors is Maher's warning shots, and far better advice, will fall on deaf, tin ears. Only destiny and higher powers, as in Greek tragedies, thwarts the Clintons' high drama. Maher ignores what makes Hillary run: not great legislative feats, nor leading great reform movements, nor diplomatic breakthroughs (conspicuous throughout by their absence) but unshaken, unmatched, gritty endurance.
Sunday, July 6, 2014
The Shifting, Double-edged Sword called 'Populism' (17 comments)
While fat cats get predictably bashed, how many self-declared populists deliver systemic proposals that threaten the powers-that-be? Not many. For years calling someone a "populist" was a swipe, and the left cringes when "populist" right-wingers especially militant Confederate-types, take the stage -- or when the GOP's latest "true American," Dave Brat, conquers the Cantor with populist pablum.
Wednesday, June 18, 2014
Regression to the Mean: Cantor Fiasco Nails Another Rightwing Coffin (7 comments)
The rightwing witches' brew of domestic obstructionism, seasoned with stalemate and shutdown, plods along as our reigning "philosophy" of governance. What a contrast between gridlock at home, sparing idly over protocol and celebrity imagery vs. the rapid belligerence overseas that guarantees our Rome won't burn alone.
Friday, May 30, 2014
War: A History According to the Tea Party (and Fox News) (17 comments)
First there was the Revolutionary War that was fought by the Founding Fathers in 1776 when they also wrote the Constitution and made sure that the State and Church were separated while keeping and baring arms was okay. They also wanted to end slavery and make sure that marriage was between a man and a woman, but not a black woman.
Wednesday, May 28, 2014
Global Monopolies Swell: Where's the Backlash? (70 comments)
To understand global phenomenons -- not just growing income equality, booming billionaires and record stock prices, but also climate change and international tensions -- study the first step in world's industrial production line: mastery of resources, like oil, land, water and raw minerals.
Wednesday, May 14, 2014
Washington Post Bashes Pope For Not Bashing Satan (34 comments)
Bad enough the media won't cover Ukraine accurately, or do investigative reporting on what crony banks and Wall Street ares still getting away with, or explain why endless know-nothing politics menaces national stability. But now we have a major newspaper present outlandish chicanery about the new Pope as if news reporting. If it weren't funny, there'd be no social redeeming value whatsoever. I point out the blunders.
Wednesday, April 23, 2014
If Reason Dies, So Goes Civilization (61 comments)
Here is no unqualified defense of what reason (or technology) hath wrought, as negatives of late swamp positives. Further, one doesn't have to glorify reason to favor it over the true enemy in our midst -- unreason -- flush with racial superiority, nationalistic frenzies, and knee-jerk militarism that turns troubled nations into rubble.
Wednesday, April 9, 2014
Folly of Predicting Anything, Especially the Future (24 comments)
beware all predictions, good, bad, or indifferent, especially from those you deem heroes. Too often such predictions are less about what's to come than what we already believe, feeding either wish fulfillment or the spate of recent world weariness, even despair.
Wednesday, March 26, 2014
Will the South Rise Again, Outgrow Tantrums & Fundamentalism? (3 comments)
The American majority should look upon the South not as a hotbed of extremism, or tantrum-throwing secessionists, but a great opportunity to offset inherited downsides. Already, Dixie demographics are changing, young southerners are abandoning fundamentalism, and new, darker-skinned neighbors with Hispanic names are moving in (along with older, liberal northerners). What if the South changes in the next century vs. 1914.
Tuesday, March 18, 2014
The Left, Talking to Itself, Sabotages the Moment (16 comments)
Thus, I question when the left sounds as insular as the right. Of course progressives won't ever match the bubble-headed fixations of today's extremists, rejecting evidence and method. But consider: is the left stronger now than in '08? Are progressives winning or losing the messaging wars, gaining or losing the critical new mass without which populist movements die?
Wednesday, March 5, 2014
The Terror of Good News (11 comments)
Good luck betting against the onslaught of bad news bears. Even shaky optimists are dismissed as naive or foolish, sell-outs who mine the few tarnished valuables from establishment rubble. Yet, I fear online sites are coming to ape blood-curdling local TV newscasts teeming with school shootings, infamous felonies or systemic disintegration.
Has the Republican Brand Hit Bottom Yet? (14 comments)
What national party ever redeemed itself with unending, conspicuous wars against voters: poor people, the unemployed, the young, unions, state employees, scientists and medical researchers, women and minorities, even defenders of legal birth control and abortion? Like God, this posse of the pious figures to create a miracle out of nothing.
Tuesday, January 28, 2014
A Leftwing Tower of Babble? (78 comments)
My decade of blogging has not dispelled a conviction in unity there is strength. The left is too much a tower of babble. Let us recall not just Ben Franklin's "We must, indeed, all hang together, or most assuredly we shall all hang separately" but "our cause is the cause of all mankind, and that we are fighting for their liberty in defending our own."
Wednesday, January 22, 2014
Six Witch-hunts Inform The 'Age of Scapegoating' (21 comments)
No, to capture the modern spirit, especially the American narrative, a darker core emerges, thus my nomination: "Age of Scapegoating." Are our politics not obsessed with witch-hunting the innocent, providing base emotional releases through destructive rituals? Did not our latest scandal from the Christie administration prey on guiltless commuters locked down for the four-day, Fort Lee bridge calamity?
Tuesday, January 14, 2014
Let's Have a Scandal: Christie's Fate in Ten Acts (18 comments)
For context, let us recount the roughly ten stages that mark the sameness of big-time scandals. Indeed, the audacity of the opening abuse is exceeded only by the predictability of the narrative. On the heels of banksters and fraudsters, why not over-reaching thugsters caught in self-made traffic jams?
Wednesday, January 8, 2014
Will Democrats Swipe Rightwing Sound-bite Magic? (5 comments)
Two big problems remain when practicing sound-bite politics. First, loaded headlines serve a propaganda function, both by oversimplifying and/or deflecting systemic reform. Sound bites bury foundational issues under rhetorical rubble.
Elections have been won or lost on the politics of sound bites—like the last three, for starters. Let the games of ’14 begin.
'Heathcare' Pope Exhorts Catholic Geeks To Rescue ACA (1 comments)
Interestingly, and not without irony, both Pope Francis and President Obama share a destiny, struggling to serve the old and needy by urging younger folks to sign up and embrace their different versions of pie-in-the-sky.
Sunday, December 1, 2013
Buoyed by Iran, Obama Faces Down Remaining Menace: Tea Party (13 comments)
Discarding the gentleman's code that sabotaged his first term, the president did not back off comparing Tea Party with Iranian duplicity: "At the end of the day, what is the great difference between calculated deception by Iran, with rather limited power or intention to injure us, vs. the calculated deception by homemade upstarts with far more leverage to do permanent institutional damage?
Monday, November 25, 2013
New Progressive Era -- or Dead Cat Bounce? (42 comments)
No doubt, any newfound, progressive growth must feast on the nexus of failed, faux Obama liberalism bloodied by failed, faux Tea Party conservatism. Interestingly, both face paradigm-shifting blowback: Obamacare could doom Democratic Senate control while unstinting Tea Party idiocy jeopardizes House control
Thursday, November 14, 2013
Bottom-Up-Small-is-Beautiful Vs. Top-down-Monoliths (65 comments)
Reluctantly, I fear Rob's "bottom-up" future provides insufficient user protection or checks on corrupt corporatism. My aesthetic embraces Rob's models, but my analytic training identifies daunting problems, in the name of pragmatism and/or revolution.
Wednesday, November 6, 2013
So you want a revolution? (52 comments)
So pardon my skepticism, but permanent revolutions are rare birds, scaling more than misery, even despair. Hard times do not automatically presage something better. Peak events celebrate heroism, yet most history records feats of remarkable endurance to suffering. What, aside from high hopes, makes today so special?
Wednesday, October 23, 2013
Bravo, Tea Party, Bulwark for Nonstop Demagogues (9 comments)
Name another gang that so fluidly uncovers new heroes to replace fallen champions for, like Halloween cemetery goblins, an inexhaustible parade of goons and buffoons marches on. Here finally is what the Tea Party does best: pinpointing pinheads of demagogic dogmatism, an army of toy Christian soldiers marching as to war, okay, the wrong time at the wrong time.
Wednesday, October 16, 2013
Age of Apocalypse: Where Right & Left Intersect (41 comments)
Hail the Age of Apocalypse, well beyond the 20th C.'s Age of Anxiety or the 19th C.'s Great Awakening. While belief systems diverge widely partisans rounding out the edges sound a similar drum: our world is crashing -- doomed by financial, cultural, religious and/or environmental collapse. The end isn't just near but encircling us, and doomsday criers only wonder that the terminal patient is still breathing.
Monday, October 7, 2013
In Rightwing Crosshairs, Shutting Down Majority Rule (4 comments)
If nothing breaks, thuggish House rubes trump the Senate, the White House, federal agencies, and a growing majority aghast at leaps off the cliff solely to dramatize one's purity. Who let the howling dogs in?
Tuesday, October 1, 2013
GOP Lemmings 'Rebrand' -- Beyond the 'Party of Stupid' (10 comments)
Knee-jerk House tantrums hit new comic highs as the Wily E. Coyote party continued its madcap leap to self-destruction. Can't zealots who hate government find more imaginative ways not to govern? The latest cartoon antics only dramatize what happens when the party of stupid redefines itself downward.
Monday, September 16, 2013
It's a Wrap: Obama is No Bush Warmonger (16 comments)
Apparently, short of invasion, no president named Obama will hawk the audacity of war with the urgency of now. What klutz orchestrates a remote, one-shot war without rounding up home troops, political and otherwise, in advance?
Thursday, September 5, 2013
Behold the Obama Miracle: Finally Uniting Red and Blue (28 comments)
Hallelujah and hosannas, God works in such mysterious ways! And the next wondrous aspect is that unity comes so far with zero bloodshed, no stomping imperial boots, and no expense in cruise missile billions in a waste of shame.
Tuesday, September 3, 2013
'Devout Non-ideologue' Turns OBombardier (7 comments)
Let me get this: our wariest, pragmatist-in-chief, the cautious-to-a-fault "devout non-ideologue," singles out Syria as the moral hill he wants to die. Then, displaying real class when pushed to win Congressional support, he declares in advance no commander-in-chief is beholden to representative government.
The Debacle of Electing Two Gullible, Empty Shells (13 comments)
Obama and Bush share far more than maddening continuity on militarism, spying or anti-terrorism abuses, and corporate welfare. Equally under-prepared for Washington crossfire, both susceptible neophytes rushed to over-delegate power and judgment, conceding huge deficiencies.
Five Wedges That Crack the "Melting Pot' Meme (1 comments)
Can we rebuild coherence when one-third of the country stridently thrashes Constitutional abortion, voting rights, gay marriage, plus evolution and climate change, while righteously asserting the absurdity of Biblical literalism and the perfection of the "free" market system?
Wednesday, July 24, 2013
Igniting the Rightwing Blitz: The Curse of "Too Many Laws' (3 comments)
When do "all enemies, foreign and domestic" encompass agents of disruption who won't "faithfully discharge the duties of office," nor respect the legitimacy of the legislative and executive branches? How long can the Union survive with dissension from internal guerrilla war?
Where are the boycotts of yesteryear? (4 comments)
Where are the momentous, consciousness-raising boycotts of yesteryear that rose up against injustice, bigotry, or plain stupidity, to advance legal, civil and workers' rights? Once upon a time high-profile uproars, some lasting years, brought down presidents, ended major wars, and remade national American priorities and values.
Tuesday, June 25, 2013
Fleeing the Dollar That Bankrolls The Reigning 'Evil Empire' (3 comments)
If the link between the dollar and imperialism is that of monopoly collusion, then all those against American imperialism welcome alternative currencies and exchanges beyond the greenback. I describe five such options, with commentary.
Wednesday, June 19, 2013
Obama Batters "Great Man' Theory (2 comments)
Remarkably, protean Obama sponged up the Bush Doctrine (belligerent, go-it-alone militarism), the Cheney Doctrine (spying uber alles, freedom demands tyranny), the Clinton Doctrine (pragmatic relativism), even the transparency-hating Nixon Doctrine (if a president does it . . .).
NRA 'Charity' Ransacks 'Enlightened Self-interest' (3 comments)
Where else would the NRA look to justify its non-profit status but public service? And what higher American morality is their than Enlightened Self-interest? Who knew what a modern lobbyist must do to justify its existence on a higher plane?
Wednesday, May 1, 2013
NRA Jungle Law Domesticates Bush Doctrine (2 comments)
Time for a wrap on how the NRA's reign of terror makes war against longterm American values. In the process, the NRA dumps outmoded or invented "states of nature" wholly inappropriate to modern times. The linkage to Bush-Cheney's failed military adventures is strong, and I haven't see the point made.
Tuesday, April 16, 2013
'Rapture Politics' Harnesses Rightwing to Doomsday Horsemen (24 comments)
All in all, is it any wonder that Republican politics channel death trips out of Revelation, in fact heaven's invincible Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse? Are we shocked this foursome -- representing Conquest, War, Famine, and Death -- informs anti-life national platforms that elevate avarice above community and compassion?
Five Reasons To Stop Worrying & Love the Sequester (4 comments)
Only a brave contrarian defends a poison pill concoction conceived in cynicism and promoted with panic that staggers home with all the climax of a shotgun wedding. Once an orphan chick ostracized by all, fiscal sequestration has arrived, though only left-leaning curmudgeons take sufficient note.
Sunday, March 17, 2013
Deadline Looms To Fund Critical Ocean Plastic-Trash Film (7 comments)
Want a simple, real-world project that needs $10K to save the world, well, do a study on the Sargasso Sea life and the devastation from the Atlantic Ocean plastic trash gyre? This is it. Join in, for the price of a latte.
Tuesday, March 12, 2013
TP Regression To the Meanness Defies God, the Majority & Civilization (23 comments)
Where's the court of public opinion when a 25% minority lords over majority rule? What about religious courts when Christians defile God's literal decrees to "replenish the earth"? What about Constitutional courts when the Tea Party violates the hallowed creed for the "General Welfare"? Is there retribution here or what?
Wednesday, February 27, 2013
The Politics of Self-Destruction: Is the 'Stupid Party' that Stupid? (6 comments)
Circular firing squads happen predictably after election fiascoes. But sustained and nasty salvos that define intramural GOP politics, on top of countless other blunders, augurs systemic change, perhaps a major party split. In any case, no minority beats a coherent majority over time. And that is stupid politics from the "stupid party."
Tuesday, February 19, 2013
Backlash to NRA Rampage Reloads Gun Reform (11 comments)
What does it say about dinosaur gun makers that they hired, now cheer on what NRA's LaPierre is doing to their image? Talk about the "stupid party." Here, we have the "stupid industry" and I posit more buffoonery only adds to the rightwing GOP's woes. And more is coming.
5 Backfiring, Karl Rove Social Wedges Doom GOP 'Rebranding' (9 comments)
Yearning for that golden age when the Dubya Dunciad reigned, the right sanctifies Rove's schemes of glory: "if we can only tweak his winning social wedges, national glory is ours again." Thus conservatism embraces its minority status, doubling down on delusions of lost grandeur.
The Right's Sham Religion of Rugged Individualism (37 comments)
Of all the glaring paradoxes afflicting the crippled rightwing, none is greater than its spouting off about rugged individualism while endorsing the punitive politics of ideological submission. Where are the roguish rebels on the right to defend freedom of thought, expression, and action? How can anyone cheer on individualism while marching in lockstep to an enforced morality?
Four Epic Dilemmas Dooming GOP 'Rebranding' (8 comments)
Do true believers just up and change because they've lost an election? Is the GOP smart enough to know when the cliff is coming? Au contraire. I expect rightwing 'rebranding' either to be a fraud, or a cover-up, or trigger a further surge of rigid, know-nothing denial. Why not all three?
Thursday, November 15, 2012
5 Contradictions Sinking the GOP (1 comments)
Republican dinosaurs tanked because they fell into their own dazzling quicksand of contradictions, exposing both intellectual fraudulence and ideological perversity. Despite sham indirections, Romney-Ryan personified the rightwing swamp, swarming with deception, denial, blarney, and delusion.