“This does not sound like the kind of thing that's going to make everyone realize what a great president George W. Bush was. In fact, it sounds to me like the world's easiest video game. Invade a country for no reason or don't invade a country for no reason? Don't invade a country for no reason. Celebrate John McCain's birthday while a deadly storm hits New Orleans or don't celebrate John McCain's birthday while a deadly storm hits New Orleans? Don't celebrate John McCain's birthday while a deadly storm hits New Orleans. I could do this all day. Torture people or don't torture people? Don't torture people. Deregulate and tax cut the country into financial ruin or don't deregulate and tax cut the country into financial ruin?
There is no reason, people, to overthink the Bush presidency. It was just as bad as you thought. As Bush himself might advise, when you're considering his legacy, go with your gut.”
—— Chris Hayes on the “Decision Points Theater” at the Bush library
“If gun culture is going to be the foundation for the kind of gun politics we have (which will brook no regulation at all, even when that regulation is designed to safeguard the lives and limbs of gun owners themselves); if the politics are the result of the culture (and it's the kind of culture that says it's okay to give a five-year-old a gun)...well then, I'm sorry--we need to talk about this culture. ”
“If you go to Yemen where I was, and you see the unexploded cluster bombs, and you have the list and photographic evidence, as I do, of women and children that represented the vast majority of deaths in the first strike that Obama authorized on Yemen, those people were murdered by President Obama, on his orders, because there was believed to be someone from Al Qaeda in that area.”
—Jeremy Scahill, national security reporter for The Nation • Leveling a dire condemnation against President Obama, on the topic of U.S. drone strikes. Scahill was speaking on MSNBC’s “Up With Chris Hayes” (clearly a show accustomed to recent controversy), and as one could expect his remarks have drawn wide criticism. This is an issue Scahill is very close to — he’s reported from Yemen before, and claims one strike he investigated killed some 35 people, 14 of them children. Redstate.com founder Joshua Treviño pushed back, suggesting he was saying something ‘no reasonable person’ would. We think there’s a very worthy conversation to be had about the moral ramifications of this new sort of warfare, we just hope it doesn’t become too intense at expense of the dialogue. source (via • follow)
“Despite the fact that most Americans believe our country is still The Land of Opportunity, the greatest meritocracy in the world, the United States is actually a terrible place for fortune-seekers. Chris Hayes, author of the new book Twilight of the Elites: America After Meritocracy, notes that when citizens of different countries are polled about their perception of how easy it is to start off poor and work their way up to wealth, "the U.S. is near or at the top in terms of people who say 'yes.' And yet it is also near the bottom in terms of actual social mobility."
In other words, as Hayes argues in his book, America isn't truly a meritocracy. Sure, the Civil Rights movement, feminism, and equal opportunity laws have helped to remove many of the barriers to success -- but people at the top tend to stay at the top, from clique to clique, and generation after generation. "Those who climb up the ladder will always find a way to pull it up after them, or to selectively lower it down to allow their friends, allies, and kin to scramble up," Hayes writes.
The powerful are liable to game systems (like school admissions processes) designed to reward merit; they'll also go to great lengths to maintain their bank accounts and their positions (consider, for instance, just about everyone involved in creating the subprime mortgage crisis). And despite the fact that we are all supposedly born with the same legal rights, the elite are rarely punished for their misdeeds, particularly compared to those lower down on the socioeconomic chain. "The idea that we are a meritocracy is a vast oversimplification, a self-serving and self-justifying one," says Hayes. "If you believe that the model is that those who are smartest and hardest working end up with the most power or the most lucrative jobs, then ... one conclusion to draw from that [is] that the people currently occupying those positions must be meritorious, which I think is an insidious myth.”
“Yesterday, during a cable news discussion of gun violence and the Newtown school shooting, I dared mention a taboo truism. During a conversation on MSNBC’s “Up With Chris Hayes,” I said that because most of the mass shootings in America come at the hands of white men, there would likely be political opposition to initiatives that propose to use those facts to profile the demographic group to which these killers belong. I suggested that’s the case because as opposed to people of color or, say, Muslims, white men as a subgroup are in such a privileged position in our society that they are the one group that our political system avoids demographically profiling or analytically aggregating in any real way. Indeed, unlike other demographic, white guys as a group are never thought to be an acceptable topic for any kind of critical discussion whatsoever, even when there is ample reason to open up such a discussion.”