Propaganda posters: J. C. Leyendecker’s Uncle Sam at bat (fit for August)

July 28, 2012

Get in the game with Uncle Sam, WWI poster by J. C. Leyendecker, Museum of Play image

“Get in the Game with Uncle Sam” poster from World War I, by J. C. Leyendecker in 1917 — image from National Museum of Play

No matter how much the Texas State Board of Education wishes to run away from America’s heritage, we can’t.

Nor should we want to.

Propaganda is not a bad word.  There is bad propaganda, stuff that doesn’t work.  There is propaganda for bad purposes, stuff that promotes bad policies, or evil.  But good propaganda is stronger, long-lasting, often full of great artistic merit, and instructive.

Images of Uncle Sam provide clear pictures of what Americans were thinking, from the oldest versions to today.

This poster above is a World War I poster designed to convince Americans to get involved in the war effort.  J. C. Leyendecker, a noted illustrator, cast Uncle Sam as a baseball player up to bat.  The poster says simply, “Get in the game with Uncle Sam.”  Perhaps uniquely, this poster showed Sam in yellow-striped pants, instead of the more traditional red-striped.  Could an artist take such liberty today?

Nicolas Ricketts at the Strong Museum of National Play offered a good, concise description of the politics and history of the poster at the blog for the Museum (links added for your convenience):

Meanwhile, then-president Woodrow Wilson, who had won reelection in 1916 on an anti-war platform, faced the need for American participation in the terrible “Great War” raging in Europe. He and his cabinet knew that American involvement loomed. But how could the government convince the American public that this was necessary? One idea was to create a poster that urged Americans to metaphorically “Get in the Game,” along with their patriotic national symbol, Uncle Sam.

Artist J. C. Leyendecker (1874-1951) designed the poster, commissioned by the Publicity Committee of the Citizens Preparedness Association, a pro-war organization with federal support which also sponsored “preparedness parades” and other nationalistic activities. Leyendecker himself emigrated from Germany at age eight and was approaching the pinnacle of his career in 1917 when he created this work.

The poster just preceded James Montgomery Flagg’s famous “I Want You” image of Uncle Sam, which later became the best-known likeness of the country’s unofficial symbol. Leyendecker’s version, in spite of his baseball bat, is possibly less affable to contemporary eyes than Flagg’s friendlier Sam. But the bat he holds connected him to many Americans, who perhaps then decided that America should “get in the game.”

Some of this older propaganda had a humorous twist I think is too often missing from modern posters.  It was more effective for that, I think.

The image of Sam at bat shows up in many places in the internet world, but most often stripped of its identifying links to Leyendecker.  That does disservice to the art, to history, and to Leyendecker, who was one of our nation’s better illustrators for a very long time.

Visit the National Museum of Play in Rochester, New York.

More posters, almost random, found through Zemanta:

English: Uncle Sam recruiting poster.

The most famous Uncle Sam recruiting poster, by James Montgomery Flagg (1917). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

James Montgomery Flagg 1917 poster: "Boys...

James Montgomery Flagg 1917 poster: “Boys and girls! You can help your Uncle Sam win the war – save your quarters, buy War Savings Stamps” / James Montgomery Flagg . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


“Fighting to prevent this,” still – World War II poster

June 17, 2012

Think American Institute. “We’re Fighting to Prevent This.” Rochester, New York: Kelly Read, 1943. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

Think American Institute. “We’re Fighting to Prevent This.” Rochester, New York: Kelly Read, 1943. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

Both Republicans and Democrats might make a claim on this poster, today.

Propaganda for patriots, from World War II, from collections now held by the Library of Congress.


U.S. government propaganda circa 1943: “Don’t be a sucker”

January 22, 2012

"Mike is learning his lesson." Still shot from the 1947 U.S. government film, "Don't Be a Sucker," intended to encourage Americans to be inclusive to avoid the divisions and disaster that afflicted Nazi Germany. Vox.com image

“Mike is learning his lesson.” Still shot from the 1947 U.S. government film, “Don’t Be a Sucker,” intended to encourage Americans to be inclusive to avoid the divisions and disaster that afflicted Nazi Germany. Vox.com image

If only the Republican Party still subscribed to these all-American, egalitarian values  . . .  A few sources say the film was intended to be an anti-racism film after the desegregation of the U.S. armed forces by President Harry Truman, and was not intended for general public viewing.  (Is it fair to say this is secret stuff?)  The Internet Movie DataBase (IMDB) said the film was made in 1943, and reissued by the Defense Department later; good movies stay fresh:

Financed and produced by the United States War Department, and shot at the Warners [Bros.] studio, although it was distributed through all of the major studios’ film exchanges and also by National Screen Services free to the theatre exhibitors: A young, healthy American Free Mason is taken in by the message of a soap-box orator who asserts that all good jobs in the United States are being taken by the so-called minorities, domestic and foreign. He falls into a conversation with a refugee professor who tells him of the pattern of events that brought Hitler to power in Germany and how Germany’s anti-democratic groups split the country into helpless minorities, each hating the other. The professor concludes by pointing out that America is composed of many minorities, but all are united as Americans. (Reissued in 1946 following the end of World War II.) (Written by Les Adams)

From the Department of Defense in 1943 and 1946, “Don’t Be a Sucker,” about 18 minutes:

More, resources: 


Christy World War I poster to fetch more than $400 at auction

January 6, 2012

That’s a safe bet — the bid at the moment at Heritage Auctions is at $450.  How much is it worth?

Howard Chandler Christy World War I poster, 1918 - Third Liberty Loan - Heritage Auctions image

Howard Chandler Christy poster from 1918, for the Third Liberty Loan to finance World War I - Heritage Auctions image

Heritage Auctions describes the poster:

World War I Propaganda Poster by Howard Chandler Christy (Forbes, 1918). Third Liberty Loan Poster (20″ X 30″) “Fight or Buy Bonds.” War.
Howard Chandler Christy was so good at illustrating iconic beautiful women in uniquely styled poster art, that they soon became known as “Christy Girls.” He used some of these images to sell war bonds during WW I. His lovely art was instrumental in raising countless millions for the war effort. An unrestored poster with good color and an overall very presentable appearance. It may have tears, pinholes, edge wear, wrinkling, slight paper loss, and minor stains. Please see full-color, enlargeable image below for more details. Rolled, Fine+.

Posters from the wars are great teaching tools.  I tell my students to watch to see if their parents or grandparents have any of these old posters lying around.  $450 would buy books for a semester at college.

Heritage Auctions plans to sell this poster, and many others, this coming Sunday, January 8.


Cold War propaganda: “Make Mine Freedom,” 1948

October 10, 2011

Designed to promote democracy versus communism, and free enterprise (capitalism) over communism’s totalitarian governments then in vogue in the Eastern Bloc, this film was targeted to young college students who did not have the opportunity to fight for freedom in World War II.  “Make Mine Freedom” was produced by Harding College in 1948, preserved by the Prelinger Archives.

Is it a bit heavy handed? Is this an accurate portrait of economic or political freedom?  Are the characters in this animated short movie quite stereotyped?

In Blogylvania, the movie has been seized on as a sort of parable for our times.  Those bloggers who say it is a parable see a lot more in the movie than I do.  Almost any Lewis Hine photograph of child labor should be a good rebuttal.  Some say it seemed far-fetched in 1948 (then why did anyone bother to make it?).  It’s much, much more far-fetched now.

It’s a good departure point for discussions about propaganda in the Cold War.

Harding College resides in Searcy, Arkansas, and is affiliated with the Church of Christ.  It is now Harding University.


Propaganda posters: J. C. Leyendecker’s Uncle Sam at bat

August 28, 2011

 

Get in the game with Uncle Sam, WWI poster by J. C. Leyendecker, Museum of Play image

“Get in the Game with Uncle Sam” poster from World War I, by J. C. Leyendecker — image from National Museum of Play

No matter how much the Texas State Board of Education wishes to run away from America’s heritage, we can’t.

Nor should we want to.

Propaganda is not a bad word.  There is bad propaganda, stuff that doesn’t work.  There is propaganda for bad purposes, stuff that promotes bad policies, or evil.  But good propaganda is stronger, long-lasting, often full of great artistic merit, and instructive.

Images of Uncle Sam provide clear pictures of what Americans were thinking, from the oldest versions to today.

This poster above is a World War I poster designed to convince Americans to get involved in the war effort.  J. C. Leyendecker, a noted illustrator, casts Uncle Sam as a baseball player up to bat.  The poster says simply, “Get in the game with Uncle Sam.”  Perhaps uniquely, this poster showed Sam in yellow-striped pants, instead of the more traditional red-striped.  Could an artist take such liberty today?

Nicolas Ricketts at the Strong Museum of National Play offered a good, concise description of the politics and history of the poster at the blog for the Museum:

Meanwhile, then-president Woodrow Wilson, who had won reelection in 1916 on an anti-war platform, faced the need for American participation in the terrible “Great War” raging in Europe. He and his cabinet knew that American involvement loomed. But how could the government convince the American public that this was necessary? One idea was to create a poster that urged Americans to metaphorically “Get in the Game,” along with their patriotic national symbol, Uncle Sam.

Artist J. C. Leyendecker (1874-1951) designed the poster, commissioned by the Publicity Committee of the Citizens Preparedness Association, a pro-war organization with federal support which also sponsored “preparedness parades” and other nationalistic activities. Leyendecker himself emigrated from Germany at age eight and was approaching the pinnacle of his career in 1917 when he created this work.

The poster just preceded James Montgomery Flagg’s famous “I Want You” image of Uncle Sam, which later became the best-known likeness of the country’s unofficial symbol. Leyendecker’s version, in spite of his baseball bat, is possibly less affable to contemporary eyes than Flagg’s friendlier Sam. But the bat he holds connected him to many Americans, who perhaps then decided that America should “get in the game.”

Some of this older propaganda had a humorous twist I think is too often missing from modern posters.  It was more effective for that, I think.

The image of Sam at bat shows up in many places in the internet world, but most often stripped of its identifying links to Leyendecker.  That does disservice to the art, to history, and to Leyendecker, who was one of our nation’s better illustrators for a very long time.

Visit the National Museum of Play in Rochester, New York.

 


Sideshow of DDT and malaria

August 23, 2011

Not exactly a DDT/Malaria carnival.  Just enough for a sideshow.

First, the controversy over use of DDT in Uganda continues, even as DDT is applied daily there.  This demonstrates that DDT remains freely available for use in Africa.  It also demonstrates that Africans are not clamoring for more DDT.

Uganda offers a key proving ground for the propaganda campaign against environmentalists, against scientist, against medical care officials, and for DDT.  Though malaria plagues Uganda today and has done so for the past 200 years at least, it was not a target of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) campaign to eradicate malaria in the 1950s and 1960s, because the nation lacked the governmental structures to mount an effective campaign.  DDT was used to temporarily knock down mosquito populations, so that medical care could be improved quickly and malaria cured among humans.  Then, when the mosquitoes came roaring back as they always do with DDT, there would be no pool of the disease in humans from which the mosquitoes could get infected.  End of malaria problem.

Plus, for a too-long period of time, Uganda was ruled by the brutal dictator Idi Amin.  No serious anti-malaria campaigns could be conducted there, then.

Uganda today exports cotton and tobacco.  Cotton and tobacco interests claim they cannot allow any DDT use, because, they claim, European Union rules would then require that the tobacco and cotton imports be banned from Europe.  I can’t find any rules that require such a ban, and there are precious few incidents that suggest trace DDT residues would be a problem, but this idea contributes to the political turmoil in Uganda.  Businessmen there sued to stop the use of even the small amounts of DDT used for indoor residual spraying (IRS) in modern campaigns.  They lost.  DDT use continues in Uganda, with no evidence that more DDT would help a whit.

Malaria campaign posters from World War II, South Pacific - Mother Jones compilation

Much of the anti-malaria campaign aimed at soldiers, to convince them to use Atabrine, a preventive drug, or to use nets, or just to stay covered up at night, to prevent mosquito bites. Mother Jones compilation of posters and photos.

Second, the website for Mother Jones magazine includes a wonderful 12-slide presentation on DDT in history.  Malaria took out U.S. troops more effectively than the Japanese in some assaults in World War II.  DDT appeared to be a truly great miracle when it was used on some South Pacific islands.  Particularly interesting are the posters trying to get soldiers to help prevent the disease, some done by the World War II-ubiquitous Dr. Seuss.  Good history, there.  Warning:  Portrayals of Japanese are racist by post-War standards.

Third, a new book takes a look at the modern campaigns against malaria, those that use tactics other than DDT.  These campaigns have produced good results, leading some to hope for control of malaria, and leading Bill Gates, one of the biggest investors in anti-malaria campaigns, to kindle hopes of malaria eradication again.  Here is the New York Times  review of  Alex Perry’s Lifeblood: How to Change the World One Dead Mosquito at a Time (PublicAffairs, $25.99).   Perry is chief Africa correspondent for Time Magazine.

This little gem of a book heartens the reader by showing how eagerly an array of American billionaires, including Bill Gates and the New Jersey investor Ray Chambers (the book’s protagonist), are using concepts of efficient management to improve the rest of the world. “Lifeblood” nominally chronicles the global effort to eradicate malaria, but it is really about changes that Mr. Chambers, Mr. Gates and others are bringing to the chronically mismanaged system of foreign aid, especially in Africa.

These three snippets of reporting, snapshots of the worldwide war on malaria, all diverge dramatically from the usual false claims we see that, but for ‘environmentalist’s unholy and unjust war on DDT,’ millions or billions of African children could have been saved from death by malaria.

The real stories are more complex, less strident, and ultimately more hopeful.


Tea Party history, Texas textbook version

July 21, 2010

A mostly historically accurate view of history of Tea Party-like movements:

Tip of the old scrub brush to Unreasonable Faith and earthaid.


Does Africa Fighting Malaria actually fight malaria?

June 11, 2010

This spring’s publication of a book, The Excellent Powder, by Richard Tren and Donald Roberts, repeating most of the false claims about malaria and DDT, got me wondering. Their organization, Africa Fighting Malaria (AFM):

Does AFM do anything to fight malaria? At its own website it makes some astoundingly grandiose claims:

In its seven years of operation, AFM has helped transform malaria control by taking on and turning around failing public health institutions, donor agencies and governments.

Offhand I can’t think of any public health institution AFM has even been involved with, other than its undeserved criticism of the World Health Organization — and if anyone knows of any donor agency or government AFM has “turned around,” the history books await your telling the story.

Africa Fighting Malaria springs to life every year around World Malaria Day, April 25, with editorials claiming environmentalists have killed millions. AFM seems to be one of the sources of the bizarre and false claim that Rachel Carson is a “mass murderer.” AFM makes noise whenever there is difficulty getting a DDT spraying campaign underway in any part of Africa, for any reason, quick to lay the blame on environmentalists, even though the blame generally rests in other places. AFM is quick on the draw to try to discredit all research into DDT that suggests it poses any health threat, though so far as I can tell AFM has published no counter research, nor has it conducted any research of its own.

In its 2009 Annual Report, AFM proudly states “AFM is the only advocacy group that routinely supports IRS [Indoor Residual Spraying] and through its advocacy work defends the use of DDT for malaria control.”

Cleverly, and tellingly, they do not reveal that IRS in integrated vector (pest) management is what Rachel Carson advocated in 1962, nor do they mention that it is also supported by the much larger WHO, several nations in Africa, and the Gates Foundation, all of whom probably do more to fight malaria when they sneeze that AFM does intentionally.

Google and Bing searches turn up no projects the organization actually conducts to provide bed nets, or DDT, or anything else, to anyone working against malaria. I can’t find any place anyone other than AFM describes any activities of the group.

AFM has impressive video ads urging contributions, but the videos fail to mention that nothing in the ad is paid for by AFM, including especially the guy carrying the pesticide sprayer.

Looking at the IRS Form 990s for the organization from 2003 through 2008 (which is organized in both the U.S. and South Africa), it seems to me that the major purpose of AFM is to pay Roger Bate about $100,000 a year for part of the time, and pay Richard Tren more than $80,000 a year for the rest of the time.

Can anyone tell me, what has Africa Fighting Malaria ever done to seriously fight malaria? One could make the argument that if you sent $10 to Nothing But Nets, you’ve saved more lives than the last $1 million invested in AFM, and more to save lives than AFM in its existence.

Tip of the old scrub brush to Pharyngula and Antievolution.org, even though AFM wasn’t what they were targeting.

Update: Tim Lambert at Deltoid sent some traffic this way, which caught the attention of Eli Rabett, which reminded me that there really is more to this story about Africa Fighting Malaria, and you ought to read it at Deltoid and Rabett’s warren.

Formatting issues More (updated September 24, 2013):


Does Africa Fighting Malaria actually fight malaria? (format fix)

June 11, 2010

[Editor’s note: This post is an attempt to fix a formatting error in the earlier post with the almost-same headline, which has some corruption in it I have been unable to find or fix, but which renders the text almost unreadable.  My apologies.  Have not yet figured out how to move comments, alas; check the old post.]

This spring’s publication of a book, The Excellent Powder, by Richard Tren and Donald Roberts, repeating most of the false claims about malaria and DDT, got me wondering. Their organization, Africa Fighting Malaria (AFM):

Does AFM do anything to fight malaria? At its own website it makes some astoundingly grandiose claims:

In its seven years of operation, AFM has helped transform malaria control by taking on and turning around failing public health institutions, donor agencies and governments.

Offhand I can’t think of any public health institution AFM has even been involved with, other than its undeserved criticism of the World Health Organization — and if anyone knows of any donor agency or government AFM has “turned around,” the history books await your telling the story.

Africa Fighting Malaria springs to life every year around World Malaria Day, April 25, with editorials claiming environmentalists have killed millions.  AFM seems to be one of the sources of the bizarre and false claim that Rachel Carson is a “mass murderer.”  AFM makes noise whenever there is difficulty getting a DDT spraying campaign underway in any part of Africa, for any reason, quick to lay the blame on environmentalists, even though the blame generally rests in other places.  AFM is quick on the draw to try to discredit all research into DDT that suggests it poses any health threat, though so far as I can tell AFM has published no counter research, nor has it conducted any research of its own.

In its 2009 Annual Report, AFM proudly states “AFM is the only advocacy group that routinely supports IRS [Indoor Residual Spraying] and through its advocacy work defends the use of DDT for malaria control.”

Cleverly, and tellingly, they do not reveal that IRS in integrated vector (pest) management is what Rachel Carson advocated in 1962, nor do they mention that it is also supported by the much larger WHO, several nations in Africa, and the Gates Foundation, all of whom probably do more to fight malaria when they sneeze that AFM does intentionally.

Google and Bing searches turn up no projects the organization actually conducts to provide bed nets, or DDT, or anything else, to anyone working against malaria.  I can’t find any place anyone other than AFM describes any activities of the group.

AFM has impressive video ads urging contributions, but the videos fail to mention that nothing in the ad is paid for by AFM, including especially the guy carrying the pesticide sprayer.

Looking at the IRS Form 990s for the organization from 2003 through 2008 (which is organized in both the U.S. and South Africa), it seems to me that the major purpose of AFM is to pay Roger Bate about $100,000 a year for part of the time, and pay Richard Tren more than $80,000 a year for the rest of the time.

Can anyone tell me, what has Africa Fighting Malaria ever done to seriously fight malaria?

One could make the argument that if you sent $10 to Nothing But Nets, you’ve saved more lives than the last $1 million invested in AFM, and more to save lives than AFM in its existence.

Tip of the old scrub brush to Pharyngula and Antievolution.org, even though AFM wasn’t what they were targeting.

_____________
Update: Tim Lambert at Deltoid sent some traffic this way, which caught the attention of Eli Rabett, which reminded me that there really is more to this story about Africa Fighting Malaria, and you ought to read it at Deltoid and Rabett’s warren.

More (updated September 24, 2013):


The birth of death panels in the unprincipled opposition to improving health care in America

November 16, 2009

Heckuva story.  Earl Blumenauer is the man responsible for the language in H.R. 3200 that Sarah Palin erroneously claimed created “death panels.”

He’s a Congressman from Oregon.

In Saturday’s New York Times he detailed how critics hijacked the debate with false claims.  Fascinating story.

A very odd result:  Because of the false claims, a provision to help people plan to avoid death panels was stricken from health care reform proposals.  More citizens will face death panel-like decisions as a result.

Previously I thought Orwell was convoluted.


Wirtism? Summer political crazies explained in history

August 30, 2009

Santayana’s Ghost has been restless these past two months.  Now we know why:  Summer 2009 replayed summer 1934.

Micheal Hiltzik explained it in a column in the Los Angeles Times:

To me they’re merely the latest examples of a phenomenon that might be called Wirtism.

If you find the term unfamiliar, that’s because I just coined it to honor the memory of William A. Wirt. Wirt’s day in the sun came back in 1934, when the obscure Midwestern blowhard placed himself at the center of a political maelstrom by “discovering” a plot by members of Franklin Roosevelt’s Brain Trust to launch a Bolshevik takeover of the United States.

That Wirt’s yarn was transparently absurd didn’t keep it from being taken seriously on the front pages of newspapers coast to coast, including the Los Angeles Times and the New York Times. He gave speeches, wrote a book and went to Washington to give personal testimony at a standing-room-only congressional hearing.

If that reminds you of the overly solicitous treatment given by the press, cable news programs and Republican office holders to purveyors of such lurid claptrap as the Obama birth certificate story or the fantasy of healthcare “death panels,” now you know why it pays to study history.

How did it end?  Not soon enough, or well enough, but it ended:

“Roosevelt is only the Kerensky of this revolution,” he quoted them. (Kerensky was the provisional leader of Russia just before the 1917 Bolshevik revolution.) The hoodwinked president would be permitted to stay in office, they said, “until we are ready to supplant him with a Stalin.”

Those words caused an immediate sensation. Wirt hedged on naming the treasonous “Brain Trusters” — which only intensified the public mania. Into the vacuum of information poured supposition masquerading as fact (certainly a familiar phenomenon today). This newspaper, then a pillar of Republicanism, gave Wirt the benefit of the doubt on the grounds that “the activities of the ‘brain trust’ during the past year fit neatly into the Communistic scheme” he described — a reminder that the most potent fabrications are those that confirm what the listener wants to believe.

For that’s what Wirt’s story was — a fabrication. Hauled before Congress, he said he heard of the plot during a party at a friend’s home in Virginia. The other guests, mostly low-level government employees without any connection to the Brain Trust, subsequently testified that none of them could have mentioned Kerensky or Stalin even if they wished, because Wirt monopolized the dinner-table conversation with a four-hour harangue about monetary policy.

Now you know.  So don’t act stupidly.


Pritchett confesses scare tactics, shows lunacy

August 21, 2009

I sent my response to Lou Pritchett[Free Republic folks:  Be sure to read that response to Pritchett.  A typical corporate people-hating hack — if you think he sympathizes with you, you’re more than a few flakes shy of a full box of Ivory] He responded in e-mail:

Since my ‘you scare me’  letter got your shorts in such a knot I hope the following two will increase  the discomfort. Lou Pritchett

PUBLISHED IN FLORIDA TIMES/UNION  NOV. 6, 2008, A FEW DAYS AFTER THE ELECTION

Farewell America–We’ll  really miss you!

Farewell to  the America we have loved for two centuries and hello to a new far-left driven president who promised change and will most likely deliver on it,

Farewell, to an  America  driven by individuals with strong work ethics to one which will resemble French, German, and British societies where big government, big welfare, union controlled labor,  four  day work weeks, ten  week vacations are the rule. Societies which constantly ask  “—where’s mine?”

Farewell to capitalism, job creation, lower taxes, smaller government, fewer entitlements, safer cities, personal responsibility  and sound work ethics.

Farewell to adequate military defense spending to protect us from our enemies who wish and plan  to kill us.

Farewell to  close ties with our  best and  only friend in the middle east—Israel.

Farewell to maintaining a conservative Supreme Court.

Farewell to any chance of keeping Health Care out of the hands and control  of   government.

Farewell to the famous American standard of living–a magnet to the world.

Farewell to conservative ‘talk radio’  as an antidote to the biased media. The Fairness Doctrine will return.

Farewell to any hope for educating our college kids in something other than liberal mush.

Today is truly a sad day for millions of Americans as they slowly  allow the election results to sink in. Today, for the first time in modern history,  America took a giant  step toward changing not only  the direction,  but the entire  character of the country from  free enterprise driven  to  big  government driven.

Our only hope is to start now planning and building a strong conservative base which can  reclaim the Presidency and Congress in four years and start repairing the damage. God help us if we fail.  Lou Pritchett  (www.loupritchett.com)

PUBLISHED IN FLORIDA TIMES/UNION  AUGUST 3, 2009

Take heart America!   In only six months President Obama  has finally awakened the ‘600 pound average American gorilla’  by his  “Ready, Fire, Aim”  approach with the auto industry, the unions, the banks,  Guantanamo, health care, czars, credit cards, and energy. His strategy of deliberately overloading the system with program after program designed to both confuse and deceive the public is right out of the anarchist play book and clearly proves how dangerous he, his administration and his  agenda are.  A universal truth states that the best indication of what a man will do in the future is what a man has done in the past. Given this,  another three and a half years of Obama will be totally disastrous, both financially and morally, for this country. Our only hope is to dump the Congressional clowns and elect adults in 2010 in order to stop the bleeding and then to finish the job by sending Obama back to the thing he does best–community organizing—in Chicago in 2012. Failing this, we fail our children and we fail our country. Lou Pritchett

“Anarchist handbook?”  Well, if Lou Pritchett is reading such things, you can bet it’s not because he wants to know what anarchists might do to him.  He’s looking for tactics.

Some of the things he claims he fears now, a rational patriot might hope for.  Talk radio replaced by fair discussion?  Certainly George Washington would have been encouraged by that.

If Pritchett goes on long enough, he starts making Obama look good.  Sunshine does not favor the pathogens.

Voltaire’s prayer still applies; one worries when so many come up looking so foolish, however.

One wishes Pritchett would go back to lecturing businesses on how to partner with Wal-Mart.  The cynic in him appears to have abandoned all hope in any entrepreneurial spirit left in America.  Too bad.

Can somebody get Pritchett a library card?


Another way to tell Republicans and opponents of health care reform have lost their minds, or their hearts, or their conscience

August 1, 2009

Republicans and opponents of health care reform make Dave Barry look like the prophet Isaiah with greatly improved accuracy.  You couldn’t make this stuff up if you tried, as Dave Barry often says.

I have the right to protection, pleads this innocent little boy, in a poster for the State of Arizona Crime Victims Services division of the Department of Public Safety.  The Heritage Foundation ridicules federal support for child abuse prevention programs as unnecessary federal intrusion.

Included in the massive health care reform bill is some extra money to help out states and communities that have had difficulty getting effective programs going to combat child abuse.  Pilot programs demonstrated that community health workers could provide a few parenting programs and dramatically reduce child abuse.

These are programs that prevent dead babies.

According to the text of H.R. 3200, “America’s Affordable Health Choices Act,” starting on page 838 is a description of a program under which states and communities can get money to fight child abuse, if they have large populations of poor families, where child abuse is a problem, and where anti-child abuse programs need more money.  That’s pretty straightforward, no?  [That’s a hefty .pdf file, by the way — more than 1,000 pages.]

Parenting instruction and help can be offered, in private settings, and in homes where struggling parents need help most.

Money goes to states that want it and can demonstrate a need.  Parenting help programs are purely voluntary under H.R. 3200.

Who supports child abuse?  Who would not support spending some of the money in health care reform to save the saddest cases, the children who are beaten or starved or psychologically abused?

Is it not true that the prevention of child abuse would contribute to better health care for less money?

This is politics, you know.  Non-thinking conservatives pull out the stops in their desire to drive the health bill to oblivion, claiming that these anti-child abuse sections are socialism, liberty-depriving, and a threat to the designated hitter rule.  (I only exaggerate a little on the third point.)

This isn’t stripping liberties is it, we want someone else coming into our homes and telling us how to raise our children and live our lives.

This is right out of the Book 1984. If you had not read it I suggest it.

“Right out of 1984?”  Isn’t this a violation of  Godwin’s Law?

The Heritage Foundation appears to have taken a turn to radicalism, now advocating against fighting child abuse, and calling anti-child abuse programs a “stealth agenda.”

Have the Heritage Foundation, and these other people, lost their collective minds? They complain about the provisions of this bill because — this is their words:

One troublesome provision calls for a home visitation program that would bring state workers into the homes of young families to improve “the well-being, health, and development of children”.

Well, heaven forbid we should improve the well-being, health and development of children!

It is fair to conclude from this report that the Heritage Foundation does not want to prevent dead babies.

Years ago, when Father Reagan presided over the Conservative Church, one of the Heritage Foundation favorite deacons, a guy named Al Regnery, was appointed to be assistant attorney general over programs dealing with youth — juvenile delinquents, drug users, etc.  His chief qualifications for the job included that he was a faithful aide to Nevada Sen. Paul Laxalt, and that he toed the party line on almost all issues, including shutting down federal funding for programs that might prevent juvenile delinquency, or treat it.

Republicans controlled the Judiciary Committee under Sen. Strom Thurmond, so Regnery’s confirmation was never doubted.  But as if to throw gasoline in the face of advocates of anti-delinquency programs, When Regnery drove up to the Senate office buildings for his nomination hearing, his car had a generally humorous bumper sticker.  “Have you hugged your kid today” showed on about 200 million of the 100 million cars in America at the time — it was a cliché.  To fight the cliché, Regnery had the anti-fuzzy bumper sticker, “Have you slugged your kid today.”

When the issue hit the news, Regnery backpedalled, and said it was just a joke sticker that he probably should have taken off his car under the circumstances, but he forgot — and Regnery disavowed the bumper sticker, as humorous or anything else.

Comes 2009, we discover that the Heritage Foundation wasn’t kidding — slugging your kid is acceptable behavior to them, and creating programs to fight child abuse, is evil — to the Heritage Foundation.

Ronald Reagan would be ashamed of them.  Somebody has to be ashamed — there appears to be no shame at Heritage Foundation offices.

One wouldn’t worry — surely common sense American citizens can see through these cheap deceptions —  except that Heritage has a massive public relations budget, and there is a corps of willing gullibles waiting to swallow as fact any fantasy Heritage dreams up — see this discussion board on ComCast, where the discussants accept Heritage claims at face value though anyone with even a dime-store excrement detector would be wary; or see this blogger who says he won’t let the feds “take away” his liberties (to beat his children, or the children of others?); or this forum, where some naif thinks the bill will create a federal behavior czarGlenn Beck, whose religion reveres children, can’t resist taking a cheap shot at Obama, even though doing so requires Beck to stand up for child abuse.

Beck falls into the worst category, spreading incredible falsehoods as if he understood the bill:

This doesn’t scare me! No way. Just the crazies like Winston Smith — you know, the main character from “1984.”

When did we go from being a nation that believed in hard work and picking yourself up by the bootstraps, to a nation that wants government to control everything from our light bulbs to our parenting techniques?

This bill has to be stopped.

Gee, Glenn — when did we go from a nation that thought government was for the people, as demonstrated by the Agricultural Extension Service, or the Air Traffic Control System, or the Tennessee Valley Authority, to a nation that fights to bring back Czarist Russian government in the U.S.?  Stopping this bill won’t resurrect Czar Nicholas, and it will kill at least a few hundred American kids.  Excuse me if I choose living American kids over fantasies of a new and oppressive monarchy.

These people are not journalists. Beck isn’t like Orwell — maybe more like Ezra Pound, in Italy.  These people are not commentators, or columnists.  These people are not editorial writers.  They are not, most of them, lobbyists who give out  information for money, having sold their souls away from the angels of serious public discourse.

They are crass propagandists. They should be regarded more like the guy Tom Lehrer warned us about, the old dope peddler in the park, who always has just a little bit of poison for the kids or anyone else.  (“Don’t worry; you won’t get hooked.”)

How many other provisions of the health reform act are being distorted by conservatives in a desperate attempt to keep President Obama from “looking good,” despite the costs to America’s children and families?

These attacks on the health reform bill fall out of the category of robust discussion.  They disgrace our polity, and they erode the dignity of our democratic system.

Please share the information on this bill:

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Below the fold:  An example of the type of program Beck and Heritage call socialism, 1984-ish, and dangerous.

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Godwin’s Law overload: Warming denialist calls water conservation “Nazi”

June 30, 2009

You couldn’t sell a fictional story where people are this nutty.

Go see. The abominable Steve Milloy — a guy so wacky he cannot be parodied (take that, Poe!) — calls water conservation “Nazi.” He complains about a provision in the Waxman-Markey Clean Energy Act that encourages innovation in water conservation devices.

Milloy flouts Godwin’s Law right off the bat.  You can’t make this stuff up.

And — may God save us from these people — Milloy has followers.  Check out the graphic here, with Obama portrayed as a marching Brownshirt.  It’s almost too stupid to be racist, but it’s certainly incendiary.  He even admits he thinks saving water is a good idea, and he’d like to have one of the devices complained about. (This guy knows he’s in error — he censors posts that question any part of his rant.) See the ugly meme expand, here.

Girl Scout/EPA water conservation badge -EPA image

Girl Scout/EPA water conservation badge -EPA image

Water conservation equals flag-waving in America, and has done so for a at least a hundred years. Those of us who grew up in the Intermountain West may be a little more attuned to the drive — Hoover Dam, Glen Canyon Dam, Flaming Gorge Dam, the Central Arizona Project, the Central Utah Project, the Colorado River aqueduct that carries water to Los Angeles, it’s impossible to live in the West and not be conscious of water’s value, its precious qualities.

Today, the many benefits of controlling water in this way are evident in the extensive development that has taken place throughout the West over the past 100 years.  Huge cities have been created and millions of people live, work, and recreate in this desert region.  But, as the West continues to grow, we must face the problem of continually increasing demands on a finite supply of water.  This includes human population needs and the needs of the environment.

But one doesn’t need to be from the cold northern desert of southern Idaho to figure out that saving water is a good idea.

Most homeowners would like to save money.  Americans spend between $600 and $1600 for washing machines that cut water usage by up to 75% (we just replaced our two-decades-old Maytag with a water conserving front-loader).  Go to the appliance stores and listen to the conversations.  People who could better afford the $200 models discuss how they will cut costs elsewhere to get the water saving versions — because their water bills are so high.

Much of of the rest of America works to conserve water out of necessity. Texas cities have mandatory water conservation laws, like Temple, Richwood, Austin and Dallas.  Texas rural areas fight to save water, too.  California cities demonstrate that water conservation works, saving investments in ever-grander and more environmentally-damaging water importation schemes, and allowing for population growth where water shortages would otherwise prohibit new homes.  Water conservation is a big deal across the nation:  In Raleigh, North Carolina; in Seminole County, Florida;  in Nebraska; in the State of Maryland.  An April drive across Wisconsin a few years ago convinced me it is the most waterlogged state in the nation, Louisiana notwithstanding — but even in Wisconsin, wise people work to conserve water for agriculture, one of the state’s leading industries and employers.

What’s the next step up from Godwin’s Law?  These guys like Milloy and his camp followers can only get crazier, benignly, if they head to the meadow and graze with the cattle.  Crazier non-benignly?  Let’s not go there.

But let us address the odious comparison to Nazis directly.  In World War II, when freedom was on the line, there was a drive to conserve resources in America.  Americans grew their own vegetables in Victory Gardens.

Poster encouraging patriotic conservation, for the war effort in World War II

Poster encouraging patriotic conservation, for the war effort in World War II

Americans collected scrap metal, iron, copper and aluminum, to be made into war machines to save the world.  Americans conserved rubber and gasoline by restricting automobile use.  There was the famous poster, “When you ride alone, you ride with Hitler.”  Conservation was understood to be a patriotic response to the challenges the nation faced.

Bill Maher updated the poster with his 2005 book, When You Ride Alone You Ride With Bin Laden. Maher urged civic actions like those that helped the U.S. during World War II, including conservation of gasoline and other resources.   Maher understands that wise use of resources is something a people should strive for, especially when in competition with other nations, either in a hot war or in trade or influence.  Conservation remains a patriotic behavior, and opposing conservation remains a call to support the enemies of America, in war, in trade, in policies.

Update of the World War II poster, for our times.  Image from Barnes and Noble

Update of the World War II poster, for our times. Image from Barnes and Noble

It’s not just a coincidence that Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts (in conjunction with the U.S. EPA for the past several years) learn water conservation as integral parts of their programs, chartered by Congress, to promote civic leadership in America’s youth.  Those groups charged with teaching actual patriotism understand conservation to be a high duty, a high calling, something that all patriots do.

So, let’s face it.  If you crap on a 6-gallon flushing toilet, you crap with Bin Laden.  When you shower with a non-flow restricting shower head, you shower with Bin Laden.

Yes, it sounds creepy.  It is.

You hope Milloy and the other Neobrownshirts* have parents or other family to pull them back from the brink, but then you see Congress.

Yeah, the Nazis were the Brownshirts, in Germany.  In Italy the fascists wore black shirts.  Brown is generally the opposite of green, in political and business parlance — for example, development of a previously undeveloped piece of property is “greenfield development,” while redevelopment of a previously-developed parcel is “brownfield development.”  Since Milloy is opposed to anything “green,” I think it only fair that his shirt color match his politics.  It’s his choice, after all.

Well, what about you, Climate Change Skeptics?

"Well, what about you, Climate Change 'Skeptics?'"


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