Tag Archives: photography

Fear and Loathing in Washington D.C.

Washington DC Capitol - HDR

“President Obama will negotiate with the Syrian butcher Assad and erase his red line, will capitulate to Vladimir Putin, and he will negotiate with the happy face of the killer regime in Iran, President Rouhani, but not with Republicans over issues all presidents have always negotiated over.”

That quote – from American conservative radio host/shame-free liar and propagandist Hugh Hewitt – encapsulates how far the U.S. has to go to overcome the most embarrassing and pathetic government shutdown in the history of the country. Not every conservative in the United States is as crazy or deluded as Hewitt, but enough are to where an angry, xenophobic, racially charged minority, belonging to one faction in one house of government, has been able to manufacture a government shutdown threatening to destroy the US and global economy unless the party opposite capitulates to their bidding.

The truth is, no American president has ever “negotiated” repealing a duly enacted law [the Affordable Care Act] whilst being blackmailed with the destruction of his government, or indeed with the destruction of the global economy. But this line of baseless rhetoric has become the new mantra of the Republican Party and their apologists: repeat the lie until enough Americans have been coerced that they [Republicans] are not singularly to blame for the disastrous impasses the country continuously finds itself in (e.g. sequestration, shutdown, debt ceiling, etc.). This isn’t just a minority problem – it’s a party problem. The American Tea Party may be [entirely] comprised of callous fools and disgraceful opportunists, but we’re mostly here because “moderate” Republicans have consistently folded to these vandals rather than stand up to them.

It’s important not to forget that Republicans manufactured the U.S. government shutdown for one reason and one reason only: to stop poorer Americans from getting health insurance funded by cuts to Medicare and the taxing of the richest Americans. Let’s also keep in mind that Congress itself passed the healthcare law in 2010; the Supreme Court then affirmed its constitutionality through its landmark ruling earlier this year; and the majority of Americans want it – as proven when they re-elected the President who signed it.

In a few weeks (or sooner), the shutdown/default crisis will long be over and maybe even forgotten. The federal deficit will in all likelihood continue to fall, and growth will probably resume. But the long-term inadequacies of the U.S. political system will continue to be exploited by the Republican Party, creating a sort of dystopic future for American politics. The American people put pretty much all of the blame of the shutdown/default crisis on the shoulders of Republicans, but conservatives can still expect to hold enough seats in the House come the 2014 midterm elections (mainly because of the way district lines are drawn. Republicans were lucky enough to have had a huge win at the state level in 2010, which coincided with post-census redistricting or gerrymandering). Democrats may very well win the White House again in 2016 with Hillary Clinton or Papa Joey B, but the Congress will probably remain the same, meaning we’ll see more shutdowns/threats of defaults before it’s all said and done.

I’ve been able to gauge the puzzled, incredulous looks of my international friends at the LSE – many of whom come from democratic countries – when they hear that an extremist minority party caused the “most powerful” democracy in the world to close up shop. I tell them that American politics, as constructed by James Madison (“father” of the Constitution), was designed with stagnation, derision, and polarization in mind. But the country’s founders couldn’t foresee something as inane as the Tea Party (and warned against political party’s altogether); they couldn’t possibly expect the damning practice of gerrymandering districts or the influence of special interest groups both in elections and public policy.

Mostly, I’ve had to tell my foreign friends that what they’re currently seeing and reading about is not at all what American politics was meant to be. But they better start getting used to it, because it’s here to stay.

Photo: Nicolas Raymond

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The Best Of The Week On Left And Center

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The most popular posts from the week were Sibling Aggression Linked To Mental Health Distress In Children, A Wake Up Call For The American Left, A Dissent To Edward Snowden’s Q & A, 35 Percent Of All Women Are Victims Of Sexual Violence, and Another Iraq? Experts Question Whether Assad Actually Used Chemical Weapons

Other noteworthy posts include the heartwarming story of a Deaf Three Year Old Hears His Father’s Voice For The First Time, The Underrepresentation Of Women In Philosophy, Here’s What Brazilians Are Actually Protesting, the U.S. Has Been Secretly Training Syrian Rebels All Along, and last but not least, Meet The 46 Guantanamo Detainees Never To Be Tried Or Released.

Thanks for reading!

Publius

(Photo by flickr user Frederic.jacobs)

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Photo Of The Day

Long as I can see the light

“Long as I can see the light”
By Roberto Taddeo

Tomb of Dominique Vivant Denon (1747-1825)
Père Lachaise-Réunion, Paris, Ile-de-France, FR

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Photo Of The Day

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Erdem Gündüz’s act of civil disobedience inspires solidarity in protestors around the world:

Just before sunset on June 17, 2013, a lone man walked across Istanbul’s Taksim Square and began to stand, facing toward the Ataturk Cultural Center. At first he seemed like any other person visiting Taksim Square, except for one exception: he didn’t move. Hands in his pocket, he just stood there, like an automaton.

After 6 hours of silent protest, Gündüz and others that joined him were placed into custody, and soon after released.

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The Best Of The Week On Left And Center

The most popular posts this week were The Youth Of Today Basically Can’t Read Anymore, Cato’s really awesome New Atheism’s Problem Is Our Problem Too, What Happens To Women Who Can’t Get An Abortion, and finally, my rant against the President’s plan to arm Syrian Rebels, titled Obama Caves On Syria, Betrays Us All.

Other popular posts from the week were Mnemosyne’s cogent argument about Why Authoritarian Leaders Can Have All The Fun But Not Get Away With It, my takedown of the now famous NSA leaker Edward Snowden: Neither Hero Nor Whistle-Blower, and Cato’s explanation about how The U.S Federal Government Is Making You Fat.

Other noteworthy posts that were lost in the haze of a crazy week were Drugs and Prostitutes: State Department Style, a new revelation out of Hong Kong that led me to ask Is Edward Snowden Handing Materials Over To China?, and finally, the newly posted Lord of the Rings analogy of the Iranian presidential election, Why It Doesn’t Matter Who Wins The Iranian Election.

Thanks for stopping by,

Publius

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Photo Of The Day

SS Ayrfield

A 102 year-old transport ship called the SS Ayrfield, which after outliving its usefulness was towed to Homebush Bay in Sydney Australia, has in the last few decades transformed into a floating forest:

From 2008-2010 a concerted effort was made to remove many of the lingering chemicals in Homebush left from the industrial era. Not far away is the Brickpit Ring Walk, a former industrial site where nearly three billion bricks were made from 1911 through the 1980s that is now a carefully protected natural habitat. As the forest has grown inside the SS Ayrfield, the bay is now a popular place for photographers who wish to capture the uncanny sight of this strangely beautiful relic of the bay’s industrial past, not to mention nature’s resiliency.

(Photo by flickr user Bruce Hood)

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Photo Of The Day

Family transport

Family transport in Tehran, Iran

(Photo by Kamshots)

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Photo Of The Day

...

Taken in Marand, Azarbayjan-e Sharqi, Iran.

Camera: Canon EOS 450D

(Photo by flickr user Seyyed Mostafa Zamani)

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The Best Of The Week

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We’re trying something new here on Left and Center with our weekly roundups. For a while I’ve tried a roundup at the end of each day and a complete roundup at the end of each week, but from reader feedback and traffic, compounded with the fact that roundups take an exorbitant amount of time and energy, I’ve decided to change things up a bit. The beauty of the calendar located to the right of this site is that readers can quickly find each day’s articles. What I’m going to do is feature the most popular posts from the week, based on traffic and sharing. As always emails are welcome, and constructive criticism appreciated: leftandcenter@gmail.com

The most popular posts of the week were Why The Government Is Justified In Obtaining Your Phone Records, Misconstruing Orwell, my thoughts on The NSA Having Your Emails, Greenwald’s Leak of a Presidential Directive, and The World We Live In.

Other highly read posts were our new View From The Hill feature, a study that found Europeans Don’t Believe In Plagiarism, whether or not Particularism Is The Best Philosophy, the difficultly in Escaping the Solitude Of The Humanities, and a Republican report that the GOP Is Reviled By Young Voters.

See you in the morning.

Publius

(Photo by flickr user Ryan Somma)

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Photo of the Day

harbor

Bathhurst Quay, Toronto, Ontario, CA

(Photo by Paul Bica)

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Photo of the Day

London Embassy Protest. June 1, 2013.

Photo taken at the June 1 protest in support of prominent whistleblower Bradley Manning, held at the US Embassy in London. In early 2010, Manning – a US Army Intelligence Officer – handed hundreds of thousands of diplomatic cables and Army reports over to Julian Assange and WikiLeaks. The American government is trying him for treason.

And for the most part, the American people don’t care.

(Photo by Flickr user Bradley Manning Support)

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Photo of the Day

WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING AT?

What are you looking at?

(photo by Flickr user nolifebeforecoffee)

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The Weekly Roundup

28 | May | 2013

#protectthelawRally in support of ACA in front of SCOTUS (cc photo by LaDawna Howard)

Tuesday on Left and Center, Publius argued that Republican intransigence is the biggest threat to the success of the Affordable Care Act, charted the temporary revival of the coal industry due to the unsustainable low pricing of shale gas, shared Ernest Hemingway’s custom reading list for one of his young protégés, sadly criticized the new season of Arrested Development :(, drew some inspiration from Stéphane Hessel, and marveled at a wonderful photograph of a pristine waterfall located in Silver Falls State Park, Oregon.

30 | May | 2013

Salaheddin, AleppoSalaheddin, Aleppo (cc photo by Freedom House)

Thursday on Left and Center, Publius expressed his fears for the release of Google Glass, exposed reparative therapy on transgendered youths, continued the argument that Syria is not our fight, shared a really moving commencement speech by Leon Wieseltier, considered John McCain’s trip to war torn Syria, and noted a new study showing that 1.2 billion are left without electricity.

31 | May | 2013

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Picasso’s portrait of Gertrude Stein (via Wikipedia)

Friday on Left and Center, Publius diagnosed American household wealth recovery, shared a fucking excellent video from NASA, charted greenhouse gas emissions around the world, cited reactions on the coming epidemic of the Coronavirus disease, considered China’s multi-billion purchase of an American pork producer, noted a really fantastic James Baldwin quote referencing Pablo Picasso and Gertrude Stein, and marveled at a lovely photo of Flüelapass, Switzerland.

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The Daily Roundup

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Picasso’s portrait of Gertrude Stein (via Wikipedia)

Today on Left and Center, Publius diagnosed American household wealth recovery, shared a fucking excellent video from NASA, charted greenhouse gas emissions around the world, cited reactions on the coming epidemic of the Coronavirus disease, considered China’s multi-billion purchase of an American pork producer, noted a really fantastic James Baldwin quote referencing Pablo Picasso and Gertrude Stein, and marveled at a lovely photo of Flüelapass, Switzerland.

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Photo of the Day

Dream PoolDream pool (cc photo by Ian Sane)

Lovely shot of one of the many pristine waterfalls located in Silver Falls State Park, Oregon. Not quite sure which waterfall this is, but I’ll take a wild guess and say it’s the Upper North falls.

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