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01.17 Could a Green New Deal Save Civilization? [Intelligent government is desperately needed]

01.17 New plant-focused diet would ‘transform’ planet’s future, say scientists

01.17 Studies Show Ice Melting and Ocean Warming Both Happening Much Faster Than Previously Thought

01.16 Immediate fossil fuel phaseout could arrest climate change – study [Intelligent government is desperately needed]

01.16 Our oceans broke heat records in 2018 and the consequences are catastrophic [charts]

01.15 Solar Farms Shine a Ray of Hope on Bees and Butterflies [Wonderful!]

01.15 Australia could hit 100% renewables sooner than most people think

01.15 Ion age: why the future will be battery powered

01.15 Barclays on wrong side of history with climate policy, says Greenpeace

01.15 'One fish at a time': Indonesia lands remarkable victory

01.15 Insect collapse: ‘We are destroying our life support systems’

01.14 V.A. Seeks to Redirect Billions of Dollars Into Private Care [The most public and efficient healthcare in America has been demonized and will be destroyed rather than improved, raising total  per-capita costs]

01.14 Saudi Arabia Increases Solar Targets To 20 Gigawatts By 2023 & 40 Gigawatts By 2030

01.14 Solar + Storage Half The Cost Of Gas Peaker Plants — 8MinuteEnergy

01.14 Why thousands of Los Angeles teachers are going on strike [Well at least we got a big tax-cut for the super-rich, that was the most important thing.]

01.14 Air pollution 'as bad as smoking in increasing risk of miscarriage'

01.09 Dutch eco initiative halves energy bills in first UK homes

01.09 'It's a nightmare': Americans' health at risk as shutdown slashes EPA

01.08 Monarch butterfly numbers plummet 86 percent in California [0:58 video; Do You Care?]

01.08 Carbon emissions up as Trump agenda rolls back climate change work [Making America Less  Great Again]

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01.19 How conservative media became a “safe space”

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01.19 The Biden Band-Aid: Will Democrats Contain the Insurgency?

01.19 Donald Trump Has Never Cared About Workers, and Never Will

01.19 Republicans’ lack of alarm over the shutdown reveals a disturbing truth [Sociopaths have little or no conscience, empathy or morality...]

01.19 Arizona: Four women convicted after leaving food and water in desert for migrants [morality is against the law]

01.19 Mueller breaks silence to dispute parts of bombshell report on Michael Cohen

01.18 “Are We Really Where We Are?”: Trump, Putin, and Washington’s Unbelievable New Normal

01.18 With Mattis Gone, Trump Is Already Sowing More Global Chaos [Trump plays General—what could go wrong...]

01.18 The Right’s Case Against Soaking the Rich Is Dirt Poor

01.18 Trump Worsens the Border Crisis

01.18 Impeach Donald Trump

01.18 President Trump Directed His Attorney Michael Cohen To Lie To Congress About The Moscow Tower Project [An impeachable offense]

01.18 10 Things We All Lose If Bernie Chooses Not to Run in 2020 [Intelligent government is desperately needed]

01.17 These 2020 hopefuls are courting Wall Street. Don't be fooled by their progressive veneer

01.17 Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez lambasts US government shutdown in first House speech [3:27 video; Intelligent government is desperately needed]

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01.15 The US apparently kept no detailed notes of Trump-Putin meetings for the past 2 years

01.15 California’s largest utility just declared bankruptcy. Hello, climate change.

12.28 Mueller closes in: what will the Trump-Russia inquiry deliver in 2019?

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01.17 Trump's economy is great for billionaires, not for working people [chock-full of pesky facts that government and media ignore and distort]

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01.19 The Ebola outbreak in Eastern Congo is moving toward a major city. That’s not good.

01.19 Ahead of Third Annual Women's March, Group Releases Far-Reaching 'Intersectional Feminist Policy Platform'

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01.17 White people assume niceness is the answer to racial inequality. It's not [More equality requires us to fix ignored and distorted problems]

01.16 Global tensions holding back climate change fight, says WEF [Consistently stupid and harmful policies... Seeing a pattern?]

01.16 How Governments React to Climate Change: An Interview with the Political Theorists Joel Wainwright and Geoff Mann

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  A Lot of Sorry But(t)s
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VIEWPOINT:

A Lot of Sorry But(t)s

by Rosemary and Walter Brasch

Within a week of his outburst during Obama's speech, Rep. Joe Wilson solicited for, and received, a sudden cash spurt of more than a million dollars in contributions from the ultra-right.

Within two weeks in September, Americans were cluster-bombed by hate speech and a shock wave of incivility. From politics to music and sports, with the mass media more than willing to devote thousands of column inches and hours of air time to salacious reporting, those shock waves eventually degenerated into mere ripples that have become commonly accepted.

At Fox-inspired teabag parties and the 9/12 demonstration in the nation's capital that drew about 75,000 persons, frustration and a power of helplessness mixed with hate speech. The riled-up Right called those who opposed their views fascists, socialists, Communists, and Nazis. Pictures showed President Obama with a Hitleresque mustache or looking like Chairman Maobama. The mob accused the President of unproven lies, and then added, apparently for good measure, that he wasn't even a true American because he was—pick one or both—a Muslim and/or not even born in the United States. A few signs even called for lynching members of Congress who didn't agree with the Teabagger views.

In a joint session of Congress, Rep. Joe Wilson of South Carolina shouted out to the President, "You lie!" Republicans around him didn't seem to be shocked at his inappropriate outburst. During the 50-minute address to the nation, the President was subjected to Republican catcalls, one member who wore a sign around his neck asking, "What bill?," and several members who raised papers over their heads during some of the President's statements. Apparently, they didn't think the 161 Republican-proposed amendments already adopted into health care bills weren't enough.

At the U.S. Open, tennis star Serena Williams at the end of a singles match unleashed a profanity-laced diatribe against a line judge.

At the Video Music Awards, rapper Kanye West jumped onto the stage, grabbed the microphone from Taylor Swift, who had just been declared the winner in the Best Female Video category, and announced that Beyoncé should have won.

Although the teabaggers, Republicans who catcalled and raised papers, and news pundits who had inflamed their conservative base never even thought apologies were necessary, at least Wilson, Williams, and West all said they were sorry.

Wilson, pushed by the Republican leadership, quickly apologized to the President, stating that his comment was "inappropriate and regrettable," and reflected a "lack of civility." He said he was sorry, but he believed what he said was accurate. Wilson also claimed the outburst was spontaneous, although he, like the rest of Congress, had a copy of the speech ahead of time. The next day, he joyously signed photos in the halls of Congress and solicited for, and received, a sudden cash spurt of more than a million dollars in contributions from the ultra-right within a week of his outburst.

Williams, a day after her outburst, said she let her passion and emotion get the better of her, that she was sorry, but still thought the line judge made a bad call. She then teamed with her sister to win the doubles title.

West went on a media blitz to apologize for his behavior, after getting booed and tweeted by a horde of media personalities. He repeatedly said he was sorry, but he still got some "street cred" for his outburst.

Even if their comments were out of character—and there's no evidence they were—they failed to adhere to the basic standards of conduct expected in a civil society.

Apologies won't erase incivility. Those who use the invective of hate and don't apologize can easily be dismissed as unworthy of much consideration in the public arena for rational discussion.

Joe Wilson, Serena Williams, and Kanye West all knew what they were doing when they did it. And, they all knew they could make these seemingly unscripted outbursts, apologize for them, and expect Americans to accept them.

But, Wilson, Williams, and West all knew what they were doing when they did it. And, they all knew they could make these seemingly unscripted outbursts, apologize for them, and expect Americans to accept them. It’s not much different from lawyers who slyly make inappropriate comments in court, get rebuked by a judge, apologize, and yet have made their point with juries.

As a nation, we like to believe we are compassionate and forgive those who apologize and reject the hurt they may have caused—even if it’s only a show for the media. Maybe, instead of allowing half-sincere apologies, we can apologize for our own behavior for allowing crocodile tears to wash our seeming compassion.


The Brasches live in a conservative blue-collar northeast Pennsylvania neighborhood whose residents are appalled at the level of hate speech and uncivil behavior that exists in the country. Walter Brasch's latest books are Sinking the Ship of State: The Presidency of George W. Bush and 'Unacceptable': The Federal Response to Hurricane Katrina, available at amazon.com and other bookstores. You may contact the Brasches through www.walterbrasach.com


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This story was published on September 28, 2009.

 

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