Each week we post a run-down of the best of our reader comments with the hopes of highlighting some of your most valuable insights and encouraging more people to join the fray. Let us know what you think—in the comments!
Elliot Pepper: Senator Lugar (R-Indiana), who is campaigning for re-election, and the Chamber of Commerce are running local TV ads in favor of Keystone XL. Apparently, people in the Hoosier state should support it as long as the human and environmental consequences will presumably affect citizens only in other states, like Texas. That way, Big Oil will continue to pay for Lugar's votes in Congress, just as they have for decades.
In response to Peter Rothberg's "Texans Unite Against Keystone Pipeline ."February 23, 2012
Renifer: All austerity does is punish those that had no hand in creating the problem. The problem is not creating an environment for a growing economy, and Reagan/Bush and Bush/Cheney did not create growing economies for everyone, they created wealth redistribution through tax loopholes and raising taxes on the poor. Bush/Cheney raised the debt ceiling 8 times without a blip on anyone's radar. Now they want to deliberately crash a growing and recovering economy just to get control of power at the highest levels so that they can steal some more. The Republicans handed the working poor a deficit of 13.5 trillion dollars and then had the gall to talk about "personal responsibility" while they hide on huge estates with their millions.
From Katrina vanden Heuvel's "The Failure of Austerity Politics ." February 21, 2012
Jill otey: Let me start by apologizing in advance for this semi-coherent rant, but I am livid and for some reason this article and these comments have set off my fuse.
I am female.
I am gay.
I was sexually assaulted as a small child by three significantly older males acting independently of one another.
The assaults were not isolated one-time incidents.
I became a prosecutor and tried homicides and sex crimes.
In that capacity I saw:
- Photographs seized by search warrant of a defendant, an adult male, fully penetrating the body of a female infant no older than a few months.
- Vaginal warts on the anus of a three year old girl... during her autopsy.
- A gay woman my age tied to a bed and burned to death after having been vaginally and anally raped.
- A 5 year old boy who was so sexualized by abuse that he tried to put his hand up my skirt in front of the grand jury because he didn't know any other way to connect with another human being.
- So many adult women rape victims that their suffering almost became unshocking to me (and that is when and why I finally left the legal profession).
I am beyond sick of how women are treated by angry men, psychotic men, violent men. But I am also sick and tired of how women are treated by paternalistic/condescending men and Christian men whose "good" book is based on the premise that men were made directly from God and women were made from the rib of man, thus women are lesser in the eyes of their Lord. That book is riddled with misogyny and violence and hatred. And its proponents today seem riddled with hatred toward women who refuse to submit to their dominion.
I do not know how or why I do not hate men as a group, but somehow I do not. I was born gay, although it took me many years to realize this, and I have been fortunate enough to have had several loving relationships with wonderful men and to this day have numerous friendships with many wonderful men.
But I am sick and tired of being a second class citizen. I am sick and tired of having to be better at everything to be considered equal at anything. I am beyond sick and tired of having my body be the battle ground for sexual politics. I am sick and tired of insurance policies covering Viagra but not contraception for women. And I find it anathema to my very spirit and soul that once again we, women, are struggling against laws that seek to control our health, sometimes our very lives.
I am sick to death of the hypocrisy of a Party which allegedly stands for limited government, individual rights and privacy yet at the same time seeks to place a trans-vaginal ultrasound probe up my vagina (yes, I am from Virginia) in order for me to be able to exercise my right to choose a medical procedure for my health and well-being. I am sick and tired of being labeled a "murderer" for scraping a zygote out of my womb when those same people cheer at a Presidential debate when a candidate is proud of how many executions of living breathing people he has signed death warrants for. I am appalled at the arrogance of their "rightness". I wish that I believed in a God who would judge them at the end of times because I would enjoy the look of shock on their faces when She told them how freaking abominably they had misused Her invocations for their own self-serving interests.
I just would like to be treated equally and given equal opportunity. If abortion is to be denied me, then mandatory male vasectomies should be administered (after careful harvesting and storing of semen for future use) at the age of 14 years. When men submit their health, procreation and bodies to the general public in the form of binding legal proscriptions THEN AND ONLY THEN should they have the right to utter one d*mn thing about my body and how I care for it..
In response to Jessica Valenti’s “The GOP’s Long War Against Women and Sex .” February 22, 2012
Jack Straw: Cognitive dissonance is critical to the survival of the pro-business Libertarian mindset. That Peter Thiel supports and profits off of all the things he claims to abhor is about par for the course. If the free market were to become the arena where one only triumphs to the extent of his or her merit, as libertarians seem to believe, I doubt people like himself would be billionaires. With egos the size of cathedrals and unshakable faith that they are the protagonist of an Ayn Rand fantasy, I wonder how men like Thiel would cope with the reality that they are actually pretty ordinary . . . just like the rest of us. I think he and those like him genuinely believe that they would be wildly successful without the government protection and cronyism that their fortunes are wholly dependent upon. If unrestricted markets did test and reward one's mettle, giving them the future they desire seems like a good idea. Frankly, I've grown very tired of hearing pharaohs touting their self-perceived merits from the top of a pyramid built at gunpoint. A life in the peasantry would seem like karmic justice. At least feudal lords claimed divine right, which is much more plausible within the range of insane rationalizations.
In response to Mark Ames’s “Ron Paul Wants to Abolish the CIA; His Largest Donor Builds Toys for It .” Febraury 23, 2012
rewiredhogdog: I've seen this war movie before, as a young and naive man when I served as a medical corpsman in Vietnam at a base hospital. It didn't like the plot back then, and I certainly don't like it now.
Civilians think they can change the nature of war. But the nature of war changes you. And war is a beast with an insatiable appetite for human flesh.
I kept my mouth shut after the 9/11 attacks out of respect for all our civilian casualties and their grieving families. But having see the beast up close, I told myself, “Well here comes the bullshit wars.”
Even our last "good" war, the Second World War, was a meat grinder when it comes to statistics on the civilian casualties in Europe and in the Pacific. Of course there is no good war. There are only wars of necessity based upon threats to our national security.
Now the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq equal the foreign policy debacle in Vietnam. Imagine that.
I wish I could take back my decision to enlist as a medical corpsman. I thought I had made a reasonable compromise given the draft. But I was a fool. Sure, I was a non-combatant. But I was also an insignificant clog in the vast and well-oiled machinery of war. I guess that's my problem. But I still have fleeting moments of profound shame when I recall the wounded American soldiers and the Vietnamese civilians.
The New York Times jumped on the war wagon as did most newspapers after the 9/11 attacks and as many liberal publications did throughout the country. Suddenly being a "liberal hawk" gained currency on the op-ed pages. Now they are publishing sobering and heart-breaking articles about what we have done to these innocent civilians.
They can't have it both ways. And that's beyond whatever your politics are.
Dr. Johnson long ago observed, "Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel." He wasn't just talking about politicians by the way.
In response to Robert Dreyfuss’s “Counting the Dead in Afghanistan .” February 23. 2012