Archive for September, 2009

Two amendments that would have included a public option in the Senate Finance Committee bill went down to defeat today.  But is it really dead?  All three House bills include a public option.  Assuming that they will be combined to one bill to be debated by the full House of Representatives, the House bill will include a public option.  The HELP committee in the Senate also includes a public option.

Sen. Chuck Grassley, erstwhile member of the so-called Gang of Six, and when not working hard to delay and derail health care reform in committee was busy over the summer warning that reform could mean “pulling the plug on Grandma” was at his hypocritical and illogical best today.  Arguing against the public option proposal, he trotted out the now well-worn GOP mantra that government run health care would be a disaster.  Chuck Shumer asked him if he supported Medicare — a government-run, single payer system, to which Grassley admitted that he supported popular government-run health care programs.  Well, Sen. Grassley, a majority of Americans support a public option.  Doesn’t that make it popular, too?  Try to wiggle out of that corner you managed to paint yourself into.

Apparently one of the sticking points that caused those five (or three) conservative Democrats to vote against a public option is the differential in Medicare reimbursement rates between urban and rural hospitals.  At least that’s how Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND) explains it.  Seems that rural hospitals “enjoy” a lower reimbursement rate than do urban ones.  But if solving that issue would bring them on board, it would seem that’s the place to focus efforts.  How much would it cost to re-wicker the reimbursement rates to allow rural hospitals to survive?  Sen. Rockefeller’s amendment addressed Medicare reimbursement for hospitals, but it contained a two-year waiting period.  Would making the adjustment sooner have made a difference for those five conservative Democrats?  Sen. Conrad has proposed allowing the reimportation of name brand drugs (not generics) whose production was equal to FDA standards and whose quality pedigree could be tracked at the lot level.  We know that prescription drugs are more expensive in the US than in other countries.  Conrad used the example of Lipitor; Americans pay over $4.50 per tablet while the exact same drug can be obtained in a Canadian pharmacy for under $2.  It’s clear that we’re being ripped off, and not just seniors facing the Medicare Part D “donut hole.”

Sen. Baucus said that his opposition was based on his ability to count to 60.  Perhaps the more surprising news was that Chuck Shumer’s public option amendment failed by only two votes.  If the Medicare reimbursement issue could be solved, would Olympia Snowe come on board?  If so, would her fellow Mainer Susan Collins?

The more Americans find out about the public option, the more they support it.  Yes, the boisterous town halls put a temporary damper on support — just like the astroturf organizations wanted.  But support is returning.  I’d like to see the cost savings of Conrad’s reimportation of drugs weighed against the cost of adjusting the Medicare reimbursement for rural hospitals.  I suspect that trade-off would result in a net savings.  And maybe, just maybe, we wouldn’t be subjected to all those drug ads on TV.  And maybe, just maybe, the Senate would decide that supporting a public option would be more palatable.  Would the health care industry lobbyists be upset?  Sure, but for once the legislative process would result in a bill that actually helps regular people and not the corporate interests who’ve managed to co-opt the Congress.


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Next Tuesday, several amendments will be debated and voted on in the Senate Finance Committee.  After a summer filled with town hall meetings, at which angry participants objected to any form of government involvement with just about anything, a most interesting CBS/New York Times poll was released on Friday.

Yes, support for a public option seems to have declined from the high of 72% previously — clear down to 66%.  That’s still a substantial majority. More importantly, more Republicans favor a public option than oppose it.  Given these findings, it’s not surprising that most people polled think that Congressional Republicans are opposing reform for political gain rather than because they think it would be bad for the country.

The debate within the Senate Finance Committee is illustrative.  Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ), was droning on the other day about an amendment.   When he repeated the same point for the third time, Sen. Max Baucus suggested that perhaps he could simply wind things up rather than continue to delay.  Kyl feigned great umbrage, but Baucus was not dissuaded, conceding that Kyl’s point was important but that continued repetition of the point served only to delay.

The next day, Kyl’s hypocrisy was on display again.  The senator, who claims to be a fiscal conservative, suggested that since he didn’t require maternity care, he shouldn’t be forced to pay for it.  While that point may seem to be reasonable on the surface, a quick look at the costs of administering employer-provided plans that allowed participants to pick and choose their specific coverage requirements would quickly put them out of reach for even more employers and Americans.  So, one must ask what Kyl’s real motives are.  It seems that they are nothing less than to put all Americans at the mercy of individual, private insurance — the very type that is the primary cause of so many currently of the uninsured.

It is true that a majority of corporations support elimination of employer-based health insurance.  But they recognize that pushing everyone into private insurance isn’t the answer.  They understand the implications of that solution, perhaps better than do the Congressional Republicans if Sen. Kyl is an example.  The business community supports the public option.  So does a majority of doctors and nurses — the first line of health care providers.  And so does a majority of Americans.

Congress, do your job.  Listen to the people who elected you.  If you do not vote for a public option, your vote will demonstrate that we no longer have a government of, by and for the people but rather a government that is bought and paid for by special interests.  The obvious solution is to get special interest money out of government, out of elections, out of the legislative process.  Do we need the perspective of experts?  Yes, but not at the expense of what is best for the country at large.  There must be a better way to do the people’s business.

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It seems that Chris Wallace’s nose is out of join because President Obama has chosen not to appear on his Sunday show.  He’s calling the White House the biggest bunch of crybabies he’s ever seen in 30 years.  Hmmmm, do I detect a hint of projection here?  Seems it’s Wallace and Fox News who are doing the whining.

After spending months stirring up hate and discontent with all manner of lies and distortions about health care reform, Obama’s place of birth, and every other policy initiative or appointment coming from his administration, the president should grant them any favors?  Given that Roger Ailes, former RNC Chair, is the head of Fox news, I wouldn’t expect them to be a gung-ho administration supporter.  But there is a difference between honest discussion and analysis of issues and propaganda bordering on incitement.  Would there be anything to be gained for the president to appear on  Wallace’s program?  I don’t know how many voters who consider themselves independent watch Wallace’s Sunday show compared to the Sunday news programs on the broadcast networks.  Since independents are the group that seems to be wavering, that is the group the President needs to reach.  Additionally, the disaffected conservative voters have already made their determination to oppose the president on each and every issue.  So why waste his time trying to appeal to them.  He uses reason, a faculty that seems to be nearly completely lacking amongst the most vocal of the critics.

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I see where a Representative from Texas is complaining that the DC Metro system didn’t add extra cars or trains last Saturday for the tea party demonstration.  I wonder if he see the exquisite irony that’s inherent in his complaint.

The people who attended the rally and demonstration came via a variety of means — interstate highways (funded with Federal dollars), air (Federal air traffic controllers), local roads (funded with state and local taxes), and/or the Metro (built with government money).  Yet they were protesting government and taxes at all levels.  If you don’t want to pay taxes, you should expect the obvious consequence of reduced services.  It’s no surprise that the Metro didn’t add capacity for the day.  Or was it a case of lack of organization by all those “grass-roots” people behind the rally?

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The latest outrage coming from health insurance companies is that domestic violence is, in a number of states, grounds for denying private health insurance.  As one who has experienced domestic abuse, I think I’m qualified to speak on this issue.  Some will claim that all a woman would have to do is to leave the relationship.  Sure, in theory that’s an obvious solution.  But in practice, it’s not all that easy.  Let me explain.

If a woman presses charges against her husband/partner, he may well be prosecuted and go to prison for a period of time.  In the meantime, if he’s out on bail, the mere fact of his arrest may cost him his job.  Men who batter have an anger management problem.  Is it reasonable to think that he would automatically make the connection that it was his actions that led to his arrest and job loss.  Rather it is likely that he will blame his partner for his situation.  That puts her in increased danger of retaliation, and a restraining order is only effective if he chooses not to confront her.

If he is convicted and goes to prison, she faces the loss of income and likely will need to sell the home and move to smaller, cheaper accommodations, displacing both her and her children from their home, schools, friends and social support system.

So, it is a difficult and Faustian choice that she must make, one made easier if her children are not the target when anger turns violent.  We women, especially women of my generation, were taught that marriage is forever.  I recall my father’s conversation with me the night before I was married that left me with the distinct impression that no matter what happened in my marriage, it was up to me to make the best of it.  As a result, when my husband raged at me, whether it became physical or not, I was ashamed that I couldn’t seem to make things work.  And what’s more, I didn’t consider that turning to my parents for advice or help was an option.

And to add insult to injury, if the family gets health insurance through the abuser’s employer, when he loses his job, the family is victimized again by losing their health insurance, only to find that they are thrust into the private insurance market, where the history of abuse becomes a disqualifying condition.

Fortunately, only a limited number of states currently allow this.  But any states are too many.

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It began some years ago and reached a new level last summer, mostly at Palin’s rallies and mostly in rural areas.  At the time I likened it to a new incarnation of McCarthyism, but using today’s fears.  Since the election of Barack Obama, the voices have grown louder and more shrill.  Spurred on by right-wing talk radio hosts, conservative pundits, and corporate public relations departments and their astroturf siblings, it has escalated further in the tenor of the health care debate.  Yet that debate is but one in a panoply of changes that are occurring.

Recently, the appearance of weapons at presidential appearances, just because they can, has added a new sort of intimidation.  Several family members and I have discussed our concerns and, yes even our fears, at the potential for violence.  The other day I happened upon an article that spelled out some of what I was seeing — the use of coded messages to activate the hate, cloaking it in Constitutional arguments and patriotic rhetoric.  And then, today, I came across an article that everyone should read — “Living in a Culture of Cruelty.”  It is long but so important that I’m quoting it in its entirety.

Under the Bush administration, a seeping, sometimes galloping, authoritarianism began to reach into every vestige of the culture, giving free rein to those anti-democratic forces in which religious, market, military and political fundamentalism thrived, casting an ominous shadow over the fate of United States democracy. During the Bush-Cheney regime, power became an instrument of retribution and punishment was connected to and fueled by a repressive state. A bullying rhetoric of war, a ruthless consolidation of economic forces, and an all-embracing free-market apparatus and media driven pedagogy of fear supported and sustained a distinct culture of cruelty and inequality in the United States. In pointing to a culture of cruelty, I am not employing a form of left moralism that collapses matters of power and politics into the discourse of character. On the contrary, I think the notion of a culture of cruelty is useful in thinking through the convergence of everyday life and politics, of considering material relations of power – the disciplining of the body as an object of control – on the one hand, and the production of cultural meaning, especially the co-optation of popular culture to sanction official violence, on the other. The culture of cruelty is important for thinking through how life and death now converge in ways that fundamentally transform how we understand and imagine politics in the current historical moment – a moment when the most vital of safety nets, health care reform, is being undermined by right-wing ideologues. What is it about a culture of cruelty that provides the conditions for many Americans to believe that government is the enemy of health care reform and health care reform should be turned over to corporate and market-driven interests, further depriving millions of an essential right?Increasingly, many individuals and groups now find themselves living in a society that measures the worth of human life in terms of cost-benefit analyzes. The central issue of life and politics is no longer about working to get ahead, but struggling simply to survive. And many groups, who are considered marginal because they are poor, unemployed, people of color, elderly or young, have not just been excluded from “the American dream,” but have become utterly redundant and disposable, waste products of a society that not longer considers them of any value. How else to explain the zealousness in which social safety nets have been dismantled, the transition from welfare to workfare (offering little job training programs and no child care), and recent acrimony over health care reform’s public option? What accounts for the passage of laws that criminalize the behavior of the 1.2 million homeless in the United States, often defining sleeping, sitting, soliciting, lying down or loitering in public places as a criminal offence rather than a behavior in need of compassionate good will and public assistance? Or, for that matter, the expulsions, suspensions, segregation, class discrimination and racism in the public schools as well as the more severe beatings, broken bones and damaged lives endured by young people in the juvenile justice system? Within these politics, largely fueled by market fundamentalism – one that substitutes the power of the social state with the power of the corporate state and only values wealth, money and consumers – there is a ruthless and hidden dimension of cruelty, one in which the powers of life and death are increasingly determined by punishing apparatuses, such as the criminal justice system for poor people of color and/or market forces that increasingly decide who may live and who may die.

The growing dominance of a right-wing media forged in a pedagogy of hate has become a crucial element providing numerous platforms for a culture of cruelty and is fundamental to how we understand the role of education in a range of sites outside of traditional forms of schooling. This educational apparatus and mode of public pedagogy is central to analyzing not just how power is exercised, rewarded and contested in a growing culture of cruelty, but also how particular identities, desires and needs are mobilized in support of an overt racism, hostility towards immigrants and utter disdain, coupled with the threat of mob violence toward any political figure supportive of the social contract and the welfare state. Citizens are increasingly constructed through a language of contempt for all noncommercial public spheres and a chilling indifference to the plight of others that is increasingly expressed in vicious tirades against big government and health care reform. There is a growing element of scorn on the part of the American public for those human beings caught in the web of misfortune, human suffering, dependency and deprivation. As Barbara Ehrenreich observes, “The pattern is to curtail financing for services that might help the poor while ramping up law enforcement: starve school and public transportation budgets, then make truancy illegal. Shut down public housing, then make it a crime to be homeless. Be sure to harass street vendors when there are few other opportunities for employment. The experience of the poor, and especially poor minorities, comes to resemble that of a rat in a cage scrambling to avoid erratically administered electric shocks.” [1]

A right-wing spin machine, influenced by haters like Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Michael Savage and Ann Coulter, endlessly spews out a toxic rhetoric in which: all Muslims are defined as jihadists; the homeless are not victims of misfortune but lazy; blacks are not terrorized by a racist criminal justice system, but the main architects of a culture of criminality; the epidemic of obesity has nothing to do with corporations, big agriculture and advertisers selling junk food, but rather the result of “big” government giving people food stamps; the public sphere is largely for white people, which is being threatened by immigrants and people of color, and so it goes. Glenn Beck, the alleged voice of the common man, appearing on the “Fox & Friends” morning show, calls President Obama a “racist” and then accuses him of “having a deep-seated hatred for white people or the white culture.” [2] Nationally syndicated radio host Rush Limbaugh unapologetically states that James Early Ray, the confessed killer of Martin Luther King Jr., should be given a posthumous Medal of Honor, [3] while his counterpart in right-wing hate, talk radio host Michael Savage, states on his show, “You know, when I see a woman walking around with a burqa, I see a Nazi. That’s what I see – how do you like that? – a hateful Nazi who would like to cut your throat and kill your children.” [4] He also claims that Obama is “surrounded by terrorists” and is “raping America.” This is a variation of a crude theme established by Ann Coulter, who refers to Bill Clinton as a “very good rapist.” [5] Even worse, Obama is a “neo-Marxist fascist dictator in the making,” who plans to “force children into a paramilitary domestic army.” [6] And this is just a small sampling of the kind of hate talk that permeates right-wing media. This could be dismissed as loony right-wing political theater if it were not for the low levels of civic literacy displayed by so many Americans who choose to believe and invest in this type of hate talk. [7] On the contrary, while it may be idiocy, it reveals a powerful set of political, economic and educational forces at work in miseducating the American public while at the same time extending the culture of cruelty. One central task of any viable form of politics is to analyze the culture of cruelty and its overt and covert dimensions of violence, often parading as entertainment.

Underlying the culture of cruelty that reached its apogee during the Bush administration, was the legalization of state violence, such that human suffering was now sanctioned by the law, which no longer served as a summons to justice. But if a legal culture emerged that made violence and human suffering socially acceptable, popular culture rendered such violence pleasurable by commodifying, aestheticizing and spectacularizing it. Rather than being unspoken and unseen, violence in American life had become both visible in its pervasiveness and normalized as a central feature of dominant and popular culture. Americans had grown accustomed to luxuriating in a warm bath of cinematic blood, as young people and adults alike were seduced with commercial and military video games such as “Grand Theft Auto” and “America’s Army,” [8] the television series “24” and its ongoing Bacchanalian fête of torture, the crude violence on display in World Wrestling Entertainment and Ultimate Fighting Championship, and an endless series of vigilante films such as “The Brave One” (2007) and “Death Sentence” (2007), in which the rule of law is suspended by the viscerally satisfying images of men and women seeking revenge as laudable killing machines – a nod to the permanent state of emergency and war in the United States. Symptomatically, there is the mindless glorification and aestheticization of brutal violence in the most celebrated Hollywood films, including many of Quentin Tarantino’s films, especially the recent “Death Proof” (2007), “Kill Bill” 1 & 2 (2003, 2004), and “Inglorious Bastards” (2009). With the release of Tarantino’s 2009 bloody war film, in fact, the press reported that Dianne Kruger, the co-star of “Inglorious Bastards,” claimed that she “loved being tortured by Brad Pitt [though] she was frustrated she didn’t get an opportunity to get frisky with her co-star, but admits being beaten by Pitt was a satisfying experience.” [9] This is more than the aestheticization of violence, it is the normalization and glorification of torture itself.

If Hollywood has made gratuitous violence the main staple of its endless parade of blockbuster films, television has tapped into the culture of cruelty in a way that was unimaginable before the attack on the US on September 11. Prime-time television before the attacks had “fewer than four acts of torture” per year, but “now there are more than a hundred.” [10] Moreover, the people who torture are no longer the villains, but the heroes of prime-time television. The most celebrated is, of course, Jack Bauer, the tragic-ethical hero of the wildly popular Fox TV thriller “24.” Not only is torture the main thread of the plot, often presented “with gusto and no moral compunction,” [11] but Bauer is portrayed as a patriot, rather than a depraved monster, who tortures in order to protect American lives and national security. Torture, in this scenario, takes society’s ultimate betrayal of human dignity and legitimates the pain and fear it produces as normal, all the while making a “moral sadist” a television celebrity. [12] The show has over 15 million viewers, and its glamorization of torture has proven so successful that it appears to have not only numbed the public’s reaction to the horrors of torture, but it is so overwhelmingly influential among the US military that the Pentagon sent Brig. Gen. Patrick Finnegan to California to meet with the producers of the show. “He told them that promoting illegal behavior in the series … was having a damaging effect on young troops.” [13] The pornographic glorification of gratuitous, sadistic violence is also on full display in the popular HBO television series “Dexter,” which portrays a serial killer as a sympathetic, even lovable, character. Visual spectacles steeped in degradation and violence permeate the culture and can be found in various reality TV shows, professional wrestling and the infamous Jerry Springer Show. These programs all trade in fantasy, glamorized violence and escapism. And they share similar values. As Chris Hedges points out in his analysis of professional wrestling, they all mirror the worse dimensions of an unchecked and unregulated market society in which “winning is all that matters. Morality is irrelevant…. It is all about personal pain, vendettas, hedonism and fantasies of revenge, while inflicting pain on others. It is the cult of victimhood.” [14]

The celebration of hyper-violence, moral sadism and torture travels easily from fiction to real life with the emergence in the past few years of a proliferation of “bum fight” videos on the Internet, “shot by young men and boys who are seen beating the homeless or who pay transients a few dollars to fight each other.” [15] The culture of cruelty mimics cinematic violence as the agents of abuse both indulge in actual forms of violence and then further celebrate the barbarity by posting it on the web, mimicking the desire for fame and recognition, while voyeuristically consuming their own violent cultural productions. The National Coalition for the Homeless claims that “On YouTube in July 2009, people have posted 85,900 videos with ‘bum’ in the title [and] 5,690 videos can be found with the title ‘bum fight,’ representing … an increase of 1,460 videos since April 2008.” [16] Rather than problematize violence, popular culture increasingly normalizes it, often in ways that border on criminal intent. For instance, a recent issue of Maxim, a popular men’s magazine, included “a blurb titled ‘Hunt the Homeless’ [focusing on] a coming ‘hobo convention’ in Iowa and says ‘Kill one for fun. We’re 87 percent sure it’s legal.'” [17] In this context, violence is not simply being transformed into an utterly distasteful form of adolescent entertainment or spectacularized to attract readers and boost profits, it becomes a powerful pedagogical force in the culture of cruelty by both aligning itself and becoming complicit with the very real surge of violence against the homeless, often committed by young men and teenage boys looking for a thrill. Spurred on by the ever reassuring presence of violence and dehumanization in the wider culture, these young “thrill offenders” now search out the homeless and “punch, kick, shoot or set afire people living on the streets, frequently killing them, simply for the sport of it, their victims all but invisible to society.” [19] All of these elements of popular culture speak stylishly and sadistically to new ways in which to maximize the pleasure of violence, giving it its hip (if fascist) edginess.

Needless to say, neither violent video games and television series nor Hollywood films and the Internet (or for that matter popular culture) cause in any direct sense real world violence and suffering, but they do not leave the real world behind either. That is too simplistic. What they do achieve is the execution of a well-funded and highly seductive public pedagogical enterprise that sexualizes and stylizes representations of violence, investing them with an intense pleasure quotient. I don’t believe it is an exaggeration to claim that the violence of screen culture entertains and cleanses young people of the burden of ethical considerations when they, for instance, play video games that enabled them to “casually kill the simulated human beings whose world they control.” [20] Hollywood films such as the “Saw” series offer up a form of torture porn in which the spectacle of the violence enhances not merely its attraction, but offers young viewers a space where questions of ethics and responsibility are gleefully suspended, enabling them to evade their complicity in a culture of cruelty. No warnings appear on the labels of these violent videos and films, suggesting that the line between catharsis and desensitization may become blurred, making it more difficult for them to raise questions about what it means “to live in a society that produces, markets, and supports such products.” [21] But these hyper-violent cultural products also form part of a corrupt pedagogical assemblage that makes it all the more difficult to recognize the hard realities of power and material violence at work through militarism, a winner-take-all economy marked by punishing inequalities and a national security state that exhibits an utter disregard for human suffering. Even the suffering of children, we must note, as when government officials reduce the lives of babies and young children lost in Iraq and Afghanistan to collateral damage. Tragically, the crime here is much more than symbolic.

The ideology of hardness and cruelty runs through American culture like an electric current, sapping the strength of social relations and individual character, moral compassion and collective action, offering up crimes against humanity that become fodder for video games and spectacularized media infotainment, and constructing a culture of cruelty that promotes a “symbiosis of suffering and spectacle.” [22] As Chris Hedges argues,

Sadism is as much a part of popular culture as it is of corporate culture. It dominates pornography, runs … through reality television and trash-talk programs and is at the core of the compliant, corporate collective. Corporatism is about crushing the capacity for moral choice. And it has its logical fruition in Abu Ghraib, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and our lack of compassion for the homeless, our poor, the mentally ill, the unemployed and the sick. [23]

Bailouts are not going to address the ways in which individual desires, values and identities are endlessly produced in the service of a culture of cruelty and inequality. Power is not merely material, it is also symbolic and is distributed through a society in ways we have never seen before. No longer is education about schooling. It now functions through the educational force of the larger culture in the media, Internet, electronic media and through a wide range of technologies and sites endlessly working to undo democratic values, compassion and any viable notion of justice and its accompanying social relations. What this suggests is a redefinition of both literacy and education. We need, as a society, to educate students and others to be literate in multiple ways, to reclaim the high ground of civic courage, and to be able to name, engage and transform those forms of public pedagogy that produce hate and cruelty as part of the discourse of common sense. Otherwise, democracy will lose the supportive institutions, social relations and culture that make it not only possible but even thinkable.



[1] Barbara Ehrenreich, “Is It now a Crime to Be Poor?,” New York Times (August 9, 2009), p. wk9.

[2] David Bauder, “Fox’s Glenn Beck: President Obama is a Racist,” Associated Press (July 28, 2009).
Online at: http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5imGTdQH8JbOAWo_yKxNHpAMTCq_gD99NO3TG0

[3] Limbaugh cited in Casey Gane-McCalla, “Top 10 Racist Limbaugh Quotes,” NewsOne (October 20, 2008).
Online at: http://newsone.com/obama/top-10-racist-limbaugh-quotes/

[4] Savage quoted in Thinkers and Jokers (July 2, 2007).
Online at: http://thinkersandjokers.com/thinker.php?id=2688

[5] Coulter quoted in Don Hazen, “The Tall Blonde Woman in the Short Skirt With the Big Mouth,” AlterNet (June 6, 2006).
Online at: http://www.alternet.org/module/printversion/37162

[6] These quotes are taken from an excellent article by Eric Boehlert in which he criticizes the soft peddling that many in the press give to right-wing fanatics such as Michael Savage. See Eric Boehlert, “The New Yorker raises a toast to birther nut Michael Savage,” Media Matters for America (August 3, 2009).
Online at: http://mediamatters.org/print/columns/200908030038

[7] See Chris Hedges, “America the Illiterate,” CommonDreams (November 10, 2008).
Online at: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2008/11/10-6

Terrence McNally, “How Anti-Intellectualism Is Destroying America,” AlterNet (August 15, 2008).
Online at: http://www.alternet.org/module/printversion/95109

[8] For an excellent collection on military video games, see Nina B. Huntemann and Matthew Thomas Payne, eds. “Joystick Soldiers: The Politics of Play in Military Video Games” (New York: Routledge, 2010).

[9] Arts and Entertainment, “Torture Will Just Have to Do,” The Hamilton Spectator (August 12, 2009), p. Go 3.

[10] Jane Mayer, “Whatever It Takes: The Politics of the Man Behind 24,” The New Yorker (February 26, 2007), p. 68.

[11] Alessandra Stanley, “Suicide Bombers Strike, and America Is in Turmoil. Just Another Day in the Life of Jack Bauer,” New York Times (January 12, 2007), p. B1.

[12] See Judith Butler, “Frames of War.” Also, Slavoj Zizek, “The Depraved Heroes of 24 are the Himmlers of Hollywood,” The Guardian (January 10, 2006).
Online at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2006/jan/10/usnews.comment

[13] Faiz Shaker, “US Military: Television Series ’24’ is Promoting Torture in the Ranks,” Think Progress (February 3, 2007).
Online at: http://thinkprogress.org/2007/02/13/torture-on-24/

[14] Chris Hedges, “Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle” (New York: Knopf Canada, 2009). p. 10.

[15] Eric Lichtblau, “Attacks on Homeless Bring Push on Hate Crime Laws,” New York Times (August 8, 2009), p. A1.

[16] National Coalition of the Homeless, “Hate, Violence, and Death on Main Street,” 2008, (Washington, DC, National Coalition of the Homeless, 2009).
Online at: http://www.nationalhomeless.org/publications/hatecrimes/hate_report_2008.pdf, p. 34.

[17] Ibid., Eric Lichtblau, “Attacks on Homeless Bring Push on Hate Crime Laws.”

[18] National Coalition of the Homeless, “Hate, Violence, and Death on Main Street,” 2008, (Washington, D. C., National Coalition of the Homeless, 2009).
Online at: http://www.nationalhomeless.org/publications/hatecrimes/hate_report_2008.pdf

[19] Ibid., Eric Lichtblau, “Attacks on Homeless Bring Push on Hate Crime Laws.”

[20] Mark Slouka, “Dehumanized: When Math and Science Rule the School,” Harper’s Magazine (September 5, 2009), p. 40.

[21] Ibid., Mark Slouka, “Dehumanized,” p. 40.

[22] Mark Reinhardt and Holly Edwards, “Traffic in Pain,” in “Beautiful Suffering: Photography and the Traffic in Pain,” ed. Mark Reinhardt, Holly Edwards, and Erina Duganne (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2006), p.9.

[23] Chris Hedges, “America Is in Need of Moral Bailout,” Truthdig (March 23, 2009).
Online at: http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/20090323_america_is_in_need_of_a_moral_bailout/

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