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MARX: A HERO FOR OUR TIME? — Suddenly, everyone from the Wall Street Journal to Rolling Stone seems to be talking about Karl Marx. Louis Proyect delves into this mysterious resurgence, giving a vivid assessment of Marx’s relevance in the era of globalized capitalism. THE MEANING OF MANDELA: Longtime civil rights organizer Kevin Alexander Gray gives in intimate portrait of Nelson Mandela and the global struggle of racial justice. FALLOUT OVER FUKUSHIMA: Peter Lee investigates the scandalous exposure of sailors on board the USS Reagan to radioactive fallout from Fukushima. SOUTHERN DISCOMFORT: Kim Nicolini charts the rise of Matthew McConaughey. PLUS: Mike Whitney on the coming crash of the housing market. JoAnn Wypijewski on slavery, torture and revolt. Chris Floyd on the stupidity of US policy in Ukraine. Kristin Kolb on musicians and health care. And Jeffrey St. Clair on life and death on the mean streets of an America in decline
"Enough About Compassion ... "

Doing It Big

by MISSY COMLEY BEATTIE

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Vice President, members of Congress, distinguished guests, and fellow Americans:

We are the American family. And we are exceptional. This is what sets us apart as a nation. (Applause.)

We measure progress by the success of our people. And because we extended the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, the ultra-rich can realize even greater success. It was the right thing to do. (Applause.) We could ask millionaires to give up their tax breaks, but we won’t.

Many people probably can remember a time when finding a good job meant showing up at a factory. You didn’t always need a degree. This is still a place where you can make it if you try. You can be a politician, a banker, or a politician who’s stepped down for family reasons and has become a lobbyist. (Applause.) No workers are more productive than ours. For example, Bristol Palin never shied away from limb-bending labor. The 20-year-old single mother turned a good idea into a thriving enterprise, a lobbying, public relations, and political consulting firm. Furthermore, Bristol purchased a home in Arizona, during a time when many were losing theirs, accomplishing the American dream without a college degree. Plus, she has a new boyfriend. (Applause.)

In the words of Robert Kennedy, "The future is not a gift. It is an achievement." Again, think of Bristol. Dreams of little girls deserve to be fulfilled. (Applause.)

Let me be clear. The future is ours to win. And recently, we’ve won in defeating our most pressing domestic problem: incivility. This is why I honor American worker Bristol Palin. As you know, her mother and I have had our differences. We’ve fought fiercely. And, really, I shouldn’t use the word "fought," because I’m reinventing myself. It’s what Americans have done for over 200 years. From this day forward, I will not call myself a straight shooter. Ever. (Applause.)

I’ve heard rumors that there’s still concern about our new health care law. (Laughter) If you have ideas about how to improve this, I’d like to work with you, unless you advocate universal health care. I think some innovative reinventer might be more helpful.

And if Bristol Palin has any suggestions about high-speed rail, I’d like to know. (Applause.)

The Iraq war has been coming to an end for months and we’d be pleased with a display of Iraqi gratitude—flowers, applause, smiles, high fives, something. (Applause.) Of course, as we speak, al Qaeda and al-Qaeda-like affiliates, evildoers, those who wish to destroy our way of life because they’re jealous of our freedoms, continue to plan 9/11s every waking second of their pernicious, hate-filled days to terrorize this nation that has always been empathetic to the suffering of others. (Applause.)

We’ve taken the fight to al-Qaeda and their terrorist allies. With epic courage, our military men and women brave the dust and wind of Nevada as they drive through the desert to sit in front of computers and operate drones that target insurgents 7,500 miles away in Afghanistan. (Applause.) If a few children get in the way, we suggest that their parents assume more responsibility for their wellbeing. (Applause.) Now, I want you to imagine these men and women, America’s finest, as they push a throttle’s button and squeeze a joystick’s trigger to release a bomb or missile and yell, "Splash," when they hit their mark. (Applause.) And, yes, we have a separate robotic warfare program in Pakistan, operated by the CIA. (Applause.) Terrorist safe havens are shrinking.

We are continuing to strengthen the capacity of the Afghan people, partnering with them, transitioning to an Afghan lead. Our troops will begin to come home in … a-a-achoo. ("God bless you.") Thanks. (Applause.)

We are securing the worst weapons of war to shape a world that favors negotiation. Recent events have shown that what sets us apart is not just our power but also the purpose behind it—compassion. (Applause.)

Enough about compassion though. (Applause.)

The dream is why I stand here tonight. The American dream. It’s the same dream that brought Speaker Boehner, someone who grew up sweeping the floor of his father’s bar, to D.C. and landed him a career that allows him to sit at any upscale bar and drink until his liver ossifies. It’s the same dream that provides the finest health care benefits for us, your leaders, if we require treatment for any ailment. And the taxpayers of a country built on dreams pay it for.

We dream big here. Because we are the first nation founded for an idea—that we shape our own destiny. Your vote permits us to shape yours.

We do big things. (Applause.) Big war. Big war budget. Big Military/Security/Surveillance Complex. Big multi-national corporations. Big bailouts. Big bonuses. Big drills. Big Spills. Big deals. All in the interest of peace and prosperity.

Our future is big and hopeful.

God bless you, and may God bless the United States of America. (Applause.)

Missy Beattie lives in Baltimore. She can be reached at missybeat@gmail.com.