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Excerpt: "Limbaugh joked on Tuesday that the Japanese tragedy was some divine punishment for Japan's environmentalism. 'They've given us the Prius,' Limbaugh guffawed. 'Even now, refugees are recycling their garbage. And yet, Gaia levels them! Just wipes them out!'"

A father takes his daughter to safety after she was rescued in Ishinomaki, Japan, 03/15/11. (photo: NYT)
A father takes his daughter to safety after she was rescued in Ishinomaki, Japan, 03/15/11. (photo: NYT)

RSN Special Coverage: Disaster in Japan

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+25 # Dr. Lynn 2011-03-17 22:10
"A great deal of intelligence can be invested in ignorance when the need for illusion is deep"--Saul Bellow

"A society of sheep must in time beget a government of wolves"--Bertra nd de Jouvenel
 
 
+11 # genierae 2011-03-18 10:12
Dr.Lynn: Wolves are instinctively drawn to slaughter sheep, because that's the way they are made. Sheep are food, to be consumed. On the other hand, the corporate Republicans are attacking the American people out of ignorance and greed, which is against their true nature, and in direct opposition to it. Wolves are intelligent creatures who always work for the common good of their species, unlike selfish man, who seeks his own gratification at the expense of the rest of us. Wolves have been demonized for centuries, and are still being exterminated in the western US. Republicans are feverishly working to remove them from the endangered species list even as I write this. Please don't demonize these honest creatures, they don't deserve it. They have every right to exist, and are far more beneficial to the environment than their greatest enemy, man.
 
 
+2 # dwoberdorf 2011-03-20 08:58
genierae: Your point is well taken, to be sure, but I'm pretty certain Bertrand was speaking metaphorically. .. This, from a strong supporter of Defenders of Wildlife, the WWF & the entirer wolf resoration project. Would there were more of us! (I would only have appended to your note what you already implied: "& their greatest of great enemies: Republican Man..." :0
 
 
0 # genierae 2011-03-22 10:28
dwoberdorf: Yes I agree that Dr. Lynn was speaking metaphorically, but comparing wolves to Republicans was definitely demonizing them. Wolves would never behave with such evil intent, they are predators, pure and simple, and they are essential to the healthy balance of nature. We have a real problem in my state with too many deer, causing numerous car accidents, with some fatalities. This is a direct result of wolf extermination and yet because of the bad press that they get, they are feared and hated, and their reintroduction fiercely resisted. Black bears are much more dangerous to man, but their presence here is tolerated...I also agree with you that it is Republicans that are the greatest enemy of the wolf, and actually all of nature. Their greed has done horrific damage to our life-sustaining environment, and caused massive destruction of wildlife. They are an abomination upon this earth, and if we don't stand up to them, we will lose all that is precious to us.
 
 
+15 # soularddave 2011-03-17 22:23
Ever pay attention to the words of the National Anthem and consider what's true and what's no longer?
 
 
-20 # bigkahuna671 2011-03-17 22:41
Really, who cares what this pompous fatass thinks or doesn't think? He's a joke as a human being, or as a pig for that matter! The fact of the matter is, he's probably released more methane into the ozone than a herd of Herefords, so really, who cares? With any luck, he'll die of a heart attack and relieve the rest of the world from having to think one more thing about him.
 
 
+13 # Glen 2011-03-18 09:05
I'm assuming you are speaking of Limbaugh. Seems others have given you 11 thumbs down due to misunderstandin g. I hate to give Rush Limbaugh types any real consideration, but I do hope an epidemic overtakes his kind.
 
 
+7 # bigkahuna671 2011-03-18 23:54
Yes, Glen, I'm speaking of Gynormous Rush. How could anyone get confused? Is there really another pompous fatass out there? I mean, Coulter, O"Reilly, Savage, Hannity, Huckabee, Malkin, et al, are in fairly decent shape, so that only leaves one pompous fatass - Rush!!!
 
 
+7 # bigkahuna671 2011-03-18 23:57
Hey, you thumbs down folks, use your heads for something other than your hats. There's only one pompous fatass, okay, and it sure isn't Phil!
 
 
+1 # marie delloue 2011-03-19 16:52
may be YOU needed to be more clear....
 
 
+1 # marie delloue 2011-03-19 16:49
you just made the writer's point even more valid....
 
 
0 # marie delloue 2011-03-19 16:50
i assumed you were speaking about the writer...
was it about limbaugh??
 
 
+24 # Reductio Ad Absurdum 2011-03-17 23:07
This exacerbated predicament reminds me of the punch line to an old joke: "What could I do, he had the "pistolies?"

The PROBLEM is we LET THEM HAVE THE PISTOLIES in the first place, and the solution is to start taking them back — or at least neutralizing them — one by one, at every turn, on every front. It's going to take a lot of work to play catch-up, but maybe now that people have seen the Republicans' naked aggression against working American families, they'll stop being distracted by social issues that really don't affect them, and start paying attention to the crooks whose hands are in their family's cookie jar.
 
 
+5 # Gary Ray Pierson 2011-03-18 05:33
Quoting Reductio Ad Absurdum:
This exacerbated predicament reminds me of the punch line to an old joke: "What could I do, he had the "pistolies?"

The PROBLEM is we LET THEM HAVE THE PISTOLIES in the first place, and the solution is to start taking them back — or at least neutralizing them — one by one, at every turn, on every front. It's going to take a lot of work to play catch-up, but maybe now that people have seen the Republicans' naked aggression against working American families, they'll stop being distracted by social issues that really don't affect them, and start paying attention to the crooks whose hands are in their family's cookie jar.

I wish you were right Reductio.. But I don't think people ever will wake up. Life is but a dream.. Right now,it's a nightmare. Cpl. Pierson 101st Airborne Vietnam.
 
 
+3 # KittatinyHawk 2011-03-18 17:14
Most people are unaware of what is even going on in News today, Congress. They do not care unless it affects their iphone, ipad, people are not tuned into Life.

Those following the GOP are so robotized, will not listen to anyone because "they would not lie to us"
 
 
+18 # Susan Shaughnessy 2011-03-17 23:13
Phil Rockstroh is brilliant!! Very few have summed it up better. Thank you.
 
 
-1 # SteveM 2011-03-18 01:25
Phil Rockstroh's well-meaning commentary could use some editing and punctuation correction --for instance, there are far to many commas-- to give it the power it needs and deserves. Unedited, there's too much rambling, in my humble opinion, between the important points he makes for this to be taken as seriously as it needs to be.
 
 
+6 # DaveW 2011-03-18 12:23
SteveM, Your post is "perfect proof" of just the message Mr.Rockstroh's article is trying point out. You'd rather comment on linguistic style and content than make relevant or irrelevant comments about the larger message being disseminated. The "important points" he makes, and that you allude to, are the crux of the issue here. But,I know,you HAD to find SOMETHING wrong with it. America had better start "focusing" on the "real" problems we have instead of "nit-picking" whilst we morph into a Fascist state. Now, if you'll excuse me self-appointed English professor, I'll concern myself with the implications and ramifications of Rockstroh's "well-written" commentary and leave you to ponder the dilemna of the ubiquitous comma.
 
 
0 # marie delloue 2011-03-19 16:55
i agree with steveM a bit too long, looses some of it's importance with the extra "verbage"
why are you so hostile...the commas are only a small part of the comment....
 
 
+1 # Conni 2011-03-18 13:29
I ACCIDENTALLY gave you a thumbs' up.
 
 
0 # Hobbit Baggins 2011-03-19 08:35
Phil is a genius! You write something as good as what he has written and I will critique your construction.
 
 
0 # The Cynical Optimist 2011-03-22 00:07
Quoting SteveM:
Phil Rockstroh's well-meaning commentary could use some editing and punctuation correction --for instance, there are far to many commas-- to give it the power it needs and deserves. Unedited, there's too much rambling, in my humble opinion, between the important points he makes for this to be taken as seriously as it needs to be.



Editing Phil's essay (fewer commas, for one) would seriously empower the meaning of its important points.

Or at least I think that's what SteveM is rambling on about. I could be wrong, it's true.
 
 
-10 # Cynthia 2011-03-18 02:03
The author is in need of an editor. Too much analysis of a simple situation: when there is tragedy, it makes people uncomfortable and they use crude jokes to push away death. It's not that unusual. Crude, but common. The author's sentiment is okay, but as bigkahuna says, who cares? And the rest of the analysis just doesn't follow. It may be true, but it can't be deduced from the babblings of Mr. Limbaugh. Lastly, there are too many quotes.
 
 
+7 # DaveW 2011-03-18 16:54
Cynthia, I must say that I'm rather surprised at the number of posts here bemoaning the length of Rockstroh's commentary/anal ysis. That's one of the real problems in America if I may be so bold as to suggest it. A short attention span. No nation could have elected both Ronald Reagan AND George W.Bush to not one but TWO terms of office apiece without suffering greatly from this spreading malady. Ours is a world of tweets, snippets and sound bites and many have a hard time staying focused on something that requires more than fifteen minutes of their attention. Unless, of course, you figure in on the meandering, mindless drivel that passes itself off as "entertainment" on TV and at the movies. My wife and I, in our early fifties, watch some MSNBC, lectures we've purchased from "The Learning Courses" (excellent), watch a few old TV programs occasionally and old movies (pre-1960) which I have collected for many years. Mostly, we read, talk about what we've read and hope for a world where our children can find a path to enlightenment "free" of the Rush Limbaugh's of this world. I liked this piece. Nice work, Mr.Rockstroh!
 
 
0 # Cynthia B 2011-03-23 22:41
"as bigkahuna says, who cares?"

You're missing the entire point, maybe because you listen to "bigkahuna" too much to have an accurate big picture.

Big picture cannot be gotten from a world of sound bites and 30-second news stories. Try NPR before it's too late, you might like it.
 
 
+15 # banichi 2011-03-18 02:10
Pretty good summation I did not expect from the title of the article. Time to organize and work to wake up Americans to the real world. That's the only way this will have a better result.

To quote Benjamin Franklin: "We must, indeed, all hang together, or most assuredly we shall all hang separately."
-In the Continental Congress just before signing the Declaration of Independence, 1776
 
 
+5 # Rita Walpole Ague 2011-03-18 05:55
Phil, it's obvious you have an excellent I.Q., and write accordingly. But, I confess, I am a people lover and appreciator, a.k.a. humanitarian. I come by this automatically, family trees strung with the likes of Sir Robert Walpole, first prime minister and champion of the comman folk, and Pres. Andrew Jackson, likewise a common folk lover and champion. So, for me, nobles oblige it has been, is now, and always will be, unlike a family named Bush who have been caricatured as all nobles, no oblige.

With the exception of certain greed and power addicts, I love and appreciate folks from all classes, races, sexualy persuasions, educations, levels of functioning, etc. and, in order to say a heartfelt thanks to God, I switch hats regularly, one day giving legal assistance to folks crying out for help, and the next day paraphrasing so many of your excellent observations into online logos and word play for everyday folks: i.e. karlroving; villainaires; U.S. of (greed and power) A.(ddiction).

So, Phil, educate the intellectual elite as best you can, and I and countless bloggers will translate your brilliant observations into catchy words and phrases, encourage all 'we the sheeple' to avoid karlroving, seek truth, and act up and out in Wisconsin style.

Let's hang onto hope that, all working together, we can...UNDO THE COUP!
 
 
+9 # DaveW 2011-03-18 11:54
ritaague,Perhap s a good person who "needs" a little educating yourself."Jacks on was a land speculator, merchant,slave trader and the most aggressive enemy of the Indians in early American history." That's direct from Howard Zinn's "A People's History of the United States." Again Zinn,"From 1814 to 1824,in a series of treaties with the southern Indians,whites took over three fourths of Alabama and Florida,one third of Tennesse,one fifth of Georgia and Mississippi,and parts of Kentucky and N.Carolina.Jack son played "key" role in those treaties and his friends and relatives recieved many of the patronage appointments-as Indian agents,traders, treaty commissioners,s urveyors and land agents." Jackson himself described the process "we addressed ourselves feelingly to the predominant and governing passion of all Indian tribes, i.e.,their avarice or fear." He encouraged white squatters to move into Indian lands,then told the Indians the government could not remove the whites and so they had better cede the lands or be wiped out.His troops slaughtered Indian men,women and children with no descretions made.He convinced Cherokees to fight with him in battle of Horseshoe Bend in 1814 to defeat the Creeks.Then "friendly" Creeks lost lands anaway.In 1819 he told a friend to "buy as many slaves as possible, because the price would soon rise." Common folk lover and champion? Not hardly!
 
 
-1 # Rita Walpole Ague 2011-03-19 17:51
Dave W, you are right re. Andy Jackson - he was hardly a saint and in his day did some horrific things, especially to the Indians. In Jackson's time, American Indians were what we now think of as 'terrorists'. And, then like now, awful things were then and are now being done, all in the name of national security.

And, slavery was, most unfortunately, part of life here then. Terrible then, and just as awful now, as our villainiare rulers attempt to do undercover, de facto enslaving of all we the sheeple.

But, my old cousin did open the doors to the White House, like never before, to common folks from the middle and lower classes. He was ragged on hard for doing this at the time of his inauguration. And he did kick the villainaires in their butts. And he, unlike today's Bush family, Cheney, the Koch's, etc., did not die wealthy beyond belief.

As my old grandfather from Lake County, Indiana, Hon. Perlee Andrew Jackson Parks, used to say, the way to tell if judges and elected officials were honest or corrupt is to wait until they die, then see what kind of fortunes they've accumulated. Grandpa did not die terribly rich, and neither did cousin Andrew Jackson. Hardly a saint was Andy, but one hell of a lot more for the common folk than today's neocons, Tea Partiers, and Koch suckers.
 
 
+19 # Realist 2011-03-18 06:53
I believe that the major culprit in the dumbing down of the United States, and probably other countries, is the fascination with and hypnotic attention to TV. Many people do not read anymore, do not search for information, do not think. They are spoon fed garbage, and think they are getting food. I gave up my TV set three years ago, have not missed it, fill my time with reading, outdoor and indoor exercise, and having discussions with different people. I don't know how to wean people from their TV sets, but until that happens, the dumbing down of America will continue.
 
 
+13 # jon 2011-03-18 08:35
TV could have been the best thing that ever happened, instead it has become the WORST thing.
 
 
+1 # Hobbit Baggins 2011-03-19 08:38
Quit watching TV 25 years ago. Had 101 chanels and nothing to watch. No decent news at all.
 
 
0 # Cynthia B 2011-03-23 22:47
Quit watching TV in 1989, except for monitoring cable news channels while listening to NPR for 11 years at my job in radio news.

It's true. I try sometimes to tell people that you can't get an accurate picture of the world from TV news because they avoid stories that are most important.

They don't believe me. On jury duty last year I spoke to two young and smart people who shook their heads when I told them one of the World Trade Center towers had fallen down all by itself without being hit by a plane. They said if it was important news, it would have been on TV by now. And they were serious.

Instead of being able to articulate the extent of the problem I find myself sinking into a deeper and deeper depression when I encounter the massive power of TV to shape ideas about reality in our American lives. I have stopped trying, except online. I know I have to get offline to make a real difference but it just kills me, it really does, and I don't know what to say. They look at me like I'm crazy.
 
 
+11 # fredboy 2011-03-18 07:29
Thank you, Phil. This is beautiful, the most profound reflection of our decay. This will serve as our Rosetta Stone in the deep future, helping beings many thousand years wiser understand how we built, then destroyed, by willing self destruction.
 
 
+8 # BishopAndrew 2011-03-18 07:46
We in the West live in a totally morally bankrupt culture where the ego is defied and the love of money and status and power is its trinity. So called "free market" capitalism(that is double speak for unbridled thievery) is the worst evil perpetrated on the human race. But one fine day it will consume itself and perhaps destroy the planet in an orgy of self indulgent consumerism. Then the meek will indeed inherit the earth!
 
 
+12 # Nhan pham 2011-03-18 08:47
Rush Limbaugh's character is lower than dog's character. I have seen a you tube video, I saw in some place in Japan, a dog who took care his or her wounded friend even he or she was hungry, thirsty, cold but his or her did not leave his or her wounded friend. Rush Limbaugh should learn this dog's character and compassion.
 
 
+4 # granny 2011-03-18 09:23
Rockstroh is right, but does he need to say it in soooooooo many words? But then, he could have a public, dramatic reading, complete with background music and visual images.

Or he could say what really needs saying: GET YOUR LAZY ASSES TO THE POLLS EACH AND EVERY ELECTION. THROW THE BASTARDS OUT AND PUT IN PEOPLE WHOSE RECORDS YOU HAVE STUDIES AND WHOSE LIES YOU CAN CORRECT.
 
 
0 # Cynthia B 2011-03-23 22:49
The voting machines do not work.

They can be hacked in under a minute.

The 2000 election was stolen and there is a good chance the 2004 election was also not legitimate.
We have to address the voting machine problem, otherwise getting out to vote is a waste of time.
 
 
+8 # Michael Rivero 2011-03-18 11:19
The reason for the media jokes should be obvious. General Electric designed those six reactors now showering the north Pacific with radioactive debris. Lawsuits alone will lead to trillions in losses, plus cancellation of future sales of that design, not to mention premature shutdown of existing reactors. The entire nuclear power industry is facing extinction and the only way they can survive this disaster is to convince the American people that this is no big deal, there is no danger, and the whole thing is just a silly joke that is all the fault of those gosh-darned Japanese.

So GE (which owns NBC, MSNBC, CNBC and a whole lot of other media) has sent out the orders to just make fun of the whole situation, and insult anyone who dares express concern over the radioactivity and safety issues.
 
 
0 # KittatinyHawk 2011-03-18 17:31
No matter who designed these reactors they have not been anything near what they should be.

The ones like myself who marched against Nukes are not those today who have no clue, in most cases do not care to.

Americans are still buying that no one is out to get them or do them wrong, rest of the world is paying a price to learn Westernization may not be all they hoped for.

We must get those Americans to start reading good articles, researching facts.

I email these articles daily, hoping to get my friends to sign up and pass on.
 
 
+8 # angelfish 2011-03-18 11:29
Rush Limbaugh is a FAT A$$ED, LOUD MOUTH with a shriveled olive pit where his brain ought to be! WHY is he given air time? He is a hateful, vitriolic Cretin with NO sensitivity. Heaven forbid HE or HIS should EVER be confronted with a tragedy of the magnitude suffered by the Japanese people, but, if GOD is just, HE might send him a little food for thought!
 
 
-7 # pitairis@aol.com 2011-03-18 13:45
if any one wonders why progressives always seem to b running behind read this article. wow he really puts us ordinary common folks down.
 
 
+5 # giraffee2012 2011-03-18 14:38
Clearly (as my Math Prof used to say) - GOP defunding NPR is a BIG statement that the R' controlled House LOVES the idoitic rhetoric of FAUX, Beck, Rush, and the other pundits.

House worked 9 days in JAN & ABOUT 10 DAYS IN FEB and have now taken a 10 day spring break - when we have a HOUSING crisis, a nuclear crisis in Japan that has already infected California --- and after giving the TAX break complain about the deficiet by taking down pitifully small amounts of $$ from expenditures that don't help the rich and don't decrease the deficiet -- AND

When they go home on these long breaks -- collect monies from the rich to support campaigns in 2012 --- I don't see any town hall meetings scheduled ANYWHERE.

Dems PLEASE vote in 2012 and if ur a R and don't make big $$ -- you'll go down with the rest of us if we hand over our govt to the right
 
 
-5 # Jeff 2011-03-18 14:54
Phil Rockstroh makes many good points. Unfortunately this wordy convoluted piece lacks punch because it is just too long, meandering, imbued with too much linguistic art and too little clarity of purpose, point or real solutions. Too bad. Could have been a good piece at about one-third the length. Somebody get Mr. Rockstroh an editor.
 
 
+1 # Epiphanyswr 2011-03-18 16:15
Phil Rockstroh seems to have no understanding that his audience doesn't want to have to use a thesaurus and a dictionary to read his articles. Probably have the people who would have been interested in the headline would have been annoyed to see the endless five dollar words thrown around.

The subject of the article was so valuable for people to read, I just don't think the article that followed was written for the masses as it should have been.

I think when you are trying to explain an important point on an important topic, you should use simple language to make sure your message gets through. I am sure command of the English language was well earned, perhaps use a few of them that are not so obscure. Unless of course you prefer a smaller readship of your articles, then by all means use inflated words and inflated language to your hearts content.

An excellent article otherwise.
 
 
+2 # revtravel 2011-03-19 05:55
Masses don't read here. Correction: Masses don't read. This is all for the choir to commiserate, and I rather enjoyed knowing the bungled and the botched wouldn't have had any idea what he just said.
 
 
-2 # wfalco 2011-03-18 17:43
A wondeful article by Mr. Rockstroh...but ... I will always disagree with the philosophy of most radicals/progre ssives (of which I belong-with the exception of the concept of pragmatism)whic h always equates the Dems and Repugs as the same. Dems being Repugs light- if you will. My point always falls back to the election of 2000. Gore v. Bush and the radical vote for Nader. The two moronic wars in which the US has been involved may never have occurred without the votes for Mr. Nader. Al Gore would not have lied his way into Iraq-and perhaps would have heeded the warnings about Al Quada. At most he would have run a "special ops" type of scenario in Afghanistan. A big defference in my pragmatic way of thinking.
 
 
+3 # Dave McGill 2011-03-18 23:25
Michael Rivero, you say the nuclear industry is facing extinction but I believe you may be underestimating the ability of our politicians to support those who pay them off. Last year, the nuclear power industry lobbyists spent $1.7 million on our greedy, hands-out politicians who live like royalty. I believe greed will trump safety in the end, with respect to nuclear power, as it usually does.

I've also got to say that I truly appreciate every eloquent word written here by Phil Rockstroh. One can only hope that this article will get the mileage it deserves, but given the plunderers' control of the media, that is unfortunately not likely.

Too long? - No way, my attention was riveted on every word. Too many big words? (Oh, grow up and get a dictionary if you need one.)

It was an extreme pleasure for me to see a wordsmith such as Rockstroh shine a laser beam into the very heart of the problem that is driving this nation into its grave.

Unfortunately, such illumination is all too rare.

Thanks for the great read.
 
 
+2 # revtravel 2011-03-19 05:51
What we need to do is start attacking Rush's advertisers and demanding apologies for what he says. They're the ones who make it all available for public consumption. See this site for a list: http://www.topplebush.com/boycott_rush.shtml
 
 
0 # Cynthia B 2011-03-23 22:52
Great article.
Let's not just boycott Rush but flood his phone lines. Call and pretend to be a dittohead, then call him on his crap. It'll be fun.
 

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