About Daily Kumquat
Statement of Purpose
The Daily Kumquat is a necessary response to the relentless right-wing propaganda disseminated by the Leesburg Daily Commercial. This Florida newspaper, serving Lake and Sumter Counties, is aimed ostensibly at a middle-class readership but effectively subjugates the interests of ordinary Americans to the lies and mythology of the corporate elite that is destroying the United States from within.
While the Daily Commercial may attempt to claim “plausible deniability” by including a few token columns from “liberal” commentators and allowing the expression of some dissent through reader letters, the overall rightward thrust of the newspaper is painfully obvious. Extreme right-wing commentators are given far more exposure (a regrettable tendency that became particularly pronounced around the time of the 2010 congressional midterm elections, when the fate of the disastrous Bush tax cuts was at stake). The paper’s in-house editorials, which the industrious editors only manage to produce a few days a week, are blatantly hostile to the welfare of the readers it purports to represent. And, of particular concern to this blog, the Daily Commercial‘s peculiar relationship with Russ Sloan, currently employed at Lake-Sumter Community College but with a background in the GOP’s very own alternate reality, the Chamber of Commerce, provides a weekly outlet for the promulgation of outrageously deceptive plutocratic propaganda.
As thinking Americans with formal training in the social sciences, we have expressed our opinions to the Daily Commercial through numerous letters to the editor. These missives accomplished very little, other than forging a few connections locally with like-minded individuals. Letters are a hopelessly inadequate response to the problem of media misinformation. For one thing, they are limited in length. For another, the editors can (and do) edit them for content, often excising the most potent sequences of words or fortuitously inserting grammatical or spelling mistakes which redound negatively to the credibility of the author. Letters are frequently held for such long periods that, by the time they are finally published, the readership has completely forgotten what the original issue was. The sheer volume of damaging distortions printed by the Daily Commercial requires a frequency of response that far exceeds the twice-monthly limit by which letter authors are supposedly constrained. And, most fundamentally, it is long past time for the tenor of political discourse in our area to be wrested away from the smug certitudes of the GOP. All of these considerations militate in favor of an online blog, though we cannot guarantee that it will be a true “daily.”
The battle for our future, which has recently started to warm up in unexpected ways on American soil (but which has been white hot in other parts of the globe for decades), is but one part of a larger war of ideas. The key concerns animating this website are listed below. Some of these concepts will be shocking to regular readers of the Daily Commercial.
- Reclamation of the meaning of American patriotism and citizenship from an arrogant right-wing that has been allowed by a passive citizenry and a corporate media to distort these terms beyond all recognition in order to advance its own selfish interests. In particular, the right’s nauseating hypocrisy in claiming the mantle of the framers while subverting their principles must be exposed and extirpated from our national dialog.
- Accurate identification of responsibility for the causes of our economic travails. The increasingly radical Republican Party likes to lecture the poor about taking responsibility for their own lives, yet turns a remarkably blind eye to the systemic fraud of the corporate elite, for whom accountability has become a distant memory.
- Communication to the electorate that both political parties are equally in thrall to the corporate oligarchy that is destroying America. The false choice with which we are presented is between one party which is overtly pro-corporate and one which is covertly pro-corporate, paying lip service to the interests of the people in public fora while undermining them behind closed doors. Many Democratic readers of the Daily Commercial fail to understand the extent to which their party has sold them out, particularly in regard to financial deregulation. Ironically, those readers of the Daily Commercial who rail against the Democratic Party are not entirely wrong; unfortunately, most of them do not understand why.
- Repeal of the U.S. Supreme Court’s worst decision of the modern era, Citizens United v. F.E.C. 558 U.S. 08-205 (2010), which granted wholly unwarranted and frighteningly dangerous new rights of political speech to corporations (and unions). Concurrently, we must also take note of the hypocrisy of the right, which raises no objections to judicial activism when the Court strikes down legislation or prior decisions that are incompatible with its agenda.
- Recognition of, and opposition to, American imperialism in foreign and defense policy. The United States has assumed the role of global policeman at immense expense to the national treasury and our long-term security. Dwight Eisenhower’s warnings against the military-industrial complex continue to be ignored even at a time of great fiscal strain. The nation as a whole seems utterly incapable of perceiving American actions from anything other than a simple-minded, jingoistic viewpoint, and therefore fails to acknowledge the legitimate grievances of other countries hurt by America.
- Respect for intellectual honesty and the scientific method. The right’s denial of global-warming science and its general attempt to replace scientific inquiry with religious superstitions and ignorance represent a horrifying enslavement of the human mind and a return to the Dark Ages.
- A firm commitment to secularism and the separation of church of state. The founders of this nation were not religious fundamentalists; they were deists and scholars of the enlightenment. Their wisdom must not be overturned by zealots of far inferior character and intellect.
- Advancement of the urgent need to elevate environmentalism to a central human concern. It is no coincidence that the right bends over backwards to characterize environmentalism as anti-capitalist and un-American. Our children and our planet deserve better.
Many of these issues are interrelated, and this site’s criticism of the commentators featured in the Daily Commercial will identify their hostility along several of these fronts concurrently. As a clearer picture of the corporate oligarchy’s agenda emerges – helped enormously by the astonishingly articulate young protesters of the Occupy Movement – more and more ordinary Americans will come to understand how their interests and their futures are being jeopardized by a narrow, selfish ideology that cares only about short-term profit maximization for an overweening elite. A day of reckoning is approaching, and an opportunity for a better future lies ahead – if we all come together and lift ourselves out of the ideological graves into which we have been consigned.
About our Varieties
Regular readers of the Daily Commercial should not have too much difficulty figuring out the cast of characters, but a few words of clarification remain in order.
- Citric Acid expresses this site’s own views on any topic the editor sees fit to address. We might even talk about something other than the Daily Commercial.
- Commercial Interests deals with the Daily Commercial‘s in-house editorials on the left-hand side of the Opinion page, when they can be bothered to produce them. It also looks at the overall thrust of the newspaper taken as a whole.
- Earth, Wind, and Ire attempts to provide a voice for the ultimate victim of the corporate state, the fragile planet that supports us and our fellow creatures. A cri de coeur that will probably accomplish little more than place this website on the right side of history and morality, these articles are not going to be cheerful.
- No Taxation Without Misrepresentation looks not just at tax policy itself, but the way in which taxes are discussed in America. In a society that values money above all else, tax policy in the United States expresses the realities of political power and influence better than any other area of public policy. With so much at stake, the truth is the first of many victims.
- The Four Horsemen takes on the obnoxious enemies of enlightened progress to whom we are all-too-frequently subjected: Cal Thomas (arguably the most dangerous and slippery right-wing toadie and a minion of the Murdoch media empire); Star Parker (who appears so intent on proving her “whiteness” to the oligarchy that she might actually join the Ku Klux Klan if she could); Deroy Murdock (another traitor to his ethnic heritage); and Jay Ambrose (an ardent devotee of Ayn Rand’s ludicrous materialistic objectivism). Scholars of U.S. constitutional law will appreciate the reference to the bloc of reactionary Supreme Court justices who ardently opposed FDR’s New Deal legislation until the “switch in time that saved nine.”
- War is Peace addresses America’s degeneration into a global military empire, with a particular focus on the arrogant war-mongering of Clifford May, an individual beset by striking cognitive dissonance that prevents him from seeing American action on the world stage through the eyes of anyone to the left of Dick Cheney.
- The Sloan Manifesto provides an essential response to the never-ending stream of lies and fallacies from Russ Sloan, whose ramblings on fiscal policy have absolutely no business appearing in print, let alone in the Money section of a newspaper.
- Republic of Jitters looks at the reader letters to take the pulse of the local community. Thankfully, most of them have Medicare….
Reader comments, as on most blogs, are allowed and encouraged. However, they are all subject to editorial moderation. While the site will strive to be broad-minded, it will not tolerate personally abusive language or imprecations.
In order to eliminate spam by automated software, the submission of comments requires the manual entry of a password. Simply copy and paste the password to prove that you are a human being. Additional security measures may be added later for Republicans. (Just kidding.)
If you wish to link to another website, be advised that external links are not likely to survive the moderation process. Only comments that truly add value to the discussion will be rewarded with a link.
Thank you for visiting.