Archive for the 'Left-ism' Category
All of a sudden, Mike Huckabee is a frontrunner in the Republican rat race. Is there anyone who truly believes that a Repub can win the White House after the ongoing catastrophe that is Bush/Cheney/Rice/Iraq/Iran??????
For those few people so seeped in denial, my condolences. No one can argue with a sick mind. However, no matter how idealistic, how inexperienced, how indoctrinate a Democratic candidate might be, there’s no chance a Republican has for the top seat. None.
So why bother to give Mike an inch of news coverage? Only to save face in the coming disaster of credibility when the house of cards perpetrated by the Bush administration, held up by the MSM, comes inevitably to fall. A weak overture, but the only available stance left to a failed and failing institution
The NEWS as we know it is dead. Government, as we know it, has failed. Grass roots, restructuring politics, along with our adrift national identity, will regain - with strength - a rule "by the people, for the people." Or our Great Experiment will crumble. It has come to the Point of No Return.
Ask yourself: Where will you stand. Will you stand beside the Predatory Lenders, that steal your dreams? Will you stand beside the hospitals, drug companies, and their legions of lobbyists, who hold profits before public health? Will you stand beside the Gun Lobby, as they set aside Human Life, Human Decency, to increase monetary gains? And will you stand beside a military machine that is bent upon destroying innocents for the tactical advantage of controlling oil manufacturing and distribution? Ask yourself: where does your interest lie? What path most benefits your children?
Ask yourself: What is the Lesser Evil - and, isn’t is still evil? Is it justified?
My hometown of Chicago has unveiled a planned upgrade to its already extensive surveillance system. No longer the “Hog Butcher* to the World”, the City of Broad Shoulders is morphing into the City of Big Brother.
If that’s what helps us clinch the 2016 Olympic bid, I’m all for it. I’ve seen some of the cameras hanging off lampposts about town. The neighborhoods so decorated could use a constant eye. There’s a fine line between oppressive oversight and community service. Even the most well-intentioned neighborhood watch program is vulnerable to misuse. Until that occurs, I say: bring on the bots!
My favorite righty blogger friend sites an article exposing a Y2K bug data glitch in US temperature data graphs used to project climate change as the Holy Grail of truth to prove her long-held hypothesis that global warming is a scam. I don’t blame her, though. She’s entitled. Most bloggers only rely on sources they are predisposed to agree with to parse their rhetoric. I do it all the time…
What alarms me is how she clearly ignores other signs of climate change. The recently exposed islands in Greenland that, so long covered in thick ice, had always been thought to be connected to the main land mass. The satellite photos of recent large-scale fractures in Antarctic Glaciers. The sinking of small island-states like Trinidad-Tobago. Even the changed migration of Canadian geese, much noted here in Illinois where we both live, is a fact ignored in favor of an irrational belief.
And what about the problem-that-shouldn’t-be-named? No one mentions pollution these days. That shopworn buzzword of the last century is taboo in the tabloids lately. My aforementioned friend lives in a semi-rural small town where, I surmise, she can forget the sight of sunrise over the Kennedy Expressway in all it’s brownish, hazy glory. Nor, I think, can she envision the silt of airliner fuel exhaust that coats my car every evening, as I leave the industrial park that nestles next to O’hare Field. While her neighbors dream of corn fields of ethanol-grade hybrid grain, I awake to the reality of human congestion flavored by addiction to fossil fuels.
Global Warming, as a catch-phrase, has unfortunate connotations. Replacing it with Climate Change is, while more accurate, less visceral, and less likely to get our fat arses out of the easy chair to take action. What needs doing is simply to open our eyes. When we can see for ourselves the thickening of our thin atmosphere from our own collective wastes, then perhaps we can make pollution the center point of a political movement to care for the fragile ecosphere we all rely upon. Only through politics will America take up the sword against our most insidious of enemies: ourselves.
The right may scoff. Let them. When we can gather enough steam to provide purchasable alternatives to old-school technologies, then the market to which Conservatives pray will put out of business whole industries that refuse to ride the forefront of ecological stewardship. When hit in the wallet, they will finally listen. As for the exurbian naysayers; the brown skies will find then soon enough.
On June 19, 1964, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was approved after surviving an 83-day filibuster in the United States Senate. A recreation of the NY Times front page article is available here.
Voting for the bill were 46 Democrats and 27 Republicans. Voting against it were 21 Democrats and six Republicans.
Except for Senator Robert C. Byrd of West Virginia, all the Democratic votes against the bill came from Southerners.
Senator Barry Goldwater of Arizona voted against the bill, as he said yesterday he would. The five other Republicans opposing it all support Mr. Goldwater’s candidacy for the Republican Presidential nomination.
The bill passed by the Senate outlaws discrimination in places of public accommodation, publicly owned facilities, employment and union membership and Federally aided programs. It gives the Attorney General new powers to speed school desegregation and enforce the Negro’s right to vote.
The Senate bill differs from the House measure chiefly in giving states and local communities more scope and time to deal with complaints of discrimination in hiring and public accommodations. It allows the Attorney General to initiate suits in these areas where he finds a "pattern of discrimination, but does not permit him, as did the House bill, to file suits on behalf of individuals.
As for the filibuster, it was the longest verbal blockade in congressional history. Those good-ol’-boys sure didn’t want blacks to vote. If I didn’t know better, I’d think they felt guilty about something and feared the possibility of political retribution caused by a black voting block.
Forty-three years ago, this was. Still we struggle with the same issue. TPM Muckraker notes today notes Hans von Spakovsky, a Republican nominee for commissioner at the Federal Election Commission, has testified before the Senate Rules Committee against allegations that he orchestrated the suppression of vote fraud cases against black voters in various states.
Von Spakovsky blocked a major suit against a St. Louis suburb and two other suits against rural governments in South Carolina and Georgia and halted at least two investigations of election laws that appeared to suppress minority voting, one of them in Wyoming, said Joseph Rich, the former voting rights section chief….
Monday’s letter included the first allegations that von Spakovsky torpedoed suits and investigations over alleged state, county or local laws that diminish the voting strength of African-Americans, Native Americans or other minorities or prevent them from voting altogether.
Von Spakovsky, the letter said, stripped the voting rights section chief of his authority to open investigations of discrimination without his superiors’ approval.
Some things don’t change, even when they should. All Americans deserve the right to vote. What I find notable of the extreme right activists that have our Great Experiment by the proverbial gonads, is their unuttered, unanimous definition of an American: White, wealthy and preferably Christian. Others need not apply.
This world view is as inaccurate as it is anachronistic. In the University of Chicago’s SSA magazine (of the School for Social Service Administration, Vol. 14 issue 1,) an article highlights recent research on multiracial identity and society. (Because I don’t condone the fallacy of "race," I’ll use the phrase "hyphenated Americans.") Such research avenues are new due to the changes made in the 2000 Census when respondents were able for the first time to list all ethnic groups with which they identify.
Some facts from the article:
- As much as 20% of Americans will consider themselves as hyphenated Americans by 2050.
- Nearly a quarter of the US population in 2002 was immigrants and their children
- In the 2000 census, 2.4% of the population identified with more than one ethnic group, equaling 6.8 million respondents, 2.8 million of whom were under 18.
In the nineteenth century labels such as "mullato" and "mixed-blood" were used not only in attempt to classify the population, but to reinforce class divisions and strata. Now, while we have widened choice and expanded our visions, we still have a long way to go.
"Our people has had a mixed race people for a long time," Ann Morning, an assistant professor in the department of sociology as New York University points out. "But now that the OMB lets poeple mix-and-match in a way they didn’t in the past, sociologists and demographers are picking up the baton and thinking about the context of mixed race. Part of the reason we are acknowledging it now is that in some ways racial classification doesn’t matter. Before, race dictated who you could marry, where you could live, and it was a way to enforce class."
Racial identity is fluid, researchers have discovered, dependant upon social groups and circumstances. Gina Samuels, whose research focuses in the white-black transracial experience, is quoted in the SSA article:
"The one-drop rule says if you have any black heritage you should be identified as black. But developing an identity is more complicated than that. The idea that one racial heritage always trumps another, or that identities are fixed and don’t change, does not reflect how many multiracials develop a racial-ethnic sense of self," says Samuels, who herself is multiracial and adopted. "It is much more complex than just identifying how society views and individual, or the individual simply choosing any identity he or she wishes. It’s the individual and society operating simultaneously, at different force, and one’s daily context that shapes identity across one’s lifetime."
Samuels also found that people don’t necessarily identify themselves the same way all the time. High school students among African-American friends or family call themselves black, while with their white friends or relatives, they may say they are mixed race. "And what someone calls themselves when they are 10 may be different then when they are 30 or change again at 40," she adds.
So what of the experiences of the millions of multicultural teenagers in America? Learning one’s identity is of paramount importance during the middle school years. This can be difficult for kids of only one ethnicity. Hyphenated Americans must deal with cultural discrimination from many directions every day.
As if to illustrate the problems of acceptance for multiracial children… hard right extremists used the results (of recent research) as ammunition for their arguments for limiting immigrations and interracial relationships. "I was surprised by that reaction. That is exactly what puts these kids in trouble," says researcher Yoonsun Choi, "If people hate me because of my article, that’s okay, I’m misunderstood. But if this is what these kids have to deal with every day, then we have to do better."
Being of one ethnicity or another is not problematic. The desire to promote dominance of one racial group over another, however, is a problem - as with the legendary filibuster in 1964 and the recent allegations of vote suppression and a lack of response by appointees in key government bureaus shows. American history is full of examples of race relations be used to promote the welfare of European descendents at the expense of others. This is a huge black mark in our nations history and in the history of civilization.
I maintain that racial divisions are fictitious. The concepts of race is a tool for suppression which has no basis fact. Recent work in the field of genetics and DNA sequencing support my theory that since we all can interbreed, be must therefore be only one breed of mammal. Mankind can only progress when it removes the chains of outdated societal modes and embrace our true unity. The world is getting smaller, cultures are intermingling in ways unprecedented, strengthening our genome and merging into one race. We’ve always been that. Soon (if we don’t kill ourselves in the process,) humanity will be so mixed as to negate the conceived racial divide for good.
I can’t wait.
The 2008 Presidential campaign is heating up. Newspapers, desperate for diversions from the horrors of reality, are queuing up the contenders for and early slaughter. The few contenders there are, that is. MSM is salivation with anticipation of the as-yet-realized pit fights and slander mongering that all good American elections cycles require.
There is one candidate that probably will get little air time, however. Entrenched good-old-boy, hand-in-pocket journalism will pass her by. You shouldn’t, though. Susie Flynn is running for president on a single-board platform. She wants to help the (over) nine million children in the US without health insurance. there is no party affiliation mentioned, but I would guess she’s a liberal. Please visit her site, maybe email her your encouragement, and sign her petition. Her goal is lofty: nine million signatures. She’s collected over 14,000 so far!
Another chance to show the scarecrows in congress how quickly the grass roots grow! Support Susie, send a message, let anyone who cares to look know what is REALLY on the minds of Americans. Our children are our future. The future is NOW!
It annoys me how Republican "pundits" are attacking every idea with which they disagree. Most especially the whole Stay The Course / Get them Out debate. Yes, its a tough decision.
What everyone seems to agree upon is that Iraq is a mess. In four years, the greatest military machine in the world cannot re-stabilize what it has destroyed - namely the sovereignty and economic stability of Iraq. We broke it. We should fix it. But how long do we continue to try?
The same opinions that rile me scoff at the Democratic congress’ recent attempts to pin down a plan from the president: timetables, measurable progress by the Iraqi government, and conditions met to bring our soldiers home. In order to show they’re serious, the tackle the issue when money is on the table. Money is what all Americans understand: when money is involved, people pay attention. Surely, congress did get the president’s attention - along with its attendant anger - and a threat to veto. The Righty opiners think this proves (yet again) how the left is unsupportive of our military. The Lefty pundits say that a veto of the appropriations bill without stipulations of progress would endanger the troops just as surely as the alternative.
This argument should have taken place two years ago, but a Republican majority refused to oversee expenditures. Since the start of Armageddon until today, the richest nation on Earth blindly wrote blank checks to fund a questionable military pursuit. Most of the money wasn’t real, but borrowed from future Gross National Product and from taxes our children have yet to pay. The Righties seem okay with that.
If our World’s Greatest Military(tm) cannot manage a regime change in more time that it took to end WWII, then it’s high time to rethink things. If a thirteen-digit expense account cannot fund this endeavor - or any, for that matter - how is the delaying tactic currently being played on the beltway going to change anything one way or the other? In a war of trillions of dollars, what’s a few billion between rivals?
Four years. Eight TRILLION dollars carte blanch. How much is too much? How long is too long? How many thousands more dead and injured? How many more survivors psychologically damaged?
We blew it in Iraq. We’ve broken something that we cannot fix. Conventional warfare does not account for amorphous combatants and suicide troops. We cannot win by doing "What we’ve always done." We’ve already spent too much money and time. Staying the course and expecting different results is a textbook definition of insanity. The whole Iraq situation is insane.
Let’s be sane, now. It just might help.
A friend and coworker once said to me, "I would like to see the government run like a business. That’s why I voted for Ross Perot both times." Well, I’m not sure that’s the answer to our problems, but the theory is interesting.
Then it hit me: That’s exactly what we’ve been experiencing these past few years. Remember the papers touting GWB as the "CEO president?" That claim remains in doubt, but we do have a CEO presidency. The questionable interpretations of Executive Power within this White House has precedence in the business world. Whether or not our Commander in Chief is a Chief Executive Officer notwithstanding, our VP is all business.
Unlike public servants, a corporate head can have closed meeting with influential players and make all decisions therein, fully expecting the workers to comply. Dick Cheney did that with his energy policy.
Unlike public servants, a CEO can act unilaterally provided he has the shareholders trust. The trust of employees is not considered. Acting as shareholders, the Republican majority in previous congresses did indeed trust the White House, rubber-stamping anything that came their way, even as the people’s trust diminished.
A CEO can fire people without much threat of retaliation. The test of whether an administration can act similarly is currently playing out in congressional hearings. Clearly, the administration believed it owned the right to do so.
A primary goal of any corporate leader is to ensure continued growth despite economic and market factors. The primary goal of this administration is to expand American influence globally.
A CEO must be aggressive in dealing with competition. Ruthlessness is rewarded.The degree of importance of this tenet is reflected in the language used to describe business tactics, such as "hostile takeover." Many phrases from corporate-speak are of militant origin.
In light of all this, it should be no surprise to find our corporate-styled administration embroiled in an endless struggle for dominance - not only on the global stage, but within its borders as well. It’s just business as usual.
Businesses, by necessity are pyramidal structures, managed top-down. In this aspect, they are not unlike Monarchies. In every company I’ve worked for (more than a few) There have been equivalencies to kings, princesses, counselors, chancellors, knights and knaves. Modernization has done little to change this basic organizational structure beyond giving the various players new titles. Businesses are, in fact, tiny kingdoms. Scott Adams illustrates this best.
Whereas businesses are monarchies, and our current presidency is being run like a business, there should be no surprise that detractors are increasingly replacing "CEO President" with "King George." It doesn’t help matters when the White House issues proclamations like this one. Yesterday, Tony Snow fielded questions about the US Attorney scandal and Bush’s subsequent reluctance to allows officials to testify under oath:
"There are — in this particular case, the Department of Justice — the Congress does have legitimate oversight responsibility for the Department of Justice. It created the Department of Justice. It does not have constitutional oversight responsibility over the White House, which is why by our reaching out, we’re doing something that we’re not compelled to do by the Constitution, but we think common sense suggests that we ought to get the whole story out, which is what we’re doing."
In a monarchy and in a business, that would be true. The US government, however, is neither. At least, at the time of writing this.
This from TPMmuckraker: A White House insider, speaking anonymously (and who wouldn’t these days?) said the following:
“I think (Karl) Rove and (Joshua B.) Bolten (Chief of Staff) believe there is the potential for erosion of the president’s credibility on this issue.”
The context is the wanton, blatant political firings of US prosecutors last year. This story is getting traction everywhere news might be hiding.
What’s the big deal? this is just the latest scandal of… How many? Has anyone kept score? Isn’t it amazing how much hubris is exhibited by the brigands ostensibly running this government? Running this nation into the ground, is what they’re doing.
But "erosion of the President’s credibility?" Doesn’t that imply he has some left? That can’t be right! This is the guy (with a little help from his friends) who will forever be known as "The Man Who Started Armageddon." I can’t begin to list all he has done to erode credibility - of the office of President, of the institution of Congress, of the United States of America - let alone list his numerous character flaws that chip away at the President’s credibility in a personal, human level. Strip away the titles and privileges; as a person this man is literally incredible!
The right is bad-mouthing special prosecutors in the wake of the Scooter Libby ruling. As example, they drag out the corpse of Bill Clinton’s saga to compare unfavorably against Scooter.
We obviously cannot know whether the feckless Clinton would have acted more vigorously abroad had he not gone to sleep every night that year thinking about how to escape from the legal consequences of his own tawdry conduct and lies, and been thinking instead about how to protect the country from its enemies.
The assumption is that outing a covert operator who went on record against administration policy is in protection of our fragile, beleaguered nation.
But that’s the warm-up. Then they invoke the fear response.
Now, unlike in the 1990’s, we are at war.
A war of our own making. Funny how that detail is overlooked. The meat of the article is how rogue prosecutors should be under the authority of the executive branch.
To begin with, both cases featured the familiar phenomenon of runaway special counsels. Although the independent-counsel statute under which Clinton was endlessly investigated and ended in his impeachment has expired, it was a recipe for mischief. By vesting executive authority in a prosecutor not subject to the control of the executive branch, Congress had created a constitutional anomaly, one with unintended and destructive effects that plagued Democratic and Republican administrations alike. True, Fitzgerald’s appointment was the result of Attorney General John Ashcroft’s self-recusal, and he was endowed with a different set of powers from those granted to Kenneth Starr, but he operated every bit like a one-case prosecutor, effectively unchecked by line-authority in the executive branch.
It amazes me how some Americans believe that Authoritarianism is an appropriate modality for a modern Democratic Republic. Give it another quarter-century and the children of these people would vote for totalitarianism. The irony is how that would be the last free choice they would ever make. Three words apply: Checks and Balances.
Here’s another slice of steak:
In retrospect, it is clear that the Clinton case, despite the President’s obviously perjured statements, should not have been permitted to move forward. Indeed, as Posner has also argued, the Supreme Court erred grievously when it ruled in 1997, unanimously, to allow a sitting President to be caught up in civil litigation involving sex.
20-20 hindsight. To say "We shouldn’t have" cannot excuse the fact that you did. Ask any parent of a hung-over teenager the morning after prom. The Clinton "scandal" was a political firing squad whose only purpose was to hijack the American government. It worked. But while the Republican congress feasted on the sanctity of presidential impeachment proceedings, devaluing the institution in the process, Americans like you and me were losing health care, education funding, social security benefits and jobs. But that wasn’t important at the time, nor has it been important since.
Back to Poor Scooter:
We do not yet know what the price tag will be for the Libby distraction, just as we do not know if his conviction will be tossed out on appeal or result in a presidential pardon.
So, one man’s justice is another man’s distraction - interesting. Bill Clinton’s sexual discretion was a crime of magnitude wherein he put the nation at greater risk of terrorists and killed thousands of soldiers and half a million foreign nationalists all the while bankrupting the nation through deceit, mismanagement, graft, and profiteering. Scooter Libby, by contrast, just lied to protect a vice president that had trouble keeping his Johnson zipped up.
Wait - did I get that backward?