Tags: news

Gigantea sisters

An observation, a simple observation.

Sarah Palin's Magical Mystery Tour is coming to my part of the country. I don't know who she thinks she's kidding but we're not some sort of 'frontier idiots' here. They're not even frontier idiots in the frontier, because people in all places are smarter than she and her cohort give them credit for--and considering how dumb people are this is saying something. So she can get on her high horse and ride the fuck out of Dodge.

Ahem. That is all.
Shimako is world peace.

Calling all Canadian flisters again!

So...tell me about the New Democratic Party.

Is this going to be like Cleggmania or is Jack Layton/are the NDP perceived as substantive and serious political alternatives? Why are the Liberals imploding so badly (apparently into third-party status if any of this polling is to be believed)? Will this split the left or does it reach the sort of critical mass where the NDP actually start picking up marginal Tory seats as well as previously Liberal ones?

Sorry, but I live relatively close to your country, so this stuff could potentially affect me here in the extreme north-east of the United States.
At what speed must we live

Calling all Canadians!

Can any of the Canadians on my friends list explain to me why your Prime Minister and his Cabinet have been held in contempt of Parliament? I don't question that it's reasonable for him to have so been found--I know of Stephen Harper by reputation, and it is not a good one in my circles--but I would like to be informed about this. This is after all a country that I live only about two hundred miles from!
Doctor/Romana summer

Something really great.

So, I got this email to-day from the International Socialist Organisation chapter at my college (they're officially Marxist, but they accept social democrats or liberation theology people like me as well).

The release of classified documents by the transparency organization Wikileaks is the biggest news in the U.S. right now. For many people around the world, the exposed documents confirm suspicions that U.S. foreign policy primarily acts in the interests of financial gain and political and military power. The U.S. government and political pundits have taken every opportunity to wage a smear campaign against Wikileaks and Julian Assange (Wikileaks founder and spokesperson) in order to undermine the project (more, and more incriminating, documents are set to release this year). Amidst this attack on transparency and investigative journalism is another discussion regarding rape allegations made against Assange. Much of the left (and right) has been utterly terrible on this question, and has openly scapegoated Assange's accusers in the name of defending Wikileaks.

We need to both question the sincerity and real motives of international governments that have jumped at the chance to prosecute Assange, while also standing unapologetically against any sexist victim-blaming against Assange's accusers. We want to weigh in on the key topic that our periphery (not to mention the whole world) is grappling with right now.

(emphasis mine)

I...cannot describe how happy this makes me and how awesome it is to read this from a leftist group right now.
Harriet of Somerville College

(no subject)

If Julian Assange committed rape, then he should go to prison. For rape. Not for 'compromising national security'. For rape, if he committed rape.

Other than the question of the facts, how is this, legally, different to the Polanski thing?
Tea is good.

This is from yesterday's Congressional Record.

Mr. WILSON of South Carolina. Mr. Speaker, after a year of having
their requests for job creation policies fall on deaf ears, the
American people have not only spoken; they've been finally heard.
When it came to job creation, the American people made it perfectly
clear they are no longer willing to play the waiting game. For 15
straight months over 14 million citizens have been without jobs.
Despite these dismal numbers, liberal leaders in Congress continue to
push for more strangling regulations and more government spending.
I believe this is a new day, with a new way forward, including
extending tax cuts and passing tax relief for all Americans, while
providing the incentives to business to create jobs.
It is now time to get the economy rolling, get people back to work,
and get rid of Washington's runaway spending.

In conclusion, God bless our troops, and we will never forget
September 11th in the global war on terrorism.

...The Republican Party, everyone.
You really can't make this stuff up..

(emphasis mine)
Shimako is world peace.

Where we go from here.

Thoughts on the current state of the Congressional and state-level Democratic Party.
  • Nancy Pelosi (CA) was an effective Speaker and will make a far better Minority Leader than somebody like Steny Hoyer (MD) would. Since we probably won't get a Minority Leader Weiner (NY) or Minority Leader Blumenauer (OR), I say keep her.
  • Keep Clyburn (SC) as Whip.
  • Chris Van Hollen (MD), though, needs to get the axe. When the person in charge of a party's campaigning loses that party sixty seats, he needs to be eliminated. Replace him with somebody not from one of the coasts but also not a Blue Dog asshole. Raul Grijalva (AZ) or Ruben Hinojosa (TX), maybe? They're both Hispanic Congressmen from red states who are nevertheless able to win as full-throated progressives even in a year like this one.
  • Keep John Larson (CT) as Caucus Chairman.
  • Keep Rosa DeLauro (CT) on the Steering and Policy Committee but replace George Miller (CA) with somebody not from the San Francisco Bay Area. I recommend Ed Markey (MA) for this job, or Sander Levin (MI) or Dave Loebsack (IA) if it's considered wiser to pick somebody from so-called 'Middle America'.
  • Byron Dorgan (ND) is retiring and will thus need to be replaced as the director of Senate Democratic policy. We need somebody who can work with the shit that a conservative House will spew out. Ordinarily I would say that Bob Menendez (NJ) should be rewarded with this job for his really remarkable triage and salvage efforts, but he might not fit that requirement as well as someone more like Jeff Bingaman (NM) or Debbie Stabenow (MI).
  • Bingaman and Stabenow are both in other leadership positions and would themselves need to be replaced. I'd recommend Amy Klobuchar (MN) for Bingaman's position or Kirsten Gillibrand (NY) for Stabenow's.
  • Blanche Lincoln (AR) was defeated for reelection. Put either Udall (Mark of CO or Tom of NM) in charge of Rural Outreach; the South has pretty much run its course as far as decent Democratic Senators who aren't named Warner or Hagan go, and Tom Harkin (IA) is getting very old. The other alternative is Patrick Leahy (VT), but he's already Judiciary Chairman.
  • FIGHT TOOTH AND NAIL AGAINST REPUBLICAN REDISTRICTING. Seriously. Seriously. ESPECIALLY in states like Pennsylvania and Ohio which are unfairly right-leaning because of the last round already. This is really important in the long term. Use the courts if necessary.
  • Shimako Toudou (JP) for Party Boss.
Not a mistake

Yes, this is blatantly political. So sue me.

Harry Reid, the Senate Majority Leader, is, while not the best, almost certainly the most impressive and unexpected survivor of Tuesday night, and a political Time Lord.

It really is remarkable.

I should point out that, while I know he's fairly unpopular, I have a personal connexion to the man. My grandfather was involved with him when he was a Gaming Commissioner (at the time grandfather had a stake in keeping Nevada gambling aboveboard because of some investments that I don't really understand).

Also remarkable are the victories of Lincoln Chafee and Peter Shumlin for Governors of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations and Vermont, respectively. Both are personal friends of my mother and aunt (not my grandfather in this case!) and both faced steep odds.

We lost a lot on Tuesday. But we didn't lose everything. For as bad as parts of the last two years were...for as bad as much of the next two years will be...there's still a lot to be done. Nobody on the Left in this country--or the non-corporate, non-batshit-insane Right, for that matter--can afford to give up now, of all times.

And even Speaker Boehner isn't as bad as the indescribable toxic cloud of Smug that follows Eric Cantor around.

Keep the faith.
The name of an ancient fate

I have a very novel solution for this whole Don't-Ask-Don't-Tell issue.

If the military isn't willing to not be discriminatory, then I'm not willing to support the military.

Yes, abolish the military.

Yes, all of it.

After all, countries without military forces usually don't get attacked because they don't antagonise anybody else. And if we were attacked would could raise an army to deal with that particular situation and then abolish it again once it was over, like they did in the very, very early stages of Roman civilisation, or sometimes in Anglo-Saxon England and the Persian Empire.

I don't oppose a National Guard and Coast Guard. Those things actually provide useful services in peacetime. It's a standing army that frightens me and bothers me and offends my sensibilities as a pacifist and as somebody who wants a better America.

Much has been written about the founding fathers' fears of the concept of an entrenched peacetime standing army, and those fears have, I feel, become entirely justified in the fullness of time.