5 days from the Church shooting, and, as predicted, I’m really only reading about it only lefty blogs. But not only has the mainstream media failed to talk about “who’s to blame,” but they haven’t even talked about it at all.
An idea that was bandied about quite often in 2004, especially during the Veepstakes, was the idea of a shadow cabinet. There are a bunch of reasons why not to do this. First of all, it puts more people out there as targets.
Second, it makes it look a little bit like politics at this point. Most of the lists I see on blogs are full of other presidential candidates. Does that make sense?
So, we don’t need to know who the next Secretary of Agriculture is going to be. But one or two names might not hurt. If the Kainementum is a mere headfake, all bets are off. But would it hurt for Obama to come out and say he would ask Chuck Hagel to be Secretary of Defense?
There are persuasive arguments against inviting the Republicans in. But—win first.
When two students shot up Columbine High School on Hitler’s birthday in 1999, a lot of fingers were pointed. It was movies, music, video games, the parents, the bullies—there had to be some rationale for kids murdering kids. Why there has to be much more of a rationale for that, than say, the senseless killing of thousands of Iraqis, I can’t say.
To be fair, even the NRA was blamed. But it was two individuals that pulled the trigger. And we hear a lot about the concept of “individual responsibility” from the Right. But they sure weren’t afraid to use the Columbine tragedy for full effect against people besides the shooters.
To be clear, I don’t believe in zero-sum morality. In other words, I think more than one person can be 100% to blame for something, or, certainly, more than one person can share blame for something.
In other words, I believe that I personally share some blame for the death of people in Iraq. I don’t think it’s necessarily criminal liability, but moral liability, to be sure.
So, when a guy walks into a Unitarian congregation and blasts innocent people because they are “liberal” and don’t hate “gays” we have to ask:
Will there be any discussion of the hate-mongers out there that create the conditions that shake these nuts loose enough to do things like this? The Rush Limbaughs, the Michael Savages, the Sean Hannitys, the George W. Bushes, and Dobsons, the Pat Robertsons, the Senator Coburns?
I’m pretty sure we won’t hear about that outside of the lefty blogs and Air America. What’s funny is, they talk about exactly this kind of thing and they won’t hear it. Video games and movies, clearly fantasy and fiction, that involve shooting aliens and vampires are more culpable for Columbine.
And the right thing to do, assuming this is more or less true, which could be a hazard given the source: http://www.nypost.com/seven/07272008/news/nationalnews/obamas_secret_rescue_mission_121815.htm?page=0
This is the funniest thing I’ve read all day. A couple of professors came up with a “weighted voting system” that would preserve small state influence while shifting towards popular votes counting. You can read a rundown here.
The inventors scoffed at the current proposal where some states choose to select all of their electoral votes based on the national popular vote, and the idea of a pure popular vote because it would “never happen.”
And their proposal, using some kind of formula? What do these guys think this is—Japan? It’s too complicated.
For better or worse, our system makes it nearly impossible to change the Constitution when the country is so electorally divided.
On the one hand, I’ve never thought that the integrity of our country required states to have anything to do with anything, especially nation-wide elections. On the other hand, since they do no change is likely.
It’s baked in the cake. It wasn’t–as alleged–to save “small” states. It was about slavery, and they didn’t walk it back when they had a chance in the 1860s.
Too bad. Until then, keep campaigning in Ohio and leave Alaska out of it.
From the man-banshees at Daily Kos to the egg-white eggheads at The American Prospect, Liberalworld is working itself into a little snit over Obama’s potential choice of Sam Nunn or Evan Bayh as a running mate.
This disease presents with two symptoms: (1) an amnesia about the free passes that were given to the candidate himself; and, (2) an afterthought-only concession that the key metric should be the effect on chances of victory.
First of all, the President is the President. If you want to be Vice President, you don’t get to negotiate on policy unless you’re Dick Cheney. If Obama chose Tom DeLay as his running mate, there would be almost no impact on the agenda of the country. So, I find almost no significance in the past positions of the running mate.
Second, Obama got away with bloody murder on a number of liberal issues in the primary. He tolerated homophobic Christians to win pivtoal South Carolina. He has never once voted against funding the Iraq war. His healthcare plan is not universal. Indeed, his path to stardom in the Democratic Party was launched on a vision of “purple” America.
The difference between me and many primary Obama voters is that I salute him for this. Excellent politics! The proof is in the pudding. He got enough people to believe he was really going to bring about a progressive resolution, destroyed Hillary on his phantom Iraq record and won the primary by further convincing everybody that he won after Super Tuesday.
Most of that was bullshit from the minute it came out the bull’s ass, but it was brilliant and it worked. Hillary’s crew was too disjointed and unprepared to do anything about it. And so far, so is McCains. (Ignore the media: he’s winning in both the national polls and the state-level EV polls).
Let’s also not forget his cult embarassing FISA vote. But, again, politically brilliant.
So, tell me. Why on earth would he not choose Sam Nunn or Evan Bayh if his brilliant operators determined that it would grease the skids into the White House?
All of the objectors come up with some slapped-together post hoc rationale why these guys won’t help, but its’ all obviously concocted after the litmus tests have failed.
I can’t say whether either of these two will work or not. That’s why I’m not running a presidential campaign that put a first term senator into a Democratic nomination and then has him 4-8% up in national polls.
Personally, I’d love to see him pick a Republican. Divide and conquer.
Stewart remarks on Obama’s “tasteless and offensive” response:
“Really? You know what your response should’ve been? It’s very easy here, let me put the statement out for you: Barack Obama is in no way upset about the cartoon that depicts him as a Muslim extremist. Because you know who gets upset about cartoons? Muslim extremists! Of which Barack Obama is not. It’s just a fucking cartoon!”
This Neo-Progressive outrage machine is becoming part of the problem. This is nothing worth talking about. Banks are failing. There is a story out in Vanity Fair that suggests that the collapse of Bear Sterns had nothing to do with the mortgage crisis, but was engineered by other traders.
I know it’s a bit of an overload, but things going on right now should be paid attention to.
An Australian blogger has an article entitled 20 Things That Windows 7 Must Include. He might have named it 20 Things That Windows 7 Will Not Include.
Microsoft utterly failed with Windows Vista because it did not deliver any of the features that interested people that they said would be included.
MS apologists decry that Windows has to work with so much hardware that it’s very hard to write bug free code for the infinite permutations of accessories out there. Linux seems to do just fine. But, even if that was not the case, Microsoft could easily require certain standards to be met for equipment to work with Vista. Just forget backward compatibility. Of course one of the main complaints with Vista is that it doesn’t support a lot of hardware. People should expect that. The problem is, you don’t get anything for the trade off.
When Mac OS X ultimately stops supporting PowerPC hardware, it will be because that hardware is getting old, and because the optimizations for the new hardware will be dazzling and have a real impact on workaday uses, just like the OS X transition did, just like the PowerPC transition did before that.
If Windows 7 doesn’t do something meaningful and large, Microsoft is in big trouble.
I think they might know that, because it seems awfully odd to me that they licensed their mail server technology to Apple for the iPhone and opened up their other standards recently. maybe they are looking for a future in office apps?
I dunno. I just know that I still use XP. On my Mac.
Apparently, a few thousand people at Daily Kos are launching a bomb on the New Yorker over this. Their rationale? To “low information” voters this will serve as a “recruiting poster.”
I’m not sure how many of those people were going to vote for Obama anyway.
Anyway, aside from it’s own life, I think this might be yet another exhibit in the case that 2008 is the year that the “netroots” is jumping the shark. This picture got “off message” according to the “netroots” and so they are going to “act” (read: send e-mails). Of course, it’s not off Obama’s message or the DNC’s message or anything else. (It’s certainly not off the First Amendment’s message.) It’s off the “netroots’” message (left-wingers are so excellent at predicting the appeal of mass voters, right?) so they freaked out.
When the “netroots” stopped being a source of instant information usually redacted by the corporate media, and a place for refreshing commentary and started becoming a pedestal from where they condescend upon you on the basis of their supposed–yet nonextistant–influence it lost it’s interest for me.
The “netroots” had its chance. It’s prophets laid out their prophecies and they have since proven to be false. (cf. Markos Moulitsas and Jerome Armstrong’s Crashing The Gate has now had a number of years to see if its realities worked. It has not.)
The Democratic victories in 2006 had nothing to do with bloggers and everything to do with the idiocy of Bush and voter regret over being sold a new term for that idiot on the basis of a fake war once it started to come home and roost on social security and Katrina. And the “gates” certainly were not “crashed” by Pelosi’s Congress.
The reinvigoration of the Democratic Party began with the Bush v. Gore decision in late 2000. Long before anyone was blogging, or MeetUping, or socially-networking online, a few important organizing events occurred. In the media, progressives decided it was time for a counterpunch on talk radio. That gave us Air America and its kin. Progressive lawyers were tired of the Federalist Society being the only political recruiting organization at law schools, so they founded the American Constitution Society for Law and Policy. These real, bricks and mortar institutions stand in the same relationship to the “netroots” that Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway did to the dot coms of the 90s. There were others, too. Michael Moore started making movies again.
The “netroots” largely emerged out of the Dean campaign in 2003-4. Again: Dean was a centrist who was labeled a “lefty” for his opposition to Iraq and for his partisanship–and was lampooned for his concept of appealing to people with “confederate flags on their trucks.” Those were all good ideas that were radical at the time. They were not good ideas simply because they were radical or strong. The emerging “netroots” decided that audacity alone—a sort of victim syndrome seeing the purportedly omnipotent Republicans get away with everything as a license to become nothing but loud with no real organizing principle, other than again, that audacity and the Internet.
For all of the “netroots” vitriol against the DLC, the “netroots” ended up supporting conservative Democrats like Jim Webb and Stephanie Herseth in major ways. They claim the distinction is that even though these guys are “moderate” (really conservative) they don’t attack their own party. Fair enough. But in the late 80s and the early 90s the DLC did that to win. It was attaching the “acid, amnesty, and abortion” Democrats who had produced a generation-long series of defeats.
The “netroots” monomanical focus on eliminating single issue groups has also utterly failed. This leads into the “netroots” failure to produce a progressive candidate for the Democratic party’s nominee for President in 2008.
And now we look at the shock and horror of these folks at Obama’s FISA vote. I thought we weren’t focusing on “single issues?” (Even though a single issue killed Hillary Clinton with the “netroots”.) Even Markos Moulitsas himself, the author of the theory, bragged on his blog about withholding a full donation to Obama over the FISA vote.
How is that different than scolding NARAL, the Sierra Club, or the ACLU or the AFL-CIO over their litmus tests? It’s not. It’s just someone else’s issue.
All of the legions of Obama voters who thought that he was really not a politician, and who was really a “progressive” are responsble for his decline in the polls as they realize the man is not a messiah. Whether he makes that up in the center remains to be seen.
But Obama is just a man. And even though I tried to say all of this in the primaries, and none of my Democratic friends or family members (except my mom) would really listen, I will not waiver in my full throated support of him.
We must elect this man, with all of his South-side political intrigue, with all of his sometimes Republican sounding rhetoric. It’s him or applications to the Canadian consulate.
UPDATE 2: OK, it’s now Day 3 of NewYorkerGate and I am still in shock from this.
First of all, this is just more of the same old politically correct, sense-of-humor killing Liberalism that reared its head the last time we thought we were runnin’ shit. Obama told Larry King that he thought the First Amendment made this ok, but his campaign is still screaming.
Why not just say, yeah, this is a good reflection of how stupid some people are.
Anyway, I’ve read more posts about this this week than anything else. Let’s review some of the other news:
* A major bombing in Iraq. American soldiers are dying.
* Escalation of the Taliban resurgence in Afghanistan. American soldiers are dying.
* Peace talks between Israel and Syria. Cooperative talks between Mediterranean nations.
* President of Sudan indicted for war crimes.
* IndyMac bank fails.
* Police called to control angry people at IndyMac banks.
* Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae on the verge of collapse; multi-pronged bailout planned
Even the iPhone launch for geeks (like me) and the Jaws shark hoax are more interesting and important than grousing and debating over this magazine cover.
Is this what the next 4-8 years are going to be like?
“[Bush Patsy McCain] said, ruefully, that he had not mastered how to use the Internet and relied on his wife and aides… and press secretary… to get him online to read newspapers and politcal websites and blogs.
“‘They go on for me,’ he said. ‘I am learning to get online myself, and I will have that down fairly soon, getting on myself. I don’t expect to be a great communicator. I don’t expect to set up my own blog, but I am becoming computer literate to the point where I can get the information that I need.’”
“I don’t e-mail, I’ve never felt the particular need to e-mail.”
It’s a goodness that Bush Patsy McCain will soon be adept at “getting on” himself, but his utter computer illiteracy is startling. It proves that Bush Patsy McCain sat out the great technological revolution of ~1984-Now. This technological revolution has not only altered the way people communicate and shop, but also how most every business operates. People like to grouse about e-mail overloads and multi-tasking, but the simple truth is that the Web and Internet allows for the facilitation of information gathering and distribution that is how most “office” work is done today.
Similar to his repeated terrible judgment (Keating Five, Lobbyist Iseman, Bush Patsydom etc.) this shows an astounding lack of curiosity on the part of Bush Patsy McCain, a deplorable trait that has left this doddering anachronism who would President fundamentally ignorant of the world we live in today.
Peace may mean simply a lack on conflict. Depending on how good your rulers are, that peace may be worth less. Let’s look at some history.
The ancient Judeans preferred the home-rule of a corrupt band of usurpers over that of the Seleucid emperor–which is celebrated to this day as Hanukkah.
The leaders of the American Revolution certainly valued liberty over death–except for a few pacifist Quakers. That holiday is July 4th.
Mexico celebrates May 5th, not as the day they became independent from Spain, but in remembrance of removing a foreign prince as their titular ruler.
And today, we hear that a peace deal may be close between the Palestinians and Israel.
The Zionist settlers did not value peace over the conditions imposed on them by the British Empire, and, similarly, the emerging Palestinian nation rejected peace as a priority over liberty after it became clear that the surrounding Arab countries were not going to conquer Israel.
Wars or struggles for independence reject peace and conquest. Wars of conquest generate these struggles. Put differently, this isn’t an argument in favor of war. It’s an argument that sometimes people cannot be expected to endure “peace.” But their strife mainly arises after wars of conquest, which are bad.
In our time, this calculation has become distorted because we do not weigh other virtues against peace; we prefer war. American war has become a video game, where every time we lose a man, a new one appears from the ether and we keep playing. Because there is no cost to this war felt by the average American (the price of gas was much lower even 4 years into this occupation), the pain and suffering involved in it is borne by the few, and we never decide whether we’ve restored the balance of a just peace; we just keep going on.
Which is why the US has had nothing but a poisonous influence on the Arab-Israeli conflict. We are simultaneously feeding each side. We make one side rich, and give arms to the other, all while having the chutzpah to try and broker peace deals.
Our politicians, mostly Christians, make Israel a third-rail political issue because they don’t see the place as one where people live, but instead they see it as a mythical, “holy land” where the actors are playing out an apocalyptic play foretold by some vague prophecies. The people there aren’t supposed to go shopping and do laundry; they’re supposed to cause angels to sound trumpets.
No coincidence then that what Olmert is calling the closest it’s ever been to a peace deal comes from the French.
A UFO splits the sky like a sheet. An immortal Texan passes the roach clip to Jimi Hendrix and hears his old prophecy about Jesse Helms echo through the fifth dimension as Jesse Helms is swallowed into the eternal abyss.
“You fucking tobacco pushing mother fucker, you are the worst fucking drug dealer in the fucking world. You scrawny right-wing fear mongering piece of… sucker of Satan’s cock! You suck Satan’s cock! You fucking chicken necked little fucking cracker!”
As he sees Jesse fulfill the vision in his afterlife hell hole the immortal Texan enjoys a hearty gut laugh. Oh, the irony of it all. Jesse was right! The Devil is a black man!
Bush Patsy McCain’s purple “Love” commercial (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bpyOSLZw8qo) corroborates my assertion that the larger diaphanous metaphysical choice before our polity is whether to remain in the mediocre trip of arguing over the histrionics of the Boomer Experience or whether to move on to something else. This mediocre trip has been a winner for the Conservatrons, so it’s not surprising that Bush Patsy McCain is falling back on it. The Swift Boat Veterans for “Truth” proved that too many of us were still under the sway of these ancient touchstones four years ago. Hopefully, the stark irrelevance of Bush Patsy McCain’s melodramatic teleplay will be self-evident in 2008.
So, wow. A Bi-Partisan® study group says that the 1973 war powers act should be redone.
This is another area where conservative principle and Republican politics clash. “Strict constructionists” of the Constitution would note that the power to declare war lies in the Congress. Unlike some of the murkier phrases in the Constitution, this one is well documented in the notes of the convention and the Federalist Papers. There really isn’t much controversy to it.
There isn’t an exception for “police actions” or whatever. The argument that this somehow infringes on the President’s power as commander-in-chief is ludicrous; he’s only commander of what the Congress hands him, i.e. the specific war declaration.
Of course, if the country is attacked I think the President has the right to direct the defense of the forces. But even after Pearl Harbor, there was still a proper declaration of war on Japan.
There were a few arguments about the War Powers Resolution. First, the Constitution contemplated wars as finite events–not like the Cold War. Second, what if you couldn’t assemble Congress in time?
At that time, war technology may have been ahead of communication technology. But now it’s not. It should be possible for the appropriate parties to be in the loop all the time, and it should be possible for Congress to vote remotely if necessary on war declarations.
Anyway, the argument over whether leaving the President fully in charge is good policy or not is separate from the Constitutional question. From a military point of view, it makes sense to have the President able to act on an emergency basis. From a lower-case-d democratic point of view, I think there was some wisdom for the assignment of the war power to congress.
I’m not sure the drafters of the Constitution realized how futile of a check this would really be. Wars are very popular most of the time and are also popular with Congress, and you pretty much have to be for every war at the beginning. So, that check may have failed in reality.
I dunno. All I can say is that there is no exception to the war power given to Congress in a “strict” (or really, even imaginative) reading of the Constitution. Whether we should put it there through an amendment is another question.
Thus far consists of not outright rejecting the Supremes’ second amendment decision, suggesting that child rapists should be executed, offering religious groups the ability to use government funding to carry out programs for the social good, and accepting the crumby FISA compromise served up by Team Pelosi rather than fighting it.
The first three on this list are actually not any sort of change. The FISA item is a sad compromise of the sort that legislators are forced to make absent the use of great quantities of political capital to filibuster it.
Obama has not altered his economic ideas, has not changed his position on pulling out from Iraq despite a silly attempt by McSame’s media patsys to morph the word “refine” into alter, and has not changed his health care plan.
The creation and dissmenation of the “move to the center” meme proves how superfluous the mainstream media is in what is, thus far, a general election that is so tepid that reporters need to make up something to write about.
Like being pussies and taxing, the stock purpose of the religious right has been to stop abortion and stop gays from doing anything, even existing, really.
Comments like Obama’s about being bitter, a sort of condensed What’s The Matter With Kansas more or less hit the nail on the head with some of this. Stuff sucks and I think I remember it didn’t use to suck so it must be whatever shocking change I see now. In the 60s it was uppity blacks.
And no matter what we say, no matter how smart we are about the “bitter” comments, the reality is, that’s not going to change any minds. Working on the root causes–i.e. the economy–takes time, but will help too. But for right now, to win an election, those things can’t be done.
So, outreach to “divide and conquer” or even repurpose religious folks is a great idea. The problem is, of course, many are driven there because they are “bitter” and they see in the right wing versions of some of their religious leaders an easy explanation for why they are bitter–and asking them WWJD isn’t going to really help.
But that isn’t all of them. Some of these folks really are interested in immitatio Dei and while they may want to vomit when gays marry and do consider abortion murder, they know well that there is more than one commandment in the Bible.
Condescending to these people hasn’t worked. Telling them they’re stupid for voting against their interest hasn’t worked. Give them a positive Christian message and at least some of them will cleave to it.
I know the left has a giant allergy to everything religious. I think that allergy is the result of being at cross-purposes with all kinds of religious folks. But it wasn’t that long ago–40 years really–that religion was leading the progressive charge. Maybe that can be reversed a little bit.
I know you think these people are scared little children who cannot accept the nihilistic amoral reality of the meaningless universe, or because they believe in ghosts, or a big bearded man in the sky that created just this planet a last Thursday, and that they deny evolution.
I know. All of that stuff is sad. But there is another aspect to today’s religion: a very leftist-like rejection of the materialist consumer driven amoral society that we live in. Much has been made in the last few years of liberals talking about “values” themselves. And well they should. Leftist values, like freedom of conscience and identity, fighting poverty, and promoting education, and limiting war, are all great values.
But there’s more. There’s more going on. Some people are just “bitter” about whatever. Some people need a reward and punishment framework to cope with evil in their lives. But even people who have mostly good lives may feel a bit empty. I’m just a bunch of atoms, I live, I earn money, I die–is that all?
Of course the answer is no. Part of the challenge is being a good person even if there is no reward. But how do you explain that? There’s no coherent leftist “atheology” that works like that.
Short story: coopt the potential progressive values inherent in major religions and try to at least neutralize the issue.
At the very moment when the Evangelical community in this country is fracturing over Dobson’s remarks on the Bible, the Obama campaign rolls out support for so-called “faith-based” initiatives.
Widening the fissure in the most important bloc of the Republican base could increase the potential for a landslide even further. Using disavowed surrogates to blast McCain on his alleged national security credentials, along with the disastrous economy may neutralize the only issue where McCain has a perceived advantage.
First Obama took his issues; now he’s taking his voters.
Just in case you haven’t seen my theory that I always think of everything second, check out this blog entry at TNR. The title is even the same.
My conclusion is different than the TNR author, who thinks this is bad policy. Personally, I think there is much more gray in the Constitutional limits separating “Church” and state than we experience in other important Constitutional rights, like privacy, search and seizure, habeas corpus and the like.
Put differently, giving money to programs administered by religious organizations to carry out missions that are authorized by (secular) public policy, as long as it is confessionally neutral, doesn’t really pose a problem for me.
The problem arises when the government becomes an agent of religious policy.
Finally, I would add as a non-Constitutional argument that there is no real connection between an established Church and freedom from religion in public. Very liberal countries like Finland, Sweden, and England have established churches and freedom of religion; yet all of those places are almost entirely devoid of a powerful religious lobby on issues affecting public policy.
Our country, however, is exactly the opposite. Instead of the historical established church suppressing the religion of others, we have a conglomerate of many churches, evangelicals, mormons, right-wing Jewish groups like Chabad, and Catholic groups seeking to break down this separation. Indeed, religious participation in this country is higher than in anywhere else in the developed world.
So, ask yourself: is the separation of church and state bad for state and good for church or vice versa? The evidence seems to bear out the opposite of the seemingly obvious conclusion.
Just so you know, there’s nothing really magic about Markos Moulitsas, Chris Bowers, etc. Some of the things they say and do are incredibly pissantish, naive, and puerile. Kos’s outburst at Obama today shows just what a toddler he really is. Two months ago, Obama could do no wrong.