politics

All I Have to Say

Vote Obama

I don't care what Ed says. A vote for Obama is a vote for all that's good and decent in this world.

Sometimes the decision is just that obvious.

Also

This is brilliant.

Pretty Much Sums It Up

This pretty much sums up everything I've been saying about the last eight years...

Via.

Why Libertarianism Has Failed

This one's for you, Tim, and all you other misguided Libertarians out there.

What has happened here?

I was thinking about this recently:

Let's say I got in a time machine and went back to 1999. The economy is booming, the government has a surplus, and people take for granted that things are rosy and getting rosier. 1999 me supports Ralph Nader for president and accepts his notion that Bush and Gore are essentially the same person. Who you vote for doesn't really matter.

Let's say 2008 me was going to tell 1999 me about the nine years that were to follow. For the first time in over a hundred years, the person who wins the popular vote does not win the electoral vote, an electoral vote that is further won amid widespread accusations of voter fraud, and a recount that was stopped prematurely by a politically biased supreme court.

Then in 2001, less than a year after Bush takes office, terrorists fly airplanes into both the World Trade Center towers and the Pentagon. Bush launches a "War on Terror," sending troops into Afghanistan, and then lies to the American public in order to invade Iraq, a country that has nothing to do with the attacks. We occupy Iraq and give rise to a morass of insurgency which we will still be neck deep in in 2008. The mastermind of the 2001 attack, a cartoonish Muslim fanatic, is still at large and releasing threatening videos, and his organization continues to commit terrorist acts all over the world, including bombings in London and Madrid.

Bush opens a detention center off Cuba where where prisoners can be held and tortured without due process or recourse to the tenants of the Bill of Rights, the Geneva Convention or habeas corpus. Prisoners are also held in secret prisons around the world that the government will not admit exists. A scandal emerges around torture and abuse of prisoners at a US-run prison in Iraq.

Meanwhile the deficit skyrockets to unheard of levels, and Bush implements disastrous policies in education and health care. Yet somehow, he wins again in 2004, banging the war-president drum, and again there are widespread accusations of voter fraud.

A hurricane hits New Orleans, and complete incompetence on the part of federal organizations, whose heads were appointed by Bush, leads to both the city flooding and to rescue efforts being catastrophic failures. The whole city is virtually wiped off the map.

Iraq wears on as Afghanistan starts falling apart. America loses all credibility on the world stage. Then, progressively greater economic deregulation and tax cuts pushed through by Bush and the Republican majority in Congress creates a housing bubble with extremely excessive speculation, which then leads to an unprecedented burst. The stock market plunges like never before, banks close left and right and even start being nationalized and suddenly people are talking about a second Great Depression.

Would 1999 me believe 2008 me? Would 1999 you have?

How did George W. Bush single-handedly turn the world into a bad science fiction novel?

Did I mention vote Obama?

What Needs to Be Said

From John Scalzi:

An author and former campaigner for John McCain says in the Baltimore Sun what actually does need to be said, out loud, in public:

John McCain: If your campaign does not stop equating Sen. Barack Obama with terrorism, questioning his patriotism and portraying Mr. Obama as “not one of us,” I accuse you of deliberately feeding the most unhinged elements of our society the red meat of hate, and therefore of potentially instigating violence… you are playing with fire, and you know it. You are unleashing the monster of American hatred and prejudice, to the peril of all of us. You are doing this in wartime. You are doing this as our economy collapses. You are doing this in a country with a history of assassinations.

I wonder if McCain is actually thinking about the consequences of what he’s doing at his campaign stops right now, and the unease it give the people who do think about consequences, both on the right and the left. I don’t want John McCain to win the election, but I also don’t want him to actually lose his soul, either.

When people start shouting "Kill Obama," as they have been at certain McCain/Palin rallies, you know something deeply troubling is going on, and McCain, a man whose integrity I once admired, doesn't seem willing to do anything about it.

Protesters in Moscow

In Kitai-Gorod in Moscow, we came across two sets of protesters, at either end of a long park. One set was made up almost entirely of middle-aged men from the Republic of Kalmykia, a subject of the Russian Federation on the Caspian Sea. They were only a small handful of people, handing out photocopied pamphlets and oppositionist newspapers, and generally protesting the Russian government, Putin's United Russia party, the invasion of Georgia and the general oppression of the people of Kalmykia.

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Kalmykian protesters. There is one lonely police officer in the back, watching them. I don't know who the person next to him is.

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The paper this man is holding up shows a picture of him being arrested for protesting.

One man in their group claimed to have been in Abkhazia during the invasion of Georgia, protesting the whole time. He said that Abkhasia is full of Russian tourists who go there and lie on the beach and completely ignore the protests that are going on and the politics all around them. He said you couldn't even buy a real newspaper in the area he was in, only tabloids, because that was all the Russian tourists wanted to buy.

Country First = Fascism?

The motto of the Republican National Convention was "Country First." Some people online are pointing out that this bears a resemblance to the name of the "America First" anti-war movement during World War Two, a movement that attracted Nazi and Fascist sympathizers. Indeed, America First's most prominent spokesman was known Hitler admirer Charles Lindburgh.

Moreover, the idea that a person's nation should come before everything else—that is, that the needs of the people should be essentially subordinate to the needs of the state—is a cornerstone of Fascist ideology. As Jim Henley points out, "There ought to be a fairly large number of people, things and groups that are more important to you than your 'country.'"

Not to mention that rows of pasty white men with crew cuts throwing their hands in the air and chanting the name of their country, as we saw at the RNC, has certain, shall we say, precedents.

Deconstructing Sarah

Last night in Minnesota, Republican Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin delivered possibly the most vile, hate filled, and repulsive political statement by a major American figure I have seen in my lifetime. Certainly there have been more vile speeches, but in all honestly I feel like I would need to reach for pro-slavery democrats, pro-segregation dixiecrats, or actual card carrying eugenics supporters in order to find something worse. And those special cases are too extreme and hyperbolic to carry the full weight of the comparison I would like to make. Perhaps the best comparison would be to the extremist views that Pat Buchanan regularly brought before the Republican party back when he was making his various unsuccessful runs at the Presidential nomination. Even in that case however, Buchanan was always recognized as a fringe player who represented the most extreme segment of his party. Sarah Palin, by securing the VP nomination, is apparently right where the Republican party thinks it should be. And that, dear readers, is fucking scary.