Tag Archives: Politics

Stewart Takes On EVERYTHING: Mocks Rekers’s Rentboy Romp, BP, Greece, and More…

TPM~Jon Stewart tackled all the big news last night: riots in Greece, oil spill in the Gulf, the failed Times Square bomber who left his keys in the car, and of course, the anti-gay leader who was caught with a gay escort.

“The world is exploding!” he said.

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It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane, It’s Obama! by Frank Rich

Posted by: TheLCster

Op-ed by Frank Rich

Columnist Frank Rich

NOT since Clark Kent changed in a phone booth has there been an instant image makeover to match Barack Obama’s in the aftermath of his health care victory. “He went from Jimmy Carter to F.D.R. in just a fortnight,” said one of the “Game Change” authors, Mark Halperin, on MSNBC. “Look at the steam in the man’s stride!” exclaimed Chris Matthews. “Is it just me, or does Barack Obama seem different since health care passed?” wrote Peter Beinart in The Daily Beast, which, like The Financial Times, ran an illustration portraying the gangly president as a newly bulked-up Superman.

What a difference winning makes — especially in America. Whatever did (or didn’t) get into Obama’s Wheaties, this much is certain: No one is talking about the clout of Scott Brown or Rahm Emanuel any more.

But has the man really changed — or is it just us? Fifteen months after arriving at the White House, Obama remains by far the most popular national politician in the country, even with a sub-50 percent approval rating. And yet he’s also the most enigmatic. While he is in our face more than any other figure in the world, we still aren’t entirely sure what to make of him.

Artwork by Barry Blitt

Depending on where you stand — or the given day — he is either an overintellectual, professorial wuss or a ruthless Chicago machine pol rivaling the original Boss Daley. He is either a socialist redistributing wealth to the undeserving poor or a tool of Wall Street’s Goldman Sachs elite. He is a terrorist-coddling, A.C.L.U.-tilting lawyer or a closet Cheneyite upholding the worst excesses of the Bush administration’s end run on the Constitution. He is a lightweight celebrity who’s clueless without a teleprompter or a Machiavellian mastermind who has ingeniously forged his Hawaiian birth certificate, covered up his ties to Islamic radicals and bamboozled the entire mainstream press. He is the reincarnation of J.F.K., L.B.J., F.D.R., Reagan, Hitler, Stalin, Adlai Stevenson or Nelson Mandela. (Funny how few people compared George W. Bush to anyone but Hitler and his parents.)

No wonder that eight major new Obama books are arriving in the coming months, as Howard Kurtz reported in The Washington Post last week. And that’s just counting those by real authors, like Bob Woodward and Jonathan Alter, not the countless anti-Obama diatribes. There’s a bottomless market for these volumes not just because their protagonist remains popular but also because we keep hoping that the Obama puzzle might be cracked once and for all, like the Da Vinci Code.

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Flip Flopping on Obama: Democrats are Wimps

Posted by: BuellBoy

Written by Dr. Jeff Schweitzer


We fully expect rats to abandon a sinking ship, but even those readily disloyal rodents wait for a leak to spring before contemplating a swim. In contrast, Democrats scramble frantically to jump overboard at the first whiff of a moist towel.

Nowhere was this unpleasant characteristic more glaringly evident than during the health care debate. Because Obama did not deliver the perfect bill instantly, the punditry immediately labeled the president “ineffective” and “passive” and “drifting” and “lost” and horror-of-horrors, “another Jimmy Carter.” Obama was criticized repeatedly because he “leads more from the head than the heart” and “relies more on listening than preaching,” as if those qualities were actually somehow negative. And those were the liberal talking heads. Obama was written off as a loser by his own team simply because he could not change 50 years of social inertia in his first year in office.

George Packer of The New Yorker loudly proclaimed “Obama’s Lost Year.” Robert Parry of The Baltimore Chronicle & Sentinel lamented “How Obama Lost His Way.” Piling on were House Democrats who snidely disparaged the health care bill in February, but who now bask in the glory of its passage. These House members quickly toweled off after a premature dunk then tried to pretend they never panicked.

To place this cowardly behavior in context, remember that Republicans stuck stubbornly and loyally to George Bush for eight years in the face of illegal wire taps, disastrous wars, huge deficits, torture, economic collapse, environmental calamity and a terrible butchering of the English language. Democrats did not last eight months before whipping out the chains of self-flagellation because the president did not perform miracles or give us the public option (yet). That easy disloyalty is even more discouraging given that Democrats held the largest majority that either party has held in the Senate since Watergate and a 40-seat majority in the House.

Tackling legislation that has eluded every president for the last five decades is a delicate, tricky, complicated dance of nuance, strategy and hard-ball politics. The best analogy for what Obama has done, and how he achieved victory, is Dwight Eisenhower’s civil rights battle. In fact the recently-passed health care reform bill will likely prove to be similar to early civil rights legislation in many ways — breaking old barriers, creating significant social change, remapping political alliances and creating a better world with legislation that was initially deeply flawed or ineffective. Old Ike fired the first shot of civil rights legislation across the bow of a nation largely hostile to the idea. He faced fierce, nasty and sometimes violent opposition from southern Senators who wielded power far greater than anything we see today.

Consequently the resulting Civil Rights Act of 1957 was weak, flawed and largely impotent but miraculous in its passage nevertheless. The bill became law only after enduring the longest single-senator filibuster in our history. That paragon of racial intolerance, Strom Thurmond, read non-stop for more than 24 hours in a final but ultimately futile attempt to thwart passage. Ironically he read from the Declaration of Independence and Bill of Rights, desecrating both in doing so. As with Obama and health care, what Ike did was important beyond the specific bill that passed; he breached a barrier that seemed impenetrable; he set the stage for progress.

He laid the foundation on which Lyndon Johnson built the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Without Eisenhower’s pioneering legislation, no matter how weak, Johnson would have never passed his landmark bill. Likewise, the public option, which is the end-game of true reform, will eventually become law because of the foundation created with this first attempt at health care reform.

In this light, and with this history, we should be embarrassed by our impatience with Obama as he marshaled health care legislation through a reluctant legislature and a populace confused by a vitriolic misinformation campaign. We lost temporal perspective, focusing on the moment to the exclusion of the future. Obama deserved our support and instead we bickered and told tales of woe because the bill was imperfect and not implemented quickly enough for our taste for the immediate. And the opposition nearly slaughtered us because we were unable to unite.

We argued passionately about the minutiae of specific language while the GOP was plotting a grand strategy of our destruction. Our impatience and immaturity aided and abetted that effort. Many Democrats I know and respect simply gave up on the president because he did not produce fast enough or give them everything they wanted. In the euphoria of electing one of our own, we forgot that ideological purity is not a recipe for pragmatic governance. We once again almost let the perfect become the enemy of the good, and were only saved from ourselves by strong leadership which ignored our plaintive and pathetic cries. Thankfully Obama was playing chess while we were trying to figuring out how to go from one to square to another in checkers.

Well, now that the first health care bill has passed we at least learned our lesson, right? One would think, but one would be wrong. The cycle begins anew with Obama’s announcement that he will allow off-shore oil drilling. Oh the humanity!

As Ronald Reagan once famously said, “There you go again.” And we’re off and running, so predictably. Here is a typical response to Obama’s announcement, this from Frank Tursi from the North Carolina Coastal Federation: “To garner support for a bill that is intended to cut greenhouse gas emissions, the administration is willing to expand the very substance that causes those emissions in the first place. Pandering for votes that rely on a polluting fuel of the past is not the kind of change many of us expected.”

Sound eerily familiar to the dialogue on health care before the bill passed? Once again we fail to see the big picture and instead focus narrowly on our immediate interests and concerns. Passing meaningful climate change legislation will be every bit as difficult as health care reform, and will require the same type of unpleasant and disconcerting compromise. We must again choose between the easy comfort of ideological purity and the pragmatic necessity of governing if we actually want to do something about global warming. Saving the planet is probably the better option, even if less satisfying emotionally.

Obama did not choose drilling in a vacuum; the decision is part of his broader energy strategy. Yes, we must emphasize conservation and efficiency, and we must do everything possible to promote renewable and clean energy sources like solar, wind and geothermal. We must cut greenhouse gas emissions. But as we transition to a green economy, we have to keep the lights on and refrigerator running. That is the reality. The energy must come from somewhere, and even as we promote renewables many conservation groups are opposing wind energy, one of the most viable alternatives. Wind turbines disrupt migratory patterns, kill birds and bats and threaten certain species like the sage grouse. So should we support or oppose wind energy?

Something has to give, some compromise must be reached; we live in an imperfect world. Demanding perfection leads to paralysis — and victory for the opposition. Withdrawing support from Obama because he proposes a solution that does not meet our every wish makes little sense, particularly in light of what the other Party has to offer.

By no means do I propose that we blindly accept Obama’s proposed solutions or draft legislation. Debate, modify, argue, disagree: all of that is healthy. But do so knowing that ugly compromise is necessary, and that in a messy democracy no result will be perfectly satisfactory. Democrats need to learn from their Republican colleagues, who seem to know when to argue among themselves and when to coalesce into a unified bloc.

Whenever you feel disappointed or angry at Obama, just close your eyes and think of George W. Bush. Then, rally around, because no matter how imperfect Obama is, he’s better than the alternative.

Dr. Jeff Schweitzer served at the White House during the Clinton Administration as Assistant Director for International Affairs in the Office of Science and Technology Policy. Dr. Schweitzer was responsible for providing scientific and technological policy advice and analysis for Al Gore, President Clinton and President Clinton’s Science Advisor, and to coordinate the U.S. government’s international science and technology cooperation. He worked with the president’s cabinet and 22 U.S. Government technical agencies, and with countries throughout the world, in a broad range of fields including biology, physics, chemistry, geophysics, agriculture, oceanography and marine sciences. He was instrumental in establishing the permanent Global Forum on Science and Technology at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development to promote greater international scientific collaboration.

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Why are Republicans Mad Now?

Viral email posted by: Betsm

This says it all about our party, my fellow Republicans:

We had eight years of Bush and Cheney, but why only now is it that you get mad!?

You didn’t get mad when the Supreme Court stopped a legal recount and appointed a President.

You didn’t get mad when Cheney allowed Energy company officials to dictate energy policy.

You didn’t get mad when a covert CIA operative got ousted.

You didn’t get mad when the Patriot Act got passed.

You didn’t get mad when we illegally invaded a country that posed no threat to us.

You didn’t get mad when we spent over 600 billion(and counting) on said illegal war.

You didn’t get mad when over 10 billion dollars just disappeared in Iraq.

You didn’t get mad when you found out we were torturing people.

You didn’t get mad when the government was illegally wiretapping Americans.

You didn’t get mad when we let Bin Laden escape.

You didn’t get mad when you saw the horrible conditions at Walter Reed.

You didn’t get mad when we let a major US city, New Orleans, drown.

You didn’t get mad when we gave a 900 billion tax break to the rich.

You didn’t get mad when TARP was first enacted.

You didn’t get mad when the deficit hit the trillion dollar mark.

You only got mad when our government decided that people in America deserved the right
to see a doctor if they are sick.

Yes, illegal wars, lies, corruption, torture, stealing our tax dollars to make the rich richer, are all okay with the Grand Old Party, but helping other lower or middle class Americans…oh HELL NO!

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The Axis of the Obsessed and Deranged by Frank Rich

Op-ed by Frank Rich

Frank Rich

Frank Rich/The New York Times

New York Times/Frank Rich~~No one knows what history will make of the present — least of all journalists, who can at best write history’s sloppy first draft. But if I were to place an incautious bet on which political event will prove the most significant of February 2010, I wouldn’t choose the kabuki health care summit that generated all the ink and 24/7 cable chatter in Washington. I’d put my money instead on the murder-suicide of Andrew Joseph Stack III, the tax protester who flew a plane into an office building housing Internal Revenue Service employees in Austin, Tex., on Feb. 18. It was a flare with the dark afterlife of an omen.

What made that kamikaze mission eventful was less the deranged act itself than the curious reaction of politicians on the right who gave it a pass — or, worse, flirted with condoning it. Stack was a lone madman, and it would be both glib and inaccurate to call him a card-carrying Tea Partier or a “Tea Party terrorist.” But he did leave behind a manifesto whose frothing anti-government, anti-tax rage overlaps with some of those marching under the Tea Party banner. That rant inspired like-minded Americans to create instant Facebook shrines to his martyrdom. Soon enough, some cowed politicians, including the newly minted Tea Party hero Scott Brown, were publicly empathizing with Stack’s credo — rather than risk crossing the most unforgiving brigade in their base.

Representative Steve King, Republican of Iowa, even rationalized Stack’s crime. “It’s sad the incident in Texas happened,” he said, “but by the same token, it’s an agency that is unnecessary. And when the day comes when that is over and we abolish the I.R.S., it’s going to be a happy day for America.” No one in King’s caucus condemned these remarks. Then again, what King euphemized as “the incident” took out just 1 of the 200 workers in the Austin building: Vernon Hunter, a 68-year-old Vietnam veteran nearing his I.R.S. retirement. Had Stack the devastating weaponry and timing to match the death toll of 168 inflicted by Timothy McVeigh on a federal building in Oklahoma in 1995, maybe a few of the congressman’s peers would have cried foul.

It is not glib or inaccurate to invoke Oklahoma City in this context, because the acrid stench of 1995 is back in the air. Two days before Stack’s suicide mission, The Times published David Barstow’s chilling, months-long investigation of the Tea Party movement. Anyone who was cognizant during the McVeigh firestorm would recognize the old warning signs re-emerging from the mists of history. The Patriot movement. “The New World Order,” with its shadowy conspiracies hatched by the Council on Foreign Relations and the Trilateral Commission. Sandpoint, Idaho. White supremacists. Militias.

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The Political Dictionary

Posted by: TheLCster

Alright, let’s start at the beginning. As many of us know we have a two party system in the U.S. This implies that while an individual may hold any personal political leaning he or she, when voting, tend to belong to one of two sides. This differs from other countries that hold a multi-party system such as India, Norway, and the U.K. Most people have this part down. I begin to laugh, however when it comes to the personal political leanings of individuals.

If you possess the intellectual fortitude to earn a driver’s license, then you should be more than capable of choosing your words more wisely when discussing politics. In short, watching some political demonstrations has become like watching Cops: I just grab the popcorn, put my feet up, and watch people make fools of themselves.


Liberal

“Liberalism is the belief in the importance of equality and individual liberty. Liberals espouse a wide array of views depending on their understanding of these principles, although most liberals support fundamental ideas such as liberal democracy, written constitutions, free and fair elections, human rights, free markets, free trade, and secular society. These ideas and policies are often accepted even among political groups that do not openly profess a liberal ideological orientation. Liberalism encompasses several intellectual trends and traditions, but the dominant variants are social liberalism, which became popular in the 20th century, and classical liberalism, the original incarnation of liberal philosophy.”

Conservative
“Conservatism is a political attitude that advocates institutions and traditional practices that have developed organically, thus emphasizing stability and continuity.”

Libertarian
(no this is not someone who enjoys the deuy decimal system…) “Libertarianism is a term for political theories that advocate the maximization of individual liberty in thought and action and the minimization or abolition of the state. People referring to themselves as libertarians hold viewpoints across the political spectrum, ranging from pro-property to anti-property (also known as “right” and “left”, respectively) and from minimal state (or minarchist) to anarchist. These views can be incompatible with each other, resulting in disagreement over who is a libertarian. All schools of libertarianism declare a strong advocacy for the rights to life and liberty, but they have divergent definitions of liberty.”

Socialist
“Socialism refers to the various theories of economic organization advocating either public or direct worker ownership and administration of the means of production and allocation of resources.[1][2][3] A more comprehensive definition of socialism is an economic system that has transcended commodity production and wage labor, where economic activity is carried out to maximize use-value as opposed to exchange-value and thus a corresponding change in social and economic relations, including the organization of economic institutions and resource allocation; often implying advocacy for a method of compensation based on the amount of labor expended. Most socialists share the view that capitalism unfairly concentrates power and wealth among a small segment of society that controls capital and derives its wealth through exploitation, creates an unequal society, does not provide equal opportunities for everyone to maximize their potential, and does not utilize technology and resources to their maximum potential nor in the interests of the public.”

Fascist
“Fascism is a radical and authoritarian nationalist political ideology. Fascists seek to organize a nation on corporatist perspectives; values; and systems such as the political system and the economy. Scholars generally consider it to be on the far right of the conventional left-right political spectrum, although some scholars claim that fascism has been influenced by both the left and the right. Fascists believe that a nation is an organic community that requires strong leadership, collective identity, and the will and ability to commit violence and wage war in order to keep the nation strong. Fascists identify violence and war as actions that create national regeneration, spirit and vitality. Fascists claim that culture is created by collective national society and its state, that cultural ideas are what give individuals identity, and thus rejects individualism. In viewing the nation as an integrated collective community, fascists claim that pluralism is a dysfunctional aspect of society, and justify a totalitarian state as a means to represent the nation in its entirety.”

Nationalist
“Nationalism generally involves the identification of an ethnic identity with a state.[1] The subject can include the belief that one’s nation is of primary importance.[2] It is also used to describe a movement to establish or protect a homeland (usually an autonomous state) for an ethnic group. In some cases the identification of a homogeneous national culture is combined with a negative view of other races of cultures.”

Feminist
“The term feminism can be used to describe a political, cultural or economic movement aimed at establishing equal rights and legal protection for women. Feminism involves political, cultural and sociological theories, as well as philosophies concerned with issues of gender difference. It is also a movement that advocates gender equality for women and campaigns for women’s rights and interests.”

Anarchist
“Anarchism is a political philosophy encompassing theories and attitudes which consider the state to be unnecessary, harmful, or otherwise undesirable, and favor instead a stateless society or anarchy. Individual anarchists may have additional criteria for what they conceive to be anarchism, and there is often broad disagreement concerning these broader conceptions. According to The Oxford Companion to Philosophy, “there is no single defining position that all anarchists hold, and those considered anarchists at best share a certain family resemblance.” There are many types and traditions of anarchism, not all of which are mutually exclusive. Strains of anarchism have been divided into the categories of social and individualist anarchism or similar dual classifications. Anarchism is often considered to be a radical left-wing ideology, and much of anarchist economics and anarchist legal philosophy reflect anti-statist interpretations of communism, collectivism, syndicalism or participatory economics; however, anarchism has always included an individualist strain, with that strain supporting a market economy and private property, or unrestrained egoism that bases right on might.”

Nazi Party
“The National Socialist German Workers’ Party, commonly known in English as the Nazi Party was a political party in Germany between 1919 and 1945. The party’s last leader, Adolf Hitler, was appointed Chancellor of Germany by president Paul von Hindenburg in 1933. Nazi ideology stressed the failures of communism, liberalism, and democracy. It also stressed the “racial purity of the German people”, as well as Northwestern Europeans and persecuted those it perceived either as race enemies or Lebensunwertes Leben, that is “life unworthy of living.”

Green Party
“A Green party or ecologist party is a formally organized political party based on the principles of Green politics. These principles include Social justice, reliance on grassroots democracy, nonviolence, and support for environmentalism causes. “Greens” believe that the exercise of these principles leads to world health.”

Tea Party
“The Tea Party movement is a fiscally conservative and populist protest movement in the United States. It emerged in early 2009 partially in response to the federal government’s stimulus package, officially known as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The movement originated in anti-tax protests, and arose in response to the increase in the national debt as a result of the stimulus package, as well as the revelations about bonuses paid to AIG executives in March 2009 and has been most visible through the Tea Party protests of 2009. The name “Tea Party” is a reference to the Boston Tea Party, whose principal aim was to protest taxation without representation in the British Parliament rather than protesting taxes in general. Tea Party protests have nevertheless sought to evoke similar images, slogans, and themes to this period in American history.”

In short, I think that we should all take a second out of our day to remember no matter how absurd the opposing party or point-of-view may seem, they may be aligned with yours and don’t even know it. Similar to religion, many of our political parties or philosophies have historical roots in others. Some parties even advocate ideals that are similar to an opposing party’s (such as the Green Party’s reliance on grass roots democracy and the Tea Party’s reliance on the same). It is absurd to call President Obama a Fascist or Socialist when his ideals plainly do not align with that party’s. It is furthermore absurd to hold a Tea Party or Anarchist Convention and proudly declare that you taught yourself all of this information either via postal mail or your local public library. Although I do not think we all believe in the same ideals, I only ask that you take a second to look at that the other person is supporting. However, if they don’t even know, please feel free to give them a history lesson!

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Liberal is….Evil

Posted by: BetsM

Op-ed by Gary Hart

Gary HartWar is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.” Once again we turn to George Orwell to understand the perverse need of some among us to reverse the meaning of words. As the author of Nineteen Eighty-Four knew, totalitarianism begins with the perversion of language.

Thus, it is not accidental that the rise of the new right began with demonization of perfectly sound words like liberal. Hence, Roget gives these synonyms for liberal: magnanimous; benevolent; open-minded; generous; and unselfish.

We describe our form of government as liberal democracy. It embodies principles of freedom, liberty, equality, and justice. Its princples were set forth by John Locke and embodied in our Bill of Rights. We engage in wars to bring this same government to others.

Most recently, a highly intelligent writer, Timothy Ferris, known primarily for his clear elucidation of science, has written a piece entitled: “Conservative is Not Opposite Liberal: That’s Totalitarianism.” To be illiberal, he writes, is not to be conservative; it is, as Orwell had it, to be totalitarian. Ferris correctly says: “Liberalism is an independent political philosophy, with no inherent connection to either the Left or the Right.”

It is understandable that the far right fulminators begin by perverting language. They are profoundly illiberal in every sense of the word. The values of magnanimity, benevolence, open-mindedness, generosity, and unselfishness are anathema to them. Nor is it coincidence that the age of anti-liberalism is one decidedly anti-scientific, whether having to do with our evolution, changing climate, or stem cell research. Totalitarianism has always wanted to control science for its own purposes.

If we restore the true meaning of important words like liberal, perhaps at least a few politicians will not be afraid to use them. As a free man, and a liberal man, I know I am not.

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