Wednesday, September 26, 2012

"Why I Refuse to Vote for Barack Obama" (from the Atlantic)

by Conor Friedersdorf

1) President Obama terrorizes innocent Pakistanis on an almost daily basis. The drone war he is waging in North Waziristan isn't "precise" or "surgical" as he would have Americans believe. It kills hundreds of innocents, including children. And for thousands of more innocents who live in the targeted communities, the drone war makes their lives into a nightmare worthy of dystopian novels. People are always afraid. Women cower in their homes. Children are kept out of school. The stress they endure gives them psychiatric disorders. Men are driven crazy by an inability to sleep as drones buzz overhead 24 hours a day, a deadly strike possible at any moment. At worst, this policy creates more terrorists than it kills; at best, America is ruining the lives of thousands of innocent people and killing hundreds of innocents for a small increase in safety from terrorists. It is a cowardly, immoral, and illegal policy, deliberately cloaked in opportunistic secrecy. And Democrats who believe that it is the most moral of all responsible policy alternatives are as misinformed and blinded by partisanship as any conservative ideologue.

2) President Obama established one of the most reckless precedents imaginable: that any president can secretly order and oversee the extrajudicial killing of American citizens. Obama's kill list transgresses against the U.S. Constitution as egregiously as anything George W. Bush ever did. It is as radical an invocation of executive power as anything Dick Cheney championed. The fact that the Democrats rebelled against those men before enthusiastically supporting Obama is hackery every bit as blatant and shameful as anything any talk radio host has done. 

3) Contrary to his own previously stated understanding of what the U.S. Constitution and the War Powers Resolution demand, President Obama committed U.S. forces to war without Congressional approval, despite the lack of anything like an imminent threat to U.S. national security.
. . .

How are you going to vilify Romney as a heartless plutocrat unfit for the presidency, and then enthusiastically recommend a guy who held Bradley Manning in solitary and killed a 16-year-old American kid? If you're a utilitarian who plans to vote for Obama, better to mournfully acknowledge that you regard him as the lesser of two evils, with all that phrase denotes.

But I don't see many Obama supporters feeling as reluctant as the circumstances warrant.

The whole liberal conceit that Obama is a good, enlightened man, while his opponent is a malign, hard-hearted cretin, depends on constructing a reality where the lives of non-Americans -- along with the lives of some American Muslims and whistleblowers - just aren't valued. Alternatively, the less savory parts of Obama's tenure can just be repeatedly disappeared from the narrative of his first term, as so many left-leaning journalists, uncomfortable confronting the depths of the man's transgressions, have done over and over again. 
Read the whole thing at the Atlantic:

Friday, September 7, 2012

Muppet Election 2012: Roosevelt Franklin & Statler

Rights: CC-BY-SA 3.0 Bad Mutha Booboisie This work by Bad Mutha Booboisie is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. Muppets created by Jim Henson, circa 1954. Roosevelt Franklin was first performed by Matt Robinson, 1971 May 10. Statler, created by Bonnie Erickson, was first portrayed by Jim Henson, 1975 March 19. Apologies to Roosevelt and Statler for associating them with Barack and Joe, respectively.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Muppet Election 2012: Don Music & Walter Blagojevich

Rights: CC-BY-SA 3.0 Bad Mutha Booboisie This work by Bad Mutha Booboisie is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. Muppets created by Jim Henson, circa 1954. Don Music, created by Jim Henson, was first performed by Richard Hunt, 1974 December 18. Walter Blagojevich, created by Muppet Studios, was first portrayed by Peter Linz, 2011 November 4. Apologies to Don and Walter for associating them with Mitt and Paul, respectively.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Thankless jobs

There are a lot of ill people in the world. Cancer, infections, HIV, accidents, and so on. Not only are the ill people affected by their illness: their friends and family are affected too.

Unsurprisingly, many of those friends and family are desperate to find hope. For many of them, religion is their outlet. "I thank God for healing little Sally;" "Praise to God for curing our grandma's cancer." And so on.

But I have a novel idea: how about you thank the doctors and nurses that are working long, hard hours to treat your loved ones?

To my way of thinking, giving your god all the thanks when there are professionals working 20-hour days to treat your loved ones is just...insensitive. I understand the need to rationalize, to find hope, to pray for help. I wouldn't begrudge anyone that.

But to take the tangible work of real people and give the credit to someone that may or may not be there is selfish. In any other line of work, you'd be mad if you did all the work and your boss gave your coworker all the credit, without acknowledging your work.

The healing of bodies should be no exception to that principle. Give credit where credit is (deservedly) due.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Daily Dish: "Pressuring The President"

Andrew is a bit defensive here, but then again he knows Barack pays attention to him. In the most recent issue of Rolling Stone to feature the an interview with the president, Obama mentions Sullivan by name.

FWIW from someone largely likeminded, I'd like to see Andrew be a bit more critical of Barack.
I'm not saying that Sullivan lets everything slide, but perhaps he lets the president get away with a little bit too much

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Indecision Forever: "Quote Unquote: Chomsky on Obama vs. Bush"

Quote Unquote: Chomsky on Obama vs. Bush:
Noam Chomsky compare our two most recent Commanders-in-Chief

"If the Bush administration didn't like somebody, they'd kidnap them and send them to torture chambers. If the Obama administration decides they don't like somebody, they murder them."

On the down side, we're slowly turning into an unrecognizable dystopian mirror of everything we have long claimed to despise. On the plus side, though, we're getting more streamlined.
The whole thing is available at DemocracyNow, and Noam is pretty much on the money as usual:

Friday, February 17, 2012

Santorum Ally Friess Praises Old-School 'Contraceptive': Aspirin Between Knees

Santorum Ally Friess Praises Old-School 'Contraceptive': Aspirin Between Knees:

MSNBC host Andrea Mitchell asked billionaire Santorum backer Foster Friess whether he thought the GOP presidential candidate's very conservative social views would be disadvantageous to Santorum in the general election. Friess not only didn't think so; he indicated he didn't see what all the fuss was about. And then he dispensed some advice about contraceptives.

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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

John McCain's 200-Page Mitt Romney Opposition Research Book From '08 Found Online

John McCain's 200-Page Mitt Romney Opposition Research Book From '08 Found Online: "The document also seriously undercuts McCain's current position –- as an endorser of Romney for president in 2012 –- that attacks on the former governor's Bain Capital days are anti-capitalism. There are 399 mentions of Bain in McCain's Mitt Romney oppo book."

The full book is available at the end of the HuffPo article.

Monday, January 16, 2012

A Bold Move, or the Risks of Saying "I Don't Love Jesus"

If you have a Facebook account (and who doesn't?), you've probably seen this image making the rounds. The image is the flavor-of-the-day, but the idea is nothing new: using public means to state one's love for Jesus/God/The Bible in such a way to make other like-minded people think such believers are a minority. For example, posting the following status update: "Why is America trying to take CHRIST out of CHRISTMAS?? The President and atheists want you to have 'holiday trees' and have 'winter break,' but I know the truth: IT'S ABOUT CELEBRATING JESUS AND THE WORD OF GOD! Jesus made our country great; is it a surprise that as we move away from the word of God our country gets worse and worse? Re-post if you think these idiots are ruining Christmas and our country!"

I'm sure you've seen these posts on Facebook or bumper stickers. Compare this to the equally oft-quoted saying that Christians are the "majority" in America and thus our laws should reflect the Christian will (usually this comes up when gay marriage and birth control are being discussed). So which is it: are we a country of a Christian majority, or are we a country with a Christian minority which is being persecuted?

It's humorous that these positions fluctuate based on who you are asking and what the topic is. To my thinking, either it's a Christian majority or it isn't. You can't have your cake and eat it too. Are you the majority that wants to impose the majoritarian will on the rest of us, or are you a minority that's rallying its troops to defend its beliefs?

This is a popular tactic: when you're the majority, pretend you aren't and use it as a rallying cry. See also: North Korea and China.

The other issue is: "Who cares?" If you are really a Christian, doesn't that mean you're supposed to WANT to spread the gospel to everyone unabashedly? Really, all these proclamations mean are "I am a Christian, like 80% of the rest of the country." Where is the heroism in that? Where is the self-sacrifice in that?

I offer a counterpoint: in America, non-believers and non-majority believers are the ones that are persecuted, for being "not Christian." It's not hard to see it if your eyes are open: any time the Supreme Court tells us that we can't have prayer in public schools, the Christians show up and say the socialist-atheist agenda is ruining America (even though the Supreme Court is made up of Christians, Catholics, and Jews). Any time Muslims are featured as human on TV, some right-wing Christians show up and say the Muslim agenda is ruining our "Christian heritage" (a myth in itself).

My point is that it takes courage to say "I am not the majority; I am the minority." It puts you on notice to the world that you are The Other and different; it opens you to criticism and almost no one comes to your defense. You will be told you are the root of all evil in this country.

What do you risk by saying "I love Jesus"? You risk getting a pat on the back and a "welcome to the club" fruit basket.

Where's the sacrifice in that?