“They are bombing one and a half million people in a cage.”

January 5th, 2009 – 8:48 pm
Tagged as: Palestine

Via Informed Commment:

CBS News broadcasts an interview with a Norwegian physician on the scene in Gaza.

He says he has seen one military casualty come into the hospital. Of 2500 wounded, 50% are women and children. Doing surgery around the clock. There are injuries you do not want to see– children coming in with open abdomens, with injured legs, we had to amputate both of them. This is a war on the civilian population of Gaza. It is a very young population. They cannot flee. They are fenced in. They are bombing one and a half million people in a cage.

[Warning: Disturbing images]

Transformation or just more triangulation?

December 19th, 2008 – 9:50 pm

Glenn Greenwald hits the nail on the head yet again, reminding those who have apparently forgotten the Clinton years (and ignored the Democrats in Congress during the Bush years) that Obama’s whole post-partisan shtick is hardly new:

The big day

November 3rd, 2008 – 7:40 pm
Tagged as: Politics

Tomorrow the 2008 Presidential election will finally be over, and I’ll have voted for Barack Obama.

I’m not voting for Obama because I agree with all of his positions on the issues, or because I believe he is truly a progressive candidate, or because I’ve become part of his sometimes disturbing cult of personality. I’m voting for him because he’s not John McCain, a man who apparently wants to do everything G.W. Bush has done, only moreso. Since I’m going down to my local polling station to vote for my Congressman and vote against Connecticut ballot question 1, I’ve decided that I may as well do my part to push up the popular vote for Obama. If he’s elected to office with a landslide victory, and with both the House and the Senate even more firmly in the hands of his fellow Democrats, maybe the next four years will prove once and for all whether or not the Democrats are really capable of keeping even the modest promises they make to the American voters. The pathetic performance by the Democratically controlled Congress over the last two years leads me to believe that the answer will be that they aren’t, but I’d be happy to be proven wrong.

Connecticut ballot questions

November 3rd, 2008 – 7:31 pm
Tagged as: Connecticut,Law

It’s an unusual year here in Connecticut, as we have two statewide ballot questions to deal with on November 4th.

1. “Shall there be a Constitutional Convention to amend or revise the Constitution of the State?”

This is the important one. Right now the Connecticut State Constitution can only be changed by a yes vote on an amendment in the General Assembly followed by a yes vote from the voters of the state. However, if this ballot question passes there would be a Constitutional Convention during which the delegates (who would be chosen by state legislators) would be able to change the State Constitution without further input from regular voters.

Not surprisingly, a yes vote on this question is supported by organizations that want to ban gay marriage, get rid of abortion rights, add special tax breaks for businesses, and take away rights for workers. All things that would not pass if the citizens of Connecticut were able to vote on them directly during the regular amendment process.

In addition, the Constitutional Convention process will be expensive, and the state government certainly has better things on which to be spending its limited resources.

If you’re a Connecticut voter, vote NO on Question 1, and make sure your friends and family understand what’s truly at stake. On it’s face, the idea of a Constitutional Convention doesn’t sound like a bad idea, but once you understand what’s truly involved it’s easy to see why a no vote is the way to go. Read more at: http://ctvoteno.org

2. “Shall the constitution of the state be amended to permit any person who will have attained the age of eighteen years on or before the day of a regular election to vote in the primary for such regular election?”

In other words, seventeen year olds would be able to vote in the primaries if they would be of legal voting age in time for the general election. This one’s an easy yes, as it certainly makes sense that first-time voters should be able to participate in the primary process as well as the general election.

Prop 8 is about discrimination

November 3rd, 2008 – 7:02 pm
Tagged as: Law,Rights

Here’s what happens when you replace “same-sex marriage” with “interracial marriage” in a pro-H8 ad:

via Wil Wheaton

If you’re a California voter, be sure to go out and vote NO on Proposition 8 tomorrow.

An indictment of an ideology

October 8th, 2008 – 7:46 pm
Tagged as: Economics

The brilliant Naomi Klein goes into the lion’s den and takes on Friedmanism (and the Wall Street bailout) :

More than that, what we are seeing with the crash on Wall Street, I believe, should be for Friedmanism what the fall of the Berlin Wall was for authoritarian communism: an indictment of ideology. It cannot simply be written off as corruption or greed, because what we have been living, since Reagan, is a policy of liberating the forces of greed to discard the idea of the government as regulator, of protecting citizens and consumers from the detrimental impact of greed, ideas that, of course, gained great currency after the market crash of 1929, but that really what we have been living is a liberation movement, indeed the most successful liberation movement of our time, which is the movement by capital to liberate itself from all constraints on its accumulation.

So, as we say that this ideology is failing, I beg to differ. I actually believe it has been enormously successful, enormously successful, just not on the terms that we learn about in University of Chicago textbooks, that I don’t think the project actually has been the development of the world and the elimination of poverty. I think this has been a class war waged by the rich against the poor, and I think that they won. And I think the poor are fighting back. This should be an indictment of an ideology. Ideas have consequences.

It’s a long read, but there’s a lot of interesting stuff in there.

That’s leadership!

October 1st, 2008 – 7:19 pm
Tagged as: Economics,Politics

Thank you, Senator Obama, for your brave speech on the Senate floor today where you spoke against the bailout bill and swore that you would stand strong against any attempt to give $700 billion to Wall Street without more oversight, equity in exchange for every dollar spent, mortgage relief for those in danger of losing their homes, new regulation to help keep this from happening again, and transactional taxes to help pay for the package.

Oh, wait, no, my mistake, you made this speech, in which you said the current bill isn’t perfect, but you’re going to vote for it anyway, and maybe someday down the road you’ll work to make sure this bailout for Wall Street doesn’t screw over everyone else in the country.

Just say no

September 21st, 2008 – 1:11 pm
Tagged as: Economics,Politics

I’ll echo what was said over at Eschaton:

I think everyone who reads this blog who’s American, first thing on Monday morning, needs to call their Representatives and Senators and say: No. Blank. Checks. For. Crooks.

The current bailout plan, as presented, is a farce. Does something need to be done to keep the current financial system from collapsing under the weight of the failed gambles of the ridiculously greedy financial titans? Probably, yes. You can read more about how we got to this point here (the key phrase is “Gramm-Leach-Bliley”).

That doesn’t mean that the Bush plan is the right plan. In fact, if the events of the last 7+ years have taught us anything, it’s that any plan invented by the Bush administration is almost certainly the wrong plan. As the details of the bailout are released, it’s becoming increasingly obvious that the current plan is exceedingly flawed. As Paul Krugman says:

I hate to say this, but looking at the plan as leaked, I have to say no deal. Not unless Treasury explains, very clearly, why this is supposed to work, other than through having taxpayers pay premium prices for lousy assets.

Calculated Risk notes:

We definitely do not want the Treasury to buy RMBS and CDOs at anywhere near the value on the bank’s books. Buying at those prices would help keep the banks lending, but it would also severely impact the taxpayers, it would be a transfer of wealth from the many to the few, and it would also encourage future excessive risk taking.


Not perfect, but not bad

February 29th, 2008 – 8:15 pm
Tagged as: Politics

Lest anyone worry that my recent posting of Obama ads means I’ve drunk the kool-aid, I’ll point to this post that’s a pretty good approximation of where I stand:

I actually think that an Obama victory would be substantially better than any of the other main candidates. I do think his antiwar position on Iraq is important, even if I’m not convinced that he is a principled ‘antiwar’ candidate – one recalls his statements on Iran before the NIE, and notes his various pro-Israel statements, which are kind of obligatory. And actually, yes, of course it does matter that he is the only black candidate and the first one to have had a serious chance of winning. It counts, even if it doesn’t count for all that much. And it counts that he isn’t an outright neocon, whereas I think the neoconservative faction would actually do very well under both McCain and Clinton, who are the two other serious candidates. His campaign seems to be promising, though he will not deliver, an end to the nightmare. I personally hope Nader’s campaign does something more than implode on the first few steps – if nothing else because by raising a serious radical campaign, it will drive the agenda further to the Left. If Democrats want to whinge about this, as they can always be relied upon to do, they have to be able to make a case to would-be Nader voters why should not vote for a radical left-wing campaign, and it should be something better than ‘you’re ruining it!’ But Obama, while he doesn’t differ on a lot of principle with Clinton and McCain, is different enough that it matters.

Which is sort of the whole thing in a nutshell. I would prefer a candidate whose actual positions were further (a lot further) to the left, but when the other choices are Hillary Clinton and John McCain, it’s really no choice at all. Plus Obama is definitely a better candidate than either Kerry or Gore (2000 version) were.

Viva Obama

February 29th, 2008 – 7:36 pm
Tagged as: Politics

What a great ad:

And this one’s not bad either:

It’s nice to have a Democratic candidate for President who actually thinks it’s important to inspire people.