May 26, 2009 archive

Looking For the Answer

I know why you’re here . . .

You’re here because you know something.  What you know is hard to explain, but you feel it.  You’ve felt it your entire life, that there’s something wrong with America.  Something very wrong.  You know what it is, but no one in power will do anything about it.  And that frustrates you, your frustration is like a splinter in your mind, driving you mad.  

I know what you’ve been doing . . . why you hardly sleep, why you live the way you do, and why day after day, you read progressive blogs.  You’re looking for him.  You’re looking for a progressive leader.  I know because I was once looking for the same thing.  And when he found me, he told me I wasn’t really looking for him.  I was looking for the leadership within me, the leadership within each of us.  

How do we achieve real change?  It’s the question that drives us.  It’s the question that brought you here. You know the question, just as I do.

But no one in power will ask it . . .

congress in session Pictures, Images and Photos

They’re afraid of the answer.  

So they keep taking the blue pill.  Most Americans are afraid of the answer too, so they keep taking the blue pill.   When Republicans are in power, it has an R on it.  When Democrats are in power, it has a D on it.  

But it’s the same blue pill.

Justice Sotomayor: South Bronx Reprezent!!!!!!

(Crossposted from The Free Speech Zone)

On the district court bench, Judge Sotomayor earned a reputation as a sharp, outspoken and fearless jurist, someone who does not let powerful interests bully, rush or cow her into a decision. “She does not have much patience for people trying to snow her,” said one lawyer in 1995, who had cases pending before the judge and asked not to be identified. “You can’t do it.”…

Prop 8 ruling not that bad.

(reprinted from a comment in Buhdy’s essay.)

After reading today’s Prop 8 opinion, the court’s ruling is not nearly as bad as some have made it sound.

   Instead, the measure carves out a narrow and limited exception to these state constitutional rights, reserving the official designation of the term “marriage” for the union of opposite-sex couples as a matter of state constitutional law, but leaving undisturbed all of the other extremely significant substantive aspects of a same-sex couple’s state constitutional right to establish an officially recognized and protected family relationship and the guarantee of equal protection of the laws.

   By clarifying this essential point, we by no means diminish or minimize the significance that the official designation of “marriage” holds for both the proponents and opponents of Proposition 8; indeed, the importance of the marriage designation was a vital factor in the majority opinion’s ultimate holding in the Marriage Cases, supra, 43 Cal.4th 757, 845-846, 855. Nonetheless, it is crucial that we accurately identify the actual effect of Proposition 8 on same-sex couples’ state constitutional rights, as those rights existed prior to adoption of the proposition, in order to be able to assess properly the constitutional challenges to the proposition advanced in the present proceeding. We emphasize only that among the various constitutional protections recognized in the Marriage Cases as available to same-sex couples, it is only the designation of marriage – albeit significant – that has been removed by this initiative measure.

Basically, the court is saying that same sex couples can have all of the same rights and privileges afforded to straight couples; they just can’t call it ‘marriage’.  Not the ideal outcome obviously, but in terms of legal protections for same sex couples, the court’s ruling neuters the potential effect of Prop. 8 to mere semantics.

Four at Four

  1. The Washington Post reports a Showdown looms on use of ‘state secrets’. Despite promises by President Obama to limit the use of “state secrets”, the Department of Justice is being criticized by “a federal judge in California overseeing a case that has delved deeper than any other into one of the government’s most highly classified data-gathering programs.”

    The Obama administration has invoked the state-secrets privilege in resisting a lawsuit filed by an Oregon charity whose attorneys may have been subjected to warrantless wiretapping. Late Friday, Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn R. Walker issued a terse order that raised the prospect of “sanctions” for government lawyers who have not responded to his order for a plan for how the case should proceed. The sanctions may include awarding monetary damages to the charity, the al-Haramain Islamic Foundation…

    The Haramain case is one of the national security battles left over from George W. Bush’s presidency. Civil liberties groups and left-leaning members of Congress have used the matter to argue that Obama’s approach as president conflicts with his campaign promises of transparency.

Four at Four continues with an update from Pakistan, bombing deaths in Afghanistan, and a surge in Social Security claims.

Weekly Torture Action Letter 11 – Judiciary Committee

Welcome to the 11th in the Dog’s letter writing campaign for torture accountability. This the basic premise of this campaign is the Dog writes a letter which the user can then use as a jumping off point for their own letter or cut and paste to send under their own name. In previous weeks we have written to the President, AG Holder, the Supreme Court Justices, Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Reid.  

Any Excuse Will Do….Prop. 8

The California Supreme Court just cut the baby in half.

Gays are not equal under the law. Except for the 18,000 who are.


Rights can be granted under the Law. And then can be taken away as soon as “we” can find the least, most ridiculous, nonsensical, but still technically semi-plausible if you squint hard enough justification to enforce the prejudice of the bigots amongst us and the Powers That be that are sympathetic to them.

I won’t even bother to pretend to analyze….or care about…the legal methods used to deny Human Rights to people who are obviously human. They don’t REALLY matter. All that matters, in the end, is that the PTB found some, any excuse to deny yet another class of human beings the Human Rights that all humans qualify for merely by dint of being human.

They have succeeded, for now, and they really don’t care how ridiculous it looks to both preserve and outlaw gay marriage at the same time.

The only good thing to come out of this is as a another fight to motivate the Left and the GLBT community to keep hammering on the complete and total imbecility that is the continuing influence of RW bigots on our society and the world.

We need a new ballot initiative for 2010 to overturn this. And this time WE need to be the ones with the well funded and effective advertising campaign. In a state where a bare majority of voters can strip the rights of ANY class of humans with an effective enough advertising campaign….

Yelling Louder could not be any more vital. Citizen involvement and funding could not be any more imperative. The RW only won because they outYelled us. Period. End of story.

This time it has to be US doing the yelling.  

Torturer admits torture costs American lives

Well, isn’t this just a great news day for this to come out.  Between the SCOTUS nomination and the Prop 8 brou-ha-ha, nobody is gonna hear about this:

A man who is actually one of the men who conducts the “interrogations” in question admits that it cost “hundreds, if not thousands” of American lives.

Dick Cheney and every Republican and Noise Machine Pundit out there is a LIAR (gee, what a surprise):…

“Torture does not save lives,” Alexander said in his interview. “And the reason why is that our enemies use it, number one, as a recruiting tool…These same foreign fighters who came to Iraq to fight because of torture and abuse….literally cost us hundreds if not thousands of American lives.”

Economic things I learned or overheard this Memorial Day

(The following was cross posted from Economic Populist and Venomopolis.)

I’m a sucker for barbecues, especially good ones.  Normally I’m not a “family” person, but I am a people person.  When it comes to barbecues, though I tend to even go to the ones my family puts out.  This year I hosted, unfortunately the weather was not on my side and being someone into risk management I decided to hold an “indoor bbq.”  The food, as always, was good, but my other type of appetite was also satisfied, my hunger for news and tid bits


Prop. 8 upheld by California Supreme Court: The justices uphold the same-sex marriage ban but also rule that the 18,000 gay couples who wed before the November vote will stay married. The decision is sure to spark another ballot box fight.


Oh, well, I guess it was expected.  Go see for some action.

Mistake or Masterstroke?

Let’s start of our analysis of the Sotomayer nomination by all heaving a sigh of sympathy for Sonia. She is about to have her entire life subjected to the most vicious political and personal attack machine ever created. No stops of the Mighty Wurlitzer will be left unpulled, no rocks left unturned, no dirt will be undug, no depths will be left unplumbed and no rumor….no matter how unfounded, will be left unscreamed in 100 point type.

Heck, we may even hear something about her actual legal qualifications….though I doubt it.

The RW will, I predict, reach a new acme of acrimony and angst over Sonia Sotomayer.

Why? Because she doesn’t count. She is not real. She doesn’t actually even exist….to them. To them, her feelings don’t count, her humanity doesnt count her record, intellect, and fitness to be on the SCOTUS certainly doesn’t count. Previously observed protocols standards and political rules of engagement don;t count. Only one thing counts.

She is other.

So all bets are off.

Things that would NEVER be said about a man will be said of her, regardless of that man’s qualifications. Things that would never be said about a white person will be said about her, regardless of that man’s ideology or “temperament.”

Sonia Sotomayer the person just disappeared. She is about to be reduced to caricature. And as always with the RW the facts will have no bearing on the nature of the character, No facts but two that is, she is not male and she is not white. Add in the fact that she is from a lower class economic background and all bets are off.

The RW is, by their rules, under no obligation to treat her as a human being.

And they won’t.

She is other. Therefore she is not entitled to the respect or consideration that entities that they are able to identify as members of the human race….white males, or as they have  recently been dragged kicking and screaming to accept as human….non-white males, or white females. Sonia Sotomayer might as well be from another galaxy, or a non-carbon based life form.

It does not matter what she believes, how she would rule, or what she would bring to the Supreme Court, they will be unable to accept these two and a half strikes against her.

Turkana has a good analysis of reality here. But reality, as we well know, will have nothing to do with how the RW reacts.

Which brings us to the strategic question in the title. Personally I love this pick on every level. But strategically, Obama may as well have nominated Eugene Debs. The level of opposition and opprobrium would be the same. At least he was a white male.

Obama just picked a fight with the absolute worst element of the RW, the bigots and misogynists. (YAY!) He just walked up to Rush Limbaugh and Jeff Sessions and slapped them in the face with a gauntlet. Filled with rolls of quarters.

If it was his intention to make his first of his (we hope) many SCOTUS picks a quiet one, he failed. If it was his intentions to make a pick that would smoke out the racists, sexists, classists and rabid dogs of the RW in the media and in the Senate…..he has succeeded.

You did good Barack! especially as precedent for future SCOTUS fights, you are exposing their bigotry and lack of substance early and starkly.

With one HUGE caveat.

If you were going to pick a fight, you might as well have appointed a goddam LIBERAL, dammit.

The revolution WAS televised…

You might not have noticed consciously, but it already happened; and even though you might not be consciously aware of it, you know it on a different level. Do you want proof? consider this:

Remember $4/gallon gas? of course you do. It was the kind of horror that makes red-blooded Americans (As the inhabitants of the United States of America like to call themselves) question the meaning of life. It meant that we couldn’t joy-ride any more. It took all the flavor out of parking and necking (or petting, if you were that advanced) even though those pursuits went out the window with the advent of bucket seats anyway.

It spelled the death of the Hummer. Suddenly, vehicles designed for the battlefield weren’t so fashionable any more, except for certain people in Montecito; but we all know that Montecito is the graveyard of the elephants anyway. What recession? In Montecito, it doesn’t exist out on the road. Of course, who knows what happens behind the electric gates and impenetrable hedges? And I have to say that one does see quite a few Priuses among the Bentleys (!) in Montecito, so it’s not ENTIRELY devoid of consciousness.

Basically, the jump in gasoline prices sent shockwaves through the USA that affected everybody. No matter that the price of gas descended again; everybody knows that it could jump up anytime, and is, as we speak, rising again, ruled by the fickle winds of ‘market forces’. The knowledge that events and people beyond our control could raise the prices to four, or even more, dollars per gallon has affected our whole way of life. We (Or some of us, anyway) actually THINK before we jump into the car; we wonder whether we really NEED to make a special trip to town for a hot pretzel; should we consolidate errands? does anybody else in the family need something that we can get while we’re out?

I think that it’s an excellent omen for Earth day. And besides, rest assured that as soon as the oil barons feel that they can raise prices, they will. Right now, certain people are saying something to the effect that “We can’t raise them too fast, we’ve got to wait until this ‘recession’ is on the way to recovery, and then we’ll raise them again!”

I hate to tell them, but the damage has been done. The Hummer factory is closed, which is the actual proof that the revolution happened; the Hummer was a stupid car for deluded people who bought the illusion that they needed a Hummer to A- Keep them safe in a crash B- make them feel like G.I. Joe C- some other ‘statement’ that the car manufacturers and oil sellers persuaded people to make.

So…. what makes you think that I hated Hummers from the beginning? and that I’m persuaded that the people who can’t get rid of them will eventually just walk away from them the same way that some people are walking away from their mortgages on houses that are now worth less than the payments? And that four-wheel-drive cars are great… on a ranch in Wyoming, but not really necessary for a trip to Von’s?

The funny thing is that all the stuff is still there. Houses, trees, food, things, they’re still there. The only thing that changed is some abstract thing called “Value” that somebody decided things were worth.

And something very important really has changed; more people are planting gardens, more people are recycling, more people are car-pooling, as the pocket-book nerve gets pinched ever harder. There’s signs of hope, of an emerging consciousness, of a real revolution. People are starting to realize that the things that they took for granted are actually gifts from the Creator that can disappear the next day, and that cheap consumer goods are not as much fun as getting together with one’s family, friends, and society and doing things that don’t necessarily require the burning of gasoline. Among other changes. I’ve tripled the size of my vegetable garden, and when I finish posting this (Which I posted on DKos, where it disappeared without a trace, probably because it wasn’t RELEVANT enough, or whatever the people there judge to be relevant) I’m going out to plant more stuff; I don’t want a single vacant space in that garden!

Welcome to the world; welcome to Earth.

Open Thread: A Place To Get Away From It All

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