Tuesday, November 30, 2004
No, No, NO! Rage... REALLY Taking Over!
Thanks to "Out and About" at Atrios for the link. (Warning: Very graphic and disturbing images.)
Update: Thanks to Shaw Kenawe for a good information page about depleted uranium, and to John for the link to the World Health Organization's page on it.
Update 2: In response to a, shall we say, spirited discussion at Atrios, I've e-mailed the creator of the video, Eric Blumrich, for information about his sources. I still think there's a problem with DU, but I'm quite willing to concede it may not be as presented in the video. We will find out, yes, we will.
... Tell... Them... I... Said... "OW!" Gotcha.
Many of the nation's leading civil rights groups expressed "serious concern" Monday with President Bush's nomination of White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales to be attorney general, calling for "close scrutiny" by the Senate.This is the guy who wrote the memo justifying torture. If you don't oppose him, now, where in the blue hell have you set the limit? Does he have to eat live babies on camera, piqued with annoyance at their cries drowning out the Mozart playing in the background as he squeezes fresh lemon juice into their open wounds?
But the coalition of more than two dozen groups -- including the NAACP, ACLU and Amnesty International -- stopped short of opposing the nomination.
Monday, November 29, 2004
We've Come Up With One INCREDIBLE Idea. We're Very Proud Of It.
Mawwiage -- Dat Dweam Wifinn A Dweam
Well, guess what? That old chestnut about the law protecting against "the tyranny of the majority" got a boost today. It was admittedly dodging the issue rather than confronting it, but the Supreme Court of the US declined without comment to hear a challenge to the Massachusetts law permitting same-sex marriage.
For a reasonably fair and thorough overview of the whole issue (if you can get around all the South Beach Diet ads), check out ReligiousTolerance.org.
Well, What Th' Hell We SPOZE T'Do, Ya' Moe-Ron?
Same thing as always: Act. The tricky part is determining where to get active.
Kate, commenting at Atrios yesterday, clued me in to three very interesting organizations:
- 21st Century Democrats. Their specific, stated purpose is to provide grass-roots organizers for tough political campaigns -- these are the people who train the next generation of political fighters.
- Democracy for America. "Inspired by the presidential campaign of Howard Dean, Democracy for America (DFA) is a political action committee dedicated to supporting fiscally responsible, socially progressive candidates at all levels of government—from school board to the presidency. DFA fights against the influence of the far right-wing and their radical, divisive policies and the selfish special interests that for too long have dominated our politics."
- Progressive Democrats of America. "We are specifically committed to the realization of new models for achieving local, national and global security that redirect the current wasteful and obscene levels of military spending toward the uncompromising and effective funding of: health and education programs; an end to discrimination; the provision of full and meaningful employment; and an end to poverty for all people."
Need to do something to help the greater good? These look like good places to start.
Sunday, November 28, 2004
Wilkommen, Bienvenue, Welcome, C'mon In
Hi there! Thanks so much for visiting my blog. My name's Tom Smith, and I'm a comedy musician, science fiction/fantasy fan, inveterate punster, and a living example of why prospective Peter Pans should stick to a low-fat, low-carb diet. On Atrios, Daily Kos, First Draft, and a few other blogs, you may have seen me post as "filkertom". ("Filk" is SF/fantasy music, kinda folk-rockish -- think Weird Al's "Yoda". "Folk" got misspelled once, and the name stuck.)
And this here blog is dedicated to starting, finishing, and winning a fight.
See, there was this election a few weeks ago. Final score: 51-48, or 51-49, depending on how you count. (And the counting isn't even done yet.) Within the statistical margin of error.
But BushCo is claiming a "mandate".
I actually made several attempts at this first post, trying to figure out the tone I wanted (which may not necessarily be the right tone, but it's the tone I wanted). I finally got close to it after reading this brilliant post by Mel Gilles on "The Politics of Victimization".
But I got it when remembering several online discussions I'd had with a good friend over the past few months. Good guy, trust him forever... but we differ politically. And he's the type to say, "But you see, here's where you're wrong...."
Smart guy. But all of his facts are out of the Republican playbook, and he's only checked them by those sources. Or he thinks the examples are isolated. Or all the investigations aren't in yet. Or it wasn't the higher-ups, it was a few bad apples/eggs/some other metaphorical edible. Or, or, or.
My good friend, y'see, was convinced that, on any given political subject, I was deluded, and he knew best, and he wanted to bring me around to his way of thinking. I thought pretty much the same thing about him. But I was yelling, "CAN'T YOU SEE THIS INCREDIBLE EVIL GOING ON!?" And he was saying, "No, no, you only think it's evil...."
I quit going to church decades ago, but I think I've got a pretty good handle on good vs. evil.
- Torture is evil.
- Lying the nation into war is evil.
- Shifting the tax burden from the rich to the poor is evil.
- Fucking up the environment for the sake of corporate profit for your friends is evil.
- Saying you want to help children and old people, and then underfunding the programs intended to do so, is evil.
- Discriminating against people, especially for something over which they have no control and which doesn't hurt anybody, is evil.
I'm sure some people will consider this assessment harsh. Especially some people on my side of the political spectrum. The ones who want to figure out How We Can Win The Hearts And Minds Of Middle America Next Time.
Please understand when I tell those folks, from the bottom of my heart: Fuck you.
We're not going to win those hearts and minds. Theirs are narrow little lives, and the Repub Machine has manipulated them through lies and fear into thinking of us as the enemy.
Believing we can make nice with people who are enthusiastically kicking us is stupid. Time to fuckin' kick back.
Being nice and playing by the rules hasn't worked. Our opponents aren't nice and don't give a shit about the rules. All they care about is power. I don't advocate violence or illegality in any way, but No More Mister Nice Dem. I'm not gonna roll over while these bastards slide the greatest country in the world, the grandest experiment in freedom in history, down the razor blades into oblivion.
Anyway. I could go on like this for awhile, preaching to the choir, when this is really meant to be preamble to the larger point, and the twofold purpose of the blog:
First, to rip the guts out of the Democratic party, and rebuild it into something stronger.
The Democratic leadership can't cut it. Not as it is now. Our willingness -- indeed, instinct -- to consider all sides of a debate has crippled us. All forms of Republican -- from the most blaze-eyed fanatic to the most reasonable scholar -- have become adept at using our innate uncertainty against us.
Old white men who call themselves "pro-life" while advocating an illegal war and the death penalty tell us we're wrong about torture. And we let them.
No more. We're right, we're on the side of good and truth and justice and we even want to help you Repubs who we're fighting against, and we will save ourselves from you and you from yourselves if we have to kick your fucking teeth in to do it.
It is time to find ways to stop the party leadership, the Old Ways of doing things, and to build something better. We have to find leaders who aren't afraid to say "the wrong thing" just because it's not what the Right Wing is saying. And we can't back down from our principles, because they're the basic principles of good: Don't Hurt People. Keep The Peace. Help Those Who Need It. Make Friends, Not Enemies. Don't Mess Up The Place.
If our leaders can't say that, they aren't our leaders.
Second, to get rid of the Bush Regime and its foundation of supporters.
See, you've got a very thin mandate, Dubya. Not really a mandate at all. Only half the voters in this country agree with you. The rest of us disagree with you profoundly. We think you're incompetent at pretty much everything except fixing elections; we think you're breaking all kinds of laws; quite a number of us think you're a war criminal. And we will fight you through every legal means we have until you and your cronies are removed from office and, preferably, thrown in prison.
More to the point: A lot of the people who voted for you are people you lied to. They believed you when you said you were on their side, when the truth is you are only interested in helping your friends and larger donors. At some point, they're going to realize you've fucked them over as badly as you've fucked my side over. And then you'll find out exactly how much "political capital" you've got.
Mandate, My Ass.