I am tired of purity politics. I’m tired of American political parties demanding homogeneity from their members. I’m tired of being only Democrat or Republican or liberal or conservative or moderate or progressive or neo-conservative or paleo-conservative or environmentalist or libertarian. I’m tired of activists demanding that ‘allies’ be all things to all causes andRead more about Purity Politics and Being All Things to All Peoples[…]
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the death of civil society and what it means to sound right in the course of attempting to ackrite. One of the biggest bogeymen in American life is the concept of political correctness. In its most original (and I would say benign) form, political correctness demands that we use “language, policies, or measures that are intended to avoid offense or disadvantage to members of particular groups in society”. Such an approach is ripe for abuse and often shuts down debate on those same sensitive topics.
However, the backlash itself against political correctness has gone overboard and squashed reasoned and nuanced debate in this country. Instead, we have replaced debate with a level of coarseness that goes nowhere and leaves almost everyone feeling enervated. We use our best rhetorical cudgels to shout down any dissent on the very topics which require the most civil and thoughtful debate. We’re screaming past each other or not talking at all. Read more about The Un-Civil States of America …
Or … She Ain’t That Muchuva Jagoff
I’m not all that broken up about Hillary Clinton getting my vote for President on Election Day. But that doesn’t mean that I’m not disappointed. In liberals, in Democrats, in Republicans, in our country.
My main voting issue has usually been foreign policy. In the first two Presidential elections in which I voted (2000 and 2004), the Democratic Party supposedly represented a stark choice to the Republicans. They advocated a more cautious, diplomatic approach. They didn’t bloviate about forcing the rest of the world to respect us or make naive assumptions about the instant transformative power of Democracy. FREEDOM! No, the rest of the world doesn’t hate us for our freedoms.
It wasn’t difficult to vote for Barack Obama in 2008 either. He made the same assurances that Gore and Kerry did. Respect for international institutions and our allies. Perhaps a pullback from using the military as the blunt edge of democracy promotion. And then he went and cocked it all up. Sending troops into Libya in the first place, not closing Guantanamo, nearly getting us into a war in Syria. President Obama got my vote in 2012 but with much less enthusiasm. And behind many of his most hawkish decisions was his Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton. Read more about At Least Hillary Clinton isn’t Donald Trump …
Kevin Drum on Hillary Clinton’s lovely but completely ineffectual and unimplementable announcement speech: As near as I can tell, Americans seem to vote for president based almost solely on affinity. That is, they vote for whoever says the right things, with no concern for whether those things are obviously impossible or little more than self-evidentRead more about The Politics of… Srsly No One Care About Clinton’s Announcement Speech[…]
Or… Chafee’ing at the Bit
Last week, former Rhode Island governor Lincoln Chafee announced his intention to run for the Democratic nomination to the Presidency. I think most of us would predictably yawn. Chafee intends to press Hillary Clinton on her foreign policy record which I think is all good and well seeing as how Clinton has functioned as the war-mongering foreign policy hawk that I had hoped her former-rival-turned-boss, President Obama, would not become. He did. Very disappointingly. Clinton had a chance to be a steadying hand as Secretary of State but she fell right in lock-step with El Presidente.
Chafee has almost no chance whatsoever in preventing Clinton from winning the Democratic nomination. Barack Obama had a magnetic presence that Chafee does not; Clinton will not be denied again and definitely not by an old white boy. Given current Republican alternatives, I have a hard time picturing myself voting for the eventual Republican nominee.
So why should we care about Chafee’s predictably doomed campaign. Because predictably, Congress is full of lily-livered jagoffs who care more about being able to complain about the occupant of the White House than actually fulfilling their constitutional duties. Witness:
In 2011, President Obama announced that he could go to war against Libya without congressional approval. Congress hemmed and hawed, but in the end was unable to agree to do anything about it. Two years later members of Congress were vocal about Obama’s lack of action against Syria when it was revealed that the Assad regime had been using chemical weapons. Obama eventually responded and asked Congress for approval to take military action. Congress did nothing. Now we have yet another war, this time against ISIS, and Obama asked for congressional approval months ago. Result: nothing. Members of Congress would rather be free to lambaste Obama on the campaign trail than to actually commit themselves to a strategy. [Kevin Drum: Yet Again, Congress Is Too Scared to Assert Its Warmaking Powers]
In an Economist.com article on a scheduled summit between American and the six members of the Gulf Co-operation Council on May 13th and 14th, this blurb caught my eye:
And he [President Obama] cannot meet all the Gulf requests for advanced weaponry, because congressional legislation requires that Israel must maintain a “qualitative military edge” over its neighbours. [Emphasis mine]
That the USA and Israel have a special relationship is no surprise. Israel has been the only consistently functioning democracy in a region of states replete with strife and governmental incompetence.
It also makes some type of sense that the USA would want to ensure that its favored state in the region should have the ability to defend itself. But I find no compelling interest in the USA hamstringing itself because of a requirement that Israel continue to be able to kick its Arab neighbors’ collective arse. Read more about The USA doesn’t owe its damned allegiance to Israel or Saudi Arabia …
… Or Hillary Clinton for President! Because Rednecks, That’s Why…
Yesterday, Hillary Clinton finally officially announced that she’s running for Pres-o-dent of the Amrika. I’m sure Fox News freaked out and MSNBC spun and spun and spun. I was pleasantly surprised that my Facebook feed didn’t blow up too much; perhaps because it’s still pretty early in the
madness election cycle.
There were a few pretty predictable responses. Some folks excited and others already complaining that they (Republicans) would be tarred and feathered for being sexist or misogynist because they oppose her candidacy. I love seeing these sort of “[s]he hate me” laments on both sides.
It’s the culture wars, people! Republican accuse Democrats of being lilly-livered godless communists who hate America. Democrats accuse Republicans of being sexist or racist or homophobic. And if you actually believe all this political palabra, whether you’re slinging it or receiving it, then you’re falling into the trap of being distracted by the parties. Read more about Hillary Clinton and the Theatre of Stupid …
I’m a natural-born US citizen because my mother came to this country (well, Brooklyn actually), stayed with friends, gave birth to me and then a month or so later went back to Nigeria. My oldest sister was born in Nigeria and my middle sister in Bangladesh. My mom wanted access to better facilities for herRead more about On Immigration and Blue Passports[…]
Back in the 2000’s, during the ignominious reign of President George W. Bush, I remember liberals going berserk trying to figure out how to get the populace to see their side of the argument. If only the masses would just read this article, study that chart, and use rational thought, they would rise up inRead more about Delusions of the Other[…]
… or I am the NRA and I’m a Liberal (damnit) This time last year, the National Rifle Association had its annual conference here in lovely blue Pittsburgh. Not surprising really given that at one point, if not still true, Allegheny County (or Butler County?) had the highest per capita number of conceal-and-carry permits inRead more about Renewing My NRA Membership[…]