Plots and Thoughts

Why Democrats Are Failing – Pay Attention Republicans

Posted in Analysis, Observations by Captain Optimistic on February 19, 2010

Memo to delusional conservatives who view anything left of Glenn Beck as socialist: you are ignoring why the Democrats are failing:

Nor are the Democrats having trouble because things have become “too partisan” – or have they forgot how they behaved towards Bush?

There’s a simple reason why their agenda is failing – it’s the same radical left agenda they’ve tried to shove down our throats time and time again.

Radical left?  PLEASE.  The current Democrat agenda is watered down centrism with appeals to the moderate right.  Its not even leftist, never mind radical!

The reasons it is failing are:

  • Democrats are too weak to stand up and fight
  • Republicans are doing everything they can to block all legislative progress in DC while simultaneously claiming credit back home.

The Republicans are obstructing government.  The Democrats are letting them.

Real liberals haven’t forgotten how Democrats behaved towards Bush – they gave him nearly everything he wanted.  Nor have we forgotten how Republicans screamed that opposition to a sitting President was treasonous, only to turn around and cross far beyond mere opposition into obstruction without batting an eye.

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Palin vs Family Guy: Conservatives Are SUPER OBSERVANT

Posted in Observations by Captain Optimistic on February 19, 2010

This is just sad.  A conservative blogger trying to make sense of the searing burn Andrea Friedman dealt Sarah Palin:

My mother did not carry me around under her arm like a loaf of French bread the way former Governor Palin carries her son Trig around looking for sympathy and votes.

Did the creators of Family Guy go out of their way to find a Down’s Syndrome actress with an agenda?

An agenda?  Are you fucking kidding me?  She’s just observant (like conservatives clearly are).  Palin has been using her child to advocate against a woman’s right to choose, and to paint herself as a victim when convenient.  This actress called her out on it.

This isn’t the first time that they’ve made fun of the mentally handicapped (here and here) nor the first time they made fun of Republicans.

Oh no!  Not the first time!  They’ve made fun of everyone on that show.  It isn’t always funny, and it sometimes crosses the line, but its hardly scandalous.

It’s ironic that the Fox Network broadcasts Family Guy and they make so many jokes about the company that writes their checks.

Actually its common, if not expected.  Take the Simpsons, for example, who over the years have had many jokes about Fox explicitly.  What’s funny though is that this blogger is simply mentioning jokes about Republicans, not Fox.  So its at least refreshing to see a conservative who doesn’t pretend Fox is a neutral, professional provider of news.  Silver lining.

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ACORN Pimp Video a Deliberate Fake

Posted in Analysis, Observations, Strategy by Captain Optimistic on February 18, 2010

Just in case you all missed this, have a read:

While O’Keefe is a whackjob and should be in jail, the greater absurdity here is how the media pushed and then defended this story, which anyone who has shame now has to accept was a carefully-edited YouTube propaganda piece reported by every single network as “investigative journalism.”

Anyone who tells you “but ACORN was going to give money to a PIMP” is a fucking idiot, and ought to be corrected right then and there.  The video was a fake:

Harshbarger also shed light on the controversial videos, noting that portions had been “substantially” edited, including some voice overdubbing.

A seriously fucked up fake:

The lying, the media complicity, the vicious racism of O’Keefe and his buddies have been covered elsewhere.  I just want to point out what vicious misogynists they are, too.  They went out of their way to turn people’s kindness towards marginalized women into a bad thing. When they encountered decent human beings who take responsibility when asked for help to stop violence against women, they brimmed over with hate for those people, and they set out to destroy them.  And while they think kindness towards prostitutes is a weakness, and violence against women is a joke, they exploited the public’s horror at sex trafficking and violence against women to slur people who were the only people in the room who actually had a problem with violence against women.

That is some fucked-up, woman-hating shit.

It is indeed.  Don’t doubt that conservatives will continue to use it as a weapon.  That is their mistake.  It is a weakness, and the second you see it exposed pounce and use it to give them a merciless ethical thrashing.

Evan Bayh – The Third Party Establishment Candidate

Posted in Analysis, Observations by Captain Optimistic on February 18, 2010

Evan Bayh (with conservative columnist David Brooks’ help) is trying to position himself as a third party contender for 2012 with hilarious results:

“You remember back then, the deficit was unsustainably high,” Bayh said, referring to the economic conditions of the early-1990’s. “The economy was struggling. People had a sense that Washington was just broken, and they looked for someone from completely outside the system. So, you know, let me be clear. I support the president. I think he is making a major effort, and I’m going to do what I can to help him succeed. But just my political take on it, I think–I think David is–he’s on to something.”

Bwahahahaha.  Outside the system?  Bayh?  Wow this guy has balls.

What Brooks and Bayh are aiming for is a stock conservative.  The kind of person much of the horribly and purposely misnamed “liberal media” actively want as President.

ROSE: My friend David Brooks, who was on the program recently and over the
weekend, said at long last, he believes that third party may be a viable
alternative if the president runs for re-election and someone from the right
of the Republican Party is the nominee, that there is today, in today’s
atmosphere, because of a feeling that issues are not being addressed well, an
opportunity for a third party candidate with very–with appropriate
credentials to run and win the presidency.

The only “opportunity” for a conservative pretending to be a centrist is the one Brooks, Bayh, and other villagers/establishment power brokers are working hard to create.

It is fairly easy to see through it now.  I wonder how clear it will be if they manage to run such a candidate in 2012.  More likely they will use this as pressure to pull Obama even further to the right of his current stance, pressuring Democrats to continue giving in to every Republican demand without getting an ounce of cooperation in return.

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Fuck You Massachusetts

Posted in Observations by Captain Optimistic on January 20, 2010

You picked a loser Democrat to fight against a Republican prepared to do the work.  The silver lining isn’t (Lieberman will continue to be a powerful asshole).  The only possible good I see comes from Arianna’s encouraging take.  Oh wait, no, the Democratic party will simply slide further into centrist hell.  YEAH THAT WILL WORK.

Really this is less about Massachusetts, and more about the Democratic Party: Party of colossal fuckups.

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Congress: Term vs Age Limits

Posted in Analysis, Observations, Strategy by Captain Optimistic on January 10, 2010

I find myself disagreeing – strongly – with Amanda Marcotte.  This of course has me a bit startled.  At issue is the question of term and age limits.  Amanda is upset about old out of touch white men in public office.  Which is understandable.  It isn’t like our generation will be any better when we find ourselves in power.  These men – across both parties – represent positions and hold perceptions that are way out of whack with the rest of the country.  Her solution is to avoid term limits and their associated problems and instead institute a mandatory retirement age.  There are a number of problems with this solution.

  • Medicine and Technology are turning 65 into 75, and 75 into 85.  At what point is a citizen no longer allowed to hold office because their world view is no longer relevant?  Should we instead of a citizenship test of sorts – a litmus test – to ensure aged political hopefuls are with the times?
  • Is there any premium at all on differing perceptions?  Do we want to make our governing body more homogeneous?

What we ought to be doing is removing age limits.  There is no reason a 20 year old cannot run for the highest office in the land.  Part of the problem is that congress is dominated by entrenched power, and entrenched power and age go hand in hand.

I’m hesitant to suggest term limits.  I think they’re a bad idea for a lot of reasons, starting with the fact that the existence of senior politicians is often a good thing—experience and stature helps them get things done. While we were talking about this last night, Marc also pointed out to me that term limits encourage corruption by encouraging the Dick Cheney-style revolving door between holding office and working for corporations.

We therefore need to couple term limits with strong and effective anti-corruption laws.  Encouraging the ageism in our political system does not strike me as an effective way to gain allies or improve our representation.

What if, instead of encouraging politicians to hang onto their seats as long as humanly possible, we created an incentive for politicians to groom and root for their successors?  One reason we’re all so scared to see someone like Ted Kennedy or Robert Byrd leave office is we’re afraid of who will take their place, but I think if these politicians were looking forward to retirement instead of waiting for death, that might not be so.  They would have much more of a reason to groom someone suitable for their seat, and help get them elected while they still had the energy to do so.

These incentives would increase the stranglehold of entrenched politicians even further, so they could continue to exert their influence after they leave through their successors.  Take a good hard look at Putin and Medvedev.  Do we really to encourage that here?

To strengthen our representation in Congress we need to increase diversity of representation and freedom of choice while simultaneously restricting entrenched power and corruption.  Here is what we need to agitate for:

  • Removing age limits
  • Instituting term limits
  • Selecting a new system of voting (along the lines of instant runoff) that allows people to rank their choices
  • Make elections entirely publicly financed, outlawing the spending of any private funds

It would be a start, a small step forward.  Age limits would be a step backwards, an act that legitimizes existing age limits when we need to do what we can to remove them entirely.

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Musings on Israel and Palestine

Posted in Musings by Captain Optimistic on November 30, 2009

I was talking with a friend about Israel, and he did something uncharacteristic.  He tried to shut down the debate.  He did so using a few problematic arguments.  Arguments I would like to take a look at before adding in my own thoughts on Israel and Palestine.

Tax Dollars and Speech

J made the point that since my tax dollars go towards supporting Israel’s violence towards the Palestinians, I couldn’t talk about “opposing violence”.  This is a pretty easy argument to defeat.  J opposes the Iraqi war, yet his tax dollars go towards its support.  Would anyone say he ought to shut up about his opposition?  Of course not.  It is vital we speak our minds, especially when our tax dollars go towards a cause we deem unjust.

Privilege and Violence

J then pointed out that the Palestinians were under attack, and I was speaking from the position of “Extreme Privilege” in condemning their violence.  Ironically, this is the exact same argument the Israeli government uses to justify its attacks on Palestinians!  J is hardly living under threat, from missiles or bombs, Palestinians or Israelis.  We share in this privilege, but it does not bind us to silence.  If anything it compels us to educate ourselves and seek to impact the situation positively.  Privilege is a blindfold, not a perpetual state of being.  We must first realize we are blind, but then we must tear off the blindfold as best we can and see!

Knowledge and Speech

J Finally said he didn’t have time to educate me, and I ought to “go do some critical thinking”.  This reminds me of a professor I had in college, who used to attack students whose viewpoints he disagreed with by lambasting them for “not having done the reading” (even when they had).  It also reminds me of a student of my own.  After establishing she had political viewpoints after all, I asked why she didn’t express them.  She responded that she didn’t feel she knew enough to have a voice.

One must always have a voice.  Knowledge is not a prerequisite for taking part in the discourse of society.  It is a desirable thing of course.  But too often knowledge is transformed into agreeable knowledge.  That is, the right kind of knowledge according to a particular point of view.  So I was told to read books that supported J’s viewpoint (no mention of those that opposed it).

Discussion as Democratic Vitality

Regardless of one’s viewpoints, it is essential to the health of Democratic discourse that we work to increase, not shut down, communication.  The Israel Palestine problem is huge, and one we all have an interest in seeing solved peaceably and sustainably.  We need to be finding ways to open channels of communication.  Especially when it comes to this issue.

OK OK, Where do YOU Stand?

I support a single secular state.  I don’t think two theocratic states prone to violence in close proximity is a recipe for success.  I think Israel-Palestine’s promise is in becoming a force for peace and an advocate for the oppressed.  I consider both the Israeli and Palestinian people to be a part of my heritage, and get excited thinking about the wonderful things they could accomplish together.

When it comes to guilt and responsibility, I find that both sides use violence, both sides kill the innocent, and both sides employ lies and propaganda to further their aims.  Being the state carries with it a higher responsibility, and Israel needs to step up.

I cannot say whether or not I would be moved to commit acts of violence if I were in their shoes.  What I can say is that as long as that violence continues it will make the situation ever worse, and consume the very blood of the innocent those acts of violence were meant to protect or avenge.

What do you think?