The Laughable Socialist Narrative

The recent attack-line about Obama being a "socialist" simply because he wants to build efficiency into the tax code is weak on its face. But it's all the more ridiculous when you factor in all the Republican hypocrisy.


If government control and redistribution of income are the hallmarks of socialism, then Republicans need to look in the mirror.

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Daily Outrage on the Flag Desecration Amendment

There have been some wonderful diaries on the flag desecration amendment, but it's important enough to throw out another -- and another, and another, every day, until this battle is won. We need to keep the issue at the top of our priorities so political leaders make no mistake in reading the netroots.


The Senate takes up flag desecration next week, in the form of debate about a constitutional amendment that would give Congress the authority to criminalize personal expression.




From what I can tell, the pro-amendment camp is a mere one vote away from watering down the bill of rights. And I'm pretty sure all 50 states stand ready to ratify. So next week is do or die on this issue.




The point of this diary is to expose the bizarre Orwellian inverted-speak at play here. We already know that Republicans are masters at this game. For example:

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Why election reform is so important

Paul Krugman reminds us today why efforts by groups like Reform Ohio Now are so important. According to Krugman:

By running for the U.S. Senate, Katherine Harris, Florida's former secretary of state, has stirred up some ugly memories. And that's a good thing, because those memories remain relevant. There was at least as much electoral malfeasance in 2004 as there was in 2000, even if it didn't change the outcome. And the next election may be worse.


Good point - in so many ways, Harris represents everything that's wrong with the system in most states. We should use her candidacy to our advantage, to keep the issue in the MSM.

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Gas prices growing into a huge issue, and opportunity for Dems

The energy bill, laden with another generation of oil subsidies, has been signed into law, but almost everybody involved has acknowledged that if it has any impact, it won't be for many years. In the meantime, there are increasing signs that Americans are starting to really feel the impact of energy prices, according to a story in today's NY Times.

...overall:

Inflation surged last month, the government reported yesterday, as the long rise in energy prices finally seemed to be pinching the American economy. After absorbing the burden of oil at $40 a barrel, then at $50 and beyond, consumers have started to react as prices have risen above $60 in recent weeks..


I know Crawford and Roberts are the big stories right now, but from the standpoint of how to regain power, Democrats need to realize that this issue may become the MOST important concern for voters in '06 and '08.

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Big government conservatism run amok

Central diary message: Democrats should seize the fiscal responsibility issue for '06 /'08... and tie it to Hackett's success.

There was a time when GOP talking points invariably included criticism of Democrats as "big spenders", who threatened the nation's finances with what amounted to federal job programs.

Well, in today's Washington Post, there's a remarkable piece about just how far today's GOP has abandoned that principle. As Congress leaves for recess, the theme of the current talking points memo for home districts is prideful attachment to pork.

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Spreading oppression...

OK, somebody assure me that freedom is on the march in Iraq... 2,000 troop deaths, thousands more injured, and tens of thousands of Iraqi deaths later, we're staring at the following as Iraq frames its new constitution:

  1. A constitution that establishes Islam as a driving and dominant force in Iraqi law...

  2. As part of that Koranic law, women will have few rights, especially in matters like marriage, divorce, and inheritance...Unbelievably, the move would replace a set of laws under Saddam that afforded much stronger protection of women's rights... i.e., this would be a step BACKWARD...

  3. A push to remove the interim constitution's guarantee to have women represented in parliament...

  4. A recent trip to Tehran by the Iraqi Prime Minister and 8 high level cabinet members, to discuss oil, joint security concerns, pilgrimage, etc...

Even against the revised rationale of spreading freedom, should we be happy that the ultimate outcome to all of this might be another IRAN? ... a new Iran that partners closely with Iran proper? Last I saw, the latter is a gold card member of the Axis of Evil...

Maybe we need new talking points -- something like, "Shiite -- rather than Sunni -- oppression is on the march"...

... the hope is that since it's an ongoing process, this movement will be undercut... but it's very troubling, imo

Why Bush will run Right on Supreme Court nominee

For those of us holding out hope that Bush will appoint a justice in the same mold as O'Connor, today's WSJ editorial should give pause... In very clear terms, it speaks to the sense of betrayal felt on the Right over the years on this issue... Betrayal in that Republicans can't blame the Democrats for the current court's makeup; if they want to criticize Roe, they have to look in the mirror, given the historical Republican dominance of the appointment process...

Here's the full link: http://www.opinionjournal.com/editorial/feature.html?id=110006984

And here is a telling blurb (bold is mine):

Hkingsley's diary :: ::

Earl Warren, the father of modern judicial activism, was an Eisenhower appointee. So was William Brennan, who inherited Warren's mantle as the Court's liberal giant. Harry Blackmun, the author of Roe v. Wade, was a Nixon appointee.

The most liberal member of the current court, John Paul Stevens, was a Gerald Ford selection. David Souter, a George H. W. Bush and Warren Rudman choice, told the Senate he saw himself in the tradition of the great Justice John Harlan, who revered precedent. But on the court he's arguably been more of a liberal activist than either of Bill Clinton's two justices (Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer).

Anthony Kennedy, selected by Reagan after Robert Bork was defeated, was said at the time to share 80% of Mr. Bork's philosophy. But Mr. Kennedy's jurisprudence has proven to be nearly as malleable as Justice Souter's, especially on the cultural and church-state issues where the Court has become the de facto national legislature.

To the people who pushed W into a second term, this is the most important battle, even larger than Iraq (though few would admit it to your face)... On that side, the thinking goes that if desired change can't come with the WH and both houses of Congress, it simply isn't possible for it to ever happen...

I'd almost go so far as to say that a "consensus" candidate might be the catalyst for splitting the Republican party... the power on this issue is there to blow a hole in it...

So anyway, I'd love to be wrong... I'd love to think W might see himself representing ALL of us in this process... But I'm also hopeful the Atlanta Hawks will get into the NBA finals one day :)...Given past appointments, it can be convincingly argued that the Republican party once really did represent mainstream America...no longer...

Abortion and the right to eat red meat....

There's been a good bit of talk about re-framing the abortion issue. And it makes a tremendous amount of sense to couch it constitutionally as a matter of privacy... As such, our basic message to voters is: "If you think the constitution protects your privacy, come and join us; if not, feel free to go with the GOP"...

This is a good start, but I think we have the opportunity to take it further. Many people simply don't understand the true implications of appointing judges who won't protect any right that's NOT enumerated...They see it only in the context of abortion rights, because we've allowed the Right to defined the terms of the debate.

I think it's time to paint some vivid implications of strict constructionism...

Imagine if in some locality, a majority of ultra vegetarians in the legislature was able to outlaw the sale and consumption of red meat. My gut tells me that many folks trapped in this hypothetical would instinctively feel their inherent constitutional rights were disparaged in some way; they would simply ASSUME these wacko vegetarians can't rape them of their freedom of self preservation, their freedom to choose what they eat... somehow, the right to eat just has to be inherent within "an ordered society"...

Well, if the Supreme Court was stacked with strict constructionists, the answer to such a complaint would be, "look, that's not in the constitution - so you're shit out of luck... majority rules"....

This is obviously a far-fetched scenario, but I'm trying to illustrate a point:

To complete the transformation of the abortion issue to "privacy", we have to come up with succinct examples that hit home... We have to come up with scenarios where swing voters or independents take constitutional rights for granted - and throw it in their face...making them see that those constitutional rights cease to exist under the care of RW judicial appointments...We need to implore them, if no UN-enumerated or privacy rights exist, to find in the constitution your right to:

1.
2.
3.

bloggers - give me some examples, please...

Hank

A powerful message on terrorism: REALITY

As we all know, the rhetoric is very heated on how to deal with the threat of terrorism. And to be heard above the noise, leaders from all sides are engaged in a rat race for the perfect solution. Whether it's pre-emptive invasion, infinite detainment, or snooping in on our reading habits, the consistent expectation planted in the public mind is that we're engaged in a finite "war" against a "terror that will be defeated"...

Well, you know what? ... You can't defeat a noun, at least not in any measurably conclusive way...

Of course, we don't simply give up, by any means...The most logical responses here at home -- protecting our ports, nuclear facilities, etc. -- have been horribly neglected, and deserve heavy focus. And energy independence must become a national priority, so we no longer have to needlessly coddle corrupt middle eastern regimes and infuriate Osama's followers ...

BUT, maybe in the end the best political message from any leader is one based in the larger reality of the world, lest each subsequent pre-emptive invasion create the quixotic expectation that the "war" is almost over...

Consider what Stephn Flynn said on MTP this past Sunday:

I think the most important thing is something that Admiral Loy mentioned, this is really to engage the American people, to get out of this kind of paternalistic approach of, "You shop and travel.  We've got it under control." 

The problem with the statement that everything that can be done is being done is missing the most critical element to our success in dealing with this issue, which is the engagement of we the people.  

And coming clean about the limits about our intelligence, coming clean about the limits of what our military capability can be done and the need to roll up sleeves and plan many years ahead making our society more resilient, not fail-safe, resilient, the kinds of things we stand up and applaud when we see the Londoners get back on the train the next day, what we saw in the Blitz, this is the kind of character that is in the American people I'm convinced. 

I saw it being in New York on 9/11 with no federal authorities in sight.  It's the failure to call upon us all to be a part of this solution, to share the sacrifice in dealing with this war, I think, is the most important thing I use my day for.

Worries of Dem submission on new Patriot Act

Today's NY Times lead editorial brings into focus one of the more troubling elements of Patriot Act II: the widespread use of administrative warrants that don't require judicial oversight.

As the paper points out:

When the F.B.I. wants access to private records about an individual, it ordinarily needs to get the approval of a judge or a grand jury. The proposed new administrative subpoena power would allow the F.B.I. to call people in and force them to produce records on its own authority, without approval from the judicial branch. This kind of secret, compelled evidence not tied to any court is incompatible with basic American principles of justice. It would also make it far easier for the F.B.I. to go off on fishing expeditions.

Diaries :: Hkingsley's diary :: ::
Here's a link to the full piece: http://www.nytimes.com/2005/07/11/opinion/11mon1.html?

My foremost concern is the effort by the Right to conflate opposition to PII with sympathy toward terrorists. Even under normal circumstances, Democrats have a tendency to go weak in the knees when faced with this argument. But the London attacks will create even more pressure on Dems to roll over...

Last week's events should lead to tough questions about the real impact of the Iraq invasion. By many measures, we are LESS safe...But unfortunately, I fear that in typical Orwellian fashion, the Right will use London to instead reward itself with MORE ill-conceived powers...

Democrats MUST take a stand...The constitution is not negotiable...

Diaries

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