Saturday, October 18, 2008

100K Strong

Does anybody have a comparison graph of crowd sizes at campaign rallies?  Obama is bringing people in.  100k in St-Louis:

No papers? Burn yourself.

This is a tragic case.  A woman set herself on fire in order to protest her partners imminent explusion from the country.  No need to explain what I think.  There should not be such a thing as "illegals" or "non-documented."  These are constructs to appease nativists, not solve problems.

Une femme dont le compagnon sans-papiers est menacé d'expulsion vers l'Arménie a été grièvement blessée, samedi 18 octobre, après s'être immolée devant la maison d'arrêt du Mans, dans la Sarthe. Vers 8 h 50, la femme qui avait donné rendez-vous à des journalistes de la presse locale s'est aspergée le corps d'essence avant d'y mettre le feu.

Selon un correspondant de l'AFP, elle aurait voulu protester contre l'incarcération et l'expulsion de son compagnon. Le compagnon de la victime purge une peine de deux ans à la maison d'arrêt du Mans pour avoir refusé à 18 reprises de monter dans l'avion qui devait le reconduire en Arménie.  Read more at Le Monde...
Things Republicans Hate, from Natasha Chart at MyDD.

Republicans don't like people who are Arab.

Republicans don't like people who drink wine.

Republicans don't like people who eat lettuce.

Republicans don't like people who live in cities or suburbs.

Republicans don't like people who now think that the Iraq war was a mistake.

Republicans don't like people who are Hispanic or speak Spanish, unless they are pro-torture.

Republicans don't like people who are gay, unless they STFU about wanting to marry the people they love.

Republicans don't like people who organize unions or want better treatment and more protection from their employers at work.

Republicans don't like people who are professionals or college educated, unless those people pretend to be 'folksy' latte-haters.

Republicans don't like people who take the extreme position that people who are women are just as good as people who are men.

Republicans don't like people who are offended by the use of racist threats and stereotypes targeted towards people who are Black.

Who's left over after all that? Republicans, I guess. Real Americans, some Republicans might say. Other people might call them 27-37% of American adults, depending on whether you count the leaners.

Now probably a good few of the leaners don't pass the full 'real American' screen, but let's be generous, and say that Republicans like Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann would consider about 30 percent of American citizens to be real, pro-American types.

Once again, with feeling, this is "inherently ridiculous."

Friday, October 17, 2008

ACORN: Register voters, follow the law, become a target

Crooks and Liars:

Just as surely as night follows day, violence is being directed at ACORN offices and officials in the wake of the flood of right-wing demagoguery about its vote-gathering efforts:

An ACORN community organizer received a death threat and the liberal activist group's Boston and Seattle offices were vandalized Thursday, reflecting mounting tensions over its role in registering 1.3 million mostly poor and minority Americans to vote next month.

Attorneys for the Association of Community Organizers for Reform Now were notifying the FBI and the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division of the incidents, said Brian Kettenring, a Florida-based spokesman for the group.

Republicans, including presidential candidate John McCain, have verbally attacked the group repeatedly in recent days, alleging a widespread vote-fraud scheme, although they've provided little proof. It was disclosed Thursday that the FBI is examining whether thousands of fraudulent voter-registration applications submitted by some ACORN workers were part of a systematic effort or isolated incidents.

Kettenring said that a senior ACORN staffer in Cleveland, after appearing on television this week, got an e-mail that said she "is going to have her life ended."

A female staffer in Providence, R.I., got a threatening call from someone who said words to the effect of "We know you get off work at 9," then uttered racial epithets, he said.

John McCain has played a leading role in whipping up this frenzy of hatred. In Wednesday's debate, he charged:

We need to know the full extent of Sen. Obama's relationship with ACORN, who is now on the verge of maybe perpetrating one of the greatest frauds in voter history in this country, maybe destroying the fabric of democracy.

This is consistent with the hateful language being spewed from the right by the likes of Lou Dobbs, who has taken to routinely characterizing ACORN as a "radical left-wing activist group" as well as "a Democratic Party adjunct".

In fact, the hysteria's being generated across a broad spectrum of the Right, from Outer Malkinite Wingnuttia to Inside Beltway Villagers, from McCain and Palin to the frothiest freepers.

And we can see what's coming, too: We're being set up for a running yammer from the right after Obama wins questioning his legitimacy because of a supposedly "tainted" vote. Conspiracy theories and talking points from the right will circulate, driving up the temperature and feeding the right-wing populist frenzy.

And they're not even waiting until Election Day to begin.

How to do things with words: repeat lies, encourage hatred and mistrust, wait.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The End of Anomie

I just posted over at Open Left:

Then End of Anomie

Between roughly 1968 and 2004, United States (and its politics) has been dominated by a form of social relations that is defined, paradoxically, by a lack of social relations: Anomie. It is that feeling that comes about when one feels that the anchors of one's life have been cut, when traditional values such as family, friends, community, church and work seems to be evaporating. In anomie, family, neighborhood, community and church become, as often as not, institutions in transition that subsequently raise as many questions as they answer.

This has been as true for our urban areas as for our rural ones. The exodus to the suburbs brought on increased feelings of separation from our friends and neighbors and family. Our suburbs, while offering some benefits like front yards to play in and spacious living quarters for our smaller families, conversely brought us increased busing and commutes, and fewer family dinners. Our countryside was nearly fully transformed into a large factory that produced for the our cities. Our rural areas became not autonomous regions of self-sustenance but places where people worked for low wages to produce materials for the city based the economics of the city. Diversity of crops and of labor was sacrificed to the predictable (but meager) world of monocrop production where local supermarkets imported carrots, salads, beets, and sweet corn so that the surrounding acreage can produce soybeans or cattle feed. Like their urban counterparts, the rural folk no longer felt in control of their own destiny. They were strangers in the small towns... [click here to keep reading]

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Confessions of a(n) (In)Secure User

Ok. I'll admit it, I don't use anti-virus protection. Also, with the exception of a Microsoft Outlook infection that overtook our campus 7-8 years ago and that reached the address book on my pc, I've NEVER had a virus.

Is that smug? Probably, and now that I'm writing this post, I'm expecting a massive attack and crash. But you need to understand that I'm very careful and I've just been doing a couple of simple things and I've never had a problem. Besides, the folks at Wired agree with me:

The gospel is familiar: An antivirus program paired with anti-spyware/malware measures will shield your PC from just about anything. In fact, the marketing of those products is so good that security apps are about the only software people still expect to pay for. But the best stuff doesn't cost a dime. Programs like AVG and Ad-Aware are free, and they won't hit you up for upgrades like the big security suites.
Those guardians are fine for Grandma's Gateway, but the truly savvy eschew them altogether. Even the most well-meaning program bogs down your box. And it's not hard to dodge infection; just abide by the basic tenets of Internet common sense: Don't click on mysterious email attachments, don't bother with the free pr0n, Ch3@p Vi@gr@, and Nigerian millions, and never open .exe files. Email is still one of the biggest infection vectors, so be cautious and use a good webmail service like Gmail, which automatically scans your messages. Don't leave your computer online when you're not on it. Beware of anything that immediately asks for personal information. Don't reuse passwords.


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

A vision of the future

If you don't read, you should. I can't say it with enough emphasis: Chris, Matt, Dave, et al--they get it.

Here's Chris Bowers:

So, what happens if this rout holds up, and Democrats score a trifecta that includes a 100 seat House majority and 60 seats in the Senate? In the extended entry, I take a look at the macro political ramifications of such a massive Democratic rout.
In my crystal ball I see:

* Republican Party moves to the right: Yes, that's correct--I am pretty sure the Republican Party will become even more conservative if they are entirely blown out in this election. The reason is simple: all remaining mechanisms for pushing left will have been either removed or discredited, while all mechanisms that push them to the right will remain intact. The Club for Growth will still play successfully in Republican primaries. Conservative media will become even more important to the conservatie rank and file, as a loss of this magnitude is heavily blamed on the dreaded "MSM." The party will still be owned by the same large and corporate donors who control it now. However, Republican "moderates" will have been pushed to the very edge of extinction, and borne the brunt of congressional losses / retirements. Moderating figures like John McCain will have been discredited. Self-identified moderates and liberals will have abandoned the Republican Party in droves, many now both identifying and registered as Democrats. The only thing left in the Republican Party will be the true winguts, and they will lurch the party even further to the right.

* Aimless, confused center-right punditry. With neoliberalism destroyed by nationalization, socially conservatives whites clearly losing their power as the center of the swing voting universe, and with the Republican Party pushed out of Congressional control for a long time, the center-right pundits that dominate cable nets, Sunday talk shows, and many large newspapers will be downright confused and aimless. The changes in David Brooks over the last two weeks are a good example of this. Mind you, they won't embrace progressivism, as their formative experiences in the 70's and 80's will still be too powerful to them. Also, most of them will hold onto their jobs and prominence, even if we score a couple more Olberman's and Maddow's. But their world will have been shattered, and they just won't know where to go for a while.

* The Democratic Party will lack a clear center of power and become more factional: Obama edged out the Clinton power center, but he didn't destroy it. They will now operate side by side. Same with the reviving progressive advocacy infrastructure, which Obama relented on a few weeks ago. The House will be a mess, with Hoyer, Blue Dogs, Speaker Pelosi, Emanuel / New Dems, and the emerging Progressives all holding a share of power. The Senate will continue to be the Senate, with most major legislation passing with 75 votes, not 60. Grassroots progressive infrastructure will be at it's peak, but also might lose steam under Democratic trifecta rule. While the party could never possibly be as factional as it was during the New Deal coalition, it will be more factional than it is now.

* Demographics cement Democratic congressional majority for at least six, and possibly sixteen, years: Since voting habits set in after a person reaches 30, a new generation that grew up and began voting under Bush will be used to voting for Democrats after this election. The country will continue to become less white and less Christian at rapid rates, providing Democrats with a natural edge in elections. While the country has given Republicans and conservatives roughly a 51%-48% base advantage in elections from 1986 forward, that 3% base edge will now flip toward Democrats. It isn't a guarantee, but it is a nice head start. With majorities approaching 100 and 20 seats in the House and Senate respectively, it will be enough to hold onto Congressional power for at least six years, and possibly sixteen.

* The country will still be in a world of hurt. This is perhaps the most important marco trend of all, and could cancel out all of the other trends listed here. The country will still face disasters on multiple fronts (militarily, economically, diplomatically, environmentally, etc), and it won't be easy to fix. The degree to which the Democratic trifecta is able to make the lives of Americans better will be the largest factor in determining future Democratic electoral prospects. The specific policies and factions that succeed, or fail, in making American lives better will go a long way toward deciding the upcoming factional fight in the Democratic Party, as well as the destination of the aging center-right punditry.

If we pull off the rout, that is how I see the future. What do you see following a huge Democratic landslide?


In case you forgot what was going on:

Virtual Obama

Josh Marshall at points out Obama's virtual advertisement in Burnout Paradise:

"Look closely. That's not a picture of an Obama billboard ad in front of a few cool cars. That's a screen capture from the Xbox 360 racing game Burnout Paradise. Advertisers can buy space on the billboards in the game. And the game publisher has confirmed to that that's an official Obama ad, placed by the campaign."

Cool.  There are really no virtual worlds.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Jeez, the stupid!

Ok, for reasons I won't explain, I was over at Roger Kimball's website. He should learn from Tucker Carlson: bowties do not make you smart!

He says:

I think Ms. Rabinowitz is right. Whatever else it is, this election is a referendum on two very different visions of America. Obama’s vision is of country crippled by sin; McCain and Palin’s vision is of a country fired by high ideals and expansive opportunity.

“You’re beautiful, I love you, now change.” That is Team Obama’s message. “You’re beautiful, I love you as you are”: that is the message of McCain and Sarah Palin. It’s the difference between the utopian–who finds himself disgusted with every real-world polity, and who finds himself willing, indeed, eager, to sacrifice real people for the sake of the ideal ones he wishes to create–and the simple patriot who says Yes to the family, community, and country in which he finds himself.

Most Americans, I believe, love their country for what it is–not what it could become if suitably socialized, taxed, neutered, and otherwise recast. If McCain-Palin can effectively articulate that message, they will win."

Well, Roger. I hate to tell you, but one can love one's country and disagree with it and want to change it. Also, please consider the fact that the Republicans who have dominated presidential elections since 1968 and who've controlled congress and/or the White House from 1996 to 2006 might be somewhat responsible for the various political and economic crises our country faces, crises which just might (justifiably) be ruining the Republican brand name. Given that John McCain has bent over backwards to conform to the religious right to get this nomination and "fit the brand," and that he has always bent over for Wall Street, are we supposed to forget what he stands for and where he came from? If Americans are making some connections that are entirely logical maybe you could do the same.

McCain may win, but don't hold your breath.

Could I also just say that your commenters--the ones who agree with you--make you look really bad. Now, I know that Republicans never use guilt-by-association methods (cough, Ayers, cough) and that you would never stoop so low, but can I just quote a few (my emphasis):


he will absolutely win. the polls are always wrong, and exactly how many folks outside of the cities and college towns will vote obama?

mccain signs are 20-1 over obama signs in real America where i live




I know Senator McCain will win. I just want the patriots out there to realize what will happen when he is elected. It’s going to be mayhem. Just like Kenya.


I do know that this is not the America in which I grew up, the America I learned about in school and the America my husband served with his heart and soul for 26 years. I want my country back. The socialists have taken over.

For those who contend the Republicans should have stopped the friends of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac during the Clinton administration - you need to go back and really learn what happened. Just because there is a majority of one party doesn’t always mean the majority wins. It also doesn’t mean that all Republicans are true conservatives.

The bottom line is that subprime loans are at the bottom of the economic crisis. Subprime loans were created by the Democrats as a socialistic effort to give to “the have nots” by taking from the “haves”. It “worked” for awhile and that’s what brought us to this point. However, we certainly can’t ignore AIG’s insurance of these pieces of crap bundled into bigger pieces of crap as to being a contributing factor.

Get it? You see, real Americans pray and never get subsidies, Republicans are never responsible for anything bad and even if they are then they are not "real" Republicans. Even if McCain wins, the socialist race war is here and we'll be just like those African countries because, well, America is no longer the good ol' country it used to be.



"Clark Hoyt on election coverage in the New York Times: Through Friday, of 270 news articles published in The Times about the election since the national tickets were formed in late August, only 29, or a little over 10 percent, were primarily about policy substance"

More about Krugman

What does the Krugman prize mean?

Probably not much, but along with the current crisis, the anointment of Krugman, the popularity of Obama, the growth of progressive groups, and the unpopularity of Republican and DLC "Let the market handle it" facile truisms could be a symbolic tipping point. I think we're seeing, finally, a moment of relative honesty about our "system."

Will historians look back at this and see it as a historic shift? Nothing is written in stone, but events are converging...

I'm keeping my eyes open and my fingers crossed. This could be the end of the free market myth birthed and promoted by von Hayek, Friedman et al.

Paul Krugman Wins "Nobel"

It warms my heart that one of the Bush administrations most unrelenting critics has won the "Nobel" Prize in Economoics. He has brought the only other intelligent voice to the Times' besides Bob Herbert.   Alternative history--to counter page 1's Miller's and Bumiller's--was being written as history happened.


Of course, it's easy to kick the Republicans when they are down, but thanks anyway to the Swedish banking community.

You'll note that I didn't say the Nobel Foundation.  You see, the The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel is an invention of the extremely conservative Swedish banking community.  For years it was (and probably mostly still is) a mouthpiece of neoliberal policy à la Milton Friedman.  Ironically, Sweden suffered a horrible banking crash in the early 90's.  Ironic because Paul Krugman has been a great opponent of Greenspan's bubble and his allies in the White House, that is, Krugman opposed the Sweden-styled bubble that is now popping all over the U.S. and the world.

Having possibly learned their lesson, do the Swedes know something we don't?