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Thursday, January 31, 2008

Systemic Spinelessness vs...



I really have been thinking, of late, that there must be some sort of blackmail skulduggery going on protecting this administration from accountability via the Legislative branch. I mean, really, these guys are parading High Crimes & Misdemeanors in Macy's window, so to speak, and with gusto. But my tinfoil-hattedness gets dissed again, as John Conyers reluctantly explains to a persistent questioner that it's his friggin' job he worries about (h/t Bear Republic Action Group.) From the video:
...there must be some compelling reason why I'm not doing it right now...

...if we started an impeachment hearing that didn't succeed...they would say that
[Cheney? Bush?] is being demonized...they would take that right into the election of 2008...
What about Kucinich? he is asked. Well, he recognizes the rights of Kucinich and Wexler, but he's "the Chairman."

Flop sweat over his power position. And I thought it would require photos of a dead woman or a live boy.

A grim reminder that these people we elect to represent us all too often are more concerned with #1 than with, well, us.

They probably don't all start out that way, but that's what elections are for. *sigh*

Hey, Michigan - I know that having a Representative with an impressive tenure such as Conyers' is powerful medicine, but it would be nice if power-clutchers like Conyers got slapped for self-interest over their actual job description. It might offset their fear of rebuke for failing at trying to do the right thing.

(This coming from an Arizonan, with the senior Senator McCain. Doh!)

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

McCain In Florida! Huzzah!

McSilly
Courtesy of Comedy Central'sIndecision 2008
I am not/will not be devoting much thought to the battle over who gets to drive the Republican clown car over the cliff, but it looks like there's a some momentum, with no small help from corporate media, to (finally) anoint Senator McCain as the Republican nominee for President of the United States. I couldn't be happier. When he loses - loses - the first general election which he finally scrapped his way into, can we now, finally, put a fork in the Arizona Senator? I really don't want to see his unprincipled, mendacious and obsequious face in any further presidential primaries again. Ever.

Oh, and when Joe Lieberman loses the race with him as the VP pick (you know it's coming, and a twofer for Joe), do we dare to hope that we can knock both of these asshats out of the Senate as well?

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Super Delegates: Who & Why

Superman emblem
Courtesy of Sriram Krishnan

truthout has a clarifying breakdown of the current situation of delegate allocation in the Democratic primaries. The roughly 60 percent of delegates arbitrated by the primary voting system (popular delegates) are looking to be pretty evenly distributed among the leading candidates. This leaves the "super-delegates" with a great deal of discretion in deciding who is actually the nominee for November's contest.

Who are they (read the whole article)?
There are 852 super delegates, roughly 40 percent of the amount of delegates needed to win the nomination. The category includes Democratic governors and members of Congress, former presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter, former vice president Al Gore, retired Congressional leaders such as Dick Gephardt and all Democratic National Committee members, some of who are appointed by party chairman Howard Dean.

There are 3,515 pledged delegates that are selected by the primary and caucus system.
Why are they?
Many see the system as undemocratic. It was set up as a safety net for party leaders to correct a "mistake" by the voters. It was a reaction to the McGovern nomination in 1972, and partly the Carter nomination in 1976. McGovern was seen as someone outside the mainstream. Party leaders wanted a way to influence the nominating process and rescue the party from a nominee they didn't think could win. They also felt Jimmy Carter didn't have the name recognition or experience; so if they had the system, then they probably would have attempted to block his nomination.
While I have some sympathy for the Party as to the genesis of this "safety net," I come away with this:

With the overriding theme of the Democratic platform shaping up to be all about "change," I find it ironic and not a little depressing that the Democratic Party has put a mechanism in place precisely to thwart any really significant change. Again, I understand how butt-hurt everyone is over McGovern and all, but there's something to be said for standing for something, win or lose.

It's the only voice the populace has against entrenched interests.

Update: Olbermann & Schuster discuss. Thanks, Nicole Belle at Crooks & Liars.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Stage Three?

Populism
Courtesy of Les Enragés.org
The Oligarchs Strike Back (quoting The LA Times):
"I'm concerned about anti-corporate and populist rhetoric from candidates for the presidency, members of Congress and the media," he said. "It suggests to us that we have to demonstrate who it is in this society that creates jobs, wealth and benefits -- and who it is that eats them."
(Via Mike's Blog Round Up.)

This quote from Gandhi is a favorite of mine:
First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.
In the "fighting" stage, eh?

Saturday, January 5, 2008

The Supreme Court On Voter ID (Voter Obstruction)

Voting Booth
Voter ID Court Challenges Expected to Have Big Impact on 2008 Elections:
The high court will hear oral arguments Jan. 9 in two cases challenging the validity of an Indiana law that requires voters to produce photo identification in order to cast ballots.
(Thanks, Mike's Blog Round Up, once again.) More:
Opponents of the law argue it is an unconstitutional burden on voters. They say the Supreme Court should give the law “strict scrutiny” and reject it because Indiana cannot cite a single instance of voter fraud that the statute would have prevented.

Supporters say that the court should see the law as a reasonable requirement that does not unduly deprive anyone of the right to vote.

[snip]

Both sides have been forced to rely on thin empirical evidence. While Indiana cannot cite any cases of preventable voter fraud, neither can the law’s challengers point to specific people who would not be able to vote because of the law...
[emphasis mine]
Sorry, but that last bit is nonsense. Obviously, anyone without a "valid photo ID" would not be able to vote. And who are these people?

They are citizens who economically disenfranchised to the point of distraction, as in obtaining and maintaining a "valid photo ID" is way down on the list of their daily concerns. You know, like the homeless.

Citizens, nonetheless.

They are citizens who find a "valid photo ID" ideologically toxic, and curmudgeonly exercise their right to not play along. (I tend to agree with these people, but I'm not eccentric enough - yet - to suffer the trials of not having a "valid photo ID" in these Modern Times.)

Citizens, nonetheless.

There is clearly a majority of "enfranchised" American citizens who have a problem with both of these types of citizens at some level - whether or not it rises to the level of obstructing their right to vote is moot. What is relevant, however, is that they are citizens just the same, regardless of how distasteful their situation, their ideology, or whatever qualifying adjective is placed before the word "citizen."

As in, "non-valid-photo-ID-carrying" citizens. Citizens, nonetheless.

If I choose (or am forced) to drop out of "conventional" American society as defined by mainstream citizens/participants, I damn well sure still want access to the ballot. One does not disappear citizens from the national conversation simply because they do not fit in to what is considered reasonable according to the standards and chatter of the currently enshrined American paradigm (which, it could be reasonably argued, contains its share of inherent dysfunction.)

A healthy democratic society entertains all criticisms and points of view in its conversation. Adding qualifying adjectives to the word "citizen" is not simply a slippery slope towards the tyranny of the majority - it is arriving at that lesser plateau.

This should be a no-brainer for those black robes, those protectors of this American Experiment. And it is a no-brainer. If this Indiana law is not tossed on its arse with dispatch (and though IANAL, this should also void a similar law here in Arizona, borne of "illegal" immigrant jingoism), it should be clear that this country is in deep shit.

Not that we didn't know that already.