politics

Democratic party delenda est

So Russ Feingold has introduced a modest resolution to censure Bush for his egregious violation of the Bill of Rights in the form of domestic spying. Not to impeach, not to criminally prosecute, not to publicly horsewhip and tar and feather, but merely to censure, to say "naughty boy!"

And not a single other Democratic senator has stepped forward to co-sponsor it, and only one has said he'll vote for it if it comes up. Everyone else is hemming and hawing as if Feingold's proposal for the Senate to actually do its goddamn job and act as a check on presidential power was more of a challenge to them than, say, authorizing Bush to go kill 100,000 people in an illegal, immoral, and stupid war.

Ronald Dworkin: Even bigots and Holocaust deniers must have their say

Very nice piece in The Guardian by law professor Ronald Dworkin:

Free speech is a condition of legitimate government. Laws and policies are not legitimate unless they have been adopted through a democratic process, and a process is not democratic if government has prevented anyone from expressing his convictions about what those laws and policies should be. Ridicule is a distinct kind of expression; its substance cannot be repackaged in a less offensive rhetorical form without expressing something very different from what was intended...So in a democracy no one, however powerful or impotent, can have a right not to be insulted or offended.

Z interviews RMS

Z Magazine (or at least it's on-line project "Z Net") interviews Richard Stallman, founder of the Free Software movement. RMS discusses globalization, power, and freedom:

If you are against the globalization of business power, you should be for free software....

People who say they are against globalization are really against the globalization of business power. They are not actually against globalization as such, because there are other kinds of globalization, the globalization of cooperation and sharing knowledge, which they are not against. Free software replaces business power with cooperation and the sharing of knowledge.

Globalizing a bad thing makes it worse. Business power is bad, so globalizing it is worse. But globalizing a good thing is usually good. Cooperation and sharing of knowledge are good, and when they happen globally, they are even better.

Iraqis say they're not better off with Saddam gone

An ABC news poll finds that a majority of Iraqis, fifty-two percent, say things in their country are going badly. Only a forty-six percent minority think the country is better off now than it was before the war, and half of Iraqis say the U.S. invasion was wrong.

How do things look for democracy? Overall 57 percent of Iraqis prefer democracy to either strongman rule or an Islamic state. That's a pretty slim majority for such an important idea. It's bad enough that 43% of the people don't prefer rule by the people, but it's even worse that the pro-democracy side makes a majority only because of strong favorable number in Kurdish and in mixed Shiite/Sunni areas. In Shiite areas and Sunni areas, only a minority (45 and 38 percent respectively) prefer democracy.

Bush admists to killing tens of thousands - 100 9/11s.

Reuters reports that George W. Bush admitted today that his Iraq policy has killed 30,000 Iraqis. Other estimates that take all war-related "excess deaths" into account (those from disease, malnutrition, and so on) put the civilian death toll as high as 100,000.

Remember that the 9/11 murders killed fewer than 3,000 Americans. And remember that Iraq has a population of only about 1/10 that of the U.S. In proportion, then, Bush's illegal, immoral, and stupid invasion has inflicted between 100 and 300 9/11s worth of deaths on Iraq (and about 2/3rd of a 9/11 on American troops).

Hillary Clinton - I'm becoming more and more glad she's unelectable

As previously noted, despite her appointment by the media as a front-runner, Hillary Clinton is very unlikely to be elected president.

Given her refusal to resist the invasion and occupation of Iraq, that doesn't bother me at all, I've just been hoping that the Democrats will get serious and find a better candidate. (Both for president and for her Senate seat.)

Comes now news that makes me want to see her off the scene even more: she's co-sponsoring yet another attempt to make an end-run around the First Amendment in the form of a "flag protection" act. We can do without yet another Republican in Democrat's clothing.

Worst president ever?

>Columnist Richard Reeves considers the question: is W the worst U.S. president ever?

The History News Network at George Mason University has just polled historians informally on the Bush record. Four hundred and fifteen, about a third of those contacted, answered -- maybe they were all crazed liberals -- making the project as unofficial as it was interesting. These were the results: 338 said they believed Bush was failing, while 77 said he was succeeding. Fifty said they thought he was the worst president ever.

BTW, I find it helps take a tiny little bit of the sting out of enduring this administration if you say "worst president ever" in a Comic Book Guy voice...try it and see if you don't feel just a little better.

Christian Science Monitor: A culture of bribery in Congress

I'm still not sure how such an... interesting... religion as "Christian
Science" gets a newspaper as generally level-headed as the
Christian Science Monitor, but they've
got a nice

editorial on the Cunningham case and state of corruption in Congress
:

Either way, money still talks in Washington and the legal/illegal
distinction gets easily blurred in all the backroom dealings with private
interests until, that is, a brazen case of bribery pops up. Then

Gore unlikely to run; Clinton unlikely to win

Al Gore says he has no intention of running for President again. Kind of a shame, he's saying all the right things on the issues now. (Al, where was your voice in the 2000 election?)

Much is being made of Senator Hillary Clinton as a front-runner for the Democratic nomination in 2008. That would be a suicidal path for the Democratic party - not (or not just) because Clinton is a controversial figure and woman to boot, but simply because the American people do not elect Senators to the Presidency.

Of the ten men elected president since WWII, four were former Vice-Presidents. Of the remainder, four were former governors, and the other two were war heroes.

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