Political Ideas

Dec
22

Yes, Dubya, Now I Miss You

Tag: Impeachment, Peace and War, Political Ideas

When George W. Bush made the case for attacking and destroying the nation of Iraq, he made claims that, if true, would have justified nothing. And he proposed as evidence for those claims fraudulent, implausible, and even ridiculous pieces of information. But he was expected to produce evidence. There was no assumption that he should simply be taken on faith.

Those standards are gone.

The common wisdom that Vladimir Putin hacked into Democratic and Republican emails and fed the Democratic ones to WikiLeaks which delegitimized an otherwise legitimate election, is not based on any public evidence, and none is asked for by most believers.

The premise that possessing weapons justifies being attacked was patently absurd in 2003. The U.S. openly possessed all the weapons it claimed Iraq had. The premise that (further) exposing a rigged primary harms, rather than facilitating, election integrity, is strictly nuts in 2016. WikiLeaks and any source(s) deserve our thanks.

But the standard of evidence has been altered. It's certainly possible the Russian government hacked the emails. It's even possible that Russia was the source for WikiLeaks, and that Julian Assange and Craig Murray are deluded or lying, that Bill Binney is mistaken, and that all the anomalies in the claims of Russian hacking can be explained away. But the expectation that some sort of evidence should be produced no longer exists.

Dec
18

Monday Morning Bernie Backing

Tag: Elections, Peace and War, Political Ideas

The growing push to defeat Trump by any of the following means:

Taking the CIA's warmongering on faith and blaming Vladimir Putin for everything, Accusing the FBI, Pressing for majority rule despite the electoral college, Protesting voters being stripped from the rolls, Objecting to intimidation at the polls, Trying to undo the blocking of votes by those lacking IDs, Remedying broken and insufficient and unverifiable machines, Counting paper ballots where they exist, Threatening impeachment over Trump's unconstitutional presents and emoluments from foreign nations unless he sells his foreign businesses, Arguing for disqualification on the ground of mental illness, Praying and fantasizing,

would be far more energized and popular if the "defeated" candidate were Bernie Sanders, who -- judging by all existing polling (and theorizing what his general election campaign would have looked like) -- would almost certainly not have been defeated by any means in the first place.

Dec
15

Think Politicians Are Trying to Scare You? You're Not Paranoid.

Tag: Political Ideas

Part I. Personal

Wednesday evening I answered the phone, and a man pretending to work for the local sheriff's department asked me to identify myself, told me that the call would be recorded because it might be used against me in a court of law, and ordered me to get a pen and paper. He spoke fast and unclearly and with lots of strange background noises. He claimed that I had failed to appear for jury duty and I would be arrested if I didn't do what he said. (I'd received no notice of jury duty.)

I ignored obvious signs that this guy was a fraud. He was not calling from a local number. He couldn't pronounce the name of my street. I had to ask him four times before he told me his supposed name, which he didn't seem totally sure of. He was extremely hostile while claiming to have no choice about behaving that way. And when questioned on things he said, he offered explanations, but the explanations made no sense. He said that because he was required to treat me as a criminal I had to tell him my cell phone number. What? He said I could pay a fine and would get it back the next day, but I couldn't pay wish cash or check or credit card because the sheriff's department considered it inappropriate to use a form of payment that included personal information. What? Personalized cash?

I waited through all this patent nonsense (including him doubling the amount of the fine, apparently under the impression that he'd hooked a true sucker) until the guy said I could not come to the sheriff's department to clear things up but would have to go withdraw the money from the bank (which was, of course, closed for the night, and ATMs have limits). Then I'd have to use the money to buy some kind of card at a grocery store. As soon as he said that, I called 911 on my other phone and asked their advice. They told me to hang up on the guy, and they said it with an air of tired annoyance. My wife, who's better informed than I, then told me there'd been a news report about this scam.

Dec
12

If Phil Ochs Were Alive, Though I'd Not Wish It on Him

Tag: Political Ideas

I cried when they mocked Donna BrazileTears ran down my spineAnd I cried when Joe Biden stepped asideAs though I'd lost a father of mineBut Chelsea Manning got what was comingShe got what he asked for this timeSo love me, love me, love me, i'm a liberal

I go to white BLM ralliesI arrive in my new hybrid carI back GLBTQ in the ArmyI love all immigrants from afarBut don't talk about revolutionThat's going a little bit too farSo love me, love me, love me, i'm a liberal

I cheered when Hillary was chosenMy faith in the system restoredI'm in favor of affordable collegeFor those who stand out from the hoardI love humanitarian bombingsAnd canvassing votes door-to-doorSo love me, love me, love me, i'm a liberal

The people who voted for DonaldShould all hang their heads in shameI can't understand how their minds workThe facts can't deny climate changeBut anonymous CIA sourcesAre doubted only by the deeply derangedSo love me, love me, love me, i'm a liberal

I watch MSNBC dailyI've learned to take every viewYou know, I've demonized Vladimir PutinAnd I'm ready to come after youIn defending our sacred electionsThere's no one more red, white and blueSo love me, love me, love me, i'm a liberal

I vote for the Democtratic PartyThey want Presidents to be strongExcept for Republican presidentsWhose whole inclination is wrongI'll send all the money you ask forBut don't ask me to come on alongSo love me, love me, love me, i'm a liberal

Once i was young and impulsiveI wore every conceivable pinEven went to the socialist meetingsLearned all the old union hymnsBut i've grown older and wiserAnd that's why i'm turning you inSo love me, love me, love me, i'm a liberal

Dec
08

Virginia's Constitution Needs Improving

Tag: Elections, Political Ideas, Public Policy

Virginia's Constitution is three times as long as the U.S. Constitution (which is notably lacking any serious sections on oyster beds). Virginia's Constitution has also been updated at least three times as much as the U.S. Constitution. But it is now long overdue.

The U.S. Constitution has been updated with 27 amendments and 0 serious revisions through conventions. Virginia's Constitution has been amended many times including through five Constitutional conventions, held in 1830, 1851, 1864, 1870, and 1902. From 1776 to 1902 that's one convention every 25 years. Now there hasn't been one for 114 years.

I don't want to revise the Virginia Constitution just for the heck of it, but because it is badly needed. There is much in the Virginia Constitution that needn't be there at all, but that can be to our advantage if it facilitates opening the whole thing to desirable improvements. Some improvements are desirable because of the failure of the federal government to make them.

Dec
06

Talk Nation Radio: Chip Gibbons on Anti-Russia Committee and Censoring Criticism of Israel

https://soundcloud.com/davidcnswanson/talk-nation-radio-chip-gibbons-on-anti-russia-committee-and-censoring-criticism-of-israel

Chip Gibbons is the Policy and Legislative Counsel for the Bill of Rights Defense Committee. He is also a writer whose work has been featured in Jacobin, Truthout, and Counterpunch. We discuss U.S. Congressional efforts to censor criticism of the Israeli government, and to create a new McCarthyite Anti-Russia Committee.

The petition we mention is here.

The account of a sleeping Congress Member we mention is here.

Total run time: 29:00

Host: David Swanson.Producer: David Swanson.Music by Duke Ellington.

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