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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The Liberal Blogosphere is Imploding

For the first time, I've found myself starting to remove blogs from my Google Reader. Of the political blogs I subscribed to, about half were pro-Clinton and half were pro-Obama. I liked it like that because I felt I'd get balanced coverage of the Democratic primary campaign. But what I have unfortunately come to realize over time is that instead of these blogs being either pro-Clinton or pro-Obama, they have gradually become anti-Obama and anti-Clinton. It's fine to constructively criticize your opponent when warranted, but too many blogs are obsessed with raking a fine-toothed comb over their opponent instead of supporting their own candidate. It appears the Liberal Blogosphere has gone negative. If I want to know what's bad about Clinton then I go to a pro-Obama site. If I want to know what's wrong with Obama then I go to a pro-Clinton site. So where do I go to find out what's good about either of these candidates? My choices appear to be limited.

I've always thought that the blogosphere was a great place to get information that the mass media wasn't willing to cover. And regarding a lot of issues this is surely the case. But as far as the two Democratic candidates are concerned, I'm beginning to hope that the majority of the population loses their Internet access for the next few months. Because if what I've been reading lately on a lot of the more popular blogs really reflects the majority of Democrats out there, then we're going to be stuck with McBush for four years because Clinton and Obama supporters have done such a good job of negative campaigning that they really won't vote for the other in the upcoming November elections.

I've heard more about Obama's preacher than Clinton's health plan. I've heard more about Clinton's trip to Bosnia than Obama's plans for reinvigorating our economy. I have to imagine that McCain is kicking back in a big comfy chair with his heels up on his desk, smoking a cigar and smiling because we are basically doing his campaigning for him and he doesn't have to spend a dime. If I hear one more Obama supporter tell me they will never vote for Clinton or one more Clinton supporter tell me they will never vote for Obama, then I'm going to teach them both a lesson and vote for Nader. From what I've been able to tell, there's really not that much difference between Clinton and Obama on the real issues. Any Democrat should be able to vote for either one this November. The Republicans are on the ropes. Bush's approval ratings are at an all time low. This is a no-brainer. We won't have Nader to blame this time. If McCain wins, it's our own damn fault.

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Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Eric Alterman "Hearts" Dinesh D'Souza

I picked up Eric Alterman's new book "Why We're Liberals" a few days ago from my local library. I know that he is a critic of the mass media and his previous book "What Liberal Media" was quite good, so I thought I'd give this one a chance. But only after 38 pages, I've decided not to bother.

In the first part of the book (at least up through page 38) Alterman attempts to explain why The Left/Liberals have lost their hold on the American population. Some of his points include "Permissive social morality", "Forced integration schemes" and "Welfare payments - particularly to minorities". Now I'm not sure that Alterman thinks that these things are completely bad ideas, but it is implied that we should at least rethink our stance on such things that piss off Red State America.

But then we move on to his next point: "The use of the courts, rather than the electoral process". His first example is Brown v Board of Education. He writes "Desegregation decrees were quickly followed by barely less sweeping orders demanding institutionalized tolerance and often favorable treatment not only for blacks and women but also for gays, Hispanics, endangered species, and any other group with the ability to pursue a political agenda by class-action lawsuit". Oh the horror, people were forced to treat minorities and women and gays equally!!!

And he continues, "Such victories opened liberals up to the politically powerful -- and not entirely unfair -- charge by the likes of right-wing provocateur Dinesh D'Souza that these massive social changes had been imposed on Americans without regard for political process or the strongly felt preferences of significant majorities of Americans." In other words, if the majority of Americans are racists or homophobes or misogynists, then the victims of their discrimination should just grin and bear it.

And he finally concludes with a quote from D'Souza: "the left has relied on the courts to declare a 'right' and then enforce the right against the will of the American people and their elected representatives. In this sense, the biggest victories of the cultural left in the past few decades have all been achieved undemocratically". One word: Bullshit.

We have three branches of government. They all serve their important purpose. Using the courts to protect the rights of those who are discriminated against by the majority is just as democratic as using the initiative process to keep gays from getting married. It's called "checks and balances" Alterman, you might want to look into it. It forms the foundation of our government.

And using Dinesh D'Souza to support your argument? Giving that man even one iota of respectability is too much. The guy is a shill for the bigoted hard core Conservative Right. I'm sorry, but that's where I have to stop reading your book. I'm sure you make some great points after page 38, but I don't want to waste any more time on you. I've got way too many books to read by authors who won't look to the likes of D'Souza to support their arguments. I hope you really don't believe that using the courts for remedy against discrimination is undemocratic. If you do, then I won't bother reading any of your other books either.
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Saturday, April 12, 2008


I really wish Edwards was the front-runner right now. I didn't agree with him on everything, but I think he was the best shot for a more progressive, liberal agenda. But of course, that is the very reason he is not in the race anymore, he's too threatening to the existing power structure.

So we get to choose between Clinton and Obama. Because I live in Oregon, I won't get to make my choice until May, so I haven't felt the pressure to decide on a particular candidate just yet. Personally, I think they are both centrist candidates who are not going to do much to solve some of the bigger issues facing this country, such as the need for Universal Health Care and tighter regulation of the economy. But either one will be much better than McCain, so whoever ends up with the nomination will get my vote. But I've been content to just listen to both of them and keep my options open until our May primary.

But I think that Hillary just helped me make my decision. I just saw her attacking Obama as elitist and out-of-touch with the people of Pennsylvania based on some comments he made suggesting people are "bitter" about the economic situation in this country. And guess what? I also just heard a quote from the McCain camp saying the exact same thing! I expect this kind of bullshit from the Republicans, but I cannot believe that Clinton is purposely twisting his words in order to attack him with the same Republican playbook.

Obama was not talking down to the people of Pennsylvania. People are bitter about the economic situation in this country today. They are angry that their wages aren't keeping up with the cost of living. They are pissed off that their jobs move to countries with cheaper labor pools. They are incensed that CEOs who run their companies into the ground still manage to leave with golden parachutes. They are upset that they can't adequately take care of their family's medical needs. They are infuriated that gas prices continue to rise while oil companies are making record profits and we as a country have done nothing to find alternatives. They are outraged that they are losing their homes while Wall Street gets bailed out with taxpayer money.

And I could go on and on.

So Clinton doesn't think people are "bitter"? Are they "angry"? Are they "pissed off"? Are they "incensed"? "Upset"? "Infuriated"? "Outraged"? Apparently, according to Clinton, everything is just fine. People are pulling themselves up by their bootstraps and doing what it takes to make ends meet. Does she also agree with Bush that working three jobs is uniquely American?

To deny that there is a problem in this country and that people are mad as hell about it is "The Elitist Position". I'd expect as much from McCain, but I'm disappointed when I hear it from Clinton. Obama is far from the perfect candidate as far as I'm concerned, but at least he is willing to speak some truth. People are bitter about the state of things in this country. Neither Obama or Clinton will be the people's savior, but at least Obama can admit that there is a problem.
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