Overcoming Our Fear of Terrorism – Fareed Zakaria

by matttbastard

Fareed Zakaria on what might happen if/when the US is again struck by a terrorist attack.

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers

Ralph Nader Deals Race Card Against Obama, Reminds Apathetic Media and Public That He’s Still the #1 3rd Party Spoiler (Fuck Bob Barr!)

by matttbastard

Honourary soul brotha Ralph Nader was utterly shocked when Illinois State University president (and alleged POC) Al Bowman declined to sip from the third party pimp cup – photo by Andrew Benning

Re: “talking white” – what Shark-Fu said:

Black is not a monolith and we do not all think, act, talk, eat, pray, fuck, sing, dance, vote or manifest anger the exact same motherfucking way.

You goddamn fucking right.

Also see Liss, Steve M, and Ta-Nehisi Coates for more on Nader’s racist dumbfuckery.

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers

A Novel Concept: Make Them Work For Our Votes

by matttbastard

Must-read post from KathyG on how to make Barack Obama–and politicians in general–better:

Over this past election season, on websites and listservs and in conversations, I’ve seen an awful lot of cheap, hacktacular electioneering in favor of one candidate or another. But at the end of the day, I don’t think there was ever all that much of a difference between Hillary and Barack. Or between those two and Edwards, for that manner. Hillary and Barack had voting records and positions on the issues that were closet to identical. They’ve both taken shitloads of money from Wall Street, and it’s pretty clear to me that each of them is captive to corporate special interests. Indeed, I interpret Obama’s recent rightward shift — Furman, Messina, the remarks about NAFTA, the FISA compromise — as saying to the corporate interests, “Never fear — we’ll be playing ball as usual with you folks.”

As president, either Barack or Hillary, or Edwards, would be infinitely better than any Republican, but from a progressive point of view, each of them would also far short in some pretty profound and powerful ways.

But you know what? Ultimately, I don’t think that they as individuals are to blame for that. I don’t think Barack, or Hillary, or Edwards, are bad people. I don’t think that Barack Obama, for example, went into politics so he could sell civil liberties down the river in favor of giveaways for the telecom industry. But the incentive structure in politics these days is such that he decided he had more to gain by supporting the FISA “compromise” than by opposing it.

This is where we, as liberals, progressives, lefties, activists, whatever-you-want-to-call-us, come in. I do not believe that our interests are best served by the kind of cheap electioneering we saw over the primary campaign. What would be far more effective would be an independent movement that makes strategic alliances with various political candidates but is also distinctly separate from them.

Instead of shilling for Barack, or Hillary, or whoever, we should have been pressuring the candidates to work for our votes. We should have been pressing them to take firm, non-negotiable positions in favor of things like no immunity for the telecoms, or immediate withdrawal from Iraq with no residual troops. Instead, we were really cheap dates. And when you act like suckers, don’t be surprised when something like Obama’s support for the FISA compromise comes back and bites you in the ass.

If we want real change in this country, the place to look for it is not in our so-called leaders, but in ourselves. What we need, in short, is a movement. Without such a movement, President Obama is not going to be able to achieve a whole lot more than President Clinton or President Carter did. But with such a movement, we may actually get somewhere. FDR was able to achieve great things because he had the strong support of a powerful labor movement. Similarly, the civil rights movement was the wind at LBJ’s back. But I ask you, what will President Obama have?

Huh.  An independent movement pressuring candidates to “work for our votes”.   Kinda sounds like the pre-Netroots blogosphere, until Chairman Kos decreed that it was now the sworn duty of DFHs to make sure Democrats (even the dreaded DINOs) get elected, regardless of how progressive they may (or may not) actually be.

You sucker MC, you just ain’t right.

PS-read the whole damn thing.

h/t Hysperia

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers

Carnival of Feminists #59

by matttbastard

Clicky clicky the fist to check out the latest bloggeriffic compendium of feministical awesomeness, courtesy CoF founder Philobiblon.

h/t Jack Stephens

Image originally uploaded by Cross-stitch ninja, reposted under a Creative Commons licence

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers

McCain on Foreign Policy: Preserving the Status Quo?

by matttbastard

Big Media Matt disputes the notion that John McCain’s foreign policy record represents a departure from that of the outgoing administration.

Related: Fareed Zakaria on McCain’s “radical” foreign policy proposals:

We have spent months debating Barack Obama’s suggestion that he might, under some circumstances, meet with Iranians and Venezuelans. It is a sign of what is wrong with the foreign-policy debate that this idea is treated as a revolution in U.S. policy while McCain’s proposal [that the United States expel Russia from the G8 and exclude China from any expansion] has barely registered. What McCain has announced is momentous—that the United States should adopt a policy of active exclusion and hostility toward two major global powers. It would reverse a decades-old bipartisan American policy of integrating these two countries into the global order, a policy that began under Richard Nixon (with Beijing) and continued under Ronald Reagan (with Moscow). It is a policy that would alienate many countries in Europe and Asia who would see it as an attempt by Washington to begin a new cold war.

Check out the full text of McCain’s March 26th speech to the Los Angeles World Affairs Council, which, according to Zakaria, “[alternates] between neoconservative posturing and realist common sense…like it was written by two very different people, each one given an allotment of a few paragraphs on every topic.”

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers

Quote of the Day: Michelle Obama and the ‘Ultimate Outsiders’

by matttbastard

It’s interesting…how John McCain’s hotheaded ways are admired as part of his so-called maverick qualities, a willingness to follow his passions and go against the grain; it’s part of his essential Americanness. Michelle Obama’s candor, by contrast, is seen as entirely foreign and not a little threatening. Yes, he’s given more slack because he’s a man. (And yes, Teresa Heinz Kerry, another independent-minded presidential candidate’s wife, got similarly roughed up by the media in 2004.) But Michelle is given zero slack because she’s a woman and black. And let us never forget, in the bigger picture, black anger — or even just plain old dissatisfaction — always raises the specter of slavery and the unfinished business of social justice. In any context, to say nothing of a presidential election of historic proportions, such anger threatens a still widely accepted narrative of America as a good place, a fair place. Presidential elections are all about voters connecting emotionally to candidates, identifying with them, and Michelle is not making that connection happen as easily people would like. But her reasonable expectation that we see her reality, some of which is shaped by a difficult racial reality, is part of the paradigm shift that we are resisting like mad. In a discussion of what Obama’s candidacy could mean, NBC’s Chris Matthews lauded Barack but dispensed with American racial matters as “all that bad stuff in our history.” A recent New York Times profile, in distinguishing Michelle’s background from that of her husband, described her as being “a descendant of slaves” — as if that’s a unique fact rather than a collective one that applies to the vast majority of the millions of black Americans whose families have been here for hundreds of years. That slavery is even remarked on at all says much about how blacks are still viewed by their fellow Americans, even sympathetic ones, as the ultimate outsiders.

– Erin Aubry Kaplan, Who’s afraid of Michelle Obama

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers