Friday, August 31, 2007

And it begins

Anti-Hamas clashes in Gaza. See, Hamas, this is what happens when you subvert the democratic process you claim to represent through a bloody coup d'etat and then get yourself isolated by the international community. Terrorists.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

In honor of Iowa

The song of the day is...

"Big Gay Heart" by the Lemonheads



"Big Gay Heart" by the Lemonheads

Victory in Iowa

Court rules same sex couples in Iowa can marry!

Another step forward on the long march toward marriage equality across the country.

And in Iowa...wow.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Screw it

I'm voting for Kucinich. If I can't have a decent candidate, I can at least have a slightly silly candidate with decent ideas.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Gonzales resigns; Chertoff to get nod

It's just been ice cream lately. First Rove, now Gonzales. And while Rove's departure really doesn't mean anything substantively, though it was a good symbolic victory, Gonzales' resignation is a real substantive victory. The latest news is that Homeland Security secretary Chertoff is going to get the nod to replace Gonzales. We'll see what the Democratic Senate does with that.

In other news, I hate Mondays.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Oy, these Democrats...

You know, I've never been totally happy with the Democratic Party. Well, that's actually a huge understatement - see my below post about my own personal political evolution. Anyway, I don't think anyone really is totally happy with the Democratic Party.

This week has really pissed me off. And I'm pissed at someone I never thought I'd be pissed at (at whom I never thought I'd be pissed?) - Howard Dean. The DNC is threatening to take Florida's delegates away from the DNC convention because Florida had the audacity to move its primary up. This is such a petty, unnecessary, bullshit squabble. Let the Floridians vote when they want to. If we're really going to make the Presidential election and primary cycle a state by state process, then let the states do what they may. Otherwise, let's just have a national damned primary, all on one day. This party infighting only brings more negative light on the Democratic Party, and in a state that is, oh, I don't know, REALLY, REALLY IMPORTANT to the election. The DNC should just back the hell off.

In other news, John Edwards is kind of a jackass. In extremely calculated comments last week, he attacked Clinton and Obama without naming them. Then, he went on TV and denied that he had been aiming his attacks at them. But when he goes spouting off about the Lincoln Bedroom, then who the hell else is he attacking?

That, along with other things that have just pissed me off about all of the Democrats in the field, is the reason that Sinister, is now, officially, UNDECIDED about the Democratic primary. I hereby rescind any kind of endorsement I may have once had for John Edwards, including the bumper sticker on my car. I will vote for the guy if he is nominated, which looks even more doubtful every day, but I don't think he's worth fighting for in the primary.

The only candidate with ideas I really like is Dennis Kucinich, and he's Mickey Mouse.

Maybe I'll vote third party again. Who knows. Bloomberg looks attractive. Hell, I'll support almost any Jew for President, unless he's Joe Lieberman.

In a related story, Rudy Giuliani is out of his frikkin' mind.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Hamas TV Bee: Sick stuff

from MEMRI:

Special Dispatch-Palestinian/Jihad & Terrorism/Indoctrination of Children
August 17, 2007
No. 1683

Hamas Bee Nahoul Abuses Cats, Lions at Gaza Zoo, Calls for Liberation Of Al-Aqsa Mosque

To view this Special Dispatch in HTML, visit:
http://www.memri.org/bin/opener_latest.cgi?ID=SD168307.

The following are excerpts from an episode of the children's program Pioneers of Tomorrow, which aired on Al-Aqsa TV on August 10, 2007.

As part of the redesigned MEMRI TV website, each of the over 70 Arab and Iranian TV channels monitored has its own designated webpage: http://memritv.org/content/en/tv_channels.htm.

To view the webpage for Al-Aqsa TV visit: http://memritv.org/content/en/tv_channel_indiv.htm?id=175.

To view this clip, visit: http://www.memritv.org/clip/en/1532.htm.


"We Must Arise in Order to Take Revenge Upon the Criminal Jews, the Occupying Zionists"

Nahoul, a giant bee: "My friends, Al-Aqsa awaits you. My dears, Al-Aqsa is very sad. My friends, Al-Aqsa is being held prisoner and is besieged by the criminal murderers of children. We must arise in order to take revenge upon the criminal Jews, the occupying Zionists. We must liberate Al-Aqsa. Do you know how we can liberate it and get hold of its key, just like it was liberated by Saladin?"

Child host Saraa: "How, Nahoul?"

Nahoul: "How? By means of morning prayers, blood, sacrifice, and pain, by means of martyrs, and with endurance. This is the key. I am so sad, Saraa."

[...]


"Allah Willing, We Will Regain the Al-Aqsa Mosque, and Cleanse it of the Impurity of the Zionists"

Saraa: "Don't be sad, Nahoul. I, you, the dear children, even the older ones – the generation of the 'Pioneers of Tomorrow'... Allah willing, we will regain the Al-Aqsa Mosque, and cleanse it of the impurity of the Zionists."

Nahoul: "Allah willing."

Saraa: "On a different subject, Nahoul, let's see what you got up to this week."

Nahoul: "Nothing, Saraa."

Saraa: "Let's see for ourselves."

Nahoul enters the cats' cage at the Gaza Zoo.

Nahoul: "Meow! Meow! I'm opening the door and going in. I opened the door and entered the cage, and the guy didn't see me. I am now standing in the cats' cage. The cats here are asleep – the poor, wretched, imprisoned cats. I feel like abusing them. This cat is asleep. I feel like attacking it."

Nahoul picks up cat by its tail.

[...]

Nahoul: "Shoo... Meow..."

[...]

Nahoul: "I should get out of here before the guy comes, and I get scolded."

[...]

Nahoul throws stones and roars at the lions in their cage.

[...]

Saraa: "What have you done, Nahoul? Haven't you heard of the hadith of the Prophet..."

Nahoul: "No, Saraa, I haven't heard."

Saraa: "He said that a woman went to Hell because she locked up a cat, without feeding it or letting it eat on its own, Nahoul. Therefore, Allah punished her and sent her to Hell. If you keep doing this, you will have the same fate, Nahoul."


*********************
The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) is an independent, non-profit organization that translates and analyzes the media of the Middle East. Copies of articles and documents cited, as well as background information, are available on request.



It's this kind of stuff that reinforces why we must continue to isolate Hamas and not give them the legitimacy they want but don't deserve. Hamas are brutal terrorists, indoctrinating children in Nazi-like propaganda and abusing animals for no apparent reason. Sick, sick stuff.

MA Health Care Law

Interesting analysis of the new Health Insurance law in Massachussets. There's a great quote in this article from an employee decrying how "liberals force-feed" people policies like mandatory health insurance. Something tells me Mitt Romney would object to being called a liberal...

I'm still undecided about the new law - I think it has noble intentions, but I would still like to see a state or two experiment with single-payer. I think it would work beautifully.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Castles in the Clouds

A rather cynical look at the current peace efforts between Abbas's West Bank government and Israel. I don't know how much I buy this author's pessimism about the process. What does it matter that Abbas is perceived as weak? If we can bolster his credibility and support among the greater Palestinian public, while at the same time isolating Hamas, wouldn't that increase chances that a real peace deal could be hammered out? And if Israel needs a missile shield to protect itself against rockets from Gaza, then Israel must build a missile shield.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Hillary actually impresses me

Hillary shoots down someone who accuses her of supporting "socialized medicine."

Now, I do support socialized medicine, but that's beside the point - Hillary has never advocated it. No Democrat actually understands, let alone advocates, true socialized medicine.

I won't get into it now, but just watch the video.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

"Messianic Judaism"

is Christianity. Messianic "Jews" are not Jews. Anyone who claims Jesus as messiah or God is not a Jew. I am a Jew, and I am quite proud of my heritage. I do not need to receive ranting offensive e-mails from Christians trying to warp my religion for their own purposes. I especially do not need to receive e-mails from homophobic Christians trying to warp my religion for their own purposes. If you are one of those people, kindly take your hate speech elsewhere.

That means you,

"The Faith of Yahshua
John and Jayna Dinnyes
P.O. Box 9932
Fountain Valley, CA 92728"
jdinnyespmp@verizon.net

Thanks. Thanks so much.

The evolution of political thought

I became politically aware sometime in high school, after speaking with one of my classmates who claimed to be a member of the Communist Party. This intrigued me - I had had no idea that we had a Communist Party here in America. I had thought that it was only the Democrats and Republicans. I started looking into the giant morass of political opinion in this country, doing a lot of Internet research on the various tiny left-wing factions that basically consisted of a website and several dozen people sitting in intense discussion about obtuse Marxist theory.

Marxism turned me on in a big way - the idea that most of our modern problems could be traced back to class struggle made a lot of sense to me. I quickly became radicalized and joined what I thought sounded like the most sensible of the radical left-wing groupings out there, the Socialist Party, USA. This was a group that encouraged debate, eschewed dogma, and promoted radical economic democracy - the workers truly controlling the means of production not by seizing control in a bloody revolution and giving all power to the State, but instead creating a system that expands democracy from the political sphere into the economic sphere.

I was active in the Socialist Party for several years, and was also a vice-chair of the Young People's Socialist League, the party's independent youth affiliate. I shunned the two party system as being two heads on the same capitalist monster. I attended the biennial convention of the Socialist International, and I was disillusioned by that group's utter capitulation to capitalism and embrace of reformist social democracy. I brought David McReynolds, the Socialist Party's 2000 Presidential candidate and an activist whom I still respect, to my college campus to speak. I was the only vote for McReynolds in my county.

I soon became disillusioned with the SP-USA after realizing that, frankly, they weren't going anywhere, and they only had like 700 members nationwide. McReynolds got something like 7,000 votes in 2000, which was more than the SP had gotten in decades.

I began to take a more "realistic" and "pragmatic" view of the world. I still hadn't abandoned my Marxist influences, but I was at least willing to think beyond them. The events of September 11, and the reckless actions of the Bush Administration in response, led me to realize that there might just be a real difference between the two major political parties in this country, and that I had to do what I could to defeat these neo-conservative maniacs that were ruining everything. In 2002, I worked as a campaign operative for a Democratic Congressional candidate. In 2004, I was impressed for the first time by a Democratic Presidential candidate, Howard Dean. His "YOU HAVE THE POWER" mantra moved me to action, and I was hooked. I volunteered for his campaign up until the bitter end, pounding the streets, knocking on doors, getting on the telephone, attending rallies, and I even got to meet Dean on several occasions.

To make a long story short, my political views have evolved quite a bit since college. I still despise the inequities caused directly by the capitalist system and the class struggle it creates, but I'm willing to work within the system to mitigate those inequities, instead of calling for outright revolution. I'm willing to work for candidates who embrace core progressive values - the idea that everyone deserves a level playing field, and that government can be a tool to level that playing field. That the market system isn't the answer to everything, and it is the cause of a lot of the inequity that exists. That globalization has to work for the betterment of humanity, not for the enrichment of the corporate elite. That we should strive for an excellent public education system, a secure health care system, a commitment to environmental stewardship, the right of working people freely to organize a union, and equal rights for all people regardless of race, religion, age, gender, disability, sexual orientation, or any other factor. That the social contract means that we are better off working together as a community to lift each other up than we are isolated and fighting with each other.

So, that's me in a nutshell. If any right-wingers read this, they'll probably point to this as evidence that all progressives are Marxist nutcases, and if they do, then they're missing the point. But that's nothing new, is it?

Friday, August 3, 2007

2008 Presidential Polling: Democrats - a biased view

New polls out show Hillary, Edwards, and Obama in a dead heat in Iowa. Meanwhile, national polls consistently show Hillary way ahead and Obama slipping, with Edwards a distant third.

Here's the thing.

The national polls don't matter. We don't have a national primary. The only polls that actually matter are those in the early primary states: Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada. Of those, the poll that really matters the most is Iowa. Edwards has been running in Iowa since before the 2004 election ended, and has built up a huge campaign operation there.

This is, of course, a double-edged sword for Edwards. He has built up huge expectations for himself in Iowa, so much so that if he doesn't absolutely win Iowa, he's likely finished. However, if he does win Iowa, it will give him credibility and momentum to propel him into New Hampshire and the rest of the early primary states. That momentum may just doom Hillary and Obama to oblivion. Like in 2004, I believe that Democrats will rally around the winner of the early primary states and we will have a de facto nominee before the end of February.

My other theory about how this is all going to go down is that Hillary and Obama are going to claw each other to death, and Edwards will then come out as the reasonable alternative. I've had this theory ever since the media crowned the two of them as "front-runners." Being a front-runner this early in the game is a very dangerous thing - see Dean vs. High Expectations, 2004. In Iowa, Dean and Gephardt clawed each other to death and allowed Kerry and Edwards to rise to the top of the heap. And the atmosphere was such that Democrats were desperate to rally around a candidate, to such an extent that after Iowa, the race was absolutely over. Of course, Dean's barbaric yawp didn't help, nor did his scattershot ground campaign, which opened money-losing campaign offices in places like Tulsa where we sat there day in and day out and maybe talked to a dozen voters - but the scream in particular was way overhyped by a media that is always looking for a sensational story.

All of this is to say that I really do see the possibility of a similar thing happening in '08 between Obama and Hillary, which would give Edwards the edge he needs to leapfrog into the lead.

In the general election, I still think Edwards is the only candidate with a shot in hell at beating Giuliani (the only Republican candidate worth worrying about). Edwards will undercut Giuliani's Republican base and appeal to poor white Southerners who are alienated by Giuliani's support of abortion and gay rights and crossdressing and divorcing lots of wives. These voters might feel that Edwards, with his thick Southern drawl, commitment to labor rights and poverty elimination, and his deep-seated religious convictions, has more in common with them. An Edwards vs. Giuliani race will produce a very weird map, but I believe Edwards will win.