I have an idea: can we just do this, like, now? Cast our votes and be done with it? Seems like we’ve all made up our minds here, right? You either believe in the guy we have, or you don’t*. Sure, months of lively debate and research would be helpful, but since we prove every single minute of every single day that we’re not capable of anything remotely close to that-
evenespecially our media, who with maybe two exceptions displays the attention span and emotional maturity of a Toddlers & Tiaras pageant child- want to just call it a day? Great. Me too.
Okay, fine: for the eleven people who haven’t made up their minds (and so the rest of us can say we did it), one two-hour debate later this week. Snuggie Beyonce Boy and Carly Rae Jepsen can do the halftime show, to ensure that we all watch. Then we all show up at the ballot box and do the damn thing.
I am actively avoiding campaign news and ads, but there’s still enough bullshit getting through- from both sides and every stop in between- that I don’t know whether I’ll make it through this afternoon, much less the rest of July and then August and then September and then October and then some of November.
*This is in no way an invitation for you to share whether you personally do or do not believe in the guy we have. Oh, you have a chart? Neat! Stick it up your ass and go see Magic Mike.
We can hardly sit in judgment of your losing $2 billion. We lose twice that every day in Washington. —
Sen. Jim DeMint (R-South Carolina) to JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon. (via officialssay)
Really? DeMint says the federal government “loses” more than $1.4 trillion every year?
I’d say he’s the government we deserve, but really, no one deserves this idiocy.
“This is a cautionary tale about what happens when the Democrats completely lay down on an issue and let the right get whatever they want. You get insanity. Arming panicky, untrained vigilantes like George Zimmerman and telling them it’s okay to shoot whenever they’re afraid is like dumping all the milk bones on the kitchen floor and telling your dog: Just eat when you’re hungry.”
— Bill Maher
This is a cautionary tale about not listening to what Bill Maher has to say, ever. The Right didn’t get George Zimmerman a gun so he could go around shooting people. Turning the murder of Trayvon Martin into a gun rights issue is insulting and insensitive. Regardless of what you believe about gun ownership, it’s not the cause of this tragedy.
Holder’s new definition of “due process” was perfectly Orwellian. While the Framers wanted an objective basis for due process, Holder was offering little more than “we will give the process that we consider due to a target.” And even the vaguely described “due process” claimed by Holder was not stated as required, but rather granted, by the president. Three citizens have been given their due during the Obama administration and vaporized by presidential order. Frankly, few of us mourn their passing. However, due process appears to have been vaporized in the same moment — something many U.S. citizens may come to miss. What Holder is describing is a model of an imperial presidency that would have made Richard Nixon blush. If the president can kill a citizen, there are a host of other powers that fall short of killing that the president might claim, including indefinite detention of citizens — another recent controversy. Thus, by asserting the right to kill citizens without charge or judicial review, Holder has effectively made all of the Constitution’s individual protections of accused persons matters of presidential discretion. These rights will be faithfully observed up to the point that the president concludes that they interfere with his view of how best to protect the country — or his willingness to wait for “justice” to be done. And if Awlaki’s fate is any indication, there will be no opportunity for much objection. —
Obama’s Kill Policy (via azspot:markcoatney)
On Monday, Eric Holder, the US Attorney General, quietly outlined the administration’s legal defense with regard to the targeted killing of American citizens (Anwar al-Awlaki being the primary example). His basic defense was that due process can be a simple Presidential review and is not limited to a fair trial by a jury of peers.
Much has been made over the human rights related actions of the Bush administration, from the creation of the camp at Guantanamo Bay to waterboarding to the PATRIOT ACT. But Obama’s new stance on the targeted killing of American citizens is a much more dangerous idea and precedent to set.
There is no doubt that Awlaki was a traitor and at war with the United States. But all the same he was an American citizen and was denied what we give to everyone, guilty and innocent alike: a fair trial. He committed crimes and had to face punishment for those crimes, but his sentence was not carried out by the standard we have set forth in the Constitution. We must live up to that standard, even if others do not.
The Constitution is a shield, and it protects the citizens of the United States of America from its government. The Bill of Rights protects our speech, our privacy, and our treatment. The founders put these protections in because they knew that these rights could not be at one man’s discretion, but must hold firm in good times and bad, regardless of the situation. Over the past decade, the past two administrations have cut sections out that don’t fit their aims, and piece by piece our protections are becoming tattered ribbons. We cannot morally afford to further erode the shield this country was founded on.
Despite the reservations, the moral questions and the legal questions regarding this new Presidential authority and its ramifications, Eric Holder and the Obama administration have pushed on into dangerous territory. And when we questioned and fretted and said “This goes against rights provided for in the Constitution. There is no way you can legally do this,” they answered with the greatest of hubris:
"Yes. We. Can."
It is not the change I wanted to believe in.
Since 1992, as the technological miracles and wonders have propagated and the political economy has transformed, the world has become radically and profoundly new. (And then there’s the miraculous drop in violent crime in the United States, by half.) Here is what’s odd: during these same 20 years, the appearance of the world (computers, TVs, telephones, and music players aside) has changed hardly at all, less than it did during any 20-year period for at least a century. The past is a foreign country, but the recent past — the 00s, the 90s, even a lot of the 80s — looks almost identical to the present. This is the First Great Paradox of Contemporary Cultural History. —
Kurt Andersen: You Say You Want a Devolution? | Vanity Fair (via kateoplis)
Is this satire? Is this piece actually in a national publication? When you have to put qualifiers in every paragraph (paragraphs mentioning technology included) to support your thesis, your thesis may in fact be flawed.
Even though Kurt Andersen mentions E-mail (A new word! OOoooh!), he doesn’t seem to consider that the entire world is going through an internet revolution, the scale of which is unmatched by perhaps any other technological revolution in history, including the invention of the steam engine and the printing press.
One great comment on the article: “Kurt Anderson seems ready to dismiss any observations contrary to his as ‘minutiae’ or ‘niggling’ so that his point about 2012 looking a lot like 1992 would essentially boil down to, ‘everyone is still wearing pants and the musical scale is still A-G and so nothing has changed’.”
I’m mostly perturbed because he seems a bit vague on the tidal shift our country (and the world?) has gone through since 9/11. I thought we had all learned to disregard Fukuyama’s The End of History (which Andersen references); that history does not actually end, but in fact comes crashing down on you the moment you turn your back.
The funniest part of the whole SEC vs Fannie and Freddie debacle, by which I mean the saddest part (obvs.) is the absurdity of it all.
Namely, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac aren’t ACTUALLY being held responsible. “Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac entered into agreements with the securities regulator to avoid civil prosecution. In the civil non-prosecution agreements, the firms said they would accept responsibility for the conduct and not dispute the SEC’s allegations, without admitting or denying wrongdoing, the SEC said.” So the corporations responsible, which are now government supported, aren’t going through any prosecution for the wrongdoing, but instead a handful of executives (FORMER executives at that), which is just kind of silly. The executives didn’t mislead investors. A handful of people didn’t create the subprime mortgage disaster. It was a system-wide failing, and LETS BE REAL, a failing of the SEC itself probably more than any other one thing. But people like scapegoats. It’s bread and circuses.
What’s even more ridiculous (could there be anything more ridiculous), is that they aren’t being charged with criminal wrongdoing! This is a civil prosecution! The entire SEC regulation is such a joke that there are not actual criminal charges to pursue! Did Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac mislead (lie to) investors regarding their assets of subprime mortgages resulting in a catastrophic weakening of both companies as well as the loss of billions of dollars in what can only be described as fraud? Of course they did! Can any of the people responsible be sent to jail? Well, no. In fact, in all likelihood they won’t even lose any money, as they’re protected by Fannie and Freddie insurance policies, which will be paid using the $151 billion in taxpayer money that was used to bail the two corporations out. “The company’s bylaws indemnify execs for anything but ‘willful misconduct or knowing violation of the criminal law,’ tough bars to get over.” (Forbes). The entire world is taking crazy pills.
Bloomberg has a good take on it. Back to the circus.
And now we get to prematurely place behind us another quite troubling incident in our recent history. Secret prisons? Eh, let’s forget about those. Torture? Let’s just move on. A incredible transformation of huge chunks of the military into a privately contracted mercenary army? La la la la la! Years and years of National Guard reservists being unexpectedly called up for active duty in Iraq? Oh well! Thousands of soldiers having had their service contracts forcibly extended, creating a stop-lossed conscription army, under a policy that somehow no judge would find illegal? Sorry guys and gals! (And sorry families of dead guys and gals.) Operation New Dawn: the war we had after the war? Deadly. A decade of a wildly, wildly, crushingly expensive invasion, that involved more than a million Americans in combat, and the occupation of a country under false pretenses? Let’s just agree to not talk about it anymore. The CNN crawl says ‘Ceremony Ends Nine Years of Conflict,’ which isn’t actually what happened either: we actually didn’t have a ‘conflict.’ America’s great at putting things behind us, so guess we’ll just file this under “things that are already over,” though we still have billions of dollars to spend in ongoing operations. But at least we should let the Iraq War have an asterisk for ‘things that should never have happened.’ — Choire Sicha, The “War” Is “Over” (via peterfeld)
76% of registered US voters say most members of Congress do not deserve re-election, according to a Gallup poll.
Which is strange, because 90% of them will vote to re-elect their own Representative….
Did you see the image that ran on the front-page of the Los Angeles Times (and other newspapers) depicting the immediate aftermath of a suicide bombing in Afghanistan? It’s terrible. Readers are understandably upset, and many are criticizing the Times for subjecting them to such visual terror. You know where we stand on this, so we’ll spare you our take, but here’s Deputy Managing Editor Colin Crawford (who, the Times says, oversees the paper’s photography staff) explaining the decision:
We never run this type of image without discussions at the highest levels in the newsroom.
We understand that it is a tough image to look at, but we felt the news value of the photo made it worth publishing. We feel that we cannot hide important news from our readers, even when it is unpleasant.
The war in Afghanistan is an important and complicated story, and the violence seems to never end. In these attacks, the fact that it was sectarian violence adds yet another layer to the complexity of the situation.
The photo, while gut-wrenching, shows just how many innocents are being killed. The bodies of dead, maimed and wounded children breaks your heart but also lets you know how indiscriminate the killing has become.
Do you think the Times should have run this photo?
The LA Times failed in their duty to drum up fake concerns for Americans to worry about in order to protect us from the reality of things going on in the rest of the world. It is vital to every American that we get back to worrying about the War on Christmas and speculation as to when Apple will release the iPhone 5.
Thankfully, most people don’t read newspapers anymore, and I’m sure we’ll all be able to move past this embarrassing incident quickly. Pass the eggnog?