Saturday, April 19, 2008

not even Afghanistan

Eric Kleefeld passes on some of Hillary Clinton's not-for-your-ears accusations that the "activist base" of the Democratic Party is a bunch of troublemakers.

We have been less successful in caucuses because it brings out the activist base of the Democratic Party. MoveOn didn't even want us to go into Afghanistan. I mean, that's what we're dealing with. And you know they turn out in great numbers. And they are very driven by their view of our positions, and it's primarily national security and foreign policy that drives them. I don't agree with them. They know I don't agree with them. So they flood into these caucuses and dominate them and really intimidate people who actually show up to support me.
Ok, if true, that sounds pretty good to me. We know it is only a matter of time before we get our nalgas kicked out of Afghanistan just like every other imperial power that has ever stormed into the country and waddled out. We know this because Michael Scheuer (never one to shy away from bloodshed, if called for to defend la madre patria) told us so in 2004. He could have told us in 2001 if we had bothered to listen.

But there's one problem. MoveOn is unhappy with Clinton's claim:
Senator Clinton has her facts wrong again. MoveOn never opposed the war in Afghanistan, and we set the record straight years ago when Karl Rove made the same claim. Senator Clinton's attack on our members is divisive at a time when Democrats will soon need to unify to beat Senator McCain. MoveOn is 3.2 million reliable voters and volunteers who are an important part of any winning Democratic coalition in November. They deserve better than to be dismissed using Republican talking points.
Oh dear. Cue IOZ:
You know, most Americans are imperialists. One of the reasons--the reason--that it so amuses me to find the occasional commenter here ask me why I offer no practical solutions to "our" problems, why the closest I ever come to advocating for direct action is to propose minor acts of cultural vandalism. Being an anti-imperialist in America is like being a Zionist in the Third Reich. I am a fringe radical. If you agree with even a tenth of what you read on this site, you too are a fringe radical. Your beliefs and opinions are not reflective of those of your countrymen. The question, "How do we stop being imperialists?" bears as much practical import as, "How do we live without breathing?" We don't. The United States of America is an empire. Maybe you think it's on the downhill slide? I certainly hope so. But it is what it is, nevertheless. The notions that within the body of empire lurks the heart of an egalitarian, constitutional republic, or a libertarian minarchy, or a parliamentary social democracy are the purest forms of political self-flattery. The subjects here may be largely political, but the program is purely perceptual. I am not a reformist.
I am a reformist, but IOZ's view of the situation is much closer to the truth than Moveon's and certainly Clinton's.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

and i shot a rabbit once in the desert ...

Listen to somepowers, otherwise known as Mrs. Begnet (but only to our landlords, who insist on leaving the rent receipts addressed as such even though this is not actually her name):

[W]hat is even more irritating, I think, is the way candidates have to parade around Pennsylvania waving their blue collar credentials, telling their own Horatio Alger stories as testaments to the American dream and evidence that despite their "elite" status, they're just regular folks. Op ed writers are jumping on this bandwagon, too, with my least-favorite ever, Maureen Dowd, writing this morning on Obama's supposed classism while conveniently mentioning that she grew up in a house with a gun. (Really, why did I even click on that link? Girlfriend just makes me angry.) Give it up, folks: none of you are actually "regular people," at least not in the sense that you can avoid the amazing privileges you enjoy due to your education, you access to powerbrokers (or status as one), or your ability to have a megaphone to broadcast your ideas. It strikes me as ridiculous and extremely paternalistic that we need photographs or video of candidates bowling or downing shots to vet their abilities to be Commander-in-Chief. This kind of working-class pornography is really no different than hipsters donning trucker hats and raising $2 cans of PBR in the air in time with the chorus of "Sweet Home Alabama" in a New York bar. Can we talk about class issues without everybody having to mention that they know what it's like to be poor?
Hear, hear! More please ...

PSA for cable news hosts

Watching Larry King react to Stephen Colbert on King's own show was surreal ... deer in the headlights doesn't quite capture the experience, maybe brontosaurus in the blast radius would be more apt.

A good rule of thumb when appearing with Stephen Colbert in the vicinity of a camera: Stephen Colbert is smarter than you and the camera loves him more than you. In fact, the only person qualified to appear with Colbert on TV is ... Esteban Colberto!

And here is some more ...

Can someone please convince Chris Matthews to go on Colbert's show? Please? Show him the US News study and maybe he'll consider it ...

Remembering belatedly that Colbert discusses Matthews' recent appearance on the Colbert Report in the clip above and makes this same reference to the US News report ... so yeah, looks like there was a little subconscious appropriation going on there on my part ... PSA to sleep-deprived bloggers: be careful even blogging about Stephen Colbert or you risk looking like an idiot. His mojo is that strong.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Prepare for ICE Raids – CHIRLA "Know Your Rights!" Video

In light of widespread predawn raids as part of Operation Return to Sender, the Coalition for Human Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA) prepared an informational video on how to prepare for an ICE raid.

The video plays out different scenarios in which undocumented immigrants commonly come into contact with ICE or local law enforcement, including workplace and home raids, as well as routine traffic stops. In the clip, you see people reacting in ways that can reduce their risk of being deported, and you see people reacting in ways that greatly increase that risk. The narrators explain how to assert your rights in different situations. It is worth watching—certainly for migrants—but also for friends, family, and advocates who might be in a position to explain to others what to do and what not to do when confronted by ICE.

The video can be ordered here and a subtitled Spanish/English version can be viewed here.

CHIRLA edited a shorter version for YouTube (currently w/o subtitles), above, which at present appears to be sadly underviewed. Help get the word out about this great resource and get those page views up!

[Continued at Citizen Orange]

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

no due process, no truth

[Image: Murat Kurnaz,]

This story (via Yglesias) from 60 Minutes about America’s clandestine prison system for foreign nationals has my jaw on the floor. I didn’t think I would be this easily shocked after the last seven years of abuse the Bill of Rights has undergone.

The story is simply amazing.

(CBS) At the age of 19, Murat Kurnaz vanished into America's shadow prison system in the war on terror. He was from Germany, traveling in Pakistan, and was picked up three months after 9/11. But there seemed to be ample evidence that Kurnaz was an innocent man with no connection to terrorism. The FBI thought so, U.S. intelligence thought so, and German intelligence agreed. But once he was picked up, Kurnaz found himself in a prison system that required no evidence and answered to no one.

The story Kurnaz told 60 Minutes correspondent Scott Pelley is a rare look inside that clandestine system of justice, where the government's own secret files reveal that an innocent man lost his liberty, his dignity, his identity, and ultimately five years of his life.

[Continued at Citizen Orange]