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Politics Nobody Cares

Discussion in 'Politics (deprecated)' started by praktik, Jul 15, 2009.

  1. praktik

    praktik TRIBE Member

    Figured we should start a politics Nobody Cares thread for little one-offs.


    I started reading a blogger I hadn't come across yet, Conor Friedersdorf, and he has a really excellent series of posts up on the infamous Ace of Spades, one of the right-wing blogosphere's most popular "writers".

    Well anyway, Ace had the temerity to write a negative opinion of Sarah Palin, and parts of his audience turned on him for being a RINO (etc), which resulted in Ace kind of realizing the silliness of the Dittohead Conservative Movement.

    Well worth reading, I'm enjoying every word. Catch up on the saga here, and then click "next post" at the bottom to get into the nitty gritty.
  2. Colm

    Colm TRIBE Member

    Douthat's NYT column on Palin was good too. But in regards to the former governor of Alaska, her rabid support comes from her not having to ever actually compete against other Republican's in a primary. She has never ever had to carve out a camp against guys like Thompson, Giuliani, Romney or McCain, and thus has only ever had to face attacks from the political left. So basically, she's been able to circle the wagons without ever having to wrestle for power.

    Seriously, if she plunks herself into a nomination campaign against someone like Romney, her base will wither and die with startling alacrity.

    Anyway, Freiersdorf also posts at The American Scene. I read that blog on the regular.

    And if you can stomach paleoconservatism and Pat Buchanan (don't say I didn't warn you!), I also recommend John Schwenkler's blog 'Upturned Earth', and Daniel Larison's 'Eunomia', both hosted by The American Conservative.
  3. praktik

    praktik TRIBE Member

    Actually I've had a sub to The American Conservative for years... have not checked their blogs all that much though!
  4. Subsonic Chronic

    Subsonic Chronic TRIBE Member

    I heard some bit from Prince Charles on the radio not long ago and it was just so eloquent that I couldn't forget it. He was speaking on environmental and climate change issues, urging nations to take more action than they are now and said:

    "That which sustains us must also, itself, be sustained."
  5. workdowntown

    workdowntown TRIBE Member

    I've always liked old Chuck.
    He's curmudgeonly and smart as a whip.
  6. OTIS

    OTIS TRIBE Member

  7. praktik

    praktik TRIBE Member

    shit well now we have a third.

    V 3.0!
  8. Colm

    Colm TRIBE Member

    I don't think Charles is very smart. Actually, I think he's a well-spoken, well-intentioned feather brain. But he'll always have my empathy after being forced to marry an 'acceptable' bride in front of the world, just so the royal familiy could seem relevant.

    He's right about the need to be proper stewards of the environment, but as I've always said, you're not going to get a society that rejects social conservatism to adopt true environmental conservatism. Consumption and sating desires rules all.

    I like the new Nobody Cares thread. Those old ones were from a different time, man.

    The TAC blogs are quite good, and tbh I enjoy reading Buchanan's take downs of Republicans and elites-pretending-not-to-be-elites like Rush Limbaugh. It doesn't hurt that that's the form of conservatism I'm probably closest too either.
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2009
  9. saskboy

    saskboy TRIBE Member

    there's some thinking that Sepah Pasdaran might take power before the next elections in Iran
  10. praktik

    praktik TRIBE Member

    Mitt Romney's new site: http://www.freestrongamerica.com/

    lol @ the name.

    Apparently he's been fundraising like a madman, and I hope he continues to do so. If its Romney vs Obama I think we'll have 8 years of a dem president.
  11. Colm

    Colm TRIBE Member

    I agree. Unless Obama totally blows healthcare (which is a distinct possibility), increases the intensity of America's current missions in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the GOP ditches its Know-Nothing movementism, I can't see Romney making a strong challenge.

    He's still a step in the right direction (ie, away from Palin's phony populism), but just a step. Baby step.
  12. Colm

    Colm TRIBE Member

    'I wed Iranian girls before execution'

    In a shocking and unprecedented interview, directly exposing the inhumanity of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei's religious regime in Iran, a serving member of the paramilitary Basiji militia has told this reporter of his role in suppressing opposition street protests in recent weeks.

    The interview took place by telephone, and on condition of anonymity. It was arranged by a reliable source whose identity can also not be revealed.

    Founded by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in 1979 as a "people's militia," the volunteer Basiji force is subordinate to the Iranian Revolutionary Guards and intensely loyal to Khomeini's successor, Khamenei.

    The Basiji member, who is married with children, spoke soon after his release by the Iranian authorities from detention. He had been held for the "crime" of having set free two Iranian teenagers - a 13-year-old boy and a 15-year-old girl - who had been arrested during the disturbances that have followed the disputed June presidential elections.

    "There have been many other police and members of the security forces arrested because they have shown leniency toward the protesters out on the streets, or released them from custody without consulting our superiors," he said.

    He pinned the blame for much of the most ruthless violence employed by the Iranian security apparatus against opposition protesters on what he called "imported security forces" - recruits, as young as 14 and 15, he said, who have been brought from small villages into the bigger cities where the protests have been centered.

    "Fourteen and 15-year old boys are given so much power, which I am sorry to say they have abused," he said. "These kids do anything they please - forcing people to empty out their wallets, taking whatever they want from stores without paying, and touching young women inappropriately. The girls are so frightened that they remain quiet and let them do what they want."

    These youngsters, and other "plainclothes vigilantes," were committing most of the crimes in the names of the regime, he said.

    Asked about his own role in the brutal crackdowns on the protesters, whether he had been beaten demonstrators and whether he regretted his actions, he answered evasively.

    "I did not attack any of the rioters - and even if I had, it is my duty to follow orders," he began. "I don't have any regrets," he went on, "except for when I worked as a prison guard during my adolescence."

    Explaining how he had come to join the volunteer Basiji forces, he said his mother had taken him to them.

    When he was 16, "my mother took me to a Basiji station and begged them to take me under their wing because I had no one and nothing foreseeable in my future. My father was martyred during the war in Iraq and she did not want me to get hooked on drugs and become a street thug. I had no choice," he said.

    He said he had been a highly regarded member of the force, and had so "impressed my superiors" that, at 18, "I was given the 'honor' to temporarily marry young girls before they were sentenced to death."

    In the Islamic Republic it is illegal to execute a young woman, regardless of her crime, if she is a virgin, he explained. Therefore a "wedding" ceremony is conducted the night before the execution: The young girl is forced to have sexual intercourse with a prison guard - essentially raped by her "husband."

    "I regret that, even though the marriages were legal," he said.

    Why the regret, if the marriages were "legal?"

    "Because," he went on, "I could tell that the girls were more afraid of their 'wedding' night than of the execution that awaited them in the morning. And they would always fight back, so we would have to put sleeping pills in their food. By morning the girls would have an empty expression; it seemed like they were ready or wanted to die.

    "I remember hearing them cry and scream after [the rape] was over," he said. "I will never forget how this one girl clawed at her own face and neck with her finger nails afterwards. She had deep scratches all over her."

    Returning to the events of the last few weeks, and his decision to set free the two teenage detainees, he said he "honestly" did not know why he had released them, a decision that led to his own arrest, "but I think it was because they were so young. They looked like children and I knew what would happen to them if they weren't released."

    He said that while a man is deemed "responsible for his own actions at 13, for a woman it is 9," and that it was freeing the 15-year-old girl that "really got me in trouble.

    "I was not mistreated or really interrogated while being detained," he said. "I was put in a tiny room and left alone. It was hard being isolated, so I spent most of my time praying and thinking about my wife and kids."


    At my uni, we had a small symposium on comparative politics, and the first woman to go to university in Iran came an addressed us about her country's many human rights violations, particularly those that affected women. She mentioned stuff like this, but we undergrads, cultural relativists to the bone, actually had the audacity to dismiss her requests for the West to put diplomatic pressure on Iran. Hah! I remember how appalled and frustrated she was. It was back then I began to realize that there's more than a hint of post-colonialism in Western cultural relativism.
  13. praktik

    praktik TRIBE Member

    Care to draw this out? Just curious what you meant, not being adversarial..;)
  14. Colm

    Colm TRIBE Member

    About the post-colonialism in cultural relativism?

    Liberal Suicide March

    Published: July 20, 2009

    It was interesting to watch the Republican Party lose touch with America. You had a party led by conservative Southerners who neither understood nor sympathized with moderates or representatives from swing districts.

    They brought in pollsters to their party conferences to persuade their members that the country was fervently behind them. They were supported by their interest groups and cheered on by their activists and the partisan press. They spent federal money in an effort to buy support but ended up disgusting the country instead.

    It’s not that interesting to watch the Democrats lose touch with America. That’s because the plotline is exactly the same. The party is led by insular liberals from big cities and the coasts, who neither understand nor sympathize with moderates. They have their own cherry-picking pollsters, their own media and activist cocoon, their own plans to lavishly spend borrowed money to buy votes.

    This ideological overreach won’t be any more successful than the last one. A Washington Post-ABC News poll released Monday confirms what other polls have found. Most Americans love Barack Obama personally, but support for Democratic policies is already sliding fast.

    Approval of Obama’s handling of health care, for example, has slid from 57 percent to 49 percent since April. Disapproval has risen from 29 percent to 44 percent. As recently as June, voters earning more than $50,000 preferred Obama to the Republicans on health care by a 21-point margin. Now those voters are evenly split.

    Most independents now disapprove of Obama’s health care strategy. In March, only 32 percent of Americans thought Obama was an old-style, tax-and-spend liberal. Now 43 percent do.

    We’re only in the early stages of the liberal suicide march, but there already have been three phases. First, there was the stimulus package. You would have thought that a stimulus package would be designed to fight unemployment and stimulate the economy during a recession. But Congressional Democrats used it as a pretext to pay for $787 billion worth of pet programs with borrowed money. Only 11 percent of the money will be spent by the end of the fiscal year — a triumph of ideology over pragmatism.

    Then there is the budget. Instead of allaying moderate anxieties about the deficits, the budget is expected to increase the government debt by $11 trillion between 2009 and 2019.

    Finally, there is health care. Every cliché Ann Coulter throws at the Democrats is gloriously fulfilled by the Democratic health care bills. The bills do almost nothing to control health care inflation. They are modeled on the Massachusetts health reform law that is currently coming apart at the seams precisely because it doesn’t control costs. They do little to reward efficient providers and reform inefficient ones.

    The House bill adds $239 billion to the federal deficit during the first 10 years, according to the Congressional Budget Office. It would pummel small businesses with an 8 percent payroll penalty. It would jack America’s top tax rate above those in Italy and France. Top earners in New York and California would be giving more than 55 percent of earnings to one government entity or another.

    Nancy Pelosi has lower approval ratings than Dick Cheney and far lower approval ratings than Sarah Palin. And yet Democrats have allowed her policy values to carry the day — this in an era in which independents dominate the electoral landscape.

    Who’s going to stop this leftward surge? Months ago, it seemed as if Obama would lead a center-left coalition. Instead, he has deferred to the Old Bulls on Capitol Hill on issue after issue.

    Machiavelli said a leader should be feared as well as loved. Obama is loved by the Democratic chairmen, but he is not feared. On health care, Obama has emphasized cost control. The chairmen flouted his priorities because they don’t fear him. On cap and trade, Obama campaigned against giving away pollution offsets. The chairmen wrote their bill to do precisely that because they don’t fear him. On taxes, Obama promised that top tax rates would not go above Clinton-era levels. The chairmen flouted that promise because they don’t fear him.

    Last week, the administration announced a proposal to take Medicare spending decisions away from Congress and lodge the power with technocrats in the executive branch. It’s a good idea, and it might lead to real cost savings. But there’s no reason to think that it will be incorporated into the final law. The chairmen will never surrender power to an administration they can override.

    That leaves matters in the hands of the Blue Dog Democrats. These brave moderates are trying to restrain the fiscal explosion. But moderates inherently lack seniority (they are from swing districts). They are usually bought off by leadership at the end of the day.

    And so here we are again. Every new majority overinterprets its mandate. We’ve been here before. We’ll be here again.
  15. workdowntown

    workdowntown TRIBE Member

    “The answer is of course, that it would be best to be both loved and feared. But since the two rarely come together, anyone compelled to choose will find greater security in being feared than in being loved.”

    I'm not sure a Dem would want to look to 'The Prince' as his playbook however Brooks may wish it were so. :p
  16. praktik

    praktik TRIBE Member

    Advice to the Prince

    good article detailing one writer's Machiavellian prescription for Obama, and how he veered from it.
  17. workdowntown

    workdowntown TRIBE Member

    Holy shit Gelb actually advised partition for Iraq along ethno-religious lines? Because we all know how well that worked in India...
  18. praktik

    praktik TRIBE Member

    actually I have been interested in that idea - but practically and historically speaking it does present some issues. Definitely at the height of sectarian conflict, it seemed to make a little more sense.

    However it goes, I think a weak federalism is likely best.
  19. Colm

    Colm TRIBE Member

    And Palestine...

    And Ethiopia/Eritrea...

    And Post-war Germany and Poland...

    And Bangladesh...

    And Vietnam...

    Bad ideas never go away, they just get worse.
  20. workdowntown

    workdowntown TRIBE Member

    True enough.

    I've always found Santayana's Law of Repetitive Consequences to be depressingly true in modern society.

    It's so often repeated (and misquoted) that it's become cliché yet rarely because of any actual adherence to the principle it tries to engender.

    "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it".
  21. Colm

    Colm TRIBE Member

    Back to libertarianism!

    Interview with James Poulos, Part III
    by Conor Friedersdorf

    (Parts one and two of my interview with James Poulos.)

    Q. I'd be remiss if I didn't ask about my favorite phrase you've coined -- "The Pink Police State." To what are you referring? And why should it worry us?

    The Pink Police State is a more extreme version of a regime I use to taunt my libertarian friends in my essay on 'The Sex Vote' that's just been published in Doublethink. I worry, and I think we should all worry, about the way cultural libertarianism is snowballing while the snowball of political libertarianism rolls deeper into hell. I'm aghast at the shrug with which many self-styled libertarians greet massive government, so long as it's run by people with 'enlightened' attitudes about pleasure-seeking. It's not death to the state these libertarians want, it's the state as cool parent, with a stripper pole in every pot. I've actually had one good libertarian friend argue straight-faced that the solution to the drug problem is a monopoly partnership between Washington and Walmart. Well, with solutions like that, who needs problems? And of course you get that kind of institutionalized approach from fans of legal prostitution. It's almost as if libertarians are willing to let the state regulate everything so long as everything's decriminalized.

    On top of this, we all know how intimately sex -- or at least images of sex and talk about sex, alas -- has become a part of everyday life. What gives me fear is the idea, which large numbers of people seem to be buying into, that a growing sphere of libertinistic freedoms compensates (or more than compensates!) for our shrinking spheres of political liberty and the practice of citizenship. You can guess what I think about 'liberaltarianism'.

    That's the background brief on the Pink Police State, a vision which came to me courtesy of one of the most visionary videos of the 1990s. I'm talking about Marilyn Manson's "The Dope Show," off 1998's Mechanical Animals. I know it's a bit odd for a conservative cultural critic to praise Manson as a brilliant genius, but before the Columbine aftermath unfairly derailed his career and life Manson was firing on all cylinders, and Dope Shows' incredible 'live performance' sequence [2:15-3:00], in which an all-male body of riot police wearing head-to-toe pink uniforms are inspired to make out, was deeply prophetic, in an as-yet symbolic way, about the manner in which our manufactured contradictions and desires are apt to show forth in contemporary life.

    "Cops and queers," Manson sings on that track, "make good-looking models." We should all ruminate on that lyric to better understand the uncannily dovetailing fantasy of administrative omni-competence in official life and sexual omni-competence in unofficial life. I'll simply link to my related invectives against Dov Charney and Sasha Grey -- blase, barbarian avatars of the banality of evil who are as much the heirs of de Sade as Bill Kristol is the heir of Winston Churchill.

    So citizens of a Pink Police State (I should say subjects) are apt to surrender more and more political liberty in exchange for more and more cultural or 'personal' license. And the government of a Pink Police State tends to monopolize and totalize administrative control while carving out a permissive playpen for the people. This tradeoff has a creepy economic component. Already, in places like Russia, China, the Gulf states, and Singapore, we see the machinations of a new 'laboratory of autocracy', as oppressive regimes grant wealthy residents de facto privileges to all the sin money can buy. As I've asked in our own context, however, how many hipsters are too poor to party? Next to the al Qaeda neanderthals, the harbingers of the Pink Police State pose a far more frightening and serious challenge to the Western model of social order. Nobody frets, like many of our intellectuals did over Stalinism, that maybe Osama got it right. There's more to worry about when we see China's youth consent en masse to equality in servitude in the shadow of Macau, Earth's biggest gambling mecca. Of course the freaky environs of Dubai are a stone's throw from the real Mecca. The secret depths of perversity and abuse at the 'frontiers of the West' -- pent-up porn, sex slavery, the whole network reaching from the Baltics through the Balkans, down into the Gulf, and out to Indochina -- really needs to be told. But our rapt attention is held instead by Bruno.
  22. Boss Hog

    Boss Hog TRIBE Member

    NATO should really focus on Afghanistan and assisting the Pakistan army and fuck the Taliban hard. Enough of this shit.
  23. -Mercury-

    -Mercury- TRIBE Member


    at what point will Beck & FOX finally be happy??
    will they settle for shots being fired? or are they hoping for a full uprising?

    it's disgusting to think that stuff like this is making money for fox news.
  24. Colm

    Colm TRIBE Member

    Beck, Maddow, Matthews. Different shades of stupidity and outright manipulation of facts to fit their narratives. They're all a bit like the travelling tonic salesmen of yesteryear. Beck happens to be perfectly suited for his target audience.

    But, after being in the States (Seattle) for a few days and picking up a bit of the vibe on the Gates-Downey dispute (as best I could), most folks think it was just plain dumb of Obama to say anything about the situation, regardless of his personal relationship with one of the parties involved.
  25. -Mercury-

    -Mercury- TRIBE Member

    sorry, but arresting a sixty year old man inside his own home for nothing more than "contempt of a cop" is a stupid thing to do.
    regardless of anyone's race.

    because cops can get away with it usually (if the victim isn't rich or famous) doesn't make it OK.

    and i disagree, the stuff that maddows and mathews say are usually based on facts and policy matters, and not pure race-baiting like beck and limbough do all the time.

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