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Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

Archive for September 2010

Real Change Takes Time: Lesson #6,743

From the right, and now increasingly from the left, we’re getting used to hearing Where’s the change, Obama?

I anticipated this sort of horseshit from the established right, a now completely rudderless opposition party who are determined to see the President’s agenda (and the POTUS himself) fail at any cost. The stakes are high, but it’s evident to anyone who’s even remotely paying attention that the GOP are willing to sacrifice the nation, over the well being of citizens, in their quest to achieve and maintain political power. If the Republican Party were an ex-lover, they’d be the type to slash your tires by dark of night, kidnap your beloved pet, or spend hours calling to hang up on you. Whatever, not much surprise here (see also BREAKING! stories on the wetness of water).

What’s harder for me to stomach is the bizarre intransigence from the left of center folk who decry ‘incrementalism’. We saw this all throughout the healthcare debate; we saw it again with DADT, and again with FinReg. Nothing has been good enough for these people. Nothing.

Again and again, over and over, issue after issue. I’m not talking about the general swath of leftward-leaning people who have disappointments. I have a few of my own. I’m talking about the self-absorbed, holier-than-thou lefty motherfuckers who are willing to hand control back over to the aforementioned power-mongering GOP, purely out of spite.

These are the same assholes who are willing to sit out the midterms, deliberately dampen enthusiasm for Democrats down ticket, and shoot all of the country in the collective ass, just to teach that dirty Corporocrat shill Obama that they will not brook any ‘dirty fucking hippie punching’. He needs to be more like LBJ they say, more like FDR. Apparently, hippies have been too busy shitting themselves (and complaining about the stink) to read an 8th grade history textbook.

If they had, or even if they had the will power to read beyond the Huffington Post headlines or spatula their dialated pupils off the front page of FireDogLake, they’d know that the substantial progressive achievements of both FDR and LBJ were only possible because of significant compromises and political deal-making. In fact, many of the programs, laws, and policies we know and love started small, and improved over time. A long time. You know, little shit like social security and civil rights. The kind of things that only begin to live up to our ideals as Americans.

Recently, I’ve been reminded that real gestalt level change takes time. This little lesson came to me the other day as I carried out one of the regular functions of my job — a gig made possible in large part by the passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). Thanks Obama and Democrats, you swarthy bunch of neo-liberal corporatist shit-sandwich servers tossing us all under the bus!

SRSLY people, let’s get a goddamned grip. Change takes time. Given the challenges we face as a nation, now is most assuredly not the time for poutrage.

The Massachusetts Special Senate Election: Aftermath

It’s been a bit since the Massachusetts election, in which unknown Republican Scott Brown emerged to upset the favored Democrat Martha Coakley in one of union’s deepest-blue states. Since then, Democrats have been recalibrating their strategy.

In a previous post, I outlined the results of how a tied election might look like. Let’s take a look at the prediction:


Now let’s see the actual results:


More below.

It’s time to get behind Byron Dorgan…

Dorgan (D – North Dakota) is the Senator who introduced legislation, S. 260, to shut down a tax loophole that rewards U.S. companies that move U.S. manufacturing  jobs overseas. The legislation would close the loophole that allows U.S. multinational companies to defer paying income taxes on profits they make from the U.S. sale of the products manufactured in foreign factories, until those profits are returned to the United States, if ever.  Manufacturers who remain in the United States receive no similar subsidy.

Behind the Mosque Controversy, a Rich History of Both Coexistence and Conflict

Cross-posted at River Twice Research. This article first appeared in The Atlantic.

Over the past two months, the planned construction of a Muslim cultural center in the vicinity of the World Trade Center site has become the fulcrum of an acrimonious debate about religion, freedom of expression, and the place of Islam in the United States. You would have had to be living off-the-grid somewhere not to have noticed the hundreds of opinion pieces, thousands of blogs, and considerable airtime on television and radio. As characterized by Newt Gingrich, the planned center is no less than the latest chapter in a war of civilizations: “America is experiencing an Islamist cultural-political offensive designed to undermine and destroy our civilization.”

Analyzing Swing States: Virginia, Part 2

This is the second part of a series of posts analyzing the swing state Virginia. It will focus on Republican Virginia. The third part can be found here.

Analyzing Swing States: Virginia,Part 2


After the Civil War, Virginia constituted a reliable Democratic stronghold. Conservative Democrats such as Harry F. Byrd, who controlled the state’s politics for decades, typified the state’s politicians.

Like many southern states, Virginia enacted a strict set of voting restrictions which successfully disenfranchised blacks. However, it never voted as overwhelmingly Democratic as the Deep South; only one Democrat (FDR) ever won more than 70% of the vote.

Earlier than most Southern states, Virginia began moving Republican, beginning in 1952 (when it cast the ballot for General Dwight Eisenhower). Republican strength rested upon the mountainous west (Republican even in the days of the Solid South) and the fast-growing, Republican-leaning suburbs. The west still votes Republican, but the suburbs are changing fast.

More below.

The Fifth Domain of Warfare

If you haven’t heard about the Stuxnet worm by now you probably soon will.  The analysis of this recently identified ‘weaponised’ worm is the opening chapter of a fascinating John le Carré novel for the 21st century with political, diplomatic and practical implications for all concerned.

A little background:

One of the most sophisticated pieces of malware ever detected was probably targeting “high value” infrastructure in Iran, experts have told the BBC.

Stuxnet’s complexity suggests it could only have been written by a “nation state”, some researchers have claimed.  It is believed to be the first-known worm designed to target real-world infrastructure such as power stations, water plants and industrial units.

It was first detected in June and has been intensely studied ever since.

Jonathan Fildes – Stuxnet worm ‘targeted high-value Iranian assets’ BBC 23 Sep 10

Unfortunately there is no specific forensic evidence that Iran was the target, although it seems the epicentre of infection.  And clearly this is not the work of some hacker ‘sitting in the basement of his parents house:’

Since reverse engineering chunks of Stuxnet’s massive code, senior US cyber security experts confirm what Mr. Langner, the German researcher, told the Monitor: Stuxnet is essentially a precision, military-grade cyber missile deployed early last year to seek out and destroy one real-world target of high importance – a target still unknown.

Bruce Schneier – The Stuxnet Worm Schneier on Security 22 Sep 10

Holy Thumbdrive, Caped Crusader!

On Being Outraged!

If one can read the tea leaves dished out by the media, one is supposed to conclude that everybody in this country is outraged. Unfortunately the military industrial complex now extends to media-politicians-pollsters-campaign personnel-lobbyists complex. Our election cycle is hijacked by 24 hour cable news channels, media talking heads, radio and TV info-tainment merchants, political pundits and pollsters, campaign managers and personnel et al. Today our election industry actually generates billions of dollars and tons of jobs for full time political cadres.

Here comes the business of being outraged!

The House 44

Ok now this is just politically stupid. The House, out of  fear of Republicans using it against them decided to punt on voting on the Bush Tax cuts until after the mid-terms. Good grief if not this the Republicans will use some other piece of bull shit against them. And frankly not extending the Bush tax cuts on the upper 1% is a no brainer win.

So here is a list of the 44 House Dems that are shaking in their draws. If any of these folks is your Rep you might want to let them  know that you think being a coward is no way to represent the people or to win an election.