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Liberal Outrage

I guess i shouldn't so casually transition from serious real life and death issues to a comic book joke, but i guess that's what happens when this stuff becomes so commonplace and you're powerless to do anything about it

On Glenn Greenwald's blog, he often complains that liberals don't do enough to denounce Obama policies that they'd be screaming about if they were Bush policies. The latest topic is the drone planes, and i just want to make clear that i linked to Tom Tomorrow's Droney earlier this week, and here's a more serious (which isn't to say that Tom Tomorrow's version isn't ultimately more effective) take from Ta-Nehisi Coates.

I talked to Cornel West for another piece I'm working on, and one thing he said sticks with me:
You have Martin Luther King's statue in your office, but you are sending these unmanned drones out, and bombs are dropping on innocent people. That's not a small thing. That's not a small thing. We know from historic examples that if you engage in a certain kind of foreign policy it eats at your soul on the domestic front.

And there is no real sense of an "end." Has there ever been a point since America's inception when someone, somewhere, wasn't plotting our downfall? I have great difficulty perceiving a time when this won't be true. And so drone strategy comes to self-replicate. We your village. You declare war on us for the bombing. We deem you a terrorist and bomb again. Rinse. Repeat.

The Obama administration considers any military-age male in the vicinity of a bombing to be a combatant. That is an amazing standard with an ugly synergy with the sort of broad-swath logic that we see employed in Stop and Frisk, with NYPD national spy network, with the killer of Trayvon Martin.

Policy is informed by the morality of a country. I think the repercussions of this unending era of death by silver bird will be profound.

I know that Glenn Greenwald isn't really mad at me, but i was accused of supporting Robert Kelley's Sentinel program over on the comic blog recently, so i wanted to clear the air.

By fnord12 | May 31, 2012, 11:47 AM | Liberal Outrage | Link

Come for the Political Terrorism. Stay for the Ethnic Cleansing


With a line-up that includes Drew Barrymore, David Beckham, Orlando Bloom, and Ricky Martin, the UN's choice of ambassadors has been known to cause raised eyebrows or the odd smirk.

Seldom, however, has there been such anger, or questioning of the organisation's credibility, as that greeting the appointment of a new international envoy for tourism: Robert Mugabe.

Improbable as it seems, the Zimbabwean president, who is widely accused of ethnic cleansing, rigging elections, terrorising opposition, controlling media and presiding over a collapsed economy, has been endorsed as a champion of efforts to boost global holidaymaking.

Despite that fact Mugabe, 88, is under a travel ban, he has been honoured as a "leader for tourism" by the UN's World Tourism Organisation, along with his political ally, Zambian president Michael Sata, 75.

I'd like to see their list of criteria for choosing envoys for tourism. Perhaps Syria's al-Assad is on next year's list.

By min | May 29, 2012, 1:29 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link


Tom Tomorrow introduces a new character.

By fnord12 | May 29, 2012, 12:39 PM | Comics & Liberal Outrage | Link

Infinity is the new 65

Dean Baker looks at the latest sneaky way to reduce social security benefits.

Jay Ackroyd says:

Make no mistake. There is a Beltway consensus to cut Social Security benefits--that they're gonna raise the retirement age, and also reduce the COLA. They just have to find a way to do it that will leave nobody accountable.

Combine with Forbes' 6 Reasons You Will Never Retire for maximum fun.

By fnord12 | May 25, 2012, 9:25 AM | Liberal Outrage | Link

Bipartisan support for domestic propaganda

Via Buzzfeed:

The amendment would "strike the current ban on domestic dissemination" of propaganda material produced by the State Department and the Pentagon, according to the summary of the law at the House Rules Committee's official website.

The tweak to the bill would essentially neutralize two previous acts--the Smith-Mundt Act of 1948 and Foreign Relations Authorization Act in 1987--that had been passed to protect U.S. audiences from our own government's misinformation campaigns.

The bi-partisan amendment is sponsored by Rep. Mac Thornberry from Texas and Rep. Adam Smith from Washington State.

This amendment has already passed in the House.

By fnord12 | May 21, 2012, 10:32 AM | Liberal Outrage | Link

What Did He Think Was Going to Happen?

Blind Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng is now saying the police have arrested his sister-in-law and detained his nephew in retaliation for the humiliation he caused when he escaped house arrest. Well, duh. Any of your known associates are prolly in trouble now, too. That's how it works.

I'm not really sure what he expected the outcome of his escape to the U.S. Embassy to be. There was no way the U.S. would risk relations with China over this. Did he not think that as soon as he escaped and made it public, the government wouldn't immediately threaten his family in order to get him to cooperate?

And as for all this talk about him going to school in the States, i assume it was all lip service. I figure this is what the actual negotiations between the U.S. and China were about. How do we make it look like the U.S. actually cares while allowing China to not get screwed? I know! We'll put it out that China's agreed (due to persuasive talking by the U.S. team) to let him go to school in the U.S. That'll appease the American news viewers and they'll forget all about it in a week or two, moving on to the next exciting thing. Then China can go back to doing whatever the hell they want to this guy.

I'll be surprised if they actually let him leave. I imagine more threats to his family and friends over the situation until he capitulates. It might go something like this: Sure, go ahead to America with your family. Just know that the rest of your family and friends who still live here will be under our scrutiny (scrutiny meaning "we're totally going to arrest them and beat them up whenever we feel like it").

I'm not saying he should have accepted his situation in order to not rock the boat. I'm just wondering if he thought this through and if this is the outcome he was hoping for or if he really did expect the U.S., champion of human rights that we are, to sweep in and protect him and his loved ones. If it's the latter, then i'm very sorry he fell prey to the propaganda.

By min | May 10, 2012, 10:20 AM | Liberal Outrage | Link

Who's the Bigger Idiot? Tim Bishop, Walter Jones, or USAid?

I'm too annoyed to give it a proper intro, so you'll just have to read the article for yourself.

Yes. Teaching people English is exactly the reason why jobs are getting moved offshore. It couldn't possibly be because it's cheaper for companies to do so. And they most definitely wouldn't have their own programs to teach employees English before getting them to work at their call centers. It's all USAid's fault for trying to help people have a better life.

How about you make it expensive for U.S.-based companies to move jobs offshore? How about that, assholes?

By min | May 9, 2012, 10:26 AM | Liberal Outrage | Link

So the answer is "No."

Matthew Yglesias asks us to all to get along:

There's an interesting debate under way as to whether or not Democrats have "gotten more liberal" over the past 10-15 years that I think is hard to understand without first taking as background the basic long-term fiscal problem facing the United States.

The way this goes is that for a long time now we've been committed to providing health care services to the elderly, the disabled, and the poor and also to bolstering the general incomes of elderly people. Maintaining these commitments is projected to grow considerably more expensive in the future. Consequently, thanks to baseline games everyone thinks they're wise and moderate and everyone else is crazy. Start with Paul Ryan and his acolytes. Ryan's basic view is that all he's trying to do is ensure that the federal government's spending is brought in line with historic norms about the level of taxation. He's a conservative, to be sure, and this agenda is clearly animated by a belief that high taxes are bad. But far from a radical effort to scale back the welfare state, it's a sensible effort to preserve the status quo. On the other hand, serious liberals say all they're trying to do is to preserve America's historic social safety net. Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid are all longstanding politically popular programs that are effective at achieving their program calls and appear to do so in a cost-effective manner. Obviously it's liberal to say that maintaining these historic achievements of American liberalism is important, but it's hardly radical to simply insist that we not shred effective and popular programs.

If so, then the "more liberal/more conservative" framework needs to be dropped. Years ago, we made some commitments. Now those commitments have gotten more expensive. So we can have an honest debate about whether or not we should back ourselves out of those commitments or stick to them. But Republicans aren't approaching this debate from that perspective; they're saying that Obama is the most liberal president ever and he's bankrupting our country with new government spending. And that's not true*. So when Democrats react to those (false) claims by stating (correctly, but arguably hyperbolic-ally) that Republicans want to shred the social safety net, i think it's an understandable response.

*The ACA is the one new program that Obama and the Democrats have added, and everyone with a calculator actually agrees that it's a modest cost-saving measure, not an additional commitment. If there are facts to present to debate that point, i'm fine with that too. But all arguments against the ACA that i've seen conflate long term medical cost growth with the ACA.

By fnord12 | May 3, 2012, 11:47 AM | Liberal Outrage | Link

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