Monday, February 06, 2006

The end? Yes... really? No...

Just kidding. Yes. This is the end for Caljunket. Or it is almost. I promised Rebecca the last post. The blog of course hasn't been doing much for a while but the blogging goes on for me over at my non-political personal site and at the political team blog the party line. I hope everyone had as good a time reading my political opinions which range from half-baked to boring. I make no pretense to understanding politics better than the average person, just better than BAD.

God bless America, and everywhere else.

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Sunday, January 22, 2006

The weird thing about misconceptions

It's a common misconception among conservatives that liberals are for "tolerance" meaning that people should tolerate anything annoying or not just becuase tolerance is a value in and of itself. In fact, when liberals use the word tolerance they almost always mean it in a legal sense: If you want to pass a law stopping something, you have show that there is causes actual harm to you or to some third party.

So when redstate publishes this it really makes you wonder what the hell they think liberals believe. Do they honestly think that liberals aren't supposed to get angry at a violation of their right to privacy? And when they get angry, are they not allowed to make poorly thought out mean spirited jokes which they then write on to protest signs?

Surely we liberals have similar misconceptions about conservatives (though I'm probably not in a very good spot to recognize what they are) but come on: this is a no-brainer.

RedState: Like Mike Savage, but with pictures.

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Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Universal healthcare and my useless hip

Let me just echo this sarcastic complaint over at Obsidian Wings: I waited 3 months for my operation and filled out enough paperwork to make an Italian bureaucrat proud. Also, my company paid more for the health insurance than it would have paid in taxes for a nationalized system. Universal Health Care is *cheaper* and more efficient than what we have here in the US.

The free-market is much more efficient than government at delivering goods and services in the vast majority of cases. However, a very limited number of goods (like national defense and national health) are more efficiently administered by the government. I know that’s difficult for some people to appreciate, but it’s the truth.

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Thursday, December 29, 2005

Creepiness from Berkeley's own Yoo

Via Crooks and Liars, this creepy quote is just creepy. See, it's not the illegal wiretaps per-se, it's the logic being used to justify them.
Cassel: If the president deems that he's got to torture somebody, including by crushing the testicles of the person's child, there is no law that can stop him?

Yoo: No treaty

Cassel: Also no law by Congress -- that is what you wrote in the August 2002 memo...

Yoo: I think it depends on why the President thinks he needs to do that.
When people start argueing that the president can set aside congressional law well... let's just say I start dusting off the word "fascist" and get ready to use it.

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Sunday, December 25, 2005

Merry Christmas (or Merry Sunday)

For those readers who celebrate the birth of Jesus during this time, let me wish you all a merry Christmas. Yes, even the conservatives. Its easy to dehumanize and discount those with whom you disagree but we should remember that most everyone involved in politics is so becuase they honestly want to make the world better. Yes, even Bush and Cheny.

As for those who don't celebrate Christmas: I hope your year has been good and that next year is better.

So in general, though my online persona tends to be complainy, let me recognize what I'm greatful for: that we all live in indisputably the best time ever, in the best country ever, and that we have the opportunity to make it better - in personal and public ways.

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Thursday, December 22, 2005

Should Bush be Impeached?

I want to tackle this question separate from the question of whether Democrats should push for impeachment in the house and senate. Clearly they should not. Politically, they could hardly go wrong by trying to mainstream the idea. The question of whether Bush *should* be impeached for his actions. Now, as best I can tell, Bush pretty much has no defense for his illegal wire-tapping besides "we told congress we were doing it" which is less a legal defense than a punch line. Personally, if members of congress were sufficiently informed and yet failed to act, they should be punished to the full extent of the law.

Some would argue that an impeachment hearing would be seen as a partisan witch-hunt and would contribute to heightened partisanship. They’re probably right. But that’s the fundamental adversarial basis of our government. Of course a president is going to be impeached by people who are doing it for political gain. Who else is going to do it? Centrists? Moderates?

Ok, now that we’ve all stopped laughing I can continue.

Impeaching George W. Bush would certainly do a lot to reassert the rule of law in our country. Had Bush backed down after being caught it might have been sufficient to censure him, but he has decided to shoot-the-moon and promises to continue breaking the law in the future. How can we accept that? How can we accept the illegal wiretaps going forward? The answer is we can’t. Our elected officials can certainly hold their tongues in acceptance of their limited power in the senate, but liberals should be able to say honestly and without moral ambiguity that when a president abuses the powers given to him, that president is not above the law.

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Wednesday, December 21, 2005

In defense of hating

(also posted at partyline)

Conservatives have been pretty good about attacking anyone who suggests that Bush is unlikable or a bad person. “Bush hater” is thrown around like a four-letter word. Even when his administration accuses critics of treason or accuses McCain of having an illegitimate child or tries to dismantle the Social Security which keeps millions of old people out of poverty, critics are expected to act as if Bush is personally a nice guy with whom we just happen to have a policy disagreement with.

At the same time, it is respectable to hate Clinton. Hell, I’ve even had liberals look me straight in the eye and say they hated Clinton and found that he was an immoral person. Why? Well, not because Clinton abused his powers as president to illegally spy on citizens, not because he tried to impoverish millions with loaded tax cuts, no, that would be forgivable. Instead of lying about wiretapping citizens Clinton lied about cheating on his wife. And quite honestly, it’s clear which one is more serious and worthy of our scorn.

I do think that conservatives have a better media game that liberals do. It’s not because the “media” is conservatively biased (giving conservatives the awesome power to insert six or seven biased words into a New York Times article which get edited out), it’s because they’ve set up a parallel media with their own radio and television stations. Overtly conservatives, they present people who are willing to attack the opposition in personal ways, thus Kerry is unlikable and stiff. His wife is overbearing and power-hungry. Mrs. Clinton is a Machiavellian and personally dislikable. You get to hear all these on talk radio and to find out that Bush is a jerk who wants dictatorial powers you have to switch over to Air America (and of course, they’re all nut-balls, I know because I heard it on Hannity).

Now, this may not seem like a big deal but I think it is because personal animosity is a great political motivator. Many Americans have no idea of Bush’s policies, they just “know” he’s a nice guy. They have no idea where democrats stand on Iraq but they “know” Democrats are happy when things go bad there. They have no idea what Senator Clinton’s positions are, but they “know” she is conniving and mean. It’s bad enough when conservatives start internalizing this, its even worse when I have to hear liberals complain that “Sadly, I’ll just have to work for Hillary’s election in ‘08”.

It’s important to be *able* to argue honestly that Bush and other popular conservatives are not a nice people. In Bush’s case it’s not just true, it’s politically wise. With Bush’s popularity at an all time low it’s important to start engaging conservatives in the character debate. If we’re lucky we can turn disenchantment with Bush’s policies and leadership ability into an appreciation for the character flaws (and warped sense of morality) that gave rise to them.

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