politics is to want something

mandag, oktober 23, 2006

NY Senate Race focuses on the issues.

According to FOX news, Hillary and her hopeless Republican opponent are sparring over the most important issue of the day.

onsdag, oktober 18, 2006

ha. ha.

In the past weeks, two ministers in the new "center-right" government in Sweden have had to resign: one for tax evasion, and another for failing to pay TV license fees and hiring a nanny off the books. Before you jaded American readers scoff too heartily, consider that the TV license evader was Minister of Culture, a post that had her overseeing the state Television stations funded mainly through these subscription fees. Add to this that her summer home was owned by a corporation based in the British Channel Islands (a popular tax shelter for European elites), and you have a recipe for exactly the sort of venality we've come to expect from the Swedish Right.

It's true, though, that Swedes don't mess around when it comes to corruption. A few years ago, a popular Social Democratic minister resigned for having an extravagant crawfish dinner at his home on the taxpayer dime. Crazy swedes. I bet they don't even care who is doing what to whom in the Prime Minister's residence. All they care about is their elected officials obeying the same laws they do. Commies.

Two down, a whole bunch more to go...

Read more here.

torsdag, oktober 05, 2006

what do you expect?

Wow. Readers of hoverbike know that I generally don't blog about major news stories: I always figure there is enough noise out there about anything going on in the mainstream media. However, I just couldn't resist the unfolding drama around Mark Foley's fall from grace.

It shouldn't surprise anyone that congressional pages are preyed upon by older staff and members of congress. In fact, two Congressmen got in trouble for just that in 1983. One was a Republican who hooked up with an underage female page, the other a Democrat who had a relationship with a 17 year old male. The Republican was defeated in the next election, while the Democrat was reelected repeatedly. They were both officially censured by the House.

What Foley did was disgusting and should be illegal. Apparently though, the age of concent in the District of Columbia (run by Congress, remember) is 16, and so it is possible that his lecherous emails and messages are perfectly legal.

What is most disturbing, however, has been the reaction on the right to the hypocracy of one of their rising stars. The party which prides itself on being the moral gatekeepers of the nation have found a pedophile among their ranks, something which in an alternate universe might prompt some discussion about the silliness of holding elected officials up as moral paragons. Instead, Foley gave the Republican leadership a gift: he came out of the closet.

By admitting what everyone in Washington already knew, that he is a gay man, Foley allowed conservatives to go around saying "what do you expect? He's gay." Right wing playmaker Paul Weyrich today on NPR stated clearly what everyone else is saying between the lines: "it's well known that gays are obsessed with sex." When pressed by the interviewer to justify such a wildly homophobic statement he explained that this is a well-established fact, backed up by psychologists and scholars and others "who have to deal with them (gay people)".

It's a brilliant way to play to a base that makes little distinction between consensual gay relationships and child molestation. A recent caller in to a CSPAN talk show asked why people were making such a big deal about it, since Democratic congressman Barney Frank has been an "avowed homosexual" for years. Jesus.

And if the ploy doesn't work, Foley has also claimed to have been molested by a Catholic priest, allowing the fundementalist base to dismiss him as an isolated incident on two counts. Gay. Catholic. Oh, and an Alcoholic. All the bases are covered.

There are loads of gay catholic alcoholics out there, even some who were molested by priests. I'm sure many of them are Republicans. However, very, very, very few of them are pedophiles. Just Mark Foley.

onsdag, oktober 04, 2006

(re)class struggle

The National Labor Relations Board just ruled that nurses who are responsible for assigning tasks to other nurses are officially management, and therefore inelibable for union membership or protections.

The decision will have disastrous reprocussions accross the service and professional sectors, encouraging employers to re-classify workers out of bargaining units. This may well effect teachers, scientists, engineers and technicians among others.

The vote on the NLRB was along party lines, with Republicans voting for the change and Democrats voting against it. Say what you will about union involvement in politics: this decisions would have gone the other way had Al Gore or John Kerry been put in the White House.

The ruling wasn't as bad as it could have been, and nurses unions accross the country are mobilizing around it. However, the precident is clear- not satisfied with the roughly 10% union density in the American Workforce, labor's enemies want to use decisions like this one to further curtail the ability of workers to bargain collectively.

For more info, check out the AFL-CIO's blog.

the green party picks its battles

This just arrived in my email from Jen Ancona over at governorphil.com and powerpac.

From Capital Morning Report

*Todd Chretien*, Green Party candidate for US Senate, accuses the
*Angelides* for Governor campaign of "censoring anti-war students by
cutting them out of a video now on the campaign website because they
believed the Democrat isn't really opposed to the war." According to
*Chretien*, when students arrived at a Sept. 26 rally at SF State to
hold up signs questioning *Angelides'* commitment to ending the war,
"they appeared in the news coverage and the original video the campaign
shot. In order to censor out the anti-war students, the *Angelides*
campaign used footage from an identical speech he gave in Burbank and
then spliced the two together to create the video now seen on his
website." Says *Chretien*, "I think it's shameful that *Phil Angelides*
wanted to use the students of SF State, ... as a back drop for his
campaign. And yet, when those students who, unlike *Angelides*, have
been organizing against the war since the beginning, arrived to express
their opinion, he censored them ... " Contact: Chretien 415 412 4540.

*Chretien* also says *Angelides'* campaign "illegally searched
at a Sacramento City College rally last week, "having campaign staffers
go through students' backpacks before they could enter the free
on-campus, outdoor rally."

--- I say, call the bastard (Chrenien) and ask him why he thinks its more important to hold anti-war rallies at Angelides campaign events than it is to beat Schwarzenegger. While you're at it, ask him how it is that Angelides is insuficiently anti-war given that he is the only Democratic gubenatorial candidate in recent memory to pledge pulling National Guard troops out of Iraq.

mandag, oktober 02, 2006

why we fight

Perhaps it is because I hear watered down versions of it so often here in California, my favorite quote from this week’s cover story in The Nation goes as follows:
“Whites do not like crowded societies, and Americans would not have to live in crowds if our government kept out Third-World invaders.”

The quote is by Marian Kester Coombs, wife and ideological comrade to Francis Coombs, managing editor over at the Washington Times. The Nation story details a leadership fight brewing over at the Times. The paper is being fought over by hard-line conservatives loyal to Preston Moon, son of Times owner Sun Myung Moon and a band of neo-confederate racists. Coombs is the leader of the latter group, which mixes openly with white supremacists, holocaust deniers and even international far right leaders, including folks from the British National Party. It’s a straight out horror story in which the “good guys” are connected to a bizarre Korean religious cult and the “bad guys” argue that slavery was good for Black people. It’s well worth a read.

But underlying the story is the fact that the white supremacist wing of the Republican Party have zeroed in on immigration as the “most important issue facing America.” Immigration has been the issue that Coombs and his compatriots have pushing hardest in the editorials and news section of their paper, a key political organ for Conservatism as a movement.

With a major national platform like the Washington Times (Ronald Reagan’s “favorite newspaper”), these bridge-builders are helping to mainstream a slightly slicker version of Henry Wallace style populist racism. Together with the prolific Pat Buchanan and the softer bigotry of CNN’s Lou Dobbs, they have turned vigilante Minutemen into celebrities, helped embolden House Republicans to pass draconian immigration laws one step at a time, and made it safe for the Governor of California to make racist comments. Making immigration the issue is smart, especially as real concerns about economic insecurity, overpopulation and pressures on natural resources are combined with suburban NIMBYism and subtly racist feelings of cultural superiority among Anglos. Buchanan and Dobbs are able to make white supremacy seem like common sense.

This is bad for the country. The divisive politics of the neo-Confederates and race-baiters is dangerous to our society. It’s also a crucial part of the Right’s long-term strategy of dominance. Building a strong racial-nationalist discourse is direct and compelling appeal to the last parts of the white working class base that is crucial to any hope of building a progressive majority in America. It is the coffin-nail in the Democratic Coalition that we should be expanding, not having to defend.

That’s why the Democrats, and the broader left should take immigration seriously- and fight back against the emerging “consensus” that immigrant workers are to blame for our social and economic ills. We need a brave narrative, like the one taken by the labor movement and many community leaders in last Spring’s wave of demonstrations. In our narrative, immigrant workers are a part of our community, and their precarious situation is the reason that wages and working conditions are depressed, which results in poverty in their communities. Any solution centers around a path to legalization and the construction of institutions to support immigrant families in pressing for their rights. No doubt policy compromises will be made, but this is the narrative we must continue to promote. It’s the only one that can really counter the story of a white America overrun by “Third World invaders.”