Friday, December 30, 2005

I'm partial to the phrase "Don't tread on me!"

Digby:
I'm of the mind to adopt "give me liberty or give me death" as my personal motto. If I have to kowtow to a bunch of childish Republican panic artists who have deluded themselves into believing that fighting radical Islam requires turning America into a police state, then it's just not worth it.

Patrick Henry's phrase is also a good one to adopt as a personal motto, although I tend to prefer Malcom X's more blunt take on that phrase: "the ballot or the bullet." Allowing yourself to be dominated by fear - of what the neighbors or Republicans or over-inflated media pundits might say - is just plain and simply lame. There is no point in trying to impress or win over the right wing in this country, as I can sum up the likelihood of that happening in four words: It will never happen. Fight 'em or refuse to engage in a dialog with them, but never give in. That works as a personal approach and it would work as a partisan approach.

Happy New Year y'all. Catch you on the flipside.

From the mailbag

Some intriguing developments at Blairwatch.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Quotable from Empire Notes

470 years is a long time to wait. Through massacre, genocide, slavery, revolution, counter-revolution, and a staggering 188 military coups, in one of which the United States, working with Klaus Barbie the Nazi, helped install perhaps the only government in world history run by drug traffickers, Bolivia has had no indigenous head of state since Pizarro conquered the Incan Empire.

Until now. On January 22, Evo Morales will be installed as president of Bolivia, after winning an unprecedented 54% of the vote (55-60% of Bolivia’s population is indigenous).

Nerdified Link

My emphasis added, in large part as my continued effort to act as a counterweight to the voices of American exceptionalism that dominate political discourse. A nation serious about "spreading democracy" does not work with Nazis to overthrow a government. Morales will have quite a gargantuan task ahead, as Rahul Mahajan of Empire Notes points out. Morales and his party do offer evidence that the trend towards relatively leftist and populist governments is no fluke, and his voice, in addition to those of Chavez and Castro, will be an important counterweight to US imperial aspirations.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Quotable:

From David Sirota:
Perhaps most problematic for Democrats is that some of its highest-profile spokesmen seem to go out of their way to undercut the party's courageous leaders.

For every Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.) or Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) fighting against the corrosive influence of corporate lobbyists, there is a Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), publicly bragging that he wants to be the first contact for K Street lobbyists.

For every Rep. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) fighting against the latest corporate-written trade deal, there are groups of House and Senate Democrats that provide the critical votes needed to pass the Central American Free Trade Agreement.

For every move by a Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to demand answers about prewar intelligence, or a Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.) to press a timetable for withdrawal from Iraq, or a Murtha who says it's time for a change, there is a Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.) opposing a withdrawal, a Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) saying he has no regrets about voting for a war based on lies, or a Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.) actually telling reporters that the party won't have an Iraq position until "the right time."

Said it before and I'll say it again: if you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything. I look at a large part of the problem in American politics isn't just a Republican problem (although there is no doubt that the GOP provides ample ammunition for those of us who have had it up to here with their shenanigans), but a problem that goes deeper: a simple lack of conviction. What we leftist voters want, and fail to get from the Dems is a message of political and moral clarity. Instead we get GOP-lite. The effort to stand for nothing in the name of capturing the Holy Grail of the body politic - the ever-elusive "center" - has been a proven loser. It lost the Dems majorities in the House and Senate in 1994 and the White House at the turn of this decade. You want to energize a potentially reliable base? Act like an opposition party - vigorously challenge the status quo. Do so in ordinary English: skip the nuance. Otherwise, spend the aftermath of 2006 scratching your head and staring at the election numbers in bewilderment.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Message of struggle and faith

They go hand in hand it seems, as they do for Seaghn Higgins. Some of Higgins' letter have to do with his experience as an orphan and immigrant. What grabbed me was this, though:
On the first Christmas were Joseph and his young love, Mary. Stables for livestock, even today are hideous. I wonder what they were like 2000 years ago.

If my wife were inexplicably pregnant I'd be seriously pissed off.

I don't know what it was like for a man to try and find a place for his wife to give birth. I know I would be enraged, fighting for her dignity and honor.

Amongst the filth and the stench was a man trying to help his young wife give birth. Alone.

No angels, no wise men and no midwife. I don't know about you, but I don't know shit about midwifery. Pretty sure he didn't either.

Take away all the fairy tale bullshit of the virgin birth.

Could a man have shown greater love towards a woman?

Imagine finding out the that the king has sent the secret police to murder your newborn child. Imagine setting out on the back of a donkey after you gave birth.

Joseph is a shining example of manhood to be lived up to. When I am lost, when I don't know what to do next, when I have fucked up so badly, I ask Joseph, "What is the right thing for me to do as a man?"

I don't know why he's so oft overlooked and forgotten.

In the midst of the filth and shit the Liberator of the entire human race was born. Bringing Good News to the poor and oppressed. And, bad news to the rich and powerful.

In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus told Peter "those who live by the sword shall die by it." I'm down with that. These are the risks of the life I have chosen. He didn't stop Peter from using it or tell him to get rid of it.

When Maureen was murdered my fear of death left me. As a war correspondent I have even sought out death. In fact, I welcome it. Because I know she is smiling and waiting with her hand outstretched on the other side. Ready to stand as witness during my trial before St. Peter.

"He shall say to them, 'Hear, O Israel, you are approaching the battle against your
enemies today. Do not be fainthearted. Do not be afraid, or panic, or tremble before them, for the Lord your God is the one who goes with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you.' (Deut. 20:1)

On this Christmas may the Good News of Salvation shine as a Star in the East. Urging us ever onward and upward lifting our swords to fight ferociously and fearlessly in the War of Liberation.

For my sins, God gave me a camera.

You can fight without ever winning. But, never win without a fight.

I have spent many Christmas' past in parts of the world torn apart by war and strife.
I pray that for just one day the guns are silent. That no one will raise his hand or his voice against another.

And, if we can do it just for today, why can't we do it tomorrow?

On this night, I pray you are somewhere safe, warm and well in the arms of your loved ones. And, that you set a little gift aside for those who are not.

There's something strikingly earthy about the way this cat writes. It's also appealing to me that he can cite both Che Guevara and Scripture with great ease.