Posts tagged Electoral Politics

Progressive Politics

Shared Article from The Huffington Post

Obama Delays Immigration Action Until After Election

WASHINGTON (AP) — Abandoning his pledge to act by the end of summer, President Barack Obama has decided to delay any executive action on immigration…

huffingtonpost.com


Of course, this is a shameful move from Barack Obama. Immigrants’ lives and families are being sacrificed, yet again, over and over and again, to opportunism and to crass political calculation. The careers of Democratic politicians are not more important than people’s lives and livelihoods. What makes it worse is that this move is as completely predictable as it is morally grotesque.

Progressive electoral politics is like building a vast, extraordinarily expensive, Rouge River-scale machine plant to build cars. Then, after the ribbon is cut, the plant opens to great fanfare, billions of dollars are spent, and a couple of go-karts are rolled off the line as a test, the manager up tells you that there won’t be any more cars for the time being — because all the wear and tear on the machines would destroy their ability to make more cars, some day in the future. So until then you’ll have to wait. All the while the machine whirs along, drawing more power and costing more money all the time, but no more cars ever come off the line, because every time there might have been some output, it was sacrificed to make sure that the machine itself would keep idling smoothly. But it is so perfectly polished.

Direction of Fit (Progressive President Edition)

In a recent Change You Can Believe In piece, I linked to this video, tagging it with a rather bitter joke: Man, this guy sounds pretty awesome. I hope he runs for President in the next election, so we can have a chance to change this Administration’s increasingly repressive policies.

Barack Obama (2007)

Over on Twitter, Kevin Carson (@KevinCarson1) re-worked the joke into 140 characters or fewer, like this:

Charles Johnson: Vote — to replace Obama with this guy!

But of course the real bitterness of the joke comes from the fact that it is a trick. The real trick is that actually you could not possibly vote to replace President Obama with that guy. You can only vote to make that guy into President Obama. And that has made all the difference.

Show me what a police state looks like… (2012 edition, part 1 of ????)

These are from the streets of Tampa, Florida. The first is from Brian Miller, via Radley Balko (August 28, 2012) (via my cousin Emily): it’s a picture of the out-of-town police brought in to Tampa to guard the 2012 Republican National Convention. The others are from many sources, collected in Examiner.com’s article on the use of the newest technology in civilian surveillance and police weaponry in Tampa and Charlotte.

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Show me what elected government looks like…

(A photograph of a line of State Troopers in heavy body armor and riot gear.)

This is what elected government looks like.

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Show me what a police state looks like…

(A photograph of two police officers on a boat with a mounted carbine pointing off toward the top of the photo.)

This is what a police state looks like.

(A photograph of a huge crowd of bicycle cops arresting a young man in a Misfits t-shirt, while other bike cops hold onlookers off at a distance.)

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From the Examiner.com article:

Officials in Tampa are preparing for mass arrests; Orient Road Jail has been vacated to ensure that the 1,700 beds can be utilized if needed. It has been reported that an Occupy Tampa protester was arrested on August 27, 2012, for refusing to remove his mask at the request of the police. Occupy Tampa has also reported that homeless people are being arrested near the convention by ‘secret service.’

Tampa received a $50 million federal grant just for security. Tampa bought high-tech security cameras, body armor, and an armored tank. During the RNC, Tampa will have boat patrols armed with fully automatic .308 caliber rifles. Trapwire surveillance systems have also been installed throughout Tampa . . . .

. . . According to 2012Tampa.com “The Convention is designated by the Department of Homeland Security as one of only four National Special Security Events (NSSE) to be held in 2012; other examples of potential NSSE events include G-8/G-20 Summits and the World Bank/IMF meetings.”

— Chris Time Steele, Examiner.com (August 27, 2012): From the DNC in Denver to the RNC in Tampa, the surveillance state grows

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(A photograph of a crowd of sheriffs walking past an MSNBC pavilion.)

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Here is what I wrote a few years ago, during the paramilitary occupations of the Twin Cities during the last Republican National Convention.

. . . Remember that so-called electoral democracy — in fact, nothing more than an imperial elective oligarchy — never means that we (meaning you and I and our neighbors) are respected as sovereign individuals or left alone to manage our own affairs. What it means is that a highly organized, heavily armed elite insists on the privilege of representing us, ruling over us, and ordering us around, on the excuse that, once every several years, we are given some minimal opportunity to select which of two tightly regimented political parties will take control of the ruling apparatus. It is, in other words, not freedom, but rather a Party State, in which we are given only the choice of which of two bureaucratic political parties might control our lives and livelihoods, with their authority supposedly justified by the ritual of elections and the mandate of popular sovereignty. And if the people (again, meaning you and I and our neighbors) should dare to think that we might challenge the authority of the regime supposedly representing us, you’ll find that it’s the people that go out the window, not the rigged electoral system or the parties’ grasp on the authority supposedly derived from those people.

— GT 2008-09-03: This is what a police state looks like (part 1 of ???)

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(A photograph of a line of police in body armor and riot gear standing in front of a group of seated, unarmed protesters in casual dress.)

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Also.

From 2008.

Change You Can Believe In (Vol. III, No. 10)

From Adam Serwer, in Mother Jones (18 Oct 2011):

Barack Obama Deported More Immigrants This Year Than Any Other President in American History.

Immigrations and Customs Enforcement announced Tuesday that it has reached a new record number of deportations for Fiscal Year 2011: 396,906 removals of unauthorized immigrants.

The numbers should be taken with a grain of salt. Last year ICE miscounted the number of deportations, and the number was revised down to 387,790, still a record. Or at least it was a record, until today. ICE has previously stated it has the resources to deport about 400,000 people a year, which means that Tuesday’s number puts ICE around 3,000 people shy of the total number of people the agency says it has the capacity to deport.

… In the twisted bizarro world of Washington politics, media conventions have obliged journalists to report with equal “balance” the Republican claim that Obama is pursuing a policy of “backdoor amnesty” even as he racks up more deportations than any president ever before… . What you won’t hear about, however, is the human cost to the families, citizen and non-citizen, impacted by the sheer volume and efficiency of the Obama administraton’s immigration removal policy

— Adam Serwer, Open-Borders Obama Sets New Deportation Record, in Mother Jones (18 Oct 2011)

But of course once the U.S. government has stormed your home, locked you in a hellhole detention camp, separated you from your family, and cast you out thousands of miles from your home, they’re not really done with you. Because the United States government hardly stops at United States borders — our Progressive Peace President is a humanitarian and his campaign for peace, democracy and human rights will bring Hope and Change to you in whatever land you may be exiled to. For example, by forcing your former neighbors to subsidize governments that draft child soldiers and send them to kill you:

Barack Obama Forces U.S. Taxpayers To Subsidize Armies That Use Child Soldiers In Conflict Zones

President Barack Obama has decided to waive almost all the legally mandated penalties for countries that use child soldiers and provide those countries U.S. military assistance, just like he did last year.

The White House is expected to soon announce its decision to issue a series of waivers for the Child Soldiers Protection Act, a 2008 law that is meant to stop the United States from giving military aid to countries that recruit soldiers under the age of 15 and use them to fight wars. The administration has laid out a range of justifications for waiving penalties on Yemen, South Sudan, Chad, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, all of which amount to a gutting of the law for the second year in a row.

… In a meeting with NGO representatives on Tuesday afternoon at the White House, State Department officials, led by Deputy Assistant Secretary for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor Dan Baer, explained this year’s reasons why the White House will continue to give military funding to countries that use child soldiers.[1]

Fo r South Sudan, State Department officials argued that since the country didn’t exist when the latest report on child soldier abuse came out, that country doesn’t fall under the law. Their reasoning is that the report in question, known as the 2011 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report, came out June 27. South Sudan was declared independent 12 days later on July 9. They will receive $100 million in U.S. military aid this year.

“South Sudan may be a new country, but it’s not a blank slate here,” one attendee at the White House meeting told The Cable. “There’s been two decades of child soldier use and unfulfilled promises by the [Sudan People’s Liberation Army].”

For Yemen, the administration’s argument is simply that counterterrorism cooperation with that country is too important to suspend. Yemen is set to receive $35 million from the United States in foreign military financing. What stunned activists in the room, however, was State Department officials’ admission that they don’t know who actually controls the Yemeni military these days.

“The officials said, ‘We don’t even know day by day who we’re even talking to,’” one attendee reported.

— Josh Rogin, Obama waives penalties on countries that employ child soldiers — again! in Foreign Policy: The Cable (4 October 2011)

But I am sure that their collaboration is vital to defeating terror and safeguarding human rights throughout the world. Whoever the hell they are.

Oh well, close enough for government work, anyway. The more things Change….

See also.

  1. [1] Sic. Actually the announcement from Deputy Assistant Secretary for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor Dan Baer — since the White House has nothing to give and countries don’t use soldiers, is that the White House will continue forcing U.S. taxpayers to give multimillion-dollar subsidies to war criminals.

Change You Can Believe In

I call on all of our college campuses to open their doors to our [sic] military recruiters and the ROTC. It is time to leave behind the divisive battles of the past. It is time to move forward as one nation.

— President Barack Obama (25 January 2011), State of the Union speech

The more things Change….