While over at The Dish reading their best of for yesterday, I was quite happy to read about how Benjamin Netanyahu, the GOP, and the Israeli right, have overplayed their hand concerning the political talks going on with Iran. I have long seen the Israeli right as being an immoral force in politics. The only difference between Netanyahu and a thug is that he has some political power behind him. If we are ever going to navigate the murky political waters of the Middle East, we need to isolate him and what he represents.
Andrew Sullivan has an interesting article about Pope Francis, the Pope’s encyclical on climate change, and the far right’s anger over the Pope’s stance on climate change. It should be mentioned that Sullivan is a Catholic. A sample:
The theocons created an abstract fusion of GOP policy and an unrecognizable form of Christianity that saw money as a virtue, the earth as disposable, and the poor as invisible. It couldn’t last, given the weight of Christian theology and tradition marshaled against it. And it hasn’t. Francis is, moreover, indistinguishable on this issue from Benedict XVI and even John Paul II. As in so many areas, it’s the American far right whose bluff is finally being called.
I’ve put up some posts recently about the problems going on in NYC between the Police Union and civilian leadership, as I think this issue, in light of many other things in the news concerning our justice system, is part of a larger conversation. Above are some reactions that Andrew Sullivan has gathered at his blog The Dish, one of the best blogs around. A sample from Damon Linker:
It is absolutely essential, in New York City but also in communities around the country, that citizens and public officials make it at all times unambiguously clear that the police work for us. … When police officers engage in acts of insubordination against civilian leadership, they should expect to be punished. Just like insubordinate soldiers. The principle of civilian control of the military and police depends on it.
It also depends on cops who kill unarmed citizens being tried in a court of law. And on cops respecting the right of citizens to protest anything they wish, including the failure of the judicial system to hold police officers accountable for their use of deadly force in ambiguous situations. All of this should be a no-brainer. That it apparently isn’t for many police officers and their apologists in the media is a troubling sign of decay in our civic institutions.
The above is a link to Andrew Sullivan’s take on the election, which is I think has a lot of merit to it. A sample:
So this is a victory in favor of more governing paralysis. Most voters don’t really want that; but their actions belie it. History twists and turns, of course, and any number of events or surprises could upend our expectations for the better. But yesterday, it seems to me, was the definitive moment when Obama’s promise to forge a pragmatic purple center ceded to the grim, polarized reality of a deeply and evenly divided country. This was the GOP’s strategy from the start; but it leaves them with a strangely ill-defined, if emphatic, victory.
World Peace is none of your business
Police will stun you with their stun guns
Or they’ll disable you with tasers
That’s what government’s for
World Peace is None of Your Business – Morrissey
Andrew Sullivan has been doing a really good job covering the events in Missouri. The police shot another unarmed black teenager. If that isn’t horrible enough the police reaction to justifiably angry black protestors has been disgusting. If you look at the picture above you have to ask if those are cops or soldiers in Afghanistan?
As many of you know I have been out on tour. Keeping up with the news is hard, because I basically have had no internet service in Colorado unless I am in a major city or actually back in my hotel. I don’t feel like I have read enough different views on what is going on in Iraq to form a solid opinion. The link above is to some different opposing opinions on Iraq. I always feel the only way to even try to understand anything is to read a bunch of different sources and try to piece the truth together between them. One should never only read sources that one is already inclined to agree with. Well if you are not sure of what is going on in Iraq hopefully the link above is a good place to start. Sullivan’s coverage on what is going on in Iraq has been excellent in general from what I have seen before. This is only one post out of many.
I got the following reply from a reader over my F@$% Fairness blog post. I will post a link to my original blog at the bottom. I actually encourage any of you that have intelligent arguments to make about what I have written to make them. One of the models for this blog is Andrew Sullivan’s. I like that he doesn’t have comments on his blog, which usually just lead to partisan bickering and name calling. But what he does do is post the most intelligent reader comments that are in disagreement with him as the “dissent of the day.” I do allow comments here
, but I must approve them before I post them, not to stifle debate, but to prevent the kind of ignorance that I believe actually is counterproductive to real debate. Anyway here is the readers comment:
Jeff, There’s something overlooked in your comments, at least what’s expressed here. Trust funds, stocks/bonds, bank accounts, etc, are different than ranches. The death tax has destroyed more natural resources than all the bulldozers ever built. Those who inherit farms and ranches are forced to sell because, unless they’ve won the lottery, the only way they can pay the death tax is to sell their farm/ranch to a developer. So open space, and all its benefits provided to society … aquifer infiltration, riparian areas, wetlands, wildlife habitat, carbon sinks, oxygen production, aesthetics, rainfall runoff reduction and its cleaning, food, fiber, shelter, recreation, etc, etc, etc … are soon eliminated by becoming covered by asphalt and rooftops. And those who say that “proper planning” can escape this tax are, under certain market timings, swings and changes, full of shit. So if you want to help the environment, help keep open spaces open. There are ways to accomplish this, via carefully constructed and regulated conservation easements, etc, etc, but our “leadership” in BOTH parties won’t listen and/or are too dumb to understand, or has not so far. Finally, always remember there are two kinds of landowners: those who take from the land, and those who give to the land. Penalize the former. But, the latter should be encouraged via more appropriate policies than exist today. There’s much more to this discussion that is too complicated for my email skills, but happy to discuss any time.
I think this is a completely valid point, and one that I overlooked. However, the only thing that I would like to add is that my original blog was more about the hypocrisy of people that are against the Estate Tax so that their children benefit from wealth, and also against social welfare of any kind for other children, and not necessarily a response to the Estate Tax itself. If this was not made clear, I apologize. One always realizes when one writes that, unless one would write till the end of time, given all the nuances and shades of gray of each subject, there are going to be small holes in every argument. Here is a link to my original blog: