Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Hot Wire

Hotwire: A Journal of Feminist Music and Culture is no longer publishing, but they have a website now.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Women's Space

I was going off on a slight tangent on a project for school when I found this interesting blog.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

House Republicans enjoy the government shutdown so much...

...that they've found a way to undermine the compromise deal that was developing in the Senate. Read all about it at TPM.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Things that make a person say, "hmmmm......"

Here's an interesting post by Steve Benen over on the Maddow Blog  about the fate of the Affordable Care Act.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Ending the Shutdown

As I noted in my most recent post, the Republican shutdown of the U.S. government is not the act of anarchists, but the work of elitists trying to overcome the effects of popular rule. This recent post from thenation.com makes this even clearer:
The shutdown (and the threat to allow a debt default) seeks to undo the results of the 2012 election by giving a minority within the losing party the power to decide whether government will operate or not. The founders of the American experiment established a separation of powers, but that is not the cause of today’s crisis. In 2012, Barack Obama won the presidency by 5 million votes. He won 51 percent of the overall vote, and he won the Electoral College 332 to 206. But the Democratic victory did not end there. The Democrats were expected to lose Senate seats, but they actually gained, and the overall turnout in those races gave them a 10 million–vote advantage. In House races, Democrats secured an overall margin of 1.7 million votes; the chamber is under Republican control not because of the desires of American voters, but because of a combination of gerrymandering, big money and winner-take-all voting structures.

So House Republicans are “governing” by other means. Worse yet, the House leadership is compelled to take the most extreme position because the vast majority of GOP districts have been so gerrymandered that even reasonable Republicans are more fearful of a Tea Party primary challenge than of a November challenge in which the whole electorate might hold them to account.
The editors at The Nationoffer this solution to the situation:
Groups like Common Cause and FairVote, which have campaigned on behalf of democratic reform for years, are at the ready with smart proposals—from nonpartisan redistricting commissions to proportional representation to creation of multi-member districts. Obama should use his bully pulpit not just to end the immediate crisis but to call for a national dialogue about the tattered state of our democracy. And he should call for reforms to ensure that Americans will never again be forced to live from crisis to crisis.
I would be pleasantly surprised if the president took those actions, but I am not going to hold my breath.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Democrats resort to mindless name-calling in budget battle

About a week ago, blogger Nathan Schneider posted this thoughtful commentary about the relationship of anarchists to government. Scheider was reacting to a statement by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in which Reid called House Republicans "anarchists" because they were trying to use the threat of a government shutdown to defund the Affordable Care Act.

Schneider pointed out that:
(A)narchists today disagree about how to relate to institutions like the pseudo-democratic U.S. government. Some, much like their counterparts on the libertarian right, advocate total withdrawal and non-participation, refusing to do things like vote or pay taxes. Others believe that for now government can be a means for pursuing anarchist-friendly ends; “it’s completely realistic and rational to work within structures to which you are opposed,” writes Noam Chomsky, “because by doing so you can help to move to a situation where then you can challenge those structures.”

Most people with anarchist tendencies fall somewhere in between. They’re less fixated on debating whether government is good or bad than on rebuilding political life from the ground up, starting in local communities that are connected through global networks. When the anarchist-inspired Occupy movement sprang up two years ago, commentators were quick to compare it to the Tea Party — and to judge it by whether, like the Tea Party, it elected politicians to office. But this standard seemed beside the point for Occupy participants, who tended to hold a different strategy for making change. The more useful right-wing analogue would be not the Tea Party but churches, whose massive political power stems from being effective centers of mutual support and community. Megachurch pastors generally keep aloof from elected office, but nobody can deny their influence.
In the current budget stalemate in Washington D.C., I would like to be sympathetic to the Democrats, because the Republicans are just being so hateful. Simple-minded tactics such as Reid's name-calling make it difficult for me to support the Democrats, though. Calling House Republicans "anarchists" -- when they clearly aren't -- isn't any more principled than the old right-wing habit of calling liberals and moderates "communists."

What's really disappointing is that Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, who has such an honorable history, resorted to the same sort of simple-minded insults, as you can see in the video clip below. The name-calling mars what was otherwise an impassioned but thoughtful speech. In the short run, Democrats might gain some political advantage by using such tactics. In the long run, they'll reinforce the apathy and disgust of citizens with the U.S. political process -- a result that can only benefit the most extreme Republicans.