AL ON POLITICS AND POLITICIANS

      In this section, we will offer a random taste of Al’s writings on politics and political figures.  Since we cannot print entire articles verbatim, we have appended the source for each so that the reader himself can examine them for additional context and content. Our own comments will be largely limited to an explanation of context, with only a brief opinion here and there.

      DAILY KOS, 10 DECEMBER 2009, “KOSSACKS: PARTISANS, ACTIVISTS OR JUST AGITATORS?”  In this diary, Al addresses the readers of Daily Kos on how to find a balance between partisanship and political activism and agitation.  We present here two excerpts, the first on recommended tactics for use against Republicans and a second concerning recalcitrant Democrats.

      “There is an important place for partisanship in this.  It is not necessarily a bad thing to appear to have a double standard where you cut a Democrat some slack on something that was a point of criticism under a Republican.  This system is way to f**ked up to believe that playing by the rules will effect change.  Frequently, we have to fight fire with fire.  It may appear to be inconsistent to, on the one hand, criticize Bush for hoarding executive power while excusing Obama for the same.  But, in my opinion, if Republican Presidents consistently force their world view on us, while Democratic Presidents constantly defer to a recalcitrant Congress, what we wind up with is an implementation of Republican policy.  Ironically, I have seen some whose work lately seems dedicated to criticizing Obama, charge him with failing to lead, aka flex executive power, AND for hoarding executive power.  I’m on the side that believes he doesn’t flex it nearly enough.  The idea that this sets some sort of precedent is irrelevant IMO because Republicans don’t care about precedence, they abuse power to whatever extent the law will allow, and then some.”

      “Similarly, an activist also needs to know when to agitate.  Going along with whatever prescription Obama and the Democrats provide us with is not leading, it’s following.  It may require taking action that causes Democrats pain.  This is o.k., so long as it is working. If we have the power to replace a Democrat with someone better, relatively soon, we should definitely let them know that, and follow through in the event that they fail to heed the warnings.  On the other hand, if we are confronted with people who we can’t replace with someone better, or who aren’t seeking reelection anytime soon, and who are completely unresponsive to screaming and yelling and shouting and threatening, we need to revise our strategy.  Pressure can come from a variety of angles.  Perhaps the best way to pressure a Democrat who is working against change is to go after their alternate sources of income, or to write letters to the boards of their corporate sponsors, or to their church, or to investigate them for corruption or scandal.”

DAILY KOS, 30 JUNE 2008, “WHAT IS OUR RESPONSIBILITY?”

       “We are the fortunate 5% of society that is absolutely informed on the issues.  In fact, the level at which we are informed pushes the top 1%.  We bear a greater burden than the average citizen.”

DAILY KOS, 21 DECEMBER 2009, “TEABAGGER ALLIANCE, DAY ONE – THEY BIT ME!” This is a satire by a Kossack named “MarkWarner’sGod” about an imaginary attempt at an alliance with the Tea Party — an alliance which did not quite go according to plan. Al appended some comments:

       “If an allegiance between the populist left and the populist right ever topples the plutocracy, there will be an ideological battle to determine who will govern,  My guess is that the people with the guns will win.”

       “An enemy can come in many different forms.  The enemy is not always rich and powerful.  That a group is my enemy only because they have been tricked or uneducated does not make them any less the enemy.”

DAILY KOS, 2 OCTOBER 2008, “BIDEN SHOULD ATTACK McCAIN – NOT PALIN”   This diary was written before a Biden-Palin debate.  It shows Al’s feelings with regard to Obama’s opponent.  Al also announced the opening of a new personal blog called: johnmclies@wordpress.com.

       ” McCain is a liar.  Let Palin regurgitate the lies.  Smile and nod.  Blast John McCain for creating the fabrications, distributing them on TV and radio, and asking his surrogates to repeat them. McCain hates the working class.
Blast McCain for screwing the working class again and again. McCain doesn’t care about veterans.
McCain is in the tank for the oil companies.
Point to John McCain’s anger, lack of composure, and gimmicking in the face of adversity…for failing, utterly and completely, to put country first.”

DAILY KOS, 8 OCTOBER 2008, “JOHN McCAIN’S DEFEAT.”    This was written about McCain after a debate with Obama.

       “He looked defeated.  He looked liked a loser.  It was as if, for the first time in his life, someone had held a mirror for him, so he could see with his own eyes what a blithering idiot he is.”

DAILY KOS, 26 MAY 2009, “SONIA SOTOMAYOR IS NOT SMART ENOUGH”   This diary was written by another contributor who was critical of Sotomayor’s qualifications for the SCOTUS based on his assessment of her intelligence. It obviously hit a nerve with Al, who stepped in directly as a “Rescue Ranger” and responded as follows:

        “Certainly, to have more credibility, the ‘intelligence critic’ should be able to brandish some sort of credentials, and those credentials should be comparable to (if not clearly exceed) the credentials of the person who they are criticizing.  Did the diarist attend an Ivy League school or comparable?  Did the diarist graduate in the top 5% of their undergraduate class?  Was the diarist editor of the Yale Law Review or comparable?….I am not endorsing the selection for JOTSC.  But I am admantly opposed to the horseshit argument that Judge Sotomayor is not intelligent enough to serve on the SCOTUS.  UPDATE:  The diary in question is no longer on the rec list [recommendation list].  I refuse to link to it, but I do apologize to those who are confused by the lack of content.”

     [AUTHOR COMMENT:  One has to wonder why these strict rules on credentials did not apply to the case of the "blithering idiot."]

DAILY KOS, 10 JUNE 2008   This diary by Al addressed various comments and opinions in the progressive community on the possibility of impeaching George W. Bush, even at that late date.  A part of the diary was pure “snark,” but Al did add a serious comment.

        “BTW, I am pro-impeachment, even at this juncture.  I think the arguments made against impeachment, including the marginalized premises above, are extremely valid.  I’m sure the overwhelming majority of us would be pro-impeachment if not for these legitimate concerns.  I happen to think that we should still impeach because I believe a thorough investigation spotlighted by a media frenzy would actually benefit Democrats politically, thus helping the many causes which are prioritized differently within our community.”

DAILY KOS, 16 JUNE 2009, “JEFF SESSIONS IS CONCERNED ABOUT SOTOMAYOR’S ABILITY TO LIVE ON A JUDGE’S SALARY.” In this diary, Al takes umbrage at a confirmation session exchange between Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions and SCOTUS nominee Sonia Sotomayor.  As a Latino, Al believes that Sessions was engaging in racist badgering.

      “Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III was born into wealth.  His father was a wealthy businessman, and Mr. Session’s life has been one of privilege…So who the f**k is he to lecture Judge Sotomayor about salary?”

      [Al addresses Sessions directly.]  “Your voting record also shows, quite conclusively, that you don’t give a rat’s ass about the people who earn a fraction of your salary.  That you would use the very people you’ve spent your career trampling on to add flair to your rhetoric is pure salt, especially when put in the context of lecturing a woman, a Latina, who had to work especially hard to overcome the barriers that people like you have dedicated your lives to erecting…You, yes, YOU, Beauregard, are a petty, petty man.”

      At this point another Kossack informs Al that Jeff Sessions was born into the middle class, that Sessions’ father was a dealer selling farm equipment.  This gives Al only momentary pause:  “Not that it changes my feelings much.  The guy’s still a prick, has been wealthy most of his life, and shits on working class people every chance he gets…Oh, and he’s a disgusting bigot.  Can’t forget that one.”

DAILY KOS, 2 SEPTEMBER 2009, “AMBINDER AND ENDS VS. MEANS”  In this diary Al addresses the issue of torture.

        “What Ambinder fails to appreciate in his piece on torture is that, in this particular circumstance, even if someone believes that the ends do in fact justify the means, the acts committed by the Bush Administration, whether through malicious intent or unprecedented incompetence, must be considered unethical since they resulted in disastrous consequences, from the unnecessary deaths of Iraqi civilians and American soldiers, to the squandering of federal resources entrusted to them, to the (presumably) unintended promotion of terrorist activity and the complete deterioration of America’s image abroad.  There is no “A for effort” in consequentialism.  It is outcomes that matter, not intent.
         And this particular circumstance is all that should matter right now to opponents of torture.  We don’t need to convince the American people that torture is wrong.  We just need to show them that the Bush Administration is wrong, and that they should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.  Ultimately, if we follow the ethical course of action here and prosecute Administration officials, we can achieve the desired ends, which is to deter future Administrations from considering these abominable means.”

DAILY KOS, 5 NOVEMBER 2008, “U.N.I.T.Y.”  This diary was written in the flush of the Obama electoral victory.

       “The wall between red states and blue states has begun to crumble, but there are many more divides that prevent us from coming together as Americans to create the kind of change we want and need.  We can either find ways to sharpen those divides through hubris and justify it with the mandate of righteousness, or we can keep working, just as we have for the past several months/years to communicate, educate, and understand each other.”

       Al noted the number of different voters who had come together to elect Obama.  He indicated that he was all for implementing the progressive agenda but that conservative viewpoints were “critical to viable policy implementation.”  He added that “constant use of brute parliamentary tactics makes for a temporary majority.”

       [AUTHOR COMMENT:  No one seems to have listened to Al --- until November 2010, when it was too late.]

Part VII to follow gives another random taste of Al on economics.