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A fight’s a fight

27 May

You’ve probably heard all about Sonia Sotomayor by now. She’s the Bronx-rasied hispanic judge who Obama has nominated as his first appointee to the Supreme Court.

If like me you first read about her in The New York Times, you may also know that — from the comments posted there by liberal readers — the left aren’t particularly taken with her. The grassroots left, whose activism had propelled the young Chicagoan outsider to the presidency, were hoping for a nominee who would be guaranteed to further their cause (not to mention piss off the GOP).

Sotomayor isn’t an activist judge. She’s a champion of judicial process. To the polarised partisan her judgements might appear ambiguous (and so could be “shaped” to fit any desired narrative), but this is because they’re nuanced. A judge shouldn’t seek to push an agenda.

This doesn’t mean Sotomayor won’t be a liberal judge. No one is completely objective (even if, invariably, prejudiced myopia is a conservative trait). But it may mean that she will be a floating vote on close judgements. And surely, this is what we should really expect from Obama. He’s never claimed to be an activist liberal, he has always championed merit, fairness and common-sense.

To me Sotomayor is the perfect Obama choice. She has risen from humble origins to the brink of the highest court in The United States. She is smart — she graduated second in her Princeton class, and was an editor of the school’s law review. And Sotomayor appears to put reason and pragmatism ahead of culture-war politics.

Of course just because Sotomayor isn’t a rabid baby-eating liberal, it doesn’t mean that the Republicans will accept her with fair-minded acquiescence. In reality, the GOP is probably livid that they don’t have an activist judge they can easily paint as a “jackbooted feminazi”.

The Republican Party is in complete disarray. Rovian conservatism is built on the politicisation of religion. The GOP needs a Supreme Court fight to energise and unite its base — not to mention invigorate its fund-raising efforts.

The right thing for the Republicans to do would be to take the high-ground and embrace the new political atmosphere. Obama could have nominated a much more threatening judge (or Democrat politician) to the SCOTUS. He didn’t. But to a desperate GOP a fight’s a fight, and boy do they want a fight.

Stop the bigots – support Aberdeen’s gay Minister

6 May

Recognise the gays, you intolerant space-alien loving bastards.

The irregular quote of the day II

30 Mar

Gary Younge, writing in today’s Guardian ::

Instead the government continues to approach Muslims as though their religion defines them. It rarely speaks to them as tenants, parents, students or workers; it does not dwell on problems that they share with everyone else; it does not convene high profile task forces to look at how to improve their daily lives. It summons them as Muslims, talks to them as Muslims and refers to them as Muslims – as though they could not possibly be understood as anything else.

This Gaza mess

6 Jan

I wasn’t going to comment on this, but at the same time it’s foolish to just pretend it’s not happening.

Both sides, as ever, are in the wrong.

Hamas was moronic to continue to fire rockets at Israel. You don’t poke a government in the ribs prior to an election – especially when it’s vulnerable to its right flank.

The ambitious Israeli foreign minister, Tzipi Livni, failed to put together a coalition that would have made her the Prime Minister of the Jewish State. As de facto head of the majority party, she called for elections to legitimise her position.

That Livni and Kadima have responded to Hamas rocket attacks with overwhelming force is unsurprising. They have effectively created a tempest that many among the electorate will see, not only as justice, but as an unresolved situation that needs to be sorted.

Wars are often the last refuge of a spent administration.*

Israel is torn between its hard-right Zionist founders (and its indoctrinated progeny) and a more moderate and modern urban population – who know that only engaging and compromising with its neighbours will seed peace.

The far-right of Israel’s political spectrum represents a fanatical band of racist imperialists, who no-more respect the territorial integrity of their neighbours than they do the international organisation that censure them.

For decades Tel Aviv refused to co-operate with Fatah (a political, largely secular organisation), only to be rewarded with increasing violence and the eventual electoral success of Hamas.

American coalescence to the status-quo in the region (meaning the continued apartheid and imperial suppression of the Palestinians) has helped ferment this situation. Only America, with its tentacles reaching throughout the region – and its unwavering financial and political support for Israel, could possibly hope to broker a new solution.

President Bush’s approach to Israel – which amounted to little more than playing its slavish apologist, has emboldened Israel and led to even greater international outrage over the Israeli response.

The predictable rightwing response has been to excuse civilian bloodshed by lumping all responsibility on Hamas’ shoulders. Yet when you read about a family of seven killed (inc. at least 4 children) by an Israeli bomb, you can safely assume that Israel’s retaliation is hardly that of a responsible and compassionate government.

The whole region is a complete clusterfuck.

Hamas offers the Palestinian people no real future if it’s going to continue to act with religiously-spiked aggression towards Israel. And unless the Israeli people can elect a genuinely progressive government, committed to compromise and peace with its neighbours and a workable and self- determining Palestinian state, then they too have no future beyond hostility and mutual bloodshed.

It’s a fitting conclusion to the disastrous presidency of George W. Bush, that Palestine should implode as he boxes up his belongings and prepares to leave Pennsylvania Avenue.

That the greatest and most powerful nation on the planet could twice elect a lifelong loser and known fuckwit, proves two things: the first is that the wisdom of crowds is loony pseudo-intellectual claptrap, and the second is that dynastical monarchy is alive and well in the American Republic.

Early signs suggest that Barack Obama will not be vastly different from previous American presidents, but at least he’s not a complete incompetent.

*Apologies to Samuel Johnson

Those wonderful Saudis

23 Dec

Those Saudis are a lovely friendly bunch, aren’t they?

They’re the ones with all that oil and money who are so lovely that they’re apparently above the law. And so friendly that we often have them around for tea and nibbles, just so we can tell them how great they are. Yeah, we know that they finance those Wahabbist madrassahs that indoctrinate so many angry little jihads, but what’s a few civilian casualties between friends?

The Saudis are so great. I love the Saudis.

From The Guardian ::

An eight-year old Saudi Arabian girl who was married off by her father to a 58-year-old man has been told she cannot divorce her husband until she reaches puberty.

Lawyer Abdu Jtili said the divorce petition was filed by the unnamed girl’s divorced mother in August after the marriage contract was signed by her father and the groom. “The judge has dismissed the plea because she [the mother] does not have the right to file, and ordered that the plea should be filed by the girl herself when she reaches puberty,” lawyer Abdullah Jtili told the AFP news agency.

You gotta love’em too, huh?

Jon Gaunt is the most appalling hypocrite

3 Nov
Oh this really got my goat.

Having spent the last few years railing against the “nanny-state”, Jon Gaunt wrote in his most recent column about how the parents of Danny James (who was left paralysed after a serious Rugby injury) travelled with him to Switzerland, in order for Danny to visit a euthanasia clinic.

After vilifying Danny’s loving, and no doubt grieving parents, Gaunty points out that “Assisted suicide is a crime in this country and it should remain so.”

That may be true, but it doesn’t make it right. What right does the State really have to force a person to suffer a life they find unbearable? Surely the ultimate line between state authority and personal liberty is one of life itself.

Jon Gaunt is all very well bitching endlessly about the Labour government’s interference in our daily lives, but then he takes utterly illiberal positions like this. I know I say this every time, but the guy’s a 24-carat gold hypocrite ::

But no, his parents took him to Switzerland and instead of truly confronting the horror of their actions, politicians are now turning a blind eye to the death clinics and refusing to even have the moral debate in this country.

This is not a theocracy, Jon. I couldn’t give a monkeys what politicians think about this, there is no “moral debate” worth having. The State has no legitimate right to block suicides – assisted or not.

Taking their son to Switzerland must have been a harrowing experience, but Danny’s parents understood that his fundamental human right is to self-determination.

It was Danny’s wish to die. That’s all we need to know.

Originally written for The Sun – Tabloid Lies

GOP Family Values

13 Sep

This is funny.

via. Mr. Eugenides