Saturday, December 31, 2005
This was a rough year for President Bush. Whether it was the Katrina mess, the Terri Schiavo mess, Plamegate, the Harriet Miers mess, the domestic spying mess, torture, and troubles in Iraq--he's taken some hits. His supporters will blame the "liberal media," but he really has to take the heat for this. Undoubtedly, there have been those in the press drunk on anti-Bush zeal, but Bush has control of three branches of government, and an electorate that in many cases seemed to overlook even the most blatant lapses in judgment. Heck, the Dems are out of power. This was his accountability moment.
It's been lousy for Republicans this year. I almost feel sorry for them. I had predicted that the Republican victory in 2004 would be followed by an overreach that would cost them. I had no idea it was happen so quickly, and so brazenly. The naked hubris displayed was astounding. There was the aforementioned Schiavo disgrace, the Nuclear option mess, the increases in spending, Tom DeLay...it goes on and on.
That being said, the Dems have a lot of opportunities to lead, but there is still the problem of the fact that the Democratic Party is basically fractured. We seem unable to offer up a sustained alternative to Bush's policies, without going off the deep end (a la Howard Dean). Jack Murtha thinks we ought to withdraw our troops. He's no coward, but he's wrong on the issue. Dean doesn't think we can win in Iraq. The only high-ranking Dem consistently for staying the course is Joe Lieberman, and I guess, Hillary.
It was a rough year for New Orleans, who suffered the wrath of nature, politics, and incompetence.
It was a good year of TV. We had some damn good TV this year. Rome. Deadwood. Battlestar Galactica. 24. The Office. Lost. Everybody Hates Chris. It was good year.
It was a good year for comics. A good year for video games.
And despite the daily casualties, and all the mess here at home, it was a good year for the Iraqis, who managed to vote in three successful elections, and give a purple thumbs up to democracy.
And, at the end of the day, it was good overall, all things considered.
Thursday, December 15, 2005
Friday, December 02, 2005
In the context of our current struggle, we can also say that the ballot is stronger than the bullet, the car bomb, the beheader, the missile, the madrassah...
"In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.
"Madness is rare in individuals - but in groups, political parties, nations, and eras it's the rule."
I think that one sums up the problem with ideologues perfectly.
Thursday, December 01, 2005
At the risk of tooting my own horn, a lot of my articles at Centerfield are carried on their blog. I'm moving up in the world, baby!
Tuesday, November 29, 2005
Thursday, November 17, 2005
Bush can't really vindicate himself on the current status of the war in Iraq, or his handling of it, but the plan seems to be to diffuse the "Bush lied" argument (an argument I never supported- Bush didn't deliberately make up intel), and say that "hey, the Dems were wrong, too, and now they're trying to play politics, and it's hurting the troops."
The Democratic argument is that Bush had special intel that the Congress didn't have, and thus made the decision to invade based on that intel, and he went to war on flimsy grounds. The fact is, unless this is true (meaning Bush had more intel than Congress), the Democrats have a problem. They have to take a lot of the blame for giving the President the authority to go to war (if they're going to criticize the handling of prewar intel, or the case for war). It;s not fair to blame Bush for esentially coming to the same conclusions that a lot of other Democrats did. However, it's entirely legitimate to criticize the conduct of the war, and considering the mistakes made and still not owned up to, even pro-war hawks like myself ought to expect that. Of course, this should lead to actual results-meaning that it should help us win in Iraq, and not just bash Bush.
That being said, this won't really help Bush gain support for Iraq. The CIA-leak case is a bog problem whether you supported the war or not. But, this will hurt Democrats, unless they can come up with a consistent alternative to Bush's approach, that hopefully doesn't involve artifical timetables for withdrawal. And hopefully Bush will seriously consider coming to terms with the reality in Iraq, that hopefully goes beyond the "stay the course" mantra we've all become accustomed to hearing.
Also, in another dirty ad from the far-right side of the aisle comes a particularly nasty ad in support of Judge Alito. This ad is standard form in the crusade against "activist judges," so I'm not surprised. To be fair, the pro-choice group NARAL did put out that vicious ad attacking Chief Justice Roberts, but all that shows it that both sides can play dirty.
Although the right seems to do it a helluva lot more often.
hat tip: Ann Althouse
Tuesday, November 15, 2005
The wrestling world, and wrestling fans everywhere are devastated by the loss of Eddie Guerrero, at the age of 38. He passed away Sunday. They had a great tribute show on Raw last night. You'll be missed, brother.
RIP, Eddie. You were truly one of the best ever.
Monday, November 07, 2005
How do Matt Drudge, Orrin Hatch and Chris Matthews see this?
According to them, the Democrats are anti-Italian. Would to God I was making this up.
The crew over at DailyKos covered this. They were not happy, to say the least.
I really don't need to add anything else. I cannot, for the life of me, figure out how the Right pulled ant-Italian bigotry out of the report, unless it was in their minds to begin with.
Friday, November 04, 2005
Newsflash to the Congress: This is tyranny. The campaign finance laws wear never meant to go this far. Bloggers for all sides of the political spectrum are up in arms over this, and rightly so. The story continues (hat tip: Yahoo):
Opposition was led by Rep. Marty Meehan (news, bio, voting record), D-Mass., who with Rep. Christopher Shays (news, bio, voting record), R-Conn., championed the 2002 campaign finance law that banned unlimited "soft money" contributions that corporations, unions and individuals were making to political parties.
"This is a major unraveling of the law," Meehan said. At a time when Washington is again being tainted by scandal, including the CIA leak case, "it opens up new avenues for corruption to enter the political process."
Actually, what it does is in effect allow the government to regulate what bloggers can say and link to.
The bill's sponsor, Rep. Jeb Hensarling (news, bio, voting record), R-Texas, said the federal government should encourage, rather than fetter, a phenomenon that was bringing more Americans into the political process.
"The newest battlefield in the fight to protect the First Amendment is the Internet," he said. "The Internet is the new town square, and campaign finance regulations are not appropriate there."
Without his legislation, Hensarling said, "I fear that bloggers one day could be fined for improperly linking to a campaign Web site, or merely forwarding a candidate's press release to an e-mail list."
Exactly right. The broad powers the government would have in this regard are so open to abuse that on its face it's a bad deal. However, Meehan and Shays disagree:
But Meehan said no one wants to regulate bloggers. He said he and Shays have an alternative that would protect the free speech rights of bloggers while closing the cyberspace loophole where a lawmaker could vote for a prescription drug bill and then ask pharmaceutical interests to write six-figure checks for campaign ads for them to run on the Internet.
I'd sure love to see how they're going to reconcile that with the Constitution. They'd better come up with something quick. BTW, it shouldn't be lost on people how much bipartisan support this bill had:
Bloggers from liberal and conservative perspectives made similar predictions at a hearing on the subject in September. "Rather than deal with the red tape of regulation and the risk of legal problems, they will fall silent on all issues of politics," said Michael J. Krempasky, director of the Web site RedState.org.
Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid of Nevada has introduced a companion bill to the Hensarling measure, but the Senate has yet to take it up.
This is one of those issues you have to draw the line on. Congress needs to make this right. House members and Senators, of either party, who support the curtailing of free speech of the blogosphere, be ye warned: Elections are coming up real soon.
Wednesday, November 02, 2005
Take this as you will, but I found this interesting.
The fact is, James Wolcott sees anyone who even hangs out with pro-types as traitors to his cause. Liberal hawks, Liberals who hangs out with conservatives, were all suspect in his eyes.
BTW, Corn's on the Editorial Board for God's sake.
UPDATE: Apparently it's been revealed that Judy Miller is keynoting at Pajamas Media's opening gala. Maybe there's more cause for concern than I thought...
Honestly, I'm still not sure how this will turn out. I'm just saying the Left shouldn't hate on David Corn because he's blogging over there.
OTOH, bad judges can wreck the Constitution in a short span of time, and leaving judgeships at the mercy of the political machinery would only make things worse. Perhaps we'll all just have to commit ourselves, and compel our leaders to commit themselves to putting forth good judges, free of ANY bias at all.
In more Senate news, Harry Reid has thrown down the gauntlet. He forced a closed session to debate the issues of Iraq war intelligence that the Repubs have been stalling on for months. Needless to say, the Repubs were pissed. Really pissed. They called it a stunt, and Frist looked like he was going to explode. Note to Frist: Get over it.
Here's what Reid said:
“The Libby indictment provides a window into what this is really all about, how this administration manufactured and manipulated intelligence in order to sell the war in Iraq and attempted to destroy those who dared to challenge its actions,” Reid said before making the motion which sent the Senate into a closed-door session.
Regardless of one's view of Iraq, this is hard to argue with.
To see how the hearing went, the AP story is here.
Note to Republicans: The Senate isn't a purely majoritarian body. You can't get everything you want.
Sunday, October 30, 2005
Fitzgerald says the investigation will remain open in order to gather more info (perhaps with a new grand jury), but as it stands now, Libby's the only one on the block (he's resigned). Fitzgerald has made it clear that he's not trying to go after the case for the war, and he's only dealing with the matters in this serious case. Consider this: hat tip: Daniel Drezner:
the whole notion that the Fitzgerald investigation was going to reveal how the Bush administration led us into Iraq now seems to have been completely wrong. Democrats wanted their own Ken Starr--a prosecutor who let his investigation metastasize and whose operation leaked like a sieve. Instead, they got Elliot Ness. As Fitzgerald himself put it at his press conference:
This indictment is not about the war. This indictment's not about the propriety of the war. And people who believe fervently in the war effort, people who oppose it, people who have mixed feelings about it should not look to this indictment for any resolution of how they feel or any vindication of how they feel.
This is simply an indictment that says, in a national security investigation about the compromise of a CIA officer's identity that may have taken place in the context of a very heated debate over the war, whether some person -- a person, Mr. Libby -- lied or not.
The indictment will not seek to prove that the war was justified or unjustified. This is stripped of that debate, and this is focused on a narrow transaction.
And I think anyone's who's concerned about the war and has feelings for or against shouldn't look to this criminal process for any answers or resolution of that.
Thursday, October 27, 2005
Undoubtedly, my earlier prediction will come to pass, and the real court fight will commence.
Wednesday, October 26, 2005
I know that more soldiers died in WWII and Vietnam. Since when do we judge tragedies that way? Did we say on 9/11, "Well, we lost 51,000 in WWII, why are we weeping over these 3,000?" Of course we didn't. Was it exploitation to weep for those lost in the tsunami, or Katrina?
I understand that those who view this war differently will see the sacrifices of our troops differently. There are those on the fringes who not only mock the dead, but call for more. There are those who exploit the dead for political gain (Karl Rove, I'm talking to ya).
I've always believed, and maybe I'm naive in this, that regardless of one's stance on OIF, that all of us ought to honor the sacrifices of our troops. I don't think bringing them home prematurely does them or the Iraqis a service, but acknowledging the 2,000 dead in this war is hardly exploitation, at least not in of itself.
Despite what the right-wingers would have us believe...
The legacy of Rosa Parks, in her stand against the ruling powers and popular opinion of her day, in her overcoming of fear and doubt, gives us a lesson, that for the continued survival of this republic, must march unimpeded throughout the long trail of history: That principled people of all kinds, must often make trouble, and challenge those in power, in order to see that justice is done when and where it ought to be done. Even at the cost of one's life and livelihood.
Especially in times like these...
Wednesday, October 19, 2005
And justice will have been served.
Sunday, October 16, 2005
The Iraqis took to the streets and voted on a Constitution today. Even the Sunnis decided to join in. Purple fingers forever.
I've finally got into the groove of consistent blogging. Huzzah!
Saturday, October 15, 2005
Also, my amateur theology blog is up. It's still in development, but if you have even a passing interest in theology or philosophy, you ought to check it out.
Friday, October 14, 2005
At last, after all the months of speculation, waiting, and salivating, the biggest comics event since Crisis on Infinite Earths and Watchmen has come to pass. As much as I sound like a DC propaganda man right now, I really have been impressed by the stories leading up to, and the first issue of the series. I loooved Identitiy Crisis, and although Marvel's certainly no slouch either with House of M, Astonishing X-Men, and the kick-ass Black Panther book, among others, Crisis will also continue to burn a cosmic hole through my wallet.
photo: from Infinite Crisis #1 (c) 2005 DC Comics
Tuesday, October 11, 2005
I'm no conservative, so it's less of a concern to me than those who call themselves conservatives, and those who voted for him.
"Keeping with the modern liberal tradition of subliminal socialist indoctrination (through U.S. television), `Commander in Chief' seeks to accomplish more than prime-time entertainment," warned a writer named J.B. Williams on the National Ledger Web site, while the blogger Colossus pronounced the show "a nefarious plot to advance the notion of a Hillary Clinton presidency."
Really? Do you think so? Look, I'm no Hillary fan, and I pray to God the Democratic Party has enough sense not to tap her for the nomination, but you know what...I'd vote for her just to spite these lunatics. I mean, come on. There comes a point when this mad obsession must come to a halt. Yes, I get that she's a woman President. I get that one of Hillary's former staffers writes for the show. I get that Hillary is supposedly this evil, socialist monster who will ban Bibles, sanction public orgies, raise taxes to 400%, and mandate forced abortions and all that...do people really believe this stuff?
Mac's road to the White House began as a vice presidential candidate chosen to boost the women's vote for her Republican running mate, who then, after just two years in office, obligingly expired. Hillary can't count on that measure of support.
Mac is 6 feet tall and isn't married to former President Clinton. Hillary isn't, and is.
Mac, lest we forget, is make-believe, and idealized - maybe to a fault, from Hillary's perspective. Noting that President Allen is "smart, beautiful, dressed to the nines, completely competent," Boston Herald columnist Virginia Buckingham wrote: "If I were Hillary Clinton, I'd be running scared. Perfect is not the bar she ought to want set for her."
Still not convinced? Consider this:
"This is not a You-Go-Hillary show, this is a You-Go-Girl show," Lurie said last week. "I just want to see women in the process, whether they be Democrats or Republicans or Independents. If there's any social agenda to the show, it's to be enthusiastic about the idea of a woman president - and an Independent president. She's an Independent, which is sort of a big deal."
But conservatives retort:
Some conservatives are in a lather over Mackenzie Allen's nemesis, the Republican speaker of the House (Donald Sutherland). The RedState Web site complained that this underhanded power broker was designed to bash all Republicans as "manipulative, back-stabbing, power-hungry politicians."
Interesting, but what about this?
But Lurie pointed out that President Allen's own chief of staff - a man of solid character - is a Republican.
He added that "Commander in Chief" has its roots not in Hillary's campaign strategy but in "The Contender," a film he wrote and directed in 2000 about a vice presidential aspirant. (It starred Joan Allen ... for whom he named Mackenzie Allen.)
I promise that if there was no Hillary Clinton, there would still be a `Commander in Chief' - I want to have a hit show that people enjoy, and really, that's it," explained Lurie, whose surprising exit from his top 10-ranked series was announced a couple of days later.
Hmm, another clue? No, not really:
Now, what will conspiracy theorists read into that turn of events? The official explanation: Under a two-year deal with Touchstone Television, Lurie has given up his job running "Commander in Chief" to concentrate on developing new series, while TV veteran Steven Bochco ("NYPD Blue" and "L.A. Law") takes the production reins of a show that had fallen dangerously behind schedule.
Just another shakeup in the TV biz? Or is there (hmmmm) more to the story? Try and stop suspicious minds from hashing over what it might be.
Right, because that would be impossible. They've already made up their minds about this. Hillary is evil, and the network minions at ABC (and the rest of the SCLM) are her lackeys. No amount of sense or logic can dissuade them.
Read the whole story here
Tuesday, October 04, 2005
Honestly, I'm not sure what to make of her yet. It's interesting to note that her opposition will most likely come from the far-right on this one. Blogging around today, I came across an interesting concept. Tammy Bruce has come to a conclusion about Bush that's worth noting:
While I love that he chose a woman, I've noted before GWB is not an authentic conservative, but a liberal who happens to be a man of faith. There were many other srong conservatives for him to pick. Keep in mind, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D) urged him to pick Miers. IMHO, both Roberts and Miers could easily tip to the left of the court.
I can think of a lot of words to describe George Bush, but "liberal" is not one of them. She's right that he's no conservative. He's a right-winger, but not conservative. I've always respected Tammy Bruce, but one has to wonder whether she has forgotten the meaning of the word "liberal," or has moved so far to the right, that Bush is liberal by comparison. I fear the latter may be the case. Nevertheless....
Thursday, September 29, 2005
Wednesday, September 28, 2005
WASHINGTON - Peace mom Cindy Sheehan didn't change her opposition to the war in Iraq after meeting Tuesday with one of its supporters, Sen. John McCain, a Vietnam veteran whom she called "a warmonger."
Sheehan thanked McCain for meeting with her, but she came away disappointed.
"He tried to tell us what George Bush would have said," Sheehan, who protested at the president's Texas home over the summer, told reporters. "I don't believe he believes what he was telling me."
McCain, R-Ariz., also seemed disappointed in the meeting, which he said had been misrepresented as including some of his constituents. Only one person in her small delegation has ties to the state, and that person no longer lives there.
The two exchanged views about the war, and McCain described the conversation as "a rehash" of opinions already well known. He said he might not have met with Sheehan had he known none of his constituents was in the group.
Although McCain has criticized the handling of the Iraq war, he has supported President Bush's call to stop terrorism abroad before it reaches the U.S. Sheehan, whose son, Casey, died in Iraq last year, has energized the anti-war movement with her call for troops to be brought home.
"He is a warmonger, and I'm not," Sheehan said after meeting with McCain. "I believe this war is not keeping America safer."
"She's entitled to her opinion," McCain said. "We just have fundamental disagreements."
Sheehan's conference with McCain was one of several scheduled this week as part of her campaign to persuade members of Congress to explain the reasons for the war. She spoke before a massive anti-war rally Saturday on the National Mall and was arrested Monday demonstrating in front of the White House.
Sheehan and McCain had met once before, shortly after the funeral of her son. Sheehan said Tuesday that McCain told her then that her son's death was "like his buddies in Vietnam" and that he feared their deaths were "for nothing." McCain, however, denied he made such a statement.
Now I don't know about you, but I'd be a bit hesitant to meet with someone who consistently calls me a warmonger. The fact is, McCain (or anyone who supports this war) talking to Sheehan is like talking to a brick wall. She's unreachable. She's meeting with members of Congress, in order to get them to explain the case for war to her. No explanation will be enough. Nothing short of agreeing with her that the war is immoral will satisfy her now. McCain, being a sensible guy understands that while huge mistakes were made by the Administration, this war is not an illegal or immoral war.
You know, with all this, I still feel for this woman. She lost her son. She really has let grief take over her judgment. Christopher Hitchens, in that debate two weeks ago with unhinged loon George Galloway pointed out how vile it was for people like Galloway to show support for Cindy's loss by supporting the murderers who killed her son (Baa'thist thugs, not Bush, BTW). You'd think she's be upset about that as well, but sadly she has abandoned reason to grief and hysteria, and as I said, is unappeasable.
Consider this statement from Bill O'Reilly:
The facts are halfway through. The poverty under Bush is down 1 percent. That's the fact and the only accurate measuring stick. You wanna know why, Larry? Because of 9-11, that's why. That's the only accurate measuring stick. When Clinton took office, he was coming off a Bush the Elder recession. So he came into a situation that he turned around, and things got better poverty-wise, but it took him time. It took him time. So, halfway through his eight years, he was at -- what's the numbers? -- 13.7, OK, 13.7. Bush comes in, he gets hit on 9-11, which wipes out, wobbles the economy. All right? Halfway through, he's at 12.7. Larry, you can use statistics to do and prove anything. You've gotta get a fair measure. We gave you the fairest measure -- halfway through both terms, both men had to deal with circumstances. Clinton, a Bush the Elder recession; Bush, 9-11 attack.
Hat tip: Media Matters
The fact is, poverty went down under Clinton. When Clinton took office in 1993, poverty was at 15.1 percent. When he left office, it was 11.3 percent. Under Bush poverty has increased, rising to 11.7 in 2001, and every year thereafter, with the rate at 12.7 in 2004. The fact is, it's the trend that matters. Surely 9/11 played a part in worsening the recession that was already in place, but Bush cannot take credit for growth that his predecessor presided over.
Again, thanks to Media Matters.
All this being said, it still doesn't justify Rep. Charles Rangel comparing Bush to Bull Connor. That's just uncalled for. Sadly, it seems he has somewhat of a history with over-the-top hyperbole.
I'm going to post more on this later, but Michael Brown is a disgrace. His insistence on blaming the government's failures on Mayor Nagin and Governor Blanco is absurd. Stop retending you're the victim, please.
My sympathy for Cindy Sheehan has nearly worn out. I will not attack her personally, but the fact that she was smiling while getting arrested only helps to confirm that she has been so consumed by grief, that she has passed beyond grief, into hysteria, and then into media-hyped madness. She, like many of the antiwar types that support her, is unappeasable.
Apparently, the counter-protest didn't help much, either.
One last thing: Was it really a good idea for the House Dems to boycott the Katrina investigation committe? I understand that its partisan, and that Dems won't have equal authority with Republicans, but what good does it do not to show up at all? Rep. Gen Taylor showed up, and took Mike Brown to task, as did Rep. William Jefferson. It just doesn't seem wise.
Thursday, September 22, 2005
Also, a prediction. Roberst will be confirmed by a vote of at least 65, with the Gang of 14 included. He won't be filibustered, and as I said the Gang of 14 would block that anyway. Bush will then nominate a conservative in the vein of Scalia and Thomas, thus setting the stage for the bloodiest court fight in the history of the republic.
UPDATE: I fixed that little error, as those of you who may have read the original post probably noticed.
Saturday, September 17, 2005
Like I said, a fine speech. Let's hope it goes through.
UPDATE: I've been thinking it over, and while I still think the speech was pretty good, I wonder how seriously we can take him. How's he going to pay for all this? Roll back the tax cuts? Cut some pork? Look, I'm all for this (if he's serious). But Karl Rove in charge of reconstruction efforts? WTF!? I'm trying to be open-minded, but I think we need more skepticism than I first thought.
P.S. Many in the media called his speech contrite. Where was that? I didn't really see that.
Thursday, September 01, 2005
Moments like this really put things into perspective. Your problems simply don't seem as big, compared to those of those suffering. I've always wanted to visit New Orleans, but I fear it may not happen for a long time. My prayers are with those who're suffering, who've lost their homes and (more importantly) their families. May God keep you in this struggle.
The response of every American ought to be clear. Give what you can.
Sunday, August 21, 2005
Courtesy of the Associated Press:
SAN FRANCISCO -
I really can't add any more to that. Sadly, it seems that San Francisco isn't just anti-war, they're anti-military. I hope Sen. Feinstein can fix this, but the fact that this even happened at all is telling.
Thursday, August 11, 2005
James Wolcott, you jackanape. You cretin. You're not worth the blog space.
Honestly, I don't see the harm in Bush meeting with her again. Having her arrested certainly doesn't help amyone involved. I have no ill will towards Cindy Sheehan, but I think her views on the war are wrong. Maybe all she's looking for is a little more than a "I sympathize with your loss" from President Bush. Maybe she's just trying to cope. I don't think allying herself with far-Left anti-war groups helps either, but maybe she reached for moral support, and these groups were the only ones that stepped up. Of course thsee groups have their own agendas, but I fear she may not know who she's hanging with. Or maybve the fact that these are fringe groups doesn't matter to her. They agree with her on Iraq. The rest is irrelevant to her.
I don't like assuming people's intentions, and I always like to give the benefit of the doubt. Cindy Sheehan lost her son. She's hurting. Many groups sympathize with her, and in their own antiwar sentiment blame Bush and his policies, as she does (I think she's dead wrong, but I understand the emotion). Of course some of thsee groups simply oppose America, and for them, Cindy Sheehan is a political tool.
I'll look past them, though. Despite the fact that I support our efforts in Iraq and she doesn't, my heart still goes out to her and her family. Some people may choose to slander this woman. I will have no part in that. Her son is a hero, and I'm sure all sensible people can agree on that.
Wednesday, July 27, 2005
1. If your grandson is 14, perhaps he shouldn't playing in the first place, being that its rated M for Mature?
2. Did you actually see the adult footage? Remember the footage was hidden within the game, and had to be unlocked.
As expected, the politicians of both parties have been pandering all the day long:
Sunday, July 24, 2005
Thursday, July 07, 2005
Again, to our friends in Britain, America and the free world is with you, as always.
Wednesday, June 29, 2005
I will say this. He did at least make an attempt to avoid the sugarcoating, and tried to be honest about the real situation on the ground. I wish he'd been more specific, though. He doesn't seem to think we need more troops, despite our low recruitment goals. His strongest point was when I pointed out the danger of an artifical timetable (I agree completely).
I tried to link Iraq to 9/11, but as expected, that link was specious at best. All that does is remind people of the lack of a collaborative link between 9/11 and Iraq, and the lack of WMDs. However, he's right when he points out that we must win in Iraq. Iraq has become a central front in the war on terror, and to lose, or pull out early, or to give our enemies an artifical timetable for withdrawal is bad for the Iraqis, and bad for Americans.
He encouraged us to support the troops, and praised their service. That was good. I swear he teared up towards the end. Let's hope he gives them more than lip service.
The speech was about a half hour, with nothing really new. He'll get a small bounce. The speech was better than expected.
The good crew over at Democracy Arsenal have a great analysis of the sppech as well, much more thorough than mine.
Friday, June 24, 2005
"Conservatives saw the savagery of 9/11 in the attacks and prepared for war; liberals saw the savagery of the 9/11 attacks and wanted to prepare indictments and offer therapy and understanding for our attackers."
Utterly ridiculous of course. He goes on:
"Let me just put this in fairly simple terms: Al Jazeera now broadcasts the words of Senator Durbin to the Mideast, certainly putting our troops in greater danger. No more needs to be said about the motives of liberals."
Even more ridiculous. The fact is, Rove's remarks are yet another attempt to do what he declared to do in the months following 9/11: to manipulate the tragedy for political gain. Essentially, he pulled an Ann Coulter (or a Sean Hannity). His outrageous and divisive rhetoric is disgusting, but nothing new.
Never mind that all the Democrats in Congress save one, voted for the war in Afghanistan. Never mind the support for the strikes against the terrorists amongst the American people was around 90 percent. Basically, the only ones opposing America's efforts in the WOT, were the most hardened radicals (the far-Left fringe campus intellectuals, the likes of A.N.S.W.E.R, the pretentous Hollywood jackanapes, the worst of MoveOn.org), and the most deluded of peaceniks. In defending his remarks, Rove used quotes from said radicals, in order to paint mainstream liberals as deluded politicos at best, and self-interested traitors at worst. Sean Hannity does this every night. The difference is that Rove is Bush's top adviser.
Of course, Durbin's comments didn't help matters. While I am convinced that it was not his intent to slander the troops, his references to Nazis, Stalin, and Pol Pot were utterly stupid, and he was right to apologize. Durbin, by letting his passions get the better of him, made a ridiculous and dangerously silly remark. While some on the far Left will call his apology a capitulation, I believe Durbin rightly understood his comments were over the line.
But to be fair, Durbin's sin was that of hyperbole. He never meant to overtly compared the troops to Nazis. He did however, in his legit attempts to take a serious look at the conditions at Gitmo, go much to far in characterizing the facility. No matter how you look at it, comapring American policies to Nazi policies is utterly stupid. Anyway, here's excatly what he said:
"If I read this to you and did not tell you that it was an FBI agent describing what Americans had done to prisoners in their control, you would most certainly believe this must have been done by Nazis, Soviets in their gulags, or some mad regime -- Pol Pot or others -- that had no concern for human beings."
Like I said, utterly stupid, and over the line, but he never actually called them Nazis.
Getting back to Rove's idiocy for a moment, I don't think the Dems should spend all their energy fighting this. In fact, I'm convinced Rove did this specifically to fire up the base, and to lure Dems into another political trap. Dems will go after Rove, and ignore the larger concerns about the country's perceptions of the Party. Many in the country feel that Dems ahve no real plan, or even a desire to fight the War on Terror. This is the battle that needs to be fought. The Republicans have decided to play the political game, and all Dems seem to be able to do is to complain about how Republicans play the game. If we're to survive, the Dems need to counter the name-calling and politicization with a real strategy, not complaining, and more name-calling (I'm calling your name, Howard Dean).
Update: A thought just came to me. Another difference between Rove and Durbin's comments is that we know that Rove's comments were deliberate and calculated. Many have defended Rove's comments by suggesting that his comments didn't endanger the troops as Durbin's did. Well, those comments sure are divisive. A nation divided over the issue of war sure as Hell isn't good for the nation's morale. When the troops hear political leaders like Rove basically say that half the country doesn't support you (which is what Rush Limbaugh told them to their faces), how does that help morale? With the exception of the far fringe, and a handful of misguided fools, the country was united behind the WOT. It wasn't until the right-wingers began attacking the patriotism and the character of Democrats, that the divisions over the WOT began to really form. To be fair, many on the far Left did say some stupid sh-t, but do you all remember what happened to Max Cleland?
Tuesday, June 14, 2005
Sunday, June 12, 2005
MISSION AND VISION•
The International Freedom Center – a multi-dimensional cultural institution combining history, education and engagement – will be an integral part of humanity’s response to September 11. Rising from the hallowed ground of the World Trade Center site, it will serve as the complement, and its building as the gateway, to the World Trade Center Memorial, playing a leading role in the Memorial’s mission to “strengthen our resolve to preserve freedom, and inspire an end to hatred, ignorance, and intolerance.” •
The Center will include three major cultural components:
Museum Exhibition Spaces: telling freedom's story, inspiring visitors to appreciate it on a personal level by looking at the countless individual women and men around the world who have made a difference. Spurred by hundreds of hours of consultations with nearly 100 scholars, museum experts and leading thinkers, the museum will include a “Freedom Walk” – offering visitors a multimedia collage of some of freedom’s most inspiring moments, interwoven with deeply moving aunequaledled views of the Memorial – as well as a set of galleries offering compelling and thought-provoking treatments of great freedom issues and stories from around the world, throughout the ages and up to the moment. Temporary exhibits will draw on other historic sifreedom museumsums around the world. Educational and Cultural Center: sponsoring an extensive array of lectures, symposia, debates, films and other events in its theaters and public halls that will nurture a global conversation on freedom in our world today. Much of the Center’s evening programming will draw on offerings from members of a university consortium being assembled by the Center and its partner the Aspen Institute.
Universities that have already agreed to participate include the Universities of Oxford, Cambridge and Cape Town; New York, Columbia and the New School Universities and the City University of New York; and Princeton and Yale Universities. Another key source of evening programming will be a partnership between the Center and the Tribeca Film Festival and its year-round counterpart the Tribeca Film Institute. The Center’s public spaces will also provide a venue for important community and civic events. Civic Engagement Network: connecting visitors with opportunities to act freedom's serviceice in their own communities and around the world. Opportunities for service will be provided on site, and through a virtual network, and will run the gamut of visitor interests, from symbolic gestures to life-changing commitments. Leading NGOs will be offered outposts at the Center to reach out to its visitors. A service advisory board now includes 35 of the leading bi-partisan and non-partisan experts on service and civic engagement from across the nation; the group will soon expand to be international in scope. "
It doesn't seem that harmless to me. I think what there trying to do, besides the most important aspect (remembering the sacrifice of 9/11), is focus on the larger idea of our freedom. The opponents of the memorial argue that a lot of left-of-center scholars are on the advisory panel. And? The IFC says there'll a broad range of voices from all sides of the political spectrum. I do have a few concerns. I do not want this to really turn out to be a "Guilt Museum," as it has been called. I don't want to lose the primary focus of the memorial, that is 9/11. We probably should keep it rather simple, and focus mainly on 9/11. However, this memorial is still in development, and I have no real reason to question the motives of the founders, despite some of their anti-war sentiments. It seems that the only ones playing politics here are the right-wing scandalmongers. Their problem it appears is not that the memorial is political, rather that it's not their politics. Big surprise.
P.S. It should be noted that this IFC memorial will not be larger than the larger 9/11 memorial. You'd think, in these times when America, the West, and democracy are under constant assault by our terrorist foes, that we can have a memorial that declares the history of America's victories over tyranny, and our history of liberating the whole world.
Friday, May 27, 2005
I reject wholeheartedly the idea that we should base our commitment to human rights on the worse records of other countries. The simple fact is, we're not supposed to do stuff like this in America. When things like this happen, we investigate, and make sure it doesn't happen again. People like Sen. Inhofe who were "outraged by the outrage" over Abu Ghraib, or Bill O'Reilly seem to think that we shouldn't worry, because we're not as bad as Saddam was. Of course we're not that bad. The moral standard has never been to "not be as bad as the jihadists," rather America's moral strength is that we don't allow any of this.
And for the most part, we haven't. While we have some major problems in the treatment of detainees, there is no consistent established policy of torture. It's certainly no gulag.
To recklessly throw out words like that is not only ridiculous it's insulting. It seems that Irene Khan has never been to a gulag. I've never either, but I enough about the gulag to know that Gitmo doesn't compare. In fact, to even make such claims what get Ms. Khan thrown into a gulag. Those who survived the real gulags deserve an apology. Those who survive the Holocaust, and other real-live torture chambers deserve an apology. I respect Amnesty International's mission in defending human rights, but they've crossed the line. In fact, they've leaped over the line.
On a political note, this only hurts the cause. The only validates the idea of the "elaborate left-wing conspiracy against America's War on Terror," that the O'Reillys, and the Malkins, and the Inhofes of the world think exists. The danger of hyperbole like this is that when you cry wolf like this, people will be less likely to respond to real abuses. If, God forbid, a real gulag-level situation were to arise, many of us would just wonder whether Amnesty International was just being melodramatic. America is not running a gulag, and any serious voices in this debate ought not assert to the contrary.
Oh, and on a sort-of-lighter note, the right-wing of the Republican Party has come unglued.
Wednesday, May 18, 2005
Now, I'm pretty sure that these riots were caused by more than this Newsweek article, and that preexisting factors led to the violence. Gen Richard Myers essentiallybacked that up. However, it cannot be denied that at the very least, this article couldn't have helped matters much. The question I still cannot answr is why they felt they had to run this story right away, especially one so factually suspect? Was it for journalistic glory? To satisfy the fickle, sensationalist beast that controls a lot of media coverage today? Was it rank stupidity? The Bush crew have of course decided to blame the liberal, anti-Bush bias. I put no stock in the liberal media canard, but if Newsweek was trying to dispel that perception, then they really f'ed up.
Even if this story was true, I fail to see the journalistic importance. I don't think Newsweek maliciously put this out, but this is full-bore incompetence on their part. Eric Alterman points out that this is part of a pattern for one Mike Isikoff, who during the Clinton years was a well-known agent in making bogus stuff up during those Clinton "scandals," much to the delight of the anti-Clinton right. He admitted to being used by the likes of Linda Tripp and Lucy Goldberg.
So, this is yet another indictment of the fickle, non-fact-checking, short-sighted dark side of the media elite. Not liberal, but lazy. And loose. And you know.
Scott McClellan is in no moral position to lecture anyone on responsible reporting. Period.
George Galloway, while he may find some support from the naive, short sighted quarters, and the unreconstructed flank of the anti-war Left, if this guy really did buy oil from Saddam, then he deserves all he gets. The word on the street is that this guy is quite the pro-Saddam, neo-Stalinist lunatic.
If all those conservative myrmidons are really going to stand behind their Don, Tom DeLay, then they do so at their peril.
OK. I'm done.
Wednesday, April 13, 2005
I’ve never been that anti-Bush, so I learned a long time ago to look beyond George Bush when considering the future of Iraq. Essentially, I have little trouble giving the President his due on this, but I must affix this question to my praise: Why in God’s name didn’t you just say it was about democracy in the beginning? The IWR does go well beyond WMDs, but a lot of the case is linked to WMDs and supposed al-qaeda links. Anyway, there’s till that question of Osama, and the funding of the war, and the handling of criticism. Nevertheless, Bush called it.
That being said, I’m using this essay as an attempt to be fair to those who opposed Iraq, but genuinely still want to fight terror. There are many in the anti-war crowd that I’ve given up trying to reach. It is a thankless job trying to convince people of the justice of Iraq, while defending them from attacks on their patriotism by the Right, yet being called a neo-con dupe by those I’m trying to defend. I know what John Kerry must have felt like. Anyway, here’s the essay:
I've been thinking about the debate about Iraq, and it seems that one of the things that bothers me about the debate over Iraq, as someone who generally supports just wars, but has serious concerns about this Iraq war( despite my continued cautious support of it), is that the Right, and those who unequivocally support this war assume this was an imperative war. This explains the World War II and Civil War analogies.
Considering the threat Hitler and Japan posed, I don't think it's at all absurd to suggest that World War II was an imperative war. We had a clear threat, and clear allied support. I believe the same could be said of Afghanistan. With Iraq however, while a moral case can be made from removing Saddam, with all the evidence of the lack of an imminent threat, or a link to the terrorists who posed the prime threat, this war could hardly be called imperative. That being said, even if one felt Saddam deserved removal, we certainly had wiggle room to solidify our allied coalition, formulate an exit strategy, and to make sure war was the only option.
The argument from the conservatives is always the same: We need to fight the terrorists over there, so we don't have to fight them over here. Then they look back to World War II and other wars, whenever questions of postwar planning or causalities arise. "If we had waited during World War II, the Germans would have won" they'll say. "It took years to rebuild Germany after the war." This argument misses the point, that Iraq is not Germany, and while Saddam was a murderous despot, and his being deposed is a good thing, Saddam was not a Hitler-level threat, or a bin-Laden-level threat.
You can simply argue that this is merely the strategy of the "warmongering neo-con forces," to justify their flawed foreign policy. Yet it seems that otherwise reasonable people fall into this trap, and if the "not against all wars, but against this war" argument is to stand, it must be fought on the grounds that Iraq is not like World War II, or the Civil War, or the Revolutionary War, or the war in Afghanistan (all wars I'm sure we all support).
Now there are of course those who oppose all wars, on pacifist grounds. That is a whole different situation. My final point is this, if you happen to oppose this war, or are still on the fence, and you meet someone who supports the Iraq War unequivocally (keep in mind that still support the war, but I have serious concerns), regardless of what's happened, ask them to explain why this war was imperative. Ask them explain the case for diverting from the larger war on terror to Iraq, or how Iraq is part of the larger war on terror. I support the war on terror, and I still think Saddam being gone is a good thing, but I'm still waiting for someone to explain to me why Iraq couldn't wait, after all that we know, and I hope to God I can get an answer that doesn't include anything about John Kerry's supposedly weak defense record, or George Bush's supposedly unwavering moral vision.
Saturday, April 02, 2005
You too, Terri Schiavo. At last, your suffering has ended. The media treated you like a prop, and politicians fought over you, and I'm sure ALL your family loved you. Into to the Lord's glory you go.
Thursday, March 17, 2005
"Because the Romans did in these instances what all prudent princes ought to do, who have to regard not only present troubles, but also future ones, for which they must prepare with every energy, because, when foreseen, it is easy to remedy them; but if you wait until they approach, the medicine is no longer in time because the malady has become incurable; for it happens in this, as the physicians say it happens in hectic fever, that in the beginning of the malady it is easy to cure but difficult to detect, but in the course of time, not having been either detected or treated in the beginning, it becomes easy to detect but difficult to cure. Thus it happens in affairs of state, for when the evils that arise have been foreseen (which it is only given to a wise man to see), they can be quickly redressed, but when, through not having been foreseen, they have been permitted to grow in a way that every one can see them. there is no longer a remedy. Therefore, the Romans, foreseeing troubles, dealt with them at once, and, even to avoid a war, would not let them come to a head, for they knew that war is not to be avoided, but is only put off to the advantage of others."
my emphasis added.
Wednesday, March 16, 2005
You really ought to read the Iraq War Resolution again. I'm serious. Read the whole thing.
Friday, March 11, 2005
You see, I can understand people thinking the war was unwise, or unsound, or poorly planned in several ways (I'll cede the last one). But the only war criminal involved in this affair is Saddam and his rogues, and the insurgents and terrorists killing Americans, our allies, and innocent Iraqis.
I know about Abu Ghraib. It was horrible, but it hardly represents the actions of the whole military. I know about the pre-emption thing. I know about there being no WMDs. The lack of WMDs bothers me to this day. But, I'll say again. This war is not illegal, and I have a real hard time calling the liberation of millions of people, from three decades of tyranny, unjust.
Bush is not a war criminal, and certainly the troops aren't. Bush my be a self-interested, simple-minded, stubborn fool, but he is no fascist. He is no murderer.
BTW, he's gone in four years, so let us look beyond this, huh?
Saturday, March 05, 2005
Apparently, a lot of people in middle America were really upset that people had the audacity to question the policies of the President. The “liberal media” canard is an old straw man—the more things change, the more they stay the same. Conservatives have been at this for years, but the intensity has increased exponentially in the last few years. In the few months after 9-11, the country was for the most part, unified. One would think this would have lasted, but it seems that both sides are split like never before. In the realms of the lunatic fringe, it has always been like this, but even on the street, it can be brutal. Friends are lost, families are divided, and partisan division stalls those elected to do the people’s business. The debate over who is most responsible for the division could roll on ad infinitum, but it seems to me, that with a few notable exceptions, most of the criticism of Bush was policy-based, while most of the criticism of the opposition was personal, or based on distortion. Max Cleland was compared to Osama for questioning the President, Tom Daschle was compared to Saddam Hussein for opposing drilling in ANWR, and Democrats were labeled obstructionists for opposing Bush even an inch. Legitimate concerns about protecting civil liberties were dismissed as paranoia, and a whole host of pundits, activists, and Republican leaders attacked liberals and Democrats at every turn. Republicans cried about Michael Moore. Maybe sitting him next to Jimmy Carter was a bad idea. I’ll be honest, I have serious issues with Moore, but why does the Left have to rein in its extremists, and the Right gets a pass? Did Howard Dean ever accuse Bush of accusing Vietnam vets of war crimes? Did Al Franken ever accuse Bush of conspiring with the Vietcong? Need I even mention the decade of pure vitriol against Bill Clinton? What makes this even more absurd is that conservatives accuse the Left of being the haters.
After the election, conservatives complained about “anti-Bush hate,” and assailed the Left’s patriotism in the next breath. They gloated, arguing the Left’s supposed hatred of Bush sealed our fate. Consider this: How is it, that a handful of radicals can engage in real-live personal attacks (Bush is Hitler, Bush is a war criminal, etc), or even bash America, and the WHOLE group of liberals, Democrats, progressives gets blamed, but when practically every activist, pundit, and think tank scholar on the far-right engages in attacks, and they get a pass? O’Reilly says that Richard Mellon Scaife isn’t as far right, as George Soros is far-left. That really depends on one’s perspective, no? If Bill O’Reilly really were an independent, he would never utter such foolishness. Soros is certainly far to the Left, but Scaife is as equally far to the Right, and the only reason he doesn’t se it that way, is because he himself leans right.
Now, I’m sure you knew all that. The hypocrisy is well established in this situation. Conservatives didn’t consider what they said hate, because in their minds, it is all true. In the minds of the hard right, the Left really does hate America, and any criticism of Bush is seen as a treasonous attack against America, and American values. Now, perhaps I’m being too harsh. After all, most mainstream Republicans and conservatives don’t think this way. My best friends are Republicans. It is those elites, the pundits, the think-tankers, the activists, the ideologues, for them liberalism isn’t just different—it’s evil. That being said, it’s no wonder that conservatives get upset when Hollywood makes movies. They say they hate it when Hollywood gets involved in politics. The truth is, Hollywood’s always been political. What they hate is that it’s not their politics. When conservatives speak out in Hollywood, it’s cool. When liberals do it, it’s treason. Since Bush represents America in their minds, an attack on Bush is an attack on America. That explains why all those Dixie Chicks fans turned on them after Natalie Maines said she didn’t like Bush. “Dixie sluts!” was the outcry. Hollywood Dems who backed Bush (i.e. Ron Silver, James Woods) are seen as heroes and noble outcasts. Dennis Miller says he backs Bush because he’s a patriot. Backing the President no matter what doesn’t make you a patriot, it makes you a sheep. Never mind that none of this seemed to apply during Clinton’s term.
So, let us return to the initial question of values. I’m an evangelical Christian, and a moderate on a lot of issues, so I don’t think we should ignore the values issue. It does no one any good to label all Christians and people of faith, as “stupid, right-wing, bigots.” That behavior is just as bad as labeling blue staters “godless, commie, liberal, elites.” I do however, think it is past time for someone to stand up and draw the line between those sincere people who want sanity and balance in the debate on morality, and those self-important, un-elected, self-righteous, moralistic elites, who think it their duty to define morality for the nation, assault every work of art under the sun because it doesn’t openly endorse conservatism, and use wedge issues to divide and conquer. Christianity is not conservatism, and vice versa. We need to rise up and declare that the sum total of moral values is not simple opposition to gay marriage and abortion. The Taliban opposes gay marriage and abortion. Are we to follow their example? Strong families. A sound economy. Healthcare. Education. Equal rights. A sound and effective foreign policy. Fighting poverty. Protecting the environment. Civil rights and liberties. Free speech. Truth in government. These are all moral values too.
The Democrats don’t need to move to the Left, or to the Center. The Democratic Party is a Center-Left party. We need to stop trying to out-Republican the Republicans. We need to define issues. We need to move beyond simple opposition and take a stand. We’ve misunderstood red-state voters, while the Republicans have used them for their own political gain. Bush’ll be gone in four years. We’ll survive Bush. At the end of the day, the ideologues will fight each other, while the rest of us will take the Party back, and win this thing for America.
Monday, February 14, 2005
Anyway, now that introductions are made, let us cue the music...
Oh yeah, Happy Valentine's Day!