Dada is the sun, Dada is the egg. Dada is the Police of the Police.

8/06/2005

Here we go again part 2

Mark Noonan is ready to declare war on Iran:
From the New York Times: "Many of the new, more sophisticated roadside bombs used to attack American and government forces in Iraq have been designed in Iran and shipped in from there, United States military and intelligence officials said Friday..."

If this is true, then we have an act of war by Iran against both the United States and Iraq. We'll have to see if anything comes of it - but we must expect that if the bombs are coming from Iran, then before too long our government will make an issue of it.

...we'll soon have our army freed from the day to day security concerns of Iraq...then we'll be well positioned to deal with any nation which, say, provided bombs for the terrorists in Iraq.
Well, those troops have got to go somewhere besides home, right, Glenn Reynolds?
I suspect that there's a rather complicated dance going on, with the U.S. reassuring various Iraqi factions that we'll be there long enough, while also reassuring them that we won't be there forever -- and making clear to them that they shouldn't plan on us being there forever.

One question is where U.S. troops will go from there: Syria? Iran? Saudi Arabia? Or elsewhere? I suspect we want to keep people guessing about that, too.
A reader of Brian Leiter deserves credit for noticing that Reynolds is, in Leiter's words, "pimping for perpetual war."
Glenn wonders where the troops will go once they leave Iraq. Iran and Saudi Arabia just two tempting possibilities, Glenn says. Apparently "home" isn't an option for them. Glenn also seemingly praises the Bush administration for not letting our countless enemies, or the American people, in on its plans for endless war - better to keep us all guessing, Glenn says while licking the boot attached to his face.

I think this post encapsulates the war-crazed right rather well: the assumption that more wars - anywhere, everywhere, doesn't really matter where - must be forthcoming. The eager submission to authoritarianism and fascism. The ignorance (Iraqis need to be told, gently but firmly, that we won't be able to stick around forever, Glenn says). The barking madness. It speaks for itself.

Hiroshima

Images from the memorials marking the sixtieth anniversary of the bombing, via Yahoo News.













Here we go again

Don't be surprised to see a war with Iran. Cliff May of The Corner:
From the New York Times: “Many of the new, more sophisticated roadside bombs used to attack American and government forces in Iraq have been designed in Iran and shipped in from there, United States military and intelligence officials said Friday …”

I think Dr. Ledeen will agree: A robust response is required.
Then there's this bit from The American Conservative.

This piece from Antiwar.com is also interesting -
We face the very real possibility that individuals in charge of the government actually intend to launch a major air war on "hundreds of possible sites" inside Iran, even, according to Giraldi, to use tactical nuclear weapons. A land invasion is – or at least ought to be – out of the question. Iran is four times the size and has three times the population of Iraq, where U.S. forces have had plenty of trouble despite the majority Shia, for the most part, not even fighting. Demographics suggest Iran's population is heavy on fighting-age males. Most of the country is mountainous. To invade from Iraq can't be done, as the Shia would finally be unleashed against U.S. forces, who would then have to fight from both front and rear. A general Shia uprising in Iraq would be a likely result of bombing Iran, with or without ground troops. Land invasion would definitely require the mass enslavement known as conscription, and the soccer moms won't like that – fighting is for poor people.

The aforementioned felon Michael Ledeen and his neoconservative friends have a theory that if the U.S. bombs untold thousands of Iranians to death, the rest, seeing their government's weakness, will rise up, regime-change the government and install an America-friendly, nuclear-free puppet dictator in their place.

Reasonable people, at this point in the article, must be thinking this is crazy. And it is. There are many reasons why invading Iran is unwise. For starters, Iran has never attacked America. That ought to be the end of it, but let's go ahead and add that "experts" have come out and said what Antiwar.com's Gordon Prather has been saying all along: Iran is 10 years away from being able to make their own nuclear weapons – if they were to begin trying, which they haven't.

....Innocent people would be killed – many of them. The Iraqi Shia majority, who have been relatively cooperative with our unprovoked invasion and occupation of that country, would undoubtedly turn on the U.S. soldiers there ...

...According to Newsweek's article from last September, "War Gaming the Mullahs":

"Newsweek has learned that the CIA and DIA have war-gamed the likely consequences of a U.S. preemptive strike on Iran's nuclear facilities. No one liked the outcome. As an Air Force source tells it, 'The war games were unsuccessful at preventing the conflict from escalating.'"
This is also worth a read.
On Tuesday, big alarm bells went off in the national media echo chamber, and major U.S. news outlets showed that they knew the drill. Iran's nuclear activities were pernicious, most of all, because people in high places in Washington said so.

It didn't seem to matter much that just that morning the Washington Post reported: "A major U.S. intelligence review has projected that Iran is about a decade away from manufacturing the key ingredient for a nuclear weapon, roughly doubling the previous estimate of five years, according to government sources with firsthand knowledge of the new analysis. The carefully hedged assessments, which represent consensus among U.S. intelligence agencies, contrast with forceful public statements by the White House."

...the nuclear moralists in Washington have no problem with Israeli, Pakistani, and Indian nuclear weapons, developed and stockpiled with contemptuous disregard for the Nonproliferation Treaty. But the White House and talking heads of U.S. television are insisting that Iran has no right to do what the treaty allows it and other signers to do – develop nuclear power, ostensibly to generate electricity.

The latest U.S. media uproar about Iran's nuclear program is part of a dream starting to come true for neocons in Washington who fantasize about "regime change" in Tehran. More realistically, for the nearer term, the Bush administration is setting the agenda for a U.S. air attack on Iran.

"This notion that the United States is getting ready to attack Iran is simply ridiculous," President Bush told a news conference in late February. He added in the same breath: "and having said that, all options are on the table." Assembled journalists laughed.

Not quite

The reprehensible and delusional Mark Noonan on World War II:
It was a very long, very hard war - but the United States never did, even once, an infamous or cruel thing during it. We paid the enemy back, very heavily, in his own coin...and in the end, our victory was a blessing for both victor and vanquished, and that is the proof of the absolute justice of the American cause.
I suggest Mr. Noonan head to his nearest Blockbuster video store and rent 'The Fog of War' if he really thinks the US never "even once" did anything cruel during the war.

As for the "absolute justice of the American cause" ... well, what can really be said about such an inane comment, other than pointing out that Noonan has the moral sense of a maladjusted third-grader.

Barking up the wrong tree

Robert Farley (via Majikthise) says that the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki cannot be justified by claiming that they brought about Japanese surrender:
I do think it's important to note, however, that forcing a Japanese surrender DOES NOT justify the bombing of Hiroshima. By August of 1945, Japan had no capacity to hurt the United States. The IJN was largely destroyed, and the air force was grounded. The United States could do with Japan what it would. Moreover, it was clear to us then and is clear to us now that the Japanese had been talking and thinking about surrender since April, and indeed would probably have accepted the terms that we later imposed upon them (maintenance of the Imperial institution, minimal war crime prosecution, continuance of most of the bureaucracy). The best that can be said of the Hiroshima attack is that it catalyzed the Japanese decision to surrender in August, rather than in October or December. It's remarkable, given the debate in the United States about the use of the atomic weapons, how uncontroversial this conclusion was in 1945. Neither the Navy nor the Army Air Force expected that an invasion would be necessary, even without the atomic bomb. The Army and Marines prepared for an invasion, but in 1945 expected far fewer casualties than the numbers that were later used to justify the atomic attacks.
I can understand why right-wingers don't have a problem with Hiroshima. What I can't understand is why liberals continue to try to rationalize what is unquestionably the worst act of terrorism in history, the unprincipled and unwarranted slaughter of innocent civilians.

Give it up. It was wrong, and pretending otherwise only adds to the shame.

Well, this is disturbing

From The American Conservative:
In Washington it is hardly a secret that the same people in and around the administration who brought you Iraq are preparing to do the same for Iran. The Pentagon, acting under instructions from Vice President Dick Cheney’s office, has tasked the United States Strategic Command (STRATCOM) with drawing up a contingency plan to be employed in response to another 9/11-type terrorist attack on the United States. The plan includes a large-scale air assault on Iran employing both conventional and tactical nuclear weapons. Within Iran there are more than 450 major strategic targets, including numerous suspected nuclear-weapons-program development sites. Many of the targets are hardened or are deep underground and could not be taken out by conventional weapons, hence the nuclear option. As in the case of Iraq, the response is not conditional on Iran actually being involved in the act of terrorism directed against the United States. Several senior Air Force officers involved in the planning are reportedly appalled at the implications of what they are doing—that Iran is being set up for an unprovoked nuclear attack—but no one is prepared to damage his career by posing any objections.

ID round-up

Brian Leiter suggests google bombing "Intelligent Design," which he notes was recently the number one search on Technorati, so that searches on the phrase turn up the National Center for Science Education's denunciation of ID.

Kevin Drum isn't buying the outrage over Bush's recent endorsement of teaching ID that is coming from the right-wing blogosphere:
what bugged me most about this whole affair was reading the faux outrage from Bush's conservative supporters in the blogosphere, as if they had no idea he felt this way before this week. Give it a rest, guys. Bush thinks creationism sounds great, Tom DeLay thinks the teaching of evolution was responsible for the Columbine shootings, and Bill Frist — a medical doctor! — is so scared of the Christian right that last December on "This Week" he hemmed and hawed and fidgeted like a naughty schoolchild while repeatedly declining to say whether he thought HIV-AIDS could be transmitted through tears or sweat.

Note to Bush supporters: You all knew what you were voting for when you put these guys in power. I'm happy to see you on the side of the angels here, but it's a little late to pretend to be shocked that the Republican leadership feels this way.
And Matt Yglesias shrugs his shoulders in response to the whole ID issue:
...the judicial rulings prohibiting the teaching of religious doctrines in science classes are firmly entrenched, and there's no sign the Republican Party is making a serious effort to overturn them. The realistic option on the table is that state governments might, as Kansas did a few years ago, take evolution out of the school curriculum. What happened there, however, was that business groups and conservative elites pretty swiftly countermobilized and got the policy changed because they wanted their kids to be able to get into good colleges.

Last but not least, nothing whatsoever of practical importance hinges on whether or not life on earth originated as a result of intelligent design. The theory is exceedingly silly pseudo-science, but it doesn't actually threaten anything. There is, moreoever, no reason to think it's especially crucial for the average citizen to have an accurate grasp of state-of-the-art biological theory. Most people don't understand quantum mechanics, general relativity, or any number of other scientific and technical topics and life goes on just fine.

Getting snooty about this just feeds into perceptions of liberalism as fundamentally a snobbish, anti-religious, elitist view while distracting attention from the basically reality that the Republican Party is a front organization for corporate managers that puts on a cloak of social conservatism to disguise what it really does in practice. If you must worry about social conservatives, worry about women's reproductive rights and basic equality for gays and lesbians. There's just no there there in the evolution issue.
A couple of points in response to Yglesias: the judicial rulings are beside the point; the whole point of the "Intelligent Design" strategy is to circumvent them - because ID is presented as a scientific theory. It's not, of course, but that's precisely what's at issue, and if it becomes accepted as such, 1st Amendment considerations will be irrelevant.

Also, to say it doesn't matter if students learn biology correctly ... well, then why teach it to them in the first place? Clearly we are saying, by teaching the subject, that there is some value in their learning it; if this is the case, they ought to learn it correctly, no?

Mr. Dobson, meet Dr. Mengele

Robert Freedland says James Dobson - or, as Atrios calls him, SpongeDob Stickypants (Dobson accused SpongeBob SquarePants of being homosexual, or something like that) - should apologize for comparing stem cell research with the Nazis experiments on humans:
Mr. Dobson doesn't understand that stem cells are from clumps of cells called blastocysts. Blastocysts don't have any organs. They don't have any pain receptors. They don't feel pain. They don't feel fear. They don't feel at all.

But the victims of Nazi medical experiments were often children. Those abused and murdered by Josef Mengele were often twins as young as five years old. Some of the experiments performed by the Nazis included decompression chambers to simulate high altitude, freezing experiments such as those in 1942 in Dachau where prisoners were forced to endure a tank of ice water, sometimes for as long as 3 hours, Malaria experiments where healthy inmates were infected with Malaria, Mustard Gas experiments to investigate the most effective treatment of wounds caused by LOST gas, sea-water and sterilization experiments involving mutilation of thousands of inmates.

Victims of the Nazis were people; men, women and children. People who had family, people who had fear, people who felt pain, anguish, embarassment, and ultimately death.

They were not clumps of cells destined for the garbage heap.
I wonder if Dobson realizes that the bacon he eats every morning is the result of a process infinitely more ethically objectionable than destroying blastocysts.

Our dumb century

Two pieces from Common Dreams make the case that the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were not done from necessity.

Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin examine "the myths of Hiroshima":
Sixty years ago tomorrow, an atomic bomb was dropped without warning on the center of the Japanese city of Hiroshima. One hundred and forty thousand people were killed, more than 95% of them women and children and other noncombatants. At least half of the victims died of radiation poisoning over the next few months. Three days after Hiroshima was obliterated, the city of Nagasaki suffered a similar fate.

...To many Americans at the time, and still for many today, it seemed clear that the bomb had ended the war, even "saving" a million lives that might have been lost if the U.S. had been required to invade mainland Japan.

This powerful narrative took root quickly and is now deeply embedded in our historical sense of who we are as a nation. A decade ago, on the 50th anniversary, this narrative was reinforced in an exhibit at the Smithsonian Institution on the Enola Gay, the plane that dropped the first bomb. The exhibit, which had been the subject of a bruising political battle, presented nearly 4 million Americans with an officially sanctioned view of the atomic bombings that again portrayed them as a necessary act in a just war.

But although patriotically correct, the exhibit and the narrative on which it was based were historically inaccurate. For one thing, the Smithsonian downplayed the casualties, saying only that the bombs "caused many tens of thousands of deaths" and that Hiroshima was "a definite military target."

Americans were also told that use of the bombs "led to the immediate surrender of Japan and made unnecessary the planned invasion of the Japanese home islands." But it's not that straightforward. As Tsuyoshi Hasegawa has shown definitively in his new book, "Racing the Enemy" — and many other historians have long argued — it was the Soviet Union's entry into the Pacific war on Aug. 8, two days after the Hiroshima bombing, that provided the final "shock" that led to Japan's capitulation.

...The hard truth is that the atomic bombings were unnecessary. A million lives were not saved. Indeed, McGeorge Bundy, the man who first popularized this figure, later confessed that he had pulled it out of thin air in order to justify the bombings in a 1947 Harper's magazine essay he had ghostwritten for Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson.

The bomb was dropped, as J. Robert Oppenheimer, scientific director of the Manhattan Project, said in November 1945, on "an essentially defeated enemy." President Truman and his closest advisor, Secretary of State James Byrnes, quite plainly used it primarily to prevent the Soviets from sharing in the occupation of Japan. And they used it on Aug. 6 even though they had agreed among themselves as they returned home from the Potsdam Conference on Aug. 3 that the Japanese were looking for peace.
Matthew Rothschild calls the upcoming anniversary an unhappy one:
From the historical record, it's becoming increasingly clear that these atomic bombs—which killed more than 200,000 people immediately—were unnecessary.

Now I know a lot of old vets will tell you that the bombs saved hundreds of thousands of lives by forestalling a bloody invasion of the island.

My uncle was a commander in the Pacific, and he always made that argument.

But the argument is no longer holding.

First of all, if the United States had detonated a demonstration bomb on an unpopulated island and proved to Japan how lethal these weapons were, it's possible that the Japanese government would have surrendered.

And secondly, the event that had the most to do with that ultimate surrender was the Soviet Union declaring war on Japan on August 8, two days after the Hiroshima blast, argues Professor Tsuyoshi Hasegawa in a new book entitled Racing the Enemy.

The Japanese had long understood that once the Soviets joined the battle, the war was over. They were looking for assurances that Emperor Hirohito would remain in power, and if they got such assurances, they were prepared to surrender. The last thing they wanted was the Russian army, a historical enemy, to be occupying the country, writes Hasegawa.

For a while, the United States wanted the Soviets to join the effort against Japan. But once the U.S. came up with the bomb, Washington felt it no longer needed the Soviets to enter the war. In fact, it wanted the Soviets to bug out, historian Gar Alperovitz contends.

The Hiroshima bombing on August 6 was therefore as much an effort to preempt the Soviets, and to scare them into a submissive position at the dawn of the Cold War, as it was to bring the war to a speedy conclusion.

Anyone who argues for the utility of the Hiroshima bombing has to come to terms with Nagasaki three days later, which appears utterly senseless and sadistic.

"I knew a single word that proved our democratic government was capable of committing obscene, gleefully rabid and racist, yahooistic murders of unarmed men, women, and children, murders wholly devoid of military common sense," wrote Kurt Vonnegut in Timequake. "I said the word. It was a foreign word. That word was Nagasaki."

Or, as the Onion put it in Our Dumb Century, "Nagasaki bombed ‘just for the hell of it.’"

...General Dwight D. Eisenhower himself argued against using the bomb, and after the war he famously said: "It wasn't necessary to hit them with that awful thing."
It's time to come to terms with the horror and evil of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Speculation about the millions that would have otherwise died means nothing; the fact is that acts as horrific as these are only justified under the most dire of possible conditions, and every effort must be made to avoid them - efforts which were clearly not made by Truman and his advisors.

Would a demonstration bombing have worked? Truman apologists say no. But the fact is they don't know that. What we do know is that it wasn't even tried. This is inexcusable.

Did Truman et al. work as hard as they possibly could to bring about an end to the war without using atomic weapons? Did they fully explore every alternative? Did they try every other possible tactic? The answer to these questions is clearly no.

They had their atom bomb, and damned if they were going to keep it in their back pocket. The fact that hundreds of thousands would die, some instantly, some within hours, their skin literally falling off of their bodies, others only after many years of sickness - this doesn't seem to have given them much pause at all.

Support the troops

From an American Conservative review of Andrew J. Bacevich's The New American Militarism: How Americans are Seduced by War:
“Today as never before in their history,” the book relentlessly argues, “Americans are enthralled with military power.” They naïvely exaggerate its effectiveness, overlook its horror, romanticize the military profession, and accept the normalization of war as an instrument of policy. There is no single culprit in this shift, certainly not just the Bush administration and its neocons, although they get their fair share of blame. The march to militarism has been a bipartisan project into which various elites, popular culture, and religious movements have shepherded society and government institutions with scarcely a thought.

To a degree unprecedented but now taken for granted, the purpose of the armed forces has shifted from defending American territory to projecting power abroad. Clear superiority over potential enemies is assumed to be insufficient; only worldwide supremacy is deemed adequate. (Bacevich might have added that only in America would we see a difference between national security—the business of the Defense Department, carried on far from our shores—and homeland security, requiring another new department to protect the country itself.)

In popular consciousness, the 20th-century image of war as “barbarism, brutality, ugliness,” which “after 1914, only fascists dared to challenge,” the image of the modern battlefield as a slaughterhouse, has been replaced by a 21st-century high-tech image of war as clean—“surgical, frictionless, postmodern”—in which the heroes of the hit film “Top Gun” “never missed a meal and got sweaty only when they felt like it.” Among the laments that one suspects hits close to home for Bacevich is the fact that since “the demise of the ancient American tradition of the citizen-soldier,” war is no longer “participatory.” With military service having come to be a matter of personal choice rather than obligation, an attitude exemplified in the personal histories of Dick Cheney and Bill Clinton, Americans experience war only “vicariously.”

Americans divided on use of A-bomb

From Editor & Publisher (via Antiwar.com):
Poll Shows Americans, For First Time, Divided on Use of A-Bombs in 1945

NEW YORK As the 60th anniversary of the atomic bombings of Japan approach in two weeks, one major poll shows that Americans, in a historical switch, now appear about equally divided on the decision to use the bomb.

Polling by the Associated Press, announced today, found that 24% of Americans "strongly approve" dropping the first atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki and another 24% "somewhat approve." But 23% "somewhat disapprove" and 24% "strongly disapprove." Another 6% are not sure.

Polls in past years have generally shown strong majority support for the use of the bomb, although the "pro" count has slowly subsided over the years.

The polling, and a separate survey in Japan carried out by Kyodo, also found that more Americans than Japanese expect another world war in their lifetime. Most people in both countries believe the first use of a nuclear weapon is never justified, although nearly half of the Americans obviously make an exception for the 1945 examples, which killed at least 200,000, the vast majority of them civilians.

Japan surrendered within days of the use of the atomic weapons, but historians differ on whether that country would have given up, in the same time frame, even if the bombs had not been used, due to the Russians' entry into the war against them and other factors.

8/05/2005

Beside the point

Conservative bloggers are crowing over the news that Valerie Plame has been listed as Joseph Wilson's husband in "Who's Who in America" for a couple of years now. E.g.: here, here, and here.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but it wasn't the fact that Wilson was married to Valerie Plame that was a secret; it was that Valerie Plame was a CIA operative. Right?

Making the same argument: Liberal Pen Pal, Waveflux, In Search of Utopia, Catch.

Wow

From the Chicago Sun-Times:
NCAA bans Indian mascots, nicknames from postseason

INDIANAPOLIS-- The NCAA banned the use of American Indian mascots by sports teams during its postseason tournaments, but will not prohibit them otherwise.

Nicknames or mascots deemed "hostile or abusive" would not be allowed on team uniforms or other clothing beginning with any NCAA tournament after Feb. 1, said Harrison, the University of Hartford's president.

"What we are trying to say is that we find these mascots to be unacceptable for NCAA championship competition," he added.

At least 18 schools have mascots the NCAA deem "hostile or abusive," including Florida State's Seminole and Illinois' Illini. The full list of schools was not immediately released.

Equal time


Via a bunch of people.

Triumph of the ill

Hitler raps.



Like Socialist Swine said, so wrong yet so funny.

8/04/2005

Arianna, please fire this man

The Huffington Post continues to endanger whatever credibility it might otherwise be earning by publishing the nonsense of the charlatan Deepak Chopra. Here's an excerpt from his most recent post:
In essence, every act of observation transforms the Universe. Since observation cannot happen without interpretation, every interpretation becomes a reality. For us Human Beings, this has enormous implications, because we are linguistically programmed. Language does not describe, it creates. It conceives, governs, constructs, and becomes reality. Many times in many conversations, even with intimate friends, I have found myself in a quandary because we were using the same words but they meant different things to us. On looking up the dictionary, I found we were both right! Freud remarked "neurosis is the inability to tolerate ambiguity and ambivalence." Our current need for certitude as a society may be an indication of our collective neurosies where we always want to see things as black or white, right and wrong, etc.
Fuck off.

Hackett

The Wall Street Journal's editorial page is one of the most intellectually depraved publications in the world. However, I can't help but agreeing with their take on the Hackett race:
...the more we hear about it, the more we think the Democrats are deluding themselves into believing, as the DCCC press release puts it, that the race is "an early sign of wide spread discontent with the Republican Congress around the country."

For one thing, it seems as though there are actually two Paul Hacketts. One is the Angry Left Bush hater, quoted this morning by the Media Research Center's Tim Graham on National Review Online:
And to the chicken-hawks out there that think that what I say about this administration is not representative to some large degree in the military, I say that this was only a shot over the bow. You had better wake up and smell the coffee, because we are minting young Democrats day by day in Iraq, and maybe it didn't happen in this election, but it's going to happen in many elections in the future.
The other is the one who appeared in this advertisement (link in WMV form), which opens with a clip of President Bush before switching to Hackett:
Bush: There is no higher calling than service in our armed forces.

Hackett: I agreed with that, and that's what led me to serve and fight with my Marines in Iraq. Those words are a part of me.

These young men and women--they get it. We're gonna help these people [Iraqis]. We're all over there because we think America is worth fighting for.

You take responsibility for your actions. I think Washington, D.C., needs more of that type of leadership. I'm Paul Hackett, I approved this message, and I respectfully ask for your vote on Aug. 2.
The ad does not mention that Hackett is a Democrat, and it leaves the viewer with the impression that he supports Bush and the war. At the same time, Republicans in Ohio have problems that are specific to the state ... Another Hackett TV ad, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer, accused Schmidt of having "willingly supported tax increases proposed by [Republican Gov. Bob] Taft."

Hackett, in other words, came close to winning by pretending to be a supporter of President Bush and the war while attacking Schmidt as a tax hiker. Good for him, but as reader Larry Smiley asks, "If a Democrat has to hide what he believes to achieve near-success, how can this be a bellwether for Democratic causes nationwide?"
A lot of Democrats seem to be stricken with a bizarre disease whereby they are constantly convinced that victory is just around the corner. Many Democrats last year were utterly convinced that not only a Kerry victory but a Kerry landslide was in the cards. Ruy Teixeira, he of "The Emerging Democratic Majority," probably has the worst case. Even marginally positive developments are seen as evidence of an impending sea change in the political landscape.

Such wishful thinking does us no good; it only causes us to paint a much rosier picture than the facts dictate. We are supposed to be the "reality-based community," after all - and reality is not always the bearer of good tidings.

Ugh

More of the same from DLCer Evan Bayh:
Democratic Sen. Evan Bayh, a possible presidential candidate in 2008, said Thursday that his party lacks credibility on national security and needs to convince Americans that Democrats are willing to use force when necessary.

Until the party can persuade voters, it will be unable to move the debate to issues that work for Democrats, Bayh said in an interview with The Associated Press.

"Unless the American people know that we will be good stewards of the nation's security, they're unlikely to trust us with anything else," said the two-term Indiana senator. "That's a very important threshold we have to get over."

Bayh said there are legitimate grounds to criticize President Bush's approach to fighting terrorism, but until Democrats establish more credibility on the issue, many voters won't listen.

...Bayh said his electoral success in heavily Republican Indiana and moderate views are a model for Democrats to end their recent electoral failures. Summing up those failures are polls that show voters overwhelmingly trusting Republicans on national security, he said.

"We've got a few voices out there who would be a little bit more on the fringe," Bayh said. "Unfortunately, too often they define the entire party."
Make no mistake: when Bayh and the rest of the DLC crowd (see, progressives can condescendingly refer to their opponents as a 'crowd' too) talk about "establishing credibility" on national security, they mean cheerleading for the Bush administration's military aggression and its idiotic/nonexistent "war on terror."

GWOT is back on

Larry Johnson via Flagrancy to Reason:
Stop the presses. WOT--the War on Terrorism may still be alive. The counter terrorism community is abuzz over the President's comments yesterday at a principals meeting of the Homeland Security Council. Bush reportedly said he was not in favor of the new term, Global Struggle Against Violent Extremism (GSAVE). In fact, he said, "no one checked with me".
No, I don't suppose they did.

Dangling material no longer a problem

The space shuttle gets a sex change.

More on the ingrates at Daily Kos

I know this is of interest to about three people, and I know I said I would stop bashing those who are supposed to be my political allies, but I thought this post from Michael at Reading A1 was an apt response to Armando's nonsense.

This was Armando's post on the night of Paul Hackett's defeat (which is supposed to somehow be a victory):
Let me be the first asshole to tell you that bullshit fraud theories and bullshit conspiracy theories are not welcome.

Markos has said it. He means it.

I believe tonight was a great night and a sign that a Fighting Dem Party can and will take back the Congress in 2006.

I don't want to hear baseless theories on fraud and other nonsense. I think, no, I know markos feels the same way.

You want to waste your time, do it somewhere else.

... once you start diarying your cock and bull fraud theories, markos will show you the door. With my applause in the background.
The response at Reading A1:
Quite a performance, no? I've never seen anybody puff his chest out quite so far, or strut quite so hard ... just to proclaim himself somebody else's bitch.

...Another one of nature's Republicans in Democratic clothing—and another in the lengthening list of reasons why I've virtually stopped checking in over at Daily Kos ...

A thug's a thug whatever his ideology. On an inspirational night when an insurgent Democratic candidate came within an eyelash of taking a safer-than-safe GOP House seat, buoyed by a campaign that testified to the strength of the revivified Democratic grass roots, you or I might not have felt moved to such bloody-mindedness as to immediately (and with such ugly relish) threaten our own community with a purge. Then again, we're not queueing up for the chance to be operators in the Grand New Kos Reform Democratic Party, either. Know what? If that's what it looks like, count me the fuck out.
Me too. The size of Armando's head is rivaled only by that of Markos himself. The disrespect with which those two treat the "Kossacks" - without which the site would be nothing - never ceases to amaze me. How ungrateful can you get?

I'm embarrassed that Daily Kos is the flagship blog of the left. What a wasted opportunity.

Pissing on the parade

I've been doing a lot of ragging on my left-of-center comrades lately, so I'll try to make this the last one for a while. But I'm wondering if the left blogosphere isn't getting a bit hyperbolic about Paul Hackett's "victory" in Ohio last night. Liberal bloggers (along with a few conservatives) are claiming that the fact that Hackett ran so close in a heavily Republican district portends major problems for the GOP in Ohio and nationwide:
"Well, Paul Hackett lost the battle ... But, boy, did he change the rules of the game ... If the GOP can't win by a romp in Ohio's Second District, they are in big trouble. And four points in this district is big trouble ... Great job by Paul Hackett...he has started the campaign for 2006 and has given us all great hope." (AMERICAblog)

"We didn't take the seat, but holy shit was this a win for the 50 state strategy, the netroots, and the future of the country--the grassroots of the Democratic Party. We have sent a powerful message for 2006 tonight, and over the past several weeks. Close the book on round one, an overwhelming victory of us." (Swing State Project)

"The decline and fall of the GOP has begun ... It's not often that you'll see Democrats celebrating an electoral defeat, but the champagne must be flowing at DNC headquarters tonight as the results in Ohio's 2nd US House District come in." (Knappster)

"This is the Beginning of the End of the Republican Stranglehold ... This is an inspiring moment. Hold on to it. Use it. We will break the Republican hegemony and get our country back." (The Broad View.)

"Do you hear the winds of change stirring in another red state? You should, thanks to grassroots Democrats around the country who stood up for Paul Hackett, a real Democrat who wasn't afraid to oppose the war - - or George W. Bush." (Janet's Blog)

"New Ohio Democratic superstar Paul Hackett went into the lion's den of pure Red Southern Ohio and scared the pants off of the GOP losing by less than 4 points in the face of a NRCC promise to "bury him." No spin - the GOP is on the run ... We have delivered a lesson - Fighting Dems will win the day. On to 2006, when we take back the Congress." (Daily Kos)

Well, call me pessimistic, but I'm highly skeptical that the Hackett race is the "beginning of the end" of GOP electoral hegemony. I have to wonder if the ebullient reaction to it isn't in large part due to the fact that it fits well into a theory that many liberals have bought hook, line, and sinker - that all we need to do is run candidates who have military credentials and who are thus immune from the "weak on national security" line of attack. Democracy Guy, in a post that contains much I don't agree with, nevertheless is correct on this point:
He's a soldier returned from Iraq, who now criticizes the war. If that strikes you as a caricature of the rationale that governed the entire 2004 presidential primary process for Democrats, you're right. We need to look tough, so let's run soldiers on the ballot.

And nothing gets the lefty blogosphere revved up like a soldier Democrat running on an anti-Iraq war platform. The blogosphere's hysteria over this race is downright embarrassing ... Hackett is a hero of the blogosphere because he's a soldier critical of the Iraq war. Period. It's the same reason that Wesley Clark keeps winning straw polls at DailyKos. That litmus test has become a prerequisite of the lefty blogosphere's interest in electing Democrats. It is a calculation bereft of meaning, reason, or rationality, and voters see right through it.
It's also worth noting that Hackett hardly ran as a "hard left" candidate, despite the usual GOP rhetoric to the contrary. He may have opposed the war initially, but he supports the continued occupation. And the intensity of his criticism of Bush was probably overstated by liberal bloggers, a point made by The Ethical Werewolf:
I disagree with the dKossish line that Hackett succeeded by uncompromisingly yelling the Democratic line everywhere ... Hackett did an impressive job of presenting himself as a hard-core liberal to the bloggers, but he did feature Bush fairly positively in one of his ads. Hackett's webpage only identifies him as a Democrat in third-party news stories.
All that said, it is impressive, to some extent, that Hackett, with an assist from the liberal blogs, was able to make the race so competitive. But I'm dismayed by the tendency of liberals to think that "getting tough" on military matters is the panacea to the Democrats' electoral woes. The Democrats don't need to run war veterans - note how well that turned out last year - and they don't need to be pushing for a bigger army.

The key to better electoral prospects for the Democratic Party is a commitment to economic populism; think Bernie Sanders, not Wesley Clark, and leave the war mongering to the Republicans.

Get smart

From a 1965 episode - Smart and 99 are looking at a picture of a mushroom cloud:
99: Oh, Max what a terrible weapon of destruction.

Smart: Yes. You know, China, Russia, and France should outlaw all nuclear weapons. We should insist upon it.

99: What if they don't, Max?

Smart: Then we may have to blast them. That's the only way to keep peace in the world.

8/03/2005

Note to Brad DeLong

I don't know any "hard-core lefty" types who revere Bill Clinton. The two seem mutually contradictory, frankly.

Daily Kos thinks Billmon is an asshole

The Daily Kos doesn't abide by "bullshit conspiracy theories".

I swear, Armando and Kos are two of the biggest assholes in the blogosphere.

... Armando is especially bad in the comments.

Wingnut blogger scorecard

Has gained prominence by posting a lot and never making his audience think; has done those things by never thinking too much himself."


Malkin -

"Famously published a book praising internment of Japanese-Americans that was (a) incoherent and (b) probably not written by her. "


Power Line -

"Bilious Minnesotans led by someone who nicknamed himself 'Hindrocket.' "


Dean Esmay -

"Dean Esmay is popular among right-wingers as one of those centrists who just happen to hate liberals and Democrats."


... and others.

Chicago law prof on Roberts: Bush blinked

Geoffrey Stone, a professor of law at the University of Chicago, thinks that Roberts was about the best we could have hoped for:
... During the 2004 presidential election, George W. Bush promised to appoint Supreme Court justices like those he most admires: Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas. In nominating John Roberts, Bush has broken that promise, to the great good fortune of the American people. The last thing the nation needs is for one-third of the Supreme Court to be off the deep right end of the law.

Bush's fear of a disastrous Senate battle over his Supreme Court nominee, a battle that would have wreaked havoc with his prospects for a "successful" second term, led him to eschew the more ideologically rigid nominees he presumably preferred. This is an important victory for liberals and Democrats. It should not be taken for granted. Bush knew Senate Democrats would rightly filibuster a Thomas-like nominee, he knew such a filibuster would once again trigger an ugly confrontation over the "nuclear option," and so he blinked.

This is not to say that John Roberts would be my choice for the Supreme Court. To the contrary, because we do not share a constitutional philosophy, he would not be anywhere in my top 100. I would prefer someone more like Ruth Bader Ginsburg or William Brennan, someone deeply committed to an interpretation of the Constitution that fulfills its promise of fairness, equality, liberty and individual dignity. And let there be no doubt about it, that is not John Roberts. Roberts has a long record as a dyed-in-the-wool conservative. When he joins the court, his votes will be noticeably more conservative than Justice Sandra Day O'Connor's when she left the court. He will move the court to the right.

But it is also the case that Roberts has never embraced the vacuous ideology of "originalism" and, frankly, he seems too smart to do so. Roberts is too good a lawyer, too good a craftsman, to embrace such a disingenuous approach to constitutional interpretation. Everything about him suggests a principled, pragmatic justice who will act cautiously and with a healthy respect for precedent.

This does not mean, of course, that he will not vote to eviscerate Roe vs. Wade or reject the rights of homosexuals or narrow the scope of affirmative action or expand the role of religion in public life or endorse the so-called "new federalism." He may vote to do some or even most of those things. But if he does, it will be in an open-minded, rigorous, intellectually honest manner, rather than as an ideologue whose constitutional principles derive more from fiction and faith than from legal reason.

Moreover, like many conservative appointees, there is every reason to believe that a Justice Roberts will gradually drift to the left, following the footsteps of Justices Harry Blackmun, Lewis Powell, John Paul Stevens, O'Connor, Anthony Kennedy and David Souter. Appointed as conservatives by Republican presidents, each of these justices evolved over time. Because they were not tethered to an inflexible ideology, they remained open-minded and continued to learn and to grow during their time on the court. And what they learned was important.

Justices are continually exposed to the injustices that exist in American society and to the effects of those injustices on real people. As they come more fully to understand these realities, and as they come to an ever-deeper appreciation of the unique role of the Supreme Court in our constitutional system, they become better, more compassionate justices. This, too, will happen to John Roberts.

Of course, the Senate must fulfill its constitutional responsibility to interrogate the nominee to ensure that he is, in fact, the person I have described. But if he is, he should be warmly embraced as the best the nation could expect from this administration--a brilliant, decent individual with superb legal skills and without a rigid ideological agenda. Unless and until we learn otherwise, organizations like MoveOn.org and the Alliance for Justice should stay their hand and accept the "win" that is John Roberts.

After a fashion


A model displays a creation by Malaysian designer Melinda Looi during the Kuala Lumpur Fashion Week 2005 Gala Dinner in Kuala Lumpur late July 30, 2005. REUTERS/Kamarulzaman Russali

Excuse me, but aren't y'all hired killers?

1,800 ... 25,000 ... These are two significant numbers regarding the war in Iraq. They are the number of US military personnel killed and the minimum number of Iraqi civilian deaths, respectively. Liberal blogs have been mentioning both numbers lately, but for the most part they seem to have continued with a trend that has been present among the mainstream anti-war left since the beginning of the Iraq invasion. While this is obviously an overgeneralization, my impression is that more attention is paid to the number of dead soldiers than the number of dead civilians, even by those opposed to war. To hear some bloggers - especially Atrios and Kos - you'd think that the primary moral objection to the Iraq war is that it has killed too many Americans. Somewhere along the line, it seems that a decision was made to present the anti-war cause as primarily concerned with the war's toll on the men and women in the military. We are the ones who really support the troops, the anti-war Democrats say, because we want to bring them home. But make no mistake - we do support the troops.

I don't know if I support the troops or not. The phrase is so absurdly vague that it's more or less meaningless. What, exactly, does 'support' for the troops amount to? I certainly don't support their mission. The tendency of liberals seems to be to see them as victims of the Bush administration. But I admit it's hard for me to see them this way. Bush and his associates are, incontrovertibly, war criminals, but Bush, Cheney et al. haven't killed anyone personally. The men on the ground are what make their crimes possible.

I'm thinking about this because I just read an article on this topic by Ron Jacobs in Counterpunch:
A report put out last week by the Iraq Body Count project and the Oxford Research Group, stated that the war and occupation have produced almost 25,000 civilian deaths. Of these, 37 percent resulted from the actions of coalition forces, 36 percent from criminal activities, and 9 percent from insurgent action. Now, whether or not the actual numbers are accurate, the proportions tend to stay the same no matter what the source is for civilian casualty numbers. This means that the US military is doing most of the killing in Iraq. If one supports the troops without qualifications that is what they support. In addition, and more fundamentally, they are supporting the policy that put the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan in the first place. This means that they share the underlying assumption that the United States has the right to send its military anywhere in the world it wishes in order to maintain its current position in the world. Underlying that assumption is the assumption that the lives of people in those lands where the US troops are sent are less valuable than US lives and are therefore expendable in the name of US goodness.

With all due respect to the soldiers who have been convinced otherwise, their cause is not noble. What they are doing in Iraq and Afghanistan is no different than what their predecessors did in Vietnam, Korea the Philippines, and the American Indian lands. They are not making the world safe for democracy or even for their fellow Americans. Their mission is not heroic, despite the various acts of individual heroism that occur daily in battle. The most heroic act must be undertaken here at home by those of us who sent them over there. It is time that we demand these men and women come home now. There is no timetable for withdrawal unless we organize people to get into the streets and demand that the troops be withdrawn.
Anything short of hero worship when it comes to the US military is basically a form of secular blasphemy. But the truth is the truth: American soldiers in Iraq simply are not defending anyone except the Bush administration. (And no, they are not the reason I am able to write this, so fuck off.)

The lionization of the military does not help our cause; in fact, it does great damage to it. While there is an obvious (and for most of us, an easily made) distinction between praising the individuals fighting a war and endorsing the war itself, the fact of the matter is that these are often conflated.

Would we not be opposed to the war anymore if American casualties dropped off to zero? Do we really want to present our opposition as a concern for the welfare of the troops, when most of them are where they are voluntarily? It is certainly a tragedy when the lives of these men and women are cut short, but it's important to remember that the primary victims of this war are the people of Iraq. Their victimizers are the war mongers in the White House - but with an assist going to the troops on the ground.

Dear aliens: sorry about Power Line

Did you know you can send your blog into outer space?

Rational thought and the GOP do not mix

Brad DeLong:
I believe I can now safely say without fear of contradiction that any scientist or academic (outside of fundamentalist seminaries, of course) who is a Republican is in serious need of help...

8/02/2005

Art blogging

Images from pAdLAb via i:de'o:gramas.










The case for road rage

From MyDD:
... Bush: My Hero bumper stickers (saw one this weekend) ...

What will they think of next?

How about a paint roller that paints images?
A new paint roller that prints a computer-generated image combines techniques from conventional printing with those from manual painting.

The Pixel Roller picks up paint from a tray, like any other paint roller, but is controlled electronically by a computer to transfer pixilated images onto any surface — floors, walls, ceilings, brick, concrete and glass — and at just about any scale.

"We wanted to make the mundane fantastic," said Stuart Wood when describing the brainstorming session he had with co-inventor Florian Ortkrass, both of the Royal College of Art in London, last summer that eventually lead to the device.






Via ArtsJournal.

I take it all back

I take back everything I've said about the United States' invasion and occupation of Iraq, about the Bush administration's war crimes, about the human rights abuses at Abu Ghraib.

You see, apparently American soldiers gave a little Iraqi girl a teddy bear and some Flinstones chewable vitamins.

So, you know, never mind.

WMD

From Counterpunch (emphasis added):
August 6 and August 9 will mark the 60th anniversaries of the US atomic-bomb attacks on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In Hiroshima, an estimated 80,000 people were killed in a split second.

Some 13 square kilometres of the city was obliterated. By December, at least another 70,000 people had died from radiation and injuries.

Three days after Hiroshima's destruction, the US dropped an A-bomb on Nagasaki, resulting in the deaths of at least 70,000 people before the year was out.

Since 1945, tens of thousands more residents of the two cities have continued to suffer and die from radiation-induced cancers, birth defects and still births.

A tiny group of US rulers met secretly in Washington and callously ordered this indiscriminate annihilation of civilian populations. They gave no explicit warnings. They rejected all alternatives, preferring to inflict the most extreme human carnage possible. They ordered and had carried out the two worst terror acts in human history.

The 60th anniversaries will inevitably be marked by countless mass media commentaries and speeches repeating the 60-year-old mantra that there was no other choice but to use A-bombs in order to avoid a bitter, prolonged invasion of Japan.

On July 21, the British New Scientist magazine undermined this chorus when it reported that two historians had uncovered evidence revealing that "the US decision to drop atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki ... was meant to kick-start the Cold War [against the Soviet Union, Washington's war-time ally] rather than end the Second World War''.

Peter Kuznick, director of the Nuclear Studies Institute at the American University in Washington stated that US President Harry Truman's decision to blast the cities "was not just a war crime, it was a crime against humanity''.

With Mark Selden, a historian from Cornell University in New York, Kuznick studied the diplomatic archives of the US, Japan and the USSR.

They found that three days before Hiroshima, Truman agreed at a meeting that Japan was "looking for peace''. His senior generals and political advisers told him there was no need to use the A-bomb. But the bombs were dropped anyway. "Impressing Russia was more important than ending the war'', Selden told the New Scientist.

While the capitalist media immediately dubbed the historians' "theory'' "controversial'', it accords with the testimony of many central US political and military players at the time, including General Dwight Eisenhower, who stated bluntly in a 1963 Newsweek interview that "the Japanese were ready to surrender and it wasn't necessary to hit them with that awful thing''.

Truman's chief of staff, Admiral William Leahy, stated in his memoirs that "the use of this barbarous weapon at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was of no material assistance in our war against Japan. The Japanese were already defeated and ready to surrender.''
There's more here.

From Wikipedia:
Eisenhower wrote in his memoir The White House Years, "in 1945 Secretary of War Stimson, visiting my headquarters in Germany, informed me that our government was preparing to drop an atomic bomb on Japan. I was one of those who felt that there were a number of cogent reasons to question the wisdom of such an act?During his recitation of the relevant facts, I had been conscious of a feeling of depression and so I voiced to him my grave misgivings, first on the basis of my belief that Japan was already defeated and that dropping the bomb was completely unnecessary, and secondly because I thought that our country should avoid shocking world opinion by the use of a weapon whose employment, was I thought, no longer mandatory as a measure to save American lives" ...

MacArthur believed the dropping of the bombs to be "completely unnecessary from a military point of view."

...The United States Strategic Bombing Survey, after interviewing hundreds of Japanese civilian and military leaders after Japan surrendered, reported:

"Based on a detailed investigation of all the facts, and supported by the testimony of the surviving Japanese leaders involved, it is the Survey's opinion that certainly prior to 31 December 1945, and in all probability prior to 1 November 1945, Japan would have surrendered even if the atomic bombs had not been dropped, even if Russia had not entered the war, and even if no invasion had been planned or contemplated."

Paul Hackett: a dissenting view

Lefty blogs have been swarming in support of Paul Hackett, a Democrat and Iraq war veteran (as in, the current Iraq war - you know, 'Operation Iraqi Freedom') who is running for Congress in Ohio, and whom a Republican spokesperson promised, in a remarkably poor choice of words, to "bury." See here for details.

However, John Walsh at Counterpunch is not so enthusiastic about Hackett:
The latest Congressional candidate to be peddled by the pro-war Democratic establishment, including Howard Dean, James Carville, the Daily Kos, Democracy for America, Al Franken on Air America Radio, etc., is Paul Hackett in southern Ohio. He faces his Republican opponent in a special election this Tuesday, August 2. Hackett goes by the all too appropriate nickname, "Hack," and his claim to fame is that he is a marine who fought in Iraq and will be the only Iraqi veteran in Congress! The truth beneath this silly gloss is a lot uglier. Among his other "achievements," Hack is a proud veteran of the campaign which leveled Fallujah, killing untold numbers of innocent Iraqis and turning hundreds of thousands into refugees.

Here is how he characterizes, on his web site, what he did in Iraq: "I was against the war. It was a misuse of our military that damaged our credibility throughout the world and squandered our political capital. Still, I volunteered to serve, and I have no regrets." Translation "I will mindlessly do what I am told no matter what my brain says." And he has "no regrets" about the slaughter of innocents in Fallujah. On Fallujah, he says: "Religious fanatics and insurgents had seized the city. They had to be stopped."

So what does Hack propose now? Again in his own words, "The good news is we can successfully exit Iraq once the roughly 140,000 Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) are adequately trained. The bad news is they are nowhere near the level of skill to accomplish that mission and are likely years away from that goal. No matter what your position on the war, if we pull out now the entire region will spiral into chaos. We must not withdraw our troops before the Iraqis are ready to stand on their own." Translation: "Stay the course." And he also takes a swipe at those who are against the war, saying that "too many liberals who opposed the war want to see the president's Iraq policy fail." Translation: "Those who oppose the war do so only out of personal hatred for Bush." Both these themes parrot the line of the war parties.

There is absolutely no difference between Hack and his Republican opponent Jean Schmidt on the war ­ or any other issue for that matter. Here is what she says: "The training of Iraqi and Afghan security forces is ongoing and will allow both new governments to begin to assume more responsibility for their security and sovereignty. Our troops should not withdraw from these nations until they can assume these responsibilities on their own and we are making rapid progress towards this end." Translation: "Stay the course." At least, unlike Hack, she did not volunteer to participate in the criminal slaughter of this illegal war.
I'm not sure which side I'd come down on here. I think Walsh is probably overstating things a bit; I seriously doubt that there is "absolutely no difference" between Hackett and Schmidt on any issue. However, it is worth remembering that Hackett isn't really an anti-war candidate, in any strong sense; while he says he was against the war in the first place, he leaves no doubt as to where he stands on continuing it.

8/01/2005

Bush: Teach creationism

From Knight Ridder:
President Bush waded into the debate over evolution and "intelligent design" Monday, saying schools should teach both theories on the creation and complexity of life.

In a wide-ranging question-and-answer session with a small group of reporters, Bush essentially endorsed efforts by Christian conservatives to give intelligent design equal standing with the theory of evolution in the nation's schools.

...Bush compared the current debate to earlier disputes over "creationism," a related view that adheres more closely to biblical explanations. As governor of Texas, Bush said students should be exposed to both creationism and evolution.

On Monday the president said he favors the same approach for intelligent design "so people can understand what the debate is about."

..."I think that part of education is to expose people to different schools of thought," Bush said. " You're asking me whether or not people ought to be exposed to different ideas, the answer is yes."

Why LaShawn?

Dum Pendebat Filius:
Can someone explain to me the LaShawn Barber phenomenon? ... the TTLB Ecosystem reports that her blog is the 20th biggest (in terms of incoming links) on the Internet. 1558 sites link to hers.

...you can get wingnuttia of a similar tone and flavor in plenty of other places. What’s the appeal of LaShawn’s Corner? When she’s not declaring war on Islam and criticizing the Bush administration for its failure to torture and/or kill Muslims in sufficiently large numbers, she’s bragging about her entreprenurial ventures and declaring her Christian piety. I can understand why most of the high-traffic right-wing blogs have the readership they have, but not hers. Does anyone have any insights into this particular phenomenon?
My impression is that LaShawn started strong, but has now 'jumped the shark' in a major way.

Her blog is, quite simply, one of the most amateurish of all the 'top' sites. Her writing style most closely resembles that of Jackie Harvey from the Onion. I suspect that her high ranking is the result of having been blogrolled by a lot of people - probably because she stood out as a black, female conservative - rather than having her posts linked to on a regular basis. In fact, I can't remember the last time I saw another major right-wing blog link to her, though I'm sure they have on occasion.

I think her 'ick' factor is a little too high even for those with similarly wingnutty dispositions, e.g. Michelle Malkin. She does an unseemly amount of self-promotion, and her desire to be a "big name" is just a little too transparent. In a word, she's tacky.

Who wants to have sex with a blogger?

No, not me (which is too bad for you; once you go objet d'art, you never go back).

Libertarian blogger Jacqueline Passey is looking for a lover/travel companion. I don't think you have to be a libertarian, but you do have to be "intelligent, ethical, healthy and fit, monogamous, kind, generous, very affectionate and sexual."

Oops

Some advice: if you're going to get loudly and publicly indignant about people accusing you of using steroids, you'd better not actually be using steroids:
Rafael Palmeiro, the Baltimore Orioles slugger who at a Congressional hearing in March vehemently denied using steroids, was suspended for 10 days today for violating major league baseball's steroids policy.

The Orioles' first baseman is by far the biggest name suspended under baseball's recently toughened program, which tests for performance-enhancing substances. Over all, he is the seventh major leaguer this season suspended under the new program.

In a telephone conference call today, Palmeiro said he never intentionally took steroids and could not explain how the drugs got into his body, according to The Associated Press. He also apologized and said he would accept his punishment.

"I have never intentionally used steroids. Never. Ever. Period," he said. "Ultimately, although I never intentionally put a banned substance into my body, the independent arbitrator ruled that I had to be suspended under the terms of the program."
Riiiight.


UPDATE: Slublog's Maniac Joe asks a good question:
If Shoeless Joe and Pete Rose can be banned for gambling, how can steroids, which ruin the game as much as betting on the outcome, be only a measly 10 day suspension?

Kangaroo court

From Australian Broadcasting Company via Steve Gilliard:
Leaked emails claim Guantanamo trials rigged

Leaked emails from two former prosecutors claim the military commissions set up to try detainees at Guantanamo Bay are rigged, fraudulent, and thin on evidence against the accused.

Two emails, which have been obtained by the ABC, were sent to supervisors in the Office of Military Commissions in March of last year - three months before Australian detainee David Hicks was charged and five months before his trial began.

The first email is from prosecutor Major Robert Preston to his supervisor.

Maj Preston writes that the process is perpetrating a fraud on the American people, and that the cases being pursued are marginal.

...Maj Preston says he cannot continue to work on a process he considers morally, ethically and professionally intolerable.

"I lie awake worrying about this every night," he wrote.

...The second email is written by another prosecutor, Captain John Carr, who also ended up leaving the department.

Capt Carr says the commissions appear to be rigged.

"When I volunteered to assist with this process and was assigned to this office, I expected there would at least be a minimal effort to establish a fair process and diligently prepare cases against significant accused," he wrote.

"Instead, I find a half-hearted and disorganised effort by a skeleton group of relatively inexperienced attorneys to prosecute fairly low-level accused in a process that appears to be rigged."

Capt Carr says that the prosecutors have been told by the chief prosecutor that the panel sitting in judgment on the cases would be handpicked to ensure convictions.

"You have repeatedly said to the office that the military panel will be handpicked and will not acquit these detainees and that we only needed to worry about building a record for the review panel," he said.
Will this surprise anyone?

7/31/2005

The kind of numbers that count

A premise often assumed by Truman apologists looking to justify the attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki is that American lives were more valuable and important than Japanese lives. Instapundit links to this Austin Bay Blog post:
Twenty years ago a World War 2 vet I know told me what the A-bombs meant to him. In August 1945 he was as an 18 year-old Army private assigned to a unit earmarked for the first-wave of the invasion of Kyushu.

“Those of us in my platoon knew many of us would die in that attack,” he said. “Okinawa was in our minds. We weren’t sure how close we would get to the beaches. Despite our air superiority, the Navy had no effective answer for the kamikazes. And if we did make it onto Kyushu we expected the worst of bunker to bunker fighting. For me and my friends, all of us 18 and 19, the atom bomb meant we would go home alive.”

...The 18 year old private was my father, Tom Bay. He offers some speculative numbers, the kind that count: “Hundreds of thousands of Americans of your generation, Austin, are alive because of the bomb.”
Instapundit adds:
My grandfather, who walked across Europe only to be shipped to the Pacific for the invasion of Japan, was deeply relieved by the atomic bombs.
Well, as long as Instapundit's Paw-Paw felt good about it.

Bad ink

There's something uniquely tragic about a hideously bad tattoo. Socialist Swine Capitalist Pig has some gruesome examples.

OOOIIIILLLL!

Tom Tomorrow gives props to Bob Herbert for pointing out the obvious - it's the oil, stupid:
But the whole point of this war, it seems, was to establish a long-term military presence in Iraq to ensure American domination of the Middle East and its precious oil reserves, which have been described, the author Daniel Yergin tells us, as "the greatest single prize in all history."

You can run through all the wildly varying rationales for this war: the weapons of mass destruction (that were never found), the need to remove the unmitigated evil of Saddam (whom we had once cozied up to), the connection to Al Qaeda (which was bogus), and one of President Bush's favorites, the need to fight the terrorists "over there" so we won't have to fight them here at home.

All the rationales have to genuflect before "The Prize," which was the title of Mr. Yergin's Pulitzer-Prize-winning book.

It's the oil, stupid.

What has so often gotten lost in all the talk about terror and weapons of mass destruction is the fact that for so many of the most influential members of the Bush administration, the obsessive desire to invade Iraq preceded the Sept. 11 attacks. It preceded the Bush administration. The neoconservatives were beating the war drums on Iraq as far back as the late 1990's.

... the invasion of Iraq was part of a much larger, long-term policy that had to do with the U.S. imposing its will, militarily when necessary, throughout the Middle East and beyond. The war has gone badly, and the viciousness of the Iraq insurgency has put the torch to the idea of further pre-emptive adventures by the Bush administration.

But dreams of empire die hard. American G.I.'s are dug into Iraq, and the bases have been built for a long stay. The war may be going badly, but the primary consideration is that there is still a tremendous amount of oil at stake, the second-largest reserves on the planet. And neocon fantasies aside, the global competition for the planet's finite oil reserves intensifies by the hour.

... That should be understood by the people who think that the formation of a permanent Iraqi government will lead to the withdrawal of American troops. There is no real withdrawal plan. The fighting and the dying will continue indefinitely.
Tom on the wingnut response:
You'd think it would be difficult to argue with the paper trail the neo's themselves left behind, pre-9/11, but the pro-war types always have a thoughtful rejoinder at hand--i.e., typing the word "oil" in all caps, repeating each letter multiple times. It's one of the automatic reflexes that passes for thought on that side of the ideological divide.
Anyone who thinks that the fact that Iraq is sitting on top of the mother of all oil reserves is just one big fucking coincidence ... I don't know, either do some research or just go back to reading Power Line or whatever.

From The Onion

Wink wink

It's a miracle! According to Majikthise, this statue of Jeebus actually opened one of its eyes!



Details:
Scores of faithful Christians converged on Hoboken, N.J., yesterday to get a firsthand glimpse of a plaster statue of Jesus that enraptured witnesses say opened one of its eyes.

"It's an absolute miracle," said Peggy Dyer, 41, a traffic attendant, as she gazed into the 2-foot statue's brilliantly blue right eye.

...True believers started coming to the scene outside a Jackson St. housing project two days ago after Julio Dones began telling people that one of the eyes suddenly opened as he was cleaning the "sleeping" statue.

"I looked up, and saw the eye was open and light blue, like the sky," said Dones, 52, who is partially blind himself and goes by the nickname Sly.

"God wants the people to know he's present," the unemployed man said, adding that he found the statue in a Jersey City garbage bin a year ago.

A carnival atmosphere surrounded the winking Jesus yesterday. Onlookers young and old - many of whom had seen the statue previously when both of its eyes were closed - wondered aloud how something like this could happen. And how it might change their lives.
My personal favorite quote from this article:
Anthony Purvis, 11, silently stared at the statue for about 90 seconds and then turned to four of his boisterous friends and said, "If the other one pops open, I'm going to run. I'm out of here."

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