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

8/13/2005

Last throes

Why have Republicans reacted with such bile to the Cindy Sheehan phenomenon? If I were inclined to psychoanalyze at a distance, I might say that they are confused and angry that their little adventure in Iraq hasn't turned out the way they thought it would, and that this fact becomes harder and harder to deny with each passing day. Instead of admitting defeat, they flail about and lash out at the mother of a dead soldier who simply wants an audience with the president and is willing to tell the truth to him and anyone else who asks. They've shown their true colors, and it isn't pretty.

They'll have to face up to reality sooner or later ... let's hope it doesn't take as long as it did with Vietnam.

Frank Rich says: Someone tell the president the war is over.
LIKE the Japanese soldier marooned on an island for years after V-J Day, President Bush may be the last person in the country to learn that for Americans, if not Iraqis, the war in Iraq is over. "We will stay the course," he insistently tells us from his Texas ranch. What do you mean we, white man?

A president can't stay the course when his own citizens (let alone his own allies) won't stay with him. The approval rate for Mr. Bush's handling of Iraq plunged to 34 percent in last weekend's Newsweek poll - a match for the 32 percent that approved L.B.J.'s handling of Vietnam in early March 1968.

...But our current Texas president has even outdone his predecessor; Mr. Bush has lost not only the country but also his army. Neither bonuses nor fudged standards nor the faking of high school diplomas has solved the recruitment shortfall. Now Jake Tapper of ABC News reports that the armed forces are so eager for bodies they will flout "don't ask, don't tell" and hang on to gay soldiers who tell, even if they tell the press.

The president's cable cadre is in disarray as well. At Fox News Bill O'Reilly is trashing Donald Rumsfeld for his incompetence, and Ann Coulter is chiding Mr. O'Reilly for being a defeatist. In an emblematic gesture akin to waving a white flag, Robert Novak walked off a CNN set and possibly out of a job rather than answer questions about his role in smearing the man who helped expose the administration's prewar inflation of Saddam W.M.D.'s. (On this sinking ship, it's hard to know which rat to root for.)

As if the right-wing pundit crackup isn't unsettling enough, Mr. Bush's top war strategists, starting with Mr. Rumsfeld and Gen. Richard Myers, have of late tried to rebrand the war in Iraq as what the defense secretary calls "a global struggle against violent extremism." A struggle is what you have with your landlord. When the war's über-managers start using euphemisms for a conflict this lethal, it's a clear sign that the battle to keep the Iraq war afloat with the American public is lost.

...Nothing that happens on the ground in Iraq can turn around the fate of this war in America: not a shotgun constitution rushed to meet an arbitrary deadline, not another Iraqi election, not higher terrorist body counts, not another battle for Falluja ... A citizenry that was asked to accept tax cuts, not sacrifice, at the war's inception is hardly in the mood to start sacrificing now. There will be neither the volunteers nor the money required to field the wholesale additional American troops that might bolster the security situation in Iraq.

WHAT lies ahead now in Iraq instead is not victory, which Mr. Bush has never clearly defined anyway, but an exit (or triage) strategy that may echo Johnson's March 1968 plan for retreat from Vietnam ...

Thus the president's claim on Thursday that "no decision has been made yet" about withdrawing troops from Iraq can be taken exactly as seriously as the vice president's preceding fantasy that the insurgency is in its "last throes." The country has already made the decision for Mr. Bush. We're outta there. Now comes the hard task of identifying the leaders who can pick up the pieces of the fiasco that has made us more vulnerable, not less, to the terrorists who struck us four years ago next month.
In a weird way, the re-election of the Bush administration is probably going to end up being the worst thing that ever happened to it. Its historical legacy was always going to be tarnished; now, the Bush years will be remembered as an absolute disaster.

"Moderates"

Great post from Jesse at Pandagon:
Donklephant indirectly reminds me of one of my least favorite blog-related phenomena: the "I'm not really conservative" conservative blog.
And by the way, they’re defining Instapundit as a conservative blog so the methodology might not be as cut and dry as they might hope. I definitely think Glenn Reynolds in center-right, but he’s certainly no Little Green Footballs.
As I remarked, if LGF is the benchmark for conservatism, there are only about 10 conservative blogs on the internet, and most of them have the word "Aryan" in the title.

Glenn Reynolds pioneered it, but a whole host of other conservative bloggers (Hottentotten, Remainder L. Simon, etc.) have perfected it - they're entirely Republican/conservative shills, yet adamantly declare when it's convenient that they aren't conservative because of a position they haven't dusted off since the last time they wanted to prove they weren't conservative.

... Soon, the conservative blogosphere will consist of nothing but Michelle Malkin, albeit a Michelle Malkin who receives 150 trackbacks from "centrist" blogs who cheer her on as she erroneously blames a Mexican for blowing up a building that was actually destroyed by a gas leak.

Silly wingnuts

Atrios:
I wonder how many of the brighter bulbs in wingnuttia will take the discovery of a plant in Iraq capable of producing unspecified chemicals as DISCOVERY OF THE WMD!!! despite the fact that it didn't exist before the war started.
Captain Ed:
WMD Found In Iraq

The Washington Post reported while I was in flight to Nashville this afternoon that American troops discoverd over 1500 gallons of chemicals believed to be intended to attack US and Iraqi forces by Islamist terrorists. The warehouse in Mosul had eleven different kinds of precursor agents and appears to have only recently been stocked ... No one believes at this point that the chemicals predate the fall of Saddam. That would mean that the chemicals made it into Mosul either by bringing them out of Syria or from a safe storage area in Northern Iraq. Either of those two scenarios could point back to pre-invasion Iraq as the source of the chemicals themselves, however; the former scenario only adds the possibility that Bashar Assad has lost his mind.

The size of this find makes it a significant development, both for the insurgency as it stands now and the sourcing of these chemical components. We may have some radical rethinking to do about the nature of not just the terrorists in Iraq, but also the war narrative that said Saddam had no WMD available for his use.

The Sheehan alternative

From Antiwar.com:
In 1972, after many years of U.S. involvement in Vietnam, the Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg wrote: "In that time, I have seen it first as a problem; then as a stalemate; then as a crime."

That aptly describes three key American perspectives now brought to bear on US involvement in Iraq.

The moral clarity and political impacts of Cindy Sheehan’s vigil in Crawford are greatly enhanced by a position that she is taking: US troops should not be in Iraq.

Sheehan’s position does not only clash directly with President Bush’s policy, which he reiterated on Thursday ... Her call for complete withdrawal of US troops from Iraq also amounts to a firm rejection of the ongoing stance from Howard Dean, the head of the national Democratic Party, who told a Minneapolis audience on April 20: "Now that we’re there, we’re there and we can’t get out."

...Dean, the Democratic National Committee chair, has opted to stick to a calibrated partisan line of attack that endorses the essence of the war in real time. "The president has created an enormous security problem for the US where none existed before," Dean said in Minneapolis. "But I hope the president is incredibly successful with his policy now that he’s there."

Of course, the idea that Bush could be "incredibly successful with his policy now" in Iraq is the stuff of fantasy. But it’s the kind of politician-speak that makes a preposterous statement because it seems like a good media tactic. That’s what most Democratic Party officials on the national stage, and some activists who should know better, are still doing. They’re the rough equivalent of those who, like Ellsberg for a time four decades ago, mainly regretted that the war was "a stalemate." Objections to the war along that line depict it as a quagmire.

But the US war effort in Iraq is not a quagmire. It is what Daniel Ellsberg came to realize the Vietnam War was: "a crime."

...While Bush sees the war as a problem and Dean bemoans it as a stalemate, Sheehan refuses to evade the truth that it is a crime. And the analysis that came from Daniel Ellsberg in 1972, while the Vietnam War continued, offers vital clarity today: "Each of these perspectives called for a different mode of personal commitment: a problem, to help solve it; a stalemate, to help extricate ourselves with grace; a crime, to expose and resist it, to try to stop it immediately, to seek moral and political change."
Cindy Sheehan for President?

The cost of war

From Antiwar.com -
I heard a lecture by an Army psychologist who contended that after 90 days of combat, the casualty rate was 98 percent. Those not wounded physically were wounded psychologically. The other 2 percent were psychopaths.

Good point

From Think Progress:
Casey Sheehan’s unnamed “grandparents, aunts, uncles and numerous cousins” have apparently just released a letter claiming that they “do not agree with the political motivations and publicity tactics of Cindy Sheehan.”

And being non-political, non-publicity-seeking people, they chose to send the letter to… Matt Drudge? — a guy whose entire career is built upon inflammatory slime campaigns against John Kerry, Air America Radio, Sen. Hillary Clinton, Ted Koppel and others on behalf of the right-wing.

Huh.
Huh-indeedy!

8/12/2005

We'd all love to see the plan

Her name is Battlepanda, and she's wondering*: "When the system is broken, do you fix it up or tear it down?"
In the comments, Lawrence makes a great observation that the left has moved from one paradigm for change to another within his lifetime:
...it is interesting how many people of left-of-center views have come to agree with the can't-beat-em-join-em philosophy. While there has been a lot of talk about how America has drifted to the right, and how the right has drifted to the right, there hasn't been much talk lately about how much the Left has drifted to the Right.

The reformist philosophy can be summarized as "Let's join existing institutions and make them better." Maybe this is the best program for progressive social change. Maybe it isn't. I don't know. As a historical observation, those decades we think of as the most radical (1640s, 1770s, 1960s) are noteworthy for their rejection of the reformist ideal ...

You know it's going to be an era of quiet reform when even the Left takes revolutionary change off the table as an option. Even in my own lifetime I've seen the change - I can recalled when I was a teenager in the 1980s there were still those who felt the only way to improve our society was a root-and-branch turning over, so we could start again with a clean slate. Nowadays, everyone I know who is involved with progressive politics is mostly interested in incremental reform (a small exception is the anarchist-punk rock scene).
I think I am a pragmatist by nature, so this current disposition towards gradualism suits me well personally ... in my view, constant revolution is both impossible and undesirable. Who was it that said "all revolutions are impossible until they happen; then they are inevitable."? It is the goal of reformists to change society for the better before the revolution becomes inevitable, and there is much to be said for this approach, despite being lacking in romance.
Assuming that a reasonably clear distinction can be made between reform and revolution, I agree that most of us seem to be working within the 'reformist' paradigm. I'm open to the idea of some kind of revolution, but I have yet to hear anyone make any tangible, concrete, and plausible proposal for affecting such a revolution. The route to an improved society via reform is relatively clear ... at least the debate over the best route is well-defined. In my experience, when people talk about the need for a revolution, that is basically all they do - talk about the need for it. No one ever seems to get around to explaining how we should actually go about engaging in this revolution. If they did, then we could analyze and evaluate it. But until then, calls for revolution are bound to go unheeded.


*Anyone who gets this reference is as big of a nerd as I am for making it.

The vast not-really-liberal conspiracy

In a longish but important post, Ron Brynaert explains why he thinks the A-list 'progressive' bloggers are ignoring election fraud (when they're not ridiculing anyone who's concerned about it, that is).

Somebody give this man a job

From Outside the Tent:
In response to Michelle’s despicable post where she channeled the deceased Casey Sheehan, a legal secretary at a Los Angeles law firm sent her a brief and vulgar e-mail (obscenities elided):
YOU STINK you nasty C***! Eat S*** and DIE b****!!
That’s the entire email. It’s not pretty. It’s not nice. It was a mistake. And I clearly don’t approve of sending such an email to anyone. Even Rush Limbaugh or Jonah Goldberg.

But instead of leaving it there, Michelle posted the email with the name of the sender and his e-mail address. The address showed that the sender worked at a Los Angeles law firm. Less than two hours later, the managing partner of that firm sends Michelle an email saying that the employee had been fired. And, of course, Michelle thanks him. Yes, she thanks him for firing somebody who had the effrontery to call her bad names.

Because, you see, in the Alice in Wonderland world that Michelle inhabits, it’s okay for Michelle to spit on the grieving mother of a dead soldier but completely unacceptable for somebody to call her a bitch for doing so.
This is ridiculous. Is it wrong to call somebody a cunt and a bitch and tell her to eat shit and die? Probably. But on the offensive behavior scale of 1-10, 1 being farting in an elevator and 10 being, I don't know, publishing racist screeds, this email rates about a 2. So now this poor guy is out of a job, while Michelle will keep making God knows how much until her date in Hell finally arrives.

We should see to it that the guy finds another job, pronto. This blog doesn't reach too many people, but it would be cool if some of the big boys (Atrios?) did what they could to help him out.

Meanwhile, Armando is telling us to take it easy on his friend Erick Erickson at Redstate.org, who called Cindy Sheehan a "media whore" -
Please do not call Erick's office. That is way out of bounds. I understand he retracted the "whore" comment, but even if he did not, that is just wrong. Do not call people at their work or home. That is really wrong.
Fuck that. Fuck Erickson and fuck Armando. I have no sympathy for anyone who engages in the type of hateful, bullshit attacks that have characterized the Right's response to Cindy Sheehan. When Michelle "I hear dead people" Malkin apologizes for getting someone fired for calling her a cunt - and even if you find the term 'cunt' offensive, the fact is that if anyone anywhere ever was a cunt, Malkin is one - then we can start feeling sorry for Erickson getting phone calls at home and work.

Red state values

Video-QT.

If our electoral strategy relies on swaying these folks over to our side, we are doomed!

Via Liberal Avenger.

Setting the record straight

OK, I am fucking tired of hearing wingnut bloggers (and self-described moderates) saying that Cindy Sheehan's "whole family is speaking out against her." This is then followed by a link to ... the Drudge Report.

One woman, claiming to represent other members of Casey Sheehan's family, has written a letter condemning her. Other members of the Sheehan family are supporting Cindy. Is it at all surprising that every last blood relative of Casey Sheehan doesn't agree with Cindy? No. Is this tantamount to "Cindy Sheehan's family has come out against her"? No.

NO, you willfully ignorant pieces of shit.

This whole thing is getting incredibly ugly, with the right-wing blogosphere proving itself capable of deeper levels of depravity than even I would have thought possible. The wastes of sperm and egg calling Sheehan a media whore and leveling other slurs against her will have to live with the shame for the rest of their lives. In a just world, they would have the type of pain Cindy Sheehan has suffered visited upon them a thousand times over.

I don't think so

Supposedly Representative-in-waiting Jean Schmidt, the Republican who beat Paul Hackett in the Ohio special election, is going to attempt to pass a law prohibiting bloggers from telling lies:
When “Mean Jean” Schmidt gets to Washington, what will her first piece of legislation be? According to Whistleblower Research Bureau Chief Fearless Ferrett, word is she’s already busy working on her Bloggers Reform Act of 2006, that’ll require hosts to be personally criminally liable for all the lies published on their blogsites.
Anyone want to bet any amount of money that this legislation will never see the light of day?

Power Line et al. would basically have to close up shop.


UPDATE: This report might not be true ... Schmidt's office apparently denies it. No explanation on where the story originated yet.

... I mean, it originated with the Whistleblower, but I'm not familiar with that publication, and I don't know where they got the story in the first place (pulled it out of their ass?).

Watch me get theological on yer ass

Jacob at Cannot Be Trusted (an offbeat and excellent blog, by the way) likes an argument that Bono of U2 makes against "secular" appreciation of Jesus:
Look, the secular response to the Christ story always goes like this: He was a great prophet, obviously a very interesting guy, had a lot to say along the lines of other great prophets, be they Elijah, Muhammad, Buddha, or Confucius. But actually Christ doesn't allow you that. He doesn't let you off that hook. Christ says, No. I'm not saying I'm a teacher, don't call me teacher. I'm not saying I'm a prophet. I'm saying: 'I'm the Messiah.' I'm saying: 'I am God incarnate.' . . . So what you're left with is either Christ was who He said He was - the Messiah - or a complete nutcase. . . . The idea that the entire course of civilization for over half of the globe could have its fate changed and turned upside-down by a nutcase, for me that's farfetched."
As Jacob notes, this argument isn't original to Bono. I believe it was first advanced by C.S. Lewis in the perennial favorite Mere Christianity, but I could be wrong about that. (I mean, I know Lewis made a similar argument in that book, I'm just not sure he was the first.)

Now, just FYI, I'm not at all hostile to religion or Christianity, but I've never quite understood the force of this particular argument.

It seems to be saying that Jesus couldn't be correct about a particular set of propositions (i.e., his 'ethical' teachings - love thy neighbor, etc.) unless he was correct about a certain other proposition (i.e., that he was the son of God) not contained in that set. But why not? The latter isn't strictly entailed by the former, and people are often right about some stuff and wrong about other stuff.

If he genuinely thought he was the son of God, and in actuality wasn't, then yes, he would indeed be something of a nutcase ... but is it that much of a stretch to suppose that a certified 'nutcase' might still have something of value to teach? Aren't there actually examples of this all over the place? Van Gogh was kind of insane, but he was still a great artist. Kant was a bit of nutball, but I myself ranked him as my second-favorite philosopher of all time.

Obviously, even if this argument fails, nothing is proved; it is still possible that Jesus was indeed the Messiah. It just means that the 'secular response' to Jesus is still a live option.

8/11/2005

Time to go to war again?

I am worried. The war drums are beginning to beat again ... and this time the Fighting Keyboarders have their eye on Iran. From All Things Conservative (my emphasis):
The United States and Britain have warned Iran on its interference in Iraq:
Britain formally protested to Iran yesterday over its growing interference in Iraq's internal affairs, citing the smuggling of sophisticated explosives that threaten to send coalition casualties soaring.

The move came after British and American intelligence officials said they uncovered evidence that Iran's Revolutionary Guard was providing deadly "shaped" charges to Iraq's insurgents.

A British intelligence source said there were indications that the devices are "increasingly being designed and built in neighbouring Iran and then transported to Iraq".

...Britain's statement came hours after Donald Rumsfeld, the US defence secretary, also accused Iran of smuggling weaponry. He said: "It's notably unhelpful for the Iranians to be allowing weapons of those types to be crossing the border."

This created problems for the Iraqi government, coalition forces and the international community. "And ultimately, it's a problem for Iran," he said.
...There should be no more warnings. If this doesn't stop it, and I don't think it will, the next step should be military action against targets inside Iran such as terrorist training camps or border crossings used by terrorists crossing into Iraq.
Some right-wingers have been chomping at the bit to go after Iran - vicariously, of course - for some time now. This is from blogger Varifrank:
To me, Iran has always been the real target of the war on terror. Forget about Afghanistan, Iraq or Saudi Arabia, Iran is the ‘home of the whopper’ when it comes to bile spitting anti-US, anti-Israel, anti-western governments and organizations. Iran is where it all started, for us anyway...

...for me, it’s always been about Iran. On September 12,2001 I was thinking, “ How do we get to Iran?” I wasn’t thinking Afghanistan, Iraq or anyone else, for me it was all about what was the most direct route to Tehran.

...Now we find ourselves with two countries that share Iran’s border, Iraq and Afghanistan. Our navy patrols the Straits of Hormuz, checks all the shipping in and out of Iran on the ocean and by all the land routes as well. Iran is completely surrounded by US troops and Navy. I don’t know for sure, but we have to be doing over flight reconnaissance.
Note: the US is indeed flying unmanned drones over Iran and has been doing so for a while now. Incidentally, this could be construed as an act of war in and of itself; that airspace belongs to Iran. As Scott Ritter has pointed out, how do you suppose the US would react if they found out that Cuba was violating its airspace?

Varifrank continues:
It’s in this environment that Iran decides that now is the best time to “go nuclear”. Why? Why bring all that heat down on you from the UN. Why take the risk of embargo from Germany, France, and the UK, not to mention the US.
Um... maybe because they aren't completely fucking oblivious and they realize that the US is clamping down on them and a nuclear weapon or two might be the only way to deter an attack? Assuming, that is, that they don't really just want to use nuclear energy, a motivation which the US seems incapable of understanding - "They're sitting on a shitload of oil! Why do they need nuclear energy?!?" - because Americans apparently can't fathom that anyone might want to, you know, think further than six months into the future, conserve their petroleum resources, and develop alternative energy sources.

But even if Iran does want to build nuclear weapons ... can anyone blame them?

Oh yeah ... they support terrorism, and the US is fighting a war on terror, damn it! The US hates terrorism, and if it has to, it will invade a sovereign nation to help defeat it! In fact, if it is necessary, in order to defeat terrorism, to go to war with nations that support terrorism, the US will even ... support terrorism itself! Ha! Bet you didn't see that coming! I suppose to truly vanquish your enemy, you must become your enemy, just like Bruce Wayne became a criminal in Batman Begins. Or something like that.

Ever heard of the Mojahedin-e-Khalq, or the MEK for short? The State Department has - the MEK, a group of Iranian militants that has been operating out of Iraq since the 1980s, is on their official list of terrorist organizations. And for good reason: remember the whole Iran hostage crisis? That was the work of the MEK. After falling out of favor with the Ayatollah, Saddam invited them to set up shop in Iraq, where they helped him commit some of his human rights abuses that the Bush administration claims to have been so bothered by. The MEK also attacked and killed US military personnel both in Iran in the late 1970s and in Iraq during the first Gulf War.

But oddly, some members of the Bush administration, along with allies in Congress, now want the State Department to remove the MEK from the list of terrorist organizations. Hmm...

Also, the US, soon after invading Iraq, granted Geneva Convention protections - those 'quaint' prohibitions against torture, etc. - to members of the MEK in its custody, and worked out a ceasefire with the group. Why are they treating this anti-American terrorist organization with kid gloves?

Maybe it has something to do with the fact that they are considering (and maybe already are) using the MEK for incursions into Iraq to gain information about possible military targets, and are perhaps even planning to use the MEK to conduct a proxy war against Iran.

Weird. George W. Bush, the biggest terrorist-hater of them all, and his administration are climbing into bed with a terrorist group. What is Bush thinking?

Oh well, I'm sure there's nothing to worry about. It's probably just another instance of Bush, the "man of extraordinary vision and brilliance approaching to genius," unveiling another one of his masterpieces that the rest of us are too feeble-minded to understand.

Lying liars

A lot of people (myself included) are insisting that John Roberts answer questions about his views regarding the Constitution and prior Supreme Court decisions. But Ezra Klein asks:
... why can't the prospective Justice just lie? Why can't s/he cook up the most compromise position imaginable and say what's necessary to calm the interrogation committee, then move to the Court and do whatever the hell they want?
The answer: they can and do. In his 1991 confirmation hearings, Clarence Thomas repeatedly insisted that he believed in a constitutional right to privacy:
  • "My view is that there is a right to privacy in the Fourteenth Amendment."
  • "I think I have indicated here today and yesterday that there is a privacy interest in the Constitution, the liberty component of the due process clause..."
  • "I, with respect to the privacy interests, would continue to say that the liberty component of the due process clause is the repository of that interest."
  • "Senator, as I noted yesterday, and I think we all feel strongly in this country about the -- our privacy. I do. I believe the Constitution protects the right to privacy."
  • "... the Court has found such a right of privacy to exist in Eisenstadt v. Baird and I do not have a quarrel with that decision."
  • "I think I have indicated here today and yesterday that there is a privacy interest in the Constitution, the liberty component of the due process clause..."
However, by 2003's Lawrence v. Texas, he had apparently misplaced the right to privacy:
  • "My duty ... is to decide cases agreeably to the Constitution and laws of the United States. ... I can find neither in the Bill of Rights nor any other part of the Constitution a general right of privacy, or as the Court terms it today, the liberty of the person both in its spatial and more transcendent dimensions."
So it is certainly a possibility that Roberts could just lie his ass off, à la Thomas, and then do whatever he wants once on the Court.

There is still some (albeit diminished) value in making him answer questions - if he does pull a Thomas, it could easily be construed as grounds for impeachment. Of course, that would require a Democratic majority in congress, and one with a bit more intestinal fortitude than we've come to expect from most Democrats on Capitol Hill. But hey, you never know.

Michelle Malkin is an abominable human being

Malkin is perhaps the most repulsive 'mainstream' conservative out there, and that's really fucking saying something.

Atrios wonders how she sleeps at night. My guess: upside down in a cave.

Cindy Sheehan responds to Malkin's bullshit:
I didn’t know Casey knew Michelle Malkin…I’m Casey’s mother and I knew him better than anybody else in the world…I can’t bring Casey back, but I wonder how often Michelle Malkin sobbed on his grave. Did she go to his funeral? Did she sit up with him when he was sick when he was a baby?

Ben, you're not supposed to say that shit out loud

Ben, Ben, Ben, Ben, Ben.

Don't you know that it's only us unhinged moonbats who refer to the United States as an empire? What will the guys at Power Line think? You're never going to escape the Townhall.com ghetto writing stuff like this:
America faces a crossroads. Since the death of the Soviet Union, we are unquestionably the world’s only superpower, the world’s remaining empire. Acquiring an empire requires a different mindset than maintaining and expanding one. Empires either decline or they grow. If America is to survive and flourish, Americans must realize that empire isn’t a choice: It’s a duty.

...That is why impatient isolationism serves us ill in Iraq. Did Iraq pose an immediate threat to our nation? Perhaps not. But toppling Saddam Hussein and democratizing Iraq prevent his future ascendance and end his material support for future threats globally. The same principle holds true for Iran, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Egypt, Pakistan and others: Pre-emption is the chief weapon of a global empire.

No one said empire was easy, but it is right and good, both for Americans and for the world ...
Outside the Tent compares Mr. Shapiro to a certain German dictator:
Ben is saying that even though Iraq didn’t pose a threat, the U.S. needs to beat up a country like Iraq every now and then to prevent it from becoming a future threat and to maintain the American empire. Ben even proposes a few future targets. Substitute Poland, Czechoslovakia, Belgium, France, and the Netherlands for “Iran, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Egypt, Pakistan and others” and who does this sound like?

Normally I’m loathe to compare wingnuts like Ben to Hitler or other Nazis. And there is one important difference here between Ben and Hitler. Hitler was at least willing to put on a uniform.
Me-OW.

Amen

James Wolcott on 'liberal' apologists for the Bush war machine who are indignant about being lumped in with the right-wingers:
I'm getting awfully tired of the trope from certain bloggers that Hey, don't label me or him a conservative. Why, I'm for gay marriage and marched for civil rights once upon a time and favor a women's right to choose.

Well, goody goody goody for you. So what?

The fact is that by subscribing to Bush's War on Terror and the invasion of Iraq with every corpuscle of your tired body you've made common cause with Republican conservatives, neoconservatives, and Christian fundamentalists who are dedicated to destroying those parcels of liberalism on which you stake your tiny claims of pride ... you've allied yourselves to political gangsters dedicated to waging permanent war abroad and cultural war here ...

8/10/2005

Turnabout is fair play

Atrios reads the mind of the Malkins' daughter -
I myself know that Veronica Malkin prays every day that her mother wasn't a hate-filled cowardly racist who claims to speak for other people's dead children. Precocious kid.

Kevin Drum's opinion poll

This should be really popular - Kevin Drum wants his readers to vote on "what the hell is wrong with Democrats." Everybody has an opinion on that one, and everyone is convinced that he or she is absolutely right and that anyone who disagrees is crazy.

My vote (big surprise): #2. I am absolutely right, and anyone who disagrees is crazy.

A third way

Forget evolutionary theory, forget intelligent design - it's all about Leprechaunism.

One more time

I didn't really want to post on this again, but I feel the need to defend myself against the claim that I have somehow misrepresented the rift between Kos and NARAL.

Kos and Ezra are trying to make this about Langevin, when that whole mess really has nothing to do with anything, other than a reason for them to resent NARAL. All that NARAL asked for is that the human implications of the abortion issue not be forgotten in the face of the political implications (which are of course intimately connected with the human implications but are nonetheless conceptually distinguishable).

What, pray tell, does this have to do with Langevin or Chafee or NARAL's other strategic mistakes? Again, let me reiterate that I don't necessarily disagree with Kos, Ezra, Neil, and others who think NARAL is not keeping the big picture in mind. That's just a different question. The NARAL statement is addressing the tendency to view abortion rights primarily through the prism of how it affects the Democratic Party. I agree with them that this is a problem, especially on Daily Kos. If you don't agree with this, fine - but don't just bash NARAL on unrelated matters.

Furthermore, and this was the main point of my original post, whether or not one agrees with NARAL's methods, what is clear is that Kos has established a clear pattern toward women's issues that alternates between hostility, indifference, and ridicule.


... I mean, does NARAL's endorsement of Chafee invalidate everything they might say from here on out?

8/09/2005

Two party system

Amanda Marcotte on the Scaredy-crats:
I've changed my tune. For the Democrats to win, what they need to do is blow off the huge numbers of pro-choice Republican women who are very close to changing their votes over the Republicans' contempt for their basic rights in a futile effort to woo a couple of hardline conservatives away. I'm sure any day now the people swooning over the cock in a flight suit will suddenly say, "You know? I like the Republicans because they talk big and make me feel powerful and manly. But the Democrats offer a weak version of exactly the same thing, so I'll go with them." Any...day...now.

Well, I can see why everyone is hoping that will work. Because the alternative is Democrats actually putting together a platform that calls for economic justice and pulling out of Iraq. And god forbid there come a day when we have two real parties in America instead of one party and their kid brother squawking, "Me too!"

Kos, NARAL

I just want to say, in response to Neil's post and Banjosteve's comment, that I don't necessarily agree with NARAL's strategy (i.e., endorsing pro-choice Republicans) and I don't necessarily disagree with those who say this is short-sighted. I didn't really intend to weigh in on that particular question (I'm not sure where I come down); rather, I wanted to highlight what I think is Kos's repulsive attitude toward women's rights generally - an attitude exemplified by his "pet cause" remark.

Look at the NARAL statement again:
Tell top bloggers that choice matters!

With the Roberts nomination front and center, choice is being talked about more and more, especially on some of the most well-known political blogs. But what’s disturbing is that choice and abortion are being discussed—in blogs and in the media—more as a political tool than as an issue that affects women’s lives.

So NARAL is issuing a call to action. We’ve listed five of the some of the most well-known progressive blogs below—go to them and make your voice heard. Use their comments sections to make sure that choice is being discussed as something that affects women, not just politics.
With regard to Kos, the statement reads:
Perhaps the most well-known progressive blog, Daily Kos gets ridiculous hits and covers a broad spectrum of issues. Like many political blogs however, it could use a nice dose of women’s voices--especially on choice.
Now, this (very mild) request for big-time liberal bloggers to devote more attention to abortion rights says nothing about the things Kos is complaining about (viz., endorsing Republicans). Kos just brings that up out of nowhere, refusing to take NARAL's advice on the grounds that they did something he didn't like, thereby committing the 'poisoning the well' fallacy.

Disagreeing with NARAL over strategy is one thing; dismissing their advice to take abortion rights seriously because you're still mad at them is boorish and immature. Promising NARAL the sky once Democrats regain control of the federal government - Kos seems to simply assume that this is just around the corner, when there's absolutely no reason to think that it is (Kos is one of many "victory is just around the corner" Democrats who, in my opinion, refuse to face up to the bleak reality and are constantly assuring us that a political sea change is imminent (think Ruy Teixeira), but that's a subject for another post) - is just silly.

Again, if this were an isolated incident, I probably wouldn't make a big deal about it. But Kos has made it clear where his priorities lie - you know, the important shit - and women's issues seem awfully low on that list.


UPDATE: Pennywit defends single-issue advocacy groups:
Kos is wrong in his contempt for single-issue groups. While single-issue groups can be extremely annoying and infuriatingly bloody-minded, in many cases, they can also be the most effective voices for their individual causes. While Kos might have a point in terms of strategy, he also demands that NARAL effectively abandon its cause in favor of some ill-defined object such as a Democratic Congress. After all, if the greater Democratic Party consistently fails to elect enough officials to take control of the legislature, then groups like NARAL must find ways to work with Republican politicians.
Does anyone actually believe that the Democratics in Congress would make abortion rights a priority without groups like NARAL holding their feet to the fire?

The Republic of T. argues that simply electing Democrats into office is not sufficient - they have to be Democrats willing to stand up for "liberal" or progressive values. R of T also chides NARAL for its focus on the "big boys" and points out another annoying thing about Kos -
if Kos utters one more iteration of his "I’m just just a guy with a blog" routine, I think my head will explode. I am just a guy with a blog. Kos is a "new media" mogul.
This kind of whining is Kos's standard effort to avoid responsibility - this was his response to those who complained about his lack of coverage of alleged vote fraud in Ohio:
Since when was I appointed king of the liberal agenda? If nominated, I will not run. If elected, I will not serve. You know what's amazing about open source politics, about the growing netroots revolution? That everyone has the power to take matters into their own hands.

...I'll write about whatever I find interesting or compelling. If people don't like what I write, it's a big blogosphere -- they can find a more receptive home. And if what they're looking for doesn't exist, it's a user-friendly internet -- people can build their own homes.
Sorry, no. This is Republican reasoning ("It's my blog, and I'll do what I want with it!"). We don't accept this kind of reasoning from the mainstream media and we shouldn't accept it from bloggers. We on the left believe, as Uncle Ben said to Peter Parker, that "with great power comes great responsibility." Kos is probably the most powerful blogger out there, and he can't simply avoid the responsibility that comes with this position by making flippant remarks like "it's a big blogosphere." By virtue of his unique position, he has certain responsibilities, and it is his duty to live up to them.

OK, I will try to make this my last remark on Kos for the time being.

At Daily Kos, it's politics over principle

Every day I become more and more disillusioned with the Daily Kos, the left's most prominent blog. His misogyny has been on display for quite some time now, and the condescension and abuse that meets anyone who dares speculate about whether an election maybe isn't on the up-and-up is downright ugly.

Now, NARAL has issued a statement calling on liberal bloggers to take abortion rights seriously:
With the Roberts nomination front and center, choice is being talked about more and more, especially on some of the most well-known political blogs. But what's disturbing is that choice and abortion are being discussed--in blogs and in the media--more as a political tool than as an issue that affects women's lives.

So NARAL is issuing a call to action. We've listed five of the some of the most well-known progressive blogs below--go to them and make your voice heard. Use their comments sections to make sure that choice is being discussed as something that affects women, not just politics.
Kos's response:
Problem is, politics can't be divorced from the issue. So NARAL goes around endorsing Republicans like Chafee because they talk a good game about choice. But then, Republicans like Chafee vote for people like Trent Lott and Bill Frist as majority leaders. And then they vote to confirm reactionary anti-privacy, anti-choice judges like Janice Brown.

Meanwhile, anti-abortion Democrats like Harry Reid don't vote for Frist or Lott, and they don't vote to confirm reactionary anti-choice judges like Janice Brown. There's no doubt Chafee will vote to confirm Roberts, regardless his record on choice, and yet NARAL would still rather endorse Chafee?

You know, nothing says they have to endorse an anti-abortion Democrat, but clearly they don't understand that good politics -- turning the Senate Democratic is far more beneficial for their issue (women rights) than anything the Republicans can muster.

Until NARAL (and the rest of the single-issue groups) understand that building a movement is more beneficial to their causes than singular devotion to their pet causes, I can't take them seriously.

Divided those groups are being picked off, one by one. Trial lawyers, you're next up. United, the Republicans stand.

The groups I take seriously? MoveOn, Democracy for America, National Political Hip Hop Conference, the bloggers -- groups that are working to build an effective progressive movement, not a single issue. Because when Democrats regain power, choice, the environment, worker's rights -- the whole gamut -- will be protected.
Promises, promises. Just wait until the Dems are back on top - then gumdrops will rain from the sky and abortions will be available on every street corner!

Now, there's an argument to be made that NARAL should indeed look at the "big picture" politically speaking. But here's the thing - progressives don't trust the Democratic Party's rhetoric. We don't believe your promises. Kos's attitude toward abortion rights is typical - it's a "pet cause." I don't know that I've come across a more insulting statement on a supposedly progressive blog. In Kos's mind, a woman's right to basic physical autonomy is a "pet" issue. Easy for him to say.

Kos tells NARAL to put aside its quarrel with anti-choice Dems in order to "build an effective progressive movement." Translation: party politics comes first, principle comes second (if at all).

Kos's ego has grown to gargantuan proportions over the years, and as time goes on he lets his true colors show more and more.

Too bad. We could have had a real leader; instead, we get a faux-progressive party hack with a Napoleon complex.

Huh?

Ezra Klein:
George W. Bush looked like he'd punch bin Laden in the face, Kerry didn't. For that matter, George W. Bush looked like he could have been a war hero, Kerry looked sadly out of place in his Vietnam tapes. A Schweitzer-esque candidate who stepped up to the podium and was willing to fight for his beliefs, even unpopular cultural ones, would make gains on national security simply by proving himself the kind of guy willing to fight.
Boy, that sure doesn't sound like the George W. Bush I know - i.e., the spoiled rich kid who likes to play dress-up soldier but has probably never been in a real fight in his life. Commander Codpiece certainly doesn't look like he could have been a war hero to me.

I guess I'm just out of touch with those red-state values.

Nagasaki

Today is, of course, the sixtieth anniversary of the bombing of Nagasaki.


Children deliver lanterns to the Urakami river to pay tribute to the victims of the atomic bombing in Nagasaki, southwestern Japan, Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2005. The city marks the anniversary of the nuclear attack this day 60 years ago. (Yahoo News)

Come again?

James Taranto:
No one seriously argues anymore that Roe v. Wade was correctly decided.

Permanent bases

BushCo's pipe dream?

Fraudster!

Bitch Ph.D. reminds us - all our work will be for naught if we don't have fair elections.

Cindy Sheehan

If anyone is still unconvinced of the nearly complete lack of character on the right side of the blogosphere, a look at how right-wing bloggers have responded to Cindy Sheehan, the mother of a soldier who died in Iraq and is now looking to hold the Bush administration accountable, should put any remaining doubts to rest.

Almost every prominent wingnut blogger has made a few snide remarks about Sheehan, but this post from Angry in the Great White North (via Daimnation via Daou) stands out as being particularly ugly:
...This is a woman in pain, but she is using her son as a weapon against those she has come to hate.

I find that creepy. Casey, who voluntarily re-enlisted in the Army after his first hitch was up, who earned a Bronze Star, and who as a mechanic was not expected to see combat but who volunteered to join a rapid rescue team being formed to get a convoy of soldiers from his unit out of trouble in Sadr City, that action being the one in which he died, seemed to want to serve. Indeed, his mother Cindy admits this:

An Eagle Scout, devout Catholic committed to his parish, saw the Army as another way of serving. His mom [Cindy Sheehan] says, "My son was brave; he didn't want to go to war. But he joined the Army and he volunteered to go on the mission that killed him because his buddies needed to be rescued."

Sounds like a woman angry with her adult son's decisions, but who can't come to terms with her anger at her dead son, and who instead rages against those she sees as having created the circumstances of the anger she cannot face or admit to.

Psychologists call it displacement ... She can't be angry at her dead son, so she gets angry at the President. An acceptable target? Of course, judging from the vitriolic postings at places like Daily Kos. A patriotic family would have had all sorts of concerns about targeting the president, but Cindy Sheehan reads the vile comparisons of Bush to Hitler, or Bush to a chimpanzee, and the threats to impeach, to arrest, to harm or kill the president (carefully veiled, of course).

Now she can blame the President for her son's death, instead of blaming her son for making an adult decision in time of war, or even more troubling, blaming herself for raising a son who would hear the call and serve with distinction.

Cindy Sheehan is a troubled woman.
Wow - Republicans* really are a talented bunch. Bill Frist could apparently diagnose Terri Schiavo via low-res videotape, and now this genius is able to psychoanalyze someone he has never met and knows almost nothing about. Truly impressive.

I swear, I don't know why I even read the right-wing blogs. All I can do is marvel at the depths of depravity that they can reach.


*And their Canadian counterparts, whatever you call them. (Updated 8/9)

8/08/2005

Damn it feels bad to be a liberal

Sucks to be us.

So sorry

Mithras apologizes for his "offensive" comments about Michelle Malkin.

Classy

Michelle and/or Jesse Malkin:
The Bush-bashing mother of a soldier who died in Iraq last year has garnered quite a bit of buzz from the MSM for her anti-war vigil outside of Crawford, Texas.

...The woman is clearly anguished about her son's death, as any parent would be. But in her grief, she has lost sight of the fact that her 24-year-old son, Casey, proudly and willingly served. Sheehan's father told the press in April 2004 that his son had re-enlisted the previous August, planned to make a career in the military, and "loved the Army because it gave him a chance to serve his country." I can't imagine Army Spc. Casey Sheehan would stand for his mother's crazy accusations that he was murdered by his commander-in-chief, rather than the Iraqi terrorists who ambushed his convoy. I can't imagine Army Spc. Casey Sheehan would stand for a bunch of strangers glomming onto his mother's crusade and using him to undermine the war effort as they shouted "W killed her son" in front of countless TV cameras.
Yes, I'm sure the Malkins know better what Sheehan would have wanted than does his own mother. Michelle is, after all, the nicest and most fair-minded person you're ever going to meet.

Picasso for sale

Want an original Picasso? You can buy one at Costco for $129,999.99.

Michelle Malkin's heroes

No, they're not racists.

Necessary condition

Smirking Chimp reminds us that, despite what Markos Moulitsas might tell you, "lack of election reform threatens to make all progress irrelevant."

Atrios on Malkin

Ever since this post, in which Mithras called Michelle Malkin a "far-right affirmative action hire who is so bigoted she'd arrest herself for trying to cross a border" and said that "if she didn't have tits, she'd be stuck writing at Townhall.com," bloggers right and left have been defended the poor, defenseless Mrs. Malkin from this vicious attack.

Atrios, however, is having none of it:
... the entire right wing of the blogosphere has leapt to the defense of the racist Michelle Malkin. Fascinating. There's rarely a bigot they won't defend ...

Just so we all understand, in the year 2004 Michelle published a book justifying an act that Ronald Reagan apologized for - the mass arrest of Japanese immigrants and Japanese-American citizens of America based on nothing other than their ethnic background. Anyone who links to her or promotes her in anyway may as well be promoting the Klan or Stormfront.org. That includes you Chris Matthews.

The publication of that book, which she did to appeal to the Little Green Snotball brigade, will be a stain on her soul for all eternity. I intend to remind the world of it at every opportunity.
What can I say - when he's right, he's right.


UPDATE: Here's what Ass Missile has to say about Malkin:
I've been an admirer of Michelle M. for a long time, and over the past year she's become a friend. It would be possible, no doubt, to imagine a nicer, more fair-minded and fun-loving person than Michelle, but don't hold your breath waiting to meet one.
All I have to say is that if I thought for one second that that statement were true, I would immediately commit suicide. A world in which Michelle Malkin was the nicest and most fair-minded person you would ever meet is not a world in which I would want to live.

Carnival of the UnCapitalists

... can be found at Fact-esque.

8/07/2005

UK clerics might be charged with treason

From The Guardian:
Islamist clerics face treason charges

The formal process will begin this week of "examining the potential for charging" three prominent Islamic clerics for existing offences including solicitation to murder and incitement to treason, the attorney general's office confirmed yesterday.

The director of public prosecutions, Ken Macdonald, will meet senior Scotland Yard officers to discuss the cases of Omar Bakri Mohammed, founder of al-Muhajiroun, who has said he would support hostage-taking at British schools if carried out by terrorists with a just cause; Abu Izzadeen, spokesman for al-Ghurabaa - "the Strangers" - who said the suicide bombers in London were "completely praiseworthy"; and Abu Uzair of the Saviour Sect, one of the successor organisations to al-Muhajiroun, who has claimed that the "banner has been risen for jihad inside the UK".

Jessica Lynch: "I was used as a symbol"

From Yahoo News:
Ex-POW Jessica Lynch says US used her as Iraq war symbol

Former prisoner of war Jessica Lynch, whose capture and rescue in the early days of the Iraq war turned her into a US icon, said in an interview that the US government had used her as an upbeat symbol in the conflict.

"I think I provided a way to boost everybody's confidence about the war," Lynch told Time magazine.

"I was used as a symbol. They could show the war was going great because 'we rescued this person.' It doesn't bother me anymore. It used to," she said.

Lynch, who has previously criticized the official US government portrayal of her rescue, said her book "I Am a Soldier, Too: The Jessica Lynch Story," written by Rick Bragg, allowed her to "set the record straight" about her March 23, 2003 capture and rescue nine days later.

Clifford the big stupid dog

A lot of people have already commented on this post by NRO's Cliff May, but it's just so fucking stupid that I can't resist reposting it:
“So, via Who's Who, the name ‘Valerie Plame’ has been associated publicly with Joe Wilson since the Clinton era - nice secret...”

Yes, and you see what this means? It means that for years, anyone who met Valerie Plame while she was “under cover” posing as an energy analyst for a private company could have very easily found out from the most open of sources that she was married to an American diplomat.

You think that might have made them a tad suspicious that she could have some kind of link to the U.S. government? Nah!
Oh my God ... that is so stupid it drools ...

DLC hearts corporate America, not the working man and woman

Fred Stembottom:
I have been reading pages and pages about the DNC and the DLC and I want to tell you why I am so opposed to the direction the DLC has taken the Party in the last 20 years.

...My message is simple: talk about workers' rights. Unionizing, outsourcing (especially outsourcing!), management cheating (we have ALL been cheated out of portions of our wages by innumerable statistical tricks). SPEAK OF THEM and blue-collar men go absolutely NUTS with recognition of the problems! Followed 5 minutes later with the most intense hunger to do something about it all that you have ever witnessed.

...Millions of white, male blue-collar workers go around in right-wing talk radio induced ignorance. Each and every one of them thinks that the problems they have with their employer is unique, puzzling and sure to get better after a change of management ...or something.

What I do: I simply point up how these "puzzling anomalies" are actually well-known and ancient un-fair labor practices. With NAMES!

Speed-ups. Wage stagnation policies. Two-tiered wage systems. Worker isolation. These are some of the names of the classic Unfair Labor Practices that my friends experience everyday. But they don't even know that there are such things as Unfair Labor Practices!

Watch 'em go off like rockets when you give them a NAME for what they suffer everyday -- just a name for Christ's sake. They go ballistic and are ready for anything.

We are not dumb asses down here on the loading docks of America! Everyone can recognize when they are being ripped off. But what is long gone down here -- LOOOOONNGGGG gone -- is a Democratic Party that helps us know our rights -- or even WANTS us. And what IS here is a Republican Party that DOES want us.

Can't you morons in the DLC see that blue-collar America clings to the Repubs. because the Repubs. WANT us. And they PROVE it by consistently addressing just 1 or 2 wedge issues that concern blue collar America. Nevermind that these issues don't even relate to our work life; it still trumps the absolute NOTHING that Democrats offer!

And traditional Democratic values offer the blue-collar worker nothing less than actual salvation from what ails him at work. But these working-man values -- even the mere NAMING of these ailments we are plagued with -- have been WITHHELD for 20 years! Not a peep. Not a sound. No one comes. No one speaks. No one gives a diagnosis.

So, clearly, we have been thrown away. Disposed of. And there still are MILLIONS of us. Millions who could be voting Democratic by 2006 if the Party would actually come and talk to us, beginning with the NAMES of the Unfair Labor Practices used against us everyday. Posing for pictures with John Sweeney once every 4 years is not even in the ballpark of what is needed!

Do you want us? Really?

Then show us. Come down to the loading dock.
The thing is, the DLC doesn't want these people. Not really. Sure, they'd like it if they voted Democratic. But they aren't willing to actually do anything to make that happen, because they exist to promote the interests of corporate America, not labor. It's not that the DLC is stupid; it's that they're not on the side of workers. They've got the back of those implementing said unfair labor practices, not those suffering from them.

There's a class war going on, and the DLC makes it clear which side they're on - and it ain't Fred's.

Doggie day camp

Time for a break from the doom and gloom. From Yahoo News:
The Transmiperro system (Transport my Dog) is a day camp for dogs, where a colourful bus takes them to a camp in the village of Cajic, 30 km (19 miles) north of Bogot, where the animals are trained and enjoy games and activities. Each pet owner pays between $34 and $106 per month depending on the program the dog is enrolled in. The dogs are returned home, exhausted, at the end of the day.










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