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

12/24/2005

I guess you can go carrying pictures of Chairman Mao

So, you've probably heard by now that the story about Homeland Security officers paying a visit to a student who had checked out a copy of Mao's Little Red Book was a hoax; the student just pulled the story out of his ass for some reason. I have to agree with Battlepanda, who calls the student a bastard on the grounds that "we have too much shit going on in this country right now for dumbass college students to be damaging the credibility of civil liberty violation stories with larks like this."

Of course, the story is being used by those on the right as proof of ... well, something or other. Here's Instapundit:
I'm disturbed tremendously that such a suspicious story was accepted so uncritically by alleged critical thinkers
Hey, Instafuckface, I can think of a few other suspicious stories that were accepted uncritically by alleged critical thinkers...

...something about the smoking gun coming in the form of a mushroom cloud ... something else about Iraqis welcoming soldiers with flowers and erecting statues of President Bush...

Kevin Drum puts his foot in his mouth

Drum writes:
This single paragraph from the New York Times does a pretty good job of encapsulating the mixed feeling a lot of people probably have about public employee unions:
To control soaring pensions costs, the [Metropolitan Transportation Authority] at first demanded raising the retirement age for future employees to 62. Workers can now retire at age 55, after 25 years on the job, and receive pensions equal to half their earnings. They average $55,000 a year, including overtime.
An average salary of $55,000 a year? That's fine. Sure, it's pretty good money, but my guess is that most people are OK with it anyway.

But retiring at age 55, with 25 years on the job, at half salary? I support unions and I support the notion that Americans work too much, but even so that strikes me as indefensible. After all, most people have working lives of 40-50 years, and it's hard to imagine that they have a lot of sympathy for a deal like that. I have to confess that I don't.
This unleashes the wrath of Steve Gilliard:
Wow, those colored can reitre at 55? That ain't right ...

Do you know the stress of the job, the conditions they work under? Repairing subways in your spare time?

You don't have sympathy for that because you sit on your ass all day writing, not repairing Bombadier rail cars in the open in August.

What a fucking idiot, when not backstabbing other bloggers or campaigning for a MSM job, he now opines that working in the open at 55 is a deal. Believe me, it's not the kind of deal he'd like if he dropped dead at 57 or 60.

Most of the MTA titles are hard, physical labor or stressful contact with the public. They aren't opining behind a fucking keyboard.

...I'm sick of suburban motherfuckers who don't even bag their own groceries and hire people to cut their grass opining that the people who run one of the most complicated tranist systems on earth either make too much or retire too early. When does sitting at a fucking desk qualify you to have this opinion?
Right on.

Surprise, surprise

New York Times:
WASHINGTON, Dec. 23 - The National Security Agency has traced and analyzed large volumes of telephone and Internet communications flowing into and out of the United States as part of the eavesdropping program that President Bush approved after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks to hunt for evidence of terrorist activity, according to current and former government officials.

The volume of information harvested from telecommunication data and voice networks, without court-approved warrants, is much larger than the White House has acknowledged, the officials said. It was collected by tapping directly into some of the American telecommunication system's main arteries, they said.

12/23/2005

Sexy bin Laden?

Not Osama, but his niece, Wafah Dufour (née Wafah bin Laden; she took her mother's maiden name after 9/11):


The image is from an interview published with her in GQ magazine (HT: Moderate Voice). A brief excerpt:
Ms. Dufour, who’s vague about her age but almost certainly younger than 30, sits down at a good corner table and thanks me for helping her tell her story. “It’s really important for me,” she says with a French accent. “I was born in the States, and I want people to know I’m American, and I want people here to understand that I’m like anyone in New York. For me, it’s home.

“It’s really tough that I have to always explain myself,” she continues in a soft, husky voice. “It’s like every time I meet someone, I have to move a huge mountain that’s in front of me, and sometimes I get tired.”

The face is alluring (big dark eyes, long lashes, plump lips, caramel skin), but she looks wounded. And there’s something else. At first I can’t quite figure it out, but then it hits me: She looks a little like her uncle, albeit a waify ninety-eight-pound tiny-footed version. Sexy Osama! I hold that thought while I listen to her explain that she’s his half niece and one of hundreds of bin Ladens, most of whom are in Saudi Arabia, where she hasn’t been since she was 10. She has no contact with most of her relatives, including her father, doesn’t speak Arabic, has an American passport… The list goes on. “At the end of the day, I believe that the American people understand things and they have compassion and they see what’s fair,” she says. “They’re very fair, and that’s why I love America, and that’s why my mom loves America.”


...speaking of bin Laden, I noticed something strange about Osama's entry on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list. Here's the description of bin Laden:
MURDER OF U.S. NATIONALS OUTSIDE THE UNITED STATES; CONSPIRACY TO MURDER U.S. NATIONALS OUTSIDE THE UNITED STATES; ATTACK ON A FEDERAL FACILITY RESULTING IN DEATH

...

USAMA BIN LADEN IS WANTED IN CONNECTION WITH THE AUGUST 7, 1998, BOMBINGS OF THE UNITED STATES EMBASSIES IN DAR ES SALAAM, TANZANIA, AND NAIROBI, KENYA. THESE ATTACKS KILLED OVER 200 PEOPLE. IN ADDITION, BIN LADEN IS A SUSPECT IN OTHER TERRORIST ATTACKS THROUGHOUT THE WORLD.
Notice anything missing?

12/22/2005

Make your fiction count

I don't read a lot of fiction; I tend to stick with a handful of my favorite writers and read whatever books they release. This usually means I read fiction about once a year.

One writer whose books I buy on the day they are released is David Foster Wallace. Scott at Baboon Palace links to a nifty discussion of Wallace's oeuvre in n+1:
Where to go after Infinite Jest? David Foster Wallace’s 1996 opus now looks like the central American novel of the past thirty years, a dense star for lesser work to orbit. More than that: even the writers from whom he borrowed and stole are coming to seem like satellites. Take Don DeLillo, whose Logos College Wallace tore down brick by brick and rebuilt as the Enfield Tennis Academy. The coach who observes practice from a Melvillean crow’s nest; the athlete who would rather do play-by-play than play; the apocalyptic war games; even the unlikely construction, “Everything he knew about x could be inscribed on the rim of a shotglass with a blunt crayon”—all this and more traveled straight from DeLillo’s End Zone (a wonderful and underrated novel) into Infinite Jest, but Wallace is so securely his own writer, so natural and idiosyncratic in his prose, so committed to his principles of expansion and a circling, shambling refusal to simplify, that the influence seems to flow both ways, and much of early DeLillo comes to read like a ramping-up toward Wallace.
The whole article is here; definitely worth the read if you're a geek like me.

Defending the TWU

UPDATE: They're going back to work.


The Transport Workers Union shouldn't really need defending, especially from ostensive liberals, but Steve Gilliard responds forcefully to those who are criticizing the TWU for striking (up to and including calling for the imprisonment of the union's leadership):
I've been reading posts for two days and frankly, some of you should shut the fuck up and listen to your own blather.

...what amazes me is the idea that a college degree makes you part of the deserving middle class and the peons of the TWU are morons ... Well, any asshole can go to college, and I met more than a few there. But not any asshole can repair a subway car or bus which has thousands of people on it. It takes a trained mechanic, and one who shows up sober and ready to work. Lives depend on it. Your lives.

All of you who want to fire these hard working, responsible people, better realize that they are hand picked. A lot of people apply for Transit, there's a backlog. But they can pick and choose who they hire and their safety record and employee behavior reflects that...

Let's get something straight: the transit worker is far more important than you and is paid accordingly. They can find bond traders a dime a dozen at Wharton. They can get graphic designers from any Pratt or SVA class. Your so-called special skills, your highly refined ability to shovel paper makes you replaceable.

But a reliable, dedicated man or woman who moves thousands of people a day is not so easy to find. You can't replace them cheaply. A bus driver is in demand, so are good mechanics, as anyone who has a car knows. Good mechanics get a lot of business. Well, the MTA hires excellent mechanics, people who could work on their own and make more money...

There's word that the state may go to court to freeze people's bank accounts to pay their Taylor Law fines. In short, starve families to end the strike.

...Instead of urging people to talk, to get back to the table and make a deal, they want to be big men and swing their dicks around. Which is an abdication of their duties. The louder they talk, the more they threaten, the more they inflame racial tensions. They are blind to this, but the black people I've talked to and heard say that a white union would never be attacked in such a vile manner.

...Let me explain about the health care and pensions.

A TWU member is far more likely to use their health care than most people. When you compare them to cops, remember, cops have unlimited sick time, you can take hundreds of days at a time. The reason they don't want to kick in for their health care is simple: once they do, the costs will only go up, and considering that they are exposed to all manner of chemicals and waste, that means a decrease in salary. While people have been whining about this, remember, people with dangerous jobs usually don't pay for their health care in this city.

The pensions are hardly generous. Given the physical nature of their work, 55 is pretty old to be laying track or even sitting in a token booth for hours on end. much less walking the platform. We demand much from them and they claim that their workers die at 60, with bus drivers dying at 57.

These are hard, demanding jobs and a lot of people who are sneering at them are simply clueless as to what is involved ... A lot of people who call themselves liberals still need to feel superior than other people, to feel that they got something from college besides binge drinking.

I think a lot of people don't realize that workers don't strike at the drop of a hat. This strike might be inconveniencing a lot of people, but it's no picnic for the workers either, especially considering the threats being made against them. Workers don't generally want to strike; it's a last resort when the consequences of not doing so are unacceptable. So when someone questions whether or not a strike is justified, 99% of the time the answer is going to be yes.

UPDATE 2: Incidentally, there's a fascinating little public spat going on over at Gilliard's blog between Steve and his S.O., Jen, who opposes the strike and resents being called a racist (Jen is white). It's kind of unseemly, but interesting in a voyeuristic sort of way.

I love unintentional humor

Especially from a disciple of Ayn Rand (they're always good for that):
The full demolition of communist ideals — in the form of an unapologetic review of capitalism’s moral and practical achievements — deserves a comprehensive and uncompromising treatment in non-fiction format.

So you want to be a writer...

8 simple rules for being a writer, from Matt at Cerulean Blue. Rule 1:
For god sakes, do not write these rules down.

Seriously, you're a fucking amateur and any writing attempts at this point will just go terribly awry. It's a skill...nay, a craft...that requires exceptionally delicate motor skills. Put a pen or pencil in your hand too soon and you'll just end up making a lot of weird hooting sounds and swinging your arms around wildly, likely stabbing a random passerby in the process. If you have difficulty remembering things, consider giving up. Just paint clown faces on discarded sugar packets for a living, you retarded baboon.
Rules 2-8.

12/21/2005

Prayer


Shellac-Prayer to God.mp3

Alito poll numbers

Current polling on Alito is contradictory and confusing. An ABC/WaPo poll indicates that 54% think the Senate should confirm Alito, while in a Fox News poll, only 35% say they would vote to confirm him, given the opportunity. Unless 19% take the bizarre position that the Senate should confirm Alito even though they wouldn't, these polls contradict each other. I'm at a loss for an explanation of why; the 54% figure is taken from adults, while the 35% figure comes from registered voters, but I'm not sure if that fact alone can account for such a wide discrepancy.

To add to the confusion, in the ABC/WaPo poll, while 61% say they would want Alito to uphold Roe v. Wade, only 43% say that Alito's position on abortion is 'extremely' or 'very' important (though an additional 38% say that it is 'somewhat' important), while in an earlier CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll, 53% said that if Alito would overturn Roe, then the Senate should not confirm him.

Regardless, I think one thing everyone can agree on is that public opinion on Alito is still highly malleable. Who wins this battle could come down to who does the best job of defining Alito in the eyes of the electorate.

A round-up of polls on Alito and the Supreme Court can be found here.

Ha ha

ESPN's computer simulation of what Johnny Damon will look like as a Yankee.

This has to just kill Red Sox fans:
Damon jumps to Yankees

A Red Sox offseason of discontent and upheaval took another shocking turn last night when free agent center fielder Johnny Damon, who had achieved rock star status in Boston, defected to the New York Yankees, agreeing in principle to a four-year, $52 million contract that will become official when he passes a physical.

Almost as stunning as Damon's decision to sign with Boston's storied archrival was that the Red Sox did not learn of Damon's decision until they were contacted by reporters last night...

The Yankees' offer, while far short of the seven-year, $84 million deal Boras had set as the target price for Damon, trumped the four-year, $40 million proposal Lucchino made to Boras during the baseball winter meetings in Dallas two weeks ago...

''It was a very tough decision, but New York came after me aggressively and that's what sealed the deal," Damon told Channel 4 last night. ''They showed they really wanted me. I tried with Boston, waiting for them to step up, but unfortunately they didn't and now I'm headed to New York.

''They [the Yankees] were coming after me aggressively. We know George Streinbrenner always wants to have the best players and he showed that tonight. He and Brian Cashman came after me hard and now I'm a part of the Yankees and a great lineup. We're going to be tough to beat.

...In the bound presentation Boras and his staff prepared for clubs interested in Damon, the first page in Section One is a quote from Sox owner Henry.

''Johnny Damon has been the face of our franchise," Henry said.

That face -- one Damon vows he will keep clean-shaven to accommodate Yankee owner George Steinbrenner -- now is about to join the Yankees.

12/20/2005

Dear Wingnuts

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas): "None of your civil liberties matter much after you’re dead."

Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.): "Give me liberty or give me death."

(Via The Hill.)

George Carlin explained why the only white people the US had ever bombed were the Germans: "because they were trying to cut in on our action! They wanted to dominate the world - bullshit, that's our fucking job!"

I wonder if something similar isn't at work in the "War on Terror." I mean, when you think about it, what exactly is the wingnuts' beef with the 'Islamofascists'? They say that The Terrorists want to kill all Americans, but that's not exactly true: if you listen, they usually give Americans the option of converting to an Islamic state - you know, religion as law, women subservient to men, free speech outlawed, individual interests sublimated to those of the powers that be. What's not to like, if you're a wingnut?

Sure, it's not Christianity - but come on, is there really much of a difference between radical Islam and the brand of 'Christianity' that Robertson et al. would like to impose? Admit it - you guys are kind of embarrassed by all that faggoty 'love' stuff in the New Testament. I mean, if you actually read it, Jesus sounds like goddamned Cindy Sheahan a little too much for y'all to be comfortable with, right? Seems like Islam is a religion you adorable little lunatics would be more at home with.

But yet, you insist that everything else comes second to fighting the War on Terra. What gives? I can only conclude that you are jealous of Osama bin Laden & co. Or at least, threatened. Perhaps you're thinking: there's only room for one group of fundamentalist nutjob fascists who want to impose their psychotic belief systems on everyone else whether they like it or not!! And the God Squad U.S.A. sure isn't going to pack it in any time soon, so The Terrorists have got to go.

What do you say? Do I have you pegged, or what?

They're just trying to stop terrorists/gays from killing/kissing people

In case you were wondering what kind of thing your government deems worthy of surveillance:
According to recent press reports, Pentagon officials have been spying on what they call "suspicious" meetings by civilian groups, including student groups opposed to the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" ban on lesbian, gay and bisexual military personnel ... Pentagon investigators had records pertaining to April protests at the State University of New York at Albany and William Patterson College in New Jersey. A February protest at NYU was also listed, along with the law school's LGBT advocacy group OUTlaw, which was classified as "possibly violent" by the Pentagon. A UC-Santa Cruz "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" protest, which included a gay kiss-in, was labeled as a "credible threat" of terrorism.

...

One F.B.I. document indicates that agents in Indianapolis planned to conduct surveillance as part of a "Vegan Community Project." Another document talks of the Catholic Workers group's "semi-communistic ideology." A third indicates the bureau's interest in determining the location of a protest over llama fur planned by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.
But I'm sure we can trust Bush to use his newfound extra-constitutional powers only when it's really, really important.

Inside the right-wing mind, part 2

WSJ's James Taranto:
Sen. Ted Kennedy, the doyen of defeatism, responded to President Bush's speech by saying, "It's wrong for [the president] to attempt to silence his critics by calling them defeatists." Mary Jo Kopechne could not be reached for comment. Someone must have silenced her by calling her a defeatist.
Seriously, get a new trope already.

I find it amusing that conservatives continue to be outraged over the death of Mary Jo Kepechne even thirty-six years later, while the hundreds of thousands of deaths at the hands of GOP presidents during the same time frame don't even register.

Strange, that.

Inside the right-wing mind

So, mass transit workers are striking in NYC, which is, of course, creating a mess of epic proportions, with people walking miles to work as the wind chill dips into single digits.

So who's to blame? Why, the union, of course - or so argues Evan Coyne Maloney, who I only know about because his little tirade was linked to approvingly by the one and only Instapundit.
...we should all give a big Christmas thank you to the Transit Workers Union, who in calling the strike, have become the Grinches for many New Yorkers. We should also reassess the wisdom of allowing our governments and transportation systems to be held hostage by unions.

I do not understand why unions aren't considered illegal cartels. If I wanted to become a subway train driver, I could not do so without first joining the union, whether I wanted to pay the union dues or not. What's the difference between that and being forced to pay protection money to the mafia? In either case, the mob or the union "protects" me (or my job), whether I want the protection or not.

Similarly, if a group of merchants got together to decide that they're going to sell gasoline at $10 a gallon, it would be considered illegal collusion, and the merchants would be prosecuted. So why can individuals band together to fix prices for labor? They are in effect merchants of their work, and they're colluding, via the union, to subvert the free market and set artificially high prices for what they are selling. And they are now effectively extorting the entire City of New York in order to ensure the perpetuation of their monopoly on the transit labor market.

It's too bad that neither Mayor Bloomberg nor Governor Pataki have the power or the backbone to do what President Reagan did when PATCO--the (former) air traffic controllers union--went on strike. If the transit workers don't want to show up and drive the trains, then the MTA should be free to hire people who do.
A couple of weeks ago, Ezra Klein pleaded with bloggers to stop "mocking the most pathetic arguments to emerge across the aisle" and opt for "actual engagement with the good, or at least sound, arguments that pop up across the aisle." While I sympathize with the sentiment, most of the arguments I see from across the aisle just lead me to wonder if their author has recently graduated from kindergarten, or if he's being held back until he can master those tricky 'Dick and Jane' books.

Damn it feels good to be a gangster

I'm not a Christian - at least, not in any active sense - but I can understand the appeal of the idea of eternal justice.



12/19/2005

Lawyer of the Year

As chosen by The National Law Journal: Patrick Fitzgerald.

Move in for the kill

Support for Strip Search Sammy Alito is plunging:
A poll conducted by Fox News December 13 - 14 shows dwindling support for Bush SCOTUS nominee Samuel Alito. Overall support for Alito has dropped from 46% November 8 - 9 to just 35% among registered voters. This is significantly lower than the 51% support enjoyed by confirmed Bush nominee John Roberts.

The drop in support is across with board, with just 57% of Republicans (down from 75%), 28% of Independents (down from 39%), and a mere 17% of Democrats (down from 26%) reporting that they would vote to confirm Alito, if given the opportunity.
Fate has blessed the Democrats with a remarkable convergence of stories, with the Alito confirmation hearings about to follow on the heels of the revelations about Bush's domestic spying scandal, if they choose to take advantage of it. Alito's Achilles' heel is civil liberties, and the spying scandal has put that issue on the front burner. Bush obviously cannot be trusted to respect the privacy and freedom of American citizens, and neither can Alito. So opposition to Alito can be woven into a more general narrative about the Bush administration's power-hungry tactics, and the fact that now, more than ever, we need to make sure that we have leaders who respect the idea of checks and balances, and of limits on state power.

35% is ridiculously low for a Supreme Court nominee, and it's getting close to the point where GOP senators from purple or blue states could start feeling pressure not to confirm him, if our side can manage to make an issue out of each senator's vote. If the Dems in the Senate can just remember that acting in accordance with the wishes of the vast majority of the public is usually not tantamount to political suicide, we just might have a chance of blocking Alito. Are Lincoln Chafee, Olympia Snowe, et al. really prepared to go 'nuclear' over Sam Alito?

No comment

Via Battlepanda:

12/18/2005

Libertarians for fascism

Beautiful post by Scott Lemieux today (HT: Pandagon) on 'libertarians' who continue to support one of the most blatantly authoritarian regimes in recent US history:
It is, of course, not surprising to see the bullshit-libertarian blogopshere taking a dive for Bush's illegal searches ... the fact that alleged libertarians who are enthusiastic supporters of Sam Alito despite their (less than nominal) support of abortion rights and civil liberties are rolling over again isn't exactly news, but a couple points should be emphasized.

The first is that the legal question here is unambiguous. Several conservative hacks have tried to use a distortion of FISA to argue otherwise, but the statute clearly forbids what Bush has openly admitted to having done. And then, of course, there's the Fourth Amendment, which is also clearly violated by these warrantless searches. King of the fake libertarians Glenn Reynolds tries to dance around the latter question, with distinctly unpersuasive results...

The second point that's worth making here is that there is also no remotely credible national security justification for these plainly illegal searches ... if there is any reason to believe that terrorist communications (as opposed to, say, domestic political opponents) are being monitored obtaining a warrant is about as hard as finding wineries in the Napa Valley. Other than than to simply assert his arbitrary wartime power, there's no good reason for this illegal policy.

And this is what's so chilling about Bush's defenders, which is a common feature of wartime violations of civil liberties: their fundamentally authoritarian mindset.
Whole thing is here.

Betty Dawisha

Remember this?
Blunt words from Iraqi voter Betty Dawisha for the Cindy Sheehan Left...

"Anybody who doesn't appreciate what America has done, and President Bush, let them go to hell!"

Go, Betty.
Well, Auguste and Grace Nearing have done a little investigative work, and as it turns out, not only is Ms. Dawisha an 'Iraqi voter' who was voting in Detroit, she's also an in-law of University of Miami, Ohio professor and Middle East expert Adeed Dawisha, who has himself made appearances on Fox News.

What do you suppose are the chances that Fox News just happened to catch Ms. Dawisha voting, allowing her to make her off-the-cuff comments?

Good work, guys.

Impeach Bush

Surprisingly, the sentiment regarding the potential impeachment of George W. Bush and/or other members of his administration is mixed among the left-of-center blogerati. While Brad DeLong routinely ends his posts with what has become something of a catchphrase - "Impeach George W. Bush. Impeach Richard Cheney. Do it now." - Nicholas Beaudrot and Amanda Marcotte have just come out against impeachment. Beaudrot:
I think that the Clinton impeachment has raised the bar for what ought to be an impeachable offense. Politically, if the opposition party calls for every President's head, we will have turned what ought to have been a very solemn process into nothing more than a political tool.

...So right now, I'm inclined to think the best tactic is to call for a censure of the President and an end to warrantless domestic spying. Censure would show that the Democratic party is above the idea of turning impeachment into exercise in partisan sniping ... While I think this is the right idea politically, I reserve judgement on whether or not the President's blatant violation of the law in the apparent belief that he is acting in his power as Commander-in-Chief constitutes an impeachable offense.
The last sentence is rather shocking; if illegally spying on US citizens isn't an impeachable offense, what the hell is? I think he's being much, much too blase about this. Plus, I don't understand how Clinton's impeachment raised the bar; the more natural conclusion would be that it lowered it. But even ignoring that, impeaching Bush for his many crimes would be about as solemn a process as one could imagine. The point of impeachment isn't to score political points for Democrats; it's to hold a criminal accountable for his actions. Its justification is deontological, not consequentialist. We have a duty to prosecute Bush for his crimes.

Amanda thinks the Democrats should avoid impeachment because of the possibility of backlash:
despite the fact that the warrantless domestic spying thing is probably an impeachable offense, that's a tactic that the Democrats need to avoid like the plague. Writing that sentence caused me to scream in pain and writhe on the floor because believe you and me, nothing would make me happier at this moment in time that seeing the Shrub finally get the smackdown he seriously deserves. But it's a no-win situation for the Democrats.

There's exactly zero chance that calls for impeachment will get fairly portrayed/understood by the public as a genuine outraged response to criminal behavior. After Clinton, impeachment is a tool that is going to be regarded as nothing more than partisan bullying ... calls for impeachment are going to be reflexively understood by the public as partisan revenge for the Clinton debacle...

I'm barely able to type, it pains me so much to say this. But reality must win over--even if it were possible to get Bush impeached, and it's not, it would be a nightmare for the Democrats' image. Just politically speaking, Bush's sudden unpopularity is a windfall for the Democrats and this is not the time to blow it by seeming overeager.
The problem is that opinion polls indicate that the public would want the Democrats to impeach Bush if he deserved it. Democrats too often make the puzzling mistake of avoiding what most people want them to do because they are convinced that it would be political suicide. People want the Democrats to fight the Republicans - to be, yes, partisan, if it means standing up to the GOP that has run roughshod over the rights and welfare of the American people.

It's enough to make me wonder if Democrats shouldn't stop 'strategizing' altogether and just start doing the right thing, considering how notoriously bad Democrats are at strategizing (remember how 'electable' Kerry was?). Many of my comrades on the left seem plagued by a strange type of self-doubt which convinces them that anything they want to do is bound to be unpopular. I don't know why this is; perhaps too many of us have internalized the right-wing meme that the electorate is much more conservative than we are, I don't know.

The fact of the matter is that we don't know what the results of a push for impeachment would be. We just don't know. There's no way to tell; the Clinton impeachment, for many reasons, is not an appropriate precedent. Given this type of uncertainty, Democrats all too often assume that the worst will happen, that our efforts will inevitably backfire. But why? When has this ever happened? Is it possible? Of course. But there's no reason to suppose it's any more likely than not.

Whether or not impeachment could ever succeed is a different question. But the Democrats actually have an obligation to impeach, because this administration deserves it. Now, if we knew that the consequences of doing so would be disastrous, we might have cause to relieve the Dems of this obligation. But considering that there's no particular reason to suppose that the consequences will be bad at all, much less disastrous, the obligation remains in full effect.

Criminals must be punished; declining to bring them to justice because the reaction might be negative is not an option, except in the most dire of circumstances. The Democrats have a responsibility to uphold the duties of their office, and to obey the will of the people. So impeach George W. Bush. Impeach Richard Cheney. Do it now.


UPDATE: Lindsay Beyerstein argues, correctly, that Clinton's impeachment is irrelevant to Bush's potential impeachment, as far as raising or lowering any bars: "Presidents deserve to be rebuked for high crimes, regardless of the fate of their predecessors." Yup.

...Lindsay adds, in her comment section:
An impeachment is like an indictment. People who have a lot of evidence against them deserve to be indicted. Whether their cases are heard before a grand jury (or the Senate) shouldn't depend on whether it's expeditious to enforce the law in this particular case.

George W. Bush is an American who broke the law and broadcast his confession to millions of viewers. He violated the law, and probably the Constitution as well. We can't just let that go. If we did, we'd be admitting exactly what Bush is claiming: That the president is above the law.
Exactly.

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