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

3/04/2006

Can we retire this?

Kevin Drum makes an oft-employed sorta-joke:
For years, Ralph Reed has claimed that he was shocked — shocked! — to learn that when his friend Jack Abramoff hired him ...
I'm talking about the, "I am shocked - shocked! - that blah blah blah" thing. I'm not trying to rag on Kevin, because everybody uses this, and maybe it was funny once or twice, but now it just about drives me insane every time I see somebody do it.

By the way

I've been nominated for a couple of the Koufax Awards, Best New Blog and Most Deserving of Wider Recognition. So you can go there and vote for me, if you feel so inclined, or for someone else more deserving. I of course have no chance of actually winning, but thanks to those who nominated me.

3/03/2006

"Humanitarian" war

One of the more dangerous ideas that goes unchallenged by mainstream liberals and conservatives alike is the right of the United States to wage war on foreign peoples as long as the professed motive is one of "humanitarian" concerns. Accepting such a principle effectively allows the U.S. to attack any nation at any time, as Bruce Miller points out:
If a unilateral declaration by one nation that an invasion is for humanitarian purposes is to be regarded as legitimizing war, in practice that will remove all moral/ethical/legal barriers to wars of aggression. Some phony "humanitarian" reason for a war can always be drummed up.
Especially since it's nearly impossible to find a nation on Earth whose government isn't guilty of human rights violations. The effect is the same as that of accepting the principle that says that the U.S. has the right to attack "rogue nations" who might, conceivably, be capable of developing WMD; this allows whatever administration happens to occupy the White House to wage war indiscriminately. Chomsky:
Virtually any country has the potential and ability to produce WMD, and intent is in the eye of the beholder. Hence [the Bush Doctrine] effectively grants Washington the right of arbitrary aggression.
Similarly, virtually any country (including the U.S. itself) can be accurately accused of human rights violations; when these violations rise to a level that justifies a U.S. military offensive is something that is likewise in the eye of the beholder. (Plus, the extent of the violations is rarely known with any precision, so it is easy to exaggerate beyond all reason until otherwise rationale people believe that, e.g., Slobodan Milosevic is the second coming of Adolf Hitler.) And thus the doctrine of humanitarian war effectively grants the U.S. the right of arbitrary aggression.

In addition, the stated humanitarian goals, whether they are stated beforehand (Kosovo) or after the fact (Iraq), often do not come to fruition; sometimes, as in Kosovo and arguably Iraq, things are made even worse. So even if we were to take at face value the humanitarian motives offered by Clinton and Bush for their (illegal) wars, it would be insane not to be highly skeptical of the likelihood of such noble ends actually being attained.

The powers that be aren't stupid; they know that no matter what overseas adventure they are considering, three-fourths of the punditocracy can be won over by insisting that war must waged for humanitarian reasons. The inherent paradox of "humanitarian war" goes unnoticed.

The CBS poll

So CBS releases a poll showing Bush's approval rating at a "record low" 34%. Wingnuts responded, as they ALWAYS do to these kind of polls, that the sample was biased toward Democrats:
CBS "weighted" its sample to reflect an ideal cross-section of American adults. They adjusted the number of self-described Republicans up to 28 percent and Democrats down to 37 percent, and independents with the rest. That's hardly the exit-poll breakdown the networks found on Election Day 2004 (37 percent GOP, 37 percent Democrat, 26 percent independent).
Do you idiots ever consider the possibility that people are more likely to identify as a Democrat, and less likely to identify as a Republican, in 2006 than in 2004?

Also ominous

Via Atrios:
Missouri legislators in Jefferson City considered a bill that would name Christianity the state's official "majority" religion.

House Concurrent Resolution 13 has is pending in the state legislature.

...The resolution would recognize "a Christian god," and it would not protect minority religions, but "protect the majority's right to express their religious beliefs.

The resolution also recognizes that, "a greater power exists," and only Christianity receives what the resolution calls, "justified recognition."

3/02/2006

Ominous

Sam Alito to James Dobson:

"As long as I serve on the Supreme Court, I will keep in mind the trust that has been placed in me."

Kevin wants to know

Kevin Drum asks:
I'm just curious: is there a liberal blogger in the United States — any liberal blogger — who doesn't support universal healthcare? I can't think of one. Sure, we have arguments about both details and political strategy, but underneath it all it seems like pretty much everyone supports a genuinely comprehensive France/Germany/Sweden/Japan (pick your favorite model) version of national healthcare.

I don't read every blog in the world, though, so maybe I'm missing someone. Are there any dissenters? Or is this literally a policy that's supported unanimously by the left blogosphere?
I can't think of any exceptions.

Chutzpah

Bush visits Gandhi's grave.

Matt imagines the scene:
Wonder how that conversation at the grave site went? Bush probably turned to the president of India and asked, "Ghandi...he was in a movie, right? That one about a skinny brown guy? Won a bunch of Oscars?"

"Um...no sir. That was a film about Ghandi. Ghandi was one of the great leaders in our struggle for independence. He prevailed against the military aggression of the British Empire using civil disobedience. He was a pacifist."

Bush looks confused. "Hmm...a pacifist. Ghandi was a rubber tit?"

"No sir. That's a pacifier. Ghandi was a pacifist. He practiced non-violence."

Nazi Germany

Because Nazi sympathizers/holocaust deniers have been in the news a bit lately, D.J. Waletzky thinks it's worth noting that the founder of the popular health food chain Trader Joe's is, in addition to being the 20th richest man in the world, a former soldier for the German army under the Nazi regime.  One response to D.J. went:

"Um, there were quite a few of those. They were -- what's the word? -- 'Germans'."

D.J. doesn't find this to be an acceptable answer.  We've dealt with this here before, when the new Pope (also a former soldier in the Nazis' army) was elected.  Some people thought this was not something that should be held against him, since service wasn't exactly voluntary in that time and place.  My position was that it is something that he should be held accountable for, since others could and did resist, and that although it was perhaps an understandable sin, under the circumstances, it was a sin nonetheless.

But D.J. raises an interesting point that I hadn't thought of before:

"...you have to wonder (speaking of soldiers), if you were willing to take up arms, not to mention possibly giving your life in defense of Nazi Germany, wouldn't you then be just as capable of taking up arms against Nazi Germany? ... Whether you felt "coerced," or genuinely believed in Nazi ideology, joining the Nazi army is, in my view, unforgivable. The Holocaust would not have been possible but for the participation or indifference of the ordinary citizens."

Most of those who defended the Pope (and presumably would defend Trader Joe, or whatever his name is) did so on the grounds that it would have been extremely dangerous to resist orders from the Nazi government.  Which is true, but as D.J. points out, it's not as if actually joining the German army in the midst of WWII was a hazard-free proposition.  Either way, you stood a good chance of dying a violent death; if you chose to risk such a fate by fighting for the Nazis, rather than against them, why shouldn't you be held responsible for that choice?

3/01/2006

Flyover country

For all the GOP pundits' nonsense about red-state values and the decadent liberal enclaves on the coasts, it's not too hard to tell what they really think about Jesusland:
BOYCOTTING SOUTH DAKOTA [JPod]

Well, that's a noble stand, I must say -- boycotting a remote state like South Dakota. In line with such a painful sacrifice on the part of pro-abortion nutjobs, I hereby announce my intention to boycott Nepal, Bourkina Faso and New Caledonia.

Mississippi owns your uterus

In a move sure to cement its reputation as a bastion of enlightened thinking, Mississippi looks like it will follow South Dakota in banning abortion - not even including health or rape exceptions.

You sick fucks.

Support the troops? Pentagon says: Nah.

Pentagon dismisses US troop poll:
THE Pentagon has dismissed a poll's finding that 72 per cent of United States troops in Iraq believe the US should pull out within a year or less.

"It shouldn't surprise anybody that a deployed soldier would rather be at home than deployed, even when they believe what they are doing is important and vital work," Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said.

The poll by Le Moyne College and Zogby International found that only 23 per cent believed US troops should stay in Iraq "as long as it takes", as US President George W. Bush has insisted.

Nearly one in three troops said US forces should withdraw immediately.

Another 22 per cent said US forces should be out within six months, and 21 per cent thought they should exit within a year.

"I don't think anybody is getting alarmed over any one poll, if that's what you're asking me," Mr Whitman said.

Victimized twice

This is really too horrible for words: a 16-year-old young woman who was raped is herself being threatened with jail - "because she doesn’t want to watch the videotape of her rape in court."


UPDATE: An explanation of why the judge's decision was wrong can be found here (via Bitch Ph.D.).

UPDATE 2: The judge has changed his mind. Good.

Damn airplanes

Little known fact: I hate flying. As in, I will do just about anything to avoid it. I'd rather drive from New York to L.A. than take a plane. Part of it is that I spend the whole flight wondering if the plane is going to crash - taking note of every bump or funny noise, trying to figure out if it's just routine or a sign of imminent disaster. But another part of it is that flying is just about the most miserable way to travel I could possibly imagine. The hassle at the airport, the interminable 'taxi-ing', the passengers practically sitting on top of one another ... ugh. And what's with the flight attendants coming around and offering you a soft drink and a little bag of peanuts? (They really do have the stupid peanuts!) Are we still pretending that flying is some sort of genteel mode of transportation, as it was five decades ago when men would actually wear a suit just because they were going on a plane? Come on. It's a Greyhound bus with wings.

Anyway, before I veer off into stand-up comedy land, my point is: stories like these (HT: Moderate Voice) don't make me feel any better about the whole airplane business:
A PANIC-STRICKEN air stewardess sparked terror on her turbulence-hit flight by screaming: "We're going to crash."

The hostess, named only as Wendy, stunned hundreds of passengers on the Gatwick-to-Las Vegas Virgin flight by repeating the outburst three times.

She cracked as the jet began shaking and sharply dived 8,000ft.

Passenger Claire Daley, 34, of Stone, Staffs, said: "Outside, we could see the wing was bent right up by the force.

"I looked to the stewardess for reassurance. But she let out a large scream and shouted three times, 'We're going to crash'.

"At that, all the other passengers screamed too."

People were thrown to the floor in the drama and meals were sent flying.
They landed safely, for the record, and everything was fine....

...this time.

2/28/2006

Deus ex machina

Holy shit - Bush thinks that the election-eve tape from bin Laden helped push him over the top!

Listen carefully...

...and you can hear the right-wing blogosphere shooting its collective load.

No big loss

I'm really sorry for beating a dead horse, but I couldn't help but notice this editorial by Paul Hackett in the Philadelphia Inquirer, which Amanda aptly refers to as more of Hackett's "ceaseless whining." Basically, it's more of the same, with another accusation that Brown was behind an "ugly whisper campaign regarding my service in Iraq."

Shortly after Hackett's departure - his voluntary, self-imposed departure - one blogger responded: "I just have one thing to say right now: Sherrod Brown better win this." Well, every time he opens his mouth, Paul Hackett is making that more difficult. I'll be very surprised if his accusations against Brown don't end up being recycled by the GOP in the general election campaign.

Incidentally, for those concerned that we lost a true progressive in Hackett, I'd like to draw your attention to a sentence from Hackett's editorial about his congressional run:
With the special election, we began to believe our party could return to brighter days by returning to our roots: limited government, fiscal responsibility, strong national defense, and fair trade.
With the exception of fair trade, those are all right-wing talking points, and are basically stand-ins for, respectively: tax cuts, "entitlement" cuts, and a sky-high military budget. Thanks, but no thanks.

Don't forget the gift-wrapping

Because this is one fine present for Ned Lamont:
It's been the subject of whispered conversations among top Republican officials for the past month. Now, U.S. Rep. Chris Shays, R-4th District, has let slip the secret: GOP officials have discussed cross-endorsing Democratic Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman this fall.

In an interview today with the editorial board of The Advocate of Stamford, Shays said he intends to vote for Lieberman and is encouraging a Republican endorsement of the three-term senator.
Maybe we can get Jerry Falwell to endorse Bob Casey?

No heathens allowed

The founder of Domino's Pizza is looking to establish a Catholic town:
A former marine who was raised by nuns and made a fortune selling pizza has embarked on a $400 million plan to build the first town in America to be run according to strict Catholic principles.

Abortions, pornography and contraceptives will be banned in the new Florida town of Ave Maria, which has begun to take shape on former vegetable farms 90 miles northwest of Miami.

Tom Monaghan, the founder of the Domino’s Pizza chain, has stirred protests from civil rights activists by declaring that Ave Maria’s pharmacies will not be allowed to sell condoms or birth control pills. The town’s cable television network will carry no X-rated channels.

The town will be centred around a 100-foot tall oratory and the first Catholic university to be built in America for 40 years. The university’s president, Nicholas J Healy, has said future students should “help rebuild the city of God” in a country suffering from “catastrophic cultural collapse.”

Monaghan, 68, sold his takeaway chain in 1998 for an estimated $1 billion (£573 million). A devout Catholic who has poured millions into religious projects — including radio stations, primary schools and a Catholic law faculty in Michigan — Monaghan has bought about 5,000 acres previously used by migrant farmers.

The land on the western edge of the Everglades swamp will eventually house up to 30,000 people, with 5,000 students living on the university campus. Florida officials have declared the project a development bonanza for a depressed area, and Gov. Jeb Bush attended a groundbreaking ceremony for the new university earlier this month.
Sounds like a blast.

You know what's funny?

Listening to wingnuts complaining about "Islamophobia."

2/27/2006

Numbers

Bush's.
The latest CBS News poll finds President Bush's approval rating has fallen to an all-time low of 34 percent, while pessimism about the Iraq war has risen to a new high.

Americans are also overwhelmingly opposed to the Bush-backed deal giving a Dubai-owned company operational control over six major U.S. ports. Seven in 10 Americans, including 58 percent of Republicans, say they're opposed to the agreement [...]

For the first time in this poll, most Americans say the president does not care much about people like themselves. Fifty-one percent now think he doesn't care, compared to 47 percent last fall.

Just 30 percent approve of how Mr. Bush is handling the Iraq war, another all-time low.

By two to one, the poll finds Americans think U.S. efforts to bring stability to Iraq are going badly - the worst assessment yet of progress in Iraq.

Even on fighting terrorism, which has long been a strong suit for Mr. Bush, his ratings dropped lower than ever. Half of Americans say they disapprove of how he's handling the war on terror, while 43 percent approve.
Yet why do I suspect if Bush were running for re-election in November, he would still win?

As opposed to...?

I saw this quote on The Moderate Voice:
"A lot of people get into racism for the wrong reasons." --Former Playboy Playmate Erika Snyder, now married to prominent Neo-Nazi Erich Gliebe

2/26/2006

I fear John McCain

Neil the Werewolf, in the grip of "mad Edwards love," which I suspect sounds worse than it actually is, argues that John Edwards is the Democrat most likely to be able to defeat John McCain in 2008, though he thinks McCain probably won't be the nominee anyway.

I hope he's right, because we have much to fear from John McCain. He's as wingnutty as any presidential hopeful in the GOP, but for some reason the dipshits in the media treat the guy like he's the second coming. I'm of the opinion that the press pretty much decides the outcome of presidential campaigns, and given their slavish conformity to Karl Rove's narratives in 2004, it's downright scary to imagine the deference with which McCain will likely be treated.

Which adds up to a very difficult campaign for the Democrats.

So I'm pulling for Bill Frist.

A comparison case

Mike the Mad Biologist compares "The Troubles" in Northern Ireland with those in Iraq, and wonders how the former but not the latter can be called a civil war.

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