Thursday, August 31, 2006

Novak vs. Gingrich

Robert D. Novak's latest article is interesting, in that he accuses Newt Gingrich of playing loose and fast with the facts. He'd seem to have the truth on his side.

Gingrich has argued that we need to do a lot more to confront North Korea and Iran. When asked for clarification he suggested that we broadcast more than 3 hours a week of pro American propaganda to North Korea, and that we start broadcasting more to Iran. Makes more sense than invading I suppose.

But apparently Gingrich doesn't have the facts entirely on his side.
That got the attention of Tomlinson, Reagan-era head of the Voice of America (VOA) who in 2002 was named by President George W. Bush to head the BBG (which oversees U.S. non-military international broadcasting). A conservative Republican who provoked the Left in his tenure (2003-05) as chairman of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Tomlinson is proud of his record communicating with difficult places -- especially Iran. (A State Department investigation, released Tuesday, alleged that Tomlinson had improperly used his BBG office in a matter unrelated to Gingrich's complaints.)

In a "Dear Newt" letter July 17, Tomlinson explained to Gingrich that "we launched . . . live satellite television to Iran in 2003," quadrupling live TV feeds to four hours daily, for 12 daily TV hours in all. Radio Farda is broadcasting more than eight hours of news a day to Iran. He said VOA and Radio Free Asia are on the air three and one-half hours a day (not 90 minutes a week as claimed by Gingrich) with original programming, repeated to total 47 hours weekly.
Hmmmmm. Some people on the right are suggesting the time might be right for a Gingrich resurgence - but this sort of error doesn't lend credence to that idea.

20 Lines from 20 Songs

God say, "You can do what you want Abe, but the next time you see me comin' you better run" * Words I've spoken seem to leave a hollow sound * Sleep comes like a drug * If everything could ever feel this real forever * O torture me with the punishment of freedom * Inject your soul with liberty * I can't think of a better way to spend the night then speeding around underneath the yellow lights * Rejoice, rejoice, we have no choice but to carry on * This is not a sitcom - where everythings alright * If the sun has faded away, I'll try to make it shine, there's nothing I won't do * I do regret the things I do regret * Sleep all day, drive all night Brain my numb, can't stop now * Well, I paid all the dues I want to pay * The fruit is rusting on the vine * Gentlemen don’t get caught * don't want to say goodbye so no one cares * I'm telling you how much I need and bleed for your every move and waking sound * and just as i'm breaking free she hangs herself in front of me slips her dress like a flag to the floor and hands in the sky surrenders it all... * You were awake and I should've stayed * Ah, but I was so much older then, I'm younger than that now.

That Murderous Ann Coulter

I mean murderous in this case not to suggest that Ann actually murders people. Just that she is a big fan of murder. She has a lot of people she wishes would get murdered. And today you can add another person to that list. Lincoln Chafee.

Anns latest article has the catchy title, "They Shot the Wrong Lincoln." Very clever. And it makes Anns point - she wishes we lived in an America where we fight, not with rhetorical barbs, but with bullets and bombs.

But wait, maybe she's only joking. Nope! I'll bet she thinks she's joking, and I'll bet the dimwitted dimwits who like her think she's joking, but as Rush Limbaugh has explained again and again a joke has to be at least partially in the truth for it to be funny. And when Ann jokes about murdering her political enemies again and again, one has to assume there's something real behind the jokes.

Again, I obviously don't think Ann would dirty her hands by murdering herself. I mean murdering personally. I just think she wouldn't mind if someone else shot and killed Lincoln Chafee and would probably jump to their defense.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Townhall knows what sells

Michael Medved's latest article is entitled "Crying Wolf on the issue of evil." This is a select article for Townhall - they chose to highlight it on their articles page with this caption.
Liberals regularly discredit themselves by their refusal to recognize the existence of evil in this world, and with their notorious reluctance to call that evil by its proper name.
So pretty much the opposite of the boy who cried wolf. The boy who cried wolf yelled about the wolf when there wasn't one; liberals watch wolves eating people and keep their mouth shut.

So I was confused as to this title going with this article, but as it turns out Medved's title does make sense. His article is about people who have attacked him as evil for being insufficiently anti immigration and about Katherine Harris' comments.
The attempt to place domestic policy disagreements in the context of the "eternal struggle of good versus evil" represents one of the most loathsome trends in contemporary politics. That tendency turns up regularly on the Left (with the Bush-Hitler analogy, or the charge that Cheney is the "real terrorist") and increasingly on the Right, with arguments that Democrats aren't just misguided (as they obviously are) but ungodly, vicious, inevitably sinful.
Amusing that he admits this trend, but has to pretend that the Dems are a lot worse and have been doing it a lot longer. Not entirely true.

After all let's go back to the selection Townhall chose to highlight. They knew that the argument that Republicans occasionally over sell the evil-ness of Liberals wasn't going to be very popular. So rather than put that, they emphasized the parts of your article that underlined our evil-ness.

One presumes that Townhall knows what it's readers want to hear.

Paul Weyrich and Good News

I tried to write about this article last night. It's kind of upbeat and I was really pissed and depressed yesterday afternoon, so wanted to change the tone of the website. But for some reason I couldn't get Townhall to come up on my home computer. I suspect I'm under FBI surveillance following the marmalade Incident.

Anyway today it's working so here's the good news, from Paul Weyrich.
But here is the kicker and the reason why the Democrats have reason to be optimistic. Usually when pollsters ask about Congress, voters say nasty things about that institution. But when asked about their own Congressman, the voter says, oh, no, he is a good guy; we need to keep him in. This year, as in 1994 when Republicans won every seat possible, voters are saying bad things about Congress and then when asked about their own Congressman, only 57% said we ought to keep him. 43% said elect a new person. That number is bound to come down closer to the elections but even if as few as 10% of voters insisted upon electing a new Member it would be a revolution. Stay tuned.
This might be more handicapping, but it doesn't read that way. When you handicap you follow a specific pattern - if party x can't accomplish objective y it shows that they have no power, no skill, and gingivitis. There's none of that here. Rather it feels like a cold appraisal that the Democrats are going to win this one.

I will say that Weyrich also presumably believes that our gaining power for however briefly, will expose the Democrats as dopes who can't govern, so perhaps he's not altogether opposed to our victory.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Did you know?

Frogs are not what's for dinner.

The Muslim Menace

We are seeing an upsurge in these kinds of articles, presumably tied to the fall elections. Conservatives believe that their chances are better if they scare the crap out of everybody. They might be right.

Todays example was written by Dennis Prager, who's written plenty of these kinds of articles before.
It does suggest, however, that the dominant forces within Islam are bad at this time; that Muslims who see this evil in their midst have not mobilized any counterforce either out of fear for their lives or for some other reason; and that decent men and women around the world -- Hindu, Christian, Jewish, atheist, Buddhist and Muslim -- are threatened by this powerful, death-loving force.

Muslims who do not acknowledge the threat to civilization from within the Muslim world at least have two excuses -- fear for their lives or group solidarity. What excuses do non-Muslims have who deny this threat?
Well I'm pretty sure most people do see a threat from radical Muslims - we just differ on the best approach to the problem. We've given Bush nearly 6 years to try his approach and the American people aren't satisfied with the results. Does that mean that the American people want to get blown up? No. Rather it means that the Bush policies aren't working. So let's try something else.

Of course the Pragers of the world would also argue that the Bush policies have failed - they would just have a different explanation for this failure. Specifically President Bush has been too gentle with the Muslim world. One of his readers, Jman, states it pretty clearly.
I just can not understand why anyone (living in the USA) would not be strongly behind the 'riding the world of Islamic Killers' and, if a few innocents must die in the process, so be it? As any cancer, you must kill it or be consumed by it.
The fact that our invasion of Iraq has made things more dangerous and increased the recruiting possibilities of Islamic Terrorist Groups doesn't register. The policies haven't succeeded because we haven't killed enough yet.

Handicapping the Democrats

While some live in denial, more and more Republicans are starting to realize this may not be their year. There are, I suppose, a couple of ways to deal with that. One obvious way is to handicap the Democrats by, say, hitting their ankles with tire irons. Or by setting the bar very high for Democrats and then declaring victory when they fail to clear it, as William Rusher does in his latest article.
But, given the problems President Bush is facing in Iraq, the general deterioration of the situation in the Middle East, the threat posed by North Korea, the various incidents of corruption that have been breaking out in the executive branch and (mostly, though not entirely, among Republicans) in Congress, plus the fact that the generally healthy economy is overshadowed in the public's eyes by the continued high price of gasoline, the wonder is that the Democrats aren't widely considered sure to seize control of both houses of Congress in November and throw the Republican rascals out of the White House in 2008.
Yep. The fact that we aren't in a position to completely dominate America proves that we are weak and powerless.

Rusher trots out the usual arguments; Democrats don't have a vision for America, Democrats are just a collection of warring sub-groups, White people like Republicans. Yeah, I"m serious about that last one. White people, Males, Couples and small businesses like Republicans, so they win. Nice to see all the cards on the table like that.

It is pretty clear, incidentally, that every Democrat could recite a plan on national security, in unison, and Republican pundits would still bemoan the lack of a plan on the Democrat side of the fence.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Top 20

Bob Dylan - Highway 61 Revisited
Neil Young - I'm the Ocean
U2 - In God's Country
Everlong - Foo Fighters
The Samples - The Lost Children (A Slow Motion Crash)

The Cranberries - Salvation
The Clash - London's Burning
Crosby Stills Nash and Young - Carry On
Oingo Boingo - Stay
The Beatles - Any Time at All


The Januaries - Juliette
Hombres - Let It Out (Let It All Hang Out)
Simon and Garfunkle - A Simple Desultory Philippic
(Or How I Was Robert McNamara'd Into Submission)
Cracker - Low
REM - Boxcars (Carnival of Sorts)


Love Spit Love - It Hurts When I Laugh
Smashing Pumpkins - Stand Inside Your Love
The Cure - From the Edge of the Deep Green Sea
The Dandy Warhols - You Were the Last High
The Byrds - My Back Pages
From my last trip down south - fourth in the series "The Road is Where You Are." I originally determined that I'm the Ocean and From the Edge of the Deep Green Sea would both be going on this one because they are both long songs and I usually don't put long tracks on this. They'd both been considered for other volumes in the series, and rejected. It helped that they tapped into similar themes. After that I just slide in the rest of the tracks around them.

For those curious - I've put out 4 volumes of road music - REM and the Byrds have appeared on each CD, a tradition I intend to continue. The Beatles have appeared on 3 CDs. Tori Amos, Belle & Sebastian, The Clash, The Cranberries, Dandy Warhols, Bob Dylan, Foo Fighters, Pearl Jam, The Psychedelic Furs, Radiohead, Simon And Garfunkel, Smashing Pumpkins, U2, and Neil Young have appeared on 2 CDs.

The Dominionists

Hey if you want to know what John Dean thinks of the Dominionists, check out this article.

Short version: he's not a fan.

Australia

There is an interesting article by E. J. Dionne Jr. over at Working for Change on the current Australian Prime Minister, John Howard.

It concerns a current move by the Prime Minister to examine how history is taught. Apparently history has been combined into a generic social sciences course (also covering economics, geography, sociology, psychology and so on and so forth). Like Dionne I think the Prime Minister has a point. I would argue that students should take both history and also get exposed to these other fields, but that you shouldn't short change one in favor of the other.

That said I don't find Dionne completely convincing in his suggestion that this model might be valuable to American Conservatives. I don't think it would. For one thing today's conservatives aren't interested in building collations with Democrats - they are interested in defeating them.

Lessons of Vietnam

W. Thomas Smith Jr.'s latest article is about the lessons of Vietnam and how we should learn from them. The big lesson? We shouldn't restrain our military and we shouldn't listen to the press or liberals.
What matters are that we were initially committed to the fight. We ultimately lost the war. The lives of 58,000 Americans were sacrificed without gain. And there are several reasons why (all of which violate the basic schoolyard lessons for winning fights).

- We went into the fight with no real intention of seeing the fight through to a decisive end.

- We went into the fight with our proverbial hands tied.
There's one he fails to put on his list because it would upset his narrative - we didn't know what we were trying to win. That's the different between the real world and the schoolyard. In the Schoolyard when a fight starts you just generally punch your adversary until he starts crying and runs away (or you start crying and running away). Wars are, in reality, a bit more complex than that.

What did we actually want to accomplish in Vietnam? We wanted to keep South Vietnam from becoming Communist. A strictly reactive goal. Perhaps if we had decided to invade the north and made our goal "One Vietnam, Capitalist" we would have done better - but of course that could have brought us into direct conflict with China which we didn't want to do.

He likens this to Iraq, and I see the parallels too. Our goal is to keep Iraq from crumbling into civil war and/or falling into Iran's sphere. Again, a completely reactive goal. I suppose we have the goal of defeating the insurgency, but given that they don't really stand up and fight us directly, that's a tough goal to achieve. Maybe we also want to win the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people.

What I don't see, in either Vietnam or Iraq, is a clear and achievable military goal. In both cases I see governments willing to through men away for years for reasons they aren't willing to explain clearly.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

New Format, New Quote!!!



Hi all!!!

Having to log in on Bryant's account this week - but hopefully we can get this little problem fixed shortly. Hope you are all having nice weekends.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Muslim Menace

Interesting article by Douglas MacKinnon over at Townhall this morning that really tries to have it both ways. The author wants to warn us about the potential for our Muslim Countrymen to turn on us without saying that we need to be wary of all Muslims.
If home grown Islamists ready to kill in the name of God, are on the rise in Europe, what then of our nation? Do we face a similar threat? Commonsense would say "yes," while political correctness would order us to ignore the possibility.

I maintain that 99% of the population of anything as a whole, is good and just trying to do the right thing. That certainly includes the Muslim faith in the United States. I strongly believe that the overwhelming majority just want to be good citizens and good neighbors.

That said, if we accept the estimate that there are 6 million Muslim-Americans in our country, and 99% of them are law abiding citizens who are loyal to our nation, then that means that there may be -– may be -- 1% who might put a twisted version of Islamic extremism before the wellbeing of their fellow Americans. When you stop to think that 1% of 6 million is 60,000 individuals, that then seems like a very intimidating one percent.
What's interesting about this approach, and MacKinnon is not the only one to use it, is how it really doesn't present any kind of solution. I mean if we are living with 66,000 potential homegrown terrorists, what should we do?

Well MacKinnon won't tell you that. No author of the Muslim Menace articles will tell you what we should do about our Muslim Communities (except, maybe, Pat Buchanan). Nor will they spend much time on the 5,940,000 Muslims who aren't a threat to us. Rather the whole focus is on getting you afraid of Muslims (particularly young Muslim males). All that fear has to go someplace doesn't it? I mean being afraid all the time, don't you naturally seek a solution at some point?

Friday, August 25, 2006

Round the Horn. An Irwin J. McIckleson Production



Hello all. This is Irwin J. McIckleson and I am fascinated by something called Pan Asian Cuisine you future people seem to have invented. I, as you know, do not think much of the Chinaman but I must admit some of his culinary techniques produce quite acceptable results. Through a little extracurricular exploring while I am creating this list of links I have acquired several recipes and given them to my chef with ordered that he is to serve them to me and Miss Pinksington at his earliest convenience. I am particularly looking forward to grilled Asian corn.

Bryant is concerned that my introduction of this culinary style might disrupt the space time continuum. I patiently explained that as a fictional plutocrat from the 1910s that's more his problem than mine. After all when I introduced the phrase "Fo' Shizzle" here in the 1910s it had no effect.

It did not produce the desired effect however, so I have quietly excised it from my vocabulary.

So let's get to work.

Pen-Elayne on the Web
reveals that she is not a good source of information on explosives. I know very little about the myself. I did own a mine for a while, and had to use explosives in that operation, or rather my foreman did. But I found owning a mind depressing, and after Monongah I didn't want to be associated with it anymore.

Rook's Rant has
a piece on the 1884 election and how it was not fought on the most societally uplifting terrain. I think that was one of the years I voted for myself on a write in ballot.

rubber hose has
some thoughts on the wisdom of President Bush giving Secretary of War Donald Rumsfeld his walking papers. I agree that doing this might not have the best effect for the Republicans right now.

Scrutiny Hooligans has
a piece on a teacher being fired because he had the flags of the United Nations, China and Mexico displayed.

Note to future generations; flags are not dangerous. Write that down.

This kind of foolishness is going to cripple our nation. For example knowing how to recognize the Chinese flag might lead a student to some tasty pan-Asian cuisine. Or it might signal him that the troops marching down main street are not friendly.

Sooner Thought has
the news that Conservative pundits have apparently turned on President Bush. They stood by him while he invaded countries willy-nilly, so take that for what it's worth.

A Blog Around the Clock has
a post on children's literature and ant lions. Ant Lions are scary to ants, but I can crush them if I choose to. Just like my workers.

Speedkill has
some thoughts about Red Letter Christians - which I gather is in reference to the occasional Bible one sees with the words of Christ in Red Letters.

THE NEWS BLOG has
some thoughts on American Cuisine - which I always found a bit of a misnomer. But perhaps in ninety years, less so. I do agree however that fresh ingredients make for the best food.

T. Rex's Guide to Life
relates an argument he has engaged in with a conservative over the ability to listen on phones to terrorists. He makes several interesting points, but it seems like the conservative is not really speaking or understanding the same language.

And that is it - I hear the Chef ringing the lunch bell, so I am off for some delicious Asian grilled corn fritters (I hope).

The War on Wal-Mart

As your beloved blog-0-fascist, it some times becomes me to take a stand on the issues. And on the issue of Wal-Mart, my position is firm. You are not to go to Wal-mart! Unless you really want to or it's more convenient to go there.

I think our friends on the Right, in between reminding us we are all going to get blown up if we don't vote for Republicans, are also trying to make Wal-Mart an issue in this campaign. Earlier this week we commented on a piece by Bill Murchinson on Wal-Mart. Today we have an article by Jonah Goldberg entitled "Wal-Mart drives Democrats batty." First of all, Mr. Goldberg, we don't need Wal-Mart to drive us batty - we can go batty all by ourselves, thank you very much.

Jonah Goldberg points out that Wal-Mart is probably a benefit to poor consumers. He also, surprisingly enough, acknowledges that Wal-Mart destroys small local businesses, but justifies this by saying, pretty clearly, that the small businesses that Wal-Mart destroys deserve to be crushed. Small business can't afford to provide cheap goods to the poor the way Wal-Mart can.

The tone of the article is similar to Murchinson's; Democrats must be crazy to take on Wal-Mart and that's good for Republicans.

Taking the cake for attacking Democrats on Walmart is Herman Cain who coined a new term for Democrats earlier this week. Hezbocrats.
The Hezbocrats, a roaming band of militant guerrillas seeking their party's 2008 nomination for president, have most recently lobbed their rhetorical bombs at Wal-Mart, that cruel capitalist occupying corporation. The most recent base of Hezbocrat activity was Iowa, the state whose January 2008 party caucuses are the nation's first measure of presidential preference. The Hezbocrats, armed with nothing more than Katyusha-grade class warfare rhetoric, descended upon Iowa earlier this month determined to take down Wal-Mart, a company they consider the nation's largest capitalistic oppressor of the proletariat.
Nice how Cain can't really decide whether we are communists or terrorists. Anyway this reads more like him trying to be witty and clever and failing. I don't know if he really believes the Democratic party is the equivialent of a terrorist organization because we think it would be nice if Wal-Mart paid a living wage. But it's still a pretty over the top description, and a nice way of combining the "Hey vote Republican or you'll die" and "Vote Republican or you'll have to pay more for Wonder Bread" threads of this campaign.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Building Walls

Cal Thomas writes a lot of what I call Muslim Menace type of articles. He's keen on us realizing that we are at war with Islam, and we need to win this clash of civilizations. His latest article is along these lines but a bit more muddled. He covers Bush's recent press conference which he describes as "verbal clutter," and then comments on how we need to fight the war on terror at home. Apparently the best way to do that is to follow Pat Buchannan's advice - end all immigration and build a wall on our southern border.

Pat Buchanan's latest book, by the way, is a return to insanity for those who don't know. It's very specifically a call to preserve White Culture, not American Culture. American Culture is light brown at lightest.

Turning back to Thomas he has this interesting phrase. "Abraham Lincoln said that no nation could exist half slave and half free. Neither can a nation exist half united and half disunited."

Believer it or not, I agree with Thomas. I think what's clear is that our friends on the right need to abandon their support of President Bush and united with us on reining him in. We need to be unified in our disdain for his desire to wiretap terrorists outside of the law. We need to unified in our desire to get out of Iraq sooner rather than later.

I don't expect this call for unity to bring the Conservatives running though.

The Godless Constitution Redux

Last year I reviewed The Godless Constitution, a book about the religion and politics and how they don't work well together. Well here's a page bringing together all my individual posts for those interested in this subject. Enjoy!

An Ill Wind

Tim Chapman's latest article argues that times may be changing for the Republican party for the better. He has a nifty original idea; why not use the war on terror to scare voters into voting Republican?

Ok that's not very original.

But he argues that world events have conspired to remind Americans that if they don't want to get blown up they'd better vote for President Bush. And in order to underline that point he advises Congress to take up giving President Bush more power after the recess.
The administration's firm conviction that the American people do in fact expect the President to use programs like TSP will only add to Bush's, and his fellow congressional Republican's, desire to pass a law ensuring that such programs are constitutional. Expect lawmakers to take that up as soon as Congress returns from its August recess. Indeed, even before this recent ruling congressional plans had been in place to act on legislation that would give the Terrorist Surveillance Program a congressional seal of approval, but now, conservatives in Congress have another incentive to act quickly, and they should.

James Carafano of The Heritage Foundation, an expert on Homeland Security and terrorism, recently argued that congress should do all in its power to give the President the tools he needs to successfully fight the war on terror.
One thing I would like explained is why the Presidents TSP (Terrorist Surveillance Program) can't operate under the FISA constraints.

At any rate we'll have to see how Democrats in Congress react to this; if they roll over and play dead, I would think it would bode poorly for them in November. But they may decide that Chapman's right and the best way to look like they are serious on terror is to be President Bush's lapdog. We'll find out in a little while.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Sci Fi Lists

A Blog Around the Clock has done a list of essential Sci Fi novels and books over at his blog (naturally!). Go check it out!

Make me want to do one of my own. Perhaps I will.

Creative Editing

Look at this stupid sentence from Ben Shapiro's latest article.
war in Iraq skews President Bush's
Look at that. It's not even a complete sentence. President Bush's what? It makes no sense, and shows what a dimwit Ben Shapiro is.

Oh it makes more sense than I thought. Apparently these other words around that fragment were part of the sentence too.
No doubt the unpopular war in Iraq skews President Bush's numbers, but there is something more going on: Americans relate to President Clinton in a unique way.
Oh well. I guess that's my mistake.

Of course Shapiro makes a similar mistake himself, by faulting President Bush's mention of his age during a speech to the World AIDs conference in Toronto on the 15th of this month.
On August 15, former President Bill Clinton addressed a world AIDS conference in Toronto. "In just a few days, I will be 60 years old. I hate it, but it's true," he stated. "For most of my working life, I was the youngest person doing what I was doing. Then one day I woke up and I was the oldest person in every room. Now that I have more days behind me than ahead of me, I try to wake up with a discipline of gratitude every day."

Turning 60 is certainly a bummer for a man as reliant on his prostate as Clinton is. Nonetheless, Clinton's speech was a stunning testament to his egocentricity. Who whines about a post-midlife crisis while discussing a disease that has pushed Angola's average life span to 39.9 years, Zambia's to 39.7, and Zimbabwe's to 37.9? Who tells a roomful of people worried about the devastation caused by a global plague that he is personally devastated by having another birthday?

Bill Clinton, that's who.
Kind of sounds like Clinton was given a microphone, stood up, and whined about aging for 40 minutes or so. The truth is a bit less narcissistic. First of all he didn't say it at the conference - he said it to reporters outside of the conference. If you look at the transcript of the roundtable he participated in (as I did), those words don't appear.

What does appear is a man who is seriously engaged with a serious problem. But that doesn't fit young Ben's narrative so he leaves it out. His narrative presents a shallow narcisstic dimwit who is the antithesis of the serious minded person we have in the White House now. You know the guy who can't believe that the Iraqis don't love us and really enjoys a good fart joke.

I guess Ben does have an uphill climb to convince us of that; a few misstatements along the way are bound to happen.

From Safety to Where?

Tony Blankley writes an amusing article this week, in which he imagines the worst case scenarios arising from Bush following his critics advice. Apparently failing to stay the course in Iraq, blindly support Israeli aggression, or invade Iraq will have dire dire consequences. At least in the scenarios Mr. Blankley envisions.

Of course I can imagine scenarios which arise from our decision to "stay the course" in Iraq, Israel's decision to continue their assault on Lebanon and the Palestinian people, or our decision to invade Iran. Admittedly some of those, like the Israelis committing genocide against the Palestinian people, might not seem that bad to Mr. Blankley.

I particularly like the bit where he expects us to assume that the Iranians are less than a year away from developing the bomb - on the basis that the CIA was wrong in the past. The CIA was wrong, for example, about how close Saddam was to getting the bomb. But, of course, that's not what he's talking about. He's talking about the fact that they were wrong on the Soviet Union, North Korea and other nations getting the bomb.

What's most amusing about this dishonest article is it's title (where most of the dishonesty lies). The title is "Are Bush's Critics Right?" Offering no evidence that they are wrong, lazy Mr. Blankley chooses instead to imagine up scenarios in which they are proven wrong by future events. Easy and fun to do I suppose. But not really meaningful.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Story of my life

I just got this e-mail.
Hi,

Not very good erecxction? You are welcome
Not sure what to make of it. Particularly the you are welcome part. There's a website too, but I'm choosing not to click on it.

This is the Moment.

According to Thomas Sowell, that is. I habitually place commentators on a sort of continuum with Ann Coulter on one side and Thomas Friedman on the other - and a lot of room in between. Here we have the one issue guys like Mike S. Adams, and down here we might have the strangely sensible but racist Buchanan and over here in the not funny but things he is we might have Bret Peterlusky. And over, kind of near Thomas Friedman we have Thomas Sowell, he's conservative and wrong on most issues, but usually pretty moderate in his tone.

Not today.

Of course it's hard to sound moderate when you are advocating the immediate invasion of Iran.
Fanatics filled with hate cannot be either deterred or bought off, whether Hezbollah, Hamas or the government of Iran.

The endlessly futile efforts to bring peace to the Middle East with concessions fundamentally misconceive what forces are at work.

. . . Once these fanatics have nuclear weapons, those victims can include you, your children and your children's children.

The terrorists need not start out by wiping our cities off the map. Chances are they would first want to force us to humiliate ourselves in whatever ways their sadistic imaginations could conceive, out of fear of their nuclear weapons.
So another vote in favor of invading Iran. If the Republicans hold on to both the House and the Senate, Bush will see that as a reaffirmation of his mandate and will invade Iran. I have very little doubt of that.

Music to My Ears

From Gary Aldrich's latest article.
Today, I have a tough time feeling any passion for the current administration or the political party that supports it. I call it "that passion thing."

Who could find anything inspirational? I once wondered if I had become burned out after 10 years of working within the Conservative Movement. However, when no one I know can find any inspiration either, I realize the answer is, "No, I am not burned out. There just isn't much to feel passionate about."
Yeah - that's right. Republicans do suck, as it turns out.

Alrdich's solution to these doldrums is kind of bizarre. He wants better boarder security (no surprise here), profiling of Muslim Men (impractical but there you go), and he wants us to present a bill to Iraq for our invasion and subsequent plunging into chaos of their country.
When we go into another country to take out their leadership because it is threatening, deadly, and oppressive, we do not apologize for wanting to send the people who live there, benefiting from the obvious positive change, a bill - especially when they are sitting on top of the world's largest oil reserves.

Yes, yes, it's nice that they can now vote and enjoy our freedoms. But how about asking them to pay the same price we paid for ours?
Did France present us with a bill at the end of the revolutionary war? I don't know exactly what he means by making them pay the same price we had to pay. At any rate this is a pretty crazy suggestion for two reasons. One it will never pass muster with the American people who like to think of themselves as the good guys. Two it would just give fuel to all the enemies of the United States in Iraq and destabilize that government even more than it is destabilized now.

But he does conclude on this hopeful note.
Why is the Conservative Movement wasting time with the Bush Administration? Do conservatives actually believe something conservative can happen in the next two years? Our time would be better spent finding and supporting Ronald Reagan's flag-carrier.
I totally agree - Conservatives should just sit out this election. And the next one - and maybe the one after that.

New Link

Added a new link to the blog - to Alfred Goldstein - who seems to be very interested in taking a numerical approach to politics. Quite good on polls and how they don't reflect what Republicans are saying.

Baffling

Bill Murchinson's latest article is a bit bizarre. Here's the opening lines.
Psst. A friendly suggestion for Americans yearning to end the Republican grip on political power:

Vote Republican this fall.
Ummm - how exactly will voting for Republicans help me break the grip of power Republicans have?

It's very simple. Democrats don't like Wal-Mart. Republicans love Wal-Mart. So vote for Republicans.

Wait that still doesn't make sense. Let me unpack it further. Democrats will attack Wal-Mart. The American people love Wal-Mart. Democratic attacks on Wal-Mart will hurt the Democratic party. So you need to vote for Republicans to keep Democrats from making this awful mistake.

So you have to keep giving Republicans power, so they can turn off the American people more and more and eventually be driven from power. If you give Democrats power, they will just turn off the American people and be driven from power.

What's that looking glass doing back there?

Monday, August 21, 2006

Hardball

According to Talking Points Memo, Jonathan Alter is asking those who failed to override President Bush's veto of Stem Cell Research to sign the following pledge.
“Because of my strong opposition to embryonic-stem-cell research, I hereby pledge that should I, at any point in the future, develop diabetes, cancer, spinal-cord injuries or Parkinson’s, among other diseases, I will refuse any and all treatments derived from such research, at home or abroad, even if it costs me my life. Signed, ______”
I suspect they would sign, take the treatments anyway and then blame it on a family member or staffer. But still a good idea.

Americas Covert Enemies

From Michael Barone's latest article.
In our war against Islamo-fascist terrorism, we face enemies both overt and covert. The overt enemies are, of course, the terrorists themselves. . . .

Our covert enemies are harder to identify, for they live in large numbers within our midst.
Who are these covert enemies? Well as near as I can tell they are history teachers.
. . . they [our covert enemies] have also been working, over many years, to undermine faith in our society and confidence in its goodness. These covert enemies are those among our elites who have promoted the ideas labeled as multiculturalism, moral relativism and (the term is Professor Samuel Huntington's) transnationalism.

. . . They teach an American history with the good parts left out and the bad parts emphasized. We are taught that some of the Founding Fathers were slaveholders -- and are left ignorant of their proclamations of universal liberties and human rights. We are taught that Japanese-Americans were interned in World War II -- and not that American military forces liberated millions from tyranny. To be sure, the great mass of Americans tend to resist these teachings. By the millions they buy and read serious biographies of the Founders and accounts of the Greatest Generation. But the teachings of our covert enemies have their effect.

Of course, this distorts history. We are taught that American slavery was the most evil institution in human history. But every society in history has had slavery. Only one society set out to and did abolish it. The movement to abolish first the slave trade and then slavery was not started by the reason-guided philosophies of 18th century France. It was started, as Adam Hochschild documents in his admirable book "Bury the Chains," by Quakers and Evangelical Christians in Britain, followed in time by similar men and women in America. The slave trade was ended not by Africans, but by the Royal Navy, with aid from the U.S. Navy even before the Civil War.
First of all the idea that history is taught like this is a right wing delusion - even on college campuses history is generally taught as in a light generally favorable to America. That generally favorable isn't enough for Barone and his allies who, let's face it, want a whitewashed history in which the bad parts are brushed out.

Secondly I am totally baffled by the line "Only one society set out to and did abolish it." From the context I assume that means the United States, but of course Britain did it before we did.

I find it instructive that Barone finds the covert enemy, equal in terms of the threat presented to al-Qaeda, in America's classrooms. It's funny until you realize what the Right Wing has planned for al-Qaeda, and you start wondering what they have planned for historians (and other leftists).

His readers seem to have come to similar conclusions.
What is the difference between an
Islamofacists and a Liberal?

Answer: Not as much as you think.

They both HATE. We at least try to love.

They both want to destroy what we have.

They both KNOW their way is better.

They both want to CONTROL WHAT/HOW we think.

They both preach world opinion vs our opinion.

They both want to replace OUR CONSTITUTION.

the debate
I truly believe that modern liberalism is so dark and deranged that it is unworthy of debate. To debate that form of evil, only gives it credibility.

The debate should be between the different levels of conservatism, of which there are many.
A hard rains a-gonna fall.

Fascism and Islam

I wrote on this subject a couple of weeks ago, based on a conversation I had at Democratic Underground. If you will recall, I saw some parallels between Fascism and Islamic Fascism, particularly in their ideological frameworks, and he was denying such links.

Well today we have an article by Chuck Colson arguing that there are strong links between Islamic Fundamentalism and Fascism. And just to be contrary I'm gong to go ahead and say that Colson overstates the case, particularly when he talks about their goals.
Nor can radical Islam's imperial ambitions be denied. Iran, al-Qaeda, and even Hamas talk about an Islamic empire stretching from India to the Iberian peninsula. What Morris says about aspiring to "re-create a mythical past" is evident in bin Laden's continuing references to the "tragedy of Andalusia" and Hamas's demands for the return of Seville. The Iranians take it a step further and see themselves as ushering in a messianic age.
A few problems here.

One problem with Colson is that he sees no need to distinguish between al-Qaeda, a terrorist franchise which clearly has world wide goal, Hamas and Hezbollah, local resistance/terrorist movements, and Iran and Syria, which are nation states. While there exist commonalities between them, there are also vast differences. One of the more intellectually dishonest aspects of Republican "tough-mindedness" on Islamic Terrorism is the consistent need to conflate all objectionable Islamic movements. They really aren't all the same thing.

While we are on the subject, don't American Dominionists also believe that they are ushering in a messianic age?

One other similarity between Radical Islam and Fascism; both are born out of frustration and rage. Germany and Italy felt humiliated after World War I and Versailles. Although defeated, these resentments and anger festered until something even worse grew. I wonder if there is a lesson there.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Update

Hey. Limited update today because Cheery is not here - she is visiting relatives.

Hope you are having a nice weekend.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Why Comment on Coulter?

We've gone through a round of Coulter commentary which regularly prompts the question "Why do you focus on her?" Prominent Liberal Bloggist Kevin Drum asked this question (not directed at me, who, I assume, he's never heard of) this week, and the Daily Howler responded to it. And in my opinion, nailed it out of the park.
Why would someone “bother to comment” on Coulter? Because she’s one of the most influential writers in the country? Because the landscape is crawling with people who don’t know they’re being played by her books? Because her message is getting out? We’d ask an obvious question ourselves: If we don’t bother responding to number-one New York Times best-sellers, what exactly do we respond to? What exactly are we saving our precious fluids for?
Damn straight.

Holy Joe

Is a song by U2 - b-side off of the Discotheque single, if memory serves.

But also it refers to Joe Lieberman, the subject of a good article by Joe Conason over at Salon.

Short version - Joe is attacking Ned Lamont for being seen with Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson when he was willing to be photographed and hang out with Louis Farrahkan during the 2000 election cycle.

Round the Horn. An Irwin J. McIckleson Production



Good morning all! This is Irwin J. McIckleson fictional 1910's plutocrat, providing links to various sites around the future-net.

Dohiyi Mir has
a piece on the increased difficulty in traveling. Apparently it is more difficult than usual.

Liberty Street has
further information on how times are difficult in Britain because of these recent troubles.

Echidne of the Snakes has
some thoughts on who females who engage in politics are treated and how they should act. Personally I think when it comes to politics, both sexes should be able to express their views equally. I am in strong support of female suffrage. I mean in reality both males and females are pretty uniformly muttonheads; disparaging the female for expressing her point of view just seems pointless. Plus of course the few people who aren't muttonheads have an equal chance of being females or males, and you might be silencing one of the few people who could actually contribute to the national debate.

Athenae at First Draft has
a reaction to the sentence a judge handed down saying that the President is not allowed to break the law. She believes that if this sentence is not upheld, it will mean that the rule of law does not, effectively, exist. That makes sense to me.

Happy Furry Puppy Story Time, a website I rarely understand, has
a humorous conversation regarding how the Bush Administration is defending itself in this current legal tussle.

Musings Musings has
a further review of this decision and it's implications, as well as the legal questions involved.

Pen Elayne on the Web has
the rundown on a recent incident involving the Governor of Virginia and a loose tongue.

LEFT is RIGHT has a
good quote on how the American people don't want bad policy, no matter how bipartisan it is.

Along those same lines, Iddybud
laments the inclusion of religious fundementalism in how the Bush Administration makes decisions.

And that is it for another week. Have productive weekends.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Your Weekly Rush Flights from Reality

Caught a bit of Rush's show yesterday in which he made shared this fascinating insight into how Hezbollah thinks.
Ladies and gentlemen, I think the Hezbos have learned a great deal from the American left. The Hezbos have created their own little welfare state inside of Lebanon, and now all these Lebanese people are totally dependent on them . . .
This is standard Republican thinking - The Democrats essentially bribe poor people into voting for them and that's why we win elections constantly.

I can just imagine Hezbollah leaders sitting around thinking "So of all the revolutionary evil movements in the world which can we copy? The Democratic Party. After all their policy of welfare programs is so successful that their last president ran on shutting down said welfare programs."

I also note that the United States is hardly first on a list of the great welfare states, which indicates Hezbollah might have picked up this particular strategy elsewhere.

The Passion of the Moderate

Moderate is a loaded word just now. It means "being within reasonable limits; not excessive or extreme." It also means "Opposed to radical or extreme views or measures, especially in politics or religion." It also means "of limited or average quality; mediocre."

Conservatives are naturally trying to sell the Lamont Lieberman contest as one between a radical (Lamont) and a moderate (Lieberman). Presumably they are referring to Lieberman's opposition to extreme views, not his mediocrity. Bill Wetzel, writing at World News Trust, points out the essential dishonesty at the center of this argument.
The truth is, Lamont does not sound all that much different than Lieberman on most issues. He is not even all that progressive on many issues. For example, he does not advocate universal health care. Yet we are led to believe, due to one issue, that Lamont is somehow less reasonable than Joe Lieberman.
All well and good. It can't be said enough that Republicans are talking crap when they try to paint Lamont as some wild eyed firebreather.

That said, Wetzels article goes off the rails as he goes on. The problem is that first definition of moderate. Almost everybody basically thinks of themselves as "being within reasonable limits; not excessive or extreme." Rush Limbaugh and Donald Rumsfeld both think of themselves as within reasonable limits - so does Noam Chomsky. And so does Wetzel - so he ends his piece with a bit wider shot than perhaps he intended.

Coulter Coulter Coulter

The New Republic, which used to be a liberal magazine, has published a loving tribute by Elsbeth Reed to Ann Coulter for being pugnacious and having a grain of truth in her lies (Reed's analysis not mine). She then inexplicably turns Ann Coulter's success into a cautionary tale about Liberals and Gender Issues.
All wrapped up in liberals' snarky comments about her hair is a wellspring of latent guilt for judging her by her hair. Even after all those gender studies classes in college, even after having known/befriended/dated/been That Girl who Doesn't Shave Her Pits, after pretending to like Ani DiFranco, liberals still can't get over her hair. I love Ann Coulter because, in her, I see a loudmouth on the assembly line, fighting not to be squished and whittled and boxed into the shape Washington seems to think fits a girl just right.
I don't even know what that's supposed to mean, exactly. For the record I think Ani DiFranco ha done some quite fine music (and some very annoying polemics). To The Teeth is a damn fine album, for example. I don't have to pretend to like her and my liking her doesn't come from some sort of liberal guilt.

By the same token, I don't like Ann Coulter because she's pretty much insane. Her goal is quite simply the elimination of liberals. And given her comments in the past, I have to assume that she would be willing to support quite extreme methods to achieve that goal.

Neither of these opinions is based on any kind of guilt or desire to be a good feminist or whatever else she's referring too here.

At any rate I'm far from the only one who found this article a bit crap. The Daily Howler did quite a number on it, "It’s hard to get dumber than this piece by Reeve, but her flat-out inability to reason is the raw meat on which Coulter feeds." Lance Mannion also wrote on the article pointing out the sort of society Ann Coulter and others are trying to create.
What's not "kind of" true but all true is that it has been the Bush Administration and its flunkys and apologists in Congress and in the Media who have been using emotional responses to 9/11 to shut down debate.

Criticize the President and you're a traitor giving aid and comfort to terrorists.

Object to the Radical Christian Right's attempts to outlaw freedom of choice and women's autonomy, replace science in school with superstitious twaddle, deny gay people status as citizens, and generally force a backwards cult of male authoritarianism they call Christianity on the whole country, and you're Godless.

Suggest in any way that the Republican Right wing agenda's not a boon and a gift to the nation and you're a liar, a malicious slanderer, who can only be properly argued with while holding a baseball bat.
That's Ann Coulter's shtick in a nutshell.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

The Pain of being Brent Bozell

Brent Bozell's life mission, one he has chosen for himself, is proving that the media is biased against conservatives and in favor of liberals. Back in the day this was the accepted view, even among many leftists/democrats. These days with numerous assaults on the conventional wisdom, he's got to come up with proof.

His latest article is about Ned Lamont; he's upset that he's being described as the Anti-War candidate, rather than the crazed extremist far left candidate. Of course the first label happens to be a bit more accurate than the second. When I read what the right wing is saying about Mr. Lamont I'm astounded at how they describe this fairly sensible business person who happens to oppose a war that, at this point, a majority of Americans oppose.

But then we get to the amusing "proof" of Media Bias.
CBS even offered that view, as reporter Trish Regan referred several times to "this now infamous kiss" from Bush to Lieberman at a State of the Union speech. Bush is "infamous"? Isn't that quite a leap for an "objective" network?
First of all, Mr. Bozell, it is the kiss that is infamous, not the President. Secondly, the reporter was clearly talking about how that kiss looked to Lamont supporters, not profering hers or CBS's opinion.

If you want insight into how Ned Lamont thinks, you might check out his op-ed piece for the Wall Street Journal.

The War

Reading scolding columns from Conservative columnists about how we have forgotten September 11th is giving more credence to the thought that we live in a 1984 style society.

Or to put it another way, compare the following two passages, the first from Linda Chavez's latest article and the second from George Orwell's 1984.
Unless we learn to see our enemies for who they are, we cannot hope to win this war. We've got to stop treating our own government as the enemy. We have to quit worrying about whether the rest of the world will love us when we take actions to protect ourselves. We have to give up the illusion that if we just retreat from the world or abandon Israel the Islamist fanatics will leave us alone.

We must recognize that it took most of a century to defeat communism and it may take much longer to vanquish Islamofascism.

The war is not meant to be won, it is meant to be continuous. Hierarchical society is only possible on the basis of poverty and ignorance. This new version is the past and no different past can ever have existed. In principle the war effort is always planned to keep society on the brink of starvation. The war is waged by the ruling group against its own subjects and its object is not the victory over either Eurasia or East Asia, but to keep the very structure of society intact.
We won't win the war against Islamic Terrorism any time soon and thus it will remain a constant justification for Republican power, intrusions into our privacy, and military adventurism around the globe. And given the nature of our enemy we'll never really know if we've won or not.

I don't think we are living in a 1984 style country yet. And I am comforted to suppose that most Conservatives would be opposed to going that far just as I would.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

The Press

I didn't see the interview Mike Wallace conducted with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. I rather expect that the preconditions for holding such an interview precluded it being all that interesting, and it seems I am correct, at least based on Dennis Prager's latest column.

Of course Dennis Prager doesn't put the blame on the preconditions required for such an interview; rather the fault is Mike Wallace and CBS's terrorist loving hearts.
Last night, Communication for Barbarians Service broadcast Mike Wallace's equally meaningless interview with the Islamic Republic of Iran's fanatical leader.
Some of Pragers readers, like Flagwaver, are willing to take it a bit further.
The Fourth Estate is quickly becoming a fifth column! They treat the most murderous dictators with deference and respect (see Castro), they praise tyrants for winning near unanimous elections (see Hussein, Saddam) and now they allow the world's most dangerous anti-semite to answer softball questions from Mike Wallace. Add to that the fact that they seemingly seek out classified information to publish and report, and they are opposed to every anti-terror measure the G has put forth (see Patriot Act, terrorist surveillance, etc) and you have the media acting basically in concert with those that seek our destruction.
Sounds like if President Bush did decide to prosecute those in the press who upset his applecart, he'd have at least some support.

In other, but unrelated news, the New York Times revealed recently that they had the story on President Bush's warrantless wiretaps well before the 2004 elections but held up publishing the story for almost a year. I don't need to point out which candidate this particular choice benefited.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Overcompensation

Michael Barone's latest article is about how the foiling of the London plot puts all of us liberals in our places, and he takes the time to remind us all of Neville Chamberlain, who apparently was more manly and capable than modern liberals. See Neville Chamberlain offered Hitler Czechoslovakia and liberals are offering Iran and Syria the opportunity to continue existing. Now it sounds like Neville was offering a bit more but you have to remember to adjust for inflation.

Anyway Republicans like to bring up Neville Chamberlain because they want to distance themselves from him. You see Republicans were the Neville Chamberlains of the 1930s and 1940s. While Roosevelt was doing what he could to wake people up to the threat of Hitler, many Republicans didn't see the threat. This included Prescott Bush who saw Fascism as a viable system for the US. In fairness he saw it as an alternative to Communism, but he apparently liked what he saw, more or less.

So today when you hear a Republican banging on about Neville chamberlain, just be patient with them. There's always a tendency to over compensate.

As for the substance of Barones complaint, as you might expect, it's nonsense. The Brits rounded up this plot not through invading another country, but through old fashioned law enforcement methods. The same methods Republicans have been making fun of since 2001.

You see here's the difference between Republicans and Democrats when it comes to terrorism. Republicans open their toolbox and immediately grab for the Military Options tool. Democrats on the other hand see the whole range of options. Political pressure, diplomacy, police methods, the CIA, and last, and somewhat least, Military intervention. The military is a big and necessary tool, but it's best if one can avoid using it too often.

And the success in Britain hints that maybe we don't have to rely on the military to catch terrorists.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

New Format, New Quote!!!



Here's another update - hope you are all having a great weekend!!!

Friday, August 11, 2006

Go Look at This!

It's a good post at Legal Fiction that explains why the foiled London Plan isn't a triumph of the Bush Strategy.

Republicans Lying to Themselves

Republicans know full well they have to get control of the Lieberman story. If they don't, the fact that Americans were willing to ditch a Democrat who supported and continue to support the war does not bode well for Republicans who also supported and continue to support the war. So they need to play elaborate shell games invoking the spectre of "loony leftists" who happen to share the views of the majority of the American people. Rather than acknowledge that Lieberman has been supporting the Bush agenda for 5 years now (and stabbing his own party in the back for 2 or 3), they have to pretend he's a mainstream good democrat, thrown over board for a minor infraction.

As in this example, from David Limbaugh's latest article.
Lieberman's 90 percent liberal voting record isn't good enough for the monomaniacal antiwar fringe. Complete obedience is required. No belligerence toward terrorists can be tolerated; all venom must be reserved for President Bush and the neoconservative cabal.
I particularly like the line "no belligerence toward terrorists can be tolerated". Sums up conservative thinking about democrats to a T.

Limbaugh has to pretend to see a Lieberman loss as a good thing, because he has to pretend President Bush's misbegotten way of running the country is still how most of the country wants it. But like he says, I guess we will find out in November.

I also look forward to someday writing a post that doesn't involve Joe Lieberman.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Taliban Democrats

This is the picture of Cal Thomas he chooses to have over his articles at Townhall currently.



He looks creepy.

That might strike you as kind of a low blow, ill fitting the high minded tone we try to take around here. But since given his latest article, I'm fine with that.

In his latest article he writes about Taliban Democrats, meaning those who deposed Joe Lieberman from his rightful place.
. . . they have now morphed into Taliban Democrats because they are willing to "kill" one of their own, if he does not conform to the narrow and rigid agenda of the party's kook fringe.

Lieberman's one "sin," in the eyes of the Taliban Democrats, was that he supported the effort to defeat the insurgent-terrorists in Iraq.
Right here we have a bit of a lie, don't we Mr. Thomas? Lieberman's one sin is his support for the Iraq war? Not exactly true.

Even if it were, his support for the war is not shared by a majority of the people and the vast majority of Connecticut's Democrats. Ironically, Republicans are trying to portray opposition to the war as a fringe or kook position.

Of course there is another benefit to calling us "Taliban Democrats." Ties us to some pretty bad people over in the middle east, doesn't it, Mr. Thomas?

The Legend of old Joe Lieberman

As related by Tim Chapman (because who better understand the Democrats than a conservative columnist).
In a salute to the Connecticut senator's character, moral fiber and steadfast moderation, Al Gore chose him to be the party's vice presidential candidate.
In actuality, Lieberman was chosen to distance Gore from President Clinton, a mistake and possibly a fatal one for his campaign.
Lieberman's 2000 nomination proved that the Democratic party still understood that most Americans value moderation over far-left liberalism.
Not entirely true either, but the problem is more in what the Right considers moderation. In Lieberman's case it means agreeing with Republicans on pretty much everything except a few economic matters.
On Tuesday, the Democratic Party discarded that tired old notion by ousting the pro-war, strong-on-national-security Connecticut centrist in favor of an extreme liberal anti-war Democratic challenger: millionaire Connecticut businessman Ned Lamont.
Case in point - Lamont is actually fairly moderate or mainstream on most issues, and his position on the war is the same as the Majority of Americans. Being an extreme liberal is a matter of style, not substance. Lamont's style is that he is willing to stand up to President Bush and the Republicans. Lieberman's style is that he is willing to bend over backwards for them.
Lamont's candidacy was fueled by the most extreme elements of the Democratic party.
The most extreme elements of the Democratic party do things like raise money and participate in the political process. The most extreme elements of the Republican party do things like . . . well I'll stop there, but you can fill in the blanks yourself, I'm sure.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Joe Lieberman's Valley of Spears

Leiberman lost the primary; is going to run as an independent. Well actually he's founded his on party (dedicated to him). And it looks like people are already eager to help Joe on his way to victory.

One of those people? Karl Rove.
According to a close Lieberman adviser, the President's political guru, Karl Rove, has reached out to the Lieberman camp with a message straight from the Oval Office: "The boss wants to help. Whatever we can do, we will do."
Gosh isn't that nice?

Lieberman is this years Zell Miller, hopping in bed with Republicans to screw his own party. And like Zell, he'll get his 15 minutes.

But that's probably all he'll get.

The State Department just isn't Murderous Enough

Tony Blankley wants to kill a lot more muslims and arabs. A lot more. We haven't killed nearly enough. We haven't tortured enough. Darn it, we just aren't taking this war on terrorism seriously. And it's mostly those bastards in the State Department. Or as some like to call it, the Surrender Department.

His latest article is a reaction to an interview David Brooks conducted for the NYTimes which I don't have access too (cause I'm not paying for it). He finds two parts troubling. One is the suggestion that Hezbollah might choose to abandon terrorism for a bit in order to gain world sympathy. The other is that we don't need to worry about winning the hearts and minds of the Arabs - we won't in any reasonable amount of time.
In the short and early middle term, a policy of appealing to the hearts and minds of the Arab street (i.e. "getting out from under the blow to our authority caused by the torture and detainee issues") will be indistinguishable from a policy of appeasement to radical Islamist sentiments. (Of course, "leaning on Israel" is always well received on the Arab Street.)

And, oh dear, that last phrase: "We have to make up [for not spending so much blood or treasure as over the past few years] with diplomacy backed by a hint of steel." More likely a hint of lavender. Somehow, I doubt that Hezbollah, al Qaeda Hamas and their fellow cutthroats are going to take the "hint."

Reading these assessments from someone very high up in the Bush foreign policy hierarchy, it is hard to take in the distressing conclusion that even now, after all we have seen and been through these past five years, it is still believed that we can somehow finesse radical Islamist terrorism with sweet talk. This is going to be a bloody fight to the death between civilization and Islamist barbarity -- made more bloody the longer we wait to take the threat seriously.
We can't get the Muslims on our side without killing a whole hell of a lot of them. Apparently.

Bad Times in Wawayanda

I intend to do my best to continue following this story, first reported here on July 27th. Apparently the problems caused by the horses head are continuing to spread ripples through that community.

The husband of the woman who had a horses head placed in her pool has had an incident with the Republican Town Supervisor.
On Thursday, Soro voted against zoning legislation needed to bolster to the master plan, saying it had not addressed recommendations made by Orange County Planner David Church.

Ed Soro could not be reached for comment yesterday. But a witness said that the exchange began at the end of the meeting, when an audience member stood up and stated that just because a person had a horse's head thrown in her pool, she shouldn't take it out on the whole town.

Ed Soro first shouted at the speaker but turned to [Town Supervisor John] Razzano after the constable guarding the meeting walked toward Soro, the witness said.

Razzano bemoaned the bad feelings in the town. But it was unfair, he said, for the Soros to blame him or other board members for the horse's head.
Apparently they don't officially know who did it yet - two weeks later or there abouts. I suspect they aren't really trying that hard.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Joe Lieberman's Valley of the Shadow

I don't know who will win the CT primary, but I agree with Glenn Greenwald's analysis (at Salon's War Room) of why Lieberman largely deserves what he is getting.
The primary challenge to Joe Lieberman was never fueled exclusively, or even primarily, by his support for the Iraq war. That proposition is conclusively proved by the fact that numerous other Senate and House Democrats who voted for the war are not facing similar challenges. The vigor and intensity of the opposition to Lieberman stem not merely from the fact that he shared the president's positions on Iraq and foreign policy generally, but far worse, that he adopted the Bush/Rove political rhetoric on those issues and -- alone among prominent Democrats -- repeatedly wielded that rhetoric as a tool to bash and demonize anyone who opposed Bush's policies.

Lieberman provided a stark reminder of that point Monday night when he made a last-ditch effort to persuade Connecticut voters to allow him to keep his Senate seat:

He said a victory for Lamont will send a message to the country: "In the Democratic Party, there's no room for strong-on-security Dems." He said that would be disastrous for the Democrats. "You can't win in this country," he said, "unless you assure people" that you aren't going to compromise on national security. He said he has backed the war on terror because he never forgets about the "radical Islamic terrorists who attacked us on 9/11 and want to do it again."

As he has done so many times before, Lieberman suggested that anyone who disagrees with him on Iraq -- which happens to be the vast majority of the Democratic Party, as well as the country -- is not a "strong-on-security" Democrat, and that Lamont supporters and those like them want "to compromise on national security."
He's pretty much right. And that's been Lieberman's stance for a couple of years now - the Republicans are right on most issues (except the economy) and my fellow Democrats are wrong, morally and practically.

It's hard, as a Democrat, to support a guy like that.

On Throwing the Bums Out

This is the title of Bill Murchinson's latest article. You might think, as I did, that it has something to do with the fall elections. You would be wrong. Rather throw the bums out is Murchinson's amazingly callous way of suggestion we should invade other nations and kill their leaders. Specifically in this case, Iran and Syria.

What's hilarious is that he largely presents evidence that would seem to hurt his argument.
Dictator-toleration, as a foreign policy concept, is presently making a comeback. Iraq hasn't been good for the opposite principle, namely, throw the bum out. Nor, in practical terms, can there be any warrant for going after everyone in the world who might not like us.
He also brings up Cuba as an example of what happens if we fail to invade countries we don't like. I admit the Cuban Missle crisis was scary, and I'm no fan of Castro, but didn't we largely get away with leaving him alone? I mean he never invaded us, and outside of the Cuban Missle Crisis never really threatened us. Is that really an argument in favor of sending our troops to die and to kill in Iran and Syria?

I'll also note that Murchinson doesn't spend any time on the right wing dictators we supported during the cold war, nor the African and Asian Dictators we ignored (because they didn't happen to be near oil).

On Music Criticism

Just read a review at PopMatters of Counting Crows latest live album, "New Amsterdam." Given that "Across a Wire" (their last live album) is one of my favorite live albums, I'll probably pick this one up.

But I was struck by a line early on.
But although their intensely loyal fanbase will be ecstatic about the chosen material and its presentation, anyone returning to the Counting Crows after a prolonged absence will likely be reminded why they stopped listening in the first place.

Let's start with the fans; by which I mean, of course, fanatics.
These lines could apply to nearly any band, of course, excluding the titans like the Beatles or U2 (so far) and whoever critic-dom has crowned the current hot bands. Everyband sells out or goes off the rails or settles into easy boredom (or, in extreme cases, blows their brains out. That's why Nirvana and Joy Division will never die).

The trouble is that very few bands can have the same impact with their second album that they did with their first. Even if the new album is intellectually just as good or even superior to the previous one, you are coming to it from a different place with different expectations. Critics too. I think This desert Life by Counting Crows is, by almost any measure, a better album than August and Everything After. Stronger tracks, fewer missteps. But it just doesn't have the same effect that August and Everything After had. It can't occupy the same position.

What's true for me is probably true of society as a whole. Which is why some of the more successful and long lived bands expanded into the mainstream slowly. Take The Cure or REM. Both saw success and gained fans in the alternative world initially - a circle of fans that continued growing so that each album had new listeners. Listeners for whom this was their first real exposure to their music.

REM's Green was their 6th album, but for a lot of listeners it was their first introduction to the band. The Cure's Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me was their 8th album or thereabouts but it was the first Cure Album a lot of people picked up. So the novelty was there for enough people that had a certain novelty to the society as a whole.

On the other hand the Counting Crow's first album and it's single Mr. Jones were pretty ubiquitous. Everybody got exposed to it right off, and everybody formed their opinion of that album. The second album confirmed that opinion, and the law of diminishing returns set in. In contrast, the law of diminishing returns set in for The Cure around Wild Mood Swings (album 10?) or for REM New Adventures in Hi Fi (album 10).

Let me be clear about something, in case I wasn't earlier - the fault isn't in the bands themselves. On the contrary, both Wild Mood Swings and New Adventures in Hi Fi remain some of my favorite albums by the bands in question. The fault is in the listeners. We can't hear REM or the Cure with fresh ears anymore. They can't simultaneously astound us with innovation while giving us exactly what we loved about them in the first band. Very very few bands can, and most of them have the advantage of having broken up or died off before getting to this point.

What we need are some new ears. Or we need to settle for the other joys the band has to offer after the novelty has gone.

Bret Prelutsky vs. Pat Buchanan

Frankly it's not contest. Pat Buchanan could take down Bret Prelutsky with one hand tied behind his back, and the other hand tied to a rampaging tiger. Particularly when Prelutsky is going to say such blatantly mendacious things as this.
The fact that the terrorists don't wear uniforms means that every time the Israelis kill one of them, Buchanan and his ilk get to insist that Israel is targeting civilians.
How many terrorist children has Israel killed? Israel is killing civilians largely indiscriminately. Yeah some of them might be terrorists, which I suppose is a real comfort to the civilian laying next to them.

He then makes the ridiculous argument that if you compare the Arab League's land with Israel's land, the Arab League has a lot more land than Israel. Shouldn't the land they have be enough? I wonder how he feels about land reform in Latin America; taking land away from people who aren't using it and who have millions of acres and giving it to poor farmers. I suspect he'd find that somewhat offensive and communist.

But even that's missing the point, which is that that land is divided among 22 nations. And to simply say that all of those nations have the same interests and desires and can be treated as a single entity is to be monumentally stupid. The kind of stupidity that usually belongs in a parody, not in real life.

So yeah, a debate between the lightweight Prelutsky and the heavyweight (but often wrong) Buchanan would probably be brief.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Fight the Real Enemy

Star Parker's latest article is about Mel Gibson's recent outburst which she ties back to Trent Lott's unfortunate comments. She sums up her reaction in her final paragraph.
Whether it's Mel Gibson or Trent Lott, let's not allow one individual's shortcomings and personal problems to divert our attention from where the real villains and problems of our society, and in the world, reside.
I think I might be able to make that more explicit.
Whether it's Mel Gibson or Trent Lott, let's not allow a fellow conservative's shortcomings and personal problems to divert our attention from where the real villains and problems of our society, and in the world, reside, namely liberalism, secularism, and Islamo-fascism.
Of course I could be wrong. But given that she moves from Gibson to the real anti-Semites (Europeans and Hollywood), I feel pretty comfortable in my assessment.

Bill Clinton and the Omen

I read through the comments of the article mentioned below, and came across this doozy.
pilgrim writes

America has known wars, assasinations and a great depression, but the worst thing ever to happen to our nation was the election of Bill Clinton as President in 1996. I say 1996 because in '92, to most Clinton was an unknown commodity. In '96 people knew what this man was, but because he promised to put a few bucks in their pockets(it's the economy, stupid),America spit in God's face and embraced the darkness. America has known the wrath and judgement of God ever since, and until we nationally repent for 1996, I believe this judgement will continue.

This idea goes against the current in America because their is a strong movement to rehabilitate Clinton's image--seemingly lead by George Bush, the elder. Go figure.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying Clinton is the Anti-Christ. I am saying he is Satan's punk, born to be a pawn of the Anti-Christ.

Although, some of Clinton's past reads like a page out of, The Omen. People connected to this fellow on his rise to power mysteriously died,left and right. And not only people. I remember the news clips of Clinton's dog Buddy causing Mr. Bill to fall in the driveway, creating a really embarrassing scene. A few days later Buddy was run over and killed--poor Buddy, poor America.
Yep, Clinton is Satan's punk. Nice rational analysis there.

Reminds me of a Simpsons bit.
Homer: The first meeting of Hell's Satans is called to order.
Ned: I move we reconsider our club name. Make it something a little less blasphemous. After all, [chuckles] we don't want to go to Hell.
Lenny: How about the Devil's Pals?
Ned: No.
Moe: The Christ Punchers.
Ned: The Christ ... I, I don't think you understand my objection.
Homer: I'm the president the decision is mine. We're Hell's Satans! Besides, I already made our club jackets.
It's kind of funny until you realize that that guy has the vote (to rip off Paul O'Brien).

Why Liberals Love Pedophiles

Haven't even read this article yet - just saw the title and knew this would (obviously) be my first article of the day. I suspect it's either hand wringing over how Liberals don't understand real evil or, since I'm a curable optimist, an examination of how over the top Conservative attacks on Liberals have been. I'll go read it now.

It's not an examination of how over the top Conservative attacks on Liberal have been. Rather it's an over the top attack on Liberals.

To start with I condemn child molesters, including those who build a philosophy around their molestation, like Phillip Distasio. Child Molestation is wrong.

I'm sorry to waste your time with the obvious, but I feel it necessary given the tone of this article.
Liberals love pedophiles, because they must do so to keep their own belief system intact.

. . . Since modern liberalism's true goal is the actual eradication of God, moral values, and the ideas of absolute right vs. wrong, it should surprise no one that not a single leftist politician in America has denounced Distasio. . . . The truth is liberals seek sexual utopia where no rules apply. Restraint has in fact become a dirty word to them. Self control - a throughly foreign concept.
I will note that I am unable to find any evidence that any conservative politician has condemned Distasio, either.

I don't know that there's much point responding to this, except to say that across America there are hundreds and maybe thousands of American Conservatives reading this and nodding along. That's not all conservatives (of course), but it's some.

Edited to Add Just corrected the link above. D'Oh. Also a bit more background on Phillip Distasio might make this more understandable. Phillip Distasio is a self proclaimed pagan friar who ran an afterschool program for children, whom he molested. He apparently selected autistic children who could not complain. He also has publically expressed his opinion that what he did was not wrong but a reasonable sexual preference. Once again, Make me a Commentator!!! condemns Phillip Distasio.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

New Format, New Quote!!!



Hi all!!! : )

Another week and another updated look. It's getting to be a habit. Also new quote up there at the top, from a really beautiful song.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Fascism - another way to bore my readers

The other day I was involved in an argument over fascism at Democratic Underground that got quite heated (and was consequently deleted by the moderators). While I don’t want to rehash the entire argument, I do want to make a few points here on the subject of Fascism (and specifically whether there is a much validity in the phrase Islamofascism).

Many of you have been exposed to Dr. Lawrence Britt’s Fourteen Defining Characteristics of Fascism (although he may not have received credit). This definition is often used to suggest that America is a fascist state.

In having read it in the past, I think it might be a good place to start a discussion, but it’s not very useful in and of itself. For one thing, Dr. Britt shows his hand a little too clearly; some of his characteristics do seem very much like finding something America under President Bush and Germany under Hitler have in common and declaring that a “defining characteristic” of fascism. Secondly, he’s very much focused on the fascist state; not fascist thought. Fascism is a set of ideas, but to look at it only through the prism of how a state governs is to miss other aspects of the ideology.

I largely agree with Chip Berlot’s analysis of this list (presented at the bottom of the link above).
This is a highly flawed article. It is not a very accurate picture of fascism and frankly was a ripoff from a much better article by Umberto Eco:

. . . The Britt article started with what is happening in the U.S. and then crafted a description of fascism that only highlights those points that will support the thesis. This is a logical fallacy (the false notion that things that are similar in some aspects are identical in all aspects).
He notes Roger Griffin, a historian I am also familiar with (he edited Fascism (Oxford Readers) which I own, and he wrote the introduction, from which I am ripping off for this section). Griffin describes fascism as palingenetic ultra-nationalism, palingenetic meaning rebirth. The fascist wants to recreate the state according to some mythic imagining of its past and its potential. What distinguishes the fascist from the conservative is that this past is largely mythical or romanticized. Also, of course, the fascist seeks a “rebirth,” not merely a turning back of the clock.

To return to my controversial statement, I noted that there is some ideological parallels between Fascism and Islamic Fundamentalism, and, for that matter, American Dominionism. All three movements blame modernity for weakening the state. All look back to a romanticized path for materials to build a new future (whether it is a warped version of the Founding Fathers or the Caliphate). All movements are anti-rational. These sorts of connections shouldn’t be controversial.

But they are, because when the Rush Limbaugh’s of the world talk about Islamofascism they are trying to get a very specific reaction. It’s not a rational reaction, nor is it any sort of careful analysis of what Islamic Fundamentalists or Fascists believe. Rather the Limbaughs of the world would find such analysis offensive; to understand the enemy is to risk becoming the enemy. I think Liberals should be better than that, and should be willing to understand their enemies (without sinking into maudlin and ill-thought out sympathy for such groups as Hamas or Hezbollah).

And and this should be seen as distinct from Blog-O-Fascism which has one and only characteristic. To wit; people who read my blog have to do what I say! Or "face the consequences"(tm).