Saturday, December 31, 2005

The Last Post of the Year

Well, the tumultous year that was 2005 has come to a close. This post won't be long, but I just wanted to share some quick thoughts.

This was a rough year for President Bush. Whether it was the Katrina mess, the Terri Schiavo mess, Plamegate, the Harriet Miers mess, the domestic spying mess, torture, and troubles in Iraq--he's taken some hits. His supporters will blame the "liberal media," but he really has to take the heat for this. Undoubtedly, there have been those in the press drunk on anti-Bush zeal, but Bush has control of three branches of government, and an electorate that in many cases seemed to overlook even the most blatant lapses in judgment. Heck, the Dems are out of power. This was his accountability moment.

It's been lousy for Republicans this year. I almost feel sorry for them. I had predicted that the Republican victory in 2004 would be followed by an overreach that would cost them. I had no idea it was happen so quickly, and so brazenly. The naked hubris displayed was astounding. There was the aforementioned Schiavo disgrace, the Nuclear option mess, the increases in spending, Tom goes on and on.

That being said, the Dems have a lot of opportunities to lead, but there is still the problem of the fact that the Democratic Party is basically fractured. We seem unable to offer up a sustained alternative to Bush's policies, without going off the deep end (a la Howard Dean). Jack Murtha thinks we ought to withdraw our troops. He's no coward, but he's wrong on the issue. Dean doesn't think we can win in Iraq. The only high-ranking Dem consistently for staying the course is Joe Lieberman, and I guess, Hillary.

It was a rough year for New Orleans, who suffered the wrath of nature, politics, and incompetence.

It was a good year of TV. We had some damn good TV this year. Rome. Deadwood. Battlestar Galactica. 24. The Office. Lost. Everybody Hates Chris. It was good year.

It was a good year for comics. A good year for video games.

And despite the daily casualties, and all the mess here at home, it was a good year for the Iraqis, who managed to vote in three successful elections, and give a purple thumbs up to democracy.

And, at the end of the day, it was good overall, all things considered.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

The Iraqis Vote. A Relative Success

Read the story here.

There's still more work to be done, but this is another great day.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Quotes of Wisdom

"The ballot is stronger than the bullet."

-Abraham Lincoln

In the context of our current struggle, we can also say that the ballot is stronger than the bullet, the car bomb, the beheader, the missile, the madrassah...

"In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.


"Madness is rare in individuals - but in groups, political parties, nations, and eras it's the rule."


I think that one sums up the problem with ideologues perfectly.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Blog Recommendation: Booker Rising

I'm always on the lookout for great blogs, covering the whole of the political spectrum. Do check out Booker Rising. It's a great site run by black moderates and conservatives, discussing issues important to the black community at large (as well as America in general), all while paying homage to the great Booker T. Washington.

At the risk of tooting my own horn, a lot of my articles at Centerfield are carried on their blog. I'm moving up in the world, baby!

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

A Needless Update

I'll post something substantial either later in the day or tomorrow. Just wanted to inform the millions of readers that I like to pretend I have, that all is well.

Oh, and I do plan on starting on my theology blog real soon.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Counterattacks, Dirty Tricks, and Hard Questions

The GOP has put out a new ad, attacking the Democrats for attacking Bush's handling of prewar intelligence. It uses quotes from high-profile Dems (Dean, the Clintons, Ted Kennedy, etc) favoring the removal of Saddam. On a purely visceral level, it's damn effective. It's dirty, but effective. The ad does a good job of making the Dems look stupid. That, combined with Bush's open assault on Democrats at his Veteran's Day speech, amounts to a major counterattack by the President and the GOP.

Bush can't really vindicate himself on the current status of the war in Iraq, or his handling of it, but the plan seems to be to diffuse the "Bush lied" argument (an argument I never supported- Bush didn't deliberately make up intel), and say that "hey, the Dems were wrong, too, and now they're trying to play politics, and it's hurting the troops."

The Democratic argument is that Bush had special intel that the Congress didn't have, and thus made the decision to invade based on that intel, and he went to war on flimsy grounds. The fact is, unless this is true (meaning Bush had more intel than Congress), the Democrats have a problem. They have to take a lot of the blame for giving the President the authority to go to war (if they're going to criticize the handling of prewar intel, or the case for war). It;s not fair to blame Bush for esentially coming to the same conclusions that a lot of other Democrats did. However, it's entirely legitimate to criticize the conduct of the war, and considering the mistakes made and still not owned up to, even pro-war hawks like myself ought to expect that. Of course, this should lead to actual results-meaning that it should help us win in Iraq, and not just bash Bush.

That being said, this won't really help Bush gain support for Iraq. The CIA-leak case is a bog problem whether you supported the war or not. But, this will hurt Democrats, unless they can come up with a consistent alternative to Bush's approach, that hopefully doesn't involve artifical timetables for withdrawal. And hopefully Bush will seriously consider coming to terms with the reality in Iraq, that hopefully goes beyond the "stay the course" mantra we've all become accustomed to hearing.

Also, in another dirty ad from the far-right side of the aisle comes a particularly nasty ad in support of Judge Alito. This ad is standard form in the crusade against "activist judges," so I'm not surprised. To be fair, the pro-choice group NARAL did put out that vicious ad attacking Chief Justice Roberts, but all that shows it that both sides can play dirty.

Although the right seems to do it a helluva lot more often.

hat tip: Ann Althouse

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Eddie Guerrero: 1967-2005

The wrestling world, and wrestling fans everywhere are devastated by the loss of Eddie Guerrero, at the age of 38. He passed away Sunday. They had a great tribute show on Raw last night. You'll be missed, brother.

RIP, Eddie. You were truly one of the best ever.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Alito and Race Baiting

Apparently the next chapter in the war over judges has begun, and it's the "race baiting chapter." A memo was released earlier this week reflecting on Judge Alito's legal history, and it showed how he failed to prosecute mobsters in one of the longest federal trials in history. Apparently, the memo referenced his nickname "Scalito," given to him to show him being a Scalita lite, in terms of their shared judicial philosophy and ideology (Scalia+Alito=Scalito). The DNC started putting out the memos. This case was one of 15 cases mentioned in the report.

How do Matt Drudge, Orrin Hatch and Chris Matthews see this?

According to them, the Democrats are anti-Italian. Would to God I was making this up.

The crew over at DailyKos covered this. They were not happy, to say the least.

I really don't need to add anything else. I cannot, for the life of me, figure out how the Right pulled ant-Italian bigotry out of the report, unless it was in their minds to begin with.

Friday, November 04, 2005

The Blogosphere Under Siege

The House today, with bipartisan support, passed a bill that would exempt bloggers from FEC campaign finance regulations. It passed 225-182, 47 votes shy of a clear two-thirds majority that would have allowed it to pass under the rules in play. For all intents and purposes, "the vote in effect clears the way for the FEC to move ahead with court-mandated rule-making to govern political speech and campaign spending on the Internet."

Newsflash to the Congress: This is tyranny. The campaign finance laws wear never meant to go this far. Bloggers for all sides of the political spectrum are up in arms over this, and rightly so. The story continues (hat tip: Yahoo):

Opposition was led by Rep. Marty Meehan (news, bio, voting record), D-Mass., who with Rep. Christopher Shays (news, bio, voting record), R-Conn., championed the 2002 campaign finance law that banned unlimited "soft money" contributions that corporations, unions and individuals were making to political parties.

"This is a major unraveling of the law," Meehan said. At a time when Washington is again being tainted by scandal, including the CIA leak case, "it opens up new avenues for corruption to enter the political process."

Actually, what it does is in effect allow the government to regulate what bloggers can say and link to.

The bill's sponsor, Rep. Jeb Hensarling (news, bio, voting record), R-Texas, said the federal government should encourage, rather than fetter, a phenomenon that was bringing more Americans into the political process.

"The newest battlefield in the fight to protect the First Amendment is the Internet," he said. "The Internet is the new town square, and campaign finance regulations are not appropriate there."

Without his legislation, Hensarling said, "I fear that bloggers one day could be fined for improperly linking to a campaign Web site, or merely forwarding a candidate's press release to an e-mail list."

Exactly right. The broad powers the government would have in this regard are so open to abuse that on its face it's a bad deal. However, Meehan and Shays disagree:

But Meehan said no one wants to regulate bloggers. He said he and Shays have an alternative that would protect the free speech rights of bloggers while closing the cyberspace loophole where a lawmaker could vote for a prescription drug bill and then ask pharmaceutical interests to write six-figure checks for campaign ads for them to run on the Internet.

I'd sure love to see how they're going to reconcile that with the Constitution. They'd better come up with something quick. BTW, it shouldn't be lost on people how much bipartisan support this bill had:

Bloggers from liberal and conservative perspectives made similar predictions at a hearing on the subject in September. "Rather than deal with the red tape of regulation and the risk of legal problems, they will fall silent on all issues of politics," said Michael J. Krempasky, director of the Web site

and this:

Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid of Nevada has introduced a companion bill to the Hensarling measure, but the Senate has yet to take it up.

This is one of those issues you have to draw the line on. Congress needs to make this right. House members and Senators, of either party, who support the curtailing of free speech of the blogosphere, be ye warned: Elections are coming up real soon.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

More on Pajamas Media

Look, my previous post on Wolcott still stands. My views on him are established. I still stick up for David Corn, but it seems that they may have real problems over at Pajamas Media, and it goes beyond the fact that right-wingers like Charles Johnson of LGF are running things.

Take this as you will, but I found this interesting.

Wolcott Strikes Again

This time he's gone after David Corn, because he's on the editorial board for Pajamas Media, an up-and-coming network of blogs, covering the political spectrum, that happens to be founded by right-of-center bloggers. The fact is, there are a lot of suspect and scurrilous types associated with that group, and clearly the politics of many of those bloggers (certainly LGF) are not mine, and certainly not David Corn's, but there are some good blogs and bloggers at PM. Liberal and conservative blogs. In fact, half of them are already on my blogroll.

The fact is, James Wolcott sees anyone who even hangs out with pro-types as traitors to his cause. Liberal hawks, Liberals who hangs out with conservatives, were all suspect in his eyes.

BTW, Corn's on the Editorial Board for God's sake.

UPDATE: Apparently it's been revealed that Judy Miller is keynoting at Pajamas Media's opening gala. Maybe there's more cause for concern than I thought...

Honestly, I'm still not sure how this will turn out. I'm just saying the Left shouldn't hate on David Corn because he's blogging over there.

Just Thinking Out Loud...

I've always believed that the whole crusade over "activist judges" is essentially a fight about judges either side doesn't like. Conservatives want conservative activists on the Court to counteract the perceived (and in a number of cases very real) liberal activism of previous years. Liberals want to stop them, and a lot of liberals want their own activists on the Court to stop the conservatives, and/or force their own liberal agendas. Of course I'm talking about the ideologues here. It's safe to say that the ideologues are looking for their own personal agendas, driven by the political whims of their ideological votaries. So I wonder, could a Constitutional amendment doing away with life tenure for judges solve this problem? I haven't really thought this out completely, but it seems that if activists are able to make laws, and basically affect law for subsequent generations, wouldn't limiting the term help to minimize any damage done?

OTOH, bad judges can wreck the Constitution in a short span of time, and leaving judgeships at the mercy of the political machinery would only make things worse. Perhaps we'll all just have to commit ourselves, and compel our leaders to commit themselves to putting forth good judges, free of ANY bias at all.

Judge Alito and Harry Reid's Line in the Sand

Bush has nominated Judge Samuel Alito for the SCOTUS, in order to replace the manifestly bad choice that was Harriet Miers. The far-right is happy again, and apparently are back to believing that judges should have an up-or-down vote. Honestly, as with Chief Justice Roberts, Alito is certainly qualified, and while he is a clear-cut conservative, it doesn't appear yet that he's a rank ideologue. The Dems are already talking filibuster though, and the Repubs are talking about the nuclear option. As I said, I think we ought to wait to see Alito's record before we judge. Barring extreme cases, I'm not a big fan of the filibuster (although the nuclear option is plainly against the rules), and at very least, we should wait until we hear his record before we throw down. BTW, it's not good policy to block him just because he's pro-life. Blocking him because he's pro-life is bad form.

In more Senate news, Harry Reid has thrown down the gauntlet. He forced a closed session to debate the issues of Iraq war intelligence that the Repubs have been stalling on for months. Needless to say, the Repubs were pissed. Really pissed. They called it a stunt, and Frist looked like he was going to explode. Note to Frist: Get over it.

Here's what Reid said:

“The Libby indictment provides a window into what this is really all about, how this administration manufactured and manipulated intelligence in order to sell the war in Iraq and attempted to destroy those who dared to challenge its actions,” Reid said before making the motion which sent the Senate into a closed-door session.

Regardless of one's view of Iraq, this is hard to argue with.

To see how the hearing went, the AP story is here.

Note to Republicans: The Senate isn't a purely majoritarian body. You can't get everything you want.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Libby Indicted. More to Come?

It's late and I'll post more tomorrow, but as you all know "Scooter" Libby was indicted by Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald. So it seems that Libby went around telling reports (Novak, Miller, etc) about Valerie Plame being a CIA covert agent, and he learned it from an unnamed source (Karl Rove? Cheney?) Libby's been indicted on two counts of perjury, two counts of making false statements, and one count of obstruction of justice. This is a big deal.

Fitzgerald says the investigation will remain open in order to gather more info (perhaps with a new grand jury), but as it stands now, Libby's the only one on the block (he's resigned). Fitzgerald has made it clear that he's not trying to go after the case for the war, and he's only dealing with the matters in this serious case. Consider this: hat tip: Daniel Drezner:

the whole notion that the Fitzgerald investigation was going to reveal how the Bush administration led us into Iraq now seems to have been completely wrong. Democrats wanted their own Ken Starr--a prosecutor who let his investigation metastasize and whose operation leaked like a sieve. Instead, they got Elliot Ness. As Fitzgerald himself put it at his press conference:

This indictment is not about the war. This indictment's not about the propriety of the war. And people who believe fervently in the war effort, people who oppose it, people who have mixed feelings about it should not look to this indictment for any resolution of how they feel or any vindication of how they feel.

This is simply an indictment that says, in a national security investigation about the compromise of a CIA officer's identity that may have taken place in the context of a very heated debate over the war, whether some person -- a person, Mr. Libby -- lied or not.
The indictment will not seek to prove that the war was justified or unjustified. This is stripped of that debate, and this is focused on a narrow transaction.

And I think anyone's who's concerned about the war and has feelings for or against shouldn't look to this criminal process for any answers or resolution of that.
Of course many on the Left won't be happy until Bush and the whole administration are dragged out in chains, but as it stands now, they won't get their wish from this indictment. For those who support the war, and/or Bush, be advised that this indictment is no small small matter. Those responsible for this leak, if it really was a deliberate act to smear Joe Wilson, which it looks like it was, committed serious crimes. That ought not be lost in the fog of politics, by either side.
Read the text of the indictment here.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Harriet Miers Is History

Miers resigned today as Bush's SCOTUS choice to replace Sandra Day O'Connor. Most on the Right opposed her, as well as on the Left. For some reason, Harry Reid backed her. Anyway, this is good. The naked cronyism involved, as well as the fact that Miers just wasn't qualified made her a bad choice. Some would think that liberals ought to support Miers because the right-wingers were so up in arms over the nomination. That's absurd. She's a bad choice, period. I did feel that the right had no one to blame but themselves for the Miers pick, because that choice was only the logical result of the "loyalty at any cost/Bush should get whatever judges he wants" mindset that they tried to shove down our throats, whenever Dems criticized the President. One does have to respect their standing for principle-at last. Of course, the James Dobsons of the world actually supported Miers. After all, it was all about the vote for him, the integrity of the Court be damned (he's since changed his story).

Undoubtedly, my earlier prediction will come to pass, and the real court fight will commence.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Exploiting the Dead?

I don't want this to turn into a debate about the war, or even about Plamegate/Fitzmas, but I have a question. How is honoring the soldiers who died in Iraq and Afghanistan exploitation? How is showing their names on TV exploitation? If you're against the war, and you feel that those soldiers died for the wrong war (that's not my view, but I'm just saying) then that's your opinion. I don't agree that they died in vain, but to say so isn't exploiting their deaths.
I know that more soldiers died in WWII and Vietnam. Since when do we judge tragedies that way? Did we say on 9/11, "Well, we lost 51,000 in WWII, why are we weeping over these 3,000?" Of course we didn't. Was it exploitation to weep for those lost in the tsunami, or Katrina?

I understand that those who view this war differently will see the sacrifices of our troops differently. There are those on the fringes who not only mock the dead, but call for more. There are those who exploit the dead for political gain (Karl Rove, I'm talking to ya).
I've always believed, and maybe I'm naive in this, that regardless of one's stance on OIF, that all of us ought to honor the sacrifices of our troops. I don't think bringing them home prematurely does them or the Iraqis a service, but acknowledging the 2,000 dead in this war is hardly exploitation, at least not in of itself.

Despite what the right-wingers would have us believe...

Rosa Parks: 1913-2005

America, and the world has lost a giant this week, as Rosa Parks has passed away at age 92. You all know the story, of how she refused to give up her seat to a white passenger on the segregated buses of Alabama, and thus took a principled stand against Jim Crow, and for the civil rights, and basic dignity of all Americans. Parks' stand half a century ago gives us in this generation an example of the triumph of the individual-- it reminds us that one person, armed with truth, really can make a difference. Her stand set the stage for the leaders to come, including of course, Dr. King.

The legacy of Rosa Parks, in her stand against the ruling powers and popular opinion of her day, in her overcoming of fear and doubt, gives us a lesson, that for the continued survival of this republic, must march unimpeded throughout the long trail of history: That principled people of all kinds, must often make trouble, and challenge those in power, in order to see that justice is done when and where it ought to be done. Even at the cost of one's life and livelihood.

Especially in times like these...

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

The Butcher of Baghdad Goes to Trial

The trial of Saddam Hussein began today. At last, that mass murdering war criminal will face the justice that he denied his own people. Reports are that Saddam was defiant as usual, questioning the legitimacy of the Court, as well as the Iraqi government. Nice try, pal, it's not going to work. The fact is, Saddam's thirty-years of brutality and tyranny cost him the right to govern. The man committed numerous war crimes, invaded his neighbors, and violated numerous international laws and U.N resolutions. Saddam and his lackeys will try to stall and pontificate, but in the end, he'll be found guilty, and face the death penalty.

And justice will have been served.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

It All Happened on Saturday

Marking the 10th Anniversary of the Million Man March, scores of black Americans return to the Mall to kick off the "Millions More Movement." All things considered, I say it's a good thing. Much like the last march, there was bound to be some controversial things said (obviously I have a problem with the anti-war themes), Farrakhan's not known for his timidity--but at the end of the day, it was a positive event for black America.

The Iraqis took to the streets and voted on a Constitution today. Even the Sunnis decided to join in. Purple fingers forever.

I've finally got into the groove of consistent blogging. Huzzah!

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Blogging at Centerfield, and My Other New Blog

I just put up my first post over at the cool centrist blog Centerfield. I won't kill the buzz all of you undoubtedly have by sppoiling it, but I'll just say check it out, and check out the site in general. It's a great blog, and another notch in the centrist blogosphere.

Also, my amateur theology blog is up. It's still in development, but if you have even a passing interest in theology or philosophy, you ought to check it out.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Infinite Crisis Is Here!!

At last, after all the months of speculation, waiting, and salivating, the biggest comics event since Crisis on Infinite Earths and Watchmen has come to pass. As much as I sound like a DC propaganda man right now, I really have been impressed by the stories leading up to, and the first issue of the series. I loooved Identitiy Crisis, and although Marvel's certainly no slouch either with House of M, Astonishing X-Men, and the kick-ass Black Panther book, among others, Crisis will also continue to burn a cosmic hole through my wallet.

photo: from Infinite Crisis #1 (c) 2005 DC Comics

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Is Bush a Real Conservative?

With the recent discord amongst the right over Harriet Miers, and his profligate spending habits, a question has popped into my mind. Is Bush really a conservative? He's no liberal, that's for sure, but is he a real conservative? Is he a right-winger who loves Big Government? Who knows.

I'm no conservative, so it's less of a concern to me than those who call themselves conservatives, and those who voted for him.

A Vile Left-Wing Conspiracy?

ABC's hit new show Commander-in-Chief is a critical success, garnering acclaim from critics and TV-watchers alike. It stars Geena Davis as Mackenzie "Mac" Allen, the former Veep who has become the first female President after the previous President dies. She's a mother, and a registered Independent. Sounds like the stuff of good TV, right? Not according to some. It seems that some conservatives see the show as a vast Hollywood left-wing conspiracy to promote a Hillary Presidency in '08. Ridiculous, you say? Of course it is. But consider this statement:

"Keeping with the modern liberal tradition of subliminal socialist indoctrination (through U.S. television), `Commander in Chief' seeks to accomplish more than prime-time entertainment," warned a writer named J.B. Williams on the National Ledger Web site, while the blogger Colossus pronounced the show "a nefarious plot to advance the notion of a Hillary Clinton presidency."

Really? Do you think so? Look, I'm no Hillary fan, and I pray to God the Democratic Party has enough sense not to tap her for the nomination, but you know what...I'd vote for her just to spite these lunatics. I mean, come on. There comes a point when this mad obsession must come to a halt. Yes, I get that she's a woman President. I get that one of Hillary's former staffers writes for the show. I get that Hillary is supposedly this evil, socialist monster who will ban Bibles, sanction public orgies, raise taxes to 400%, and mandate forced abortions and all people really believe this stuff?

Consider this:

Mac's road to the White House began as a vice presidential candidate chosen to boost the women's vote for her Republican running mate, who then, after just two years in office, obligingly expired. Hillary can't count on that measure of support.

Mac is 6 feet tall and isn't married to former President Clinton. Hillary isn't, and is.

Mac, lest we forget, is make-believe, and idealized - maybe to a fault, from Hillary's perspective. Noting that President Allen is "smart, beautiful, dressed to the nines, completely competent," Boston Herald columnist Virginia Buckingham wrote: "If I were Hillary Clinton, I'd be running scared. Perfect is not the bar she ought to want set for her."

Still not convinced? Consider this:

"This is not a You-Go-Hillary show, this is a You-Go-Girl show," Lurie said last week. "I just want to see women in the process, whether they be Democrats or Republicans or Independents. If there's any social agenda to the show, it's to be enthusiastic about the idea of a woman president - and an Independent president. She's an Independent, which is sort of a big deal."

But conservatives retort:

Some conservatives are in a lather over Mackenzie Allen's nemesis, the Republican speaker of the House (Donald Sutherland). The RedState Web site complained that this underhanded power broker was designed to bash all Republicans as "manipulative, back-stabbing, power-hungry politicians."

Interesting, but what about this?

But Lurie pointed out that President Allen's own chief of staff - a man of solid character - is a Republican.

He added that "Commander in Chief" has its roots not in Hillary's campaign strategy but in "The Contender," a film he wrote and directed in 2000 about a vice presidential aspirant. (It starred Joan Allen ... for whom he named Mackenzie Allen.)

and this:

I promise that if there was no Hillary Clinton, there would still be a `Commander in Chief' - I want to have a hit show that people enjoy, and really, that's it," explained Lurie, whose surprising exit from his top 10-ranked series was announced a couple of days later.

Hmm, another clue? No, not really:

Now, what will conspiracy theorists read into that turn of events? The official explanation: Under a two-year deal with Touchstone Television, Lurie has given up his job running "Commander in Chief" to concentrate on developing new series, while TV veteran Steven Bochco ("NYPD Blue" and "L.A. Law") takes the production reins of a show that had fallen dangerously behind schedule.

Just another shakeup in the TV biz? Or is there (hmmmm) more to the story? Try and stop suspicious minds from hashing over what it might be.

Right, because that would be impossible. They've already made up their minds about this. Hillary is evil, and the network minions at ABC (and the rest of the SCLM) are her lackeys. No amount of sense or logic can dissuade them.

Read the whole story here

Source: AP

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Harriet Miers: Enemy of the..Right?

There's a lot of support for Miers' nomination to the SCOTUS, and its coming from an unlikely source. Apparently, high-profile Dems like Harry Reid love her, while conservatives are up in arms. It was no secret that a lot of conservatives weren't completely behind Roberts (he was too moderate for them), and it looks like Miers is no different. She's pro-life (and that will piss off the pro-choicers), but perhaps not as hardcore as some fear, or hope. She's not a judge, and her legal experience is vague. Many are bothered (as am I) by the cronyism involved here. The more he talked about her today at his news conference confirmed this.

Honestly, I'm not sure what to make of her yet. It's interesting to note that her opposition will most likely come from the far-right on this one. Blogging around today, I came across an interesting concept. Tammy Bruce has come to a conclusion about Bush that's worth noting:

While I love that he chose a woman, I've noted before GWB is not an authentic conservative, but a liberal who happens to be a man of faith. There were many other srong conservatives for him to pick. Keep in mind, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D) urged him to pick Miers. IMHO, both Roberts and Miers could easily tip to the left of the court.

I can think of a lot of words to describe George Bush, but "liberal" is not one of them. She's right that he's no conservative. He's a right-winger, but not conservative. I've always respected Tammy Bruce, but one has to wonder whether she has forgotten the meaning of the word "liberal," or has moved so far to the right, that Bush is liberal by comparison. I fear the latter may be the case. Nevertheless....

Tom DeLay's Been Indicted Again!!

Still, it speaks for itself.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

It's Like Talking to A Brick Wall

Sen. McCain met with Cindy Sheehan earlier today. Basically, thy both left disappointed, with nothing really being accomplished. Here's the whole story:

WASHINGTON - Peace mom Cindy Sheehan didn't change her opposition to the war in Iraq after meeting Tuesday with one of its supporters, Sen. John McCain, a Vietnam veteran whom she called "a warmonger."

Sheehan thanked McCain for meeting with her, but she came away disappointed.
"He tried to tell us what George Bush would have said," Sheehan, who protested at the president's Texas home over the summer, told reporters. "I don't believe he believes what he was telling me."

McCain, R-Ariz., also seemed disappointed in the meeting, which he said had been misrepresented as including some of his constituents. Only one person in her small delegation has ties to the state, and that person no longer lives there.
The two exchanged views about the war, and McCain described the conversation as "a rehash" of opinions already well known. He said he might not have met with Sheehan had he known none of his constituents was in the group.
Although McCain has criticized the handling of the Iraq war, he has supported President Bush's call to stop terrorism abroad before it reaches the U.S. Sheehan, whose son, Casey, died in Iraq last year, has energized the anti-war movement with her call for troops to be brought home.

"He is a warmonger, and I'm not," Sheehan said after meeting with McCain. "I believe this war is not keeping America safer."

"She's entitled to her opinion," McCain said. "We just have fundamental disagreements."
Sheehan's conference with McCain was one of several scheduled this week as part of her campaign to persuade members of Congress to explain the reasons for the war. She spoke before a massive anti-war rally Saturday on the National Mall and was arrested Monday demonstrating in front of the White House.
Sheehan and McCain had met once before, shortly after the funeral of her son. Sheehan said Tuesday that McCain told her then that her son's death was "like his buddies in Vietnam" and that he feared their deaths were "for nothing." McCain, however, denied he made such a statement.

courtesy AP

Now I don't know about you, but I'd be a bit hesitant to meet with someone who consistently calls me a warmonger. The fact is, McCain (or anyone who supports this war) talking to Sheehan is like talking to a brick wall. She's unreachable. She's meeting with members of Congress, in order to get them to explain the case for war to her. No explanation will be enough. Nothing short of agreeing with her that the war is immoral will satisfy her now. McCain, being a sensible guy understands that while huge mistakes were made by the Administration, this war is not an illegal or immoral war.

You know, with all this, I still feel for this woman. She lost her son. She really has let grief take over her judgment. Christopher Hitchens, in that debate two weeks ago with unhinged loon George Galloway pointed out how vile it was for people like Galloway to show support for Cindy's loss by supporting the murderers who killed her son (Baa'thist thugs, not Bush, BTW). You'd think she's be upset about that as well, but sadly she has abandoned reason to grief and hysteria, and as I said, is unappeasable.

Half-Truths, Harsh Rhetoric, and Other Things

You know the old saying. If you tell a lie enough times, people will begin to accept it as fact, and it becomes harder to dispel. Tennyson reminds us that "a lie that is half a truth / is ever the blackest of lies." There've been a lot of lies and half-truths bandied about in the aftermath of Katrina. In response to criticism of the Bush Adminstration's response to poverty (the aftermath of the storm having re-revealed the issues of poverty that still plague America), many on the Right have brought out a rather insidious lie in order to cover Bush's backside. I'll admit that some of the criticism has a tendency to descend into irrationality and over-the-top rhetoric ("Bush doesn't care about black people"; Bush= Bull Connor, etc), but conservatives have fudged the numbers in an attempt to make it seem as if poverty has decreased under Bush.

Consider this statement from Bill O'Reilly:

The facts are halfway through. The poverty under Bush is down 1 percent. That's the fact and the only accurate measuring stick. You wanna know why, Larry? Because of 9-11, that's why. That's the only accurate measuring stick. When Clinton took office, he was coming off a Bush the Elder recession. So he came into a situation that he turned around, and things got better poverty-wise, but it took him time. It took him time. So, halfway through his eight years, he was at -- what's the numbers? -- 13.7, OK, 13.7. Bush comes in, he gets hit on 9-11, which wipes out, wobbles the economy. All right? Halfway through, he's at 12.7. Larry, you can use statistics to do and prove anything. You've gotta get a fair measure. We gave you the fairest measure -- halfway through both terms, both men had to deal with circumstances. Clinton, a Bush the Elder recession; Bush, 9-11 attack.

Hat tip: Media Matters

The fact is, poverty went down under Clinton. When Clinton took office in 1993, poverty was at 15.1 percent. When he left office, it was 11.3 percent. Under Bush poverty has increased, rising to 11.7 in 2001, and every year thereafter, with the rate at 12.7 in 2004. The fact is, it's the trend that matters. Surely 9/11 played a part in worsening the recession that was already in place, but Bush cannot take credit for growth that his predecessor presided over.

Again, thanks to Media Matters.

All this being said, it still doesn't justify Rep. Charles Rangel comparing Bush to Bull Connor. That's just uncalled for. Sadly, it seems he has somewhat of a history with over-the-top hyperbole.

I'm going to post more on this later, but Michael Brown is a disgrace. His insistence on blaming the government's failures on Mayor Nagin and Governor Blanco is absurd. Stop retending you're the victim, please.

My sympathy for Cindy Sheehan has nearly worn out. I will not attack her personally, but the fact that she was smiling while getting arrested only helps to confirm that she has been so consumed by grief, that she has passed beyond grief, into hysteria, and then into media-hyped madness. She, like many of the antiwar types that support her, is unappeasable.

Apparently, the counter-protest didn't help much, either.

One last thing: Was it really a good idea for the House Dems to boycott the Katrina investigation committe? I understand that its partisan, and that Dems won't have equal authority with Republicans, but what good does it do not to show up at all? Rep. Gen Taylor showed up, and took Mike Brown to task, as did Rep. William Jefferson. It just doesn't seem wise.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

A Question and a Prediction

First, I have a question: Why does the Bush adminstration seem committed to appointing incompetent cronies to fill really important positions? First there's John Bolton, then Michael Brown, and now Julie Myers, who's been tapped to head up the ICE division of Homeland Security. She's the niece of Gen. Richard Myers, and basically has no real experience in immigration controls. More on it here.

Also, a prediction. Roberst will be confirmed by a vote of at least 65, with the Gang of 14 included. He won't be filibustered, and as I said the Gang of 14 would block that anyway. Bush will then nominate a conservative in the vein of Scalia and Thomas, thus setting the stage for the bloodiest court fight in the history of the republic.

UPDATE: I fixed that little error, as those of you who may have read the original post probably noticed.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Fine Speech, Mr. Roosevelt..I Mean Bush

President Bush gave his speech on the recovery efforts after Katrina tonight, and I must say I'm impressed. Of course, we should all approach this with a healthy dose of skepticism, but I think he hit the right tone, both stylistically, and in terms of substance. I must say though, some of the small-government conservatives must be nervous right now. If you didn't know better, you'd think it was FDR or LBJ making that speech. Investing in Urban Recovery Zones, a renewed Homestead Act, money for finding jobs, investing in minority-owned businesses..if he gets it done, I say huzzah. Dems like Elijiah Cummings and Lt. Gov Landrieu loved it.

Like I said, a fine speech. Let's hope it goes through.

UPDATE: I've been thinking it over, and while I still think the speech was pretty good, I wonder how seriously we can take him. How's he going to pay for all this? Roll back the tax cuts? Cut some pork? Look, I'm all for this (if he's serious). But Karl Rove in charge of reconstruction efforts? WTF!? I'm trying to be open-minded, but I think we need more skepticism than I first thought.

P.S. Many in the media called his speech contrite. Where was that? I didn't really see that.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

The Wrath of Katrina

I'm still having a hard time trying to fathom the sheer tragic proportions of the tragedy in New Orleans, Mississippi, and Alabama. I saw footage on NBC today, of people screaming in the streets, pleading for help. I thought I was looking at a third-world country. The sheer amount of human suffering that the victims of Katrina have experienced, is enough to break your heart. New Orleans may take months to rebuild.

Moments like this really put things into perspective. Your problems simply don't seem as big, compared to those of those suffering. I've always wanted to visit New Orleans, but I fear it may not happen for a long time. My prayers are with those who're suffering, who've lost their homes and (more importantly) their families. May God keep you in this struggle.

The response of every American ought to be clear. Give what you can.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

San Francisco vs. The Military

The USS Iowa, which has been an action since World War II, and is one of America's oldest and most celebrated warships, was going to be retired in the San Fran area, so residents could pay homage to the soldiers who fought aboard that ship, and lear some history. The thing is though, San Fran says no. Apparently, because of the War in Iraq, and the military's position on gays, they've shunned the ship:

Courtesy of the Associated Press:

SAN FRANCISCO - The USS Iowa joined in battles from World War II to Korea to the Persian Gulf. It carried President Franklin Roosevelt home from the Teheran conference of allied leaders, and four decades later, suffered one of the nation's most deadly military accidents.

Veterans groups and history buffs had hoped that tourists in San Francisco could walk the same teak decks where sailors dodged Japanese machine-gun fire and fired 16-inch guns that helped win battles across the South Pacific.

Instead, it appears that the retired battleship is headed about 80 miles inland, to Stockton, a gritty agricultural port town on the San Joaquin River and home of California's annual asparagus festival.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., a former San Francisco mayor, helped secure $3 million to tow the Iowa from Rhode Island to the Bay Area in 2001 in hopes of making touristy Fisherman's Wharf its new home.

But city supervisors voted 8-3 last month to oppose taking in the ship, citing local opposition to the Iraq war and the military's stance on gays, among other things.

"If I was going to commit any kind of money in recognition of war, then it should be toward peace, given what our war is in Iraq right now," Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi said.

Feinstein called it a "very petty decision."

"This isn't the San Francisco that I've known and loved and grew up in and was born in," Feinstein said.

San Francisco's maritime museum already has one military vessel - the USS Pampanito, an attack submarine that sank six Japanese ships during World War II and has about 110,000 visitors a year.

Officials in Stockton couldn't be happier. They've offered a dock on the river, a 90,000-square-foot waterfront building and a parking area, and hope to attract at least 125,000 annual visitors.

After the Korean war, the Iowa was decommissioned and placed in reserve in a Philadelphia shipyard for three decades. In 1984, it was recalled to duty and, four years later, escorted oil supply ships in the Persian Gulf. In 1989, 47 sailors were killed in an explosion that tore through a gun turret during a training exercise.

The warship, decommissioned by the Navy in 1990, is currently anchored with a mothballed fleet in Suisun Bay, near the mouth of the San Joaquin-Sacramento River Delta.

San Francisco's rejection of such a storied battleship is a slap in the nation's face, said Douglass Wilhoit, head of Stockton's Chamber of Commerce.

"We're lucky our men and women have sacrificed their lives ... to protect our freedom," Wilhoit said. "Wherever you stand on the war in Iraq ... you shouldn't make a decision based on philosophy."

I really can't add any more to that. Sadly, it seems that San Francisco isn't just anti-war, they're anti-military. I hope Sen. Feinstein can fix this, but the fact that this even happened at all is telling.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

A Simple Word for James Wolcott

I had planned on writing this snippy post in which I would tell James Wolcott how proud I am to be a Liberal Hawk. You see, he hates liberal hawks. We're traitors, as far as he's concerned. I was going to respond in kind, but I think I'll take the high road...

F__k that.

James Wolcott, you jackanape. You cretin. You're not worth the blog space.

A Few Thoughts on Cindy Sheehan

I just wanted to post a few thoughts that I've had regarding Ms. Sheehan. She lost her son in Iraq. We all must acknowledge that. I feel for her, and understand that she's suffering. I think she's looking for answers, and in her grief has turned to some unsavory characters for support. I don't mean the people who support on principle, I'm talking about the coalition of fringe anti-war groups that have aligned with her. We all know Michael Moore's an opportunist, but as with Lila Lipscomb, we must acknowledge the very real emotions involved.

Honestly, I don't see the harm in Bush meeting with her again. Having her arrested certainly doesn't help amyone involved. I have no ill will towards Cindy Sheehan, but I think her views on the war are wrong. Maybe all she's looking for is a little more than a "I sympathize with your loss" from President Bush. Maybe she's just trying to cope. I don't think allying herself with far-Left anti-war groups helps either, but maybe she reached for moral support, and these groups were the only ones that stepped up. Of course thsee groups have their own agendas, but I fear she may not know who she's hanging with. Or maybve the fact that these are fringe groups doesn't matter to her. They agree with her on Iraq. The rest is irrelevant to her.

I don't like assuming people's intentions, and I always like to give the benefit of the doubt. Cindy Sheehan lost her son. She's hurting. Many groups sympathize with her, and in their own antiwar sentiment blame Bush and his policies, as she does (I think she's dead wrong, but I understand the emotion). Of course some of thsee groups simply oppose America, and for them, Cindy Sheehan is a political tool.

I'll look past them, though. Despite the fact that I support our efforts in Iraq and she doesn't, my heart still goes out to her and her family. Some people may choose to slander this woman. I will have no part in that. Her son is a hero, and I'm sure all sensible people can agree on that.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005


I've come to expect grandstanding and pandering from politicians, but this just pisses me off. Apparently, an 85-year old grandmother has decided to sue Rockstar Games over the "Hot Coffee" incident in GTA: San Andreas. She bought the game for her 14-year old grandson, and was outraged by the revelation that hidden sex scenes were input into the game. Two questions:

1. If your grandson is 14, perhaps he shouldn't playing in the first place, being that its rated M for Mature?

2. Did you actually see the adult footage? Remember the footage was hidden within the game, and had to be unlocked.

As expected, the politicians of both parties have been pandering all the day long:

"Earlier this week, the House voted 355-21 for a resolution asking the FTC to investigate the company. Last week, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., asked the FTC to investigate Rockstar, saying the company had 'gamed the ratings system' by concealing sex scenes in the game that can be unlocked by computer programs available on the Internet."
OK, Hillary. If you say so. Look, Rockstar screwed up, but the idea that this requires a government investigation, or a frivolous lawsuit is absurd. This is yet another state assault on the gaming industry, supported and oftentimes spearheaded by people who you'd think would know better.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

A Blog Recomendation: Donklephant

Over at Mike Totten's blog, I found another great centrist blog called Donklephant. It is as it sounds, a great collection of ideas from the vibrant center, from the center-Left and the center-Right. I cannot praise these blogs enough. Also, we are treated to a masterful read by Callimachus, who gives us another "Road to Damascus" moment involving the evolution of the liberal mind post 9/11, and the burden of the liberal hawks. Just read it.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

The Price of Freedom

To the families of the victims of the London terrorist bombings, my heart goes out, and my prayers are with you. To those injured, hurting, and struggling: ditto. Indeed, this attack reminds us that the price of freedom is eternal vigilance, and that the cowardly murderers who engineered this savagery must be confronted, and not appeased. We must be alert, and keep our heads up, and out of the sand.

Again, to our friends in Britain, America and the free world is with you, as always.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

On Bush's Speech

It's late, and I'll post a full analysis tomorrow (or later today, actually).

I will say this. He did at least make an attempt to avoid the sugarcoating, and tried to be honest about the real situation on the ground. I wish he'd been more specific, though. He doesn't seem to think we need more troops, despite our low recruitment goals. His strongest point was when I pointed out the danger of an artifical timetable (I agree completely).

I tried to link Iraq to 9/11, but as expected, that link was specious at best. All that does is remind people of the lack of a collaborative link between 9/11 and Iraq, and the lack of WMDs. However, he's right when he points out that we must win in Iraq. Iraq has become a central front in the war on terror, and to lose, or pull out early, or to give our enemies an artifical timetable for withdrawal is bad for the Iraqis, and bad for Americans.

He encouraged us to support the troops, and praised their service. That was good. I swear he teared up towards the end. Let's hope he gives them more than lip service.

The speech was about a half hour, with nothing really new. He'll get a small bounce. The speech was better than expected.

The good crew over at Democracy Arsenal have a great analysis of the sppech as well, much more thorough than mine.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Dick Durbin, Karl Rove, and the Politics of War

Well it seems that Karl Rove has gotten himself into some trouble over his recent remarks about the liberal response to 9/11. Well, actually he hasn't, because despite calls for his resignation, the White House, and Republicans are defending his remarks. First off, here's what he said:

"Conservatives saw the savagery of 9/11 in the attacks and prepared for war; liberals saw the savagery of the 9/11 attacks and wanted to prepare indictments and offer therapy and understanding for our attackers."

Utterly ridiculous of course. He goes on:

"Let me just put this in fairly simple terms: Al Jazeera now broadcasts the words of Senator Durbin to the Mideast, certainly putting our troops in greater danger. No more needs to be said about the motives of liberals."

Even more ridiculous. The fact is, Rove's remarks are yet another attempt to do what he declared to do in the months following 9/11: to manipulate the tragedy for political gain. Essentially, he pulled an Ann Coulter (or a Sean Hannity). His outrageous and divisive rhetoric is disgusting, but nothing new.

Never mind that all the Democrats in Congress save one, voted for the war in Afghanistan. Never mind the support for the strikes against the terrorists amongst the American people was around 90 percent. Basically, the only ones opposing America's efforts in the WOT, were the most hardened radicals (the far-Left fringe campus intellectuals, the likes of A.N.S.W.E.R, the pretentous Hollywood jackanapes, the worst of, and the most deluded of peaceniks. In defending his remarks, Rove used quotes from said radicals, in order to paint mainstream liberals as deluded politicos at best, and self-interested traitors at worst. Sean Hannity does this every night. The difference is that Rove is Bush's top adviser.

Of course, Durbin's comments didn't help matters. While I am convinced that it was not his intent to slander the troops, his references to Nazis, Stalin, and Pol Pot were utterly stupid, and he was right to apologize. Durbin, by letting his passions get the better of him, made a ridiculous and dangerously silly remark. While some on the far Left will call his apology a capitulation, I believe Durbin rightly understood his comments were over the line.

But to be fair, Durbin's sin was that of hyperbole. He never meant to overtly compared the troops to Nazis. He did however, in his legit attempts to take a serious look at the conditions at Gitmo, go much to far in characterizing the facility. No matter how you look at it, comapring American policies to Nazi policies is utterly stupid. Anyway, here's excatly what he said:

"If I read this to you and did not tell you that it was an FBI agent describing what Americans had done to prisoners in their control, you would most certainly believe this must have been done by Nazis, Soviets in their gulags, or some mad regime -- Pol Pot or others -- that had no concern for human beings."

Like I said, utterly stupid, and over the line, but he never actually called them Nazis.

Getting back to Rove's idiocy for a moment, I don't think the Dems should spend all their energy fighting this. In fact, I'm convinced Rove did this specifically to fire up the base, and to lure Dems into another political trap. Dems will go after Rove, and ignore the larger concerns about the country's perceptions of the Party. Many in the country feel that Dems ahve no real plan, or even a desire to fight the War on Terror. This is the battle that needs to be fought. The Republicans have decided to play the political game, and all Dems seem to be able to do is to complain about how Republicans play the game. If we're to survive, the Dems need to counter the name-calling and politicization with a real strategy, not complaining, and more name-calling (I'm calling your name, Howard Dean).

Update: A thought just came to me. Another difference between Rove and Durbin's comments is that we know that Rove's comments were deliberate and calculated. Many have defended Rove's comments by suggesting that his comments didn't endanger the troops as Durbin's did. Well, those comments sure are divisive. A nation divided over the issue of war sure as Hell isn't good for the nation's morale. When the troops hear political leaders like Rove basically say that half the country doesn't support you (which is what Rush Limbaugh told them to their faces), how does that help morale? With the exception of the far fringe, and a handful of misguided fools, the country was united behind the WOT. It wasn't until the right-wingers began attacking the patriotism and the character of Democrats, that the divisions over the WOT began to really form. To be fair, many on the far Left did say some stupid sh-t, but do you all remember what happened to Max Cleland?

Tuesday, June 14, 2005


Taking a break from politics for a moment, I just wanted to let you know, the ECW One Night Stand PPV was the best PPV I've seen in 10 years. It was fantastic.

Oh, and JBL, you're an asshole.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Now Who's Playing Politics, Again?

I don't know how many of you have heard about this, but there has been a bit of an uproar over the preliminary plans for the International Freedom Center, which is to be part of the Ground Zero memorial. A lot of people (mostly it seems from the Right), including the sister of the fallen pilot of Flight 77 Debra Burlingame, have argued that the memorial has been apparently hijacked by "blame America first" left-wing groups. As I said, the right-wingers are all over this. Here what the IFC site says the mission is:


The International Freedom Center – a multi-dimensional cultural institution combining history, education and engagement – will be an integral part of humanity’s response to September 11. Rising from the hallowed ground of the World Trade Center site, it will serve as the complement, and its building as the gateway, to the World Trade Center Memorial, playing a leading role in the Memorial’s mission to “strengthen our resolve to preserve freedom, and inspire an end to hatred, ignorance, and intolerance.” •

The Center will include three major cultural components:

Museum Exhibition Spaces: telling freedom's story, inspiring visitors to appreciate it on a personal level by looking at the countless individual women and men around the world who have made a difference. Spurred by hundreds of hours of consultations with nearly 100 scholars, museum experts and leading thinkers, the museum will include a “Freedom Walk” – offering visitors a multimedia collage of some of freedom’s most inspiring moments, interwoven with deeply moving aunequaledled views of the Memorial – as well as a set of galleries offering compelling and thought-provoking treatments of great freedom issues and stories from around the world, throughout the ages and up to the moment. Temporary exhibits will draw on other historic sifreedom museumsums around the world. Educational and Cultural Center: sponsoring an extensive array of lectures, symposia, debates, films and other events in its theaters and public halls that will nurture a global conversation on freedom in our world today. Much of the Center’s evening programming will draw on offerings from members of a university consortium being assembled by the Center and its partner the Aspen Institute.

Universities that have already agreed to participate include the Universities of Oxford, Cambridge and Cape Town; New York, Columbia and the New School Universities and the City University of New York; and Princeton and Yale Universities. Another key source of evening programming will be a partnership between the Center and the Tribeca Film Festival and its year-round counterpart the Tribeca Film Institute. The Center’s public spaces will also provide a venue for important community and civic events. Civic Engagement Network: connecting visitors with opportunities to act freedom's serviceice in their own communities and around the world. Opportunities for service will be provided on site, and through a virtual network, and will run the gamut of visitor interests, from symbolic gestures to life-changing commitments. Leading NGOs will be offered outposts at the Center to reach out to its visitors. A service advisory board now includes 35 of the leading bi-partisan and non-partisan experts on service and civic engagement from across the nation; the group will soon expand to be international in scope. "

It doesn't seem that harmless to me. I think what there trying to do, besides the most important aspect (remembering the sacrifice of 9/11), is focus on the larger idea of our freedom. The opponents of the memorial argue that a lot of left-of-center scholars are on the advisory panel. And? The IFC says there'll a broad range of voices from all sides of the political spectrum. I do have a few concerns. I do not want this to really turn out to be a "Guilt Museum," as it has been called. I don't want to lose the primary focus of the memorial, that is 9/11. We probably should keep it rather simple, and focus mainly on 9/11. However, this memorial is still in development, and I have no real reason to question the motives of the founders, despite some of their anti-war sentiments. It seems that the only ones playing politics here are the right-wing scandalmongers. Their problem it appears is not that the memorial is political, rather that it's not their politics. Big surprise.

P.S. It should be noted that this IFC memorial will not be larger than the larger 9/11 memorial. You'd think, in these times when America, the West, and democracy are under constant assault by our terrorist foes, that we can have a memorial that declares the history of America's victories over tyranny, and our history of liberating the whole world.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Leaping Over the Line

I'm sure everyone reading this has heard the story by now. In their report on the conditions of the treatment of detainees at Gitmo, Amnesty International has called it "the gulag of our time." To call this absurd is an understatement. Mike Totten does a great job of pointing this out. This is exaggeration at best, and moral stupidity at worst. I recognize that a dangerous pattern of incidents has occured with respect to the treatment of detainees and prisoners. I so not justify these acts. It' s important to point out that most of these incidents have been investigated, and many of those responsible have beeen prosecuted. However, there does seem to be a lapse in leadership in this area, and other incidents have yet to be dealt with.

I reject wholeheartedly the idea that we should base our commitment to human rights on the worse records of other countries. The simple fact is, we're not supposed to do stuff like this in America. When things like this happen, we investigate, and make sure it doesn't happen again. People like Sen. Inhofe who were "outraged by the outrage" over Abu Ghraib, or Bill O'Reilly seem to think that we shouldn't worry, because we're not as bad as Saddam was. Of course we're not that bad. The moral standard has never been to "not be as bad as the jihadists," rather America's moral strength is that we don't allow any of this.

And for the most part, we haven't. While we have some major problems in the treatment of detainees, there is no consistent established policy of torture. It's certainly no gulag.

To recklessly throw out words like that is not only ridiculous it's insulting. It seems that Irene Khan has never been to a gulag. I've never either, but I enough about the gulag to know that Gitmo doesn't compare. In fact, to even make such claims what get Ms. Khan thrown into a gulag. Those who survived the real gulags deserve an apology. Those who survive the Holocaust, and other real-live torture chambers deserve an apology. I respect Amnesty International's mission in defending human rights, but they've crossed the line. In fact, they've leaped over the line.

On a political note, this only hurts the cause. The only validates the idea of the "elaborate left-wing conspiracy against America's War on Terror," that the O'Reillys, and the Malkins, and the Inhofes of the world think exists. The danger of hyperbole like this is that when you cry wolf like this, people will be less likely to respond to real abuses. If, God forbid, a real gulag-level situation were to arise, many of us would just wonder whether Amnesty International was just being melodramatic. America is not running a gulag, and any serious voices in this debate ought not assert to the contrary.

Oh, and on a sort-of-lighter note, the right-wing of the Republican Party has come unglued.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Newsweek, George Galloway, and Other Idiots

OK. I'm sure you all know by now. Newsweek has screwed up big time. I really don't need to get into all the details again, but in case you didn't know, Newsweek ran a story proporting that Gitmo soldiers had flushed a Koran down the toilet, in order to goad detainees. The thing is, the story is bogus. Newsweek used a single anonymous source, and we find out later than the story is bogus. The bigger problem is that this story may have contributed to riots in Afghanistan and Pakistan that left 14 dead. Big, hefty, stinking faux pas.

Now, I'm pretty sure that these riots were caused by more than this Newsweek article, and that preexisting factors led to the violence. Gen Richard Myers essentiallybacked that up. However, it cannot be denied that at the very least, this article couldn't have helped matters much. The question I still cannot answr is why they felt they had to run this story right away, especially one so factually suspect? Was it for journalistic glory? To satisfy the fickle, sensationalist beast that controls a lot of media coverage today? Was it rank stupidity? The Bush crew have of course decided to blame the liberal, anti-Bush bias. I put no stock in the liberal media canard, but if Newsweek was trying to dispel that perception, then they really f'ed up.

Even if this story was true, I fail to see the journalistic importance. I don't think Newsweek maliciously put this out, but this is full-bore incompetence on their part. Eric Alterman points out that this is part of a pattern for one Mike Isikoff, who during the Clinton years was a well-known agent in making bogus stuff up during those Clinton "scandals," much to the delight of the anti-Clinton right. He admitted to being used by the likes of Linda Tripp and Lucy Goldberg.

So, this is yet another indictment of the fickle, non-fact-checking, short-sighted dark side of the media elite. Not liberal, but lazy. And loose. And you know.

Scott McClellan is in no moral position to lecture anyone on responsible reporting. Period.

George Galloway, while he may find some support from the naive, short sighted quarters, and the unreconstructed flank of the anti-war Left, if this guy really did buy oil from Saddam, then he deserves all he gets. The word on the street is that this guy is quite the pro-Saddam, neo-Stalinist lunatic.

If all those conservative myrmidons are really going to stand behind their Don, Tom DeLay, then they do so at their peril.

OK. I'm done.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

The Burden of the Liberal Hawks

Author’s note: This essay was produced before the successful Iraqi elections. Let it be said that I’ve essentially always supported the war in Iraq, believing that Saddam’s removal from power was not only a good thing for the Iraqi people that lived under his tyranny for thirty years, but ultimately the world’s security. I had (and so a certain extent still have) concerns about the way the war was sold, a lot of the management decisions made by the political leadership, and Abu Ghraib. That being said, the recent success of the elections, as well as the subsequent democratic shift, have effectively dissauded my fears, and left me a bit embarassed. I’ve always been a liberal hawk, and have always recognized the neccessity of a strong, active, yet cautious military presence. Yet it seemed that many of us became too cautious, and almost lost sight of the big picture. Also, this moment has forced a lot of us to admit to the hard truth, the maybe Bush was right.

I’ve never been that anti-Bush, so I learned a long time ago to look beyond George Bush when considering the future of Iraq. Essentially, I have little trouble giving the President his due on this, but I must affix this question to my praise: Why in God’s name didn’t you just say it was about democracy in the beginning? The IWR does go well beyond WMDs, but a lot of the case is linked to WMDs and supposed al-qaeda links. Anyway, there’s till that question of Osama, and the funding of the war, and the handling of criticism. Nevertheless, Bush called it.

That being said, I’m using this essay as an attempt to be fair to those who opposed Iraq, but genuinely still want to fight terror. There are many in the anti-war crowd that I’ve given up trying to reach. It is a thankless job trying to convince people of the justice of Iraq, while defending them from attacks on their patriotism by the Right, yet being called a neo-con dupe by those I’m trying to defend. I know what John Kerry must have felt like. Anyway, here’s the essay:


I've been thinking about the debate about Iraq, and it seems that one of the things that bothers me about the debate over Iraq, as someone who generally supports just wars, but has serious concerns about this Iraq war( despite my continued cautious support of it), is that the Right, and those who unequivocally support this war assume this was an imperative war. This explains the World War II and Civil War analogies.

Considering the threat Hitler and Japan posed, I don't think it's at all absurd to suggest that World War II was an imperative war. We had a clear threat, and clear allied support. I believe the same could be said of Afghanistan. With Iraq however, while a moral case can be made from removing Saddam, with all the evidence of the lack of an imminent threat, or a link to the terrorists who posed the prime threat, this war could hardly be called imperative. That being said, even if one felt Saddam deserved removal, we certainly had wiggle room to solidify our allied coalition, formulate an exit strategy, and to make sure war was the only option.

The argument from the conservatives is always the same: We need to fight the terrorists over there, so we don't have to fight them over here. Then they look back to World War II and other wars, whenever questions of postwar planning or causalities arise. "If we had waited during World War II, the Germans would have won" they'll say. "It took years to rebuild Germany after the war." This argument misses the point, that Iraq is not Germany, and while Saddam was a murderous despot, and his being deposed is a good thing, Saddam was not a Hitler-level threat, or a bin-Laden-level threat.

You can simply argue that this is merely the strategy of the "warmongering neo-con forces," to justify their flawed foreign policy. Yet it seems that otherwise reasonable people fall into this trap, and if the "not against all wars, but against this war" argument is to stand, it must be fought on the grounds that Iraq is not like World War II, or the Civil War, or the Revolutionary War, or the war in Afghanistan (all wars I'm sure we all support).

Now there are of course those who oppose all wars, on pacifist grounds. That is a whole different situation. My final point is this, if you happen to oppose this war, or are still on the fence, and you meet someone who supports the Iraq War unequivocally (keep in mind that still support the war, but I have serious concerns), regardless of what's happened, ask them to explain why this war was imperative. Ask them explain the case for diverting from the larger war on terror to Iraq, or how Iraq is part of the larger war on terror. I support the war on terror, and I still think Saddam being gone is a good thing, but I'm still waiting for someone to explain to me why Iraq couldn't wait, after all that we know, and I hope to God I can get an answer that doesn't include anything about John Kerry's supposedly weak defense record, or George Bush's supposedly unwavering moral vision.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

The Pope is dead. May he rest in peace.

The Holy Father has passed away. He's with the Lord. God rest his soul.

You too, Terri Schiavo. At last, your suffering has ended. The media treated you like a prop, and politicians fought over you, and I'm sure ALL your family loved you. Into to the Lord's glory you go.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Unexpected Wisdom of the Day: Machiavelli

I was doing a bit of reading the other day, and upon reading my copy of Machiavelli's Prince, I noticed a timely bit of advice. One caveat: The whole of Machiavelli's ideas are not to be completely embraced. He was after all, not the biggest fan of democracy. However, this tidbit from chapter 3 of The Prince, does serve as a sufficient counter-argument to that overused anti-war misconception that war is never the answer:

"Because the Romans did in these instances what all prudent princes ought to do, who have to regard not only present troubles, but also future ones, for which they must prepare with every energy, because, when foreseen, it is easy to remedy them; but if you wait until they approach, the medicine is no longer in time because the malady has become incurable; for it happens in this, as the physicians say it happens in hectic fever, that in the beginning of the malady it is easy to cure but difficult to detect, but in the course of time, not having been either detected or treated in the beginning, it becomes easy to detect but difficult to cure. Thus it happens in affairs of state, for when the evils that arise have been foreseen (which it is only given to a wise man to see), they can be quickly redressed, but when, through not having been foreseen, they have been permitted to grow in a way that every one can see them. there is no longer a remedy. Therefore, the Romans, foreseeing troubles, dealt with them at once, and, even to avoid a war, would not let them come to a head, for they knew that war is not to be avoided, but is only put off to the advantage of others."

my emphasis added.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

A word of advice...

For those who supported the Iraq war in the beginning, but are now unsure. For those who support the war somewhat reluctantly. For those who didn't and still don't support it, but have an open mind:

You really ought to read the Iraq War Resolution again. I'm serious. Read the whole thing.

Friday, March 11, 2005

War Crimes? Really!?

You know, I realize the war in Iraq is controversial. I gather that. I realize that a lot of mistakes have been made. Despite my cautious support for the war (I've had my concerns), I'll readily admit that mistakes were made by the adminstration. I've made clear that I'm not the biggest fan of Bush, and I had no problem backing Kerry this past election. My point is this: I recognize that there are those with reasonable disagreements with this war. However, let me say this without equivocation: THIS WAS NOT A WAR CRIME.

You see, I can understand people thinking the war was unwise, or unsound, or poorly planned in several ways (I'll cede the last one). But the only war criminal involved in this affair is Saddam and his rogues, and the insurgents and terrorists killing Americans, our allies, and innocent Iraqis.

I know about Abu Ghraib. It was horrible, but it hardly represents the actions of the whole military. I know about the pre-emption thing. I know about there being no WMDs. The lack of WMDs bothers me to this day. But, I'll say again. This war is not illegal, and I have a real hard time calling the liberation of millions of people, from three decades of tyranny, unjust.

Bush is not a war criminal, and certainly the troops aren't. Bush my be a self-interested, simple-minded, stubborn fool, but he is no fascist. He is no murderer.

BTW, he's gone in four years, so let us look beyond this, huh?

Saturday, March 05, 2005

A Question of Values

As all of us must surely know by now, things didn’t exactly turn out well for the Democrats this past election. We can debate the size and scope of Bush’s victory, and we can agree that Bush’s “mandate,” is an overblown exaggeration. Regardless of how we slice it however, us Democrats took a hit last November. In the days and weeks following, the self-appointed experts of the political sphere made it their duty to inform us of why we lost. The Democratic leadership went back to the beginning, after having a sort of political “dark night of the soul.” “Did we move too far left?” Did we move too far to the center?” Did we pick the wrong candidate in John Kerry?” These are the questions we asked of ourselves, and others in the media asked. The right-wingers, in-between their fits of gloating and complaining (they’ve won, and they’re STILL complaining!), made up their minds that Bush’s victory was a rebuke of “blue state values, Michael Moore, the Clintons, the ‘anti-Bush Hollywood Left,’ and the so-called liberal media. According to the prevailing political wisdom, the Democrats lost on values. A question must be asked: What on earth does that mean?

Apparently, a lot of people in middle America were really upset that people had the audacity to question the policies of the President. The “liberal media” canard is an old straw man—the more things change, the more they stay the same. Conservatives have been at this for years, but the intensity has increased exponentially in the last few years. In the few months after 9-11, the country was for the most part, unified. One would think this would have lasted, but it seems that both sides are split like never before. In the realms of the lunatic fringe, it has always been like this, but even on the street, it can be brutal. Friends are lost, families are divided, and partisan division stalls those elected to do the people’s business. The debate over who is most responsible for the division could roll on ad infinitum, but it seems to me, that with a few notable exceptions, most of the criticism of Bush was policy-based, while most of the criticism of the opposition was personal, or based on distortion. Max Cleland was compared to Osama for questioning the President, Tom Daschle was compared to Saddam Hussein for opposing drilling in ANWR, and Democrats were labeled obstructionists for opposing Bush even an inch. Legitimate concerns about protecting civil liberties were dismissed as paranoia, and a whole host of pundits, activists, and Republican leaders attacked liberals and Democrats at every turn. Republicans cried about Michael Moore. Maybe sitting him next to Jimmy Carter was a bad idea. I’ll be honest, I have serious issues with Moore, but why does the Left have to rein in its extremists, and the Right gets a pass? Did Howard Dean ever accuse Bush of accusing Vietnam vets of war crimes? Did Al Franken ever accuse Bush of conspiring with the Vietcong? Need I even mention the decade of pure vitriol against Bill Clinton? What makes this even more absurd is that conservatives accuse the Left of being the haters.

After the election, conservatives complained about “anti-Bush hate,” and assailed the Left’s patriotism in the next breath. They gloated, arguing the Left’s supposed hatred of Bush sealed our fate. Consider this: How is it, that a handful of radicals can engage in real-live personal attacks (Bush is Hitler, Bush is a war criminal, etc), or even bash America, and the WHOLE group of liberals, Democrats, progressives gets blamed, but when practically every activist, pundit, and think tank scholar on the far-right engages in attacks, and they get a pass? O’Reilly says that Richard Mellon Scaife isn’t as far right, as George Soros is far-left. That really depends on one’s perspective, no? If Bill O’Reilly really were an independent, he would never utter such foolishness. Soros is certainly far to the Left, but Scaife is as equally far to the Right, and the only reason he doesn’t se it that way, is because he himself leans right.

Now, I’m sure you knew all that. The hypocrisy is well established in this situation. Conservatives didn’t consider what they said hate, because in their minds, it is all true. In the minds of the hard right, the Left really does hate America, and any criticism of Bush is seen as a treasonous attack against America, and American values. Now, perhaps I’m being too harsh. After all, most mainstream Republicans and conservatives don’t think this way. My best friends are Republicans. It is those elites, the pundits, the think-tankers, the activists, the ideologues, for them liberalism isn’t just different—it’s evil. That being said, it’s no wonder that conservatives get upset when Hollywood makes movies. They say they hate it when Hollywood gets involved in politics. The truth is, Hollywood’s always been political. What they hate is that it’s not their politics. When conservatives speak out in Hollywood, it’s cool. When liberals do it, it’s treason. Since Bush represents America in their minds, an attack on Bush is an attack on America. That explains why all those Dixie Chicks fans turned on them after Natalie Maines said she didn’t like Bush. “Dixie sluts!” was the outcry. Hollywood Dems who backed Bush (i.e. Ron Silver, James Woods) are seen as heroes and noble outcasts. Dennis Miller says he backs Bush because he’s a patriot. Backing the President no matter what doesn’t make you a patriot, it makes you a sheep. Never mind that none of this seemed to apply during Clinton’s term.

So, let us return to the initial question of values. I’m an evangelical Christian, and a moderate on a lot of issues, so I don’t think we should ignore the values issue. It does no one any good to label all Christians and people of faith, as “stupid, right-wing, bigots.” That behavior is just as bad as labeling blue staters “godless, commie, liberal, elites.” I do however, think it is past time for someone to stand up and draw the line between those sincere people who want sanity and balance in the debate on morality, and those self-important, un-elected, self-righteous, moralistic elites, who think it their duty to define morality for the nation, assault every work of art under the sun because it doesn’t openly endorse conservatism, and use wedge issues to divide and conquer. Christianity is not conservatism, and vice versa. We need to rise up and declare that the sum total of moral values is not simple opposition to gay marriage and abortion. The Taliban opposes gay marriage and abortion. Are we to follow their example? Strong families. A sound economy. Healthcare. Education. Equal rights. A sound and effective foreign policy. Fighting poverty. Protecting the environment. Civil rights and liberties. Free speech. Truth in government. These are all moral values too.

The Democrats don’t need to move to the Left, or to the Center. The Democratic Party is a Center-Left party. We need to stop trying to out-Republican the Republicans. We need to define issues. We need to move beyond simple opposition and take a stand. We’ve misunderstood red-state voters, while the Republicans have used them for their own political gain. Bush’ll be gone in four years. We’ll survive Bush. At the end of the day, the ideologues will fight each other, while the rest of us will take the Party back, and win this thing for America.

Monday, February 14, 2005

This is my first real post. We're officially live!

OK. Here we go. I've finally decided to get my blog going. In the case the somewhat audacious title didn't clue you in, the blog is run by a pro-defense moderate Democrat, who supports a reasoned, but active policy of fighting terrorism, and spreading freedom and democracy abroad. I do not subscribe to the foolish notion that such a noble enterprise will be easy, but it is noble. This is no a pro-Bush site, and I hope this blog will serve as an alternative for those lonely liberals out there who don't feel Iraq was a total disaster, but find that a whole lot of pro-war blogs are run as if they were produced directly out of the Bush White House.

Anyway, now that introductions are made, let us cue the music...

Oh yeah, Happy Valentine's Day!