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.