Sunday, July 31, 2005

Posner pile-up

Stirling Newberry beats up on Posner.

My take here.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Poppy, privilege and politics

Let's say everything the Republicans are saying is true. Let's say (and, since I'm not a Republican I'm willing to admit this) that I was wrong when I wrote that Roberts couldn't withhold certain documents because of attorney/client privilege (see the debate about my argument in comments here). Let's say that Scott McClellan was telling the truth when he said:
We have not seen or reviewed those documents... It wouldn't be appropriate for us to do so. That's privileged information that is related to the confidential deliberative process between attorney and client.
If all that's a given, then attorney/client privilege still exists between George H. W. Bush and John G. Roberts.

Politically, that's a good thing.

Every Democrat asked about this issue from now on should call on Poppy to waive attorney/client privilege in order to expedite the confirmation of John Roberts. How does this help us politically? Let me count the ways:
  1. We get to point out our party's greater openness.
    Former President Clinton has waived his right to restrict access to most records of confidential advice during his administration, opening the path for historians to more quickly study key decisions in the Clinton White House.

    However, Clinton will not waive attorney-client privilege over personal issues such as Whitewater and the Monica Lewinsky-Paula Jones investigations.

    The records to be released include exchanges among top advisers, staff counsel given directly to Clinton and advice from non-staff members regarding domestic policy and appointments. Clinton would like the records released before his presidential library opens at Little Rock next year.

    "I believe that the more information we can make available to scholars, historians and the general public, the better informed people will be about the formulation of public policy and the decision-making process at the White House," Clinton said in response to written questions from The Associated Press.
  2. We get to remind the American public of the Iran-Contra Scandal and the scummy machinations that kept so many of G.H.W. Bush's people out of jail, a preemptive strike against using the technique in the Plame case.

  3. We can tell the American public that these documents -- and many others -- would probably have been public already if not for Bush's violation of the Presidential Records Act.
There are other benefits to calling Poppy out, but I'll let the aides of Leahy and others figure those out rather than put all the cards on the table here. Let's get started.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Therein Lies the Problem

Maybe you should try thinking.
[via Suburban Guerilla]

Checks? Balances? Fuck 'em!

Wow! Conservatives should be ecstatic about the John Roberts nomination! When the man says he believes in "judicial restraint," it seems that he might actually mean tying judges up and throwing them (and the entire justice system) into the freaking river. (Link via Atrios.)
Much of Roberts's time at the Justice Department was taken up by the debate over GOP-sponsored bills in Congress that would have stripped the Supreme Court of its jurisdiction over abortion, busing and school prayer cases. He wrote repeatedly in opposition to the view, advanced by then-Assistant Attorney General Theodore B. Olson, that the bills were unconstitutional. He scrawled "NO!" in the margins of an April 12, 1982, note Olson sent to Smith. In the memo, Olson observed that opposing the bills would "be perceived as a courageous and highly principled position, especially in the press."

Roberts drew a bracket around the paragraph, underlined the words "especially in the press," and wrote in the margin: "Real courage would be to read the Constitution as it should be read and not kowtow to the Tribes, Lewises and Brinks!"

The three appear to be to Harvard Law School professor Laurence H. Tribe, New York Times columnist Anthony Lewis and then-American Bar Association President David R. Brink, who opposed the bills.
How happy Cornyn, DeLay and the Stalin-loving wingnut Christians everywhere must be. Now, one would have to ignore this silly thing in order to justify stripping judges of their right to deal with certain issues--
Article. III.

Section. 1.
The judicial Power of the United States, shall be vested in one supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish. The Judges, both of the supreme and inferior Courts, shall hold their Offices during good Behaviour, and shall, at stated Times, receive for their Services, a Compensation, which shall not be diminished during their Continuance in Office.

Section. 2.
Clause 1: The judicial Power shall extend to all Cases in Law and Equity, arising under this Constitution, the Laws of the United States, and Treaties made, or which shall be made, under their Authority
...
--but I'm sure that we can all agree it's outlived its usefulness, right?

UPDATE: On the Radoshes

I want to fill in the three or four regular readers of Nitpicker on the issue with Ronald Radosh. You'll remember that Ronald Radosh is the author of Red Star Over Hollywood, a book lovingly reviewed by Martin Peretz. I was pissed, writing that Marty is freaking dead to me now. I assumed that the book, which I haven't yet read, would be vile, based on prior articles by the author, including one in which he refers to the left as "self-described progressives steeped in existential depravity."

Funny thing, though. I originally wrote Daniel Radosh rather than Ronald. Daniel pointed that out in a bemused way. As a lefty, he went on to defend his "dear ol' neocon dad":
Nitpicker points out that my father is the guy who "once wrote that 'America is rent by two cultures,' the 'traditionalists' and 'self-described progressives steeped in existential depravity.'" And here my unqualified defense of dad is based not on the argument that this article, on the web site of the think tank he's affiliated with, is in any sense defensible (not with sentences like, "For them rap is music and manners are arbitrary rules," and "Can skateboarders convert insouciance into war-fighting ability?"), but rather on the fact that my father didn't write it, any more than I wrote Red Star Over Hollywood. Yes, it has his byline, but he assures me he's never even seen it before -- and it really doesn't sound like him. Some intern at the Hudson Institute is so about to get fired.
I apologized for the mix-up, but said that, frankly, I wasn't buying the "some intern wrote that" line.

So, I called and e-mailed the Hudson Institute and left several messages for the webmaster. I was curious when, exactly, the article in question had been put up on the website. I also wanted to know who provided the webmaster with the article in the first place. I have received no response from the institute. It has been three weeks since my original post and the article has not been removed from the site. It also still carries Radosh's byline.

One could still think, I suppose, that Ronald Radosh just hasn't gotten around to fixing the problem, but Daniel seems to suggest that his father was unhappy about the situation and was going to kick some ass over it. I hope that's the case. I would hate to think that R. Radosh could stoop so low as to lie to his own son, no matter what side of the political dividing line he may be on.

"The illusionists"

Billmon must be heard.
There are several recent articles on the Iraq War that are probably worth a read -- that is, if you're the kind of person who likes to slow down and gawk at horrible car crashes on the freeway. Even the New Pravda is getting into the act, as the above quote, from John Burns, one of the paper's Baghdad correspondents, signifies.

But the most interesting thing about Burns's piece isn't what it tells about Iraq now -- when the descent into chaos is obvious to all -- but what it tells about the high command's views a year ago:
As Iraq resumed its sovereignty after the period of American occupation, the new American team that arrived then, headed by Ambassador John D. Negroponte, had a withering term for the optimistic approach of their predecessors, led by L. Paul Bremer III.

The new team called the departing Americans "the illusionists," for their conviction that America could create a Jeffersonian democracy on the ruins of Saddam Hussein's medieval brutalism. One American military commander began his first encounter with American reporters by asking, "Well, gentlemen, tell me: Do you think that events here afford us the luxury of hope?"
This is not, however, what John F. Burns and the New Pravda were telling us at the time. Rather, we were treated to tabloid-like coverage of Saddam's arraignment, cautiously optimistic takes on the transfer of "sovereignty" to CIA puppet Iyad Allawi, and warm and fuzzy profiles of Bremer, which gave us some need-to-know factoids about his passion for gourmet cooking...

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Hasn't this been decided already?

Bushies are claiming "privilege" yet again:
The White House will make public the bulk of documents related to Supreme Court nominee John G. Roberts Jr.'s service as a lawyer in Ronald Reagan's administration but will withhold papers generated during his time as deputy solicitor general under President George H.W. Bush to preserve privileged internal deliberations, officials said last night. [Emphasis Nitpicker's]
The Office of the Solicitor General, as others have pointed out, works not for the president but for the people of the United States. This was already decided legally during the Clinton administration. Michael Dreeben, a lawyer who worked (and, I believe, continues to work) in the office, recalled the case two years ago at Brigham Young University's "Rex E. Lee Conference on the Office of the Solicitor General of the United States"
(T)his case grew out of a subpoena that the independent counsel issued for notes that were taken of conversations between Hillary Rodham Clinton and White House attorneys in preparation for grand jury appearances and congressional appearances. The Office of the President asserted an attorney-client privilege. The District Court accepted [the assertion of privilege] in a kind of odd way, saying that Mrs. Clinton thought there was one at the time, and therefore she is entitled to rely on it. The Eighth Circuit reversed and said there is no attorney-client privilege for the First Lady or any other government official who consults with government counsel as opposed to private counsel.
Conservatives were elated. The Washington Times said it was "serious stuff" for a solicitor general to "consider himself personally bound to be loyal to the wishes of the president" ("When the president says privileged, Justice agrees," June 10, 1997). The Clinton White House appealed the case and the Supreme Court refused to hear it, letting the Eighth Circuit's ruling stand. This decision was applauded by none other than Orrin Hatch, who castigated the Clintons for claiming privilege in an op-ed in the New York Times (Pay archive).
One central aspect of the Administration's strategy has been to withhold information based on spurious claims of privilege, force Judge Starr to negotiate and litigate, and then complain about the delay. The claim of privilege that wasted the most money and time came when Judge Starr sought notes made in a meeting between Hillary Rodham Clinton and Government lawyers. The President's claim of privilege over these documents was so specious that it was rejected out of hand by the Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, and the Supreme Court declined to review the case. This two-year delay, however, seriously set back Judge Starr's efforts.
So, are "Judge Starr's efforts" to prosecute a president for fellatio more important than the constitutional requirement of the Senate to consent to the president's choice for the lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court? Orrin seems to think so.
Democrats said yesterday they will demand that the Bush administration hand over internal legal memorandums written by Supreme Court nominee John G. Roberts Jr. while he was a government lawyer...

Sen. Orrin G. Hatch, Utah Republican and former chairman of the Judiciary Committee, said yesterday he doesn't think "Democrats are going to get away with that this time."

"Democrats know that if they are going to play that partisan game again, in something where the stakes are this large with a person of this quality and who they know who is qualified to be on the court, the American people are not going to put up with it," he said after meeting with Judge Roberts. "And the administration is not going to put up with it."
I haven't argued for or against the Roberts nomination. I say give the guy a chance, but, for Pete's sake, no Democrat should allow Republicans to claim privilege now. As the Eighth Circuit said in its ruling, such privileges "are not lightly created."

Update: See this comment at DailyKos.

Update 2: Hesiod has more.
(T)he White House, with good reason, cannot simply stonewall production of those papers.

The reason is that it would be against federal law to do so.

Both the Freedom of Information Act, and the Presidential Records Act clearly mandate that most of the material at the Reagan Library be accessible to the public upon request and if the proper procedures are followed.

Now, President Bush issued Executive Order 13233 early in his first term, and made it more difficult to obtain the record. Although there is some serious question as to whether this executive order violates the Presidential Records Act.
You must read the whole thing.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Posner v. the people

Yesterday's New York Times Review of Books included a rather long article on the media by Richard Posner. I won't go too far into the fact that, for a supposedly great legal mind, he seems quite simple-minded in offering, say, the uber-partisan Brent Bozell as a counterpoint to the inarguably more scholarly Eric Alterman. Fox News is, Posner suggests, no more partisan than CNN. Nor is The Wall Street Journal, with its all-conservative stable of columnists, any different than The New York Times -- this despite the fact that Posner, a well-known if sometimes open-minded conservative, is arguing that the Times is conservative inside the pages of the Times itself.

Posner believes that polarization of the media is driven almost solely by economics. Conservatives and liberals want to see their viewpoints reinforced, he argues (as do many others) and, therefore, slanted media outlets are simply filling a market niche. "(P)eople don't like being in a state of doubt, so they look for information that will support rather than undermine their existing beliefs," Posner writes. If we accept this is the case, then what must we say of America? Are we truly a nation of citizens so trapped in the grips of cognitive dissonance that we no longer care whether our opinions stand up to reality? I believe this is as cynical a view of the United States as I've heard in a long time and, as I'll show, ultimately false.

Remember, Posner is a man beloved by the likes of the Power Line crowd, who praise him for belonging to a legal school of thought known as "law and economics." This theory basically attaches economic decision-making to legal decision-making. (Obviously this is done because economists, unlike lawyers agree so much more often than lawyers.) Dahlia Lithwick calls it, in her typically acerbic way, "a school of thought that derives legal principles from economic analysis, typically pointing at some established legal doctrine and declaring it nonsense." If there were ever a judge around whose neck could be hung the title of "judicial activist," it would probably be the likes of Posner.

The idea that the study of economics is one of reason and, because Posner and his like are on a level of thought above ours they can suss that reason out where we cannot, is also as pure and example of judicial elitism as I can imagine. That elitist attitude carries over into Posner's article. Consider:
Thus the increase in competition in the news market that has been brought about by lower costs of communication (in the broadest sense) has resulted in more variety, more polarization, more sensationalism, more healthy skepticism and, in sum, a better matching of supply to demand. But increased competition has not produced a public more oriented toward public issues, more motivated and competent to engage in genuine self-government, because these are not the goods that most people are seeking from the news media. They are seeking entertainment, confirmation, reinforcement, emotional satisfaction; and what consumers want, a competitive market supplies, no more, no less. Journalists express dismay that bottom-line pressures are reducing the quality of news coverage. What this actually means is that when competition is intense, providers of a service are forced to give the consumer what he or she wants, not what they, as proud professionals, think the consumer should want, or more bluntly, what they want.

Yet what of the sliver of the public that does have a serious interest in policy issues? Are these people less well served than in the old days? Another recent survey by the Pew Research Center finds that serious magazines have held their own and that serious broadcast outlets, including that bane of the right, National Public Radio, are attracting ever larger audiences. And for that sliver of a sliver that invites challenges to its biases by reading The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, that watches CNN and Fox, that reads Brent Bozell and Eric Alterman and everything in between, the increased polarization of the media provides a richer fare than ever before.
Posner, in my view, is doing nothing more here than giving the "bread and circuses" argument. The people are stupid and just want to be entertained. The intellectual "sliver" can still figure out where to get their news and information.

Yet here's a question: If a network such as Fox News is simply giving conservative viewers what they want to hear? Why the fig leaf of "balance"? Is it just too obvious?

The real question is this: If Fox News -- which, as they tells us all the time is the "most-watched cable news channel" -- is simply feeding the prejudice of Republican viewers, then why are Bush's poll numbers so dismal? If the American public is as intellectually disinterested as Posner would have us believe, one would think that Bush's numbers would be high and/or split across party lines. As Ann Coulter wrote recently, conservatives "have a fully functioning alternative media." It's not functioning all that well, Ann.

Posner truly believes that Americans are simply stupid, but, even before the recent CIA leak scandal, Bush's poll numbers were dismal. Posner writes that a "survey by the National Opinion Research Center finds that the public's confidence in the press declined from about 85 percent in 1973 to 59 percent in 2002, with most of the decline occurring since 1991." Bush, on the other hand is well below 50%. If A) the "MSM" were so unpopular and; B) Fox News is the most-watched cable news channel (and has a noticeable Bush bias), then one would expect to see his numbers much higher than they are if things were as simple as Posner would have us believe.

Someone recently told me that I was "too partisan" to be trusted when I argued politics. It's simply not true. Yes, I'm a Democrat and I believe in the party, but, were I simply a partisan, I would be cheering right now for the idiots who are destroying the Republican Party. I sat with three retired Guardsmen the other day -- two sergeants major and a lieutenant colonel -- and heard the same thing from all three men. They were all Republicans. They all said that they wished Kerry had run a better campaign. They all wanted Bush gone. Americans are too smart to buy the Bushies' line of B.S. forever. Most Americans in the end, I believe, agree with Edwin Way Teale, the down-home naturalist who wrote, "It is morally as bad not to care whether a thing is true or not, so long as it makes you feel good, as it is not to care how you got your money as long as you have it."

Posner, while he might be quite the patriot, certainly doesn't seem to think to highly of his fellow Americans. They renew my faith in them every day.

The New Threat

Don't worry though, this Misadministration is right on it because they saw the savagery of the London and Egypt attacks so you know they'll take action. Adam has the scoop.[SATIRE WARNING]

Friday, July 22, 2005

Pennsylvania voters: Help Santorum's children

This article should convince you that the senator needs to spend more "quantity time" at home with his kids.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Brownback embarrasses us (again)

The good people at clever peasantry found this sentence(last week), embedded in the first draft of fellow Kansan Senator Sam Brownback's "Human Chimera Prohibition Act." He describes a human chimera, in part, as
a human embryo that consists of cells derived from more than 1 human embryo, fetus, or born individual
Apparently, in order to prevent abortion, Brownback thinks that it's just best if he outlaws procreation all together. As cleversponge points out, aren't all of our parents born individuals?

Mnemonics

"R" is for Rove,

The right hand of Bush

"S" is for secret

Or possibly shush.

Either way.

Emperor Romney

From this article, we learn some funny things about Mitt Romney. The man has a staff of 13 whose sole job is, as Democratic state congressman James Marzilli puts it, to "polish the governor's halo."
Democratic leaders anointed Gov. Mitt Romney "Matinee Mitt" yesterday following a Herald report that he has a 13-person squad devoted to choreographing every detail of his public appearances.

"It is bizarre. It is like a make-believe world," said Jane Lane, executive director of the Massachusetts Democratic Party, about the $350,000 in state salaries paid to nine staff members who, along with four unpaid interns, make up Romney's Office of Operations.

"At a time when cities and towns are desperate for more police, firefighters and public school teachers, Gov. Romney thinks it is more important that he looks good at public appearances," Lane said.
Even funnier is the fact that the office door for the governor's spin squad has a sign on it reading, "Governor's Office of Operations. LXX," since Romney's the 70th governor of Massachusetts. All hail Romney!

Yes, it's amusing that the guy needs so many primpers and "yes men" around to appease his vanity, but there is that matter of cost. Over Romney's four-year term, that's $1.4 million he's paying out in salaries alone. The article points out, though, that the expense only begins with the salaries:
Romney spokeswoman Julie Teer refused yesterday to provide further information on costs associated with the office, despite a two-month-old public records request filed by the Herald.

Workers in the office, including four advance people, have state credit cards, surveillance kits similar to those used by the Secret Service and other electronic equipment paid for by taxpayers.

Operations staff also travel in and out of state with the governor.

The sprawling suite of offices in the State House basement, taken over by the image squad in February, has banks of computers, a refrigerator, microwave and stacks of Romney promotional material.
All this from a man who once said cutting the federal workforce would be a great way to get some extra budget savings and that his experience running the Olympics showed him how he could cut waste in government. "We took things out that were waste, that were unnecessary, the folderol that wasn't essential to carrying out the mission of a great Olympics," Romney said. "The same thing, I believe, can happen in government."

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Stuff to see

Over at Salon, Aaron Kinney points out that Christopher Hitchens has finally lost it. The man's bending over backwards for the Bushies so far these days that the back of his head smells like testicles.

Kos tells us about Jerry Falwell receiving a press exemption from the FEC. Can someone look into whether or not the "Old Time Gospel Hour" is considered a tax-exempt church entity? (And let's not forget Paul McLeary, who says that "campaign finance laws are there for a reason, and it's a little presumptuous of bloggers to hold themselves above the system." Let's see if he next chastises Falwell.)

Some conservative bloggers are saying that Howard Dean called Republicans bigots. Here's the story:
Democratic National Chairman Howard Dean told the National Council of La Raza in Philadelphia today that he expected the Republicans to "scapegoat" immigrants in the 2006 election.

In a speech to the annual convention of hispanic leaders, Dean said the GOP tried to generate fears about blacks through the quota issue in the 2002 election and about gays through the marriage issue last year.

"In 2006, it's going to be immigrants," he said. "You wait and see."

Republican chairman Kenneth Mehlman, in his own address to the group, did not respond to Dean's comments directly. He later told reporters that the allegation was "laughable" and said that President Bush had put together what Mehlman called "the most diverse administration in history."
So A) Dean never said Republicans were bigots; and B) this is the same Ken Mehlman that recently admitted Republicans scapegoated blacks for political gains in the south. "Sure, we used to use race-baiting as a strategy, but not now!

World O'Crap reaches 2 million hits.

I felt dirty after looking at this.

Roberts Update

Billmon writes of Bob John Roberts ...
"But one look at the guy's picture:
and you can tell it's not going to be easy to pin the "radical right" label on him. That's not the kind of face you expect to see mingling with the crazies at a Justice Sunday rally."
That may be true but my first impression was that he had the grinning, vacant, steely stare of a psychopath:Separated at birth? A question for the confirmation hearings: Did you maim, butcher or otherwise assassinate any small animals as a child?

Falwell, the Bible and Me

Falwell writes a nasty letter about the Christian Alliance for Progress:
Last month, a new leftist religious organization announced its inception to battle the alleged domination that Dr. James Dobson, Pat Robertson and I have on modern day politics. This organization, the Christian Alliance for Progress, is hardly "Christian."
The Bible says:
Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge. There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy: who art thou that judgest another? – James 4:11-12(KJV)
Falwell continues:
First, the sole purpose for Jesus' ministry on earth was stated in His own words: "... for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost" (Luke 19:30). Any organization that deems to calls itself "Christian," simply must have as its basis the reality that Jesus asserted that salvation could come only through Him.

I wonder if the leadership of the Christian Alliance for Progress would state that Jesus Christ, who conquered death following His crucifixion, is the singular avenue to eternal life in heaven? If not, how can the name Christian be suitable for this organization?
But Christ himself is pretty clear about the requirements for getting into heaven and they sound darn liberal to me:
Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal. – Matthew 41-46 (KJV)
Falwell:
Here is a reality of the Bible: it clearly forbids homosexual behavior and, for that matter, any sexual activity outside the bonds of male-female marriage. The Word of God unmistakably speaks against homosexual behavior in Romans chapter 1, describing a time in history when, as today, men and women gave themselves over to unnatural sexual relations. There can be no mistaking that these passages condemn same-sex relationships. The Christian Alliance for Progress can label themselves "Christian," but they are willfully daring to distort and dispute biblical writings forbidding homosexuality.
Here, I would argue that the Bible is not intended to be a cudgel. It’s not intended to be used to force anyone to act in some manner that you agree with, but is intended to be used to guide individuals’ choices. In fact, just after the section in which Paul condemns homosexuality – along with backbiting, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient children, whisperers, the implacable and those without understanding – he goes on to say, at the beginning of Romans chapter 2, that
(T)hou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things.
Falwell goes on:
Further, abortion is clearly not the will of God. The Bible does not expressly address abortion, but in Psalm 139, we see a beautiful and remarkable picture of Almighty God ministering to us even within the womb:

"But you covered my inward parts;
You covered me in my mother's womb.
I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Marvelous are Your works" (Psalm 139: 13, 14)

Bottom line: personhood begins in the womb at conception; and the Bible is clear - "Thou shalt not kill."
Yet Falwell has found arguments against killing less than convincing before. In fact, he argued that not only should the death penalty continue to be used, but the process of killing criminals should be sped up, saying that “we need to reduce the time between conviction and execution.”

It seems to me the only way that someone could both say that the Bible is unequivocal about killing and yet still support the death penalty is to harken back to the Lex Talionis or “Law of Retaliation,” known to most people as the rule of an “eye for an eye.” The rule shows up in its most often mentioned reference, Leviticus 24:17-21:
And he that killeth any man shall surely be put to death. And he that killeth a beast shall make it good; beast for beast. And if a man cause a blemish in his neighbour; as he hath done, so shall it be done to him; Breach for breach, eye for eye, tooth for tooth: as he hath caused a blemish in a man, so shall it be done to him again. And he that killeth a beast, he shall restore it: and he that killeth a man, he shall be put to death.
While Leviticus is clear here, it’s important to note that there are numerous sections of Leviticus which Christians don’t really believe ought to be strictly enforced anymore. Does Reverend Falwell advocate the stoning deaths of those who curse (Leviticus 24:23), like, say, President Bush or Vice President Cheney, who have both cursed publicly? Does he believe that the blind, the lame, the crooked backed and the little people should not be allowed to worship the same as everyone else (Leviticus 21:18-20)?

Interestingly enough, the Lex Talionis does show up somewhere else in the Bible and, in this place, the Bible actually does “expressly address abortion.”
If men strive, and hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit depart from her, and yet no mischief follow: he shall be surely punished, according as the woman's husband will lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges determine. And if any mischief follow, then thou shalt give life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burning for burning, wound for wound, stripe for stripe. (Exodus 21:22-25)
So, while the abortion addressed here is an accidental one, it shows that the Bible does not place the same value on the life of the unborn as it does on the life of an adult. If it did, then wouldn’t the man who made the woman abort have to be killed? Of course he would. The Bible, however, allows the husband to set the value of the unborn, much as he would for other property.

Me, I don’t like abortion and nor do I “believe” in it, but, like other members of the Christian Alliance, I think that prevention of unwanted pregnancy is a much better choice than the criminalization of abortion.

Falwell’s letter goes on:
Finally, the Alliance calls for peace and an end to war, but they cannot understand that the only true peace that man can know comes through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. He was not a hippie do-gooder, but rather the Son of the Living God who came to earth to pave the one way to heaven for mankind. To present Him as anything less is an outrage.
Yet Christ certainly seems at least a little “hippie-like” in calling for His followers to “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.” I don’t think, therefore, that it’s foolish to suggest that Christ would have preferred an “end to war” if possible. Unfortunately, an end to war probably isn’t possible.

Let me stress that I am in no way a pacifist myself (I just returned from a deployment to Afghanistan, after all), but I don’t think the war in Iraq meets the standards that my fellow Catholics like St. Augustine, St. Thomas More and, yes, that wild-eyed hippie Pope John Paul II felt a war must meet to be considered a “just war.” As then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (now His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI) put it, "The concept of a 'preventive war' does not appear in the Catechism of the Catholic Church." It could be argued, though, that, since I mention only Catholics here, that Falwell is simply showing his anti-Catholic bias, but that’s clearly not the case. Most Christian denominations I know of refer to Christ as Isaiah’s promised “Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6).

Falwell has gone further before, though, even saying that “God is pro-war.” The only problem is that he can’t find a single New Testament source which suggests that Christ would support war. They don’t exist. Sure, there are plenty of Old Testament verses that recommend violence, but, as a Christian, I believe that Christ came along not only to open the path, but, also, to simplify the rules. He takes not only the Ten Commandments but, also, the Levitican and Deuturonomical laws and rolls them all up into the requirement that Christians love God and “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” (Matthew 5:36-40)

I believe that Falwell does mean well, but I would argue that he’s wrong in many of his conclusions about how a Christian should live. As I suggested before, Christianity is not a faith to be forced upon anyone, whether that force is conducted by an inquisition, the Crusades (one of which spawned a 400,000 person peace rally in Rome, by the way) or through the legislative process. It's a faith to be chosen and the Bible is that faith's handbook. And Christ reminds us that even the "rules" of a faith must be broken in order to help others when he talks of the good Samaritan. Technically, it could be argued that the priest and the Levite who refuse to help the wounded man were correct in not helping him, because if he had actually been dead then they would have been rendered unclean. As Father Timothy Radcliffe puts it:
The priest is also going to Jericho. In fact many priestly families lived in Jericho and when they had finished their turn in the Temple they would have gone back home down this same road. And when he sees the body of the wounded man, he passes by. Why? It is not necessarily because he is heartless. The wounded man is described as ‘half dead’. It is usually agreed that he could not have touched the body of this half-dead person because it would have made him impure. The God of life has nothing to do with death, and so the priests of the Temple were completely forbidden to touch corpses. He does not see a man in need of help but a threat to his holiness. And the Levite, who served in the Temple too, would have passed by for the same reason.

The Samaritan was utterly remote from the holiness of the Temple. He was a heretic and a schismatic. The Samaritans had even set up another Temple. They were impurity incarnated. But his gestures of compassion reveal the new place in which God’s holiness is revealed. It is even possible that the reference to the wine and the oil refer to two elements used in the Temple sacrifices. Here you have the true place of sacrifice in which God dwells. The whole text is haunted by the text of Hosea 6.6, "I desire mercy and not sacrifice".
So, as Christians, we are not called to judge others but to help them.

While I would gladly be willing to discuss this with Reverend Falwell – or any other Christian who believes as he does, I’m frightened by the fact that this "us against them" view of Christianity is becoming more and more popular in the United States. Now, it's not enough to be a Christian, but the Reverend and others will tell you if you're Christian enough.

Falwell ends his letter that it is a “sincere pleasure and privilege to be laughed at and scorned because I have chosen to walk with and live out my life in servitude to the Christ of the Bible.” I’m not sure who’s been laughing at the reverend for his choices, but I’m not one of them. I can’t see how it could any of this could be considered funny.

SCOTUS Nominee

John Roberts aka Quid Pro Quo. Look how far we've come, it was only in the Bush Administration (the legitimate one -if we ignore that he and Ronnie should have been tossed for Iran/Contra etc.) that Roberts was defeated as too extremist. Well, no more.

Bubba Bytes Dust

South Knox Bubba is calling it quits. skb, you will be missed.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Nuanced

AssChimp today:
"I would like this to end as quickly as possible so we know the facts. And if someone committed a crime, they will no longer work in my administration."
And they say John Kerry is nuanced. Well, I guess that means it was a Karl's covered his 'deniability' tracks and ain't nothing going to happen but hey, it takes the heat off of me for awhile grin. I think perhaps he was a little too nuanced though - he should have said convicted of a crime. If we merely talking committed ... clear the decks!

Friday, July 15, 2005

Friday Random 10

1.  Dirty Man - Joss Stone
2.  Ripple - Chris Hillman
3.  Morning Song - Jewel
4.  Still - Macy Gray
5.  The One - Elton John
6.  Night Riding Song - Ranger Doug (Riders in the Sky)
7.  It Takes A Believer - Desert Rose Band
8.  Hope Alone - Indigo Girls
9.  Baby, Please Don't Go - John Lee Hooker
10. Bahia - Spyro Gyra

So, I guess one could call that list a little eclectic - which I think my music collection is though it hasn't appeared quite so in any previous random 10 posts.

The Fine Print

You know how on all of the pharmaceutical ads nowadays they list so many contraindications that you wonder why anyone would take the drug (in one, and I can't recall at the moment which drug it is but they actually make it sound as though a reduced level of sexual side effects is a good thing)? Well, how about this for a side-effect:
Researchers have identified a strange side effect to a treatment for Parkinson's disease: excessive gambling. Some patients taking medications known as dopamine agonists developed the problem within three months of starting treatment, even though they had previously gambled only occasionally or never at all. "This is a striking effect," remarks J. Eric Ahlskog of the Mayo Clinic, a co-author of the new study. "Pathological gambling induced by a drug is really quite unusual."
How long will it be before we hear that Bill Bennett was being treated for Parkinson's disease?

Rove'n, Rove'n, ... Rove'n Up The River

One feels almost obligated to comment on the current Rove/Plame kerfuffle (a conundrum in which the question(s) may not be as fanciful as either the answers provided by the Rove faithful or the speculation by liberals on just what Fitzgerald knows and where he's going with that knowledge/evidence). But I guess I can't get into all the salivation over the possible ramifications for Rove. Or maybe it's that I can't bring myself to believe there will be any. I don't think he'll be going up shit river creek any time soon but, if he does it certainly won't be without a paddle.

What I really don't understand though is the call for him to be fired. To what end? It's not as though the Chimpwit doesn't have any disciples to take care of Karl so his (generally behind the scenes) antics would continue, it's just that he wouldn't be within head-rubbing distance [scroll down] of Dubya and his paycheck would come from another source.

Instead of calling for his firing, they (Dems) should simply state the truth -that they don't expect an administration that lied (okay, they'll euphemistically use misled) to the American people (and the rest of the world) to make a case for an unjustifiable act of aggression to do diddlysquat about one of their own jeopardizing the security of individuals and the nation by 'outing' a CIA agent. [After all, Bush himself outed an al Queda mole jeopardizing more than just our nation's security]. Now, repetition of the truth, that might have an effect - in the realm of public opinion at any rate.

I know, Bush said that if there was a leaker in his administration he wanted to know who it was and he would fire him. I believe this is the only instance in which his lips were moving and he wasn't lying (perhaps the first since his birth). A 'leak', from his perspective, would be information coming out of this administration that they didn't want revealed. Is there anyone who believes Karl's actions meet that critierion or doubts what this administration would do to such a leaker in that case? Didn't think so. On the other hand, maybe they wouldn't so much as fire the leaker as have him publically crucified -the better to satiate their sadistic appetite. We're certainly not lacking examples of that are we. See ... Bush is an honest guy.

The AssChimp was his usual adolescently-arrogant, inappropriately-grinning self when he proclaimed that this is a serious investigation and we have to refrain from pre-judging little ol' Karl in the media. The question is, was that a Karl's covered his 'deniability' tracks and ain't nothing going to happen but hey, it takes the heat off of me for awhile grin or was it a scared-shitless I don't know nearly enough about this Fitzgerald guy grin?

Maybe Miller, Novak and Rove were a complicit trio in the outing of Plame. One thing's fairly certain -dame Judy ain't coolin' her heels for anyone's ass but her own. But whatever does or doesn't happen to these three, rests on the performance of Patrick Fitzgerald. We can only hope he really is a prosecutorial machine. But, as long as we're fantasizing about outcomes ...

So, before the Less Than Great Iraqi Misadventure, the administration was criticizing the CIA for downplaying Saddam's capability/threat. After the fact, they had the CIA take the fall for botched intelligence. They also outed a CIA agent who was the wife of someone who was making it very clear who was misusing intelligence ... payback's a bitch ... they're all goin' down -traitors one and all!

In my fantasy, the CIA is just biding time, getting everything set to spring the biggest m-effin' rat trap our country has ever seen. They've been collecting evidence/intelligence for which there is no need to inflate. Irrefutable evidence of stolen elections (2000, 2002 and 2004), pre-meditated manipulation of existing pre-war intelligence and creation of additional evidence/intelligence, illegal arrest, detention and abuse of terrorist supsects and other abuses of power (we'll also find out all about Dick's little energy commission too). This investigation is well-funded (you know all that cash the CPA couldn't account for - yep, CIA). The real beauty part - it'll take care of all of them from Bush to Hastert (I don't know who falls in line after Sec. of State but you know Condi's indicted as well). And, if one could make a case that they could be charged under a provision of the Patriot Act maybe they could all be sent for a little vacation to Gitmo sans lawyers. Ouch ... shit, what'd you have to wake me up for?

Of course, impeachment will never happen. Our forefathers anticipated much but not the level of partisan depravity that currently has hold in the House or they never would have decreed that body was to determine what constitutes high crimes and misdemeanors.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Fox News employees take cover!

Bill O'Reilly's head is going to explode!
Thanks to the war in Iraq, much of the world sees the British government as resolute and tough and the French one as appeasing and weak. But in another war, the one against terrorism and radical Islam, the reverse is true: France is the most stalwart nation in the West, even more so than America, while Britain is the most hapless.

What far-left, nutjob liberal wrote such a foolish thing? It was none other than Daniel Pipes, George W. Bush's nominee to the U.S. Institute of Peace. A quick reminder of what's been written about him:
"Unlike most of the complacent and clueless Middle East academic establishment, which specializes in the brotherhood of man and the perfidy of the United States, Pipes has for years been warning that the radical element within Islam posed a serious and growing threat to the United States." - Charles Krauthammer, 15AUG03

"It is a credit to President Bush that he has chosen Pipes to serve on the Institute of Peace board, a vantage point from which, it is to be hoped, he will be able to encourage scholarship in what is likely to be an increasingly important threat to international peace: the threat arising from the violent agendas of Islamist organizations and their state sponsors (notably Saudi Arabia and Iran). It is an appointment of the right man for the right job at the right time." - Frank Gaffney, 21APR03

"...one of our heroes..." - John Hinderaker, Power Line, 30DEC04

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Brit Hume apparently an idiot

I should have seen this coming.

Yesterday, I (and others) talked about Byron York's little court reporting experiment with Rove's lawyer. I kind of skipped over this bit.
Luskin declined to say how Rove knew that Plame "apparently" (to use Cooper's word) worked at the CIA.
Today York was on Brit Hume's show on Fox News talking about this meeting and brought up the word "apparently" again. Later, during his roundtable someone mentioned that Rove had mentioned Wilson's wife worked for the CIA. Hume interrupted, saying "the word he used was 'apparently.'"

This is just a blatant spin of Cooper's e-mail. There is no suggestion that Rove said "apparently." Hume just wants you to believe that Rove was being wishy-washy, as if he didn't even know for sure where she worked. But even York says that "apparently" was "Cooper's word." Cooper wrote "it was, KR said, wilson's wife, who apparently works at the agency on wmd issues who authorized the trip."

Cooper was using "apparently" in the same way I do when I say that "Fox News anchor Brit Hume, who apparently used to work in real journalism, is a complete idiot."

That could be the problem right there

Santorum, who's looking bad in the polls right now, continues to dig:
Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, the third-ranking Republican in the Senate, refused yesterday to back off on his earlier statements connecting Boston's "liberalism" with the Roman Catholic Church pedophile scandal, saying that the city's ''sexual license" and "sexual freedom" nurtured an environment where sexual abuse would occur.

"The basic liberal attitude in that area . . . has an impact on people's behavior," Santorum said in an interview yesterday at the Capitol.

"If you have a world view that I'm describing [about Boston] . . . that affirms alternative views of sexuality, that can lead to a lot of people taking it the wrong way," Santorum said.

Santorum, a leader among Christian conservatives, was responding to questions about remarks he made three years ago on a website called Catholic Online. In those comments, Santorum said, "It is no surprise that Boston, a seat of academic, political, and cultural liberalism in America, lies at the center of the storm" of the clergy sexual abuse scandal.
Of course you should read the whole article, but, suffice it to say, there are a few Bostonians who disagree with Ricky. One is Representative Martin T. Meehan, who said, "There's not much you can say about someone who claims to have read the Bible cover to cover and came away from it thinking it encourages hatred for fellow human beings."

Problem is, though, that Santorum admits that he's not much of a Bible reader. In his fawning profile of Santorum for the New York Times Magazine, Michael Sokolove writes:
Santorum is not a reader of Scripture -- "I've never read the Bible cover to cover; maybe I should have" -- and has no passages he clings to when seeking spiritual guidance. "I'm a Catholic, so I'm not a biblical scholar. I'm not someone who has verses he can pop out. That's not how I interact with the faith." - "The Believer", May 22, 2005
While I won't take the bait and, as a Catholic myself, get too pissed about Santorum's suggestion that Catholics, in particular, aren't biblically knowledgeable, his statements here show the main problem with Santorum. The man just doesn't care to actually investigate anything for himself before spouting off about it. The article goes on to show how Santorum prefers his Biblical knowledge to trickle-down through the writings of others. The man is, at best, intellectually incurious, and, at worst, he's just an idiot.

The worst-case scenario would seem to explain so much.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Correction: On the Radoshes

In this post, I wrote "Daniel Radosh" rather than "Ronald Radosh." The former is a left-of-center blogger/editor/humorist who good-humoredly chided me for confusing him with his father, the aforementioned Ronald, author of the book in question, Red Star Over Hollywood. I apologize for the confusion and, of course, for putting Daniel in the position of having to defend his father. It's not really fair. Luciannne and Jonah Goldberg are the only parent/child tag team I've ever wanted to see be forced to defend each other.

From wolves.

With sticks.

As for his arguments about the book, we'll simply have to wait to read it (which, despite Daniel's belief to the contrary, I do plan to do). I based much of my opinion of what the forthcoming book might be like on the writings attributed to Radosh pere on this site. Daniel says that his father has denied writing the piece I quoted, which says our culture is a war between "traditionalists" and "self-described progressives steeped in existential depravity." I do not know whether or not he will claim to have written that "being left-wing essentially means never having to say you’re sorry, or even having to admit that you might have been wrong" in praising Mona Charen's Useful Idiots. Nor do I know he will lay claim numerous other snideswipes taken while lauding the semi-congealed arguments of William Shawcross or, in essence, simply summarizing Linda Chavez's autobiography with gee willikers, ain't she great moments stringing the abridgement together.

Daniel has written for McSweeney's, was an editor at Spy and now works for the newly-launched Radar magazine. None of these seem like appropriate depositories for neocon think-tank malarkey. (Go check out Radar and earn me some good will to help me atone for my error. I may want to beg them for an assignment soon.)

I apologize for the confusion, but I'm not buying the argument that some Hudson Institute intern posted an article under Ronald Radosh's name nearly three years ago and no one noticed it until now.

By the way, as for my main argument regarding Martin Peretz, Daniel agrees with me. Jussozeyano.

Rove won't claim "no name, no blame"

According to Byron York, who talked with Robert Luskin, Karl Rove's lawyer, Rove won't try to skirt the issue of whether or not he outed Valerie Plame by claiming that he's not to blame because he never used her name.
Luskin declined to say how Rove knew that Plame "apparently" (to use Cooper's word) worked at the CIA. But Luskin told NRO that Rove is not hiding behind the defense that he did not identify Wilson's wife because he did not specifically use her name. Asked if that argument was too legalistic, Luskin said, "I agree with you. I think it's a detail."
In the rest of the piece York takes Luskin's word for everything. The new spin seems to be that Rove, always a friend of the press, just didn't want these poor suckers blindsided when Wilson was discredited. Then Luskin goes on to begin the smear of Matt Cooper.
In an interview with National Review Online, Luskin compared the contents of a July 11, 2003, internal Time e-mail written by Cooper with the wording of a story Cooper co-wrote a few days later. "By any definition, he burned Karl Rove," Luskin said of Cooper. "If you read what Karl said to him and read how Cooper characterizes it in the article, he really spins it in a pretty ugly fashion to make it seem like people in the White House were affirmatively reaching out to reporters to try to get them to them to report negative information about Plame."
Of course, we have no idea what else Rove and Cooper talked about, but only what was in a single e-mail to an editor. Nor do we know that Rove was the only person talking to the press about these things.

One thing we do know is that, while they may want to spin Cooper's own words ("apparently") the truth is simple and we should stick to it: Several journalists who did not have authorization for classified information were given that information by Rove and, probably, other members of the administration as well. Don't let York and his fellow talking point stenographers confuse the issue.

Zell!

Why is it conservatives' "moral compasses" always seem to point toward money? From an editorial in yesterday's Macon Telegraph:
When (Zell Miller) left the governor's office in 1999, he pocketed more than $60,000 in taxpayer funds earmarked for entertainment and other expenses at the Governor's Mansion, WSB-TV investigative reporter Dale Cardwell revealed last week.

Miller also picked up a check for more than $20,000 for "unused leave"-a sum to which he was not entitled as a constitutional officer, Cardwell also reported.
While Zell says that everybody does this sort of thing (even though there's no proof that any of the previous governors actually did), the Telegraph reminds us what Zell used to think of such arguments.
In his latest volume, "Deficit of Decency," Miller advises his readers: "Is it decent? is the right question. It's one all of us know and can answer, law degree or not. Is it decent? demands not wordy responses or over-educated legal beagles to interpret it, but simple truth, which doesn't need many words and doesn't lean into the technical."

A year ago, an angry, almost apoplectic Miller didn't hesitate to appear on national TV to rage against what he considered a loss of moral compass by his fellow Democrats.

In the summer of 2005, he declined to stand before the cameras to comment on his own conduct, instead assigning a legal beagle to offer technical interpretations.
Ouch! And, um, kickass!

P.S.: Snort! Julia gets my vote for the best one-liner on this issue (so far).

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Trying A Little Sovereignty On For Size

Former foes Iraq and Iran announced “a new chapter” in their relations on Thursday, including cross-border military co-operation, dismissing US concerns about Iranian regional meddling.

On his first official visit to Tehran, Iraqi minister of defence Saadoun al-Dulaimi asserted his country's sovereign right to seek help from wherever it sees fit in rebuilding its defence capabilities.

“Nobody can dictate to Iraq its relations with other countries,” Mr Dulaimi said in a joint press conference with his Iranian counterpart, Admiral Ali Shamkhani.
Ah, the great uniter.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Good Enough For Jeb?

... Terri Schiavo, who 15 years ago had passed out from causes still unknown, was not, as the meddlers had diagnosed from afar, aware of her surroundings, capable of response and even rehabilitation. The autopsy showed that her brain was over half gone and, moreover, she was blind. And, in flat rebuttal of allegations that her husband had harmed her, the autopsy found no evidence of strangulation, abuse or drugs.

There, you would have thought, the matter would rest.


But the implacable governor had one more shot at Michael Schiavo in his arsenal. Still unwilling to let go, he asked a state's attorney to launch a criminal investigation into alleged discrepancies in the time of her collapse and the time her husband summoned help, the implication being that Schiavo, if not directly responsible for her passing out, was criminally negligent in calling the emergency medics.

The state attorney assigned two experienced prosecutors to the probe and their findings were released Friday. (They can be found on the St. Petersburg Times Web site, www.stptimes.com.) They re-plowed _ they had investigated this case before _ all evidence and found no justification "to use our investigative powers to perpetuate suspicion where, despite extended litigation and a detailed autopsy, we have no proof to suggest that a crime has occurred."

The governor was once again wrong. Maybe now he'll let Michael Schiavo live in peace and Terri Schiavo rest in peace.[Nitpicker emphasis]
Asshole.

Terrorists get letters too

A letter from London:

What the fuck do you think you're doing?

...Because if this is a message to Tony Blair, we've got news for you. We don't much like our government ourselves, or what they do in our name. But, listen very clearly. We'll deal with that ourselves. We're London, and we've got our own way of doing things, and it doesn't involve tossing bombs around where innocent people are going about their lives.

Read it all. (Link via Sisyphus Shrugged.)

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Quagmire

I found this column by David Gelernter (via a very concise summary at busybusybusy). In it, Gelernter nobly tries, like so many others, to equate Iraq's current situation with WWII:
When U.S. troops landed on Omaha Beach on D-day, they were pinned down by heavy fire and couldn't move. If some wiseguy had grabbed a megaphone and announced, "I hate to tell you, but this invasion has been grossly mismanaged and we are now stuck in a quagmire," he would not have been wrong. But luckily those soldiers decided that Omaha Beach was no quagmire. They fought their way inland and helped liberate Europe.

The U.S. has been stuck in countless potential quagmires in many wars. Each time, we could have announced "this is a quagmire and we're going home." Thank God we didn't — usually.

While I'm sure that Mr. Gelernter is considered quite the military theorist by his fellow speakers of Klingon, he seems to have missed out on a simple point. Go back and watch the first thirty minutes of Saving Private Ryan and you'll see that the soldiers had something that the soldiers in Iraq currently lack: a goal. Hell, even if their only goal was to get off the beach, it would have been enough. It's easier to keep moving when you have something you're moving toward. Instead, our soldiers in Iraq continue patrolling in circles, waiting for attacks to occur.

When considering whether to define any situation as a quagmire, it's best to remember that it has little to do with "a state of mind" and a lot to do with being stuck.

Martin Peretz is dead to me

If you're still paying the fucking New Republic a dime, stop now.

Yesterday Marty Peretz reviewed Daniel Ronald Radosh's new book Red Star Over Hollywood: The Film Colony's Long Romance With The Left. I haven't read it yet, but, considering Radosh's previous writing, I'm sure it's going to be an encomium to Joseph McCarthy. Regardless, check out Peretz's last paragraph in the review:
So what has all this to do with the fate of the American left or American liberalism? Any movement that does not own up to its past hobbles its future. These flanks are still enchanted with the suicidal heroism of the self-deluded Hollywood communists. This twisted syndrome did not stop with apologetics and excuses for Stalinism. It continues with the tortured explanations and barely disguised extenuations for the Muslim terror war against democratic and civil society. The Radoshes have written a wise, honest, and perceptive book.
Are you fucking kidding me? I don't even know where to start with this bullshit. How can you possibly say, in the same article no less, that communism is the past that the "American left" has to own up to, but the presidency of Harry Truman doesn't belong in that past? Now that's revisionist history, my friends. As for the rest, there's actually no arguing the fact that the "American left" is better against terrorism than the right. (Link via Atrios.)

Remember, Radosh once wrote that "America is rent by two cultures," the "traditionalists" and "self-described progressives steeped in existential depravity." I'm sure, considering that passage, that the book is, as Peretz writes, wise and honest. I'm also sure that his next book is going to be Brownshirts and White Hoods: The Republican Party's Love Affair With Fascism and Racism. I mean, doesn't the right have to "own up to its past"? And, hey, this past actually deals with people who are members of the goddamn Republican party, not just people who are vaguely on the same side of the left/right divide.

I'm done with Peretz and his fellow pseudo-liberals. We all should be.

Terror in London

They are now reporting at least 41 fatalities from terrorist bombings in London. We don't have to worry here though as Bush assures us from across the pond that he didn't recieve a PDB with any specific terror threat against the US but just in case, Chertoff is reportedly about to have a news conference announcing the raising of the terror alert for mass transit. Bush reminds all we will hunt down these terrorists. And, of course we have the helpful right. Terry already mentioned Gibson's asininity but we shouldn't overlook Podhertz who wants to use Blair's initial "shellshocked" response to this attack in defense of Bush's inability to extricate himself from a group of 6-year-olds on 9/11. [via So It May Secretly Begin] Check out Juan for the possible implications of this attack. It's a sad day and our hearts go out to all Britons.
John Gibson: Terrorism "a treat, actually, to watch"

Via Atrios, this scummy comment from Fox's John Gibson:
The host city for the 2012 Olympics was picked. New York was out early and that was a big relief to me, personally. I think New York needs a rest from big events. All that security wears on you.

Then it was down to Paris and London. And the Olympic big wigs picked London...

Paris was exactly the right place to pick and the Olympic committee screwed up...

(T)he French are already up to their eyeballs in terrorists. The French hide them in miserable slums, out of sight of the rich people in Paris.

So it would have been a treat, actually, to watch the French dealing with the problem of their own homegrown Islamist terrorists living in France already.
Unless his ass is fired, then Fox Newscorp is choosing to support terrorism against those who disagree with their worldview.

Let these bastards know how you feel.

While we're at it, why don't we point out these comments to the following, also?
blueders@isthmus.com , mail@democracynow.org , mike@mikemalloy.com , morning@npr.org , msnbcreports@msnbc.com , netaudr@abc.com , newshour@pbs.org , nightline@abcnews.com , nightly@nbc.com , nytnews@nytimes.com , ombudsman@washpost.com , Ontherecord@foxnews.com , Oreilly@foxnews.com , phil.boyce@abc.com , readers.rep@latimes.com , rrhodes@airamericaradio.com , rush@eibnet.com , ed@edschultzshow.com , Special@foxnews.com , tctvoice@madison.com , tips@upi.com , today@nbc.com , totn@npr.org , tawalker@airamericaradio.com , wort@terracom.net , wsj.ltrs@wsj.com , president@whitehouse.gov , vice.president@whitehouse.gov, 2020@abc.com , 48hours@cbsnews.com , atc@npr.org , Colmes@foxnews.com , comments@foxnews.com , radio@c-span.org , events@c-span.org , dateline@nbc.com , earlyshow@cbs.com , editor@usatoday.com , editorial@progressive.org , james@edschultzshow.com , evening@cbsnews.com , fair@fair.org , Foxreport@foxnews.com , afranken@airamericaradio.com , ftn@cbsnews.com , Hannity@foxnews.com , hardball@msnbc.com , info@ap.org , info@cnbc.com , klanpher@airamericaradio.com , letters@latimes.com , letters@newsweek.com , letters@nytimes.com , letters@usnews.com , letters@washpost.com, letters@kcstar.com

There are more e-mail addresses at Political Dogfight, from which I stole this initial list.

Update: From poster "Karl Hungus" in Atrios' comments, an interesting point about Gibson's comments which I failed to notice initially:
Gibson must assume the Bush won't win the GWOT if he's worried about a 3-week vacation from terrorism 7 years from now. Negative Nancy!
Help

Early reports are currently suggesting that as many as 40 people have been killed in the London bombing. As after 9/11, many of us are probably wondering what we can do to help. I always say that giving some helpful charities a few bucks can't hurt.

I recommend, of course, starting with the UK Red Cross.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

In case you missed it

Benjamin Cohen, writing for McSweeney's, provides us with historical perspective on Cheney's "last throes" comment. It seems Cheneys have been misunderestimating opposing forces for a long time.
Aztec Cheney
1519, TEOTIHUACÁN

"Stick a fork in 'em, Larry. With Quetzalcoatl and our freedom-loving cannibalism behind us, I can tell you that, errrr, Cortés is in the last throes of this meek genocide."

Friday, July 01, 2005

Hooah

Despite what the RNC would have you believe, there are a lot more guys like this in the military than they'd like to think:
Having served as a doctor in the Army Medical Corps early in my career and as presidential physician to George H.W. Bush for four years, I might be expected to bring a skeptical and partisan perspective to allegations of torture and abuse by U.S. forces. I might even be expected to join those who, on the one hand, deny that U.S. personnel have engaged in systematic use of torture while, on the other, claiming that such abuse is justified. But I cannot do so.

It's precisely because of my devotion to country, respect for our military and commitment to the ethics of the medical profession that I speak out against systematic, government-sanctioned torture and excessive abuse of prisoners during our war on terrorism. I am also deeply disturbed by the reported complicity in these abuses of military medical personnel. This extraordinary shift in policy and values is alien to my concept of modern-day America and of my government and profession...

America cannot continue down this road. Torture demonstrates weakness, not strength. It does not show understanding, power or magnanimity. It is not leadership. It is a reaction of government officials overwhelmed by fear who succumb to conduct unworthy of them and of the citizens of the United States.
Breeding Success

Cheney on CNN:
We will succeed in Iraq, just like we did in Afghanistan. We will stand up a new government under an Iraqi-drafted constitution. We will defeat that insurgency, and, in fact, it will be an enormous success story."

A recent surge in fighting has raised fears that an Iraq-style quagmire is developing in Afghanistan just months ahead of key legislative elections.
In news from Afghanistan today:
The loss of the 16 troops on the chopper was the deadliest single blow to American forces who ousted the Taliban in 2001 for harboring al-Qaida and are now fighting an escalating insurgency. The bodies of the 16 have been recovered and troops Friday were trying to identify the remains, the military said.

...Only eight months ago, Afghan and U.S. officials were hailing a relatively peaceful presidential election as a sign that the Taliban rebellion was finished.

But remnants of the former regime have stepped up attacks, and there are disturbing signs that foreign fighters — including some linked to al-Qaida — might be making a new push to sow an
Iraq-style insurgency.
I think maybe Dick had that backwards.
So much for the smart money

As if we needed more proof that Washington, D.C., and investments shouldn't mix.
Since Monday, the capital's conventional wisdom has executed a perfect 180, and the smart money now says Rehnquist (and Sandra Day O'Connor and the others) won't resign.
Today:
Sandra Day O'Connor, the first woman Supreme Court justice and a decisive swing vote for a quarter-century on virtually all the major legal issues of our time, announced her resignation today.
I get letters

Apparently in his morning self-googling Jonah Goldberg found that I had mentioned him yesterday in this post:
Dear Mr Welch - I don't know who you are, but your post (which someone emailed to me) was odd. Jay Nordlinger never worked at New River media. Ben Wattenberg worked for LBJ and remains a Democrat, albeit a conservative one. I could go on correcting your larger points -- if I get them correctly -- but I don't really see the point.
Let's deal with some of the small stuff first. Admit you were checking up to see if someone had written about you, Jonah. We all do it and I found the Technorati search for "jonah goldberg" on my referrals, connected to an AOL account (which you use) just minutes before you sent me that e-mail. At least be honest about the small things, buddy.

Jay Nordlinger did work at New River media, though as an editorial consultant and not a research assistant as I had stated. You should have remembered that he worked there at least once, as you worked on the same project:

About the Producers

A Third Choice was produced by New River Media
Andrew Walworth, Executive Producer
Amy Smeal and Melissa Mathis, Producers
Dan Kearney, Associate Producer
Rob Schurgin, Supervising Producer
Sharon Sperling, Bill Creed, and Jerry Manley, Post Production
Doug Anderson, Jonah Goldberg, and Scott McLucas, Research Assistants
Martha Bayles, Jay Nordlinger, Steven Rosenstone, and Gil Troy, Editorial Consultants

As for Ben Wattenberg's party affiliation, I concede that I should have called him a "conservative who has hosted three weekly series and numerous documentaries" at PBS and not a "conservative Republican." I stand by the fact that he produces it with the help of a bunch of Cato Institute and AEI hangers-on.

I did ask Jonah why he was so eager to correct me -- some guy who he doesn't know -- when he seemed to be unwilling to correct much larger mistakes in the Mann Report during his few moments on NPR. His response:
I get the sense you don't understand how these things work. NPR gets to decide what questions to ask me and what soundbites to use -- not me.
Wow. That's almost as condescending as when I e-mailed him from Afghanistan with the good news that he could join me in the Army now that the Guard and Reserves had raised their enlistment ages to 39 and he replied "Yawn." Jonah, however, is wrong. I started my first paying journalism job writing for my hometown's weekly newspaper at the age of 13. I worked for a public radio station for three years (the news director of which had been Sam Brownback's best man, by the way) and have been in military public affairs for over 12 years.

My point was that Jonah could have said, "Yeah, if the decision to conduct the survey wasn't stupid, we all at least have to admit that the survey itself was flawed and not worth $14,000 taxpayer dollars." Instead, he made excuses about how Kenneth Tomlinson was just a well-meaning guy and, aw shucks, he don't mean ta hurt nobody.