Saturday, March 08, 2003

A Guaranteed Standing Ovation????  

I'm serious: I don't think this is a joke.

The White House asked if President Bush could address the European Parliament, Baroness Williams revealed on BBC One's This Week show on Thursday. But, she said, Euro-MPs were told there was a condition attached to him making the speech: a standing ovation should be guaranteed. The speech has never taken place.

via CalPundit

Forged Documents In Addition To Plagiarized Ones  

Whenever I think my jaw can't drop any lower, something comes along like this that sets a new low. Iraq's secret nuke program? Guess what? The proof was forged. And the rest of the "proof" turns out to prove the opposite.
Secret documents detailing attempts by Iraq to buy uranium for nuclear warheads from Niger are forgeries, the UN's nuclear watchdog agency says...

Mr. ElBaradei also said there is no reason to believe Iraq has been able to reconstitute its nuclear weapons program.
IAEA inspectors have found "no indication of nuclear-related prohibited activities at any inspected site," he said...

There is no evidence that the forgeries were part of a dirty tricks operation by the United States or any other government to discredit Iraq, even though U.S. and British officials said the documents supported their case against the Baghdad regime...

Extensive investigation of the aluminum tubes in question confirms that they were not suitable for uranium enrichment centrifuges, he said.

And none of the declared magnets could be used to enrich uranium, he added.

It must be terrible to be Powell and Bush right now, humiliated and exposed to the world as liars on almost a daily basis. Ask me if I care. In fact, I do. Keep it coming.

via Atrios

Why They May Not Welcome the US In Iraq: War Crimes  

In an email discussion with an American in Krakow, Poland, he brought up the use of Depleted Uranium in Bush/Iraq I. It turns out that, as this article makes clear, the Iraqis may not really be that thrilled to meet the folks who exposed their children to this stuff:
The vast majority of the Iraqi people I spoke to believe the United States committed war crimes during the last Gulf war in 1991 by using depleted uranium (DU) weapons deliberately to cause cancer and inflict birth defects for generations to come.

Propaganda? Perhaps. But when so many people believe it in a country the United States hopes to "liberate" from oppression, it cannot be lightly dismissed. With war seemingly unstoppable, there is a gaping disconnect – in Iraq and many other parts of the world – between how the United States sees its history and future with Iraq and how others see it...

The Pentagon insists that the health effects are insignificant and are an accidental by-product of a useful technology. Be that as it may, Iraqis believe that DU is intended to cause long-term health consequences. The fact that there is no way to prove the extent of harm – much less U.S. intent – is beside the point for Iraqis. It is the perception that counts.

From Baghdad to Basra, and from government officials to foreign-trained doctors and impoverished mothers, the Iraqis I talked to all believe that DU is causing an epidemic of cancer and birth defects. According to Jawad Khudim al-Ali, director of the cancer ward at Saddam Teaching Hospital in Basra – the area most exposed to DU – cancer rates are now 11 times what they were before the last war...

A woman arrived holding a baby. She gently peeled back the infant's clothes to show me a red tumor, convoluted and fist-sized, on the infant's back. "DU did this to my baby," she said. "The doctors told me that if the tumor is removed, he will probably die. Tell that to Bush, please, and ask him why his father did this to my child..."

In the impending war, the Pentagon will again use DU weapons, and again controversy will flare in the United States over just how dangerous they are to American troops and Iraqi civilians. But in Iraq, there is no debate. And if the United States succeeds in taking over the country, it may come to understand another "side effect" of DU: the widespread belief that the "liberators" committed heinous war crimes. In such a climate, American prospects for nation building in Iraq are hardly bright.

I know just enough about all this to know I know nothing. There are times when the health risk that anecdotal evidence points to as real turns out to be bogus, and vice versa. Both Saddam and the US have good reasons to lie about the dangers of DU.

But for perception reasons alone, it should never be used. What, there aren't enough horrors in the US arsenal? and the point of the article is well made: this is not exactly winning us any friends, regardless of where the truth of DU lie.

Pope's Envoy Dissed By Bush and US Press  

Nearly every religious group in the world, including Bush's own church, has come out against the war in Iraq. So what does a typical headline read when the Pope sends his personal envoy to plea with Bush?

Despite Christian Support for War, Churches Lobby Bush to Avoid Battle

Despite? Despite?

Eli From MoveOn  

If you don't know who Eli Pariser is, go read about him immediately. Cool guy.

One More Reason Not to Go To War  

From the NY Times. Oh, when you see the word "separatists?" That's Newspeak for "terrorists." Or wait, is "terrorists" Newspeak for "separatists?" Well, it's hard to tell but when Big Brother uses "terrorist" He is trying to get you angry. When He uses "separatist," He's trying to calm you down.
Separatist rebels fired mortars at an oil refinery in northeastern India, causing a massive fire, officials said Saturday. About 100 workers were evacuated, and no casualties were reported.

And of course, if they were Christians or Jews, they'd be "freedom fighters."

But what does this have to with Iraq? Plenty. Could there ever be a better time to be a separatist/terrorist/freedom fighter than when The World's Only Superpower (tm) and the irrelevant nations were preoccupied with an idiotic war? It's the perfect time for every nut job in the world to attack every other one: India/Pakistan, Colombia, Phillipines, Indonesia, United States (remember McVeigh and Rudolph?), Israel/Palestine. And then there's - where izzit agin? - you know they celebrated Powell's arrival next door by launching a missile?

Eh, well, look on the bright side. It might be World War III but peace is sooooo boring.

Friday, March 07, 2003

We Tried and Tried To Tell You!  

Well, Nancy Pelosi tells it and it's more or less right:
"If the Democrats had spoken out more clearly in a unified vote five months ago in opposition to the resolution, if the people had gone on to the streets five months ago in these numbers in our country and throughout the world, I think we might have been in a different place today," Pelosi said in a speech to the Council on Foreign Relations.

But she's missing a few things:

  • We tried by, God we tried! I alone started a Fedex campaign to the Senate among my friends. I forwarded 400 letters to Clinton/Schumer each.

  • You were warned: Bush said exactly what he was going to do from SOTU onwards.

  • You had been warned for years: Wolfowitz and Perle didn't exactly hide their intentions either.

  • No important Dems bothered to come to the fall rallies. As a result the protests were ignored, ridiculed or disgracefully underreported.

  • Centrist folks like Albright and Scowcroft never really believed that Bush was dumb enough to do what he said.

  • The "liberal/centrist" think tanks merely quibbled with Bush on the details: they couldn't see that the Big Picture was as nutty as a fruitcake.

In the next few days, I'll post the speech I gave to my daughter's school on October 15, 2002. It spelled it all out bluntly and accurately but who would bother listening to just one unimportant guy? But I wasn't the only one doing everything I could. Most of us of us had never been proactive in politics before and we were desperately trying to get the Dems to pay attention to the danger. But the Dems kept droning on about Health Care and pension plans. Pensions! When the most powerful person in the world is an ignorant, arrogant, deluded man? When his minions start threatening their enemies with nuclear war?

For shame, Democrats. You ignored us because you figured we knew that Bush is so odious, we'd just come out and vote for you anyway. But lots didn't bother to show up or voted for Nader instead.

Now, you have a choice: Unless you nominate a candidate so compelling that people will turn out as they did on February 15, the American majority will all stay home again. Either you give us candidates with brains and spines and passion or you will lose so badly in '04 or you will not see national power in at least 50 years.


Reprinted by kind permission of The Horse.

"We Don't Need Permission"
Delivers Series of Disconnected, Memorized Soundbites
Solidifies Reputation as Arrogant Incompetent

The unelected fraud indicated in his press conference that he will initiate a war immediately after receipt of the next inspection report, and would be unwilling to accept a deadline of even a few days or weeks after the upcoming vote for Saddam Hussein to disarm - despite that there would be no imminent threat from Iraq during that short period.

If that turns out to be the case and no amendment for a final timetable is accepted, George W. Bush will have shown he is obsessed with "teaching a lesson" to an irrelevant, insane individual against whom he has a personal vendetta - even though that exercise will mean the murder of thousands of innocent Iraqi children and American servicemen, will yield no additional security for the American people but will likely instead further endanger us, and will further erode the US's credibility worldwide.

Bush refused to answer repeated questions regarding a deadline satisfactorily.  Instead, he responded to the question each time it was asked with the non-sequitur: "He's had twelve years."

If Bush resists a final proposed time limit for compliance, one that enables other countries to join the US in sanctioning force, he will have confirmed everything suspected all along by his critics here and around the world:  that he intended from the beginning to attack Iraq; that his "diplomatic efforts" were therefore conducted in bad faith; that his intent all along was to feign interest in diplomacy, but ultimately thumb his nose at the international community and destroy the UN.  Continued and fortified inspections are optimal, but a refusal to compromise even on setting a deadline will leave no doubt about Bush's intentions from the beginning and his fear of compliance.

Regardless of what final events lead up to the inevitable war, most of the diplomatic damage is done and will be irreversible for decades.  Bush is about to roll the dice and wag the dog in hopes perpetual war will give him his first presidential victory in 2004.  He couldn't care less who or how many it endangers or kills.

What an embarrassment.  What a disgrace.


Letter to Islamic Cultural Center of New York  

I wrote this letter upon reading in the Times that the US government charges that millions of dollars were funneled through a Brooklyn Mosque to Al Qaeda. If true, well, read the letter. But I also wrote the letter because of the outrageous canard that antiwar protestors through some magic only available to right wingnuts are seen as in cahoots with bin Laden and Saddam, who of course are in cahoots with each other. (I wonder where cahoots is, btw.) Anyway,
March 5, 2003

Imam Omar Abu-Namous
Islamic Cultural Center & Mosque of New York City
1711 3rd Ave
New York, NY 10029
Dear Imam Omar Abu-Namous,

I am an American citizen who is opposed to war in Iraq and who is increasingly concerned by the rising prejudice against Muslims in my country. The gathering crisis compels me to approach you with a request.

I read in today’s New York Times that the US government charged that money collected at the Al Farooq mosque in Brooklyn was used to fund organizations working or in sympathy with Osama bin Laden. I am certain that you are as repulsed by bin Laden as is everyone who loves peace.

What I ask is that you personally broadcast a statement that publicly, and forcefully, condemns bin Laden and the vile heresy that is “bin Ladenism.” This statement would be especially powerful if delivered by you in English and in Arabic. If the Al Farooq charges are accurate, I also ask you to declare that any who help bin Laden in any way cannot be true followers of Islam, a religion of peace and submission to the will of God. Furthermore, while the United States government and others have sometimes perpetrated great wrongs against Islamic nations, those who are so morally blind as to seek vengeance by killing the world’s innocents are as sinful as the ones who first harmed them.

Finally, I ask that you call for the leaders of all nations to heed the call for peace, for justice in the Middle East, for integrity in dealing with other countries, and for renewed vigor in addressing the complicated and wrenching problems that the world faces. If you are willing to take such a courageous stand, you would be helping the worldwide call for peace which all decent people in the world crave.

I would be honored to discuss this letter with anyone at the Islamic Center.

Give Him More of the Stuff, Until He Snaps Back to Reality Fast  

This is in the Washington Post. I couldn't watch: Bush makes me sick, but there was a lot of speculation in the blogosphere while it was going on that Bush was doped on something pretty potent.

This is a very dangerous situation, to give an acknowledged substance abuser a tranquilizer that is so easily abused. Let's hope someone's got a key to the medicine cabinet in the White House.

via Atrios.

Two Great Articles In New York Review  

Mailer rambles his way brilliantly around the minds of the Busheviks.
The argument that we succeeded in building democracy in Japan and Germany and therefore can build it anywhere does not necessarily hold. Japan and Germany were countries with a homogeneous population and a long existence as nations. They each were steeped in guilt at the depredations of their soldiers in other lands. They were near to totally destroyed but had the people and the skills to rebuild their cities. The Americans who worked to create their democracy were veterans of Roosevelt's New Deal and, mark of the period, were effective idealists.

Iraq, in contrast, was never a true nation. Put together by the British, it was a post–World War I patchwork of Sunnis, Shiites, Kurds, and Turkomans, who, at best, distrusted one another intensely. A situation analogous to Afghanistan's divisions among its warlords could be the more likely outcome. No one will certainly declare with authority that democracy can be built there, yet the arrogance persists. There does not seem much comprehension that except for special circumstances, democracy is never there in us to create in another country by the force of our will. Real democracy comes out of many subtle individual human battles that are fought over decades and finally over centuries, battles that succeed in building traditions. The only defenses of democracy, finally, are the traditions of democracy. When you start ignoring those values, you are playing with a noble and delicate structure. There's nothing more beautiful than democracy. But you can't play with it. You can't assume we're going to go over to show them what a great system we have. This is monstrous arrogance.

Tony Judt tells us with typical eloquence why Iraq is the beginning, not the end, of the terrible wars to come.

[William Kristol says the] foreign strategy of the US must be "unapologetic, idealistic, assertive and well funded. America must not only be the world's policeman or its sheriff, it must be its beacon and guide."

What is wrong with this? In the first place, it displays breathtaking ignorance of the real world, as ultra-"realist" scenarios frequently do. Because it confidently equates American interest with that of every right-thinking person on the planet, it is doomed to arouse the very antagonism and enmity that provoke American intervention in the first place (only a hardened European cynic would suggest that this calculation has been silently incorporated into the equation). The authors, like their political masters, unhesitatingly suppose both that America can do as it wishes without listening to others, and that in so doing it will unerringly echo the true interests and unspoken desires of friend and foe alike. The first claim is broadly true. The second bespeaks a callow provinciality

Bush Charms Mexians, Uh, Mexicanians... Oh, Who Cares What They're Called  

It looks more and more likely that Paul Krugman will be taking his summer vacation at Camp X-Ray.
I could talk about the foolishness of such blatant bullying — or about the incredible risks, in a multiethnic, multiracial society, of even hinting that one might encourage a backlash against Hispanics. And yes, I mean Hispanics...

But my most intense reaction to this story isn't anger over the administration's stupidity and irresponsibility, or even dismay over the casual destruction of hard-won friendships...What I feel, above all, is shame.   

It is, of course quite in character for Bush to do this while projecting HIS racism onto Democrats for blocking Miguel Estrada.

But it is Rep. Dennis Hastert, who is one heartbeat and a pacemaker away from the presidency, let us not forget, who should be ashamed of himself.

Thursday, March 06, 2003

Oh, That's Hillary and Bill Pretending They're Iraqis Pretending They're Americans  

It really does boggle the mind that they actually expect us to believe this:
"Iraqi President Saddam Hussein has ordered the procurement of military uniforms identical down to the last detail to those of the U.S. and U.K. forces.

"Saddam intends to issue these uniforms to Fedayeen Saddam troops, who would wear them when conducting reprisals against the Iraqi people so that they could pass the atrocities off as the work of the United States and the United Kingdom...

The problem is that they've lied so often about so many things that if they ever do start telling the truth, who'd ever believe them?

Hey, anyone remember that Office of Disinformation that they were gonna start but was shut down after public outcry? Well, you didn't really think that they would actually shut it down, did you?

Boycott Sesame Noodles!  

China: No need for new resolution

The Axis of Weasels to date:

Cheese-eating surrender monkeys (France)
Bratwurst-eating surrender monkeys (Germany)
Halvah-eating surrender monkeys (Turkey)
Fish-eating surrender monkeys (Vatican)
Rice-eating surrender monkeys (China)
Chips and Salsa-eating surrender monkeys (Mexico)
Borscht-eating surrender monkeys (Russia)
Chile-eating surrender monkeys (Chile)
Aloo Paratha-eating surrender monkeys (India)

And the Password This Week Is...  

Weapons of Terror

Ooh. I'm a-shaking.

Saudi Arabia Has Freedom of Religious Expression Says Powell  

Winner of the Bush admin hypocrisy challenge

Colleen Rowley, American  

Agent Who Saw 9/11 Lapses Still Faults F.B.I. on Terror

This is what heroism looks like.

Bin Laden dead AND alive  

Or at least sez CNN. The first thing I'd look for, obviously, is a cat in a box.

Dang that commie news network. The original title really, really was Bin Laden dead AND alive. Honest. And now the whole joke is spoiled :-(

Let's Keep the Dem Nameless  

In new poll, 'unnamed Democrat' is ahead of Bush

via Atrios

The Conservative Movement Moves In  

A very sobering table.

Bush's victory sermon  

WorkingForChange-Bush's victory sermon via cursor

Blair Wants to Delay War?  


Now, will wait or sell out his only real ally?

Wednesday, March 05, 2003

Tales From Bush's America  

Peace T-shirt leads to man's arrest

Wow. That Will Scare Them - U.S. orders 24 long-range bombers to Guam - Mar. 4, 2003

Misanthropy Runs In the Family  

The Miami Herald | 03/05/2003 | Bush: Throw out class cap

Tuesday, March 04, 2003

Unspecified Rought Treatment? : Suspected 9/11 Planner Begins to Crack

Bush Antagonizes Steel Workers

I Knew It  

War-protest coverage now in the forefront Some find the media's attention too little, too late
''The media are better covering events than ideas,'' he says. ''You can see what people think from the polls, but you can't really see what drives them unless you see people marching in the street. There's a difference between 'opposition' and 'an opposition.' ''

The Threatening Storm Downgraded To Drizzle, Showers  

This link" is the perfect one-stop for a collection of rebuttals to Kenneth Pollack's pro-war case, considered by most thoughtful people to be the best arguments for that postion.

via the great cursor

AlterNet: So Bush Wants Civil Disobedience?  

AlterNet: So Bush Wants Civil Disobedience?


WHEN: Wed., March 5, gather at 5:30PM
WHERE: Assemble at Hillary Clinton's office, 780 Third Ave. (47th & 48th)
BRING: Candles, signs and drums
Leaflets & more info: United for Peace.

I'm goin' and so should you. Thanks to a fellow parent for the info and link.


Civil Disobedience, Italian Style
Thanks to an efficient communication network, protesters, often operating in relatively small groups (20-30 people) set up mobile blockades all along the route, lighting up fires and obstructing the tracks, forcing the train to come to a halt and to change its route several times before it reached its final destination. Their actions didn't go unchallenged, of course, as the police promptly stepped in to clear the route as the train advanced at a walking pace. The train eventually made it to Camp Darby, with several hours' delay.

By the end of day one, it was clear that demonstrators were not going to be alone in their pursuit: rail workers, tacitly supported by their unions, immediately declared the would boycott the trains' operations, refusing to work and providing the demonstrators with all the logistic information required to set up blockades (itineraries, timetables, etc.); the mayors of Pisa and Livorno (the two Tuscan cities near to Camp Darby) formally asked the government to provide detailed information of the military cargo, complaining they had not been notified that such operations were going to take place; and dockworkers in Livorno proclaimed their intention to strike in the event they were asked to load military equipment.

... (Interestingly enough, there weren't reports of any complaints by travelers and commuters affected by the delays, who on several occasions where seen to be very supportive and encouraging, cheering up the activists with rounds of applauses.)

Blockades, rallies, occupations and sit-ins spread like wildfire...

Thanks to a fellow parent. Anyone see this in the overwhelmingly liberal US media? I didn't.

Folie a Deux  

The correct psychological term for folie a deux is "shared psychotic disorder" or "shared delusional disorder" which admits that more than one, indeed many, many people can be induced into believing something that is clearly way out there in the blue.

Here's some info on the kind of personality that gets into a folie a deux:
They ... typically have massive rejection-projection and persecution-paranoid reactions to anythng and anyone outside the "folie a deux""double bubble". And they take a highly suspicious, disgusted and attacking approach to everything outside their immediate world. They have a "wall of delusion" about their addiction ... in reaction to interactions or interventions with individuals, systems or situations that arise out of the extremely destructive pattern they are in.

And to complete the picture, they have developed a total inability to delay reinforcement, tolerate frustration or endure effort or discomfort.

That's Bush, alright. And Rumsfeld, and Cheney. The article goes into a fascinating syndrome, the "Mom addict," that is, people who are unduly obsessed with their parents. Food for thought.

But, you object, SURELY the country is not all like this. This is true (pace, you cynics). This article, from 1911, addresses how relatively normal folks got sucked in:

Paranoiacs, unlike birds of a feather, do not flock together. The mental trouble in his followers is very different. They have surrendered their judgment and right to reason to their leader. They have acquired their belief in [the paranoid leader's] exalted nature, not by their own intellectual operations, but as the result of their extreme credulity and infatuation. It is the result of suggestion made to them by the dominant mind of [the paranoid] who believes in himself. They have sunk their individuality and they entertain few ideas except at the dictation of or by permission of [the paranoid leader]. It is probably true that few have reached this state of complete subjection without experiencing at times great mental agony. So great that some have rebelled, others have lost their reason. We have no good English name for this curious mental malady. The French call it Folie a Deux which may be translated as contagious insanity. It often happens that a strongly self-assertive personality will impress upon others of his family or his neighbors the strangest beliefs. But the victims of these ideas lose them soon after they pass from under the spell of their insane leader.

The paranoiac is absolutely sure he is right. He takes advice from no one. He is free from doubts, his followers on the other hand hold for the time no opinions of their own. For the time they surrender their common sense until it returns when they are shocked by some strikingly absurd conduct of the leader.

And that describes America. We are still waiting for that shock to wake us up. Oh, one more illuminating quote from the same article:

We must remember that an insane man may still possess the ability to deceive and lie. Let us remember also that one who believes he is a deputy of the Almighty, who recognizes no human authority, may justify a petty trick when it serves to further the enormous work of converting the entire world.

Finally, inquiring minds want to know, How on earth could Bush develop such a bizarre psychosis? I'm not sure but insight can be gained, perhaps, from this little masterpiece, a psychological analysis of the shows that Bush must have watched with his twin daughters when they were children:

Perhaps the most disturbing part of Big Bird’s power over Sesame Street is that he has made Snuffaluphagus real to others. Shared Psychotic Disorder ( Folie a Deux ) involves the transference of a delusion (in this case a large brown creature) from one, who already has a psychotic disorder (the primary case), to others who are involved in a close relationship with the delusional person (DSM-IV, 305). Usually the primary case in Shared Psychotic Disorder is dominant in the relationship and gradually imposes the delusional system on the more passive and initially healthy second person(s). Big Bird is the undisputed ringleader of the " Street ", and thus, has convinced the rest of the cast that Snuffaluphagus does indeed exist. They can now see, hear, and interact with this character that was originally only a part of Big Bird’s imagination.

Call In the Grown-Ups Fast  

Don't be impatient, little boy. All good things come to those who wait.

Lies Are Truth  

"Here's the Catch-22 that Saddam Hussein has put himself in," Ari Fleischer, the White House spokesman, said today. "He denied he had these weapons, and then he destroys things he says he never had. If he lies about never having them, how can you trust him when he says he has destroyed them?"

NY Times

Look, eh, Ari, Iraq declared the al Samouds in their report this fall so he always said he had them. They exceeded the UN ban on their range by approximately 15 miles and he began destroying them as demanded by Blix exactly on schedule. They were destroyed in the presence of the inspectors. By "destroyed," they report they were crushed, rather hard to fake.

A new report regarding the destruction of the biochem at the end of Bush/Iraq War I is coming Monday.

Now, Saddam is a liar, a murderer, etc. But what are his lies here? And Ari, what are your truths here?

I honestly don't get it. The world may go to war because of Ari's master's "calling." This is rawther serious, no? So people are following what happens very closely, yes? So bald-faced lies, Ari, ain't gonna cut it no way, no how.

Oh and by the way. Ari? Your boss? He's goin/ to heaven one of these days. But y'all got a ticket to a less exalted destination. Just ask your master or read in Newsweek all about the profound "insight" George's "faith" has given him about Jews.

Monday, March 03, 2003


Newsweek Wins Boogie Nights Fluffer of the Year Award
Blows Away Competition

Monica, you are a rank amateur compared to the clown who wrote this inexcusable garbage for Newsweek.

Al Qaeda Suspect Will Be Treated Humanely, White House Says  

Translated from AriSpeak: He will die a horrible death.

The Hubris of the Liberal Hawks  

The so called "liberal hawks" had the most dangerous of all attitudes towards Bush. They were naive.

They simply refused to read the writing on the wall until after he had grabbed unstoppable power. But Bush is a man who actually joked in public about wanting to be a dictator. Right then, that should have set off alarm bells that something was seriously amiss with this man's character.

I just hope to god that their awareness of the danger has not come too late.

Pope urged to act as human shield  

If he did,this, he'd become one of the greatest of all Catholic saints and take a stand on tolerance and religious diversity that would last the millenium. via Jeanne d'Arc at Body and Soul

Where Are the Heroes?  

I remember seeing a re-broadcast of Murrow's famous 1954 denunciation of McCarthy. It was opinionated, forceful, and persuasive. Apparently (I was too young to see it when it happened), it served to focus the country on what a menace to freedom McCarthy was. The heroism of Murrow and his boss cannot be overstated: he risked the destruction of his career and Paley risked his network.

Where is that willingness to stand up by the media today? The country faces all the same risks from the Bush administration that McCarthy presented PLUS international chaos, if not worse, a lot, lot worse. And yet, to use a hoary trope, like lemmings over a cliff, off we go to the stupidest war ever with not so much as even a hand held up by the major US media.

Oh, there's an occasional timid Times editorial, or a slam on some specific program, but there's a wilful blindness to the big picture. It is terrible to live in a country where the news, the influential news, is ALL propaganda, where dissenting voices are deliberately ignored, downplayed, ridiculed. It is infuriating. And worst of all, it frightening.

Because if Bush goes to war, it will cause such horror like we have never known. If there is any consolation to this blog, to all the letters I've written, to the demonstrating, it is knowing that I simply could not have done anything more than I have done to stop this insanity. It's knowing that on the most important issue in the world since the 2nd World War, I repeatedly and loudly spoke out in every way I could to avert catastrophe.

Will we prevail in stopping Bush? I don't know. How can someone be so blindly stupid? Where are the senators, Byrd excepted, screaming at him to stop before it's too late? Where are the media? Where are the heroes?

Howell Raines Channels Lewinsky  

How else can one explain this?
A Stalwart of Certainty: Bush Undeterred on Iraq
Billions of dollars in promised aid have not yet persuaded Turkey to open its bases to American troops. Most members of the Security Council are still demanding both more time for inspections and better evidence that Mr. Hussein cannot be contained except by war. And Mr. Hussein himself — just as the White House predicted — has begun blowing up a few Al Samoud missiles in hopes of averting an American invasion.

via No War Blog.
[UPDATE] It looks like the Times dropped "A Stalwart of Certainty" from its headline. I thought there was something weird about it but I it never occurred to me that the Times would mistake and adjective for a noun. What they meant, of course, was "bulwark."
[UPDATE] Oops. It can be a noun. My bad, but I don't think I've ever heard or seen it used that way.

Sunday, March 02, 2003

Advice To Turkey: Get the Cash Up Front Or You Never Will  

So it looks like the Turkey thing isn't over, which is not surprising. But here's the money quote, which should inspire us to keep phoning:
But the overwhelming reason that the measure failed, Turkish leaders said, was the demand of the Turkish people to stay out of the war.

"I hate romanticism in politics," said Mehmet Fehmi Uyanik, a legislator who voted against the measure. "I'm a realist. And every day, I'm not kidding, I got 60 or 70 messages from people telling me to vote against."

NY Times

This AP bulletin implies that the Times article above was just hoohah when it claimed the Turkish gov would ask Parliament to reconsider.

Meanwhile Thousands of Iraqi Kurds March Against Turkey but you have to read the article to find out that it may be closer to 100,000 Iraqi Kurds and it was the biggest demonstration ever.

The George W. Bush Scorecard of Evil  

An absolutely indispensable reference brought my way via the always smart CalPundit.

Because of War Threats and 9/11 Qaeda Recruitment Up  

Back to Iraq 2.0 quotes starts off, quotes the LA Times and finishes, spot on:
to everyone who says making war on Iraq will make the world safer from terrorism should know that al Qaeida recruitment is up all over Europe, and the war hasn't even started yet.

The aftermath of Sept. 11 and the prospect of war in Iraq have increased the numbers of angry anti-American young men who have been pushed into the embrace of Islamic extremism, according to counter-terrorism officials. Extremists are muscling into European mosques, creating new places of worship and winning converts. A war in Iraq could turn many moderate Muslims into extremists and drive many extremists over the line between malicious intent and action, experts say.

The strategy of the terrorists is to create a clash of civilizations,? [Jean-Louis] Bruguiere, [France's top anti-terrorist judge] said. And they will use the war to incite violence against the West. A war will have a direct impact on the level of recruitment.

This is one of my main criticisms against a war with Iraq. There are much better ways of dealing with terrorism, as the arrest of Mohammed shows, than embarking on military adventures with only the most pollyanna-ish of consequences envisioned.

A Letter To the Times  

To the Editor,

The arrest of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and the compliance of Iraq with the UN demands means that the world is profoundly safer than it was a week ago. Therefore, there is no reason whatsoever, if there ever was one, to go to war.

(Of course, inspections, disarmament of Iraq, and the hunt for al Qaeda operatives should be continued).

A Renegade War Is Exactly Right  

Blair gives go-ahead for war without UN

via The Lincoln Plawg.

A Blatant Example of Distortion  

The headlines says Turkey May Resubmit Plan for U.S. Troops. But nearly every sentence in the article says or implies the opposite.

God's Justice and Scalia's  

This article, by Anthony Scalia, has not received the attention it deserves, therefore I've posted lengthy excerpts from it. But the whole article merits reading, if only to get a sense of the true extent of this Supreme Courts Justice's hostility to democracy. It is genuinely difficult to believe that an American would hold these views, let alone an American appointed to one of the highest positions of power. But Scalia does. And we should be aware of it.

Before proceeding to discuss the morality of capital punishment, I want to make clear that my views on the subject have nothing to do with how I vote in capital cases that come before the Supreme Court.

Yeah, right.

For me, therefore, the constitutionality of the death penalty is not a difficult, soul–wrenching question. It was clearly permitted when the Eighth Amendment was adopted (not merely for murder, by the way, but for all felonies—including, for example, horse–thieving, as anyone can verify by watching a western movie). And so it is clearly permitted today...

This is sloppy, sloppy thinking. Scalia literally is saying that westerns are a good source for learning what were captial offenses in the 18th century. Aside from the fact that Scalia assumes that westerns are repositories of facts, not gross distortions of same for artistic effect, there is the dicey matter that most westerns are set between 1835 and 1910, long after the Constitution was written and therefore, if historically accurate, would only reflect the laws of that time. Perhaps Scalia is joking here? I doubt it. No one, especially a Supreme Court justice, would be so callous to joke about something as profound as the killing of a human being.

I pause here to emphasize the point that in my view the choice for the judge who believes the death penalty to be immoral is resignation, rather than simply ignoring duly enacted, constitutional laws and sabotaging death penalty cases.

Mr. Scalia, in the essay (parts unquoted), remarks on the immorality of abortion. With the logic exhibited above, he would have to resign. But he knows better. He knows his only chance to see Roe v. Wade appealed is to weaken it whenever possible and to strike it down when he can.

These passages from Romans represent the consensus of Western thought until very recent times. Not just of Christian or religious thought, but of secular thought regarding the powers of the state. That consensus has been upset, I think, by the emergence of democracy. It is easy to see the hand of the Almighty behind rulers whose forebears, in the dim mists of history, were supposedly anointed by God, or who at least obtained their thrones in awful and unpredictable battles whose outcome was determined by the Lord of Hosts, that is, the Lord of Armies. It is much more difficult to see the hand of God—or any higher moral authority—behind the fools and rogues (as the losers would have it) whom we ourselves elect to do our own will. How can their power to avenge—to vindicate the “public order”—be any greater than our own?

Here Scalia is coming close to declaring democratic elected leaders fools and rogues. What he definitely is saying is that democratic elected figures have no real authority. It would be no surprise to find this attitude in someone, like Scalia, who was himself appointed, if not for the very simple fact that most appointed officials don't hold such a view.

So it is no accident, I think, that the modern view that the death penalty is immoral is centered in the West. That has little to do with the fact that the West has a Christian tradition, and everything to do with the fact that the West is the home of democracy. Indeed, it seems to me that the more Christian a country is the less likely it is to regard the death penalty as immoral. Abolition has taken its firmest hold in post–Christian Europe, and has least support in the church–going United States. I attribute that to the fact that, for the believing Christian, death is no big deal. Intentionally killing an innocent person is a big deal: it is a grave sin, which causes one to lose his soul. But losing this life, in exchange for the next? The Christian attitude is reflected in the words Robert Bolt’s play has Thomas More saying to the headsman: “Friend, be not afraid of your office. You send me to God.” And when Cranmer asks whether he is sure of that, More replies, “He will not refuse one who is so blithe to go to Him.” For the nonbeliever, on the other hand, to deprive a man of his life is to end his existence. What a horrible act!

Democracy, bad. "Christian" government, good because it kills its citizens. Notice the sarcasm at the end, and again, the use of a piece of entertainment to bolster his views.

Besides being less likely to regard death as an utterly cataclysmic punishment, the Christian is also more likely to regard punishment in general as deserved. The doctrine of free will—the ability of man to resist temptations to evil, which God will not permit beyond man’s capacity to resist—is central to the Christian doctrine of salvation and damnation, heaven and hell. The post–Freudian secularist, on the other hand, is more inclined to think that people are what their history and circumstances have made them, and there is little sense in assigning blame.

In other words, there was no opposition to the death penalty before Freud.

The mistaken tendency to believe that a democratic government, being nothing more than the composite will of its individual citizens, has no more moral power or authority than they do as individuals has adverse effects in other areas as well. It fosters civil disobedience, for example, which proceeds on the assumption that what the individual citizen considers an unjust law—even if it does not compel him to act unjustly—need not be obeyed.

Here Scalia is challenging Emerson, if not the Declaration of Independence itselft. And casting grave aspersions on the history of dissent in the US from the Boston Tea Party to Rosa Parks. He also comes close to proclaiming that the State is divine, while the citizens of it are merely profane. Again, all this is snuck into the discussion.

The reaction of people of faith to this tendency of democracy to obscure the divine authority behind government should not be resignation to it, but the resolution to combat it as effectively as possible. We have done that in this country (and continental Europe has not) by preserving in our public life many visible reminders that—in the words of a Supreme Court opinion from the 1940s—“we are a religious people, whose institutions presuppose a Supreme Being.” These reminders include: “In God we trust” on our coins, “one nation, under God” in our Pledge of Allegiance, the opening of sessions of our legislatures with a prayer, the opening of sessions of my Court with “God save the United States and this Honorable Court,” annual Thanksgiving proclamations issued by our President at the direction of Congress, and constant invocations of divine support in the speeches of our political leaders, which often conclude, “God bless America.” All this, as I say, is most un–European, and helps explain why our people are more inclined to understand, as St. Paul did, that government carries the sword as “the minister of God,” to “execute wrath” upon the evildoer.

It is very, very difficult to understand what Scalia is saying in this article. Who cares what he thinks about religion? That's his business, or it should be if he's a religious person and an honest justice. What's important is how he feels about democracy and he seems very, very hostile to it. The elected are rogues and fools, who govern with no real authority.

If he really feels this way, and it's hard to say because he's being very circumspect but it sure seems that way, he should emigrate to Iran or some other theocracy.

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