Wednesday, September 27, 2006

My Sentiments Exactly

Spit, Don't Swallow: The End of Habeas Corpus, and the Legalization of Torture | The Agonist

Enough. Just enough already. No more good partisan soldier boy - when Harry Reid, Democratic Minority Leader - the most important elected Democratic official in the country says 'we want to do this' to a bill that guts habeas corpus and legalizes torture, I'm off this bloody train. Harry Reid can use 'Water Board Bridge' to cross 'Magna Carta river' on his own, with whatever partisan hacks feel that their loyalty to The Party outweighs the value of Habeas Corpus.

I'm being told, 'oh when we win, we'll fix it'. Well, first of all (and I'll discuss this later) while I expect the Dems to do well in this election and retake the House, this specific action is reducing their chances to get a decent majority. And with a small majority in the Senate and the House why would we believe the Democrats would revisit a bill that the Democratic Minority Leader 'wants to do'? If you intend to reverse a bill, you set up a rhetorical case for it, you don't praise it.

Now let's say that 80% of Democratic Senators vote against the bill, and are reliable votes when it matters (this is the great amusement of all this. Voting against a bill you know is going to pass anyway is often a pandering act and doesn't mean any given senator would be against it if their vote mattered) - what margin are the Democrats going to have in the Senate and House? Enough to overcome 20% against them within their own party? Enough to overcome a filibuster if the Republicans turn out to have enough discipline and guts to actually do a filibuster, unlike Democrats?

No, if this bill passes, it isn't being repealed by Democrats. First of all, the Senate Democratic leadership doesn't want to repeal it. Second, Democrats won't have a working majority on the issue even if they wanted to use it.

Loyalty is the cardinal virtue in politics and there is a lot of pressure being applied for people to swallow, not spit, on this one."

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Stick A Yellow Ribbon on Your SUV

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Dear Fox News & Chris Wallace:

Some say only Nixon could have opened a dialog with China. Perhaps it is also true only Fox News could have gotten President Clinton to set the story straight on his administration's response to bin Laden and al Qu'aida in the period after Somalia through the end of his tenure as President.

President Clinton did a masterful job of refuting point by point the conservative convention wisdom encapsulated in the first bin Laden related question posed by Chris Wallace to President Clinton. This despite the attempts by Wallace to short-circuit President Clinton's comprehensive reply to all of the points raised by Wallace's question.

Moreover, a Lexis-Nexis search and a Google News search both reveal exactly ZERO questions on Fox News Sunday posed by Chris Wallace to any member of the Bush administration with regard to the Bush administration's lack of response to the attack on the USS Cole or why they downgraded Richard Clarke's position as chief counter-terrorism official in the White House.

In other words, Wallace's question allowed Clinton the opportunity to forcefully demolish the conservative conventional wisdom typically presented by Fox News.

With regard to the Fox News characterization of President Clinton's response as "crazed" and "angry", the more accurate characterization would appear to be passionate.


Aaron D. Adams

Saturday, September 23, 2006

The SlipperyTotalitarian Slope

Now that the US is poised on the precipice of not merely condoning but of legally sanctioning the use of "alternative interrogation techniques", the administration's "sophisticated" euphemism for torture, how long will it be before the Miranda Rule, the exclusionary rule and the Fifth Amendment fall before the adminstration's totalitarian urges - administration urges unleashed by the rubber-stamp republican Congress on enemy combatants will find no bright line demarking the rights of the domestically accused.

Sure, sure, the descent will be delayed for a bit by so-called moderate republicans taking a distracting grasp at principle, but we've all taken that plunge before - the end of the fall will always shatter our hopes so long as Bush and the republicans are in charge of the parachutes.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Reality Check:

It was always going to be an uphill fight for the democratic party to gain control of either the house or the senate in the 2006 midterms. It still is for all the usual reasons: power of incumbency, gerrymandered districts, money disparity and the superior republican microtargeted, neighbor-oriented GOTV operation.

As for the comparisons to 1994 and Newt's "contract on America", (largely observed only in the breach by the way) few here appear to recall that marketing ploy was launched within 30 days of the election.

The number of House races and Senate races where democratic party candidates are competitive is larger than was expected by most analysts less than one year ago. Also, despite ocassional outliers, Bush's JARs are consistently within a point or two of 40%, not a comfortable place less than 50 days out from an election where the balance of power in either house is at issue. Further, the generic congressional ballot still favors dems over repubs, though the exact delta is elusive.

In sum, it is too early for either party to begin crowing just yet. If the dems wrest control of either house it will be a victory for constitutional government and checks and balances. If the repubs fend off the challenge, expect greater executive power than our founders intended. One may think the latter scenario is a good thing for their party though it is hard to imagine in their heart of hearts they think it would be a good thing for our constitutional republic.

Of course, YMMV

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

We've already lost...

If we [the US] are in fact engaged in a battle for civilization, emulating barbarians means we have already forfeited the contest.

Monday, September 18, 2006

I am nerdier than 82% of all people. Are you nerdier? Click here to find out!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

The Power of Nightmares

If you have the time and the inclination to learn about the rise of neo-conservatism and radical Islam:

Three videos, each about 60 miuntes long.

Highly recommended.

The Power of Nightmares

Part One

Part Two

Part Three

Trust me, it's worth a bookmark and the time to watch.

(h/t to Station Agent @ Ice Station Tango)

Monday, September 11, 2006

Truly A Day That Will Live In Infamy

Sunday, September 10, 2006


The Case for Capturing Osama bin Laden

Everyone wanted to "Get Osama". No one doubted the primacy of the immediate post 9/11 goal of either capturing or killing the initiating and motive force behind the 9/11 multiple hijackings, the attacks against the World Trade Center and the Pentagon and the heroically thwarted attack against the US Capitol, namely al Qu'aida and its most visible leader, Osama bin Laden. This goal was almost unanimously supported across the political spectrum in the US and surprisingly almost unanimously supported worldwide, including across most of the muslim world. The global outpouring of grief for the victims of the 9/11 attacks, support for American resolve to bring to justice the perpetrators of the attacks and the virtually unique sense of solidarity against the heinous tactic of terrorism as a political tool was unprecedented in history. Everyone felt the same.

That all soon changed.

When this Bush administration quickly made known its obsessive intent to divert most resources from the terminal phase of its hunt for bin Laden to its cherished plan to forcibly remove Saddam Hussein, global and domestic unity was forever shattered. Like Humpty-Dumpty, unity could never again be acheived.

Eschewing a rehashing of the motives, causes and errors of the shift to focus on the path forward, it appears clear the Bush administration and most of American media punditocracy no longer see the efficacy of vigorously renewing pursuit of Osama. One hears many justifications for this apparent blindness, to-wit: Osama bin Laden is hiding in a cave; al Qu'aida is no longer an effective terrorist organization; "Islamofascist" terrorists autonomously adopt the aims and tactics of al Qu'aida but have no official or effective ties to either al Qu'aida or bin Laden; Hezbollah/Hamas/Iran/Syria/N. Korea (pick one) is a far more potent threat to the US than Osama and/or al Qu'aida; etc. One has heard and continues to hear all of these justifications and more. They are all wrongheaded.

Resolve and steadfastness were positive characteristics once attributed to Bush. He deliberately forfeited any claim to those chacteristics. He took his eyes off the ball. He abandoned his game plan. Choose your metaphor. He blew it. Pure and simple. He continues to blow it. America suffers.

Suppose for the sake of argument Hezbollah/Iran/etc. today presents a clearer and more present danger to America than Osama and al Qu'aida. What would be a more forceful physical example to Hebollah's/Iran's/etc's leaders of America's resolve and determination to track down and bring to justice terorrists threatening America than the capture or killing of Osama bin Laden? Turn that on its head. What would be a more forceful physical example to Hebollah's leaders of America's lack of resolve and determination to track down and bring to justice terorrists threatening America than to fail to track down and bring to justice Osama bin Laden?

Put steely backbone into American foreign policy. Demonstrate to the world America means what it says, that we cannot be deterred or diverted, that there really is no place to hide, whatever it takes, no matter how long it takes.

Get Osama.


Friday, September 08, 2006

James Wolcott: Irrationalizations

James Wolcott: Irrationalizations: "Twenty, thirty years from now a new generation of right wingers and armchair warriors will be contending that we could have won in Iraq had it not been for Michael Moore and prissiness over torture. Pundits and politicians prefer to argue and conjecture in maximalist terms, because it lends them more stature in their own minds. Robb writes, '[T]he simplest explanation for the outcome in Iraq is that we were just beaten by a better opponent (the Israeli's seem to be getting this, why can't we?).' Because such knowledge cuts too deeply into the pride of the American psyche. It's also too painful to consider that the U.S. is beatable. We'd rather believe that we beat ourselves, and then scapegoat liberals as the losers who made us lose. "

Backfire, Big Time

Isn't it ironic...

If the conservative revisionist filmmakers of Disney/ABC's "The Path to 9/11" hadn't sent hundreds of early edits (only) to such right-wing-nuts like Limbaugh and Hewitt who made extolling the film's inaccuracies/attacks on the Clnton administration a cause celebre, the extreme pressure on Disney/ABC to either edit or pull the film probably would never have reached critical mass.

Monday, September 04, 2006

"Mirror, Mirror on the Wall, Who's the...."

Have we turned enough corners in Iraq yet to face ourselves in the mirror?

Just Sayin'...

Sting Ray = Bush's policies

Steve Irwin = Republicans' 2006 election hopes

Sunday, September 03, 2006

If You Only Read One Thing Today, Read This: James Wolcott: Five Minutes to Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil

James Wolcott: Five Minutes to Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil: "What we're hearing from pundits, bloggers, and likeminded belligerents this August is a baying to a false God, a nostalgic need for motivational clarity and a macho yearning for deliverance that the facts on the ground will deny them. Their commando belts tied up in knots, their umbrellas unfolded, they can turn on Bush, or on Condi Rice (as Richard Perle has done), but who can they turn to? Nobody. That's why they're egging each other on, flexing their biceps, and clinging to Mark Steyn for warmth. It's the only way to hold on to their fading relevance. "