Wednesday, August 27, 2003

America. Is. the Greatest. Country. Ever.

The French have NO answer for this. I've gotta see if this is franchised. 
Tuesday, August 26, 2003


Well, I finally did it. I finally read David Neiwert's Rush, Newspeak and Fascism: An Exegesis. All... 87... Pages... Whew! I'm tired.

I had to do it. You can't go to the far-left blogosphere without seeing posts about how the republican party is the party of fascists. How we are but one contested election away from the fascists revealing themselves in all of their glory. You see, Bush will never give up his power, and if the voters elect the Democratic presidential candidate in 2004, Bush will unleash an army of Freepers who will overturn the election. Or so some on the far-left seem to believe with an utter conviction.

When these folks get going, they start throwing around quotes from Neiwert's Exegesis. Having now read the thing, and paid my five dollar donation to boot, I can see these conspiracy theorists either never read it or didn't understand it. For the sake of clarity, I don't support Neiwert's conclusions, but those who choose to quote him clearly didn't take the time to understand what he is saying.

When reading the document, I did my best to read it with an open mind. Neiwert's a reporter by trade and judging from the fact that he won the "National Press Club Award for Distinguished Online Journalism in 2000", he also seems to be someone who deserves to have his work read without bringing preconceived notions to the table. As I said I did my best, however Neiwert himself couldn't keep his own biases out of the document such as when he calls Bush "the Frat Boy of Destiny". So now that I've read it I'm still debating how to proceed. It's hard to debate an 87 page document in any meaningful way, and additionally I'm not much interested in defending the moron-contingent that makes up the Patriot movement. Yet there seems to be a need to address some of the excesses committed by Neiwert in the Exegesis he's written.

I suppose I can't let all of that time spent reading the Exegesis go to waste, so expect that I will periodically address various aspects of Neiwert's Exegesis over the next couple of weeks. 

My liberal friends often tell me that Bush will never let the Iraqis create a democracy without interfering in the process. According to them, Bush will force the Iraqis to create a very western-style democracy with no regard to the Iraqi's culture. These liberal friends of mine say all this with the greatest disdain. In their minds, Bush can't deal with cultural differences and this is one of the reasons that his plan to build a democracy in Iraq will fail. Having been regularly lectured about Bush's short-comings on this issue, I was fascinated to read what Howard Dean has to say about how an Iraqi democracy would take shape under a Dean administration.

As a matter of policy, I'm neither for or against this. I'm for women's rights, but I'm unsure just how far we can successfully push that agenda without impeding our other objectives. One thing about which I am confident however, is that if Bush were to say that American policy was to "impose a 'hybrid' consititution on the Iraqis, the majority of the political Left would be all over him for his cultural ignorance and insensitivity. It will be interesting to see if any self-identified liberals take Dean to task in a similar way.

Dean remains an unfailingly interesting politician. Check out this from the same WaPo column

Being against free-trade is not a radical position for a Democratic party candidate, but to say you are directly disagreeing with the man who invented Rubinomics is pretty bold. The biggest accomplishment of the Clinton administration was the success of the economy. To oppose the Clinton approach on economic matters is nothing if not interesting. 
Monday, August 25, 2003

Violent and Property Crime Continues to Drop

I'm stunned by this. I was aware that the rate of violent and property crime had gone down all through the '90s, but I thought the explanation for that, at least by "experts", was that the growing economy, particularly the magnificent job market, was responsible for the decline. Now, we have a job market that has steadily worsened over the last two years, yet we are still seeing a decline in violent and property crimes.

So how to explain the decline?

But of course, some groups have an agenda that makes that explanation unacceptable.

Ah, but is this just cleverly presented spin? On the surface it looks like it. The Justice Department is talking about a drop in ALL violent and propert crime. The Justice Policy Institute doesn't talk about ALL violent and property crime, instead it looks only at homicides and only in specific regions. It looks like they combed through the report to spin the data. That may not be the case, but the reporter seems to only have sought a quote from an opposition party to "balance" the story. In the context of the story the quote from the Justice Policy Insititute tells us nothing, except possibly where its biases lay.

On a different note. Also in the story

Jeebus. He really does want to encourage us all to spy on each other, doesn't he?

Sunday, August 24, 2003

Man Bites Dog

Steve Gilliard defends Ann Coulter, and in so doing, attacks Joe Conason (scroll down to Friday, August 22). This is interesting on so many levels. Having not read Big Lies, I don't know if Steve is right or not, but he deserves credit for having the b*lls to do this given what his readership probably thinks of both Conason and Coulter. 
Saturday, August 23, 2003

Judge Roy Moore of Alabama Is a Theocrat And a Moron to Boot

The man who wants the ten commandments displayed in public buildings had this to say in January of this year.

The man's unfit for a judgeship. I'm not anti-religion. I am anti-moron. 


Howard Dean wrote an article for the WSJ's editorial page(free on the web) and yet there was no comment from Atrios or Kos. I guess the fact that Atrios didn't comment or link to Dean's Op-Ed isn't that surprising. Atrios hasn't come out in favor of any specific candidate yet. Kos' neglect to link or comment is a little more surprising to me, since kos is an explicit supporter of Dean.

Anyway, to me the most radical piece of Dean's proposals was

The 2001 tax cuts? Across the board? That is a political loser if I ever heard one. I think a proposal to repeal the 2003 tax cuts and parts of the 2001 tax cuts could fly with the majority of Americans. But to repeal the tax relief given to the lowest income-earners? That's political suicide. His supporters say he's a centrist. Parts of Dean's record can certainly be held up to show he is a centrist. Repealing all the 2001 taxes? He will be easily branded a far-left nut by his political opponents.

One small nit to pick with another part of Dean's article.

Whose fault is that? Many two-income families are choosing to live beyond their means. Why is that a problem for government to solve? What is Dean's point? That the American ethic of personal responsibility has deteriorated further than ever before? And his solution is to repeal taxes? Whuuuuu?

Americans have chosen to run up their debt. Yes, chosen. There are some exceptions to that statement. Sometimes life hits you with a curve that you simply do not anticipate, but that doesn't seem to be the root of the bankruptcy problem in America today. Two years ago, I was looking for a house in a major metropolitan area. I was stunned at the huge subdivisions of homes where the starting price of a home was over $500,000. I remember asking my realtor, How can people afford to buy homes that are so expensive? That's when she told me that the zip code where all of these expensive houses were located also had the highest bankruptcy rate in the entire state. The people living in those homes knew, or certainly should have known, that a downturn in their job situation would force them into an untenable situation. Yet they chose to close their eyes to potential downsides. When they lose their job and have to declare bankruptcy six months later, Why should those of us who made different choices feel sorry for them? Or as Dean suggests, seek ways the government can help them. 

Hamas Calls Bush 'Islam's Biggest Enemy'

From the Washington Post

Maybe we are headed towards WW4 as former CIA Director Woolsey describes our War on Terror (in Woolsey's parlance WW3 was the Cold War). This is a scary development. In some ways, confronting Hamas head-on seems unavoidable. When we look at root causes for the problems in the Middle East, the first problem is always the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Tying up Hamas funding seems to be a logical step in trying to affect change there, but I'm no expert on all of the challenges the conflict presents. I'm not going to pretend to know if this ultimately gets us closer to resolving the conflict, or not.

I just know this new development has me feeling awfully uneasy.
Wednesday, August 20, 2003

Franken Admits to Lying in Order to Get Material for His Book

So, did Franken have an epiphany that what he'd done was wrong? Is that why he apologized to Ashcroft? Perhaps. Or maybe Franken's apology has more to do with his fear of legal trouble, not from Ashcroft, but from Harvard University's Shorenstein Center for Press and Politics at the Kennedy School of Government.

The ultimate irony, of course, is that Franken did this to provide material for his book Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right.

Pot... meet kettle.

UPDATE: The Smoking Gun has the letter available here. I also fixed the broken link.

UPDATE 2: Alright. Fair and Balanced j has swung me on this. Reading the full text of the first Franken letter, I think most people would catch it as a joke. Now, Ashcroft doesn't come across to me as the kind of guy who would necessarily get the joke, but I'm willing to retract the accusation of lying I made against Franken. Using the Shorenstein Center letterhead, well that's a little more iffy. It seems clear that Franken's letter of apology was driven by the fact that the Shorenstein folks were upset with his use of their letterhead.

You Learn Something New Every Day

E.D. Hill, female anchor for the Fox & Friends morning show, is a "primary-voting Democrat".

You've gotta be kidding me. 
Monday, August 18, 2003

Spinsanity has the latest roundup of Democratic "rhetorical excesses and falsehoods"

In the last two weeks, Spinsanity catches Howard Dean, Molly Ivins, Jesse Jackson, Al Gore and Robert Scheer going over-the-top in their efforts to attack Bush. A sampling

The hypocrisy continues from both sides of the fence. 

Recycling Urban Legends

Matt Bivens, writing for the Daily Outrage, tries to get some mileage over George Bush's complaint that reporters viewed the CA governor's election as the "biggest political story out there". In the process, he writes

The myth of Bush I's reaction to a supermarket price scanner belongs in the pantheon of urban legends that stick, even though untrue. Just as Gore was wrongly accused of saying he invented the internet, Bush I is wrongly accused of being shocked and delighted by supermarket scanners. Snopes has the goods.

The Snopes article has more details, all properly sourced. But you get the picture. 

Racial Politics Hurting School Children

Cynthia Tucker is the editorial page editor for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Because this opinion piece is about race, it seems relevant to mention that Ms. Tucker is black. And her politics would make her comfortable writing for The Nation. It goes without saying that a non-black writing the article below would likely have no effect on the situation. It's hopeful to see an influential black leader like Ms. Tucker dare to go after other black "leaders" in this way.

email me at erik_cons-at-hotmail.com
Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education alone will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.

07/01/2003 - 08/01/2003 / 08/01/2003 - 09/01/2003 /

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