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.
¶ 1:44 PM
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.
"Now that we're there, we're stuck," he said. Bush took an "enormous risk" that through war the United States could replace Saddam Hussein and the "small danger" he presented to the United States with something better and safer. The gamble was "foolish" and "wrong." But whoever will be elected in 2004 has to live with it. "We have no choice. It's a matter of national security. If we leave and we don't get a democracy in Iraq, the result is very significant danger to the United States."
And "bringing democracy to Iraq is not a two-year proposition. Having elections alone doesn't guarantee democracy. You've got to have institutions and the rule of law, and in a country that hasn't had that in 3,000 years, it's unlikely to suddenly develop by having elections and getting the heck out." Dean would impose a "hybrid" constitution, "American with Iraqi, Arab characteristics. Iraqis have to play a major role in drafting this, but the Americans have to have the final say." Women's rights must be guaranteed at all levels.
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
One multilateral institution that might not fare so well in a Dean administration, though, is the World Trade Organization. In what would be a radical departure, China and other countries could get trade deals with the United States only if they adopted "the same labor laws and labor standards and environmental standards" as the United States. Whether or not that demand was consistent with WTO rules? "That's right." With no concession to their relative level of development? "Why should there be? They have the right to have a middle class same as everyone else."
Dean says, "We've tried it" -- NAFTA, WTO -- "for 10 years, and has it succeeded? No. . . . What's the purpose of trade? If it's to create jobs, we haven't done that in America."
He allows that former treasury secretary Robert Rubin told him: "I can't sell you on Wall Street if this is your position" on trade. But the former governor apparently can live with that. "I said, 'Bob, tell me what your solution is.' He said, 'I'll have to get back to you.' I haven't heard from him."
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.
¶ 5:39 AM
Violent and property crimes dipped in 2002 to their lowest levels since records started being compiled 30 years ago, and have dropped more than 50 percent in the past decade, the Justice Department reported yesterday. (Washington Post)
"Everyone thought the numbers would bottom out and then go back up, but it hasn't happened," said James Lynch, professor at the American University Center for Justice, Law and Society.
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?
Some criminologists say tougher prison sentences and more prisons are key factors. The Justice Department reported last week that at the end of 2001, more than 5.6 million adults -- one in every 37 U.S. adults -- were either in state or federal prison or had done prison time during their lives.
But of course, some groups have an agenda that makes that explanation unacceptable.
Others say that theory is refuted by the government's own data. The Justice Policy Institute, which favors alternatives to prison, pointed out that regions with higher prison expansion rates, such as the South and West, experienced more homicides in 2002.
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
Attorney General John D. Ashcroft credited citizens for being more willing to report crimes and said the numbers are a tribute to the work of police, prosecutors and judges.
Jeebus. He really does want to encourage us all to spy on each other, doesn't he?
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.
¶ 8:59 AM
Saturday, August 23, 2003
Judge Roy Moore of Alabama Is a Theocrat And a Moron to Boot
Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore warned a religious audience Tuesday night of "great consequences" when America turns away from God and suggested the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks might be an example.
Moore, in Washington to accept an honorary doctorate in divinity from the National Clergy Council and Methodist Episcopal Church USA, implied a parallel between the attacks and what he contends has been a 40-year legal erosion of several religious rights, including his own right to display the Ten Commandments in court.
He pointed out similarities between the devastation and the biblical words of Isaiah, who had forecast a "day of great slaughter, when the towers fall." He compared that forecast to the attack on the World Trade Center's twin towers.
"How many of you remember Americans running to get gas masks because (of) some bearded man in Afghanistan?" Moore asked during his address at Georgetown University. "Fear struck this country
. . . You see, there are consequences when we turn away from our source of our strength."
The remarks on the 2001 attacks came near the end of the chief justice's speech, which lasted about 30 minutes. Up to then, he had largely discussed his political fight to return prayer to school and the commandments to the public square, using animal analogies and rhyming poems to outline his case.
In 2001, the Rev. Jerry Falwell was widely criticized when he said on evangelist Pat Robertson's TV show that pagans, abortionists, feminists, homosexuals and civil liberties groups have secularized the nation and helped the Sept. 11 attacks happen. Moore wasn't that specific, but he strongly hinted at a causal relationship between the attacks and what he contends is the gradual removal of righteousness from society.
The man's unfit for a judgeship. I'm not anti-religion. I am anti-moron.
¶ 7:47 PM
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
As president, my economic policies will be focused and clear. I will begin by repealing the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts, and using the revenues that result from the repeal to address the needs of the average American, invest in the nation's infrastructure and, through tax reform, put money in the hands of those most likely to spend it.
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.
As Elizabeth Warren and Amelia Tyagi point out in their forthcoming book "The Two Income Trap," today's two-income families earn 75% more money than their single-income counterparts did a generation ago, but they actually have less money to spend. For many, personal bankruptcies have become the rule rather than the exception. This year more children will live through their parents' bankruptcy than through their parents' divorce.
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.
¶ 7:12 PM
A leader of the Palestinian militant group Hamas on Saturday called President Bush an enemy of Islam because the U.S. government froze the assets of Hamas leaders in response to a suicide bombing of a bus in Jerusalem.
On Friday, the United States froze the assets of six Hamas leaders, including Rantisi, an aide to Sheik Ahmed Yassin, the group's spiritual leader. The United States also froze the assets of five European-based organizations that it said raise money for the radical Palestinian group.
Bush said he ordered the assets frozen because Hamas claimed responsibility for Tuesday's suicide attack on a packed bus in Jerusalem that killed 20 people, including six children.
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.
¶ 6:17 PM
Franken, a satirist and former writer for "Saturday Night Live," admitted in a letter last month that he deliberately tried to mislead Ashcroft when he sought personal information from him.
"In the letter, I indicated that I wanted your story for a book about abstinence-only sex education entitled 'Savin' It!' I claimed that I had already received testimonies from several conservative leaders, which I had not," he wrote.
"The letter was sent as part of a satirical book I'm working on, which will contain only one or two chapters dealing with abstinence-only sex education."
In June, Franken wrote to Ashcroft requesting his personal story, adding that he had already received testimonials from National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson and values guru William J. Bennett, among others.
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.
Franken wrote his request to Ashcroft on letterhead from Harvard University's Shorenstein Center for Press and Politics at the Kennedy School of Government, where he was a fellow during the spring term.
But the school never gave permission for the use of their letterhead, and apparently wasn't pleased with Franken's prank, which he acknowledged in the apology.
"My biggest regret is sending the letter on Shorenstein Center stationery, I can assure you that no one at the Shorenstein Center had knowledge of the letter before I sent it," Franken wrote. "I am very embarrassed to have put them in this awkward and difficult position, and I ask you not to hold this against the Center, the Kennedy School, or Harvard in general."
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.
¶ 7:21 AM
Those who profess concern for the state of American democracy or honesty in democratic debate - as Ivins, Jackson and Dean all do - should do their part to improve the discourse by refraining from rhetorical excesses and falsehoods.
The hypocrisy continues from both sides of the fence.
¶ 11:03 AM
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
In any case, you have to go back to his father's single term in office, when Bush I expressed shock and delight at the sight of a supermarket price scanner, to find a president so out of touch with the rest of America.
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.
Then the details of the story started to dribble out. Andrew Rosenthal of The New York Times hadn't even been present at the grocers' convention. He based his article on a two-paragraph report filed by the lone pool newspaperman allowed to cover the event, Gregg McDonald of the Houston Chronicle, who merely wrote that Bush had a "look of wonder" on his face and didn't find the event significant enough to mention in his own story. Moreover, Bush had good reason to express wonder: He wasn't being shown then-standard scanner technology, but a new type of scanner that could weigh groceries and read mangled and torn bar codes.
The New York Times then defended Rosenthal's original article by reviewing videotape of the event and proclaiming that both ordinary and newfangled scanners had been demonstrated for President Bush, and that he was clearly "unfamiliar with" and "impressed" by the former:
The New York Times seemed to be one the only major print medium to take this view of the event, however. Newsweek screened the same tape and reported: "Bush acts curious and polite, but hardly amazed." Michael Duffy of Time magazine called the whole thing "completely insignificant as a news event. It was prosaic, polite talk, and Bush is expert at that. If anything, he was bored." And Bob Graham of NCR, who demonstrated the scanner technology for President Bush, said, ''It's foolish to think the president doesn't know anything about grocery stores. He knew exactly what I was talking about.''
(I myself would point out that even technology we've encountered many times before takes on a whole new fascination when we actually get to try it "hands-on" and see how it works. I may have ridden Disneyland's "Pirates of the Caribbean" attraction so many times that I have every detail of it memorized, but that doesn't mean I wouldn't find going behind-the-scenes for a glimpse of the underlying technology a fascinating experience. Certainly my fascination would not be an valid indication that I had never been to Disneyland before.)
The Snopes article has more details, all properly sourced. But you get the picture.
¶ 7:27 AM
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.
Just once, I'd like to see black civil rights activists take to the streets to protest schools that miseducate black children. Just once, I'd like to see so-called black leaders up in arms about popular culture's casual acceptance of mediocrity (and worse) in black students.
But that's not the typical story line of black protest in matters related to education. The plot, ever so predictable, usually goes like this:
A black teacher or principal is fired. Black activists call a press conference to denounce the alleged racism of white school officials.
Or, school officials propose that new teachers be required to pass a standardized test. Black activists immediately declare the requirement racist.
Or, blacks win a majority of seats on a school board. They immediately institute a purge, eliminating whites from top administrative spots.
So it goes in Clayton County, where the Rev. Jesse Jackson met recently with a handful of black school board members, including the chairwoman, Nedra Ware. The antics of the black faction she leads have cast a pall over the entire school system and invited the unfortunate attentions of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, which has threatened to strip the school system of its accreditation.
The meeting suggests that Jackson is ready to encourage the board's foolish race-baiting. That's the last thing Clayton's schools need.
In the last decade, Clayton County has undergone a rapid demographic transformation from a majority white population to majority black; blacks now hold five of the nine seats on the school board. Given that power, you'd think that the board's black majority would devote its time and energy to raising test scores, lowering the drop-out rate or increasing the rate of college attendance. Oh, no-o-o.
Instead, in a clumsy coup attempt, they moved in secret to try to fire the white superintendent, though they never publicly disclosed his shortcomings, if any. He left after they agreed to buy out his contract, costing taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars. (Board member Ericka Davis, who is black, has resisted Ware's folly.)
The Ware junta then hastily appointed a lower-ranking black administrator, William Chavis, as interim superintendent. Chavis admits he was just a "figurehead," hired to harass or fire the junta's enemies.
The board's foolishness has rocked the suburban county, prompting teachers to flee, business leaders to fret about the bad publicity and parents (black and white) to threaten a recall vote. Ware et al. have responded predictably: Any criticism is just another example of white racism.
Never mind that the population of Clayton schools is now 72 percent black. Never mind that black children constitute the majority of the victims of this petty power trip.
The politics of black protest too seldom seem aimed at improving the scholarship of black children. Those students are treated as just pawns in a game whose goals are preserving the positions of black politicians and the jobs of black teachers and principals.
There are, of course, countless black teachers and principals dedicated to educating all children: black, white and brown. They toil endlessly; they fret over failures; they applaud successes. They believe all children can learn, and they work hard to make sure they do. I know because I am the child of two such teachers.
But the public face of black activism in education is concerned more narrowly -- with jobs and titles, not children. The voices of public protest are more likely to demand an incompetent black teacher be rehired than to insist that no incompetent teachers, black or white, be allowed to cripple black children.
Jackson claims his educational advocacy emphasizes parental responsibility; he has developed a seven-point plan that includes urging parents to turn off the TV for several hours in the evenings and read to their children. But he acknowledged that he discussed hiring and promotion of black administrators with Ware and her cohorts.
Unfortunately, Jackson is more readily associated with racial divisiveness than parental responsibility. If he injects himself further into the Clayton County schools debacle, the children will be shortchanged, again.
A lifetime of evidence shows that Schwarzenegger is no Nazi sympathizer. A similar lifetime of evidence shows that Bustamante is no bigot. Both men have been forced to deny accusations that were never believed to be true by the people who made the accusations in the first place. Normally smart people, either blinded by ideology or cynically ignoring reality, have chosen to promote the worst smears against Schwarzenegger and Bustamante if it furthers their political agenda.
The truly sick thing is that the only reward for Bustamante or Schwarzenegger will be to govern a state that is broken almost beyond repair. It makes you wonder why a sane person would ever seek political office.
The fact that all of the above news is bad is something that anti-war and pro-war people can agree upon. From there the perspectives diverge. To me, a supporter of our efforts in Iraq, I see the attack on the Baghdad water line as direct evidence that we are not fighting the "Iraqi people". The "Iraqi people" would never intentionally blow up a water line that supplies water to 300,000 Iraqis each day, nor would they have reason to blow up a sewage treatment plant. No, the line was blown up by a small number of extremists who need the "Iraqi people" to suffer in hopes that the "Iraqi people" will turn there anger against the coalition forces.
Anti-war folks read the article and all they see is the blown up oil pipeline. They see it as proof that the "Iraqi people" don't want the U.S. in Iraq. Two different perspectives. Two different assumptions. Little room for compromise in the debate.
¶ 2:07 PM
Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts took another swing at Howard Dean last week, a week after accusing the former Vermont governor of supporting policy unbecoming of "real Democrats."
The comedic timing was admirable, but the jab left a reporter's question unanswered.
During a campaign stop in Des Moines Monday, Kerry was asked whether the Internet petition drive he was announcing in protest of President Bush's proposed overtime pay standards was in response to a similar effort Dean had also launched.
Dean staffers had stirred up the questions in advance of Kerry's event with union members at a Des Moines AFSCME office.
"The Dean campaign is saying you're kind of stealing their thunder on this on-line petition," Dave Price, a reporter for Des Moines-based WHO-TV 13, to which Kerry responded with a smirk: "Well, the last person I heard who claimed he had invented the Internet didn't do so well."
The response earned restrained yucks from the gaggle of reporters. But Dean's staff hadn't said they invented on-line petition drives, and Kerry didn't refute that Dean's started at the same time.
Folks, this is the last post you will see on this blog. I have neither the passion nor the gifts for blogging. It's the lack of passion that makes this unsustainable for me. I knew going into this that I didn't have a gift for writing And the sarcasm and snarkiness that is a part of so many blogs is not part of my nature either. Yet, I would soldier on if I had real passion for it. It's clearly passion that informs the best blogs. While I feel strongly about many issues, I don't feel a burn to "win" on those issues. When I look at the output of Andrew Sullivan or Atrios, the intensity of their beliefs comes shining through.
Thank you to all who did me the honor of stopping by. I hope to run into you on the message boards of some of the web's better blogs.
¶ 9:28 AM
Let me be clear. I've seen Schwarzenegger on television a few times since he announced his candidacy for governor of Califonia, and he's been an absolute disaster. He doesn't know the issues. He doesn't have a vision. He is a miserable choice for governor.
Now if you’re going to write an article titled Arnold’s Nazi Problem, you better know that there is something real behind the accusation. The consequences of hinting that a public figure has a “Nazi problem” are severe. It’s not something with which you should play games.
The article details Arnold's relationship with Kurt Waldheim. The first third of the article details Waldheim’s participation in WWII. Details that seem pretty terrible to me, but the Austrian people, of which Arnold is one, still chose to elect him to be their president.
The next section of the article quotes Arnold twice in the ‘80s saying positive things about Waldheim. It also mentions that Arnold sat next to him in 1998 during the inauguration of another Austrian president.
Now here is where I became convinced that Noah is playing dirty pool. Noah writes
Why on Earth didn't Schwarzenegger take this opportunity to speak out against Waldheim? It surely isn't because Schwarzenegger himself had any Nazi sympathies (though during the filming of the documentary Pumping Iron, he reportedly once made a foolish comment praising Hitler).
Like that bit tacked on at the end? Nice. Noah says he’s sure that Schwarzenegger isn’t a Nazi sympathizer, but he still needs to tell you Arnold said something foolish about Hitler during the ‘70s.
Next spot where it became even clearer that Noah was performing a hatchet job.
(Schwarzenegger's father, who died three decades ago, was a police official who had belonged to the Nazi party.)
Nice. Smear the man with the sins of the father. Remember, Noah has already written that Schwarzenegger is not a Nazi sympathizer, but he still, you know, thought you ought to know about Arnold’s dad.
Then Noah reverses all of the Nazi accusations in the next to last paragraph.
Rather than confront his Waldheim problem head-on, Schwarzenegger has proclaimed his disgust for Nazism, raised money for education about the Holocaust, traveled to Israel (where he met with then-Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin), and given generously to the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles, which in 1997 bestowed on him its National Leadership Award. "He wants no truck with … Waldheim," the Wiesenthal Center's Rabbi Marvin Hier told the Jerusalem Post. "He probably did not have any clue as to the seriousness of the allegations against Waldheim at that time [i.e., 1986]. To suggest that Arnold's an anti-Semite is preposterous. He's done more to further the cause of Holocaust awareness than almost any other Hollywood star."
The man was given the National Leadership Award by the Wiesenthal Center for goodness sake!
Noah then provides the big finish.
Clearly, though, that won't be enough. If Schwarzenegger doesn't renounce Waldheim in a highly public way, he can forget about ever becoming governor of California.
Very nice. Noah says that Schwarzenegger is not a Nazi sympathizer. The Wiesenthal Center’s rabbi says Arnold’s “done more to further the cause of Holocaust awareness than almost any other Hollywood star”. And yet, Noah decides he should still write an article full of innuendo, and then insist that NOW Schwarzenegger needs to refute it. In other words, he’s forcing Arnold to DENY he’s a Nazi sympathizer, when he, Noah, already knows that Arnold is not.
The Congressional Black Caucus and Fox News Channel will hold two presidential debates on Sept. 9 and Oct. 26, leaders of the two groups announced Thursday.
Cummings told a news conference that all nine of the Democratic presidential candidates have committed to the Detroit event, and eight of the nine presidential candidates have committed to the Baltimore debate. Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry has not yet responded to the invitation to participate in the Baltimore forum.
"We've gotten all of them, but we've got one who is waffling a little bit and that's Kerry," Cummings said from the Morgan State campus. "But we're convinced by the time he sees this and his staff tells him about it that he will be here. We are fully confident all of them will be here."
Fox News Channel, which is available in 82 million homes, will nationally air each debate live.
"Presidential debates play a critical role in our democratic process, and we are delighted to be associated with such a worthwhile endeavor," said Roger Ailes, chairman and chief executive officer of FNC. Fox News Channel, which operates Foxnews.com, is owned by News Corp.
Josh Marshall's Exclusive Reporting on the WMD Issue
Josh finally breaks the story he's been teasing us with for a couple of days. It's interesting, but somehow unsatisfying. If you supported the war because you felt Saddam was a menace who would pursue nuclear weapons, it looks like you were right. If you opposed the war because you felt that the threat from Saddam was not imminent, well... you were right.
¶ 3:00 PM
Since the beginning of the War with Iraq, the television networks have purposefully prevented us from seeing the carnage that the war, and post-war, produced. We see the smoking hulks of destroyed equipment, but we don’t see the dead. We don’t see the wounded.
The networks choose their visuals based on their interpretation of standards of decency and with an eye to how their choices will affect the bottom-line. There is nothing inherently wrong with that. Yet, the result of these decisions is a sanitizing of our news. We’ve been spared the worst. It strikes me as wrong.
Supporters of our efforts in Iraq, like myself, should not be spared from viewing the results of our choices. In the final analysis, the War with Iraq was a war of choice. President Bush could not have fought this war if he didn’t have the support of the majority of the American people.
A couple days ago, Steve Gilliard at DailyKos linked to a slideshow of American soldiers that were wounded or killed during the war. In an eloquent post on his own blog, Tacitus accused Steve of violating themis. Tacitus’ post is worth reading in its entirety, but the short version is that he did not approve of what Steve was doing. This is an argument I will leave between them.
I believe that supporters of the war should not spare themselves from viewing these images. We owe it to those who are dying in Iraq to bear witness to their sacrifice. We owe it to ourselves to view the fierce reality of our choices. Everyone will have their own reaction to these images. Some will feel an overwhelming desire to bring our soldiers home. Others, like myself, will feel that we can’t let the sacrifices of these soldiers be for nothing. That we must see this effort through to the end. That we can’t simply flee Iraq and leave a power vacuum to be filled in the aftermath of a bloody civil war. That we need to stay the course and make sure we leave behind a stable, free and democratic Iraq.
Regardless, if you are a supporter of what we are doing in Iraq, you owe it to the soldiers and yourself to bear witness.
¶ 6:52 PM
UPDATE: After I posted this, it was reported that a soldier died of a heart attack today. Sadly, we are back to 0 days since the death of one of our soldiers. Damn.
¶ 3:16 PM
Monday, August 04, 2003
For my money, the last 20 minutes of Special Report with Brit Hume is the smartest, most entertaining news segment around. This is the time when the "FoxNews All-stars" do their round table. Fred Barnes is there to represent the right. Mort Kondrake represents the left-center, and Mara Liasson represents the left. Let me acknowledge that some members of the Left feel that Mara isn't truly Left at all, and they would laugh at the idea that Mort is on the left as well. Regardless, it usually is an opportunity to get some sharp debate about the issues of the moment. Today the debate was particularly sharp. Fred Barnes was talking about the possible election of a gay bishop. After some back and forth, Fred said (paraphrasing here) that if this bishop gets elected the church will see an increase in priests having sex with young boys. When Brit Hume was wrapping up the segment, Mort jumped in and said that it is absolutely ridiculous to equate homosexuality with pedophilia. Time was up for the segment so Mort's word was the last and the show wrapped up.
The segment was crackling with debate and ended sharply divided. Yet there was none of the fake strawman debate that is standard fare on Crossfire, Hannity and Colmes and Buchanan and Press. There is also some interesting back story here. Over at Eschaton, Atrios readers thinks he's uncovered a smear job around the gay bishop story that centers on Fred Barnes. I don't know if he's right or not. Yes, Barnes received a controversial e-mail that broke a story about the gay bishop. And yes, Fred is on the board of a conservative Episcopalian organization that receives funds from the usual suspects. Perhaps there is a conspiracy here. Or perhaps, the writer of the e-mail simply wanted to send it to someone who would be sympathetic. Regardless, it makes the FoxNews segment that much more interesting. The other thing that made it interesting is to note that Mort and Fred strongly disagreed. The disagreement was so strong that you would never suspect they attend the same bible study together.
If your political views have caused you to give up on all things Fox, give the last 20 minutes of Special Report a try. You're missing some good stuff.
¶ 7:13 PM
Sunday, August 03, 2003
Ahh... Those Tolerant, Free Speech Loving Democrats
Ward Connerly is a black man who successfully used the ballot initiative process to give Californians and then Washingtonians (the state) the opportunity to vote to outlaw the use of racial preferences in a number of categories including education admissions. The voters of California and Washington both voted the initiatives into law. Mr. Connerly has now trained his eye on Michigan whose state Constitution allows votes to be taken on ballot initiatives. In response, Michigan congressman John Dingell , a white Democrat, wrote the following open letter to Mr. Connerly.
Mr. Ward Connerly
American Civil Rights Coalition
P.O. Box 188350
Sacramento, CA 95818
The people of Michigan have a simple message to you: go home and stay there. We do not need you stirring up trouble where none exists.
Michiganders do not take kindly to your ignorant meddling in our affairs. We have no need for itinerant publicity seekers, non-resident troublemakers or self-aggrandizing out-of-state agitators. You have created enough mischief in your own state to last a lifetime.
We reject your "black vs. white" politics that were long ago discarded to the ash heap of history. Your brand of divisive racial politics has no place in Michigan, or in our society. So Mr. Connerly, take your message of hate and fear, division and destruction and leave. Go home and stay there, you're not welcome here.
Raghad Saddam Hussein and Rana Hussein, who received sanctuary a day earlier in Jordan, appeared relaxed as they spoke with CNN and the Arab satellite station Al-Arabiya at a royal palace in Amman, where they are staying with their nine children.
They described tearfully leaving Baghdad for a house on the city's outskirts the day the capital fell to coalition forces, April 9.
''The farewell moments were terrible,'' Raghad said.
The sisters were poised but appeared to choke up somewhat as they talked about their family.
''He was a very good father, loving, has a big heart,'' said Raghad, wearing a fashionable white head scarf showing part of her light brown hair. Asked if she wanted to give a message to her father, she said: ''I love you, and I miss you.''
''He had so many feelings, and he was very tender with all of us,'' Rana said. ''Usually the daughter is close to her mother, but we would usually go to him. He was our friend.''
What a lot of pro-war people forget is that most Iraqis don't want any more war in their lives. They want the Americans to respect them and their customs, kill Saddam and go home sooner than later. Every time Americans treat them with respect, they'll stay out of the way and in some cases, even protect them.
Huh? Pro-war people think that Iraqis want war in their lives? We think Iraqis sit around wishing for war? From where does Gilliard come up with this ridiculous statement?
¶ 6:45 PM
With Bush’s 47 percent "deserves reelection" number, it appears that some Americans approve of the job he’s doing even though they may not support him in the voting booth. Forty percent say the country would "probably be better off with someone else."
Only 47% of voters think Bush "deserves reelection". I know that polls at this point in an election cycle are pretty meaningless, but these numbers ought to warn every Republican that it is ridiculous to be talking about election "sweeps" in '04.
¶ 9:28 PM
CONSERVATISM WITHOUT THE HATE
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.