Tuesday, July 31, 2007

A debate cut short

Anyone who's read me for awhile knows I enjoy the give and take. I like discussing and debating ideas with folks with whom I disagree. Sometimes I'm right, & sometimes I'm wrong, and often I'm a bit of both.

I've had folks curse me out, call me names, and just plain stop answering me. I'm good with all that. Shit happens, and people have to react as they will. The only thing that really puts a bug up my butt is when a person messes with my words. I'm not saying they're golden or anything, but I type slow, and give everything I say a bit of thought, and so whatever comes out probably took awhile, both in time & brainpower (such as it is). So when someone takes my offering and deletes some or all of it... well let's just say I'm very disappointed.

I have my theories as to why it happens--mostly it's about flushing the evidence, I think--but in a way that's besides the point. Knowing that someone took the time to think about what you said, and then argue their own ideas in reply, AND THEN TOSSING THEM AWAY is just plumb rude. If someone is getting off topic, or offensive, or you just don't want to play, anymore, fine. Tell them. Warn them. Ask them not to bother you with their "stupid" ideas, anymore. But don't delete them.

It's just friggin' impolite, particularly when it's been an ongoing back & forth, as in my example below.

We join the debate already in progress... (We had gone back & forth about 7 times, previous to this post. -- & I made copies, just in case.):
FN: "The Iraqis are no puppets."

"Puppet" was a poor choice of words, I guess. I did not intend to say they do our bidding, but that without our hand propping them up, they fall over. They need to do what is necessary to cut the strings. According the recent op-ed in the New York Times, some of that is happening militarily. It has to happen politically, too.

"If there is a puppet it is misguided liberals like you who are easily manipulated by Al Qaeda propaganda."

AQ propaganda? Explain... I'm talking about news from US media, FN. Political good news from Iraq isn't coming from any source, including the Murdoch/Moonie empire that Cons so trust, and that decry the lack of good reportage from the country. If it was there to report, one would think it would show up on Fox, at least.

"Iraqis are working every day to improve their country. The simple fact that if are associated with Americans can get them assassinated makes this a heroic act. All of those Iraqis who work for their government and security forces are so brave and yet they are derided by pompous Americans who don’t care if they live or die."

I'm sure you'll think this callous, but... IT'S THEIR COUNTRY. They SHOULD be the ones risking their lives to improve it. It's their "patriotic" duty, if they love their country. I'm not saying they don't deserve a little pat on the back for it now & again, but come on... Pointing out that the government is going on vacation while Americans are risking life & limb to protect them so that they can make that political progress that everyone says they need if this is going to be a successful venture, or wondering why it's taken so long to stand up an Iraqi security force is not derision heaped on by a pompous America... As long as Americans are dying for them, we have a right to expect a certain level of commitment from them.

As Mike is so fond of saying of liberals in practically every situation, by excusing & explaining away their bad behavior, you're enabling it to continue.

"Lets hope they don’t get assassinated or have their family kidnapped, tortured and killed because they were seen associating with Americans."

"The Iraqi government needs lots of time..."

The point is they should be risking their lives in the parliament working for those political improvements that are so vital to Iraq's success (& indirectly, our own), not "by the pool" on vacation.

They are wasting the time they so desperately need, and hurting their cause with their American benefactors back home.

"By withdrawing we wont end the war, we will exacerbate it."

That is the million-dollar question, I think... I'm not so sure we can end the war, either by staying or going. If the surge is working, great... I'm willing to admit I was wrong about it, should it turn out I was. But if the happy talk turns out to be premature, and the surge is not quelling the insurgent & AQ violence as promised, we may have to kick the Iraqis out of the nest & let them fly or fall on their own. We cannot & should not continue to protect them--including from themselves--indefinitely.

The Democrats will be attacked from the Right and from the extreme Left which will demand another withdrawal from Afghanistan."

There are very, very few calling for an end to our presence in Afghanistan. That was a just war, and fixing what we broke in our own defense is a worthwhile endeavor.

"Ironically, the Democrats have no plan for Iraq other than to withdraw."

And the Republican offer nothing more than "Just six months more... please!?!" over, & over, & over again... We've turned so many corners in Iraq, I'm dizzy. Friedman Unit - dKosopedia

"A withdrawal from Iraq will lead to a withdrawal from Afghanistan and endless war in the Middle East. You will no doubt say that such a thing cant be predicted so back up your claims with evidence that I am wrong..."

There you go, again... When YOU make an assertion, YOU have to prove your assertion is correct, not expect others to prove you're incorrect. If one will not or cannot to offer proof of what they claim, there is no reason for anyone to give the claim serious attention.

"...and describe how there is a plan for Iraq after a withdrawal."

I don't know that there is a plan for after the withdrawal... ...or that America can impose one. Iraq is a sovereign country that has to find its own way. THEY need to have a plan. If we support their plan, we can help them achieve it.

I might also note that there wasn't much of a plan for after the initial invasion, either, but that didn't stop the Republicans from barreling in.

"This war was started when Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait."

I know you believe that. I do not.

"Yes, the age-old argument that Iraq was no threat to us just as the Nazis were no threat to England when they declared war on Nazi Germany."

If you cannot see all of the differences between Iraq's "threat" to America & Germany's threat to England, I cannot help you.

"We should have finished the job in 1991 and then dealt with the Sunni Baathists with the blessing of the United Nations."

I believe the insurgency would've been the same (as did the people in charge at the time)... ...but at least they wouldn't've had the additional problem of keeping AQ out of the mix (which to me makes the administration's decision to invade even more bone-headed that it would've been if 41 had done it.) But your mileage obviously do vary...

"Many people are just too eager to abandon the responsibility that our country accepted when we helped Kuwait."

I just don't see that commitment so open-ended & eternal as you seem to...

"Our enemies are so unjust. We are fighting the Baathists, Al Qaeda and the Taliban, but somehow the United States is always the problem?"

Not at all... In fact, I place a whole lotta blame on the Iraqis themselves... which you promptly dismiss.

That said, we are Americans. We have a responsibility to keep our country on the right path, & that includes speaking out when we think it has strayed. Americans cannot (& should not) control the workings of any government but our own.

"Here we go again… “Without examples (of Democrats who slander our country), I cannot comment either way...

What is this, a court of law? If you disagree with me then just ask me why I feel that way."

How can I judge whether I agree or don't, without examples?

"Congressman Murtha – First lets look at how he lies to propagandize against our war effort."

What Murtha said was bullshit rhetoric, FN... If you need me to, I will find a Republican prediction based on facts s/he oughta know that also didn't come true, and ask you if that is also lying propaganda...

"Why is not surprising that he would resort to character assassination as well?

I don’t know if the marines accused of murder at Haditha are guilty or not and I think its possible we may never know the truth, but there is no excusing Murtha’s attacks on those marines before the investigation was complete."

Murtha was basing his statements on the evidence he did have. True, he should've been more circumspect, and given the Marines a presumption of innocence, but folks do that all the time. Go back over to Mike's, and look at what he & those commenting are saying about Michael Vick, the investigation of whom is also not complete. We all tend to judge based on the facts we have at the time. Yes, I do think that our representatives ought to be held to a higher standard of conduct, particularly when compared to a small-time hack like Mike, but I fail to believe Murtha's so bad as you claim because he jumped the gun.

"So I see that you have to throw in the stereotypical moral equivalency argument. “AQ has cells all over the globe. One of their leaders--who has actually claimed responsibility for attacking the US--is widely thought to be in the country of one of our allies, and yet we do not/cannot capture or kill him.”"

That isn't a moral equivalency argument. That's saying AQ is all over, and whatever happens in Iraq isn't going to change that. We are not going to defeat AQ, no matter how decisively we win in Iraq.

"How many U.N. Resolutions is Pakistan guilty of violating? Did Pakistan invade Kuwait?"

You misunderstand. I'm not saying anything about Pakistan, at all... I'm saying that getting bin Laden--a big deal guy in AQ, who claims credit for 9/11--would be a really good idea, if we want to strike a blow against AQ. I'm not saying it's ALL we need to do on that front, but it is something we need to do.

Liberal plans for Iraq:
Early 2006 Iraq - Finally, The Democratic Position

2007 The least bad plan for leaving Iraq. - By Fred Kaplan - Slate Magazine
The final reply:

Freedom Now said...

This conversation is over. I stayed up until 4:30am to answer your inquiries on Sunday night and had to wake up at 6am.

You left another comment of even greater length requesting all sorts of information so I deleted it.

Whenever I respond to any comment I verify most of my talking points (except those I am 100% sure that I will be able to verify). Therefore, I spend quite a great deal of time finding the right verification before committing my words to be published.

This is also how I write my blog entries and this is why I do not write them very often.

I appreciate your thoughts, but I am tired of spending hours responding to them. Thank you for your input.

July 31, 2007 10:53 AM

I replied to this, letting FN know I was dissappointed in his choice, letting him know It'd be posted here, should he ever change his mind, and thanking him for the exchange up to now.

He deleted it.

UPDATE - 7/31/07 8:15pm EDT:

I have a guess as to why FN deleted this.
I think it was this exchange:
FN: "A withdrawal from Iraq will lead to a withdrawal from Afghanistan and endless war in the Middle East. You will no doubt say that such a thing cant be predicted so back up your claims with evidence that I am wrong..."

R3: There you go, again... When YOU make an assertion, YOU have to prove your assertion is correct, not expect others to prove you're incorrect. If one will not or cannot to offer proof of what they claim, there is no reason for anyone to give the claim serious attention.

I don't think he could verify it, and he prides himself as being thoroughly researched & knowlegeable, as evidenced by what he said in his last reply:
FN: "Whenever I respond to any comment I verify most of my talking points (except those I am 100% sure that I will be able to verify)."

That's my theory, anyway...

I missed Falafel day...

I can't miss it...

I won't miss it...

So there.

In honor of Falafel Day, my offerings (A simple rehash of old posts):

What'd I Say?: Falafel Bill O'Reilly

Wingnuts & Moonbats: FauxNews: Billo

H/T for photo to Matt @The Progressive Truth

Another view from the NYT: Our War on Terror

Truth can be found in strange places. This time, it's the book review section...

Our War on Terror - Books - Review - New York Times

"Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld offered perhaps the best standard by which to measure the Bush administration’s performance: “Are we capturing, killing or deterring and dissuading more terrorists every day than the madrassas and the radical clerics are recruiting, training and deploying against us?” Leaked intelligence reports have shown that the answer is negative. The administration’s tactical and strategic blunders have crippled American military readiness; exposed vulnerabilities in training, equipment and force structure; and accelerated terrorist recruitment. In short, although the United States has not been directly hit since 9/11, we are less safe as a result of the Bush administration’s rhetoric, conduct and strategy.

The war rhetoric has raised expectations that a “complete victory” is not only possible, but in fact necessary (even as Bush’s 2002 National Security Strategy preamble reminds us that it will be a “global enterprise of uncertain duration”). That same rhetoric has licensed the executive branch to remove itself from traditional legal frameworks and consolidate power in imperial fashion. And the torture, kidnappings and indefinite detentions carried out at the behest of senior administration officials have blurred the moral distinction between “us” and “them” on which much of Bush’s logic rested.

While our allies still share intelligence with us in order to combat domestic terrorism, our disavowal of international law has made it harder for our friends to contribute military and even financial resources to shore up failing states like Afghanistan, which is portrayed by the opposition in countries like Canada and the Netherlands as one of Bush’s wars. Many of our friends believe that too close an association with American objectives will make them electorally vulnerable and their cities potential targets.

Moreover, by branding the cause a war and calling the enemy terror, the administration has lumped like with unlike foes and elevated hostile elements from the ranks of the criminal (stigmatized in all societies) to the ranks of soldiers of war (a status that carries connotations of sacrifice and courage). Although anybody taking aim at the American superpower would have seemed an underdog, the White House’s approach enhanced the terrorists’ cachet, accentuating the image of self-sacrificing Davids taking up slingshots against a rich, flaccid, hypocritical Goliath. In rejecting the war-on-terror frame recently, Hilary Benn, the British secretary of state for international development, argued: “What these groups want is to force their individual and narrow values on others, without dialogue, without debate, through violence. And by letting them feel part of something bigger, we give them strength.”

A War We Just Might Win

First there was the Op-Ed:
A War We Just Might Win - New York Times

Op-Ed Contributor
A War We Just Might Win


VIEWED from Iraq, where we just spent eight days meeting with American and Iraqi military and civilian personnel, the political debate in Washington is surreal. The Bush administration has over four years lost essentially all credibility. Yet now the administration’s critics, in part as a result, seem unaware of the significant changes taking place.

Here is the most important thing Americans need to understand: We are finally getting somewhere in Iraq, at least in military terms. As two analysts who have harshly criticized the Bush administration’s miserable handling of Iraq, we were surprised by the gains we saw and the potential to produce not necessarily “victory” but a sustainable stability that both we and the Iraqis could live with.

After the furnace-like heat, the first thing you notice when you land in Baghdad is the morale of our troops. In previous trips to Iraq we often found American troops angry and frustrated — many sensed they had the wrong strategy, were using the wrong tactics and were risking their lives in pursuit of an approach that could not work.

Today, morale is high. The soldiers and marines told us they feel that they now have a superb commander in Gen. David Petraeus; they are confident in his strategy, they see real results, and they feel now they have the numbers needed to make a real difference.

Everywhere, Army and Marine units were focused on securing the Iraqi population, working with Iraqi security units, creating new political and economic arrangements at the local level and providing basic services — electricity, fuel, clean water and sanitation — to the people. Yet in each place, operations had been appropriately tailored to the specific needs of the community. As a result, civilian fatality rates are down roughly a third since the surge began — though they remain very high, underscoring how much more still needs to be done.

In Ramadi, for example, we talked with an outstanding Marine captain whose company was living in harmony in a complex with a (largely Sunni) Iraqi police company and a (largely Shiite) Iraqi Army unit. He and his men had built an Arab-style living room, where he met with the local Sunni sheiks — all formerly allies of Al Qaeda and other jihadist groups — who were now competing to secure his friendship.

In Baghdad’s Ghazaliya neighborhood, which has seen some of the worst sectarian combat, we walked a street slowly coming back to life with stores and shoppers. The Sunni residents were unhappy with the nearby police checkpoint, where Shiite officers reportedly abused them, but they seemed genuinely happy with the American soldiers and a mostly Kurdish Iraqi Army company patrolling the street. The local Sunni militia even had agreed to confine itself to its compound once the Americans and Iraqi units arrived.

We traveled to the northern cities of Tal Afar and Mosul. This is an ethnically rich area, with large numbers of Sunni Arabs, Kurds and Turkmens. American troop levels in both cities now number only in the hundreds because the Iraqis have stepped up to the plate. Reliable police officers man the checkpoints in the cities, while Iraqi Army troops cover the countryside. A local mayor told us his greatest fear was an overly rapid American departure from Iraq. All across the country, the dependability of Iraqi security forces over the long term remains a major question mark.

But for now, things look much better than before. American advisers told us that many of the corrupt and sectarian Iraqi commanders who once infested the force have been removed. The American high command assesses that more than three-quarters of the Iraqi Army battalion commanders in Baghdad are now reliable partners (at least for as long as American forces remain in Iraq).

In addition, far more Iraqi units are well integrated in terms of ethnicity and religion. The Iraqi Army’s highly effective Third Infantry Division started out as overwhelmingly Kurdish in 2005. Today, it is 45 percent Shiite, 28 percent Kurdish, and 27 percent Sunni Arab.

In the past, few Iraqi units could do more than provide a few “jundis” (soldiers) to put a thin Iraqi face on largely American operations. Today, in only a few sectors did we find American commanders complaining that their Iraqi formations were useless — something that was the rule, not the exception, on a previous trip to Iraq in late 2005.

The additional American military formations brought in as part of the surge, General Petraeus’s determination to hold areas until they are truly secure before redeploying units, and the increasing competence of the Iraqis has had another critical effect: no more whack-a-mole, with insurgents popping back up after the Americans leave.

In war, sometimes it’s important to pick the right adversary, and in Iraq we seem to have done so. A major factor in the sudden change in American fortunes has been the outpouring of popular animus against Al Qaeda and other Salafist groups, as well as (to a lesser extent) against Moktada al-Sadr’s Mahdi Army.

These groups have tried to impose Shariah law, brutalized average Iraqis to keep them in line, killed important local leaders and seized young women to marry off to their loyalists. The result has been that in the last six months Iraqis have begun to turn on the extremists and turn to the Americans for security and help. The most important and best-known example of this is in Anbar Province, which in less than six months has gone from the worst part of Iraq to the best (outside the Kurdish areas). Today the Sunni sheiks there are close to crippling Al Qaeda and its Salafist allies. Just a few months ago, American marines were fighting for every yard of Ramadi; last week we strolled down its streets without body armor.

Another surprise was how well the coalition’s new Embedded Provincial Reconstruction Teams are working. Wherever we found a fully staffed team, we also found local Iraqi leaders and businessmen cooperating with it to revive the local economy and build new political structures. Although much more needs to be done to create jobs, a new emphasis on microloans and small-scale projects was having some success where the previous aid programs often built white elephants.

In some places where we have failed to provide the civilian manpower to fill out the reconstruction teams, the surge has still allowed the military to fashion its own advisory groups from battalion, brigade and division staffs. We talked to dozens of military officers who before the war had known little about governance or business but were now ably immersing themselves in projects to provide the average Iraqi with a decent life.

Outside Baghdad, one of the biggest factors in the progress so far has been the efforts to decentralize power to the provinces and local governments. But more must be done. For example, the Iraqi National Police, which are controlled by the Interior Ministry, remain mostly a disaster. In response, many towns and neighborhoods are standing up local police forces, which generally prove more effective, less corrupt and less sectarian. The coalition has to force the warlords in Baghdad to allow the creation of neutral security forces beyond their control.

In the end, the situation in Iraq remains grave. In particular, we still face huge hurdles on the political front. Iraqi politicians of all stripes continue to dawdle and maneuver for position against one another when major steps towards reconciliation — or at least accommodation — are needed. This cannot continue indefinitely. Otherwise, once we begin to downsize, important communities may not feel committed to the status quo, and Iraqi security forces may splinter along ethnic and religious lines.

How much longer should American troops keep fighting and dying to build a new Iraq while Iraqi leaders fail to do their part? And how much longer can we wear down our forces in this mission? These haunting questions underscore the reality that the surge cannot go on forever. But there is enough good happening on the battlefields of Iraq today that Congress should plan on sustaining the effort at least into 2008.

Michael E. O’Hanlon is a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. Kenneth M. Pollack is the director of research at the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at Brookings.
After reading this--and before checking out what anyone else was saying about it--I jotted down my own thoughs:
I'm all for our getting it right. This is one of the first articles I trust suggesting we are... (Previous reports of good news I've seen have been biased in directions that caused me not to trust ‘em, or were self-serving reports from the Administration itself.) I hope we actually are succeeding, and I hope it continues. If so, I'll be glad to admit I was wrong about the surge.

I won't apologize for opposing the invasion even if we do succeed, because the ends do not justify the means. Good results can come from bad actions, and no matter how positive the result, preemptive war goes against my notion of what America stands for. I will give those who supported the thing--from Bush on down--credit for pulling it off, however.

My opposition up to now has been to our invading in the first place & the oft reported failures up to now (which are also mentioned in this article) that resulted from the administration’s poor planning and rose-colored scenarios of victory. I applaud the fact that those early mistakes & bad ideas are getting fixed.

To the extent this op-ed is accurate, I pray that it lasts…
The con blogesphere is all a-twitter with happiness that the liberal NYT has an article in support of the surge.

But the backstory on the op-ed authors, from a liberal perspective, paints a different picture:

(Check out Greenwald's piece on just how many times one or the other of thse guys have offered the war "just one more chance"... While they're billed at Bush foes, they sure have been turning all those corners with him...)
"I think we're turning a corner in Iraq"
"...the end is just around the bend"
"Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love ya, tomorrow... You're always a day away..."
Glenn Greenwald - Salon

The Credibility (Or Lack Thereof) of O'Hanlon and Pollack - TalkLeft: The Politics Of Crime

War Proponents Pollack and O'Hanlon: Let's Sustain Surge "Into 2008" | TPMCafe

Progressive America Times: A War We Just Might Win?!: "Right-wing blogs are overjoyed at this op-ed, but like Limbaugh, are also strangely using this opportunity to attack the liberal bias of the New York Times. I see all kinds of problems with attacking an organization as biased and untrustworthy in the same sentence that you are citing it as evidence. Limbaugh and many others on the right apparently see no such conflict of interest."

Monday, July 30, 2007

More evidence that animal cruelty is all the fault of liberals

Sometimes I think that if we try hard enough, we Americans can work together for some kinda common good. Not everything is a partisan issue, right?

Maybe, but you wouldn't know it from this posting...

In a post trying to help end the "sport" of greyhound racing, "Lieberman Democrat" (republican) Skye, added the following: AncoraImparo: "Of note, this sport was 'glamorized' in Matt Damon's break out movie - Good Will Hunting - the same movie where Damon's South Boston character speaks highly of Howard Zinn."

Between this & the post further down LINK where another Con blames Democrats & civil rights leaders for enabling the conditions (gangsta "thug" culture) that lead Michael Vick to kill dogs, we liberals just suck!

Well, partisans will be partisans, I guess... No rest for the hateful, and everything is fodder for scoring political points.

(And, it turns out that the action she was advocating for, a greyhound walk to deliver a petition to the MA attorney general, doesn't seem to actually be happening... There is no mention of it on the link she provided on her site, and I've found no reference to it anywhere else, either.)

For those interested in the issue, however, two links to more info (one in MA, the other countrywide.)

MSPCA Angell: Greyhounds

GREY2K USA - Protecting Greyhounds Nationwide

Saturday, July 28, 2007

I Support the Troops

First saw this here, where it, the guy who made it, and anyone who enjoys it (so far only me at the site, though there are many elsewhere) are being roundly trashed...

I can't blame 'em... It is offensive, particularly if one holds "the troops" up as better than the rest of us for making the sacrifices they have (a number that includes me, but not quite so much as some--particularly many folks on the right). But while it is offensive, it also contains some truth, and a whole lotta humor...

"But what about those troops who are not so brave? Perhaps they just signed up hoping for some extra money for college, for the medical insurance, or even some hot gay military sex.
Suddenly they find themselves in Iraq for the fourth or fifth time and they’re not so brave. In fact they're crapping in their pants. Shouldn’t we support them just as much? I think we should. In fact we should support them more, because a brave man does but once, whereas a coward dies a thousand deaths."

"I support our troops - cowards, queers, and all."

Are there soldiers who didn't join up out of an overwhelming sense of patriotism? Of course there are... Pretending otherwise doesn't make it any less true.

My brother is a Gulf Vet. He served honorably and bravely. But I know that defending this country was darn near the last thing on his mind when he walked into the recruiting office, and he left the service as soon as it became possible. There is no dishonor in serving for money, or experience, or even sex of one kind or another.

There are gay soldiers. And some of the same people who're up in arms about the offensiveness of this video think little of treating gay men as second class citizens. In fact, the gay soldiers risking their lives in Iraq cannot even tell anyone they are gay, or they will become unwelcome to serve... Talk about offensive...

"Now I know there are some cynics out there thinking, sure you say you support our troops but what do you actually mean by ‘support’? That’s a fair question and all I can say in response is that any one asking that question is a traitorous bastard and probably should be hung for treason."

Message? How dare you question support of the troops... How many quotes that're variations of that theme do you think I can find dripping from the lips of Con speakers from the last 5 years?

"But to answer the question, what I mean when I say I support our troops is that I actually pay for their food, their ammo, their upkeep, transport, everything. I pay for all of it. And I do that not only because I’m a patriotic American, although I am, but also because they take 35% out of my check every week and if I don’t pay it I will end up in jail. That is what I mean by ‘I support our troops’. I mean I am involuntarily, under threat of prison, forced to pay for their support."

It's a fact. Whatever you think of war, you're obligated to pay for it. Just like Cons are obligated to pay for PBS and the NEA, regardless of whether or not they like the art. I'm not against that... I believe in the common good.

"But do I still support the individual men and women who have given so much to serve their country?
No. I think they’re a bunch of idiots. I also think they’re morally retarded. Because they sign a contract that says they will kill whoever you tell me to kill. And that is morally retarded. Friends, the most important moral decision a man makes in the course of a day is "Who am I going to kill today?" That’s a decision you should agonize over, dream about, rehearse in your mind for hours, not just leave up to some hare-brained President you didn’t even vote for. A man’s killing list is a very personal matter. It should be between him and those persistent voices in his head."

It ain't practical (and as I said above, I believe in the common good, which means somebody has to make such decisions), but there'd be some benefit to deciding for yourself who is the enemy, rather than being told who deserves to die by your hand for their beliefs & actions.

One would hope that those who take that "thou shalt not kill" (or murder) thing seriously did not sign up, but any who did are now faced with the dilemma of sinning or breaking the law.

"So to sum up, I don’t like our troops, I don’t like what they’re doing, I don’t like their fat, whining families, and yet, I support them. Thank God I live in a free country."

A free country where we all are obligated to pay for war, and the troops are obligated to kill whoever the President tells them to...

One more point: While some--particularly on the right--are offended by this video, they have no problem taking down some soldiers.

And that's the point. "The troops" are not some monolithic bunch of holier-than-thous who're beyond reproach & should be insulated from offensive content, even when it's about them. Some soldiers are real heros. Some are real assholes. And a whole lot more (almost all of 'em, in fact) are both, depending on when you catch 'em.

"You never see the ACLU speaking up for the free speech rights of Christians" (The ACRU Blog)

O'Reilly Right on Target (The ACRU Blog) Posted by Peter Ferrara: "But you never see the ACLU speaking up for the free speech rights of Christians, for example, or anyone who believes in traditional moral values, like the Boy Scouts."

I don't wish to be difficult, but perhaps Mr. Ferrara might read the website to which he was posting (ACRU) before making such statements.

From two postings below Mr. Ferrara's, Headlines from the Ongoing Battle for American Civil Rights - 7/27 (The ACRU Blog):

"But here are a few real free speech cases on campus:

First Amendment Lottery (Campus Report Online)"

It says that the ACLU defended The College Republicans at San Francisco State University regarding an anti-terrorism demonstration in which several members stepped on replicas of the flags of Hamas and Hezbollah, two groups officially recognized by the U.S. as terrorist cells. Mightn't one assume that these college Republicans believe in traditional moral values?

From the linked posting, 4th paragraph: First Amendment Lottery: "According to FIRE's press release, media from across the country rallied to the support of the accused in defense of constitutional liberty. The Northern California Chapter of the ACLU also defended the students. After the group representatives appeared before a school tribunal, the announcement came that the students would not face punishment."

If that isn't enough for Mr. Ferrara & Mr. O'Reilly, three more links (the 2nd, 3rd, & 4th links listed when I did a Google Search - ACLU defend Christians):

American Civil Liberties Union : Iowa Civil Liberties Union Defends Right of Students to Wear Anti-Abortion T-Shirts

American Civil Liberties Union : ACLU of Michigan Defends Catholic Man Coerced to Convert to Pentecostal Faith in Drug Rehab Program

Preemptive Karma: The ACLU Hates Christians...

Perhaps Mr Ferrara & Mr Bill might want to reconsider using such strident tones...

Friday, July 27, 2007

Feel Good

Bill O'Reilly: Propaganda Pimp

Bill O'Reilly: Propaganda Pimp: "In a roomful of egomaniacal bloviating pundits, Bill O'Reilly would stand out as a towering infernal display of delusional demagoguery. His crusading rants are illustrative of a society that is weakened by a disease (a social disease?) whose predominant symptoms are a mash of masochism and narcissism. Almost any random sampling of The O'Reilly Fester will reveal a man obsessed with his own righteousness. He views himself as the singular savior of America's meek, who he refers to simply as the 'Folks.'"
(Hit the link above for the rest)


Whatever you do, don't miss the Stalking Points Memos

BREAKING: Newly Obtained Emails Reveal GOP '04 Vote Supression Scheme

Previously undisclosed documents detail how Republican operatives, with the knowledge of several White House officials, engaged in an illegal, racially-motivated effort to suppress tens of thousands of votes during the 2004 presidential campaign in a state where George W. Bush was trailing his Democratic challenger, Senator John Kerry.

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Thursday, July 26, 2007

CNN.com - CNN Political Ticker Protester removed from Fred Thompson event

CNN.com - CNN Political Ticker Protester removed from Fred Thompson event

Bryan's comment (July 25, 2007 5:11 pm) says most of what I was thinkin', but seeing as how many commenters have repeated the bit about her being a kook, I've no problem repeating a more balanced view.

Anyone who bothers to watch the video the woman herself shot (this CNN video does not tell the whole story) will see that this woman was acting like every other person there... that is, UNTIL the police/tsa layed hands on her, for reasons that no one has yet explained...

If she had been screaming like that the whole time, I would agree that she deserved to be removed. But she wasn't. Her screaming began BECAUSE she was being removed.

When the police start "removing" people at a candidate's bidding, so that s/he can avoid a tough question or manage a photo op (as when team Bush allows Pro-Bush signs and t-shirts to line a road, but anti-Bush signs and shirts are penned up in "free speech zones"), there is something very wrong. The police are supposed to work for the public, not the powerful.

I'm not endorsing any of her views--I'm not for Ron Paul, and I don't believe that 9/11 was an inside job or that Building 7 was blown up from within, though I do agree that Fred Thompson is not a real conservative and that the North American Union is a really bad idea--but I am endorsing the idea that the people have the right to respectfully (& sometimes disrespectfully) confront the people who are or want to be our elected representitives. Having the authorities remove those folks who don't tow a candidate's (or elected representitive's) party line goes against the American values I was taught.

I hope that the police step up and explain why this woman was removed from this impromptu press conference, and who ordered it.

Here is the woman's blog account: Houston 9|11 Truth Confronts Fred Thompson and Greg Abbott, Attorney General of Texas

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Ask yourself why: Conservatives more likely to attribute the acts of individual blacks to " hip-hop thug culture"

Mike's America: Ask Yourself Why: More Black Men in Prison than College

First off, are there really more black men in prison than college? Unfortunately yes... ...but the reasons are open to interpretation, and a plausable argument can be made that the increased spending on prisons & decreased spending on education during the Reagan years (and since) are at least as much to blame for this unfortunate statistic as "hip hop culture."

"...after two decades of harsh criminal justice policies, there are more black men in jail or prison than in college. At the end of 2000, 791,600 black men were behind bars and 603,032 were enrolled in colleges or universities. By contrast, in 1980 -- before the prison boom -- black men in college outnumbered black men behind bars by a ratio of more than 3 to 1, the study found.

The report, "Cellblocks or Classrooms? The Funding of Higher Education and Corrections and Its Impact on African American Men," also found that spending on education has suffered as a result of the imprisonment binge. Between 1985 and 2000, the increase in state spending on corrections was nearly double that of the increase to higher education ($20 billion versus $10.7 billion), and the total increase in spending on higher education by states was 24%, compared with 166% for corrections."
More Black Men in Prison Than College, Study Finds

Mike sez: "Next time you hear some Democrat or Civil Rights Leader (same thing really) complain about the number of black men in prison ask yourself why they are there.

Here's a story which illuminates the problem:"

Unfortunately, the story Mike quotes, Indictment: Michael Vick Hanged, Drowned, Slammed Weak Dogs to Ground - Sports Blog - The FanHouse, says nothing about why there are more black men in prison than college. It doesn't refer to Michael Vick's race, at all. It reports the crimes for which Mr Vick and two other men were indicted. Why does Mike believe this is a story about race?

Mike continues: "Michael Vick is a man who had it made. As quarterback of the Atlanta Falcons he was a star and highly paid at that. But money and fame weren't enough to overcome the hip-hop thug culture which is destroying so many black males."

No evidence girding this assertion that "hip hop thug culture" plays any part in this story, either by Mike himself or the story he quotes. Nevertheless, it is this thug culture that makes Mr. Vick viciously mistreat animals, says Mike. And as always, his readers are supposed to believe him just because... ...well, he's Mike Miller, after all. He once worked for Reagan.

"So next time some "civil rights" leader complains about the number of black men in prison, I hope someone asks them what they are doing to counter the culture of violence and criminality that creates these monsters. And ask them how much money they have taken in "contributions" from these same monsters."

There you have it folks... Michael Vick is a perfect example of how "civil rights" leaders and the left are to blame for animal cruelty. Of course.

Mike Miller should be ashamed. (But he never is...)

And lest you think Mike Miller is the only one tying animal cruelty to race:

green blog of revolution: This Is Why We Don't Let Conservatives Into the Academy (Just Kidding, David)

www.kansascity.com | 07/18/2007 | Vick can evolve from hip-hop prison culture

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

E-mail to Mr. Bush

I'm very disappointed that the President chose to substitute his judgment for that of our American legal system a scant 5 hours after inmate number 28301-016 (Mr. Libby) lost his appeal to stay out of jail pending appeal.

It was my understanding that Mr. Bush was not commenting on ongoing legal cases such as inmate number 28301-016's, but by commuting his sentence (and having that spiffy legal defense fund to pay the fine), the convict is essentially getting away without punishment for the crimes for which he was convicted.

Because inmate number 28301-016 so recently worked for the White House, it is a pretty obvious conflict of interest. (In a similar situation, both President Nixon & President Ford declined to pardon or commute the sentences of their former employees.)

Now that the White House has seen fit to comment on this case, I hope President Bush and the rest of his cabinet (& Mr. Cheney, as well) will explain why Mr. Rove is still working for the White House, despite being one of the leakers, by his own admission in court in Mr. Libby's case.

Thank you for your time.