Monday, August 29, 2005

Rich on Threats

While I liked this Frank Rich Piece on Iraq, particularly the uselessness of "triangulation" strategies, my favorite paragraph was by far this:

But don't expect any of Mr. Feingold's peers to join him or Mr. Hagel in fashioning an exit strategy that might work. If there's a moment that could stand for the Democrats' irrelevance it came on July 14, the day Americans woke up to learn of the suicide bomber in Baghdad who killed as many as 27 people, nearly all of them children gathered around American troops. In Washington that day, the presumptive presidential candidate Hillary Clinton held a press conference vowing to protect American children from the fantasy violence of video games.
This gets back to what I was mentioning earlier- the necessity of policy based on thought, not polling and positioning.

(Both are important, of course, but not this much.)

Even a moment's thought not conditioned by these two factors would lead one to realize that attacking video games is a sideshow at best, and extraordinarily unlikely to lead to any electoral breakthrough. It's transparently positioning, even to the layman, and will only succeed in alienating younger twentysomething voters (who are, unlike children and teenagers, the typical "gamer") without currying much favour with parents. It speaks to the lack of coherence in Democratic politics, and it's that lack of coherence that's killing them.

"When I think about you..."

Been reading the comment thread in this Kevin Drum post. Does anybody else think that the "Bell Curve" defenders touch themselves when reading the Alpha/Beta/Gamma/Delta/Epsilon stuff in "Brave New World"?

Or is it just me?

(The "debate" wouldn't be nearly so offensive were the public policy advocacy anything but Apartheid.)

My hopes and wishes to those caught in the hurricane...

Especially those who remained behind.

Why is it, however, that I'm hearing that people are being sheltered in the city not because they cannot leave, but because they are "too poor"? How is that even possible?

Why on earth didn't the wealthiest country in the world assist them in getting the hell out? Have they never heard of buses? Hell, what about military transports? It's not like the national guard grunts are actually in NA.

When this is over, hopefully soon, this will require answers. The hurricane is a work of nature, but the reaction is the province of the government... and the government let these people down.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Who Owns Definitions:

Jonah, you have absolutely no right or authority to say:

Here's what I do think. I think Sheehan has absolutely no sense of proportion or responsibility when she calls Bush a terrorist and a murderer or when she ascribes comic-book-villain motives to the administration. I think such rhetoric is appealing to a wide range of groups who practice similar rhetoric including, by the way, International Answer which no self-respecting liberal (as opposed to leftist) should have any association with. If I was being too glib by not spelling that out in my post, I apologize. But, I think Sheehan's PR operation -- including her water-carriers in the liberal press -- should no be surprised that they're attracting a broad Popular Front which includes a lot of disreputable and unpleasent elements. If you leave yourself no room, rhetorically speaking, between yourself and the crazies don't be surprised if the crazies respond to your rhetoric."
Bolding mine. Aside from the "if somebody listens to you, you're responsible for them" twaddle (which is pretty goddamned dangerous, considering who's listened to the National Review over the years), and the ironically simplistic jabs at "comic book-villain motives", Jonah Goldberg does not get to define who is, or is not, a self-respecting LIBERAL.

Sorry, no.

Point of fact, the biggest tipoff that a liberal is actually self respecting is that he or she will decide who they'll listen to, and not define themselves by what their ideological opponents define as "acceptable".

Have I mentioned this before? Sure.

It bears repeating.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Pick a Party, Not a Candidate

Over on Daily Kos, Hunter brings up a valid point... how do you handle candidates who aren't aligned with you on every issue?

Let's suppose I have three candidates to choose from:

* One has a solid pro-choice record, but is dismissive of gay rights.

* One is solid on gay rights, but unnervingly middling on pro-choice statements.

* One is solidly anti-war, and powerfully effective at it. But an unknown, when it comes to privacy and rights issues.

Pick which one I should support. Now.

And God help both you and me if I choose wrong, because I've just fucked a hell of a lot of my fellow citizens, much less world travelers. Big time.

Or should I stay home and not vote at all, because no one candidate meets ALL the very specific tests I have?

Or should I make the best judgment I can based on the best possible common good, and fight like hell for the rest of it once I have someone in office that at least shares the best possible common ground for those debates?

That's all this single-issue, not-single-issue argument is about. That choice, right there, and how to make it. It's not about "disrespecting" people, or "abandoning" people, or "not understanding the severity" of the issue. It's about the fundamental problem with representative democracy: if you're not your own representative, you're by definition going to have to figure out who should be. And it's a brutally imperfect process.

hese purity debates are all fine from an intellectual level, but when it comes to real-world situations I am, at some point during every single election, going to have to sit myself down on my own decidedly imperfect ass and decide on ACTUAL human candidates who will never -- and I mean, absolutely never -- match up with my own personal fifty-point litmus test of Deadly Critical Issues That I Cannot Compromise On. This isn't a damn political fantasy football game. Do we honestly think that these miraculous candidates are actually out there, that agree with you, me, him, her, grandma, grandpa, and the dog all at the same time? On economic issues? Gun control? Gay rights? Affirmative action? Women's rights? Religious freedoms and separations? Educational opportunities for my children?

Critical public health issues?

Well, first, this is why people within parties need to compromise on certain issues, but I think there are two key problems that aren't being addressed here: the point of a party, and the role of political philosophy.

Parties, for one, exist to deal with these problems. When a party has a platform and decent discipline, you can reliably assume that that platform is going to correspond with the laws that that party passes. Individual legislators aren't as important as their collective ability to pass laws, although they can contribute to said platform. The laws are connected to the platform, because the party needs to stick together in order to pass said laws.

Second, this speaks to the necessity of some sort of philosophy or belief system that underlies the party's platform, and the positions of the people who are willing to represent and be represented by that party. The Republicans aren't bad at this, for example, because their (often unstated) governing philosophy is informed by their religiosity, their general pro-business stance, and their hostility to governmental intervention that does not correspond to these two things. Most of their platforms and laws are derived from this.

The Dems, on the other hand, have pretty much eschewed any sort of unified political philosophy, because they have allowed the logical supporting philosophy (a mixture of social democracy and modern liberalism) for their party to be debased. They have responded to that debasement by encouraging it instead of combating it, so you have a hodgepodge of obviously focus-grouped and "strategized" positions, instead of real beliefs.

This is the legacy of the DLC, and the witless fear of McGovern redux.

The resolution to the conundrum placed above, therefore, is simple if you look at it through this lens. Gay rights and abortion rights are related, because both of them are about the right to do with your body whatever you deem fit, whether it's men putting their penises in other men or women controlling their own uterus. Being anti-war (or, at least, anti THIS war) is related to rights, because the kind of xenophobia and authoritarianism that characterizes the handling and genesis of the Iraq war is what provokes the erosion of privacy and other rights, because it's rooted in a fear of the Other within our society (read: Arabic Muslims) and of political positions that are "beyond the pale".

In both cases, denying the one leads to the denial of the other. Candidates that don't understand this, or won't, are dangerous, because they're indicating that their positions are not thought out or based on arguments by people who HAVE thought them out. They're inconsistent and likely to change with the political wind.

The gay/abortion and rights/war issues are also related on the issue of individual rights: the war was an assault on individual citizens' rights to know what their representative government is doing and have substantial input into that process, just as the attacks on gays/abortion is an attack on individuals' control over their own bodies. A defense of both can be (and should be) rooted in liberal democratic political philosophy.

The philosophy, in turn, should inform the party's platform, and the candidates that run under that banner should be expected to be relatively sympathetic and compatible with that platform. That will mean that some of the positions will not be the "popular" ones, but the willingness to advocate is something valued by the people in the first place: witness the success of the Republicans, despite having values that vary wildly from their voters in several key respects.

So if you want to criticize my approach to the issues, or Kos' approach, or Dean's approach, or Kerry's approach, or NARAL's approach, or GLAAD's approach, or the DLC's approach, or whoever -- knock yourself out. Have a ball. That's the whole point -- having those debates is the only way we're going to get anything approaching a workable long-term Democratic infrastructure.

But don't presume that anyone who has a different strategy than you isn't "serious" enough, or "liberal" enough, or whatever-the-hell-else suddenly rises in your throat because a certain partisan dared throw a critical paragraph or two towards your life-defining issue, as opposed to all the other life-defining issues and strategies that you were just fine in criticizing every other day of the week. A meaningful debate can't work that way.
First, the DLC is attacked for completely different reasons; let's not be disingenuous here. Second, the resolution is in rooting the debate in something other than "I like this policy and I'm going to scream at you until you agree"; there needs to be a slightly higher level of debate than you usually see among bloggers. Finally, the reason why candidates are dangerous when they are not "liberal" enough is because they have demonstrated no allegiance to any political philoosophy, and will likely gravitate to the tropes and assumptions contained in conservative political philosophy.

From there, it's only a matter of time until they're Republican-lite.

So sorry, Hunter, but you're off here. The problem here isn't single-issue voters, but a lack of consistency and thought. The former will never go away. The latter, however, can.

Friday, August 26, 2005

A slight misapprehension

Edit: Fixed link. Now my four remaining readers can enjoy it.

The problem, Ezra, is not which strategy on the war "wins elections"... it's that the discussion is couched in the rhetoric and terminology of elections at all. Digby sums it up nicely in saying that the main talking points needs to be: "Who lost Iraq? George W. Bush and the Republican party" and he's right that the American people need to be convinced, but both are missing something:

You can't just say that, you have to believe it.

It has to be justified not by any sort of discussion of politics or optics or polling whatsoever, even if it is: you need to have a completely seperate line of thought that leads to this same conclusion, and if you can't find it, you need to throw it out. It's odd that I'm saying this to Digby, who's made this point as well as anybody, but the politics need to be set aside, because it is the perception of the Democrats as craven opportunists that is the problem here. They need to build up their reputation as being principled, above all else.

(If this were Canada, the situation would be different, of course; there, the opposition is accused of being a little bit TOO zealous about their principles. Triangulation works in that case, but not in the American one.)

This comes down to a basic problem, and it's one that liberal blogs are prey to and that I've highlighted before. The discussion about politics needs to end, or at least be put on the back burner. Discussion about Republican politics and political maneuvering is fine, because they're even more opportunistic and that needs to be put out there, but the endless political discussions that you see in the left blogosphere and amongst Dem supporters in general is helping nothing and nobody.

And, yes, among other things, this requires consistency. "Triangulation" is the enemy of consistency, and the end-point of this kind of political gaming.

The other thing it requires? A willingness to stand up for said convictions. 2006 is not the end of the world, and it's clear that this Democratic party is not ready for it, no matter what positions they take. Better to take a stand and lose in 2006 than waffle and strategize and politicize and lose anyway like in 2002 and 2004. At least it would help the party's image in ways that actually matter.

Kerry was the strategist's choice. Kerry lost, largely because of strategists. It's time to put the strategy away, put the strategists away, and say "I advocate this because it's the right thing to do, and if you don't want to vote for me, so be it."

The time for playing the game of politics is over. Be the Loyal Opposition; the politics stem from that.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Legion Declares War on Protestors

The American Legion isn't fond of "disloyalty".

The American Legion, which has 2.7 million members, has declared war on antiwar protestors, and the media could be next. Speaking at its national convention in Honolulu, the group's national commander called for an end to all “public protests” and “media events” against the war, even though they are protected by the Bill of Rights.

"The American Legion will stand against anyone and any group that would demoralize our troops, or worse, endanger their lives by encouraging terrorists to continue their cowardly attacks against freedom-loving peoples," Thomas Cadmus, national commander, told delegates at the group's national convention in Honolulu...

In his speech, Cadmus declared: "It would be tragic if the freedoms our veterans fought so valiantly to protect would be used against their successors today as they battle terrorists bent on our destruction.”

He explained, "No one respects the right to protest more than one who has fought for it, but we hope that Americans will present their views in correspondence to their elected officials rather than by public media events guaranteed to be picked up and used as tools of encouragement by our enemies." This might suggest to some, however, that American freedoms are worth dying for but not exercising.
Ah, there's nothing like the whiff of "wrongthink will be punished" you get off stories like that. We aren't allowed to tell people what's going on, because the possibility of terrorists hearing it.

It's disturbing that they'd argue this, because they seem to value the ignorance of the enemy (who would certainly know anyway) over the knowledge of the people themselves. Is the ability of the people to understand and decide on their representatives based on that knowledge so unimportant?

(Protest is, after all, aimed at the people.)

I don't know what rights this Cadmus guy was fighting for, but it certainly wasn't that of protest.

What's truly unfortunate, though, is how many self-proclaimed conservatives and patriots are missing a key part of American democracy: the man is not the office. He's a president, not Caesar.

Monday, August 22, 2005

So Much for the Freedom Argument

It would appear that the Iraqi constitution is going to enshrine Islam "as a main source of legislation, and ban laws that contradict religious teachings".

Lovely. Sharia wins the day.

And why?

Kurds had complained that U.S. diplomats, who have insisted that women and minorities should enjoy equal rights, had conceded ground to the Islamists in order to meet Monday's deadline for passing a draft constitution in the legislature.
So it's official: there is no rationale left for the war in Iraq, except the existence of the war itself. A woman stoned for adultery isn't going care whether or not Saddam throws it.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Sealing the Deal

I have little hope that Scott Randolph, the cause celeb on the right who declared his allegiance to the Republicans, will actually pay attention to this, but I'm going to do him an honor: my first call-and-response blog post in ages. And, no, I'm not going to breathe a word about "chickenhawks".

I actually felt myself become a republican today. It was around 10am, when I read the latest update of the Cindy Sheehan saga in I then shot over to read some blogs about it, and perused the comments in some of them, which was nothing but a long series of petty (albeit entertaining) partisan bickering.
First problem is right here: "partisan bickering" isn't necessarily useless or meaningless. Criticism of wrongdoing isn't right or wrong depending on whether or not a Democrat or Republican said it. Yes, this tends to be the Republican response, and is the first reason why switching doesn't make sense.

Then it happend. The good little democrat in me tied the little noose around his neck and jumped off the stool. He just couldn’t take it anymore.

Take what? The whining. The constant whining by the extreme left about the reasons for war, the incompetence of this administration, and how we’ve all been lied to, and how we should pull out of Iraq immediately, because, *gulp* our soldiers were in danger.
"Whining"? This is nonsense: the left has no monopoly on such a thing: witness the reaction of the Republicans to Democratic criticism (or "negativity") prior to the Dem's convention, the reaction of the Republicans during the debates, or the reaction of online Republicans to various and sundry imagined slurs. The Republicans whine more, actually.

Besides, characterizing the criticism as "whining" misses the point: not just of the criticism, but of the role of criticism in general. Criticism needs to exist, because it needs to serve as a check on the fantasies and assumptions of the powerful. This is as true now as it ever was, as one of the major threads of said criticism is that this administration has a dangerous tendency of believing its own hype, despite any and all evidence to the contrary. Rank-and-file Republicans aren't that much different: one said that the contentions about the Yellowcake and WMDs were accurate. The former is due to ignorance about the fabricated nature of the evidence: the latter falls into the trap of conflating a minor amount of chemicals of dubious origin with fully-functional nuclear programs, which is precisely what the label is designed to do.

Whether deliberate misrepresentation or honest ignorance, this is the party you're joining, Scott. And this is why criticism is necessary.

Guess what folks….they signed up to join the Army, not the boy scouts. Anytime your orientation to a new job involves an automatic weapon, you should be smart enough to figure out there’s danger involved. I actually read some people’s comments about many of the soldiers over there being naive….they weren’t expecting to go to war, so, they should be allowed to go home. Wow.

Soldiers know, when they enlist, that it is entirely possible they will be shipped out and never come home. It’s part of the job. The fact that people still walk in to recruiters’ offices and sign that piece of paper make them heroes. To imply that they are simple kids who didn’t know what they were getting into, or even worse, that they died for no reason, or an immoral reason, does a horrible thing. It strips their sacrifice of the honor that it deserves. Even though those folks sitting out there in the Texas fields claim to honor and support the soldiers, they obviously have been blinded by their own selfishness as to the real way to support them.
Scott, you obviously don't get what's going on out there. Everybody knows that the job of a soldier is dangerous. That's precisely why this is important: because even a soldier's life should not be spent meaninglessly, and every measure should be taken to preserve those lives and the lives of those civilians that can be spared.

One of the major threads of criticism of the Republicans is that not only are they not taking every measure to protect the soldiers, but they're actively hurting the soldiers, both by poorly equipping them and by cutting the funding for veterans. Both facts are easily verifiable.

Another is that the lives spent were spent due to the illusions of the Republicans in charge and Republicans in general. Again, this is easily verifiable: they thought that this would be easy, but it's not.

A third is that they are not willing to sacrifice, or ask the American people to sacrifice, so as to aid the war effort. Actual soldiers have complained about this, and it directly affects their safety: a government that had not gone ahead with tax cuts would have had more money for more generous pay and better equipment, which would make individual soldiers safer.

A fourth is that recruiters are lying to prospective soldiers, and hounding them when they aren't lying. A false representation of what's going to happen given to a cadre of unwilling soldiers, is only going to endanger them and ruin the reputation of the armed services. Think about why there isn't a draft, Scott. An all-volunteer army is necessary, and it can't work without the truth.

There are other valid threads: dozens, in fact. They are not "whining", because they point out something that is supposedly of great importance to conservatives: Responsibility. The Republicans, your new friends, are responsible for this war and everything about it. If it is going badly, it is their responsibility. They certainly were quick to take credit.

Because, long story short, we can’t end this war now. That would send the message that those bastardly little terrorists have won. It doesn’t matter if the adminstration told us the desert sand was made of gold, and we are going over there to collect it in little buckets to bring home, the concrete fact that we are at war doesn’t change. We are there, and we have a job to finish. We’ve toppled a regime that was dangerous not only to its own people, but also to the rest of the world. Now, we are there fighting the same terrorists we are fighting in Afghanistan. We’ve given liberty to millions of people, and we’re trying to help create a government, in an area that is very volatile, that will be a bastion of freedom and hope for an entire race of people. I hate the fact that our boys are getting killed over there, and I wish it didn’t have to happen.
The question, Scott, is whether the job can even be finished. This same style of argument was made about Vietnam, and by the Soviets in Afghanistan. It hurts to admit that you cannot achieve your original goals, and even more that an enemy has been successful, but sooner or later it must be done, if it's necessary. You cannot simply throw soldiers into a meat grinder indefinitely- you'll run out of soldiers, aid in training even more deadly terrorists (which is already happening), and eventually endanger America and American interests in other parts of the world.

That America has "given freedom" is also a mistake, one that comes from your apparently not paying attention to the news. The freedom is to live under Islamic law, or to get caught in a civil war that the Republicans were insufficiently prepared for. Go read what the Iraqi blogger Riverbend has to say, among others: the Republicans are likely going to have ended up granting women in Iraq a regime which (sadly) gives them less freedom than they enjoyed under Saddam. This is likely to be enshrined in their constitution- assuming it even survives the (entirely predictable) bid for de facto independence by the Kurds, an independence bid that could end up further destabilizing the entire region. An unstable region is a playground for terrorists.

Again, this is about RESPONSIBILITY, Scott. If you value it, it does you credit, but your adoptive party does not.

But, it is, there’s nothing we can do about it, except for doing everything we can to offer support and hope to the folks fighting over there. Arguing and whining about the reasons we’re there, and the need to come home not only kills morale, but it is a complete waste of time.
No, it's not, for the reasons I just gave. The debate is necessary, and only honors the soldiers, because it shows that we care about why they're there and aren't willing to simply toss them into the grinder. Your support for the soldiers does not have to extend to the politicians. In fact, it should not: without the debate, democracy cannot survive. Without democracy, America is nothing.

I just re-read the above post, and I apologize for the rambling….just needed to vent a little. Here’s a breakdown of the way I see things:

-right or wrong, we’re at war. no amount of yelling will fix that now.
-we have to finish the job. HAVE TO. it may take another 1800 soldiers, but it has to be done
-whether or not we’re there for the right reason, we’ve done something great for that country
...and we've also done something terrible to that country. We owe them, and the soldiers, honesty about it. That's the problem with Bush and your new friends, though: we've recieved precious little in the way of honesty.

And, again, not only is the definition of "finishing the job" vague, but it may be impossible. Sorry to burst your bubble, and I can accept not wanting to believe it, but it may well be impossible.

I never was a big fan of Bush. But, one thing I do believe….he honestly wants to make this country, and this world a better place. Think about it…the war almost cost him the election. If we hadn’t invaded Iraq, he’d have won in a landslide.
Maybe, but maybe not: he has precious little to run on except his reputation as a "strong leader", and that was reinforced by Iraq. The same argument you made about "staying the course" aided him in the election. Again, though... shouldn't he be held responsible for what has happened?

I think it’s just my personality that lead me to this decision. I think the left is too concerned with everyone’s immediate rights and needs, and refuses to sacrifice a bit of comfort and happiness in the present, for something that will make life better for everyone in the future. You can take the environmental stance on that, and I’d have no argument…but I think there enough conservatives concerned with that to make it a moot point.
No, it's not a moot point at all- conservatives have been at the forefront of anti-environmental activity since environmentalism began, whether due to honest disagreement or being utter shills. And as for your broader point, it is simply untrue on a whole host of issues, but the most obvious is the one I mentioned above: tax cuts. The Republicans have created a huge budget deficit, have done it due to their tax cuts, and that deficit is going to create enormous long-term problems. There is no reason whatsoever to believe that Republicans are overly concerned with "life better for everyone in the future"; even on Iraq, it was declared to be an immediate threat by the Republicans, not a long-term one.

Stomping around the middle east is not long-term thinking.

Mostly, I’m just really pissed off. We’re in a crappy situation, and it’s time for all of America to stand together, put on the big boy pants, and get through the next few years.
Scott, a democracy never "stands together". Dictatorships do that. Totalitarian regimes do that. A democracy is loud and obnoxious and argues all the time and has a hell of a time deciding on things. That is why it exists, especially the American variant. America requires a Cindy Sheehan, even if you disagree with her, because that is at the heart of what America IS: the disagreement.

That the Republicans are so eager to stifle that, Scott, makes them more anti-American than the left will ever be. You'll just have to ask yourself what you think America stands for... and, for the love of Lincoln, do some research as to what you're getting yourself into. If you don't love God, Guns and G-rated movies, you may get a nasty surprise.

Friday, August 19, 2005


James Wolcott quotes Immanuel Wallerstein on the war:

"It's over. For the U.S. to win the Iraq war requires three things: defeating the Iraqi resistance; establishing a stable government in Iraq that is friendly to the U.S.; maintaining the support of the American people while the first two are being done. None of these three seem any longer possible. First, the U.S. military itself no longer believes it can defeat the resistance. Secondly, the likelihood that the Iraqi politicians can agree on a constitution is almost nil, and therefore the likelihood of a minimally stable central government is almost nil. Thirdly, the U.S. public is turning against the war because it sees no "light at the end of the tunnel."

"As a result, the Bush regime is in an impossible position. It would like to withdraw in a dignified manner, asserting some semblance of victory. But, if it tries to do this, it will face ferocious anger and deception on the part of the war party at home. And if it does not, it will face ferocious anger on the part of the withdrawal party. It will end up satisfying neither, lose face precipitously, and be remembered in ignominy."
Although Wolcott also agrees with Norman Solomon about the likelihood of prolongued involvement after a fashion, the aims of the war are unlikely to come about...and those aims that do will be counterbalanced by other, unanticipated problems.

Just as nobody focused on what would happen after the war, however, few are examining what will happen "after the peace"... that is, what the United States and the world will be like after the defeat has finally taken place. Vietnam, rightly or wrongly, had a huge effect on the American psyche, one not mitigated by the intensely (and obviously) one-sided conflicts that the US fought between Vietnam and the latest Gulf War. It had an effect not only because of the brutality of the war (and, yes, of some of those who fought it... "support the troops" does stop somewhere, and that place is My Lai), but because American culture is notoriously unforgiving towards failure and exceptionalist at the same time.

I cannot imagine what it will be like when Americans are forced to deal with the fact that their two longest post-WWII conflicts were both failures (Vietnam and GW2), despite the technological superiority the US demonstrated in both conflicts. All I know is that it will be bad. Very bad.

Friday, August 05, 2005


Digby seems under the impression that the weak seperation between Republican operatives and "non-partisan" groups shows that they're getting "sloppy".

Consider the fact that the Republicans create a "voting irregularity" front group to counter the charges that they are fixing elections. Fine. I would expect no less. This is what they do.

But, by God, I never thought they'd be dumb enough to use nationally known Republican operatives to do it. Jim Dyke was the communications director for the RNC during the 2004 campaign, ferchistsake. He was all over television. And now six months later he's working with a 501c "non-partisan" group that released a report claiming "Democrat operatives" are stealing elections. Please. Any good GOP sleaze artist knows that you create at least a couple of degrees of separation between the party and the ratfucking. Roger Stone must be shaking his head in disgust. I suppose it's what happens when you lose the hunger for power.
Although Digby's right in a sense, I disagree on the interpretation: this doesn't imply that they're dumb, but that they believe that it doesn't matter...that nobody will care.

They're probably right.

This is really the point where we're seeing consolidation, where they don't have to try so hard because the groundwork has already been long set in place. One can claim "non-partisanship" because the mainstream media is cowed and liberals are voiceless, drowned in the flood of right-wing bullshit (even, if not especially, on the Internet.)

Why waste energy if you don't have to?

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Saddest News in America

It's This.

Americans do not believe that humans evolved, and the vast majority says that even if they evolved, God guided the process. Just 13 percent say that God was not involved. But most would not substitute the teaching of creationism for the teaching of evolution in public schools.

Support for evolution is more heavily concentrated among those with more education and among those who attend religious services rarely or not at all.

There are also differences between voters who supported Kerry and those who supported Bush: 47 percent of John Kerry’s voters think God created humans as they are now, compared with 67 percent of Bush voters....

...Overall, about two-thirds of Americans want creationism taught along with evolution. Only 37 percent want evolutionism replaced outright.
"Only"? Over one in three Americans don't believe that children should be taught science as well understood and well-founded as the theory of gravitation, and that's "only"?

I shudder to think how the body politic will react when the genome project truly starts bearing fruit, and evolution becomes applied technology as well as abstract science.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Well, That Settles That

Now there can be absolutely no doubt: The Republican party hates the troops, supporting them only to the extent that they're politically useful.

"Swift Boating" a marine corps major freshly back from Iraq because he dares to run against them is a violation of everything they claim to stand for, and proof of what they really stand for. It's analoguous to the apocryphal story of hippies spitting on returning GIs, except it's the party of their own commander in chief.

I wonder how many Marines back in Iraq are reading about this and thinking "These bastards don't deserve my service"?