Friday, June 16, 2006

I give you these fifteen... Ten. Ten Commandments.

This Colbert interview of a Republican Congressman from Georgia has to be just about one of the funniest things I've ever seen.

My favorite bit is the part where Colbert asks the Congressman if he couldn't think of a better building to put the Ten Commandments in rather than courthouses and government buildings and the Congressman says he can't.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

I will call him George and I will hug him and squeeze him and put him in a box...

Glenn Greenwald hits on something that's been bugging me for some time.

This is the same intellectual sloth and dishonesty which enables the Instapundit's of the world, to this day, to continue to depict Howard Dean as being some sort of leftist extremist when Dean is one of the least ideological political figures on the national scene and, to the extent he can be ideologically characterized at all, is to the right of most national Democrats on most issues and has been for his entire career. What specific views does Dean hold, or Kos for that matter, which can be characterized by any honest person as "extremist"? While this conventional wisdom is spewed, that question is never answered. But Republicans have pounded that smear drum for so long, and the media has passively ingested and then disseminated it so thoroughly, that the Instapundit's of the world have had that "point" engrained in their head and can never do anything but repeat it endlessly despite its complete separation from what is real.

If I had to place myself on the political spectrum I'd be moderate-left. I believe the government is a necessary restraint on the excesses of the free market and a buffer to protect the weakest in society but I also believe that government is not always the solution. I don't want government making running shoes or cars but believe it should be building roads and maintaining the infrastructure, for example.

I believe in a balanced budget and support paygo.

I'm pretty much squarely in the center when it comes to foreign policy. I want the U.S. to apply a robust diplomacy towards achieving it's ends and recognize that the world is a pretty small place and the fortunes of all nations are intertwined. At the same time I recognize that the use of the military must be a possibility in the use of diplomatic means. I subscribe to what's commonly referred to as the Powell Doctrine when those times arise.

When it came to the war in Iraq I WANTED to be convinced that it was a necessity. I considered the arguments on all sides. It became obvious very early on that the administration was not approaching the issue in earnest. I remember reading several articles about the IAEC disagreeing with the assertions of our government that the infamous aluminum tubes could be used in the refinement of uranium to weapons grade and thinking that, at the very least, this calls that topic into question and takes it off the table as an assertion of certainty.

Then came the infamous sixteen words in the State of the Union. I was watching that live and my jaw dropped. I could not support any military action that wasn't self-justifiably necessary and needed to be sold to us with lies like some sort of used car.

Point is many of use that are regularly portrayed as out on the leftist fringe are really sitting in the political center despite the nonsense spouted by the right and robotically repeated by the media. The true extremists are the Instapundits of the world. They just can't bring themselves to admit it.

There's a great response to Glenn's post that sums this up better than I could:

They can't ever ever EVER admit that Kos is anything but fringe because if Kos is the center, then they have no to choice but to acknowledge that THEY are the extremists.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

The new phone book's here! The new phone book's here! This is the kind of spontaneous publicity I need!

Peter Baker of the Washington Post can kiss my hairy white ass.

In a White House that had virtually forgotten what good news looks like, the past few weeks have been refreshing. A Republican won a much-watched special congressional election. President Bush recruited a Wall Street heavy hitter as Treasury secretary. U.S. forces killed the leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq. And now the architect of the Bush presidency has avoided criminal charges.

The question is whether this latest updraft in Bush's fortunes will last much longer than the president's surprise trip yesterday to Iraq. Bush took full command of the political stage with his five-hour appearance in Baghdad, just days after the death of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, and used it to showcase a new Iraqi government he hopes to turn the war over to eventually. Yet in the end, some analysts noted, it will matter only if this new government can heal societal schisms and stand up effective security forces.

This President isn't in the popularity dumpster because of dumb luck, the twist of fate or bad "fortune." This President is almost universally disliked among Americans because of his own actions. The decisions he's made from day one; whether ignoring the memo saying "Bin Laden determined to strike in the U.S." to invading Iraq have been spectacularly stupid and monumentally idiotic.

For some strange reason the media continues to be committed to a Bush rebound. A true rebound would come if this administration suddenly became competent and enacted a reasonable foreign and domestic policy geared towards adults.

That ain't gonna happen.

Afterward, the 700 people in the boats had nothing to do but wait... wait to die... wait to live... wait for an absolution... that would never come.

Via Josh Marshall we have Greg Anrig's The Right Can't Hide. We've seen quite a bit of the analogy of the Titanic disaster to this administration with the rats jumping ship.

It's not the rats that are jumping ship, it's Captain Smith and everybody else that contributed to the disaster through their ignorance and hubris in the first place.

The rats are just the not-so-bright accomplices.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

What a world! What a world!

In the increasingly infinitesimal chance that the Democrats actually do win a majority in the House of Representatives this November I would hope that one thing that wouldn't fall of the radar would be a statutory reinstatement of the Fairness Doctrine. Nothing is hurting the progressive movement more than the complete dominance of our public airwaves by the right wing message machine.

There is perhaps no other issue that so clearly defines the cognitive dissonance necessary to call oneself a conservative these days than the faith-based belief that the Fairness Doctrine would "hush Rush" and other right wing voices on the airwaves while arguing simultaneously that the airwaves and the "MSM" are predominantly liberal with conservative voices being squelched. Look; progressives either dominate the discourse or they don't. You can't have it both ways.

Of course the political Right also tries to conflate the issue by arguing that print media, which isn't covered by the Fairness Doctrine, is overwhelmingly liberal. Putting aside the fact that this view is almost entirely predicated on some rather dubious studies of the voting patterns of print journalists, this argument misses the central point to the Fairness Doctrine itself; that the public airwaves which we own collectively and license to the broadcast companies should reflect the views of ALL Americans not just corporations.

The conservative position on the Fairness Doctrine makes in clear they really don't believe for a second that the media is dominated by liberals but simply want to continue to use that meme as a kind of shorthand to try and demonstrate their victimization. If they truly believed that the left controlled the discourse in this country they'd reinstate the Fairness Doctrine in a second.

Monday, June 12, 2006

What is this? Some sort of Lord of the Flies pre-school? Where are your parents? Who's in charge here?

The old saying goes "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."

When considering news reports of Bush chairing planning sessions at Camp David charting out the long-term course for the United States in Iraq that saying, or a variation of my own making, came to mind:

"If it is broke and you broke it and broke it even worse when you tried to fix it, then stop touching it and step away now."

It occurs to me that many of us complaining that Bush was passing the situation in Iraq on to the next President may have been shortsighted. There is nothing, I repeat NOTHING, that this administration has done correctly in the middle east. While I'm sympathetic to the pottery barn axiom I simply can't imagine a scenario where they deliberately provide a working framework for long term stability in Iraq.

The best thing for all involved is if the administration DOES punt the problem down the road to the next administration. We'll all have to be patient until the grown-ups are in charge again.


It's so nice to know that Oregon can play it's own small part in the GOP's divide and conquer strategy. Not content to push a constitutional ban on gay marriage on a reluctant America as a simple campaign tool they've set their sights on the Beaver State.

WASHINGTON -- Congress was trying to pass a war funding bill and members were heading for a weekend recess when Sen. Sam Brownback held a rushed subcommittee hearing.

The Kansas Republican, one of the Senate's most socially conservative members, held the hearing to explore "the consequences of legalized assisted suicide and euthanasia."

No assisted-suicide bill has been introduced in the Senate, and none is expected this session. Brownback held the May 25th hearing purely to publicize the issue.

Republicans, confronting the possibility of losing control of Congress this November, are doing everything possible to mobilize their base of social conservatives, including a campaign emphasis on abortion, gay marriage and broadcasting decency. Now Oregon's assisted-suicide law -- and the threat of euthanasia -- may join the list of issues Republicans hope will win them political advantage.

The sad thing is I'm sure it will probably work. The DLC/ Hillary Clinton/ Marshall Whitman types continue to believe the correct political strategy is to fight for moderate voters. Yet the Republican party continues to clean our clock in election after election by playing to their base. I know we'd all like to believe that Katrina changed everything but I'm not seeing it judging on results from primaries held so far.

I'd love to be wrong on this, of course.