September 14, 2007 archive

Two kinds of Republicans

As long as we are doing short diaries, I’d like to offer this:

There are two kinds of republicans:

Rich ones:

Modern India vs Lord Rama’s bridge!

And it looks, at least for the moment, that Lord Rama might win!…

Crime and punishment: a theory of American self-immolation in Iran

As the prospect of an attack on Iran grows more likely, nobody has arrived at a rational explanation for why our nation would undertake such a foolhardy adventure with such a high probability of disastrous consequences. If reason cannot be our guide, we must look elsewhere. The only explanation that fits all the available evidence is that Americans wish to expunge their sins in Iraq through a catastrophe.

Like the guilty murderer in “Crime and Punishment,” Americans cannot carry the pain of what we have done to Iraq. We have effectively destroyed a nation of 20 million people that was the cradle of civilization. Close to a million civilians have died in the war; two million have fled; much of the country’s institutions have been looted and burned; and cholera is ravaging refugee camps.

We did this to Iraq, and we know that we did it. No moral person can carry responsibility for this enormous transgression without atonement. Here is what form I believe the atonement will take.

Bush is losing the war that matters

Maybe, just maybe, George W. Bush is more clever than we realize.  Let’s start with how we got into the so-called “war on terror.”  Protected by the Taliban in Afghanistan, Osama bin Laden and his associates promised and plotted to attack America.  After receiving an ominous Presidential Daily Briefing (“bin Laden determined to attack in the U.S.”) on August 6, 2001, Bush went on vacation.  On September 11, four passenger jets were hijacked and used as guided missiles, bringing down both towers of the World Trade Center and punching a hole in the Pentagon.  During the attack, Bush sat comfortably in a planned photo opportunity, reading “My Pet Goat” to grade school children in Florida.  The destruction and loss of life took the breath out of every American.  On September 20, Bush appeared before a joint session of Congress to deliver an ultimatum to the Taliban and request military authorization to attack Afghanistan if certain conditions were not met.  On Oct 7, airstrikes on Afghanistan began in an effort to dislodge the Taliban and al Qaeda from Afghanistan.  I assume nothing in this thumbnail history is news to anyone. 

Down and Dirty Jersey Style

Street Fight, Marshall Curry’s 2002 documentary provides fascinating and often disturbing insight into the down and dirty politics of Newark, New Jersey and the race baiting tactics used within the African American community to elevate one candidate while attempting to destroy another.

In 2002, Newark was literally drowning in poverty, ghettos, unemployment and crime. High school graduation rates were in the low 40% range. There were two cities of Newark–the thriving downtown and suburbs, where the “Renaissance” of the city had been thriving and the ghettos neighborhoods of the Portuguese, Latino and African American communities.

In 2002, Cory Booker, an up and coming young Democrat, community activist and local Ward Councilman, decided to run against four term incumbent, Mayor Sharpe James. What he didn’t realize was that he wasn’t just running against a lifetime politician (James had been in one office or another for 32 years in New Jersey).

Booker was literally running against the entrenched establishment that was determined to hold onto power, even if it meant using the same tactics that the whites had used in the South against civil rights activists 40 years earlier.

Dharmaceutical: Your daily dose of outrage

{Crossposted on To Us!  Permission to use noncommercially with attribution.}

Open post to Brian Williams of NBC News:

In response to this from your Daily Nightly blog, in which you wrote

A number of television journalists gathered for lunch with the president at the White House today — a practice becoming more and more common when this president has a major speech to deliver. The following is a review of my notes, and is offered here under the ground rules established by the assembled White House senior aides. Vice President Cheney attended but did not speak.

I realize that you don’t publish my comments, pointed and critical as they are, but I hope that you are at least reading and considering them in the spirit in which they are offered.

PONY PARTY… a.m. driving to work edition, pardners

I don’t think there is anything worse than being stuck in traffic. There’s nothing worse than being behind a Sunday driver on a Monday morning in rush hour. In the left lane of a four lane highway. Coming up to lights with BIG trucks in front of both lights.

Or driving to the beach for a glorious week… dreams smashed as your everyday world anger and frustrations exlode, full blown, sitting in the car, in traffic…and your older car threatening to overheat. And then, and i really loved this, having my ex husband tell: BE HERE NOW.

Be… here… now… BE HERE NOW? No no no… you don’t understand. I don’t want to be here NOW…

You gotta pet peeve. Throw it out there… come on… pony it UP…

Road to DC Progress Report

Just a quick update on how the trip is going

Do you ever wonder

Do you ever wonder? The catch phrase made popular by humorist Andy Rooney. A 60 Minutes staple, he is both funny and thought provoking at the same time.

Please follow me below the fold for my take on that age old question.

Hammer Time

Who wants to go here?  I don’t, it isn’t like we haven’t been here before but exorcising the lies and purging the evil is always beneficial and Friday is trash day in my neighborhood so let’s take it out.

The Problem With The Netroots Strategy On Iraq

The Netroots has this year focused its fire on Iraq on “moderate” Republicans and what they term Bush Dog Democrats. Move On’s Tom Matzzie “masterminded” a brilliant plan that Move On has implemented this spring and summer of running ads against “moderate” Republicans like Jim Walsh and it worked, Walsh will now favor a toothless “change the course” strategy that Democrats will offer as a “bipartisan” plan. Move On and the Dems have concocted a political position that will give “moderate” Republicans cover on the Iraq issue in 2008 while doing nothing to change the course of the Debacle. Brilliant!

Similarly, the Bush Dog Democrat plan, which threatens to run Netroots-inspired primaries against people like Mississippi Congressman Gene Taylor (D-MS) (because I am sure Mississippi Democrats will rise up once some Mississippi progressive is anointed as the Netroots candidate in such a primary), will no doubt make a big dent in Bush’s Iraq policy. Not.

Meanwhile, erstwhile Netroots Dem Joe Sestak (D-PA), once a supporter of a date certain for withdrawal, no longer supports a firm timeline:

Sestak said, Democratic leaders should set aside their demands for immediate withdrawal “and begin to help author a comprehensive regional security plan that accepts the necessity for a deliberate redeployment.” . . . Sestak has been among those Democrats who think that setting a “date certain” for withdrawal is the best way to force Iraqis to assume more responsibility. But he now believes the length of time needed to redeploy, and the potential for the entire Army to “unravel” unless troops are redeployed, require a compromise. . . .

This is indicative of all that was wrong with the progressive activist strategy on Iraq in 2007. Instead of concentrating on growing and holding the group of Dems, once 171 strong in the House, in favor of no funding without timelines, some decided they could pressure Republicans and conservative Dems like Gene Taylor. And we are where we are today in no small measure because of these miscalculations. I repeat, one more time, that it will take pressure on Dems, MAINSTREAM and PROGRESSIVE Dems, to hold the line on no funding without timelines. We need to work for more pledges like this one:

Dear Mr. President:
We are writing to inform you that we will only support appropriating additional funds for U.S. military operations in Iraq during Fiscal Year 2008 and beyond for the protection and safe redeployment of all our troops out of Iraq before you leave office.

More than 3,600 of our brave soldiers have died in Iraq. More than 26,000 have been seriously wounded. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have been killed or injured in the hostilities and more than 4 million have been displaced from their homes. Furthermore, this conflict has degenerated into a sectarian civil war and U.S. taxpayers have paid more than $500 billion, despite assurances that you and your key advisors gave our nation at the time you ordered the invasion in March, 2003 that this military intervention would cost far less and be paid from Iraqi oil revenues.

We agree with a clear and growing majority of the American people who are opposed to continued, open-ended U.S. military operations in Iraq, and believe it is unwise and unacceptable for you to continue to unilaterally impose these staggering costs and the soaring debt on Americans currently and for generations to come. . .

The pledge made in this letter should have been the focal point of our activism. Sadly, it was not.

Pony Party; Eeny, meeny, miny……mear???

Let me start off this fine, fine morning by saying that I am not monkey-obsessed, nor do I intend to invite monkeys exclusively to the Pony Party.  That’s not how I do.

However, I’m giving myself a pass, as yesterday’s ‘Monkey House’ title was really a reference to Kurt Vonnegut, and not any actual monkeys.  And who doesn’t love monkeys?

Answer: these 2 tigers:

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