Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Double take

Ann Coulter, commenting at Human Events on Sarah Palin:

Liberals were angry at Palin because they thought she should look and act like Kay Bailey Hutchinson: Upper crust, prissy and stiff.
Did I read that right?

Kay Bailey Hutchinson is the primary opposition to incumbent governor Rick Perry for the Republican nomination for Governor of Texas.

(h/t digby)

Monday, September 29, 2008

Deep Thought

Sarah Palin is to Republicans as Dennis Kucinich is to Democrats.

Monday, September 22, 2008

We are from France!

Fafnir on Fafblog said "monthly is not a very good schedule for a blog." I should change the name of this blog to "Liberalism Quarterly."

A friend on another blog pointed out this op-ed from someone named Bill Saporito:

This is the state of our great republic: We've nationalized the financial system, taking control from Wall Street bankers we no longer trust. We're about to quasi-nationalize the Detroit auto companies via massive loans because they're a source of American pride, and too many jobs — and votes — are at stake. Our Social Security system is going broke as we head for a future where too many retirees will be supported by too few workers. How long before we have national healthcare? Put it all together, and the America that emerges is a cartoonish version of the country most despised by red-meat red-state patriots: France. Only with worse food.
You know, we have a long history with France. French help was crucial to our gaining independence. We bought about half the country from France in 1803. We came to the rescue of France in 1917, and liberated it in 1944. We still to an extent treasure the French-Canadian heritage of Louisiana (and the food there is pretty darn good, I would advise Mr. Saporito). French philosophers like Montesquieu contributed to the Enlightenment traditions on which the Founding Fathers based the Declaration of Independence and Constitution. A French sculptor gave us the Statue of Liberty; a French architect helped lay out Washington D.C.

And France was rightly against military adventurism in Iraq.

Yes, we have ample reason to celebrate our long relationship with France. Why not look to them again for ideas on how to create a good society? They've been at it far longer than we have.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

American Justice

This is what passes for justice in this country today:

In March 2007, Australian native David Hicks, who was a detainee at Guantanamo Bay, became the first person to be sentenced by a military commission convened under the Military Commissions Act of 2006. Last February, Col. Morris Davis, the lead prosecutor in Hicks’ trial, told the Australian that the Pentagon “leaned on” him to rush Hicks’ trial, even though at the time he “had no regulations for trial by military commissions.”
Bush administration political appointees appear to have meddled in Hicks’ case in order to help their key conservative ally, Australian Prime Minister John Howard. In early 2007, Howard was facing a serious electoral challenge from Labor leader Kevin Rudd, who eventually went on to defeat him. Hicks’ incarceration at Guantanamo Bay was a contentious issue in Australian politics at the time.

In February 2007, Vice President Dick Cheney visited Howard in Australia, where the PM lobbied for the trial to “be brought on as soon as humanly possible and with no further delay.” A month later, Hicks was sentenced and released back to Australia with critics airing suspicions that Cheney had interceded.

In October 2007, an anonymous military officer told Harper’s Scott Horton that “Cheney interfered directly to get Hicks’s plea bargain deal” as “part of a deal cut” with Howard.

Unbelievable. Yet investigation and impeachment of Cheney remains "off the table."

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Today's nitpick: "Kenner" IS "New Orleans"

After McCain's impressively lame "that's not change we can believe in" speech, the lefty web is rife with lines like this:

Yesterday evening John McCain gave a speech near New Orleans...

I've got some news for y'all. I grew up in Louisiana, and none of my friends ever talked about going to Kenner or flying into the Kenner airport. Kenner is "New Orleans," like Richardson is "Dallas" or Galena Park is "Houston." It may offend some of you, but I don't know anyone (except maybe a native) who talks about going to the Bronx to see the Yankees or going to Anaheim to go to Disneyland. Everybody knows that the auto industry is centered in Detroit, although as far as I know Detroit itself actually contains few if any auto plants these days. So bashing McCain for only being "near" New Orleans or for saying he was pleased to be in New Orleans when the CNN Chyron clearly said "Kenner" is just idiotic. He was in New Orleans. He wasn't in the damaged part of New Orleans, like John Edwards was when he announced his candidacy, and one can ask if McCain ever bothered to go visit the Lower 9th Ward (he wouldn't even have needed a platoon of Marines to escort him).

Thursday, May 22, 2008

"Water Treatment" != "Waterboarding"

This is brilliant:


Murat Kurnaz, “freed from Guantanamo in 2006 after a personal plea from German Chancellor Angela Merkel,” detailed the gross abuses he underwent in U.S. custody yesterday. Kurnaz said he was subjected to “water treatment” which involved a “strong punch” that forced him to inhale water. Asked if this was waterboarding, Kurnaz said “water treatment” is different:

ROHRABACHER: You suggest that you were waterboarded in your captivity. Is that correct?

KURNAZ: No, it’s not waterboarding. It’s called “water treatment.” There was a bucket of water.

ROHRABACHER: Was a cloth put over your face and you were put on a board?

KURNAZ: There was a bucket of water. And they stick my head in it and at the same time, punch me into my stomach.

Rohrabacher responded: “The CIA is claiming that only three people have been waterboarded. And this may be a loophole that they’re suggesting that’s not ‘waterboarding.’”

And since it's not waterboarding, it's not torture. Therefore, the President was not lying when he told us over and over and over that "we do not torture." Brilliant!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Liberalrob Hates the Troops

Posted on Megan McArdle's blog today:

One of my favorite movies about military culture is "A Few Good Men" (I'm also partial to "The Caine Mutiny"). Its plot clearly illustrates what I consider to be the main issue we're discussing here: line personnel with the most honorable of motives are ordered to commit a violation of the official code of conduct, because their commander thinks it necessary to enforce discipline. The thing goes south and they wind up accidentally killing the soldier the commander was trying to "train," and then rather than owning his ordering the action up front the commander tries to cover it up (or at least his involvement). When the commander is called to testify at the court-martial of the line Marines, he makes a long-winded speech about honor and duty and warriors manning the walls while effete sheeplike citizens sleep soundly in their beds secure in the safety he provides through his leadership; what moral right can the sheep then claim to criticize the manner in which he provides that safety? But the fact remained that he ordered the commission of an act that went against the code of conduct governing the military, and ordered that a crime be committed; and regardless of how lofty and high-minded his intent might have been, he did order that violation. So he was punished for it. We are a nation of laws, not of men, even in the military.

I have absolutely no criticisms at all for most of the people who carry out the orders and do the fighting and dying in Iraq, Afghanistan, and everywhere else they are called on to do it. They are all heroes. Like those Marines in A Few Good Men, they do need to exercise some basic moral judgment in carrying out orders; you don't give up your knowledge of right and wrong when you take the oath, and that's what some of the displeasure here is about. But I realize that there often isn't time to think about whether what you're doing is the right thing to do, and there is a lot of conditioning to push our troops to default toward following orders without questioning them; so a heavier responsibility HAS to fall on the commanders who are giving those orders. Those are the people who most deserve scorn, those people like Col. whatshisname Miller who came up with the interrogation regime used at Guantanamo and then exported it to Abu Ghraib. Where's his court-martial? Beyond that, where is the investigation into the people who ordered Col. Miller to come up with those techniques? Where is their indictment and trial?

That's what I'm talking about, whoever wants to think I "hate the military." I don't hate the military. I hate what's being done with it (and to it).

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The Coveted Liberalrob Endorsement

With the Texas primary exactly two weeks away, and early voting starting today, I suppose it's time to decide who I'm going to pull the lever for on March 4th. Bill Richardson was my previous choice but he's no longer available. So, it's either Hillary or Barack. I'd be happy to vote for either of them, of course. Both are preferable to McCain.

Hillary was always the brains of the Clinton "team," or at least it seemed that way to me. Not that Bill was a dummy but Hillary seemed more ideological somehow. Probably it was her heading up the first universal healthcare initiative that gave me that impression. I also admire her strength and perseverance in being able to stand up to the relentless press hatred she's had to endure. She also does have experience being a national leader and being on the national (and global) stage. She's a known quantity.

That also cuts against her in my estimation. Not simply that she is a "divisive figure" (which is one of many execrable press-hate memes she's faced), but that she is too close to the Democratic "establishment" for my comfort. It was the Clintons who brought the DLC to national prominence and control of the Democratic Party agenda. Unfortunately the DLC turned into a corporate advocacy group, perhaps not as bad as the American Enterprise Institute or Club for Growth but certainly of that ilk, and I'm opposed to maintaining and expanding their influence in the party and the nation. It's not clear to me how aligned Hillary is with the DLC but given the past association it is a concern. I have also felt that Hillary is too willing to compromise with Republicans in the name of "getting things done," which is a huge mistake and misapprehension of their unity and fanatical opposition to any Democratic initiatives. It's also clear that while possibly not an elitist Hillary certainly is of the elite, and the nation needs to get some leadership that is not of the "ruling class" at some point. Voting for Hillary kicks that can down the road another 4 years.

So what of Obama? The first acceptably-moderate black man to run for President and have a reasonable chance of winning is a powerful symbol, especially for someone like myself who grew up in the South. Having a black man elected President would be the strongest possible statement to the racists who remain in this country, that their intolerance and hate is no longer viable; a relic of a sad and tarnished past that will inevitably disappear. Barack is a powerful public speaker, yet powerful without being strident. He has chosen to run on a generally positive basis, playing up hope for the future and a reunited sense of America as a good nation. He has a great personal story and is of humble origins. And he has Oprah's endorsement :)

My problem with Barack is his message, or more precisely the content of his message; I have no problem with the tone and I do agree that Republicans have won elections by focusing on sunny, rosy optimism. I simply don't think personally feel that rosy optimism is all I want in my candidate for President. I also
want to know specifically what my candidate will do to enact the programs I support, and this has been sadly lacking from Obama's statements. While Hillary has also been light on specifics, her long track record to a degree substitutes for detailed policy proposals; Obama's lack of history leaves this an open question. Also, given the hugely difficult situation 8 years of Republican misrule has inflicted on us, I would prefer to have someone with demonstrated experience at the helm rather than an unknown, if talented, newcomer.

So, when it comes down to it, I will be voting for Hillary Clinton on March 4th.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Happy New Year

A little late.

I will be 41 on Thursday. Starting on the downslope of life. Isn't this a time when you're supposed to be inspired to do something to make your life worthwhile?

My man Bill Richardson bailed early, as did Dean in 2004. Guess there's no room for you unless you're a media darling.