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:: Wednesday, July 02, 2003 ::

Enjoy your Fourth!

I'll be gone from tommorow until sometime on Sunday. I might blog a bit while I'm gone, but I rather doubt it. I'll be back to my usual posting by Tuesday at the latest, although I hope to do some catching up on Monday.

To all my readers, enjoy your holiday!
:: Morat 3:28 PM :: ::

What a Great Idea!

WorldNetDaily: Another shocker from court:
"The remarkable U.S. Constitution always provides checks and balances. All serving federal officials are subject to impeachment proceedings – even U.S. Supreme Court justices.
It's time to put some heat on those abusing their power – and let's name names: Stephen G. Breyer authored this latest outrage. It, like the decisions about sodomy and racial preferences, was supported by Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sandra Day O'Connor, David H. Souter and John Paul Stevens.
These people have to go.
There are many in Congress who insist that any new Supreme Court vacancy be filled by someone who thinks like the majority, someone who will legislate from the bench, someone who doesn't respect the Constitution and its limits on federal power. It's time to challenge the authority of the majority with an impeachment movement. "
Please try it? Pretty please? Pretty please with sugar on top. And remember, just because fiddling with the Supreme Court has brought down more powerful Presidents than Bush doesn't mean it'll happen again!

:: Morat 3:14 PM :: ::

Coming Home to Roost

Huge influx of troops sought to secure Iraq:
"Amid growing indications that some of the attacks against U.S. soldiers in Iraq are organized and coordinated, the chief civilian administrator and Army officers on the ground would like an increase of as many as 50,000 troops in the theater, according to knowledgeable sources.
A plea by U.S. administrator L. Paul Bremer for the additional troops was discussed at a national-security council meeting several days ago. The White House has indicated it would be reluctant to agree to such a large increase, the equivalent of more than two divisions, the sources said. "
Where could we get 50,000 or more troops? Well, if they're American, the last of our deployable power is gone, tied down for the next few years in Iraq.

I bet North Korea would love that. They could make all sorts of threatening noises, knowing that any troops we rush in to reinforce will be battle-weary and worn down.

So where can we get the troops? Too bad we dismissed the UN as "irrelevant", eh?


:: Morat 2:24 PM :: ::

The FCC's Strange Non-Profit

Interesting:
"A quasi-governmental corporation set up to fund telecommunications company start-ups is spending nearly as much on executive salaries and overhead as it is investing in companies, a Center for Public Integrity investigation has found.
The Telecommunications Development Fund was created by Congress in 1996 to kick-start small communications firms in hopes of spurring innovation and competition. Instead, the six-year-old fund has paid more than $7 million in executive salaries and other expenses while investing only $9.4 million of seed money in start-ups.
“It may be totally legal, but it smells to high heaven,” says Stuart Gilman, president of the Ethics Resource Center, a Washington group that advises businesses and non-profits on ethics issues. Gilman was a top official at the federal government’s Office of Government Ethics from 1988 to 2001.
The fund itself is the bizarre offspring of government and industry. There’s even dispute among government officials as to whether it is a government entity subject to public scrutiny or a private company.
The fund gets its money from interest on deposits paid by large telecommunications companies that bid for licenses in spectrum auctions.
There are a number of reasons why the fund is the subject of some concern:
  • FCC Chairman Michael Powell appointed himself to the board, raising questions as to whether it is a good idea to put the top FCC regulator in charge of a venture capital fund in the same industry he regulates.
  • The fund’s CEO, who earned $245,000 in 2001, was involved in the John Huang China-gate campaign finance scandal during the Clinton administration.
  • The fund, which considers itself a private entity, actively lobbies Congress for money.
  • Despite owing its existence to federal legislation and auctions on the publicly owned spectrum, there is virtually no public oversight of its activities.
Well, doesn't that sound like an absolutely nasty conflict of interest. (Thanks to Roup for the link).

:: Morat 12:32 PM :: ::

Bush Asks Congress For $30 Billion To Help Fight War On Criticism

I love The Onion:
"Citing the need to safeguard 'America's most vital institutions and politicians' against potentially devastating attacks, President Bush asked Congress to sign off Monday on a $30 billion funding package to help fight the ongoing War On Criticism.

Above: Bush unveils his sweeping new anti-criticism initiative.
'Sadly, the threat of criticism is still with us,' Bush told members of Congress during a 2 p.m. televised address. 'We thought we had defeated criticism with our successes in Afghanistan and Iraq. We thought we had struck at its very heart with the broad discretionary powers of the USA Patriot Act. And we thought that the ratings victory of Fox News, America's News Channel, might signal the beginning of a lasting peace with the media. Yet, despite all this, criticism abounds.'"

:: Morat 12:04 PM :: ::

Another Bold Move

U.S. Suspends Aid to 35 Countries Over New International Court:
"The Bush administration suspended all American military assistance to 35 countries today because they refused to pledge to give American citizens immunity before the International Criminal Court.
The administration warned last year that under a provision of the new American antiterrorism law, any country that became a member of the new court but failed to give exemptions to Americans serving within its borders would lose such aid.
That includes training programs as well as financing of weapons and equipment purchases.
Many of the countries affected, like Colombia and Ecuador, are considered critical to the administration's efforts to bring stability to the Western Hemisphere. Others, like Croatia, are preparing to join NATO and were counting on American help to modernize their armed forces."
Way to go George.

It's a good thing we don't need any international goodwill. I mean, this would be a really stupid move if we happened to need a 100,000 or so troops that no one wanted to give us.

Although I do applaud you on pushing, as one commentator noted, sanctions on countries for supporting international law. It gets so tiresome punishing only the countries that break it.

:: Morat 11:49 AM :: ::

Welcome to the Occupation

Guilty or Not, U.S. Is Blamed in Mosque Blast:
"But to the seething men, evidence mattered little. 'If each day we've been hitting two tanks,' a man who would not give his name said of the persistent anticoalition attacks here over the past several weeks, 'we're going to start hitting six tanks each day.'
'There's no use talking to journalists,' a man in a pickup truck pulled up to shout, as his passenger cocked his weapon and fired into the air. 'If anyone's carrying a gun, they should go for jihad.'
The reaction to the blast showed that American troops are being held responsible for every violent act that happens here as they try to maintain control and protect themselves, no matter who actually did it."
Welcome to hell, indeed. Hesiod's right. This is bad. Bad beyond belief.
:: Morat 11:29 AM :: ::

Bold Words

Bold Words
"President Bush on Wednesday challenged militants who have been killing and injuring U.S. forces in Iraq, saying 'bring them on' because American forces were tough enough to deal with their attacks.
'There are some who feel like that conditions are such that they can attack us there,' Bush told reporters at the White House. 'My answer is bring them on. We have the force necessary to deal with the situation.'"
Pretty bold words for someone who isn't going to be shot at in Iraq.

I'm sure your bravado plays well with our troops. I bet they hear that and stop worrying about where the next grenade is coming from. (Link via Tom Spencer)
:: Morat 11:24 AM :: ::

The Evolution of a Partisan

In 1992, I watched Bill Clinton defeat George Bush. I was 17, and while I wasn't conservative, I wasn't really a liberal either. I was pretty much a determined centrist, an ideological independent with no party affiliation.

At the time, I was disappointed to see Clinton win. I hadn't been able to vote, but I was fonder of George Bush than Bill Clinton, if not by much.

Over the next decade, however, things changed. Part of it was simply a growing political maturity, as I learned more and more about politics, government, and the law. While I was well-informed, compared to most 17 year olds, there was a lot I didn't know or understand in 1992.

Part of it was a growing respect for certain segments of the Constitution. I was raised Lutheran, in a very liberal church. For various reasons I was called upon to interact with more conservative elements of my faith. And I began to realize exactly why the Church/State wall existed, and why "freedom of religion" couldn't exist without it.

I became a civil libertarian, or close to it. Of course, at that point, I started worrying about conflicting rights, and how to account for them.

Socially, I had become quite liberal. Fiscally, I was still something of a centrist. Or, as I prefer to call it, a realist. Policies have to be affordable, and taxes have to be realistic. Killing the goose that lays the golden egg might fund your policies this year, but next year you're screwed.

I had no problems with social programs. I applauded them, in fact, as long as we could afford them. I had no problems with taxes, as long as they weren't set cripplingly high. And, despite current claims, they haven't been that way in decades. I'm a firm believer in capitalism, but I also believe that an unregulated free market is dangerous.

All of this I got from studying history, studying politics as it happened, and studying the people around me. Most of it, really, is just a form of enlightened self-interest.

I still considered myself an independent. I had ideals, I had beliefs about civil liberties, about the free market, about capitalism and taxes and social programs. And I considered them fairly mainstream. I was, after all, realistic about them.

Socially, I was looking for a point where each individual's personal freedoms were maximized, but not at the expense of the freedom of others.

Fiscally, I was looking for safeguards and safety nets, but not at the expense of the economy that funded them.

And I, naively, thought that was a centrist position. After all, this is America. Isn't freedom what we're all about? And while we're ardent capitalists, we're also giving and caring. We want to feed the homeless, care for the sick, and make sure our elderly and invalid are taken care of.

But a funny thing happened over the last few years. I began to realize that, no, it wasn't a centrist position.

Watching the GOP the last decade, I came to the unpleasant and uncomfortable realization that I couldn't be a centrist, that I couldn't be independent. I look at the GOP and I simply can't imagine supporting them. Oh, the odd Republican, sure. John McCain, for instance, despite some disagreement on issues.

But I look at their platform, at the sum total of their political ideology, and I no longer see anything even remotely close to my views. I see a party hell-bent on restricting freedom, not protecting it. I see a party bound and determined to strip any protection the government offers against the excesses of greed and capitalism. I see a party wanting to enforce it's particular morals, it's particular religion, on a supposedly free country. I see a party discard any attempt at fiscal stewardship, tossing aside long-term economic health for quick rewards to loyal supporters.

In short, I see a party of greed. Greed for money, greed for power, greed for control.
:: Morat 11:15 AM :: ::

Bush Vows To Increase Violence in Iraq

Bush Vows To Punish Insurgents:
"President Bush pledged Wednesday that the United States will deal harshly with those who attack American troops in Iraq, and said such violence will not undercut his resolve to keep Americans there until stability is restored.

'Anybody who wants to harm American troops will be found and brought to justice,' Mr. Bush said at an impromptu news conference at the White House. 'There are some who feel like if they attack us, we may decide to leave prematurely. They don't understand what they're talking about if that's the case.'"
Oh good. Escalate the level of violence. That's worked so well since....um....well, never really.

Offhand, the worst thing we could do right now is "deal harshly" with these people. Why? Because, to your average Iraqi, they're patriots.

Think back to the American Revolution. What would our citizens have done if Cornwallis had rounded up Washington and Adams, perhaps, and "dealt harshly" with them?

Swelled the ranks of our army, I would think. Is there any reason to believe the Iraqis are any different?

It's a vicious cycle. One that should be familiar to any student of Vietnam, or Israel. We get attacked, and respond with force. Responding with force causes collateral damage, which prompts more people to join the resistance. The resistance attacks harder and more often, so we respond with more and more force.....

There is a way out. It involves letting the Iraqis govern themselves. It involves not handpicking leaders and Constitutional delegates. It involves giving the Iraqis control over their own destiny.

As long as Bush and Co refuse to acknowledge reality, as long as they pretend this is solely the work of Baathist partisans (Ha!) and a few malcontents, the violence will continue to escalate.

Still, too bad Clinton isn't in office. He might have been able to talk NATO or the UN into donating the 150,000 or more troops needed (in addition to our own) to keep Iraq below the boiling point. Bush doesn't have a chance. Not after his triumphant run-up to war.

:: Morat 10:20 AM :: ::

:: Tuesday, July 01, 2003 ::

EPA Withholds Air Pollution Analysis

The Washington Post has yet another story of the Bush EPA squelching politically inconvenient reports.
The Environmental Protection Agency for months has withheld key findings of its analysis showing that a Senate plan to combat air pollution would be more effective in reducing harmful pollutants -- and only marginally more expensive -- than would President Bush's Clear Skies initiative for power plant emissions.

:: Morat 1:41 PM :: ::

Can you print that?

If you look closely, an actual newspaper just pointed out that Bush lies a lot. I was beginning to think they weren't allowed to do that.
"Two-and-a-half years ago, we inherited an economy in recession," he told donors at a Bush-Cheney '04 reception yesterday in Miami. He has raised the same accusation in fundraising appearances since mid-June in Washington, Georgia, New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

It's a good applause line for a crowd of red-meat political supporters. The trouble is it's a case of what the president has called, in another context, revisionist history. The recession officially began in March of 2001 -- two months after Bush was sworn in -- according to the universally acknowledged arbiter of such things, the National Bureau of Economic Research. And the president, at other times, has said so himself.
...
On the sodomy case, Bush's press secretary, Ari Fleischer, has labored to distance the administration from the Texas case. "The administration did not file a brief in this case, unlike in the Michigan case, and this is now a state matter," Fleischer said when asked for Bush's opinion on whether gay men have the legal right to sexual relations in private. When Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) caused a furor by speaking out on the sodomy case in April, Fleischer had said, "We also have no comment on anything that involves any one person's interpretation of the legalities of an issue that may be considered before the Court."

In fact, Bush has expressed a firm opinion on the Texas sodomy law that the court ruled unconstitutional. He supported it. Human Rights Campaign, a gay-rights group, dug up an article from the Austin American-Statesman of Jan. 22, 1994, titled "Bush promises to veto attempts to remove sodomy law." The newspaper reported:

"Gubernatorial candidate George W. Bush on Friday promised he would veto any attempt by the Texas Legislature to remove from the state penal code a controversial statute outlawing homosexual sodomy. Bush, a Republican, was asked about the sodomy statute shortly after speaking to the Veterans of Foreign Wars and Ladies Auxiliary.

" 'I think it's a symbolic gesture of traditional values,' he said."
After that, I'm pretty sure Dana Milkbank's name has been 'noted in the building'.

:: Morat 12:57 PM :: ::

Karl Rove Wakes Up Screaming

The latest polls are enough to cause anyone in the White House bad dreams.
Most Americans still say things are going at least fairly well in Iraq, but the number who think things are going badly has tripled since early May, a new poll says.

Just over half, 56 percent, say things are going well, according to a CNN-USA Today-Gallup poll, and 42 percent say badly.
...
The number that expects the United States to find weapons of mass destruction, however, has dropped from 84 percent in late March to 53 percent now.

Almost four in 10 say they believe the Bush administration deliberately misled the public about whether Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, while six in 10 say they do not believe that.

More than half, 53 percent, say it would matter a great deal to them if they became convinced the Bush administration deliberately misled the public on that subject.

:: Morat 12:43 PM :: ::

Howard Dean and the 'Sure Loser'

Hesiod has a great post up about Dean, that everyone should read. He takes the anonymous Democratic "strategists" to task for claiming Dean is a sure loser, and points out that Dean is a moderate through and through. The best part of the post is about the McGovern comparisons.

And, he's no George McGovern.

Moreover, when you invoke George McGovern's name in 2003, people are reminded that the alternative wound up being Richard God damn Nixon, and wish like all hell that George McGovern would have won the 1972 election.

So, if If were Howard Dean, I'd go and get McGovern's ENDORSEMENT, and throw it back in their faces. Stand there on a podium and remind people who McGovern lost to, and then ask everyone who they wish was President in 1972...NOW.

:: Morat 12:22 PM :: ::

Four more down

We lost, apparantly (this is still unconfirmed) another four soldiers. Our troops have been targeted ten seperate times since Saturday. But don't worry! It's not a guerilla war. It's just being targetted by a non-uniformed resistance with the support of the general populace, who utilize alternative tactics that involve frequent ambush and being able to conceal themselves in a crowd.

But it's not a guerilla war, because those take place in jungles or something.

Our reservists and Guard units didn't sign up for two-year tours that involve constantly being shot at. And without the Guard and the Reserve, we don't have enough of an Army to handle even the ineffective occupation we've got now.
:: Morat 12:18 PM :: ::

Treason : The Rabid Incoherence of Ann Coulter

Spinsanity does an excellent job of dismantling Ann Coulter's latest offering to the Gods of Stupidity.
With her new book Treason: Liberal Treachery from the Cold War to the War on Terrorism, syndicated pundit Ann Coulter has driven the national discourse to a new low. No longer content to merely smear liberals and the media with sweeping generalizations and fraudulent evidence, she has now upped the ante, accusing the entire Democratic Party as well as liberals and leftists nationwide of treason, a crime of disloyalty against the United States. But, as in her syndicated columns (many of which are adapted in the book) and her previous book Slander: Liberal Lies Against the American Right, Coulter's case relies in large part on irrational rhetoric and pervasive factual errors and deceptions. Regardless of your opinions about Democrats, liberals or the left, her work should not be taken at face value.
...
As we documented back in July 2001, Coulter's writing is not just inflammatory but blatantly irrational. For years, she has infused her syndicated columns with cheap shots and asides directed at targets like President Bill Clinton, the American Civil Liberties Union and Hustler publisher Larry Flynt (among many others). Liberals are indiscriminately denounced as a group as "terrorists" or a "cult" who "hate democracy." Slander, her bestseller from last year, quickly became notorious for its errors and distortions of the facts, which we detailed in our examination of the book. From deceptive footnotes to mischaracterized quotes to outright lies, Coulter broke all standards of reasonable political debate in her quest to paint a picture of a media that is unambiguously hostile to conservatives.
You can get the details at Spinsanity (an excellent site all around).

Out of all the things Ann has done, her interview on The Daily Show pushing Slander sticks with me the most. I still remember Jon Stewart trying, very valiantly, to interpret her statements in the sanest possible light....and Ann vehemently disagreeing, and insisting that the most insane, rabid, and incoherent meaning was the one she intended.

To this day, I'm not sure if she really believes what she writes.

UPDATE: Richard Cohen thinks she's nuts.
It is also good news for liberals. It suggests that the right, at least the hard right, has finally dumbed out. This is the predictable cycle for all movements. They start with a genuine grievance and proceed from there to the totally ridiculous -- or, in some cases, to the downright macabre.

In some ways, the nutso American brand of archconservatism mirrors traditional anti-Semitism. Jew-haters proclaim that Jews control the media, international finance and almost everything else of importance -- but, somehow, Jews have accumulated a 2,000-year history of expulsions, pogroms and, finally, the mass murder of the Holocaust. It is the same with American liberals. They control everything, and yet, somehow, the White House, both houses of Congress and, with the exception of several delis in New York, the entire business community are in the hands of conservatives. It's hard to figure.

:: Morat 11:49 AM :: ::

Microsoft Word bytes Tony Blair

A friend of mine pointed this out.
Microsoft Word documents are notorious for containing private information in file headers which people would sometimes rather not share. The British government of Tony Blair just learned this lesson the hard way.
...
The Blair government learned its lesson well with regard to publishing Microsoft Word documents. Another report on Iraq that was published in June 2003 was only available as a PDF file. PDF files do not contain revision logs or hidden author information.
More or less, it was the Word revision log that placed several officials on the hot seat regarding their infamous dossier. Perhaps we should require government business be done in Word.

I know that, for the contractor I worked for, we used Word's strict revision control system to track all changes to a document. I don't see why the government, any government, should use a less stringent standard.
:: Morat 11:39 AM :: ::

Dean's Grassroots

One of my readers (thanks John!) was tracking Dean's donations on the last day of Q2. I haven't managed to look through the spreadsheet he sent me yet (it'll have to wait until I'm home), but he claims Dean was pulling in 50,000 an hour, every hour. Couple that with Dean's claim that the average donation is about 65 dollars, and you've got a perfect picture of real grassroots in action.

John, in another comment, goes on to say:
Speaking of this, I'm getting plenty sick of the "a Dean candidacy is bad for Democrats and good for Bush" meme from the right (and from some conservative Dems).

Most liberal supporters of Dean whom I talk to are supporting him not because he's liberal (he's not) but because he's the best incremental change option and he can get people fired up in speeches.

Although, frankly, if people on the right thought Dean was a pushover for Bush to beat, it seems to me they'd be trying to push him. As it is, I can only read this as a "please don't nominate Howard Dean" theme coming from them.
Which fits in really well with a post on Best of the Blogs (scroll down to "The Dean Machine" as the permalinks are bloggered):
Since the only thing modestly leftish about Dean is his opposition to an intemperate and soon to be unpopular war, methinks there is method to this mischief and that is to plant doubts about Dean’s electability with those Democrats who still think a Bush Lite has a better chance. (The folks who believe that can drop their pants now, bend over, and wait for Hillary in 2008.) A major part of Dean’s appeal is that he has not been party to the Democratic Party sellout of the last three years. Dean also has the appeal of the unknown, something that worked to George Bush’s advantage last time around.

Forget the spin. Dean has centrist and even libertarian positions on many issues. Sure, he’s pro choice, but so are all the other Democratic candidates. He thinks gun control should be an issue for states to decide—gun control in Vermont or West Virginia is not the same as gun control in New York City or Detroit. He believes in balanced budgets and was much more fiscally responsible as a governor than Bush has been as a president. He would rather spend money on health care for all citizens instead of tax breaks for the already rich—a choice that most Americans would make if given a chance. He’s for a balanced environmental program that allows for sustainable development. He believes homeland security can be achieved without curtailing individual liberties and that first responders should be fully funded. He’s hopelessly pro-Israel. On foreign policy, he’s a uniter, not a divider.

In other words, Dean is what we used to call a centrist, or middle of the roader, before ShrubCo moved the road (or had Bechtel move it for them).

:: Morat 11:34 AM :: ::

Texas Redistricting

Texas' Redistricting fight is all over the news today. The Times has a nice article up, that covers most of the main points. Since I've blogged about this at length, I'm not going to cover it again. However, I did find something Norquist said to be interesting.
The Republican lieutenant governor, David Dewhurst, who presides over the Senate and is considered the most powerful official in the state, has signaled his intention to honor the two-thirds vote requirement, and says he fully expects to obtain the 21 needed votes for redistricting.

But Lieutenant Governor Dewhurst, who has cultivated a reputation for consensus-building, has not flatly rejected the idea of bypassing the two-thirds requirement in favor of a simple majority.

From Washington, at least, Republican partisans say they are confident that Lieutenant Governor Dewhurst, if pressured, will do the right thing for his party if it falls short of 21 votes. "The whole world is watching," said Mr. Norquist. "He can't possibly screw up."
I've often accused Republicans of changing the rules when they can't win, but I've never seen one of them state it so obviously.

I think Mr. Norquist has a very strange idea of what the "right thing" is in the view of the "whole world". Offhand, I'd say there were more people who supported the same rules for everyone than support special rules for Republicans.

Here's hoping Dewhurst disappoints Norquist's world.
:: Morat 11:24 AM :: ::

:: Monday, June 30, 2003 ::

Dean's Hot Streak.

2.8 million in eight days. That's unprecedented, at least at this point in the primaries.

Over six million for this quarter. I think Dean has officially arrived, and judging by the sources of his donation (2 million over the last week from the internet), so has the internet.

Long live true grass roots.
:: Morat 12:30 PM :: ::

Unanswered Questions

Different Strings has a great post up, detailing some odd political decisions from the White House.
Right now, I have a lot of questions, but few answers.
  • Why do we seem to be going out of our way to avoid finding our anything about Saddam's weapons program?
  • Why are we making it so hard for someone who had information to give it to us?
  • Why are we now backtracking from claiming that Saddam had WMD's to saying he wanted to restart his WMD programs when and if sanctions were lifted?
  • If it was the potential threat Saddam posed that was the issue, then why was he considered more of a threat than the North Koreans?
  • Why are the Iraqi people more in need of relief from an oppressive ruler than those in the Congo or Liberia? and Why don't we want other countries to join the UN peacekeeping forces?
I just really don't get it. My instincts are telling me there's something here - that all of this is somehow related. I could, of course, be totally off base. I honestly don't know. What I do know, though, is that I would love to hear any information, thoughts, suggestions or even questions you might have on if, or how, these dots connect, and what the big picture is that we'll see when its all done.
Those are great questions. What exactly are the goals here? Why are we trying to block UN peacekeeping missions to Africa? What are the real goals here?

Ideas would be welcome.
:: Morat 12:10 PM :: ::

Why are we still here?

Hesiod pointed out this Pat Buchanon piece on Iraq. It's worth reading (like Hesiod, I can't believe I'm saying thing), but one bit sticks out.
President Bush had best begin devising an exit strategy for U.S. troops, before our enemies succeed with theirs.
I don't think Pat gets it. I know Bush doesn't get it, and I know many of the more hawkish folk never got it.

There is no exit strategy. None whatsoever. Oh, we can leave anytime. But the price for that is so much higher than anything else.

It's not like this is new. I've been screaming it at the top of my lungs for almost a year now. And I'm not alone. Despite the attempts to paint us as appeasers and pacifists, a good many of us who marched against this war saw it too.

Occupying Iraq was far more expensive than Bush wants to admit. We burned alliances to get there. We burned integrity and credibility. We used every scrap we had, every bit of good will and trust we had left to get in there.

And if we leave Iraq now, if we leave it in the next few years, it's all gone. There's not getting it back. We become the stereotypical American, the sort our worst detractor's always thought we were.

The sort that doesn't understand diplomacy, has no truck with subtlelty. The sort whose every answer comes in the form of a bullet or bomb. The sort who will smash up their toys rather than share them, and then complain that fixing them is too much work.

We spent our credibility. We spent our integrity. It's all been invested in Iraq. And a lot of it is gone for good, disappeared like Saddam's arsenal. But what's left is invested in the promise of a better Iraq. A more free Iraq.

And unless we give it to them, unless we stay the long haul and do what's right, we'll lose what's left of our integrity.

Why do you think I was so angry about this push to war? So intensely against it? Why do you think I fought it tooth and nail, railed against it to everyone I could reach?

Because I knew that, once there, George would screw it up, and screw it up badly. And by the time we get an adult in there, by the time we get someone rational in there, the price for fixing it is going to be so damn high.....

And we're not going to have a choice. Because of Bush's damn rush to war, because of his predictable failure to plan for the aftermath.

If we want our credibility back, our integrity back, we're going to have to pay in blood.
:: Morat 11:38 AM :: ::

Frist backs constitutional ban on gay marriage

Frist had a busy week. First, he showcased his ignorance by stating:
"I have this fear that this zone of privacy that we all want protected in our own homes is gradually — or I'm concerned about the potential for it gradually being encroached upon, where criminal activity within the home would in some way be condoned," Frist told ABC's This Week.

"And I'm thinking of — whether it's prostitution or illegal commercial drug activity in the home ... to have the courts come in, in this zone of privacy, and begin to define it gives me some concern."
A very nice statement that indicated a complete failure to understand the Supreme Court's decision. In fact, it showed a complete failure to understand how law and the Constitution interact.

Sorry, Frist, but a right to privacy isn't going to extend to a home-operated meth lab, anymore than allowing gay people to have sex will led to rampant bestiality.

As for his proposed Constitutional Amendment: It won't pass, and the end result will be more damage to Republicans than Democrats.

Most Democrats either support gay marriage, or at least aren't ready to say "No! Never!". Most independents and moderates are in the same boat, leery of pushing something as drastic as a Constitutional Amendment for something they're not sure will even be a problem. The GOP persists in thinking of Constitutional Amendments as just another bill, but the American public does not.

As for the GOP, while it'll make the bigots and hard right happy, it will not be supported by the libertarians.

It's nice to see Frist support something that will showcase the GOP bigots, make a good chunk of American uncomfortable (for one reason or another) and further alienate his Libertarian base.

:: Morat 11:09 AM :: ::

WMD Quote of the Day

Judging by the content of the blogosphere, I'm darn near obligated to post this and comment on it.
Meeting last month at a sweltering U.S. base outside Doha, Qatar, with his top Iraq commanders, President Bush skipped quickly past the niceties and went straight to his chief political obsession: Where are the weapons of mass destruction? Turning to his Baghdad proconsul, Paul Bremer, Bush asked, "Are you in charge of finding WMD?" Bremer said no, he was not. Bush then put the same question to his military commander, General Tommy Franks. But Franks said it wasn't his job either. A little exasperated, Bush asked, So who is in charge of finding WMD? After aides conferred for a moment, someone volunteered the name of Stephen Cambone, a little-known deputy to Donald Rumsfeld, back in Washington. Pause. "Who?" Bush asked
I'll leave the detailed "What the Hell?" analysis of White House policy to others, and just leave it at this:

I wonder what Stephen Cambone did to end up fingered. I can't imagine a worse job to have right now...
:: Morat 10:50 AM :: ::

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