Saturday, January 25, 2003

Does anyone besides me think that Howard Dean might become the Eugene McCarthy of the 2004 election?

Denis of CNNLies has made an interesting discovery. The judge who put the seal on Scott Ritter's arrest record was Thomas J. Spargo. This Thomas J. Spargo?
Justice Spargo Faces Inquiry By John Caher New York Law Journal When election law expert and longtime Republican activist Thomas J. Spargo was caught on film participating in a noisy political demonstration, nobody close to politics was particularly surprised. Spargo is a seasoned regular in the political game, and that he would show up in Florida at the Miami-Dade County Board of Elections during the Bush-Gore electoral debacle of November 2000 was almost predictable. But there was one thing troubling about that image. At the same time he was stumping for George W. Bush and chanting with other Republican supporters at what amounted to a boisterous sit-in, Spargo was serving as a part-time judge in the rural Albany County town of Berne. Judges are not supposed to get involved in politics.

I wonder if this is where the whole confederate memorial wreath controversy got started? The following is a short item posted on the web site of the Confederate Memorial Association so be warned that the content on this site might be offensive to some.
BUSH SENT TRIBUTE TO CONFEDERACY; WHITE HOUSE SAYS IT IS A TRADITION THAT CLINTON OBSERVED WASHINGTON, D.C., Dec. 26 — Responding to press inquiries concerning a presidential wreath that President George Bush sent to the Confederate Monument in Arlington National Cemetery, the White House said that the practice is a tradition that former President Bill Clinton observed when he was in the White House. Various reports had indicated that the presidential wreath was sent by President Bush on the last two Memorial Days. However, every Confederate heritage group that has dealt with the Arlington National Cemetery monument has contradicted this statement. John Edward Hurley, president of the Washington-based Confederate Memorial Association, says that the practice was stopped by Bush's father in the early 90s because of ongoing litigation surrounding the practice that included charges of racism. "The White House should be forced to produce documentation that former President Clinton sent such a wreath, especially in light of the fact that Clinton has roundly criticized the Republican Party for Confederate connections," Hurley said.
Thanks to jjames over on Table Talk for digging up an earlier story about this on this web site

Friday, January 24, 2003

Dan Kennedy weighs in on the Scott Ritter situation:
There has still barely been a word about this in the national media. But the fact remains that someone leaked sealed court documents about a leading (if misleading) critic of the White House's Iraq policy on the eve of a likely military invasion. Is anyone in the media going to get to the bottom of this?
Regardless of what one may think personally about Mr. Ritter's behavior, the fact of the matter is that someone broke the law by releasing sealed court records and they did it at a time that was most likely to silence one of the leading critics of the Bush administration's policy on Iraq. Now, maybe this was just the act of some enterprising individual in the DA's office who didn't like what Ritter was doing and decided to do something on his own initiative. But what if there were other forces at work in releasing these records? Remember that the Watergate investigation revealed that Nixon operatives broke into the office of Daniel Ellsberg's psychologist in order to get damaging information on the man who leaked the Pentagon Papers. When will journalists start acting like journalists?

Sniff Sniff (link courtesy of Max)

Kevin Drum talks about an interesting dispute between Google and a company called SearchKing that was using Google page ranks to track down premium web space and re-sell it to advertisers. It sounds like the Google people went, "Damn, why didn't we think of that?" and promptly punished SearchKing by manually lowering its own page ranks in the Google database. Read Kevin's whole piece to get more details. He brings up the valid point that what Google is doing is similar to the kind of monopolistic methods phone companies, railroads, and others practiced in the past: using their advantage in the market place to permanently cripple their competitors. But this case also brings up the issue of trust. I use Google all the time. It is the only search engine I use. Part of the reason I use it is because I have put my trust in their ability to honestly rank pages. If Google is in the habit of manually tweaking the ranks in order to diminish the net presence of sites they don't like then they are violating my trust in their service. It's a bad business strategy guys: by doing this you are opening the doors to some enterprising search engine company that can advertise itself as presenting unbiased links. If they can provide a similar technical ability to that of Google, and Google persists in this kind of punishment of people they don't like, then I will have to start taking my business elsewhere.

There's more then one factor that will influence the decision for when the attack will begin. The weather will, of course, be a factor. But there is also the matter of simple fatigue. The U.S. is currently standing in the waters of the Gulf with a gun to Sadaam's head and our finger on the trigger. Our fingers are tensed, waiting for the word to fire. If the word takes to long to come, those fingers will start to cramp. The soldiers who have been shipped out already can't be expected to just sit around for months on end. They must either be unleashed or withdrawn, either within a fairly short period of time. Otherwise, they will go stir-crazy and start to fall apart. The hardliners understand this as well as the military types. That is why they have pushed to move the troops out while continually insisting that no decision has been made to attack. They're hope is that the unflinching force of time will make no other choice possible but to attack. They understand that Bush is not the type to back down. He has to much pride in the size of his equipment. He will have to order the attack sooner rather then later, or he will have to face the laughter of those who see him pulling back after so much bluster. This is the world we live in.

Read the the end. It's worth it. (via Atrios)

This bears repeating again and again and again: $70 million to investigate the activities of Clinton's penis. $3 million to investigate the attacks on September 11.

Here's the story.
U.N. Nuclear Agency Will Give Iraq Good Grades in Report to Security Council, Spokesman Says By William J. Kole Associated Press Writer Published: Jan 24, 2003 VIENNA, Austria (AP) - The head of the U.N. nuclear agency will tell the Security Council next week that his inspectors need more time in Iraq, but that Saddam Hussein gets "quite satisfactory" grades for his cooperation, an agency spokesman said Friday. "Their report card will be a 'B,'" International Atomic Energy Agency spokesman Mark Gwozdecky told The Associated Press. His comments came as a senior U.S. official said the Bush administration is weighing the option of extending U.N. weapons inspections in an effort to placate European allies and Russia. A decision will be based on whether the inspections are productive, the official said Friday.

I've heard that CNN is reporting that the government is warning all American citizens overseas to be prepared to leave their countries of residence quickly. Isn't it great how much safer Bush has made the world for Americans?

CNN Breaking News: Top nuclear watchdog expected to give Iraq a grade of 'B' for cooperation with weapons inspectors, according to The Associated Press. I wonder if Bush will be upset that Sadaam got a better grade then he did.

Jude Wanniski says war would be bad for the stock market, but that he thinks Bush will do the right thing and stick to diplomacy.
Driving Down the Stock Market
Memo To: Glenn Hubbard, chairman, President’s Council of Economic Advisors From: Jude Wanniski Re: War, war, war!!! You know I am in complete agreement that President Bush’s plan to end double taxing of dividends would be great for the stock market and terrific for the economy. But it would not stand a chance if President Bush decides to pull the trigger on Iraq next month, which seems to be the message coming out of the White House with more ferociousness every passing day. I’ve advised my clients that if Mr. Bush were to really do so without the support of the United Nations and the U.S. Senate, the Dow Jones Industrials would now be a few thousand points lower. And that the Bush tax plan would be deader than a doornail as the costs of the war would drive budget deficits through the roof, at all levels of government, here and around the world. I’m actually more optimistic, believing the White House is doing what it can to scare Saddam’s inner circle into a palace coup and that when that fails, Mr.Bush will be back on the diplomatic track.
Mr. Wanniski also went on to profess hopes for increased earnings from the tooth fairy and more chocolate eggs from the Easter bunny.
I don’t think he has any choice, because the White House did make commitments to the Senate Democratic leadership on October 9 in order to win their support for the resolution authorizing the use of force.
And I thought this kind of naivete was only present in the Democratic leadership!
People do forget that the President had to assure the Senate that he would go to the United Nations and seek a diplomatic solution, and only if that failed would he come back to the Senate with a report on the failure. He also promised a status report in 60 days, but it is now 90 days and no report has been made.
So, let me see if I got this right: Mr. Wanniski says that Bush has already reneged on his commitment to report to congress in 60 days, yet he feels confident that he will abide by the rest of his commitments? BTW, this is the first I've heard of this 60 day status report. Does anyone know anything more about it and, if it is for real, why aren't the Democrats complaining about not getting it?

Someone over on the Bartcop forum said, in response to the previous image, that they remembered something in Ezekial about snakes in the whirlwind being a sign of the end times. I went searching and couldn't find anything on that. But I did find another interesting passage: Ezekiel 28:1-19

A Prophecy Against the King of Tyre

1 The word of the LORD came to me: 2 "Son of man, say to the ruler of Tyre, 'This is what the Sovereign LORD says:

" 'In the pride of your heart
you say, "I am a god;
I sit on the throne of a god
in the heart of the seas."
But you are a man and not a god,
though you think you are as wise as a god.
3 Are you wiser than Daniel?
Is no secret hidden from you?
4 By your wisdom and understanding
you have gained wealth for yourself
and amassed gold and silver
in your treasuries.
5 By your great skill in trading
you have increased your wealth,
and because of your wealth
your heart has grown proud.

6 " 'Therefore this is what the Sovereign LORD says:

" 'Because you think you are wise,
as wise as a god,
7 I am going to bring foreigners against you,
the most ruthless of nations;
they will draw their swords against your beauty and wisdom
and pierce your shining splendor.
8 They will bring you down to the pit,
and you will die a violent death
in the heart of the seas.
9 Will you then say, "I am a god,"
in the presence of those who kill you?
You will be but a man, not a god,
in the hands of those who slay you.
10 You will die the death of the uncircumcised
at the hands of foreigners.

I have spoken, declares the Sovereign LORD .' "

11 The word of the LORD came to me: 12 "Son of man, take up a lament concerning the king of Tyre and say to him: 'This is what the Sovereign LORD says:

" 'You were the model of perfection,
full of wisdom and perfect in beauty.
13 You were in Eden,
the garden of God;
every precious stone adorned you:
ruby, topaz and emerald,
chrysolite, onyx and jasper,
sapphire, turquoise and beryl.
Your settings and mountings were made of gold;
on the day you were created they were prepared.
14 You were anointed as a guardian cherub,
for so I ordained you.
You were on the holy mount of God;
you walked among the fiery stones.
15 You were blameless in your ways
from the day you were created
till wickedness was found in you.
16 Through your widespread trade
you were filled with violence,
and you sinned.
So I drove you in disgrace from the mount of God,
and I expelled you, O guardian cherub,
from among the fiery stones.
17 Your heart became proud
on account of your beauty,
and you corrupted your wisdom
because of your splendor.
So I threw you to the earth;
I made a spectacle of you before kings.
18 By your many sins and dishonest trade
you have desecrated your sanctuaries.
So I made a fire come out from you,
and it consumed you,
and I reduced you to ashes on the ground
in the sight of all who were watching.
19 All the nations who knew you
are appalled at you;
you have come to a horrible end
and will be no more.' "

The final passage is said to be a warning about the fate of Lucifer who fell from the highest to the lowest due to pride. I can't help but notice the similarites with our present situation.

The face of modern warfare (click picture to read article) This just sends chills up my spine. Do these people have no comprehension of what kind of impression this sends?

Thursday, January 23, 2003

I was thinking about the exercise of American military power in the world today, partly in response to an interesting conversation I was having with dre in the comments section of this post. As I said in those comments, there are some in this administration, and in various right-wing think tanks, who are salivating at the idea of flexing our military muscles for the sheer pleasure of demonstrating to the world that we have the will to do it. They have a kind of "use it or lose it" philosophy. If we don't demonstrate that we are willing to use all this hardware then people might start getting the idea that we will never use it, no matter how impressive it looks on the showroom floor. The question that comes to me is this: to what purpose do we NEED to intimidate the world? I think it comes down to a core belief system that says that you are either on the top or you are on the bottom and, when you are the top, you have to be so far above everyone else that no-one would even consider challenging you. You see this in the corporate world where making a profit is of no consequence if you are not making a profit that is far in an excess of what everyone else around you is making. You are measured not by success but by the size of your success. ("My, what a big portfolio you have Mr. Brown", "Why thank you Mr. Black, yours is pretty impressive as well." "Oh you are to kind.") The problem with this philosophy is that it ignores the inconvenient reality that all the other people below you on the latter will inevitably come to resent your position above them. Especially if you lord it over them. If you find yourself in the position of being "Lord of the manor" then it behooves you to act in a manner respectful of the feelings of those who are below you (side note: I've recently started watching "Upstairs Downstairs" and this is a major subtext of the relationship between the upstairs and downstairs people). Of course, some would argue that by NOT flexing our muscles, it will allow others to rise up the ladder and maybe, someday, challenge our position of leadership. They are right. But secure leadership is a chimera that no one has ever achieved. If they don't pass you through honest means, they will destroy you through dishonest means. The slow decline through honest competition is much less bloody then fighting tooth and nail for position (or, as I like to say, revolution is bad for business). At least, if you exhibit a history of moral leadership while on top you are less likely to be stomped on the way down. However, adopting this form of moral leadership requires that one admit that you might not always be on top and you have any moral claim to be on top. The Bushies appear to be constitutionally incapable of admitting that. The thing I liked about Clinton (amongst many things I liked about him) was that he understood that moral leadership required more then just having more guns then everyone else on the block. He treated the rest of the world like partners, even if they were obviously weaker then us. It would have been rude to behave towards them as if they were "irrelevent". The golden rule is more then just a moral imperative. It can also lead to a much more comfortable and peaceful life.

A good article by Sam Parry:
George W. Bush’s followers hail his tough comments as proof of his straight-talking style and his “moral clarity.” But his often-insulting remarks about political and international adversaries also raise questions about whether the president’s loose tongue is becoming a national security danger to the American people.

How to piss of friends and lose allies:
Rumsfeld's Remarks Draw Anger in France By KIM HOUSEGO Associated Press Writer
January 23, 2003, 5:15 AM EST
PARIS -- French leaders reacted angrily Thursday to U.S. Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld's dismissal of France and Germany as the "old Europe," saying the comments underscore America's arrogance.
Finance Minister Francis Mer said he was "profoundly vexed" by the remarks.
"I wanted to remind everyone that this 'old Europe' has resilience, and is capable of bouncing back," Mer told LCI television. "And it will show it, in time."
"If you knew what I feel like telling him, to Mr. Rumsfeld ... " said Ecology Minister Roselyne Bachelot on Europe-1 radio. She then stopped herself and said the word would be too offensive to publish.
Martine Aubry, a Socialist leader and influential former labor minister, said Rumsfeld's comments "show once again a certain arrogance of the United States."
Washington "continues to want to alone govern the world and more and more without rules," she told RTL radio.

Karl Rove: "This president is a populist. Given a choice between Wall Street and Main Street, he will chose Main Street any time."

Helen Thomas: “This is the worst president ever. He is the worst president in all of American history.” Bless you Helen.

Wednesday, January 22, 2003

Bushism of the Day By Jacob Weisberg Posted Wednesday, January 22, 2003, at 12:28 PM PT
"When Iraq is liberated, you will be treated, tried, and persecuted as a war criminal."—Washington, D.C., Jan. 22, 2003. (Thanks to Chad Conwell.)
You know, beside the fact that this is atrocious grammar, it's also terrible diplomacy. You never want to force an adversary, especially one who might have chemical or other dangerous weapons, into a situation where he thinks he has no options for escape. By making statements like this Bush has so much as said that any of the other talk we are hearing about Sadaam going into is exile should not be taken seriously.

Massive Pro-War Rally Who wants to lay bets as to the true affilliation of the "No War For Oil" guy in pictures 32-34?

Here's what should have happened in 2000: 1. The recount should have been allowed to proceed (the Supreme Court does not, as some have suggested, have the authority to step into ALL legal matters). 2. If the recount failed to give Gore the lead he would have conceded and Bush would have become the legitimate President. 3. If the recount gave Gore a lead then the Gore slate of electors would have been sent to Congress. 4. The Republican legislature would have then voted to override that result and send the Bush slate anyway. 5. The tally of BOTH slates would have been sent to Congress to decide which was the official one. 6. Congress, being controlled by Republicans, would have voted for the Bush slate and Bush would have become the legitimate President. 7. In 2002 the voters of Florida, and the voters in the rest of America, would have rendered their verdict on whether their legislatures had done the right thing. That's called Democracy. It's messy, but it works, as long as it is allowed to work. Unfortunately, the Republicans aren't willing to let it work so long as their is the chance that it might go against them. Then they step in and subvert the system by getting their cronies on the Supreme Court to take America out back and put a bullet through its head. That is why, for the forseeable future, I will never vote for a Republican for any office. People who hate America should not be allowed to run America.

Your Republican Party at work:
A Super lobbying weekend By Jonathan E. Kaplan
The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) has scored tickets to Sunday’s Super Bowl XXXVII in San Diego to sell to lobbyists so they can watch the game together.
As part of the deal, lobbyists will have access to Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.), who will travel west on Thursday and host fundraisers over the weekend, said John Feehery, Hastert’s spokesman.
Rep. Tom Reynolds (R-N.Y.), the newly elected chairman of the NRCC, will also be attending the game, said Mike Brady, Reynolds’ spokesman.

More on John Edward's gum chewing and bubble blowing. An enterprising individual on BartCop Nation uncovered this little gem:

A couple of interesting sites that show you how the goverment budget is dividied up: The Budget Explorer lets you play around with the budget numbers and try and balance the budget. The Interactive Spending Reform Tool courtesy of the Heritage Foundation. Allows you to compare budget priorities over the last few years. (Warning: fast internet access is recommended). Got the following interesting graph from The Budget Explorer: Kind of looks someone's giving all the President's the finger doesn't it?

To repeat again: $70 million to investigate the activities of Clinton's penis. $3 million to investigate the attacks on September 11. Where's the outrage? (I'd like to build a list of budget priorities in the millions range just to add emphasis to the comparison. Please let me know of any similar outrages.)

From ABC's Note (page content changes daily)
But perhaps the most interesting speech of the night, however, was given by the doctor from Vermont.
Dean used anecdotes from his time as a family doctor to take on abortion (including "partial birth" and parental consent) in a way that a non-doctor could not.
Dean also somehow organized the room, getting his many supporters there to wave glowsticks when he spoke. A small thing, but it shows that, again, those of you underestimating his organizational skills and efforts on the ground in the key states are making an error. (That said, Dean's prepared remarks were not handed out to the press, as most of the others' were.)
Good God! You mean members of the press might have to actually listen to what he had to say? How can they hope to get a report in to their editors before he even starts talking if he goes and does things like that? (I'm feeling really snarky this morning)

Courtesy Drudge:
A C-SPAN camera zoomed in on Sen. John Edwards Tuesday night during a dinner marking the 30th anniversary of the Supreme Court's Roe vs. Wade decision -- as he was popping and chewing gum.
Well! That about says it all doesn't it! Can't have a gum-chewing President can we? We don't want him chomping away when he is sitting across the table from Putin now do we? Thanks Drudge for that public service.

Looks like this is the morning for rehashing old arguments. More from the Table Talk thread mentioned previously. Eric DeGrave comments, "Bush was elected by the electoral college, as described in the US Constitution." Sigh. Each state sends a slate of electors to the electoral college. The votes of those electors are tallied and the tally is sent to the U.S. Congress for approval. It is only when the U.S. Congress opens the tally and votes to accept that tally as official that the President is officially elected. If, however, there is a dispute about which slate of electors from a particular state should be accepted, then it is up to Congress to vote on which one to accept. What the Supreme Court did by its action was prevent an alternate slate of Gore electors from EVER being sent to Congress. Thus the Congress wasn't allowed to exercise its CONSTITUTIONALLY MANDATED authority to decide between disputed electors. From the moment the Court intervened and stopped the recount all subsequent decisions in the chain were deligitimized. Regardless of what was the correct outcome, Bush's Presidency was forever stained because the body that had the mandate to resolve the dispute was never given the opportunity. THAT is where the felonious five violated their oaths of office. THAT is where they stepped in and, effectively, appointed George W. Bush to be President. The simple fact of the matter is that the Republicans do not trust Democracy, do not trust the will of the people, and decided to subvert it for fear that it might turn against them. A traitor, by their actions might destroy the lives of many Americans. But the Republicans DESTROYED the American system of Democracy because they were to cowardly to abide by whatever it ultimately decided. That makes the Republican party the most un-American that has ever been close to the reigns of power in this country.

Another golden-oldie from the still-no-over-it department. Over on Table Talk, the eternal question of the 2000 election came up. One poster (Fante) made the comment, "I'm examining the U.S. Constitution and I see no clause where the SCOTUS has any right under the constitution to involve itself in a presidential election." This is the point so many of the nay-sayers consistenly ignore. It was only by the most tenuous of legalistic contortions that Scalia and company were able to force themselves into a process that the framers of the Constitution explicitly did not want them to get involved in. The Constitution clearly leaves the matter of resolving disputed Presidential elections in the hands of Congress. When the court intervened (and when Bush asked them to intervene) they were explicitly going against both the spirit and the letter of the law. If they had not intervened then Congress would have had to decide which slate of Florida electors to accept. Given that the Republicans held the majority in the House and a tie in the Senate it was almost inevitable that Bush would have become President. If they had gone by this process their would have been two consequences: (1) Bush would have had a legitimate claim to the Presidency, and (2) The members of congress would have had to answer for their decision in the 2002 election. That is why the framers specifically wanted this decision to be in the hands of Congress: so that those who made the decision could be held accountable by the voters. If the voters didn't like their decision then they could have punished them by voting them out of office. But, by going to the Supremes, Bush put the decision into the hands of people who are answerable only to history. All the obfuscation about margins-of-error only obscures this central point: the Bush administration is illegitimate because it came into office via an illegitimate process. No amount of cheering about his handling of 9/11 will ever change that fact. (NOTE: I am purposely leaving out the question of voter fraud in the Florida election. I did so because Bush is illegitimate regardless of whether their was voter fraud or not.)

Tuesday, January 21, 2003

Atrios has this, but it bears repeating: $70 million to investigate the activities of Clinton's penis. $3 million to investigate the attacks on September 11. How long can this kind of shit go on before the whole system collapses from its own weight?

From today's press baffling:
Q The second question. You and the President have repeatedly said that Saddam Hussein gassed his own people. The biggest such attack was in Halabja in March, 1988, where some 6,800 Kurds were killed. Last week in an article in the International Herald Tribune, Joost Hilterman writes that: while it was Iraq that carried out the attack, the United States at the time, fully aware that it was Iraq, accused Iran. This was apparently part of the tilt toward Iraq in the Iran-Iraq war. And the tilt included billions of dollars in loan guarantees. Sensing that he had carte blanche, Saddam escalated his resort to guesswork there and graduating to ever more lethal agents.
So you and the President have said that Saddam has repeatedly gassed his own people -- why do you leave out the part that the United States, in effect, gave Saddam the green light?
MR. FLEISCHER: Well, Russell, I speak for President George W. Bush in the year 2003. I think if you have a question about statements that were made or purportedly made by an administration in 1988, you need to address those to somewhere other than this White House. I can't speak for that. I don't know if that's accurate, inaccurate. But I think you have all the means to ask those questions yourself.
Suggested followup: So you are suggesting that we go and ask the President's father about this?

Digby takes the pass from the post below and moves the ball even closer to the goal post. To bad the GOP keeps moving it.

Monday, January 20, 2003

I just flashed on something. The Republican's approach to Sadaam's declaration on his WMD programs is similar to their approach to Clinton's declaration of his involvement with Monica Lewinsky: no matter is said, it will not be enough because the Republicans keep re-defining the parameters of what needs to be said. And the fact that Sadaam/Clinton fail to hit a moving target is taken as proof that they are guilty, unremorseful, and will do it again. Note: I am NOT saying that Clinton and Sadaam are equivalent. I AM saying that the Republicans are giving them an equivalent treatment.

Once again we see that those who oppose the anti-war movement are trying to define the terms in which it is proper for us to air our dissent. If, for example, we attend a march that was organized in part by a group of socialists that supported the Chinese crackdown in Tianneman square then we must bow our head in shame that we would lend support to such a group. Bullshit. Why should we have to justify ourselves to the pro-war crowd? Why should they get to define the proper parameters of how we voice our dissent? How is this any different then those who told "uppity blacks" that they could get what they wanted, but only so long as they did it on the "white man's" time table? The Republicans express no shame at being associated with segregationist sheetheads because, quite correctly, they assert that the fact that many of them are Republicans does not, ipso facto, mean that Republicans are supportive of their ideology. (Of course, the Republicans do more then just allow the sheetheads in their midst. They actively recruit them. And for that they should be ashamed.) I would bet that 80% of those attending the demonstrations on Saturday had no clue who it was who organized them or what their political ideology was. They came because they see our country about to make a mistake which it can never take back. For the first time in our history, unprovoked aggression is going to become the official policy of the United States government. This is not the America we were taught about in social studies. We were always taught that those who do what we are about to do are the bad guys. We are defending our dreams of what it means to be American against those who want to pervert it. Pearl Harbor was a pre-emptive strike.

Once again the question of whether the anti-war movement is harmed by the presence of "whackos and kooks" has come up. The DC march was organized by ANSWER, an organization that some critics point out is a socialist organization that supported the Chinese government's crack-down on protesters in Tianemen square. Does this therefore mean that the hundreds of thousands who came out to protest the war on Saturday are giving their tacit support to this organization? There's two ways of looking at this: (1) It is reprehensible that a large group of mainstream protesters are willing to lend support to "whackos and kooks". or (2) It is amazing that a large group of mainstream protesters are willing to protest despite the association with "whackos and kooks". I lean towards the latter myself Update: Jake in comments adds another way of looking at it:
3) It is unsurprising that a large group of mainstream protesters is completely unaware that the protest organizers are "whackos and kooks".

Sunday, January 19, 2003

Bush to Propose Funds for Black, Hispanic Education
Jan. 19 — WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Bush will propose funding increases for Hispanic-serving institutions and historically black colleges and universities in his 2004 budget, the White House said in a statement on Sunday, on the eve of the Martin Luther King Day holiday. Asked about the timing of the announcement and whether it was in response to criticism of the president's legal challenge to the University of Michigan's policy of using racial preferences in admissions, a White House spokesman declined direct comment.
As a poster over on Table Talk (Julius Civitatus) commented:
Notice the subtlety of Bush stance on race and education: legally fighting affirmative action while supporting minority-only institutions. This is nothing but a push to resegregate education, back to the times of separated but equal, while at the same time looking like he's supporting education for minorities.
I don't know if this is the real intent of this aciton, but I think it is clear that they are doing this partly in response to the heat they are taking over the Michigan case. But, whether they are doing it intentionally or not, Julius is right that it effectively encourages a "separate but equal" form of education.

Finally found a picture of the cheerleaders who lead the march yesterday in Portland. They were a big hit. You can find more pictures here, here, and here

The real reason Osama hates us?

Atrios has already talked about this, but it bears repeating:
From last night's Capital Gang
NOVAK: That's exactly right. But the last thing that the hawks inside the administration, and their friends outside the administration, want is a coup d'etat that would replace Saddam Hussein. They want a war as a manifestation of U.S. power in the world and as a sign that the United States is capable of changing the balance of power and the political map of the Middle East.
There's no question that the last thing they want is Saddam Hussein put on a plane and taken...
O'BEIRNE: Bob, Bob, speaking...
NOVAK: ... to -- taken away.
O'BEIRNE: ... speaking, speaking for this hawk, I want to see a regime in Baghdad that would not be armed with weapons of mass destruction. That might not happen through a coup. If that could happen through a coup, you could avoid war.
SHIELDS: But Bob, that's a pretty serious charge (UNINTELLIGIBLE). You're saying that there are people, I mean, who almost have a blood lust in this administration.
SHIELDS: (UNINTELLIGIBLE), you're saying they want war.
NOVAK: All right. Talking to a senior official, and he said to me, he said, Well, if we don't hit in Iraq, where are we going to hit? And they -- it's a desire that the United States, the superpower, is going to manifest its authority to the rest of the world.
Listen, I just feel that this potential -- this war, I just trust it comes off easily. But I have trepidation that it won't be easy, and there's going to be a terrible consequences from it.
How many times have we heard mainstream and even left-leaning pundits scoff at the suggestion that the Bushies want a war with Iraq regardless of what is proven about Iraq's weapons program. Many of them simply can't believe that this administration could be so cold-blooded as to sacrfice the lives of young American citizens in order to make a point (that point being that we can whip anyone's ass so you better shut up and do what we tell you to do). Well, Robert Novak, hardly a leftist, anti-American, "objectively pro-Sadaam" pundit seems to believe it is true. Why can't people like Mark Shields? Isn't it time for the blinders to come?

More from Atrios:
While the op-ed pages and gab shows have occasional contributions from "experts," or at least people claiming to be experts (think Norah Vincent being a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, terrorism think tank), primarily, the public pontificators are simply pundits who don't know much about anything but who feel free to present their uninformed opinions on everything under the sun.
I can recall a few years back reading an article by a guy who was called to be on O'Reilly to discuss something he had some particular expertise in. While the guy was waiting to go on the show there was some breaking news story and FOX didn't have anyone ready to go on and talk about it. So the producers quickly hustled this guy out to respond to questions from Bill on a matter completely apart from what he was originally there to discuss. Bill kept peppering him with questions on this story and he told Bill repeatedly that he didn't know enough to give an opinion on the matter. He was never invited back again. This is how the media world works: the selection process for pundits encourages them to talk about things they know nothing about. If they were to answer honestly and say, "I don't know," they wouldn't get invited back. If they don't get invited back then they can't build their name recognition. If they can't build their name recognition then they can't get the higher fees that come with that recognition. If they don't become a well-known pundit then they can't make the six figure book deals and hang out at the right parties with important people who will hang on their words as if they actually mean anything. The pundit world is full of people who are expert at being experts.

Atrios talks about the continuing effort of some to defame the anti-war effort by attacking some of the more peculiar causes of some if its organizers. I don't think we should let them distract us with these irrelevancies. The opponents of the anti-war effort will try to smear it in any way they can. I think if you stopped many of the protestors on the street and asked them who organized it most of them couldn't answer the question (I couldn't) nor would they care (I do not). I agree with Atrios that the level of "pet loony lefty causes" is dropping at these events. I was at the October rally/march in Portland and there were a lot more folks there, percentage wise at least, talking about Free Palestine or political prisoners in South America or The School of the Americas. I think the organizers are beginning to appreciate that the scope of this thing is way beyond these individual causes and any attempt to hijack it for those efforts would be counter-productive.

Something else I noticed in yesterdays march: I barely saw any police. There were a couple of cruisers guiding the march. A couple on bikes. And a gaggle of 6 or 7 milling around one area of the rally. I'm sure there were more around, but they kept themselves out of the way and unobtrusive. Very nice.