Friday, March 05, 2004

Good News

Salam Pax is apparently safe. Saw this post about an hour ago--then a friend from Madison called and I just spent the ensuing time catching up.

Back tomorrow--when tomorrow depends on how late I stay out tonight...
Do We Have to Talk About Iraq? Survivor: Allstars is On

Most folks have probably seen one of the many articles today regarding the non-signing of the first-draft Iraqi Constitution by a number of Sh'ia members of the IGC. This policy setback was actually the lead story for a number of news outlets until the devastating news of Martha Stewart's conviction on charges related to security fraud (although Stewart was acquitted on the more serious charge of security fraud on the basis of a judge's ruling last week). The world, of course had awaited this news with baited breath.

Please note: the comments regarding Martha Stewart are, for the satirically challenged, sarcastic.

The latest black-eye for the administration comes in the wake of the bombings earlier this week that claimed upwards of 200 lives and wounded almost double. However, as As'ad Abu Kahlil posted earlier,

"If a few hundred or even a few thousand Iraqis get killed, the average American citizen doesn't see that as relevant to them,'' said University of Iowa political scientist and pollster Arthur Miller.

Here's the link to the article where Miller is cited.

This lack of concern will come back to haunt us: between the ongoing low-level violence that results in the wounding or killing of the single soldier or two and the large-scale attacks like those on Monday, Iraq is in tremendous danger. As occupiers, the United States is legally obligated to provide for the security of the citizens of the occupied nation. The bombings demonstrate clearly that we are not.

We cannot simply write this off as "crazy arabs killing each other." The long term stability of the Middle East is of vital importance to the United States, and allowing such massacres to happen not only makes us liable from a legal standpoint, it completely erodes any credibility among the people we presumably wanted to liberate--not that liberation was ever anything more than a cheap slogan for Bush. Still, I don't doubt some of Bush's support for war came from those naïve souls that actually think we not pursuing naked self-interest in Iraq. Those folks have now presumably moved back to their usual sources of entertainment--Fox News, Pro Wrestling, and/or NASCAR--but the problem still exists.

Our inability to provide even the most basic security in Iraq is yet another indication that the war is LOST. Which is not a very good thing for our long term interests in the region.
Lt. AWOL, Meet pResident Shameless

Bush to visit Sept. 11 memorial next week, but, of course, the REAL purpose of the visit is: what else--$$$$:

Bush plans to tour the memorial Thursday in Long Island's Nassau County, one of the city's suburbs, prior to attending a re-election fund-raiser that night in East Meadow, N.Y.

I'm waiting for Bush to claim he was present in New York on September 11th--whereupon Scott McClellan will produce a pay stub indicating our Commander in Chief received compensation for the two week period ending Friday, September 7th, ending the controversy in the eyes of the media...
Bring it On

Timshel cites a T-Pic article reporting a crowd of 2,000 at the John Kerry rally in New Orleans today. Not bad by NOLA standards. It would have been nice to see what sort of crowd John Edwards would have drawn.

Still, numbers like that ought to worry the Bushwhackers. My guess is that they're assuming a lock on the South, but if forced to spend time protecting the base, a lot of genuine swing states might end up in the Blue column. Sure, it's way too early to get a sense for a trend, but one can always hope.

Billmon has a nice summary of what might have well been a Friday the 13th for Dubya: poor news on the economy, the Plame investigation, his 9/11 ad campaign, and Iraq. He called it the trifecta, but with the 11:45 am update, it's more like Pick 4.

Update of my own: for some reason, I didn't sleep well last night, and was dragging until I seriously upped my normal coffee dosage...I'll be checking around for a few things to post about later on. One item I came across recently was another obituary for Paul Sweezy (from The Guardian, courtesy of As'ad Abu Kahlil)--it got me to go searching for internet items containing the following terms: automobilization Paul Sweezy. Interesting stuff. I'll try to plow through it and post as a Science Friday I guess--or you can take the search and roll with it if you want.
Operation Stumblebum

There is an eerie similarity between the beginning of the Iraq war and the beginning of the Bush campaign. The starting blocks have become stumbling blocks. Team Bush thinks that the voting public will simply accept an anemic economy (link via Atrios), while everyone was supposed to get all misty eyed (if not tingly) over imagery featuring September 11th.

Well, that's not the case. Families of the victims, fire-fighters, and indeed, the general public reacted rightly with outrage. Imagine Franklin Roosevelt invoking Pearl Harbor during the election of 1944. Even Texan standards of taste generally aren't THIS low, and that's saying a lot.

Update: Timshel, in comments, notes that a famous campaign button from 1944 said "I Remember Pearl Harbor: FDR". I stand corrected. However, as he points out, there's a world of difference between, say, asserting "Bush will fight terrorism better," and running an image of a flag-draped stretcher.

I'll check again for more information.

Karen Hughes, Rudy Giuliani, and Bernard Kerik have been dispatched to defend the administration, a sign that they recognize the magnitude of the problem. "Sept. 11 is not some distant event in the past," Mr. Hughes told ABC. "It's also important to recognize the impact it had on our national public policy." Ms. Giuliani noted, "This is part of the President's record It's part of history..."

One little problem, however, is that the Administration itself has maintained (scroll down roughly halfway) that "[we] need to be very cautious not to seek political advantage from [9/11 or the War on Terror]." The ad campaign shows once again that lying is virtually a trademark of the Bush team.

The fact that the US media is reporting this at all is a good indication that Rove really fucked this one up. If one looks at the foreign press, there is even more outrage over the low standards of such an effort.

My guess is that Bush will manage to find a few more high profile defenders of the ads while at the same time taking steps to quietly pull them from circulation. That said, it is a good sign that his cynical attempt to exploit tragedy for political gain was seen for what it is: pure unadulterated bullshit, with a side order of fearmongering.

The US media might eat that stuff up, but the public has no appetitie for such crap.

Thursday, March 04, 2004

More on Con Artists

Bad Attitudes links to two stories over at 201k. The first post is a friendly reminder of how Team Bush, uh, enhances it's message with disengenuous imagery--in this case, slapping tape over labels that said "Made in China" on boxes and stenciling in "Made in USA." Just a little white lie, right? Except that it's a prime indicator of how Bush deals with the economy--a combination of ignore and ignorance, coupled with a Potemkin Village attempt to insist all is well. The other article (scroll down to "Junior Varsity") nicely sums up the REAL issue with Dubya's military record. Check it out. Summary: playing for the JV doesn't make you a three year letterman.

As I noted earlier, the issue isn't just whether he bailed on the military equivalent of a phantom job. It's the fact that he continues to lie about it. In my own post (sorry, I'm feeling too lazy to look it up in the archives) I noted that Bush himself made an issue of it by eliding his way through his military record in his Karen Hughes ghost-written "autobiography." He's falsely claimed to have "been to war," when the only battle he seems to have fought is one with a case of beer and a chandelier. The "Mission Accomplished" stunt, complete with flight-suit, lifelike hair, and lifelike grip, is not only embarrassing, but a clear indication of a man unfit to lead--the mission had barely begun, and yet the Commander in Chief thought it was over. Christ, could you imagine him in World War II? He'd have declared the war over the day of the D-Day landings...or in the midst of the Battle of Midway.

Actually, there's a problem with the WW II analogy: THAT was a conventional conflict, with armies, fronts, etc. Iraq is now a guerrilla war, with parallels to Algieria in the early 1960's. The "war" on terror is NOT a war by ANY standard definition. These times call for exceptional leadership, yet the present Administration hasn't even managed to take the training wheels off. They've screwed up badly, and hope only that the public is tuned out to the point that we are unable to distinguish between a genuine leader and a guy who doesn't know how to release the straps on his g-suit. Hell, they show an indignation bordering on disdain if someone even asks a serious question...

Maybe con artist isn't quite the metaphor for Team Bush--at times, it's more like shakedown artist.

Gentleman's C

Check out BAD ATTITUDES: Gilded Youth for an account of Harvard Business School student George W. Bush: in summary, he was a smug little rich kid who lacked any sense of introspection, he accused poor people of "being lazy", and blasted the New Deal as "socialistic."

Regarding the New Deal: Anyone that can't get the critical point--that it literally saved the system--is too stupid to be president.

And am I the only person who wants to throw a brick at the TV whenever I hear about Bush's supposed "likeability?" Bullshit. Bush is about as likeable as a drunk who won't leave you alone, but insists on barking things like "hey, pull my finger" at you while at the same time mugging and slapping everyone's back. Ugh. What a crock.

Remember: con artists are likeable too.

I forget if it was Wordsworth or Blake--I'm pretty sure it was one or the other--who wrote, "The child makes the man, like morning makes the day." No shit.

(I'm guessing it was Blake--I recall seeing a print of the piece that was illuminated in Blake's style--but I could be wrong).
Jesus--Demand Points Off The GROSS, Not The NET

The Onion | Jesus Demands Creative Control Over Next Movie:

HOLLYWOOD, CA—After watching Mel Gibson's The Passion Of The Christ Monday, Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ announced that He will demand creative control over the next film based on His life.

"I never should have given Mel Gibson so much license," said Christ, the Son of God. "I don't like to criticize a member of the flock, but that close-up of the nails being pounded into My wrists—that was just bad."


"My movie about My life will be the greatest movie ever shown," Christ said. "It should be the last Word on Me. No more animated versions, no more musicals, and no more movies where the scourging scene is so violent, you could put it in Fangoria. I mean, yes, being crucified is very painful. But I can't see devoting more than, say, three minutes of film to it."

Jesus added: "My version will have it all: drama, laughter, a spiritual message, and a couple of twists that will surprise even the most devout. The best part is that it'll be 100 percent accurate."

Continued Christ: "Even with the top-notch screenplay Ron and I are writing, I'll still need a great director to make the script shine. Unfortunately, Gore Verbinski is already committed to Pirates Of The Caribbean 2. If only he'd see that this movie is truly the career path for the righteous, I'd be able to get a firm commitment from Johnny Depp, too. Let us pray."

Wednesday, March 03, 2004


Note: sorry for the long post. It also might be the only post until this evening, as I'm caught up in Louisiana bureaucracy for the afternoon (need to renew my expired driver's license, and, for reasons I won't go into, cannot do this on line. Damn).

In the case of Bush, with over a hundred mil in the bank that he apparently MUST spend before the convention, plus another seventy-five million that he hopes to raise, the shit will come wrapped in some mighty expensive, re-sealable plastic containers--at least for the masses. For the Rangers, Pioneers, Cash Cowboys, or whatever you want to call them, the payback will be contained in something quite a bit more--uh, since the values are Texan, maybe I don't want to go into that.

On the other hand, Kerry can expect the shit that comes his way to be fired from a howitzer. Already, idiots like George Stephanopoulis are working hard to establish their credentials--George was on Nightline last night gleefully offering his own strategery for defeating the "inevitable" nominee: Bush will brand Kerry as a hypocrite, and, the old standby, a liberal.

For that matter, Elizabeth Bumiller did just that in the Sunday debate between the FOUR remaining candidates for President (at the time of the debate). God, she's awful. The other two clowns (Dan Rather and some local-to-NYC CBS reporter) merely made the "journalist" component a three ring circus.

The Angry Arab News Service pointed out that NONE of the candidates posessed enough spine to come out against the wall Israel is building as part of a land-grab/bantustan strategy for the Palestinian war. Of course, with the sizable support New York gives Israel, and the fact that it was the silver medal on Super Tuesday, this is hardly surprising...

But the news on the election front is that it's now a "two-man" race--which itself is a bit of a misnomer. Sure, the election will be between Kerry and Bush come November. But the race is now to see who can gather together the winning coalition. Bush is busy shoring up his "base," namely, the yahoos and religious wackos. Hence, he'll come out in favor of God and Guns--and, of course, against gays. More important, his henchmen will be using all the ammunition at their disposal to brand the Massachusetts Senator as--well, a Senator from Massachusetts. Down here, that ought to be enough.

The problem, of course, is that Bush has so little to run on. Talkingpointsmemo linked to a Dick Cheney in Wonderland quote regarding job growth. So, expect the Rethughlicans to opt for the equivalent of a magic act--pay no attention to the chaos behind the curtain--look over there!

Last night, Koppel's show confirmed one thing I've been concerned about: Kerry is out of money, but he can't use DNC funds until the nomination is his. McAuliffe's strategy of getting the nominee "selected" early could backfire if Kerry is in the Dole-drums until the convention.

And don't believe a word about Americans supposedly disliking a negative campaign: in a system that almost guarantees a lesser-of-evils slate of candidates, negative campaigns might as well be required. John Edwards managed to stay mostly "positive," but, in the end, he also went mildly negative (see the transcript of the debate linked to above).

To say most Americans don't like negative campaigns is akin to saying most Americans despise pornography--and then you see the statistics that say the X-rated stuff outsells just about anything--except for drugs.

But I digress. I do see that Edwards and Kerry are both being conciliatory, which is a good sign, and I'd like to see Sharpton and Kucinich continue long enough to pull in a decent number of delegates. As the reverend himself noted, the idea will be to arrive at the convention with enough strength to demand a hearing, and that's a good thing. Because the Democrats MUST now deal with a Kerry candidacy.

In my book, the Democratic Party is, broadly defined, a coalition consisting of: the DLC elites, who are the conservative, monied wing, who hold the leadership positions and the national offices, people of color, who recognize that the lesser of two evils is slightly better than the greater of two evils, the moderate to strong progressives, and organized labor. Additionally, there are plenty of folks who've been outright appalled by the thuggery and corruption that has defined Bush II. Now, the factions must unite, even if Kerry is anything but inspiring, and chop the head off of the Rethuglican monster that's working it's damndest to alienate the world while they line their pockets.

The DLC is disgusting, if you ask me, but I'll swallow my pride this time and mark my ballot for Kerry. He'll get no slack should he win, but defeating Bush is more important. To that end, it's time for the DLC'ers to realize that the other factions in the party can't be told to wait at the back of the line. We need to pull the PNAC'ers off the ladder, and stomp on them after they've hit the ground. Ideally, I'd like to see a Kerry-Edwards ticket, which I think would be exceptionally strong--and I'd also like to see some REAL attention paid to issues affecting people of color, labor, and progressive minded folks of all types.

My strategy, for all it's worth, would be to fight fire with fire: for every mention of a Kerry vote in the eighties/nineties that Ed Gillespie thinks is rancid enough to throw to his base, the Democrats must fight back with stories about Bush at the time: recall, Bush was a drunk who never worked a day in his life, has engaged in at-best questionable business practices, he's brought corruption to a new low with his no-bid military contracts in Iraq, which itself is a mess, and he's presided over the train wreck that is the "new" American economy. Hell, if I had control of the advertising budget, I'd devote plenty of air-time to Gregory Mankiw's now infamous statement praising the outsourcing of jobs. Throw in Kenny Boy Lay, the Enron disaster, the World Com con, hell, the entire slag heap that is big business, and you might find an electorate that's sick of being dumped on. Add in accounts of those who've been downsized, outsourced, and/or told that they don't matter in Bush America, which means just about anyone who could actually afford to take a few years off work, and I think the public will decide that Son of Bush is like any other sequel--badly made, unworthy of the big screen, and only suitable for late night cable.

It's gonna be a war. I'll give Kerry an ounce of credit, though: his slogan at present is 'bring it on.' If Al Giordano is right, that means Bush will be in real trouble. And I can live with that.

Tuesday, March 02, 2004

Local News Coverage of Iraq

I'm switching between C-Span and local broadcasting. The former just reran Edwards' not-quite-a-victory-and-my-fundraising-sources-tell-me-we're-out-of-cash speech. They're about to rerun Kerry's "I'm-the-inevitable-nominee" speech, but first they're going with the ghost of Ted Kennedy--oh, sorry, it's actually Kennedy himself. Damn, he looks old, although I said that back in 1998.

The local news has been running a week long series on Iraq, reported by someone who must've gone to Baghdad when Blanco did. The report focuses on a medical support team made up of Louisiana residents. They're firmly within the boundries of the Baghdad Airport, an enclave as secured as the Green Zone, but hear mortars nightly--some pretty close by. Interesting: they're very positive about the experience, but even more eager to return home.

Remember, though, these folks are at the airport. Salam Pax, who hopefully is ok (he reported he'd be in Karbala today), isn't . Neither is Riverbend.

To be fair, Ken has some links to Iraqi bloggers also outside the Green Zone and/or airport area who have different views. Feel free to read them too if you want.

I expect the local news segments to be the undertone of the Bush effort to shape public opinion just long enough to--well, I was gonna say make-the-lipstick-on-the-pig-that-is-Iraq look good enough--but I don't want to offend, because the reference wasn't meant as a religious one. So, I'll use "Potemkin Village that is Iraq." As long as they can sow the seeds of doubt about Iraq--maybe it really isn't THAT bad--Bush can further the lie with a confused nod-smirk and a gentle reminder of the evils of Saddam.

Local news, the ten o'clock realm of someone with really cheap cable tv (like me) or NO cable tv (like me for a few years), is a low-attention medium. as I'm sure all five of y'all reading this know. Accuracy is a crapshoot, Bush-style patriotism is a given, and the overwhelming theme is a festival--hell, almost a RELIGIOUS festival--celebrating the middle-class aesthetic. Red State--of-mind.

I'm guessing that the various local news outlets in the other States' whose governors toured Iraq a few weeks ago did the same thing. Hmmn. I don't question the intentions of the Statewide elected officials, but I have a deep distrust of local news. Local news makes Fox News look like a class act...

Have some thoughts as well about the Kerry win, but I'll put it in a separate post--decided to stay in and sit through Nightline. Another TV hitching post for the good-cable challenged...

Gotta Laff at the Title

The Rude Pundit uses a number of NC-17 analogies that aren't my writing style, although the site has become a regular read for me. Today's headline is really good, though, and qualifies as acceptable coversation material...

Duvalier in Haiti--that'd be like Mobutu going back to Congo (thankfully, Joseph Mobutu, aka Mobutu Sese Seko, is busy stoking the flames in Satan's furnace, while simultaneously being tortured by them).

The followup to the linked post is also good--but be warned: most of the other posts at The Rude Pundit's site are not for the squeamish.
Iraq--Arabic for FUBAR

Take your pick as far as which article you want to read. Regardless of your point of view, the news is tragic: close to 200 killed, (the number sure to rise), at least double that injured, and a signal to all that Shock and Awe, followed by Blitzkrieg 2003 no more cleaned up the Iraq mess than 25 years of Saddamite Ba'athism.

Baton Rouge's local paper didn't publish any of the letters I sent them--all strongly in opposition to the war. I came across a few last night and gave them a re-read. In several, I used the "hornet's nest" analogy to describe the situation: you know, if you beat on a hornet's nest with a baseball bat, sure, you might get them to vacate--but expect at least a FEW stings.

The American public might well yawn at this latest tragedy--we've never given much thought to the general welfare of the world's masses, regardless of the present administration's high sounding rhetoric about "reshaping the Middle East." In Haiti, we've shown that we are more than willing to spit on the democratic process in order to remove a president who doesn't suit our tastes, while just this morning I heard the announcer on NPR, of all things, casually mention that perhaps most Americans are simply suffering from news "burnout" with Iraq...

Hmmn. Sort of like finally suffering from "Friends" burnout, I guess--or Seinfeld burnout, MASH burnout--hell, even Superbowl ad burnout, if this year is any indication. Unfortunately, we can't just stage a "final three episodes" in Iraq, with an eye for a last chance to cash in on some killer ratings, and then move on to Max Max VI: Beyond Golgotha (aside: I picture Mad Mel telling Jesus, "This bomb is set to detonate in 12 minutes. It'll take you at least twenty minutes to saw through the cross--but you should be able to saw off your arms in five").

Nah--even booting Saddam off out of the spider hole won't save this show--and James Spader is too busy with The Practice. But this one must grimly go on--no one is calling for a troop withdrawal, and everyone knows that chaos and civil war will commence once the US presence drops below a critical level. So--on it goes. As long as our soldiers are pretty heavily garrisioned--and they are--they're relatively safe, but resupply convoys will continue to be vulnerable, as will anyone without some sort of local escort...that is, assuming the local escort doesn't become a target.

About the only thing that's surprised me is how quickly the situation has decayed. I figured it would take at least 2 or 3 years--if not 5 or 10--before things fell apart, but here we are not even a year into the occupation, and no one wants to look at it anymore...

It reminds me of something I recall from a journalism class I took up at UW. During the lecture that covered NPR, the day's guest instructor (actually the teaching assistant) quoted one of the network's founders commenting on the first day of broadcasting: "we have seen our baby, and it is UGLY."

And it's going to get worse before it gets better.

Working Class

I'll be a little busy this morning setting up yet another server (we've got to have the highest server to workstation ratio of any network), but hopefully will be free this afternoon to post something. Last night Roger Noriega was on Nightline, and he looked, if nothing else, like a mid-level mafia goon.

But the server needs to be ready yesterday, so back to the install.

Monday, March 01, 2004

Paul Sweezy, Rest in Peace

Critical Notes: Paul Marlor Sweezy (1910-2004) is a nice summation of the life and work of an individual whose work influenced me greatly when younger, although sadly, I've lapsed in staying current with Monthly Review. I've been looking for a New Year's Resolution that's worth keeping, and it just might be a subscription as well as a reminder to visit the website regularly.

Credit to BigLeftOutside for the link.
Haiti Crime

I'm as guilty as everyone else for not keeping up on the happenings in the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. Now that the deed has been done, there are some good reports and commentary: Billmon, who has the best titled post by far, wonders if this isn't practice for the bigger prize of Venezuela (whose president recently castigated pResident Bush, openly referring to him as an asshole):

This isn't Venezuela, where there's an obvious prize (currently selling for about $35 a barrel) for overthrowing the legitimate, elected president. As far as I know, the only thing the U.S. government wants from Haiti is for the Haitians to stay there and starve quietly.

I can only assume the NSC's Latin America jefe, the aptly named Otto Reich, and his pet rock at the State Department, Roger Noriega, decided ex-President Aristide simply wasn't up to the job of keeping Florida relatively Haitian-free. Either that, or today's little charade in Port-au-Prince was just a modest dress rehearsal for a much more elaborate production to be staged in Caracas sometime in the near future.

Atrios linked to a Jeffrey Sachs' article on Maxspeak (originally Sachs' piece was published in the Financial Times) which asserts a cynicism on the part of the Bush and others within the administration regarding Aristide. Considering the, uh, questionable circumstances under which Bush assumed office, any allegations of "election irregularities" in Haiti are an example of the pot calling the kettle black. The real facts are that Team Bush has no use for Jean Bertrand, and have attempted to smear him as a communist for trying (with little success, thanks to sanctions) to alleviate some of the worst aspects of poverty within the nation.

Although the link appears to be down at present, here's a report from the San Jose Mercury News that quotes Congresswoman Maxine Waters saying that Aristide told her he was forced out of office, and out of the country, against his will. If you do a Google news search for "Maxine Waters" you will find that she has been out in front on the issue of Haiti for some time.

Meanwhile, Ron Dellums, the former congressman from California, denounced what he openly called a US sponsored coup d'etat on Tavis Smiley's NPR show. It's first just good to hear anything from Dellums, who for years was the leftmost member of Congress, representing, among other cities, Berkeley, California. Too bad he's only asked to speak when something tragic like this happens.

Finally, in what sadly is becoming as normal as rioting after the Superbowl, looters are running rampant in Port au Prince, just like they did in Baghdad following "Mission Accomplished." Unlike Baghdad, about the only thing worth protecting in the Haitian capital is the president's residence--which happens to be where the US Marines are now garrisoned. Well, if nothing else, we can hope that some attention will be paid to Haiti for a little while, at least until it all falls apart...

Anyone hear anything about Afghanistan lately? I didn't think so...
Ken AND Counterpunch

Link to this site: God Hates Shrimp. Funny--I tell people shrimp is "food of the gods." But I guess Yahweh is a jealous diety (see: Ten Commandments, I).
Guts and Glory

In the course of my usual reading, I came across a Bad Attitudes reference to Just a Bump in the Roadway which linked to the New Yorker, which has this poignant story about one of our wounded soldiers in Iraq. As Melanie, author of JaBitR points out, "wounded," or "hurt," hardly begins to describe the extent of the injuries suffered by the men and women stationed in Iraq:

Cain’s right leg was a mangled slab of splintered bone and stringy red muscles; Blohm knew it couldn’t be saved. Both knees were visibly dislocated. The left thigh was twisted at a bad angle, indicating a broken femur, and the leg appeared both seared and flayed. Cain was shrieking in agony and panic. Brown, the senior medic on the scene, climbed up into the cab with him.

Will Bush Seek to Define "Chattel" as Well?

A friend of mine emailed me Congressman Jim McDermott's remarks on marriage--food for thought:

Mr. Speaker, the President's presidential prayer team is urging us to ``pray for the President as he seeks wisdom on how to legally codify the definition of marriage. Pray that it will be according to Biblical principles.''

With that in mind, I thought I would remind the body of the biblical principles they are talking about.

Marriage shall consist of a union between one man and one or more women. That is from Genesis 29:17-28.

Secondly, marriage shall not impede a man's right to take concubines in addition to his wife or wives. That is II Samuel 5:13 and II Chronicles 11:21.

A marriage shall be considered valid only if the wife is a virgin. If the wife is not a virgin, she shall be executed. That is Deuteronomy 22:13.

Marriage of a believer and a nonbeliever shall be forbidden. That is Genesis 24:3.

Finally, it says that since there is no law that can change things, divorce is not possible, and finally, if a married man dies, his brother has to marry his sister-in-law.

I'm glad McDermott was able to inject a little bit of humor, and sanity, into this debate.

Remember, all this talk about "defending the family" is little more than hot air from Team Bush. They're so damn desperate to shore up the base that ANY raw meat sound byte will be thrown to their rabble. The idea is to monopolize the sphere of debate with these types of nothing issues (see also: flag burning and/or Willie Horton), thereby stifling real discussion on matters that actually affect the public like the availibility of quality jobs, health care, and education. The only question is whether the media will bleat along to their garbage or not...

Sunday, February 29, 2004

Score One for Sanity

From today's New York Times, a report on a town in Montana that decided to say no to religious quackery being taught in science class:

For years, opponents of evolutionary theory have been pressing their case, with similar arguments, in statehouses and school systems around the country. What was unusual was the response.

Within days, a group of parents, business people, teachers, students and other residents mobilized to defend Darwin against Mr. Brickley's challenge. The group, Ravalli County Citizens for Science, phoned a biotechnology firm in nearby Hamilton asking for help and was connected with Dr. Jay Evans, a research immunologist. He began looking into Mr. Brickley's claims, which were drawn in part from materials from the Discovery Institute, a Seattle-based organization affiliated with many conservative causes.

Refuting Mr. Brickley's claims, Dr. Evans said, "took me one afternoon." As soon as he had the information, it went to the rest of the citizens' committee, and from there to the wider community.

And remember, this is in Montana, not exactly a hotbed of revolutionary fervor.

Without trying to sound too optimistic, things like this could be a sign that the general public has had enough of tired old conservative rhetoric. The right-wing has held executive power at the federal level for over thirty years (that's right, I count Clinton in--check his record, which was more conservative than NIXON'S), they've held legislative power for ten (minus a couple of years in the Senate), and what have they accomplished? They've managed to increase the national debt to unprecendented levels--with very little to show for it--they've presided over the decay of our cities and our schools, they've managed to thoroughly screw up our Middle East policy...about the ONLY thing they can show is a tremendous concentration of wealth into the hands of an elite...

No, I think it's time to point out that conservatism as a political philosophy is a failure. They've had their chance, and they screwed it up.