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Archive for October, 2003

Conservatives and rhetoric

October 31, 2003 1 comment

Hard line conservatives make a lot of claims against liberals: They promote class warfare, they’re trying to keep you poor, they’re the more racist party. These are all well and good, if you’re only looking at rhetoric. Surely, if tax cuts are evenly spread among all payers, saying it’s a cut for the rich is tax warfare. Saying they’re trying keep you poor by saying it’s impossible to get out of poverty without gov’t help could be true if it wasn’t hard to get out of poverty. Saying Democrats are racist by promoting affirmative action could be true if corporations aren’t racist in their hiring practices. These all sound reasonable if you believe the underlying “everything is wonderful; Democrats are all doom and gloom just to get elected” philosophy. And that’s what people want to believe. It’s not so bad, the liberals are just there to scare you into voting for them. They benefit by telling people what they want to believe, the Democrats don’t for the most part, and people claim there are no differences between the two parties.

All it takes is a quick look behind the rhetoric to see Republican dishonesty. So, do the rich really get the same amount of a tax cut as the rest? Well, no, in Bush’s first cut, the taxpayers who pay the top 20% of taxes get 40% of the cut. Are the Democrats really trying to keep you poor? Well, they wouldn’t be for welfare then, would they? Is it really as hard as they say to get out of debt and poverty? Well, you could read Nickel and Dimed and see. Is there really still racism in hiring practices? Well, a recent survey noted that you’re more likely to get hired as a white ex-con than as a black man. All it takes is a quick look a little deeper to see these things. There’s always room for disagreement, but the rhetoric doesn’t stand up.

So what is to be done? I don’t know. TV news is a lost cause. Sound bites aren’t compatible with progressive politics. Print media is falling away, as it is being cowed by “liberal media” claims. The internet is still not thought of as a credible source by the public. And that’s probably the best option. Blogs, and sites like Buzzflash. We’re growing, and we can’t be controlled by corporate influences. That leads nicely into this post on Cup O’ Joe, member of the League of Liberals. His letter stressing the importance of blogs to the Center for American Progress. I’ll get to writing a letter later, hopefully, but he’s right on:

Look at the blogosphere. Look at all the talent we have, the well-written commentaries by those who are considered to be rank amateurs, that is going to waste because these people (myself included) are denied a greater organ with which to get their message out, or are shackled by poverty from doing even more and better work. I cannot speak for all of them, but I speak for myself: help us. Find ways to put as to work, as researchers, as journalists, as columnists. Gather us up, train us, give us a sense of focus, and most of all, get us on a payroll. There is no reason we should be expected to starve to death while the right wing makes sure their people are paid enough to be able to focus like a laser beam on the issues they think are important.

Categories: Blogging, Domestic Policy

What do we do?

October 30, 2003 3 comments

After reading about some of the rumors about a Bush pull out from Iraq next year, I’ve been doing some thinking. What’s the best plan? How do we get out of this?

It seems like we are a stablizing factor in Iraq right now, as well as a factor in the instability. While we’re there there will be no end to the violence, but without us the country could collapse into civil war. So what do we do? Pull out? Any gov’t we put in is bound to be overthrown, if it’s not to the Shi’ites’ liking. An Islamic ruler could create another Iran, and that’s what’s likely to happen in elections. But we can’t deny Iraq the right to self-determination. Would there be enough good will from backing off and allowing the election to be completely free that they wouldn’t become an enemy? Can we really be concerned with that at this point? Can we put the possibility of a threat against us above a legitimate Iraqi gov’t?

So, what’s the best course of action? My guess is this: Relinquish complete control to the UN. Leave some of our forces as part of a UN security force. Have elections. Provide security, if the new leaders want it, until they can get set up. Pull out completely.

That’s not a new idea. Seems to be at least a variant of the basic idea on the left here, and I think of many in the Arab world. That’s the best I have. What Bush will actually do is a whole ‘nother story.

Categories: Iraq

Atrios + Luskin = libel threat

October 29, 2003 Leave a comment

Out of another dimension comes this bizarre libel suit threat against Atrios for calling Luskin a stalker with regards to Paul Krugman. The blogosphere is already up in arms about this, and it’s a sad day for respectable right-wingers everywhere (all 18 of you). The story can be found on Atrios’s blog and many others, but this article from Steve Gilliard seems to pretty much kill any idea that this has merit at all:

SAN FRANCISCO – A federal appeals court has extended the First Amendment protections of do-it-yourself online publishers.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, the nation’s largest appeals court, said that online publishers can post material generated by others without liability for its content – unlike traditional news media, which are held responsible for such information.

If he needs to get a lawyer, he’ll have support from every lefty blog in the blogosphere, and hopefully that’s enough to reveal Luskin as the lunatic he is.

Categories: Blogging

The incredible boycotting O'Reilly

October 29, 2003 1 comment

Boycotting, I don’t think, is American

-12/29/00

History of O’Reilly boycott threats:

China, April 2001
Red Cross, March 13th, 2002
France, March 21st, 2002
Canada, June 2002
Pepsi, August 2002

Talking Points rarely endorses boycotts. The current boycott on French products is an exception because that country is actively working against the USA. But we know the boycotts are very, very serious. They hurt people — sometimes innocent people. And they should never be entered into lightly.

-10/28/03

Interesting. Did the gov’t of France get hurt by the boycott? Did the people? Hmmm.

Categories: The media

Bush diplomacy

October 29, 2003 Leave a comment

Iran Won’t Give Al Qaeda Intelligence to U.S.

TEHRAN (Reuters) – Iran said on Wednesday it would not share intelligence with the United States about al Qaeda members it is holding despite repeated requests from Washington for Tehran to do so.

….

“It is not possible to threaten a country, to block its assets, to accuse it and then want talks,” he said.

Now, for all I know, Iran is lying about the actual reasons they don’t cooperate, but you have to admit, they’ve got the U.S. here. That’s exactly what we do. We don’t do diplomacy, we try to intimidate you into cooperating. Some would say that’s the way to go, but it only makes everything worth. Heavy handedness only fuels these people, it only increases their numbers. This is obvious to anyone who wants to think about it.

Categories: Iran

New blog showcase

October 29, 2003 Leave a comment

Selections aren’t so hot this week, but the best has to be LGF Watch. Anyone that can view that site regularly has my vote.

Categories: Blogging

"We get shot at every night"

October 28, 2003 Leave a comment

Eye witness Bagdhad

I won’t quote anything, just go read it. Another interesting article by Robert Fisk.

And on a side note, I’m now a member of the League of Liberals.

Categories: Blogging, Iraq

The escapades of a Nazi Black Metaller

October 28, 2003 7 comments

So, most people who read this blog (about 5 of you) won’t know much about this (aside from people from UM who wander in here). I don’t know that much, but enough. Here’s the deal:

There’s this guy named Varg Vierknes, a Norwegian, who was in a Black Metal band called Burzum. He’s a very anti-Christian, anti-Semitic, Neo-Nazi guy. In 1993 he killed a member of Mayhem, a rival Black Metal band, and also burned down several churches, killing one person. Essentially, the divide between the two guys is a Norwegian rapper war, Varg saying:

“The reason I disrespected him was simply because he was completely incompetent and incapable of running his label efficiently. He was full of big words and never did anything as he promised to do. He was obsessed with this ‘Satanist’ thing, while I wanted to spread Odinism in the scene (and he hated me for that as well). He was disgusting, watching dirty movies all the time, and we even suspected him for being bisexual or homosexual! I did not want anything to do with him, and did nothing to my contempt for him to anybody! He was a pig, and I told that to ‘everybody’!

….

“I meant ? and still mean ? that I killed him in self-defense, simply because it was he who attacked me, and not the other way around, when I showed up in his apartment that evening to tell him to ‘fuck off’ (to put it that way). He intended to torture me to death, filming it and selling it as a ‘snuff’ movie to others ? and I knew this because a friend of his told me about it. He attacked me and he tried to kill me (with a knife). He failed miserably, alright, but I knew that if I did not end ‘the show’ there I would only give him a second chance, and of course I saw no point in doing that. Maybe he was more successful (for a change?) the second time? That is why I mean it was in self-defense. In beginning it was self-defense, even legally, but when he started to flee it was no longer legally, and I then call the killing a ‘preventative action’, ‘preventative self-defense’.”

Oystein (the member of Mayhem) was stabbed 23 times. So, essentially this guy is crazy. Just a couple days ago, he escaped from prison. He was on a short leave, because he had been transferred to a minimum security prison, and had two more years to serve, even though his sentence is 21 years.

He was captured yesterday after a car chase in the middle of the night. Apparently he hijacked a family’s car at gun point and then was chased down by police.

A crazy couple of days for one fucked up person.

Categories: Music

New music

October 28, 2003 2 comments

The Crown – Possessed 13

Excellent Death-Thrash. It seems to be slower than Crowned in Terror, and certainly slower than Deathrace King, but a great cd. What can I say? This is some of my favorite type of music, and it’s awesome.

Pink Floyd – The Wall

What can you say about Pink Floyd that would do them justice? I’ve had Dark Side of the Moon for a while now, but I just grabbed this. Comfortably Numb is one of the best songs in existence. And so are the Another Brick in the Wall songs. Classic, and that’s all I can say.

The Cure – Disintegration

Not someone I thought I’d ever find myself listening to, but here it is. I was turned on to it because of another band that I like, Katatonia, who’s latest has a very Cure-ish sound to it. Very good stuff. I should get more of these guys.

Evergrey – Recreation Day

Great keyboard heavy prog metal. Entertaining stuff. The Great Deciever is a terrific song. Sound a little Nevermore-ish, but not enough to really be detrimental (not saying Nevermore is bad).

Old Man’s Child – In Defiance of Existence

Just when I was about to decide Black Metal (which reminds me of something else I can post about) wasn’t for me, I find this cd. Great great great. Black Seeds on Virgin Soil is a amazing song, and the one that hooked me on this band. Black Metal probably won’t become one of my favorite genres, but I won’t be discounting it anytime soon.

Categories: Music

Late night ramblings

October 28, 2003 1 comment

So maybe this isn’t the best time for an introspective post, but here goes anyway, hopefully it’s coherent.

I seem to have this annoying drive to prove everything conclusively that I believe. Now, that may not sound odd or anything, I mean, you should have facts to back up what you believe, but that’s not quite what I mean. It’s the drive that when I hear or read something I don’t agree with right off, I need to look for something that contradicts it, or else it nags me endlessly. Even if it’s something from Fox News, if it’s something I don’t think is right, or doesn’t fit into my view, I have to find a counter to it. Now, you say, that’s good, you just don’t dismiss things, you try to figure it out. You’re not an ideologue. But even if it’s one tiny thing, and I have mountains of evidence otherwise, it bugs me. The best example I have is something I read, that on the networks during the 2000 election, states were called for Gore much faster than they were for Gore. That could be false, and there’s really no question the election was biased against Gore, but that information annoys me. It annoys me that it doesn’t “fit.” Maybe it’s just a desire to see things in black and white, to make things simple, which I know isn’t true, but it’s a desire everyone has. To separate the world into good and evil. That seems to be a major reason Bush is supported. He does that, and people trust him.

I wonder if this is really a bad thing? I’m not comfortable in just having my opinions justified to me, I want to make anyone else I argue with see the same thing. It irritates me when I don’t agree with them, but they don’t counter my arguments to my satisfaction. Why don’t they see it like this? These are rational people, I’m rational, how come I can’t “convert” them? Just the one argument, not to my whole political philosophy. I’m not smarter than anyone else, if I can see this, they can see this. I understand there are differences in the way different minds process information, but this would seem to me to be straightforward. It’s evidence they just seem to dismiss, but makes the argument for me.

So, I just don’t know. It’s good that this drives me to gain more knowledge, it’s bad that it can be stressfull. I can’t decide if I should be comfortable in my justified-to-me opinions, or that I should only be comfortable when I have justified every single piece of evidence I’ve seen. Who knows?

Categories: Personal
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