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


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.


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