May 28, 2004

"It should be Pentecost on the Church calendar, but all over America on Sunday, churches will be ignoring the Spirit's commission to go and be the Church (i.e., evangelize, feed, clothe, give, love) in favor of our annual dance with civil religion. This Sunday churches will sing patriotic songs; they will have men and women in uniform stand; they will honor veterans; they will parade American flags down the aisle in some sort of perverse processional; and they will talk about the sacrifices freedom requires. I know of one church in Oklahoma that will be showing Toby Keith's 'American Soldier' video. That is too sad to make fun of."

Damn straight. I am so tired of the melding of patriotism and Christianity until people cannot separate between the two. Read the rest of it here: the parish: Services are Beginning on Idolatry Sunday News | "The truth has a force of its own":

More from the Kerry interview

Salon: "As you know, the Republican line on you is that you're a 'flip-flopper.' Do you think the White House really views you that way, or is this just an intellectually dishonest political exercise?

John Kerry: Of course it is. It's not only intellectually dishonest, it's shallow beyond belief. It's exactly what they said about Bill Clinton, it's exactly what they said about Al Gore, it's exactly what they said about John McCain. It is the standard operating approach of Republicans who have nothing to say for themselves, so all they do is try to brand somebody else.

Salon: Well, it's not exactly what they did to McCain. Nobody's accused you of having an illegitimate love child.

John Kerry:Not yet. I'm waiting for those. That's probably August or September.

I'll tell you what. What's really so craven about it is that they pick something that they implement badly and screw up, like Iraq or No Child Left Behind or the Patriot Act. And when you point out that they screwed it up, they say that you're 'flip-flopping.'

But they, on the other hand, break a promise to have no deficit, break a promise not to invade Social Security, break a promise to fund No Child Left Behind, break a promise to introduce the four-pollutant bill and move forward on the environment, break a promise to deal with the real health issues and prescription drugs, break a promise of humility in American foreign policy. I mean, you start running down the list -- I've never seen a grander array of flip-flops. This is the biggest 'say one thing, do another' administration in modern history." News | "The truth has a force of its own":

Salon:Would there have been a war in Iraq if you had been president?

John Kerry:I can't tell you that. If Saddam Hussein hadn't disarmed and all the world had decided that he was not living up to the standards, who knows? You can't answer that hypothetical. But I can tell you this. I would never have rushed the process in a way that undoes the meaning of going to war 'as a last resort.'

Salon:And that's what you thought you were authorizing -- war as a last resort?

John Kerry:Absolutely. You know, we got a set of promises: We're going to build an international coalition, we're going to exhaust the remedies of the U.N., respect that process and go to war as a last resort. Well, we didn't.

And not only [did we] not go to war as a last resort, they didn't even make the plans for winning the peace. They disregarded them. They disregarded [U.S. Army General Eric] Shinseki's advice, disregarded Colin Powell's advice, disregarded the State Department's plan. The arrogance of this administration has cost Americans billions of dollars and too many lives."

This is an interesting interview, because it shows Kerry as a thoughtful and measured person. The media, despite all we have heard about the liberal bias, has essentially decided that Kerry is a waffler and Bush is a truth-teller. It is so interesting to see the outlets and mouthlets demean Gore in the same manner they did Howard Dean, while Bush continues to say weird and irresponsible things. The GOP accuses Democrats of being unpatriotic, suggests that voting for Kerry is a vote for Al Qaeda, and the media does nothing.

Wrong or right, I will support John Kerry because he is the kind of president I can live with. He is thoughtful and measured. Give me intelligent and thoughtful anyday.
Out Of Gas

good ad that takes on bush's oil policies.
Pandagon: What The Fuckety Fuck Fuck?

someone else doing my Friday rant for me. And this is some really great ranting.
the parish: Sacerdotal is a Cool Word: "Sacerdotal is a Cool Word

Streak (blog) posted a comment recently I thought I'd respond to here since it ties in with my current soap box issue: professional clergy and the hastening death of the institutional church"

Just in case my many readers think Streak only blogs about our President and the horrible job he is doing, this is proof that we think on other things. :)

I noted the other day that I have started reading the Parish blog on a regular basis. Well, he is talking about a pretty interesting topic lately--namely what the professional clergy and institutional church have wrought. I posted a comment, and will continue my conversation with him there, but he was nice enough to not only plug Streak's Blog, but also to engage my comment. The only unfortunate part was that my original comment has a sentence in it that is damn near incomprehensible, but the Parish was able to understand my mangled prose.

May 27, 2004

Political courage?

2006 Cuts In Domestic Spending On Table ( "But the cuts are politically sensitive, targeting popular programs that Bush has been touting on the campaign trail. The Education Department; a nutrition program for women, infants and children; Head Start; and homeownership, job-training, medical research and science programs all face cuts in 2006."

How does this qualify? Support these programs to get elected then cut them once you are elected? Hmm. If this were a different president, this might be called manipulative at best, or possibly even waffling or even flip-flopping. Nice that the sacrifices are starting to show up, especially when they are for Head Start and programs for infants and children. Maybe we could call this the No Rich Child Left Behind?

Not even on the list, btw, is that Bush is planning on cutting Homeland Security too. Leadership, is what this is! Why Sen. Chuck Hagel is one of the most restive Republicans (5/31/04): "Bush 'talked for an hour and did not take a single question,' says Hagel. 'He didn't listen, and I think this president needs to listen more. If he had taken questions he would have heard some things that might have been helpful.'"

I think that is Bush's big problem. He doesn't listen.
the parish

This is another new blog. For those interested in religion and culture, this is a must read. Read it!
Fafblog! the whole worlds only source for Fafblog.

One of the blogs I have started reading regularly. Great wit.
Jesus Politics: Let's Get Jesus Back: "Moyers, a Baptist layman, said one of the reasons for the deteriorating conditions for the poor is that, 'over the last few years, prophetic Christianity has lost its voice.' He said that was partially because 'the Religious Right drowned out everyone else and they hijacked Jesus … . He was made a militarist, a hedonist and a lobbyist.'

'Let's get Jesus back,' Moyers said, to loud applause from the attendees. 'Jesus drove the money-changers from the Temple. We have to drive them from the temples of democracy.'"

Nice to hear others saying it. Jesus has become a capitalist and a nationalist as well, and I am tired of it.

May 26, 2004

MoveOn PAC: "Ameen Saeed al-Sheikh told the Washington Post that he was tortured and ordered to denounce Islam and after his leg was broken one of his torturers started hitting it while ordering him to curse Islam and then, ' they ordered me to thank Jesus that I'm alive.' Others reported that they were forced to eat pork and drink alcohol.

In my religious tradition, I have been taught that 'ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so, every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit... Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.'"

More from Gore. Jebus. These guys are so bad.

BTW, thanks to Anglican for the tip to this speech.
MoveOn PAC: "President Bush said in his speech Monday night that the war in Iraq is 'the central front in the war on terror.' It's not the central front in the war on terror, but it has unfortunately become the central recruiting office for terrorists. [Dick Cheney said, 'This war may last the rest of our lives.] The unpleasant truth is that President Bush's utter incompetence has made the world a far more dangerous place and dramatically increased the threat of terrorism against the United States. Just yesterday, the International Institute of Strategic Studies reported that the Iraq conflict ' has arguable focused the energies and resources of Al Qaeda and its followers while diluting those of the global counterterrorism coalition.' The ISS said that in the wake of the war in Iraq Al Qaeda now has more than 18,000 potential terrorists scattered around the world and the war in Iraq is swelling its ranks."

Read Gore's entire speech. He says it pretty well. Worst President Ever!!!!

May 25, 2004

Trent Lott on torture - News - Sen. Lott Sounds Off On Iraqi Prisoner Abuse Photos: "'Frankly, to save some American troops' lives or a unit that could be in danger, I think you should get really rough with them,' Lott said. 'Some of those people should probably not be in prisons in the first place.'

When asked about the photo showing a prisoner being threatened with a dog, Lott was unmoved.

'Nothing wrong with holding a dog up there unless it ate him,' Lott said. '(They just) scared him with the dog.'

Lott was reminded that at least one prisoner had died at the hands of his captors after a beating.

'This is not Sunday school,' he said. 'This is interrogation. This is rough stuff.'"

From Political Animal and Kevin Drum, but this is really amazing. Kevin worries that there are four phases to the torture story. " Phase 1: horrible, just horrible. Phase 2: yes, it's bad, but keep in mind that it's not as bad as Saddam. Phase 3: give it a rest, OK?" Then stage four is torturer as hero. What have we come to? The nature of this war is up for debate as is the ability of our President. But if you start justifying torture, what kind of society have you become? What then separates us from the people we fight?
Can't Buy Me Love, Sojourners Magazine/June 2004

This article is well worth the read. Dionne is arguing that the very language of the marketplace has so permeated our discussions that we run the risk of incorporating the free market values for everything--including things that it is ill-suited to address. This seems to me a continuation (or better articulation) of my previous argument that the Church, by so accepting market capitalism, had lost the ability to act morally and prophetically.

A few highlights: Dionne makes the point that many of have made--that criticism of capitalism seems threatening even as capitalism has no real challenge any longer. to challenge it seems to present a rejection of core American values instead of embracing those very values.

Even to make arguments critical of the market of the sort I just offered is seen as risky. After all, has not the market proven itself to be an efficient creator of wealth and a shrewd allocator of resources? Doesn’t the death of communism prove that capitalism is the only system that works?

The paradox is that it’s precisely because the market has triumphed that it is now in such need of serious criticism. Because no one with any likelihood of taking power wants to upend capitalism, criticisms of the system are as safe as ever—and also more urgent. What needs to be opposed is not the market itself, but claims that the market can do things that it can’t.

As the thoughtful moderate writer Matthew Miller has pointed out, even though the economy grew by 40 percent in the decade between 1992 and 2002, the persistence of deep social problems proved that economic growth is not an elixir. "How can it be," Miller went on, "when even after this boom, we have 40 million people without health insurance, 15 million family members of full-time workers in poverty, and schools that are as desperate as ever?"

The other point he makes very well is that once you have basically endorsed the "all is fair in capitalism" kind of value system, then your discussion of morality is distorted.

The public domain of "moral" talk is narrowed, usually to the personal and the sexual. But morality speaks to the social as well as the personal. The social, in turn, affects the personal.

This speaks to part of my deep frustration with the Christian church and Bush v. Clinton. Clinton's sins were intensely personal and intensely sexual. Yeah, I know, R, he committed perjury. And that is a very serious crime. But when Christians across the nation discussed his sins, they were more about Lewinsky than his "what is is" statement. Contrast those with Bush's sins. His personal sin is one of the past--he quit drinking. But his social and economic sins are much broader and by themselves, effected far more people--investors, land holders, etc. As I have argued elsewhere, his campaign's actions in SC are arguably as immoral as we have seen in any recent time. To play on a region's racism, while at the same time slandering someone is despicable. But if our measuring stick for morality is limited to the sexual and the personal, that is easily written off as just politics.

Anyway, this is well worth the read.

Daily Kos || Political Analysis and other daily rants on the state of the nation.

Interesting. The White House said that Bush fell off his bike because it had been raining a lot lately and the topsoil was loose. I read that and didn't think anything of it. After all, I don't want to focus on non-issues like spelling potato or pronouncing nuclear (too much, anyway), but this blogger raises an interesting question. According to his sources, the precipitation from Crawford, Texas for that time was pretty little. It rained almost 3 inches on May 13, and a touch on the 14th, but then no rain for the next 8 days until the President tumbled off his bike. Why lie about this? It is slightly embarrassing, but Kerry fell of his bike earlier too. It happens. Why lie?

Almost makes this administration look pathological about the lying. They lie even when they don't have to.
News and Information | News: "Lets talk about the real world for a moment. We had been discussing it earlier, and I…I wanted to bring this up to you earlier about the real world, and this is I guess as good a time as any. I don’t really know to put this, so I’ll be blunt. We broke it.

Please don’t be mad. I know we were supposed to bequeath to the next generation a world better than the one we were handed. So, sorry.

I don’t know if you’ve been following the news lately, but it just kinda got away from us. Somewhere between the gold rush of easy internet profits and an arrogant sense of endless empire, we heard kind of a pinging noise, and uh, then the damn thing just died on us. So I apologize."

Jon Stewart's commencement address at William and Mary. Just like his show--funny, insightful, and at times, surprising. You have to read it all, but here are some of the better lines.

Following up the line above about breaking the world:

"But here’s the good news. You fix this thing, you’re the next greatest generation, people. You do this—and I believe you can—you win this war on terror, and Tom Brokaw’s kissing your ass from here to Tikrit, let me tell ya. And even if you don’t, you’re not gonna have much trouble surpassing my generation. If you end up getting your picture taken next to a naked guy pile of enemy prisoners and don’t give the thumbs up you’ve outdid us."

Then this about his honorary doctorate--a line I especially appreciated

I am honored to be here and to receive this honorary doctorate. When I think back to the people that have been in this position before me from Benjamin Franklin to Queen Noor of Jordan, I can’t help but wonder what has happened to this place. Seriously, it saddens me. As a person, I am honored to get it; as an alumnus, I have to say I believe we can do better. And I believe we should. But it has always been a dream of mine to receive a doctorate and to know that today, without putting in any effort, I will. It’s incredibly gratifying. Thank you. That’s very nice of you, I appreciate it.

I’m sure my fellow doctoral graduates—who have spent so long toiling in academia, sinking into debt, sacrificing God knows how many years of what, in truth, is a piece of parchment that in truth has been so devalued by our instant gratification culture as to have been rendered meaningless—will join in congratulating me. Thank you."

And if all of those aren't enough, he finished with this about 9-11:

"I was in New York on 9-11 when the towers came down. I lived 14 blocks from the twin towers. And when they came down, I thought that the world had ended. And I remember walking around in a daze for weeks. And Mayor Giuliani had said to the city, “You’ve got to get back to normal. We’ve got to show that things can change and get back to what they were.”

And one day I was coming out of my building, and on my stoop, was a man who was crouched over, and he appeared to be in deep thought. And as I got closer to him I realized, he was playing with himself. And that’s when I thought, “You know what, we’re gonna be OK.”

May 24, 2004

Yahoo! News - Fast Arctic Thaw Portends Global Warming-Report

Just curious, when are people going to care about this? When will you start voting the reality? Instead, people keep voting Republican which seems to translate into "nothing is happening, nothing to see here." Let's address this.

May 23, 2004

Respectful of Otters: "I suspect that the real issue in Texas is that Unitarian-Universalism is a non-creedal religion, with no uniform or required set of religious beliefs. Plenty of UUs believe in 'god, gods, or a higher power,' the Texas comptroller's standard, but we don't expect the person sitting next to us to believe the same thing. Our unifying quality is not what we believe, but how we try to live. It's a religion which requires a high tolerance for ambiguity, which is not a particular strong point of the Texas state government. It doesn't surprise me that, to their eyes, a non-authoritarian religion doesn't look like a religion at all."

I link to this story for two reasons--one to call attention to this interesting blog (love the title and blogger identification "I'm a psychologist working in HIV research and treatment in the inner city. Don't talk to me about "compassionate conservatism.") and also to call attention to the insanity of this Texas decision that the Unitarians aren't a religion. Every person of faith should be concerned by this. What is to stop the government from turning on your brand of faith?

May 21, 2004

"Bart gets hit by a Car

I should be able to run over as many kids as I want!
-- In court, Mr. Burns justifies his actions, ``Bart Gets Hit by a Car''

I love this episode. Truly great Simpsons. Burns hits Bart with his car, and then the Simpsons attempt to sue Burns for a fortune. Burns utters the above quote in court, claiming that he is such an important person that he is different than others.

Unfortunately, humor aside, this reminds me of the Inhofe response to the prison torture and abuse. We should, in this defense, be able to do whatever we want to Iraqis or other Arabs because we are different than the rest of the world. We invade countries on our say-so, we opt out of global treaties we don't like--in a word, we don't play well with others.

May 20, 2004

Yahoo! News - Hastert Lectures McCain on War, Sacrifice
: "Then, more seriously, he said: 'If you want to see sacrifice, John McCain ought to visit our young men and women at Walter Reed and Bethesda (two Washington area military hospitals). There's the sacrifice in this country. We're trying to make sure that they have the ability to fight this war, that they have the wherewithal to be able to do it. And at the same time, we have to react to keep this country strong not only militarily but economically. We want to be able to have the flexibility to do it. That's my reply to John McCain.'"

This is unbelievable. Dennis Hastert got out of military service. John McCain spent time as a POW! I would suggest that Hastert needs to shut up. News | America's laziest fascist: "'These are tough interrogations?' Savage asked. 'My father put me through tougher interrogations when I was 16!' He portrayed now-infamous Abu Ghraib prison guard Lynndie England as a poster girl for the war on terrorism -- an embodiment of the idea that kicking Muslim ass can be fun. 'Let's hear it for Laurie [sic] England!' he cheered. 'The leash chick! Hey man, she had a great time over there!' He couldn't understand why liberals were so outraged. After all, he said, the acts of sexual humiliation and degradation that took place in Abu Ghraib were no more perverted than typical homosexual behavior. Try to follow his tortured logic: Savage was saying he didn't mind the Abu Ghraib abuses because they were good clean fun, like gay sex, which he openly abhors."

this from the guy kicked off MSNBC (after he replaced Donahue) for telling someone to "get AIDs and die." I love him saying that his father put him through tougher interrogations. Does that mean that his own father sexually humiliated and molested him?

"Though he has long billed himself as the original "compassionate conservative," his brand of conservatism does not share George W. Bush's pretense of caring about Muslim hearts and minds, much less lives. It appears that for Savage, the war in Iraq has nothing to do with spreading democracy or respecting human rights. It is about asserting American power by any means necessary, and screw what anyone else thinks. Predictably, and sadly, this notion went over well with the audience. When Savage blurted out, "Does anyone in this crowd give a shit about the Iraqis?" he was answered with a deafening "NO!""

That's right! We only invaded their country to help them, right?

This article raises another issue, that of the FCC's backlash on obscenity. Evidently that only refers to sex, because you can't tell me that calling for the death of Arabs, encouraging the use of nuclear weapons on one of their cities, or deciding to kill them by the thousands isn't obscene, then I really don't understand the word. I would prefer seeing Janet's breast. Really.

May 18, 2004

CBN News - "Misunderestimated": A Battle Ahead for George W. Bush :

"Robertson: But why do they hate Bush so badly?

SAMMON: That's a great question. I actually asked the President that, because he granted me a number of interviews for this book. And so did Condoleezza Rice and Colin Powell, and Karl Rove, et cetera. I think the best answer came from Condi [Rice]. She said, 'They hate him because he's achieving things.' I mean, it was one thing to sort of resent the President when he got into office, the liberals said, oh, he stole the election, but he's such a lightweight, we'll be able to get rid of him in four years. But once 9-11 happened, and the President started to wage wars, and win wars, and cut taxes, and really reshape the geo-political landscape, the liberals started to resent that, because he was actually having successes. And so instead of just, you know, tolerating the guy, they actually began to hate him. And it's manifesting itself now, as it's time to see whether he's going to get another four-year term.

So see how this works? Terrorists hate us because of our freedom, and liberals hate Bush because he is so good.

ROBERTSON: You compared him to some of the great presidents of our history, John Adams, et cetera.

SAMMON: Well, there was an eminent democratic historian, from Yale University of all places, who actually said that George W. Bush is one of three presidents, John Quincy Adams and Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who have instituted 'grand strategies,' is the way he put it, in our U.S. foreign policy.

He is talking about John Lewis Gaddis, who is a top historian, who did argue that Bush was visionary. That doesn't make it right, of course, and historians are often bad at predicting the future. Of course, had he lambasted Bush, he would be pilloried.

And all three of those were in response to surprise attacks against U.S. soil. The burning of the White House in 1814 by the British, Pearl Harbor, and then, of course, 9-11. And in response to 9-11, that's when Bush fundamentally changed our foreign policy to one of pre-emption, as opposed to one of containment, which we had been doing. And so even the democratic historians are crediting him with being one of the three most influential presidents in our history already."

See how one democratic historian becomes "the democratic historians?" Talk about a misleading sentence. Perhaps I shouldn't be surprised since Sammon is a Fox reporter, but this is unbelievable.
AMERICAblog: Because a great nation deserves the truth

This blog alerted me to this story.

Yeah, this is great stuff. Reading the CWA's assessment of the prison scandal is an education. Evidently, you see, the problem is not leadership, or aggressive intelligence gathering, or an administration who continually believes that the rules don't apply to them. Nope. It turns out that Fallwell and Robertson were right. The problems are the feminists who want women in the military; the liberals who support any tax; of course Homosexuals and their Agenda. This was a wonderful insanity, btw, when they pointed to the idea that kissing gays in San Francisco might enrage the Muslims. Of course, the General Boykin inference that Mustlims worship Satan is omitted. Hmm.

Morons. Link is here

May 17, 2004

Patridiot Watch - A Look At Today's News

From Patridiot Watch, this from Zell Miller:

Senator Zell Miller: "The two times I think I have been most humiliated in my life was standing in a big room, naked as a jaybird with about fifty others and they were checking us out, now that was humiliating. It was humiliating showering with sixty others in a public shower. It didn't kill us did it? No one ever died from humiliation."

Yikes. This, of course, from the Rush Limbaugh approach to the prison abuse scandal--to say that it isn't any worse than snapping each other with towels. Are you kidding me? Is this guy for real?

People can disagree about the nature of this presidency. We can talk about whether Bush is in Charge; whether the war on terror is on track, etc. But arguing that somehowthe prison abuse/torture is somehow benign? That is just moronic.
MSNBC - The Roots of Torture: "as a means of pre-empting a repeat of 9/11, Bush, along with Defense Secretary Rumsfeld and Attorney General John Ashcroft, signed off on a secret system of detention and interrogation that opened the door to such methods. It was an approach that they adopted to sidestep the historical safeguards of the Geneva Conventions, which protect the rights of detainees and prisoners of war. In doing so, they overrode the objections of Secretary of State Colin Powell and America's top military lawyers—and they left underlings to sweat the details of what actually happened to prisoners in these lawless places. While no one deliberately authorized outright torture, these techniques entailed a systematic softening up of prisoners through isolation, privations, insults, threats and humiliation—methods that the Red Cross concluded were 'tantamount to torture.'"

Once again, Powell is the voice of reason who is consistently ignored. Those Republicans who support this administration pointing to Powell as proof of his moderation should acknowledge that the administration uses him as cover, but doesn't really listen to him. Someday, we will have a clear record of how bad this fine American has been treated here.

May 16, 2004

Yahoo! News - U.S. missed chances to stop abuses
: "From red flags raised months ago by prison guards at other facilities in Iraq to letters from lawmakers and non-government groups, the Pentagon and the Bush administration received a variety of complaints many months before the abuses began last fall."

This doesn't bode well. People in charge had warnings. They had chances to stop this. They had a head's up. They ignored it. Hard to act "shocked and upset" right?

May 15, 2004

Man fights citation for carrying anti-Bush sign

From Fark. This seems more and more common. We find that the Bush administration has "free speech" zones and there seems to be a growing sense of repression. I hope I am wrong. Maybe it is the "war footing."

May 14, 2004

Beetle Ghraib

Ouch! Beetle Bailey in modern Army
TCS: Tech Central Station - The War of Images: "Right now the Middle American psyche is being overwhelmed with reasons to hate the entire Arab world; and yet the Bush administration insists that we are in Iraq to help the Arabs. Unfortunately, the administration seems to be completely unaware of how sick and tired of Arabs the average American has become, unaware because it is politically incorrect to express such sentiments of outright hostility: but what is politically incorrect to express is all too often the motive force behind those sudden and spontaneous movements of the popular psyche that only seemed to come from nowhere because they came from a place unfamiliar to most pundits and paid prophets, namely, the gut level feelings of the average guy.

Many Americans simply wish the Arabs would go away; others wish to blow them away -- and wish to blow them away not because they see this step as inevitable and tragic, but because they rejoice at the prospect of getting them back for what they have done to us. Most normal Americans today just don't care any more about the Arabs and their welfare, or about their humiliation, or about their historical grievances, simply because all the images that come to us from their world horrify and appall us, including the disturbing images of Americans doing things that no normal American would ever dream of doing to other people back at home, if only because they would never be given the opportunity.

This is how most normal Americans now feel, but they dare not express it in public. But make no mistake, this feeling will be expressed -- somehow, somewhere: a fact of which our leaders and the world must be made aware before it occurs."

I am afraid that this writer is right, and I think it is awful. The growing resentment of the Arab world is justified with regard to 9-11, but not with Iraq. What is it with American arrogance that they can invade and bomb the hell out of a country and then be angry when that country is not real fond of them. I put this squarely on the Administration and its continued insistence that we would be welcomed and loved. Jon Stewart has noted several times recently that our own history would be very different had the French come in, defeated the British, wrote our constitution and then finally left. Would we have the same sense of pride and patriotism? Why do we continually expect people to respond to our moral goodness after we bomb them? Why do we turn to the world and essentially say that if you don't love us, we will bomb you until you do?

Why Liberals Hate Bush

This question has been posed to me several times recently. My first response was that this was begging a question, but think that it is probably accurate. The hatred, it should be noted, is more directed at the policy side rather than the personal. But the question does bother me. My good friend from Wisconsin suggested that Bush had successfully developed a persona (call it Dubya) and used that persona as a political tool. Dubya is "plain-spoken" and a "regular Merican" from West Texas, while the Real Bush is pampered rich kid with access to power and capital that most people could never have. The persona is effective in gathering support from people who really don't benefit from Real Bush's policies, but who share Dubya's dislike of elitists.

But the question is still problematic. "Hating Bush" sounds personal; sounds irrational. It effectively assumes that Liberals wouldn't support this person even if his policies were liberal. So, "why do you hate Bush?" feels like a diversion away from substantive reasons to dislike and disagree with this administration. Do I hate this man personally? I don't know. I do feel a sense of rage when I watch him speak. I watched Bill Kristol on the Daily Show last night, and besides offering the most lukewarm support for Bush, he elicited a great comment from Jon Stewart. Stewart said, (something like)"You know, I want to help, I want to be a positive force, but I get the feeling that Bush doesn't want my help, and doesn't 'care what I think." I think that nails it. Bush rules with an iron fist and a closed mind. He not only doesn't (in my opinion) govern with respect to long term consequences, but he also doesn't care a bit about those who are not in his camp. As far as I can tell, his only response to liberals like me is "who cares what you think?"

But the question remains. Do I hate Bush? Personally? Probably not. I don't find him an interesting person and I don't find him either personally inspiring or engaging. But I do hate his policies and his governing style. I don't think that is irrational, nor do I think it is inappropriate. I think maybe the question should be phrased slightly different: "Why do so many liberals hate this administration's policies? Why is the country so split and so divided under his watch?"

May 13, 2004 | One minute from abnormal: "In the carefully rendered world where Hughes lives, the weapons of mass destruction are not missing; they have only to be discovered. Terrorists hate freedom and liberty and equality, instead of hating Americans. A man who won a Silver Star for shedding blood for his country needs to explain himself, while a young lieutenant who skipped out on an officer's commission and a coveted pilot's slot has 'served honorably.' On Planet Hughes, life is returning to normal in Iraq, the horrors are diminishing and the casualties of Americans and Iraqis are not that significant. It's a happy place where presidents never make mistakes and there is never anything to be sorry about. One can almost see her in the back of the room, her mouth rounded with expression and secretly moving in unison with the president as he speaks the words 'Donald Rumsfeld is a superb secretary of defense.'"

Oh man, this is an interesting look at Karen Hughes. It raises something kind of interesting about the cult of personality surrounding Bush. I don't remember similar fans of his dad, or even of Clinton. I can't imagine someone supporting Kerry with such mindless support.
The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Columnist: Dancing Alone: "I thought the administration would have to do the right things in Iraq ? from prewar planning and putting in enough troops to dismissing the secretary of defense for incompetence ? because surely this was the most important thing for the president and the country. But I was wrong. There is something even more important to the Bush crowd than getting Iraq right, and that's getting re-elected and staying loyal to the conservative base to do so. It has always been more important for the Bush folks to defeat liberals at home than Baathists abroad. That's why they spent more time studying U.S. polls than Iraqi history. That is why, I'll bet, Karl Rove has had more sway over this war than Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Bill Burns. Mr. Burns knew only what would play in the Middle East. Mr. Rove knew what would play in the Middle West."

Yet another former supporter who is now suggesting that the emperor is very naked and very incompetent. This all sounds so much like John Dilulio's assessment that this administration was all about politics. I remember conservatives hated the fact that Bill Clinton seemed to be always in campaign mode, but this administration has only stopped campaigning to invade Iraq. - Daily Dish: "The one anti-war argument that, in retrospect, I did not take seriously enough was a simple one. It was that this war was noble and defensible but that this administration was simply too incompetent and arrogant to carry it out effectively. I dismissed this as facile Bush-bashing at the time. I was wrong. I sensed the hubris of this administration after the fall of Baghdad, but I didn't sense how they would grotesquely under-man the post-war occupation, bungle the maintenance of security, short-change an absolutely vital mission, dismiss constructive criticism, ignore even their allies (like the Brits), and fail to shift swiftly enough when events span out of control."

This is from a pretty strong supporter of Bush.

More ramblings


Interesting. Many have held held the Reno AG as a completely immoral leader during her tenure, and cited her role in going after Waco and Ruby Ridge. In this blog entry, this journalist notes that Lt. Gen. Boykin (remember him? the guy who said that in Somalia he was fighting Satan as Islam or some such thing) is in charge of Military Intelligence, and can be directly linked to the prison torture scandal. So, we have someone who has alienated the entire Muslim world now linked to this abuse of Muslim men. This is bad appearance, at the very best, and shows how Bush's "loyalty" ends up biting us. Had he fired Boykin for essentially calling the war a modern crusade against Islam (while in uniform), he would have some credibility now. But he doesn't.

But back to Reno. Evidently, Boykin served as a military advisor to Reno regarding tactics for going into Waco. And speaking of Waco, I am still thinking about my rant yesterday about the right wing media machine. Flipped through Fox this morning and they were up to old tricks. They introduced a conservative media critic (btw, this particular critic sticks in my mind, because I saw him absolutely outraged that the TV show Cybil had a discussion of the female anatomy. I saw that show and it was respectful and embracing of women, not pornographic or puerile, but this guy was outraged. Said something about how he didn't want his 17 year old daughter hearing about "labia" but also his 40 year old wife! That's right, he didn't want his 40 year old wife hearing about labia. I assume she knows, but this certainly speaks to a level of sexual repression that is hard to justify as healthy) to discuss the world response to recent events. The world, they shouted, had been outraged at photos of the prisoner abuse, but were strangely silent on the beheading of Berg. Hmm. Switched to CNN and they were talking about the world outrage over the beheading, and even the Iraqis who were outraged.

I predict, and this takes no Amazing Kreskin, that this media will absolutely savage Kerry every time they can. While excusing Bush's inarticulate expressions, they will question every word choice with Kerry. They will take every opportunity to repeat the Bush line on Kerry--that he is soft on defense and an ultra-liberal. they will also continue to argue that kerry is essentially un-American for opposing the war in Vietnam the way he did. And this brings me back to Reno and Waco and Ruby Ridge. I have asked this question before, but still no response. So here goes again. I can understand how people can frame the anti-war debate as being counter to American interests by encouraging the VC to keep fighting. What I don't understand is how conservative politicians could cuddle up to militia leaders (and many did not, remember. GHWB denounced the NRA for its attacks on federal employees as jack booted thugs) and carry their conservative "hate America" language without any reprisals. No one accused Rush of being Un American for being soft on right wing hate, nor did they go after the numerous elected officials who spoke favorably of militia concerns. You think they had some legitimate concerns about encroaching government? Fine, though that sounds really funny now that we have one of them as AG using his power as government to encroach to unprecedented levels. But why are they not un-American? Why is this only reserved for those on the left?

May 12, 2004

New Comments on Streak's Blog

Blogger Help : How do I add comments to my posts?: "Who Can Comment?

Only Registered Users: if not logged in already, visitors will be prompted to log into Blogger before leaving a comment. If they don't have an account, they can create one.

Anyone: anybody in the whole wide world can leave comments"

The new comments are pretty cool, in that they are linked directly to the post. That is the good news. The only bad news is that Blogger is changing some of the ways that comments can be added. Under my old comment provider, you could just put a little info in the fields and then your comment. Blogger allows annonymous comments, but if you want to log in, you have to create a Blogger account. That is easy (and free) but kind of a pain. The good news again, however, is that I can allow the annonymous comments. On many blogs, the problem of abusive or even spam comments is forcing these kinds of changes.

but please, comment. Feel free to do so annonymously, but I would love to see some kind of indication of who you are.
World War I and the Suppression of Dissent, Part 2 (FD 5/02): "As America entered the last year of World War I, 1918, ?patriotic? fervor seemed to swell. In May, the Sedition Act (see 1918/usspy.html for text) imposed ?a fine of not more than $10,000 or imprisonment for not more than twenty years, or both ...? upon anyone disposed to ?utter, print, write, or publish any disloyal, profane, scurrilous, or abusive language about the form of government of the United States.?

In October 1918, Congress passed the Alien Act, by which ?any alien who, at any time after entering the United States, is found to have been at the time of entry, or to have become thereafter, a member of any anarchist organization? could be deported.

Libertarians of the day, including Albert Jay Nock, H.L. Mencken, Randolph Bourne, and Oswald Garrison Villard spoke out in protest against such measures. But most voices still remained silent.

The various acts of 1917 and 1918 were used to destroy what was left of the left wing in America. Victor Berger, the first socialist elected to Congress, was sentenced to 20 years in prison for hindering the war effort. (While Berger was free on appeal, his constituency returned him to Congress.) The socialist labor leader Eugene V. Debs was sentenced to 10 years in prison for making an anti-war speech."

and over a thousand people were jailed under these bogus laws. Just a little reminder for those who lapse into the kind of arrogance that so permeates our administration about our system. We have absolutely violated our own principles, over and over. The question is if we will rise above and fix them. I am not sure that saying the guy in charge of such abuses is superb sends a very good signal. News | Breaking GOP ranks: "Yet as Bush made clear in his visit to the Pentagon Monday morning, he remains determined to keep Rummy on -- a determination that should be taken literally. For this president is, to quote the one book he appears to ever seriously consult, 'an Israelite without guile.' He could not bring himself to acknowledge a single personal mistake or error of judgment when pressed four times in his press conference last month. Nor could he bring himself to personally apologize to the Iraqi people for the torture and abuse revelations when he went on Arab television, supposedly with the express purpose of doing so. All this pales compared with the magnitude of error and miscalculation he would have to admit, however tacitly, if he dropped Rumsfeld now."
Democracy under fire

This morning I am as depressed as I have ever been about democracy. Watching the President tell the Arab world that he is shocked and horrified by the prison abuses, then turn and nudge Rumsfeld and tell him he is doing a "superb job," I am wondering what is going on in this world. Inhofe's ridiculous and shameful outburst yesterday only further dampens my mood. Of course, why should I be surprised? Bush thinks he is doing a superb job too. Invading a country without cause, setting our relationship with the Arab world back a few hundred years, and enriching already rich friends. Hell, of course. Superb!

I read David Brock's chapter in Salon (found here) and was further discouraged. I know, he has some credibility issues. That is odd, isn't it, since his credibility issue comes from having once been the darling of the right. But now, the right uses that against him. Anyway, it should also be noted that his book chapter really doesn't raise new allegations. We have known for some time that the media participated in a savaging of Al Gore in 2000--repeating lies and half truths as if they came from Al's own mouth. He didn't say he invented the internet, but by the time the right wingers were done with him, mainstream media people were asking if Gore was dilusional. I bought into it too, not enough to vote for Nader or Bush, but would apologize for Gore.

And the machine keeps working. I was told recently that Clinton's trashing of the White House was shocking, yet several reports showed that was more lies. Now, I hear that Kerry is so far to the left that he is out of the mainstream of America. Why? Because he is from Massachusetts? Or because the machine keeps repeating that Kerry is too liberal.

Meanwhile, the machine keeps patting George on the back when he pronounces something correctly. Last night, Tim Russert charged that Kerry had to say what he would do differently in Iraq--forgetting that the same question needs to be addressed to Bush. And he is one of the well-intentioned guys who believes in objectivity. On Fox, they make no such claim. Their goal is to promote the GOP, so it should come as no shock that on their morning show today, they were excoriating CBS for airing the photos. Even Rumsfeld was mad about the cameras. You see how this works? The real problem is not the abuses, it was the airing of the abuse photos! The photos caused that beheading, not the abuses. If we had only a responsible press, the world wouldn't have known about the abuses. You remember learning that, right? If you don't get caught, it is ok? In Sunday School, weren't you taught that sins were only sins when you were found out? And that your first question should be to question those who revealed your activity?

True journalists would be concerned about the story of abuse, and how our government covered it up. Fake journalists blame the media for creating a fake scandal and ignore those in charge. "Balance," they cry, and then introduce James Inhofe, Senator from Oklahoma.

Brock notes the importance of an informed populace in an effective democracy. Watching the news makes me wonder if that isn't a complete pipe dream. The aforementioned Fox makes no claims at actually educating the people. They enjoy prodding the "liberal" media for balance, while doing nothing of the sort. Remember, the Wash Post and NY Times may be liberal, but they don't see their mission to defend the democratic party. If Democrats screw up, they go after them. When has Fox gone after a Republican? Meanwhile Sinclare Broadcasting censors Nightline because they think it is political.

How can democracy work in this mess? How can people make informed decisions when they are fed lies about their candidates. Kerry speaks French, remember that? And he is unamerican because he pretended to throw his medals away. GWB is a compassionate conservative and dedicated Christian. No matter how his actions belie any of that.

Watching the news last night and even the Daily Show, I was struck by a strong desire to relocate. I am so ashamed of my country today. I am so embarrassed by this so-called democracy. Friends of mine chide me for this--say that the Republic will survive and that being so critical of Bush is just irrational. I am not convinced. I don't think the Inhofe's of this world recognize just how bad this is for us. We have created more recruitment videos than Osama could have ever dreamed of. Yet, the guy who oversaw all of this is doing a "superb" job. Right. Up is down. Black is white.

At this point, I am not sure I will ever vote again. I don't see the point. I am close to checking out of the entire process and leaving you all to your Fox, Rush, and Bush world. "Where clean air is a pipe-dream and truth is what we tell you."

May 11, 2004

Makes us Proud

 WASHINGTON (Reuters) - As others condemned the reported abuse of Iraqi
prisoners, U.S. Sen. James Inhofe on Tuesday expressed outrage at the
worldwide outrage over the treatment by American soldiers of those he
called "terrorists" and "murderers."

"I'm probably not the only one up at this table that is more outraged
by the outrage than we are by the treatment," the Oklahoma Republican
said at a U.S. Senate hearing probing the scandal.

"These prisoners, you know they're not there for traffic violations,"
Inhofe said. "If they're in cellblock 1-A or 1-B, these prisoners,
they're murderers, they're terrorists, they're insurgents. Many of them
probably have American blood on their hands and here we're so concerned
about the treatment of those individuals."

Coalition military intelligence officers estimated that about 70
percent to 90 percent of the thousands of prisoners detained in Iraq
had been "arrested by mistake," according to a report by Red Cross
given to the Bush administration last year and leaked this week.

The report also said the mistreatment of prisoners apparently
tolerated by U.S. and other coalition forces in Iraq involved
widespread abuse that was "in some cases tantamount to torture."

This from Reuters. Let me just say that Oklahoma has had more than its fair share of bad press. The Dust Bowl effected much of Texas, Eastern Colorado and Kansas, but is most closely associated with Oklahoma. Oklahoma lives with a perpetual inferiority (undeserved, I think) complex for a variety of reasons with jokes about hicks, trailer parks and then tornados. But through it all, Oklahoma has tried to rise above that bad press. During the OK bombing, locals responded in a way that made the national media look stupid. Then Representative Coburn said that showing Schindlers List on television was bad because of the sex and nudity. That doesn't help. Now we have Inhofe--himself a national disgrace, but even he tops himself. Despite the knowledge that many most of the prisoners are not terrorists or murderers, he says that they are. He is appealing to the baser side of American politics--the side who really doesn't care if we execute innocent people here and certainly don't care if we kill or abuse prisoners over there. Because this side of America has no sympathy, no compassion for anyone other than themselves--despite their professed Christianity--and have no clue about how much damage this does to our image as a civilized and moral people.
Seeing The Forest - a Weblog of Politics: "'Arab commentators reacted with shock and disbelief on Monday over President Bush's robust backing of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld against calls for his resignation.

[. . .] 'After the torture and vile acts by the American army, President Bush goes out and congratulates Rumsfeld. It's just incredible. I am in total shock,' said Omar Belhouchet, editor of the influential Algerian national daily El Watan.

'Bush's praise for Rumsfeld will discredit the United States...and further damage its reputation, which is already at a historic low in the Arab world,' he added.

[. . .] 'After Mr. Bush's decision to keep Rumsfeld, all their apologies seem like lip service,' Dubai-based political analyst Jawad al-Anani told Reuters. 'Mr. Rumsfeld would have certainly lost his job if the prisoners were American.

[. . .] A Saudi businessman, who asked not to be named, said keeping Rusmfeld would be seen as Washington's quiet approval of the abuse. 'This just confirms that what is happening in Iraq (news - web sites) in general, and especially what is happening in Abu Ghraib is sanctioned by the American administration and that is a hell of a position to be in.

'I see no advantage in keeping Rumsfeld. Bush should be building bridges with the outside world.'"

From Seetheforest, a great point. How much credibility does Bush's "apology" have when the people who are "responsible," who had the "watch," are reinforced and told they are doing a good job?

Unfortunately, I think that Bush may be getting some pressure from his right wing (hard to believe there are people farther right, huh?) to move on from this. These people think that the Arabs are to blame for this, that our apology sounds like weakness, and ultimately, Like Rush, think that the atrocities were nothing to worry about. In their mind, we should be killing more Arabs to scare them into not suppporting terrorism. I don't think they understand the problem of ruling out of fear alone. At some point, people stop respecting you, and start finding ways to undermine you. And those are often your former friends who start resenting your arrogance. Weren't any of these people bullied? Or were they the bullies? I was bullied. I know what it feels like. And this administration acts like bullies.
New look to Streak's Blog

Blogger has updated their blogging tool (was actually mentioned on NPR this morning) and so Streak is using some of the new features. Couple of bugs still to be worked out. For example, the new tool allows me to email directly to my blog, which is very cool, but those posts don't have the comment option. Blogger has this listed in their Known Issues page and says it will be fixed soon. Speaking of comments, in switching to a different template, I lost the previous comments (sorry, Cold in Laramie) and now have the Blogger comments. I think they will work better in the long run, but will have to see. The comments now will be attached to the message, so if you send a link of one of my postings, the comments should be included on that same page.

Speaking of linking, this new feature is pretty cool. If I want to send a link to one of my favorite postings, say one of the President Jesus episodes, I can do it this way and you don't have to look through the archive page to find the one I referenced.

Anyway, please weigh in with your comments. I think this new look is cool, but who knows?

Conservatives on Bush

The centerpiece of President Bush (news - web sites)'s foreign policy
-- the effort to transform Iraq (news - web sites) into a peaceful
democracy -- has been undermined by a deadly insurrection and broadcast
photos of brutality by U.S. prison guards. On the domestic side,
conservatives and former administration officials say the White House
policy apparatus is moribund, with policies driven by political
expediency or ideological pressure rather than by facts and expertise.

Conservatives have become unusually restive. Last Tuesday, columnist
George F. Will sharply criticized the administration's Iraq policy,
writing: "This administration cannot be trusted to govern if it cannot
be counted on to think and, having thought, to have second thoughts."
Two days earlier, Robert Kagan, a neoconservative supporter of the Iraq
war, wrote: "All but the most blindly devoted Bush supporters can see
that Bush administration officials have no clue about what to do in
Iraq tomorrow, much less a month from now."

The complaints about Bush's Iraq policy are relatively new, but they
are in some ways similar to long-standing criticism about Bush's
domestic policies. In a book released earlier this year, former Bush
Treasury secretary Paul H. O'Neill described Bush as "a blind man in a
room full of deaf people" and said policymakers put politics before
sound policy judgments.

Echoing a criticism leveled by former Bush aide John J. DiIulio Jr.,
who famously described "Mayberry Machiavellis" running the White House,
O'Neill said "the biggest difference" between his time in government in
the 1970s and in the Bush administration "is that our group was mostly
about evidence and analysis, and Karl [Rove], Dick [Cheney], [Bush
communications strategist] Karen [Hughes] and the gang seemed to be
mostly about politics."
Rumsfeld is the designated fall guy: "'These events occurred on my watch,' he said. 'As secretary of defense, I am accountable for them.'"

I have a lot of problems with this guy as Sec Def, but will concede that this statement was nice to hear. Contrast that with this:

"One of the timeless truisms in the Harry Truman legacy was the presidential credo: "The buck stops here."

While there is plenty of blame to go around for the horrific handling of the Iraqi prisoners in the notorious Abu Ghraib prison, President Bush bears the ultimate responsibility for what happened on his watch.

Under questioning recently, White House press secretary Scott McClellan refused to say whether the president took responsibility for the disgraceful acts against prisoners in Iraq, though Bush has apologized for the degradation of the Iraqi prisoners, saying their treatment was "a stain on our country's honor and our country's uniform.""

Nothing is ever really Bush's fault, and evidently, nothing happens on his watch. In fact, he compounds this arrogance by then saying that Rummy is doing a "supurb" job. Really? I guess only if you are also doing a superb job. I have said this before, but the character issue here is huge for me. People who have no ability to take responsibility for the things they do wrong bother me, and we have a President who is incapable of it. Friends of mine dismiss it as either a function of the partisanship, or just a character flaw (though not a moral issue). But even George Will is starting to be critical of this administration:

"This administration cannot be trusted to govern if it cannot be counted on to think and, having thought, to have second thoughts. Thinking is not the reiteration of bromides about how "all people yearn to live in freedom" (McClellan). And about how it is "cultural condescension" to doubt that some cultures have the requisite aptitudes for democracy (Bush)."
The Misunderestimated Man - How Bush chose stupidity. By Jacob Weisberg: "The most obvious expression of Bush's choice of ignorance is that, at the age of 57, he knows nothing about policy or history. After years of working as his dad's spear-chucker in Washington, he didn't understand the difference between Medicare and Medicaid, the second- and third-largest federal programs. Well into his plans for invading Iraq, Bush still couldn't get down the distinction between Sunni and Shiite Muslims, the key religious divide in a country he was about to occupy. Though he sometimes carries books for show, he either does not read them or doesn't absorb anything from them. Bush's ignorance is so transparent that many of his intimates do not bother to dispute it even in public."

This is the best, and most damning, paragraph in a good piece on Bush's intelligence. Weisberg arguest that Bush has shown the ability to work hard in the past, but has actually chosen stupidity and mental laziness.

I think he nails a lot of the problems with this president, and points out (again) that the political ramifications of this kind of president is somehow to excuse Bush of his own responsibility. And, for those few times that he approaches articulate, (approaches is probably strong) he gets rewarded. Hell, if he pronounces or even remembers a name correctly, he gets bonus points. If John Kerry speaks out of turn at all, he gets hammered.

May 10, 2004

Yahoo! News - Bush Praises Rumsfeld on War on Terror: "Blinking into the cameras, Rumsfeld stood ramrod straight to Bush's left with his hands clasped behind his back. Vice President Dick Cheney (news - web sites), who had over the weekend called Rumsfeld the best secretary of defense ever, also was there. "

Bush said that Rumsfeld was doing a superb job. Cheney says best Sec Def ever. Rumsfeld himself took responsibility for the prison abuse, said it happened on his watch. Anyone else see a problem?

Streak the Wonder Dog

For those who have wanted a picture of the blogger himself, here it is. He isn't pictured blogging, naturally, because it is nap time.
Originally uploaded by streak541.
{if 0}

Link to streak541's Flickr profile Posted by streak541 from Flickr.



May 9, 2004

Yahoo! News - Dissension Grows In Senior Ranks On War Strategy: "Asked who was to blame, this general pointed directly at Rumsfeld and Deputy Defense Secretary Paul D. Wolfowitz. 'I do not believe we had a clearly defined war strategy, end state and exit strategy before we commenced our invasion,' he said. 'Had someone like Colin Powell (news - web sites) been the chairman [of the Joint Chiefs of Staff], he would not have agreed to send troops without a clear exit strategy. The current OSD [Office of the Secretary of Defense] refused to listen or adhere to military advice.' "

Exactly what many have been saying. Why would Bush be so adamant about going in? Why would he also ignore an exit strategy? Perhaps because he felt that God was directing him and if so, then God would take care of the details?

May 3, 2004 - Information Authority for the Newspaper Industry: "Rall said in the cartoon that Tillman -- who gave up a $3.6-million National Football League contract to join the military and then died last month -- 'falsely believed Bush's wars against Iraq and Afghanistan had something to do with 9/11. Actually, he was a cog in a low-rent occupation Army that shot more innocent civilians than terrorists to prop up puppet rulers and exploit gas and oil resources. So when Tillman got killed by the Afghan resistance, one word naturally came to mind: 'Uh -- idiot' [says one person in the cartoon's final panel]. 'Sad' [says another]. 'Hero!' [says an editor].'"

Yeah, I really hate this. Nothing is gained by this approach, and the criticism that Bush and his administration deserves, gets lost in the stupidity of badmouthing a guy who died for his country. Say what you will about the cause, but the guy put his life on the line for his country. That has to be recognized. Was he a hero? I don't know. I have had an interesting ongoing discussion with a former military man who raises the question of why our heroes are all victims. Jessica Lynch, now Tillman--either captured or dead, while acts of heroism happen every day--people putting their lives on the line and saving themselves and their mission. I think there is also kind of a kneejerk move to annoint someone hero. I remember when that pilot was shot down over Bosnia and escaped. He was branded a hero. Maybe we really don't know what a hero is, so anyone who shows up, the media and American people turn and shout "there's one!"

There is another interesting thread here, though, and that is the ferocity of the response. People suggesting he relocate to France, or hoping he dies--all part of the outpouring of emotion. And why? Why is it when 99.9% of America is behind something that the .01% who might not be is vilified? Barbara Lee casts the one vote against giving Bush carte blanche and she gets death threats. Everyone else voted for it--why denounce the one who didn't? A female basketball player turns her back on the pledge. Every other female college player is supportive or at least not opposing--why focus on the one? Is our discussion of dissent and free speech and individuality that shallow that we really want unanimity and complete conformity? That strikes me as scary. Unfortunately, I see little from this White House to suggest a better approach.

One of the things that many morons don't understand, is that the opposite of love is not hate--it is apathy. You want to show your utter disdain for someone's speech--just ignore it.