December 17, 2009

Well, this was odd

During a conversation regarding the War on Christmas (which everyone here knows I find ridiculous), I stumbled across the American Family Association website. Often known for its right-wing nuttery, I found it ironic to find an ad there for a book called Tortured for Christ.

Am I the only one struck by the contrast between a book about a tortured Christian and the right wing's support or tolerance of Christian George Bush's own torture regime?


And speaking of the Bush approach to the world, I heard a very interesting interview last night with an author studying Blackwater:
"When we left off, we were talking about a civil suit against Blackwater in which two affidavits submitted by former Blackwater employees, each known only as John Doe, make several allegations against Erik Prince, the founder of Blackwater, including that he's a Christian crusader and that he may have facilitated the murder of individuals cooperating with the criminal probe of Blackwater.

So in one of these affidavits, John Doe A or B says that Prince views himself as a Christian crusader tasked with eliminating Muslims and the Islamic faith from the globe and that his companies encouraged and rewarded the destruction of Iraqi life.

That's a really strong statement. It...

Mr. SCAHILL: Well, I mean...

GROSS: Yeah.

Mr. SCAHILL: ...that was one of the least shocking things that I read in there because, you know, I've been tracking this story since 2004 and it's abundantly clear to me that Erik Prince views himself, and I don't say this rhetorically, Terry, Erik Prince views himself as a Christian crusader. There's almost no doubt about that. I wasn't stunned at all when I read that. Everyone at Blackwater knows that."

December 15, 2009

Joe Lieberman is an ass

And I have never really trusted or liked him. I still remember him allowing Dick Cheney to lie his way through the VP debate in 2000 without a single challenge. What an idiot. And now, he seems hell-bent on killing health care. Why? Because he is a bitter, bitter man. Chait seems to think that perhaps it is because Lieberman is is not that smart, but benefits from a general stereotype that Jewish people are generally smart. I am not sure about the Jewish thing, but am convinced that Lieberman is not a good person, nor terribly smart.

December 5, 2009

Two other small notes

One, from my new favorite conservative columnist, Bruce Bartlett on the stimulus. He concludes that the evidence suggests that it worked, and continues to help the economy. The worst elements of it? Tax cuts. Worst, in that they aren't actually helping the economy, while putting money into state and local governments, and even assisting with unemployment benefits is actually contributing to the GNP in a positive way.

Second, I have to note that Sarah Palin came to Norman the other night for a "book" signing. Evidently, the Palinites from all of Oklahoma made the pilgrimage to see the addled celebrity, and my friends reported seeing a lot of "Palin 2012" signs. There were some protestors there, including one who held up a sign saying something like, "darn, I thought I was going to get to see Tina Fey." That was my favorite.

But on a serious note, I have noticed that Palin likes to bring her Down's syndrome child (Trig) to her speaking engagements. I have no problem with that, as far as it goes, and certainly never had a problem with her bringing that child to term. But on several occasions, people notice her bringing the child to the podium to hold up to the crowd before handing off to an aide. This tactic of using her child as political prop lowers her in my estimation almost as much as her recent statement that the "birthers" have a "fair question" about Obama's birth certificate.

I know that many conservatives (including a few here) think that Palin is irrelevant and unimportant. But her celebrity among the right and her continued relevance in political discussions (poll numbers, etc) make her relevant. She is the face, like it or not, of the modern Republican party, and every irresponsible thing she does (which is often) exposes just how unserious the right is about responsible governing. That should never be ignored. And won't be, I am afraid, until the "grownup Republicans" step up and rescue their party from Beck and Palin and their disgusting ilk.

Obama and the surge

I am curious what my blogfriends have to say about this most recent Obama decision. SOF and I have spent some time talking about it, and we are still unsure. I just lectured on Vietnam and it is hard not to see the parallels between the late VN war and Afghanistan, when in both situation we tried to win the "hearts and minds" of people by killing a lot of their neighbors. They are not the same situation, to be absolutely fair, but it gave me pause as I spoke the other day.

We are, however, quite impressed with how Obama makes decisions. He has a good track record on this of making decisions that look "iffy" at the time, but prove to be pretty well thought out. As I said to SOF the other night, "he doesn't think with his gut, and thank God for that." And I mean that wholeheartedly. I think some of his critics on the right simply don't recognize serious consideration of a complex and perhaps unwinnable problem. Instead of the "decider," we have someone who actually deliberates.

In conversations with some conservative friends, I have been struck by the difference in how they see our country's founding. A) they most often see the government as some kind of external and evil force, as if the people have no say in our government, and B) they often see the role of representation as some kind of direct vote in Congress. In other words, they think that their reps have to do what they tell them to do, rather than the representative republic where the people elect virtuous representatives who then make the best decisions they can--even if they differ from those of their constituents.

Anyway. Hope you are all having a nice weekend. I would love to hear your thoughts on Afghanistan.

December 1, 2009

One of the reasons I am proud to be a liberal

Is that I have watched as my liberal colleagues have stepped outside their ideological bias time and time again. Liberals defended Larry Craig, and here is a good example when Ta-Nehisi Coates defends Mike Huckabee on the clemency issue. I agree with him here. The guy was in jail for 100 years for crimes committed when he was a teenager. Clemency was deserved here, and the problem is that there didn't seem to be a followup to make sure that this guy got the help he needed.

Conservatives seem to take pride in their tough on crime stance, even when that tough on crime stance includes innocent people. This person clearly was not innocent and clearly was a threat, but Huckabee's actions were not out of line. I don't like the guy and think he should not be President, but the right has completely turned on him over this.

Palin as Christian icon

Tony just mentioned that he went to his local Christian bookstore only to see Palin's book prominently displayed. I hadn't even thought of that angle, but of course they would promote this book. Everything I have read suggests that Palin exhibits the absolutely worst elements of Bush's persona--without the possible good sides (giving him some benefit of the doubt). She lacks even basic curiosity about matters she would decide; prefers what she "feels" over demonstrable fact; and is completely and nearly pathologically incapable of admitting error.

The fact that she has become a poster child for religious conservatives is simply sad.