Archive | August, 2006

Appeasement?

29 Aug

Is Donald Rumseld insane, or just so arrogant that he comes across that way?

In a speech today to the American Legion, he compared critics of the Bushies’ approach to the “war on terror” to those who tried to appease Hitler.

Well, excuuuse me, Mr. Secretary, but wasn’t it YOUR group that stopped going after the big terrorist, Osama bin Laden, in Afghanistan and decided to “appease” al-Qaeda by launching a war against a nation that even Mr. Bush said last week had nothing to do with 9/11???????

You know you’re in bad shape when Joe “Kissyface” Lieberman calls on you to resign. But Lieberman was wrong on that point. He should be calling on the whole damn administration to resign.

Has this administration done anything right?

  • Afghanistan–bungled, let Osama get away
  • Iraq–a total mess
  • Katrina–“You’re doing a heck of a job, Brownie”
  • Surplus: Gone
  • Deficits: Back with a vengeance
  • Oil Prices: Through the roof, and still going
  • Global Warming: What global warming?
  • The Environment: You want a little arsenic with that water?

I could keep going, but this administration is not solely to blame. The Congress gets its blame too, both parties, for not doing its job. And the voters get blame too, for electing all these morons (and re-electing them) in the first place.

If this doesn’t scare the hell out of you…

28 Aug

…then please share whatever drugs you are taking.

Think we need more nuclear weapons?

Think again.

Guest post

23 Aug

Dave Hoffman lets rip with a great op-ed piece in today’s South Bend Tribune.
I hope he forgives me for reprinting it. 🙂

Several years ago I worked for a company whose manager routinely remarked “Life isn’t fair” whenever he did something unjust to an employee. A few years later I listened in uncomfortable silence while a prosecuting attorney told my law school class that a man she had been prosecuting was convicted, even though she thought he was innocent. She concluded her story with a dismissive “Oh well!”

These two examples, and countless others like them, confirm an unfortunate and often dangerous reality: The human mind possesses the capability to rationalize anything, even when the foundations for these rationalizations are built upon specious arguments.

The manager, for example, was simply regurgitating the already debunked theory of social Darwinism — that concepts of evolution and “survival of the fittest” could be adapted to sociological and economic situations. In response to the growing appeal of social Darwinism, Darwin himself emphasized the difference between unfair situations caused by uncontrollable, natural forces and the ability of a person to consciously choose whether to act in a fair or unfair manner.

But she had no response when I reminded her that it was her decision to place this man in front of a jury in the first place, and had she not done so, there would have been no risk of a wrongful conviction.

During the past few years this same power of specious rationalization has transformed South Bend/St. Joseph County into a haven for bigotry, injustice, discrimination, boredom, violence, intolerance and fanatical Puritanism, all cloaked in the guise of conservatism, religion or “community values.” The result is other counties with similar populations moving their citizenry into the 21st century, while this area stagnates in regression and repression.

I have labeled this rationalization “The Morality Scam.” A Voice of the People contributor recently pointed out that there is more to the term “morality” than issues involving human sexuality. As an example, he cited the irony of how the University of Notre Dame used morality to frame the debate over whether sexually oriented plays or organizations should be allowed on campus, yet avoided the mention of morality when student activists argued that university service workers were being underpaid.

The truth is, the greatest immoralities in the world do not involve issues of human sexuality at all. It was immoral for an innocent South Bend man to be imprisoned for more than five years without compensation. It’s immoral for hypocrites to feign concern about crime to attack adult businesses when they are conspicuously silent about crimes that occur on even a greater scale at other businesses. It’s immoral for members of the power structure to demand ethical standards for their subordinates that they callously ignore themselves. It’s immoral to bask in a veneer of haughty superiority when one’s success is based not upon talent or ability, but upon inherited wealth, or family, marital or political connections. It’s immoral to hide behind religion to conceal one’s greed, selfishness, hatred or hypocrisy. And it’s immoral to be arrogant enough to assume that one has the right to choose what other consenting adults can view, patronize, listen to or read, as long as such materials or establishments also feature consenting adults.

On the national level, it’s immoral for so-called pundits and politicians to base their assessments of right and wrong not on what was done, but on who did it. It’s immoral to spend millions of dollars to impeach a president who lied about an extramarital affair, and not impeach a president who lied about the motives for a war that has cost billions of dollars and thousands of lives. It’s immoral for the attorney general of the United States to play the outraged moralist when dealing with sexually-oriented materials, while defending illegal surveillance, detentions without charge or trial, and torture. It’s immoral to steal an election, and then proclaim that God placed you in power.

Finally, on the economic front, it’s immoral for stores to self-servingly advertise their refusal to carry certain books, videos or CDs because these items are not “family-oriented,” when they demonstrate nothing but contempt for the families of their employees by paying sub-poverty wages and providing shoddy benefits. It’s immoral when such stores reap massive profits from imported products made in Third World sweatshops, oftentimes by child labor. It’s immoral to promote “downsizing” or “outsourcing” of others if one would not want to be downsized or outsourced himself.

This list could go on, but you get the idea. And while some readers may not agree with all my definitions of immorality, that’s precisely the point: Morality is a fluid and relative term. There is one constant however: The Golden Rule says, “Treat others as you would wish to be treated.” Too bad the rule in South Bend/St. Joseph County has become, “Treat others as unfairly as you please. Just pretend to blush when dealing with issues involving human sexuality and you can delude yourself into believing you are a ‘moral’ person.”

David R. Hoffman lives in Mishawaka.

One formula for victory in 2006 and 2008

23 Aug

Just read it. You’ll really like the part about James Dobson’s head.

My Congressional candidate is wrong

19 Aug

I’ve been supporting Joe Donnelly for election to Indiana’s 2nd House District for two election cycles now. I hope be defeats the incumbent, Chris Chocoal (R-Bristol), a multimillionaire rubber stamp for the Bush Administration.

But this morning’s South Bend Tribune reports that Joe Donnelly agrees with Chris Chocola that this week’s federal court ruling about the NSA is wrong. A federal judge in Detroit agreed with plaintiffs that the NSA’s program of monitoring communications without a warrant is a violation of the FISA statute. This statute says that the NSA must obtain a warrant to eavesdrop on communications between a US person and someone outside the US. The statute also says that the NSA can go in and ask for a warrant after the fact. In the thirty years the FISA statute has been in operation, a warrant has been refused less than 20 times.

I hope that Joe Donnelly at least read the opinion, which you can read here, before he said he thought it was wrong. I’ve read over the decision, and it’s based on plenty of court precedent. It’s a well-reasoned opinion that should not be overturned easily on appeal. In fact, it appears to rely upon a healthy dose of Sixth Circuit precedent.

So, today my support for Joe Donnelly is a little lukewarm. I would have felt much better if he had said that the so-called war on terror must be conducted in compliance with laws passed by the Congress and signed into law by prior Presidents. And that if there’s a problem with FISA, why hasn’t anyone made an effort to change the FISA statute instead of just ignoring it.

I sure hope this is just an aberration.

Oreos and the federal budget

18 Aug

Two topics you probably never thought of as having any relationship, but they’re both important. The budget, well, it’s obvious why that’s important. And Oreos? Well, they taste good!

But, more to the point, Oreos are a great way to show how screwed up our budget priorities are.

Take a look, and then take some action.

Screw my loyal supporters

16 Aug

After Joe Lieberman’s loss to Ned Lamont in Connecticut’s Senate primary, Joe Lieberman declares that he has more loyalty to the country than to his (former) party.

Forgive me, Senator, but what about all the people who consider themselves Democrats who worked hard to get you elected to your various offices? Are you willing to trash their beliefs in a better America so you can soothe your wounded ego? Losing an election hurts–no doubt about it. But the great thing about democracy is that we voters get to pick our candidates. And when there’s a primary race, then we loyal party members need to back the winner.

And, let’s not forget, Senator, that you can do much to serve this nation without being in the Senate. Look at what Al Gore is doing these days–he doesn’t need a Senate seat to be a part of the national debate on issues. Look at all the folks who show up on the Sunday morning news shows–they don’t need Senate seats to get air time to promote their views.

Senator, you claim to have been a good Democrat over the years. Some may disagree with you, but certainly by abandoning your party and running as an independent, you lose credibility. Back Mr. Lamont over the Republican challenger and stay involved in the debate.

And another thing, which goes out to Dems other than Senator Lieberman. For the love of God, stop going around saying, “Democrats need to be stronger on national security.” All you’re doing is reinforcing the Republicans’ false message. You ought to be out there saying “The Republicans talk the talk, but they don’t walk the walk. Democrats will–and if we let you down like the Republicans have, then vote us out.” Simple message, and far more effective.