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May 30, 2004

So How Long Before the Republicans Start Running Ads against Al Gore?

Wouldn't surprise me if ads like this started to run. Al Gore is obviously not running but it would raise questions as to how far gone the core of the democratic party is.

02:31 PM in 2004 Election | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 28, 2004

What Happened to Bill Clinton's Democratic Party?

In contrast to the recent ranting of Al Gore, Clinton once again reminded me of his many positive traits. Clinton recently spoke at Kansas State University at the inaugural Bob Dole (his opponent in the '96 election for those who may have forgotten) lecture. In addition to his great oratory, which no current politician can come close to matching, he stated that many students in the audience were anti-war in Iraq, but he stopped them when they started cherring with the statement that "This is thinking time, not cheering time. If immediately you decide that somebody who sees a whole new situation differently than you must be a bad person and is somehow twisted inside, then we're not going to get very far in forming a more perfect union."

The whole speech is available here. Definitely worth listening to and it is good to see two opponents (Dole and Clinton) working together to help this country and help the world.

06:05 PM in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The UN Scandal Coverup is in full motion

More crapola surrounding UNSCAM. Looks like the coverup is in full swing.

05:38 PM in Oil for Food Scandal | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 27, 2004

The Good News from Iraq

Yes, there is good news. For those who are convinced that Iraq is a pit of horror and despair and are not blinded by the hysteria emanating from the Democratic wing of the Democratic party, Arthur Chrenkoff has put together a number of blog posts hilighting different aspects of the "good" life in Iraq. Of course, the concept of the good life is completely relative and no sane person would want the Iraqi good life on their worst day. However, the links within the post are helpful in keeping a balanced perspective when so much in the media is tipped toward the bad news. Some hilights:

: How about that economy? "It's the Iraq you don't hear about, one with falling unemployment, rising wages, lower interest rates and higher foreign investment". In fact, the economy is going so well, that hundreds of thousands of Iranians are believed to have crossed into Iraq since the fall of Saddam, looking for work, setting up businesses and buying property.

As always, the Kurd-controlled areas are doing particularly well: "The Kurdish local government in Arbil, run by Massoud Barzani's Kurdistan Democratic Party, has drawn up plans for a major facelift of the ancient city. Projects worth $300 million are in the pipeline which, according to the local Municipalities Minister Abdulmuheimen al-Barzani, are expected to turn Arbil into a modern city." Amongst those plans - some of the largest supermarkets in the Middle East. And while the Kurds are going very well, Baghdad is bustling with construction work, with huge demand for building materials driving prices up.

...Speaking of USAID, it has been working with the Coalition Provisional Authority, the United Nations, World Bank, and International Monetary Fund to assists Iraqis in reconstructing their country on literally hundreds of projects. All with almost nil publicity. Why bother about 2,358 schools rehabilitated countrywide or rebuilding key bridges when there's a new photo of prisoner on a leash to be published?

World Bank is also doing a lot of largely unpublicised good work: "In addition to improving the infrastructure on the ground, such as the rehabilitation of 700 schools, the Bank is focusing on building up the country's' human capital, through training programs for Iraqi civil servants, business women and private commercial bankers, and providing policy advice."

Read the whole thing to get a different view of Iraq than is found in the NYTimes or the WaPo or the nightly news.

04:30 PM in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

UPDATED: Yikes, I agree with something that Maureen Dowd had to say!

I find this turn of events rather terrifying, however, Maureen Dowd's op-ed in the NYTimes today had "some" points I agree with. Maybe the world as we know it is about to come to an end tomorrow when The Day After Tomorrow is released. Dowd discussed a speech that Al Gore gave at NYU where he screamed and hollered so much "he made Howard Dean look like George Pataki" reminding voters of the "wackadoo wing of the Democratic Party." (As much as I dislike Dowd she really does have great zingers in almost every article). I've thought Al Gore represented the wackadoo wing since he broke with Clinton to make his own way in the last election and everytime he turns up, it seems he's got his cap screwed on even tighter.

Dowd goes on to make the point that many Democrats are making these days that Kerry should just shut up and let Bush torpedo himself.

They wonder whether Mr. Kerry should just let the campaign be Bush vs. Bush. As the president's old running buddy, Lee Atwater, used to say, don't get in the way when your rival's busy shooting himself.
I've heard this alot and I doubt it will be a successful strategy unless things continue along the path they are taking in Iraq. Even then I wonder if America, in this time of immense and terrifying problems, will just settle for someone who is "less bad" than the other guy.

UPDATE: The Boston Herald Feels Gore disgraced the nation with his latest tirade. Can't say I entirely disagree with them. It really sounds like Gore has been taking great huge gulps of the purple Koolaid these days. And he is the person that I thought about voting for? Yikes.

04:17 PM in 2004 Election | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Michael Moore Death Threats

Jeez, there really are idiots (possibly dangerous) out there. Michael Moore is getting death threats over his movie. Now I think he is a complete and utter schmuck and I have absolutely no intention of seeing his movies and providing him with my hard earned money, but he has an absolute right to say whatever he wants and the people who support him have the right to see what he produces without threats of any kind.

If his message really is so "anti-american", then that might actually hurt Kerry more than it helps. On the other hand, maybe what he has to show may hurt Bush. However, trying to silence someone through death threats is something that occurs in the society of the forces we are at war against but it has absolutely no place in America and is more unamerican than the speech it is supposedly trying to silence.


12:03 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

New Ties to Iraq and Terrorism

Here is some more evidence of Iraqi ties to terrorism (as though paying $20k to each Palestinian suicide bombers family was not enough of a "tie" to terrorism) that may actually have direct links to 9/11.

Does it matter? Not really. A substantial number of the anti-war folks, even a smoking gun that is consumed by fire is found, will still believe the war was a mistake. In the same vein, a substantial number of pro-war folks will contiinue to believe that the war was the right thing to do even if not one link to terrorism or any WMD caches are found.

Maybe both sides should just drop this game of gotcha and focus on the issue at hand - the war is "over" and now all focus should be on how to make the best of the situation we have created. Spending time rehashing whether the war was the right or wrong thing is a complete waste of time. It might be interesting info, as the WSJ article is, but I doubt this stuff will sway many minds.

10:02 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 26, 2004

Neoconservatism is American

Wall Street Journal writes how the view of the "neocon cabal," as the American-left and European pundits like to label them, are actually very representative of American historical traditions and that Europe, and I would add, the rest of the world, are wrong to believe that the neocons have "hijacked" American foreign policy. Although a strong argument can be made that pre-emptive attack is not an American value, I'll leave that for another day. However, it is interesting how the entire neocon message is usually twisted into something its not in order to make political points by its opponents. The WSJ is right on track when it states that the root of neoconservative thinking, which grew out of democratic thought in the 1960s and echos much of JFK's thinking before his death, is "...a worldview that has broad appeal to American citizens."

The first principle is often credited to Woodrow Wilson, but in some ways its roots stretch back into the 18th century. It is founded on the moral assertions that have been part of American political thought since the early days of the republic. Chief among them is the idea that individual liberty is a moral absolute and that a system of governance that enshrines individual liberty is morally and practically superior to all others. This is a very fundamental belief, deeply embedded in American political thought and public opinion. It is a principle, however, that does not necessarily have the same level of importance in modern European political systems, whose constitutions tend to place a greater emphasis on social harmony than on individual liberty.
The second principle conflicts somewhat with the first and serves to moderate the impulse to intervention. Since the republic's founding, there has been a vigorous debate as to the proper role of the federal government, a debate that is still at the heart of most cases brought before the U.S. Supreme Court. But there has always been a strong trend toward the idea of a limited federal government whose sole exclusive area of responsibility is in foreign affairs and the protection of the nation from external enemies. In fact, the first five numbers of the Federalist focus almost exclusively on foreign affairs and the need for a federal government to protect the nation from foreign influence. The end result of this idea is a broad consensus across the political spectrum that cautions against foreign interventions unless they are required for national security reasons.
Although readers of my blog know that I am not all that keen about John Kerry, Europeans are in for a surprise if they think he will mark a radical departure from the policies of George Bush when it comes to US foreign policy.
In short, if Europe is waiting for a new administration or a new set of policy professionals to rise to positions of influence, the Continent may be in for a very long wait. The style in which affairs are conducted may change, and the blunt take-it-or-leave-it pronouncements of the current administration might be softened, but the substance of American foreign policy will remain roughly the same. The current direction of U.S. foreign policy--reshaping the Middle East, pre-emptive confrontations with potentially threatening adversaries, and an ambivalent attitude toward international organizations that constrain the use of American power to achieve those ends--is unlikely to change substantially with any new administration that could conceivably come to the White House in the near future.
What many fail to realize but which the oped does quite well is to outline how the neocon label is not a democratic vs. republican issue but rather a fight between the realists and the idealists.
In truth, much of what has been identified as the neoconservative agenda has little to do with Republican versus Democrat; it is more a contest between realists and idealists--with the neocons firmly in the idealist camp. Realists are generally conservative in the true sense of the word. They do not seek to take risks to extend liberal democratic ideals. On the contrary, they seek to maintain American primacy and would not risk diluting finite resources to take on an enormous and protracted mission such as remaking the Middle East.

10:47 AM in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 25, 2004

EL Doctrow Take Down

Lots has been written over the last couple of days over the treatment (which I feel was well deserved) that E.L. Doctrow received at Hofstra's graduation this past weekend. Peggy Noonan has one of the best pieces I've read so far. The one quote that keeps coming up again and again is a quote by one of the professors who says "I only wish their parents had provided them a better role model." Every time I read that I wonder whether the professor is referring to the booing or to the political views she thought they were endorsing.

I find the whole EL Doctrow piece interesting as it came just as I was reading an article by Samuel Huntington in The National Interest titled "Dead Souls: The Denationalization of the American Elite" which I found to be fascinating. Huntington focuses on how he believes the differences in concepts of national identity between cosmopolitan elites and the citizenry are creating large fissures in where political and national priorities lie.

The views of the general public on issues of national identity differ significantly from those of many elites. The public, overall, is concerned with physical security but also with societal security, which involves the sustainability—within acceptable conditions for evolution—of existing patterns of language, culture, association, religion and national identity. For many elites, these concerns are secondary to participating in the global economy, supporting international trade and migration, strengthening international institutions, promoting American values abroad, and encouraging minority identities and cultures at home. The central distinction between the public and elites is not isolationism versus internationalism, but nationalism versus cosmopolitanism.

Growing differences between the leaders of major institutions and the public on domestic and foreign policy issues affecting national identity form a major cultural fault line cutting across class, denominational, racial, regional and ethnic distinctions. In a variety of ways, the American establishment, governmental and private, has become increasingly divorced from the American people. Politically, America remains a democracy because key public officials are selected through free and fair elections. In many respects, however, it has become an unrepresentative democracy because on crucial issues--especially those involving national identity--its leaders pass laws and implement policies contrary to the views of the American people. Concomitantly, the American people have become increasingly alienated from politics and government.

Unfortunately, the full article is only available to subscribers but if one can pick it the Spring 2004 edition of the National Interest at the newsstands, it is well worth it with other good articles I will probably blog about at some point.

09:36 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 24, 2004

Pew Trusts Finds Journalists Overwhelmingly Liberal

Duh, like this should surprise anyone? There are outlets for conservative thought (Fox News, the Wall Street Journal, etc.), but most mainstream media outlets tends to be far more liberal than the general population, and for those who doubt it, the non-partisan Pew Research Center released a study documenting the trends. There are a lot of repercussions for traditional media as the conservative/liberal gap between those who produce the news and those who consume the news grows wider. Alternative outlets such as blogs and talk radio can fill the gap somewhat, but I think more people may tune out traditional media.

At national organizations (which includes print, TV and radio), the numbers break down like this: 34% liberal, 7% conservative. At local outlets: 23% liberal, 12% conservative. At Web sites: 27% call themselves liberals, 13% conservatives.

04:21 PM in Liberal International Democracy | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack