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July 03, 2003
Here we go again

The right-wing nuts must be foaming at the mouth if they've read Condaleeza Rice's praise of Clinton's foreign policy.

When the Bush administration took office, it pursued a foreign policy that seemed to many diplomats as simple as ABC - Anything But Clinton.

But 30 months later, revisionism appears to have set in. Ms Condoleezza Rice, President George W. Bush's national security adviser, has praised Mr Clinton.

Speaking to the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London on Thursday, Ms Rice lauded the former president for his efforts to broker a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians at Camp David.

She said: 'President Clinton did a great service to the world in trying to make this work at Camp David. Everybody in our administration admires what he did and admired it at the time.'

(Sure, she goes on to say the pact had flaws, but we've never yet drawn up foreign policy legislation that didn't and if someone's gonna do it, they're gonna do it no matter what promises they've made.)

I know some of those people, the ones who foam at the mouth and turn green and purple when Clinton's name is mentioned. Maybe I should entertain myself by making sure they all see this?

(Thanks to Kevin Drum. Speech transcipt here and the Clinton remarks, made during a Q&A, after the official speech, here.

Except that...reading the actual remarks? I find this:

The President has always felt it was his responsibility to speak the truth to the parties. And – to – to speak the truth based on principle to the parties – when we first came into office and the President first looked to the lay of the land in the Middle East – we saw a circumstance in which the failure of Camp David to come to fruition – and by the way let me be very clear – President Clinton did a great service to the world in trying to make this work in Camp David and everyone in our Administration admires what he did and admired at the time what he was doing – but it did not work and in fact Yassir Arafat and the Palestinian Authority re-launched the Intifada – that caused a crisis of confidence throughout the region, but most especially in Israel.
(Thanks to the comments section at Kevin Drum's blog.)

So, once again, we see it's actually the media, quoting out of context and trying to start a fight.

You just can't trust those guys, can you?

Posted by AnneZook at 11:27 AM | Comments (0)
Build it and they will...rebel?

The Financial Times offers a calm assessment of our performance in Iraq so far and suggests that we should just go ahead and create a "colonial office" to deal with the trials and tribulations of our new possessions um victims errr conquests well, let's call them "new friends."

The lack of preparation is astounding not only because the Iraq invasion had been long foreseen but also because America and its allies have run so many similar nation-building exercises in recent years: Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia, East Timor, Kosovo, Afghanistan. Yet there has been little attempt to apply the lessons of those places in Iraq.
And, as others have pointed out, we've sucked every time we've tried it. Personally, I think the Administration's disdain for "nation-building" is rooted more in how bad we are at it than in any feeling that we're superior to that sort of behavior. Anyhow. We should listen to them. There aren't many countries who know more about nation-building managing colonial territories than the Brits.

For those who haven't looked recently, the cost of our invasion of Iraq is at $69,894,001,052...109...153...mounts up too fast, I can't keep up.

Remember that story about how the Land of Lobbyists, Washington's K Street, is increasingly owned by the Republican Party? Looks like we have independent confirmation of that.

Departing from past practice, some lobbyists say they are withholding contributions to House Texas Democrats until the state’s congressional redistricting fight is resolved.
I'm thinking these guys don't have much of a hope of being re-elected if redistricting goes through, so they're damned if they do, damned if they don't. Under those circumstances, let's hope they stand fast. (Not that there's much they can do besides raise a stink.)

For those looking for something to read that will make them think, go here and contemplate the Magna Carta's influence on modern society.

Posted by AnneZook at 10:38 AM | Comments (0)
Some stuff, some more stuff, then some smiling

The most important thing to learn today might be that the media is not a reliable filter for news and information. (Okay, most of us knew that, but it's important to remember as you consider who you want to back among the Democratic contenders.)

Well, looks like it's good news! The unemployment picture has improved! Hah. In contrast to May, where revised numbers tell us we lost 70,000 jobs, we lost only 30,000 last month. Until they revise June numbers, of course. May's numbers were originally "estimated" at 17,000. That's a hell of a correction, isn't it?

That's 394,000 jobs this year and over 2.5 million since you-know-who took office. Unemployment is, in fact, at a 9-year high, meaning that we're back where we were when the first Bush president, following in Reagan's footsteps, finished Republicanizing the economy. (When they tell you it's all Clinton's fault, don't believe them. The economic downturn officially started under this Administration.

Do you know who Lyman Faris is? Do you know that his real name was Mohammed Rauf? Do you know that he's a USofA citizen deprived of due process by your government? Do you know that he was arrested, charged, tried, and convicted in secret and that we don't know where he is or what his sentence was?

Secrecy is rife in the government these days and, it appears, nowhere more so than at Homeland Security, who manages to break the law quite blatantly in their quest for McCarthyite concealment. (It would appear that even the name of their press secretary is considered confidential information. These are your tax dollars at work, people!)

Urban surveillance is the big story now. I want to know what psychopath invented this one. And I want to go on record as saying that I don't care for this emphasis on toys to make it easier for us to making war in cities overseas. Who else are we planning to attack? (The domestic applications of such technology are equally distasteful.)

The more I read, the more I think Halliburton might, in fact, be the corporate/conglomerate symbol of all things evil. Especially when it come to sucking at the government trough.

And, speaking of the government, I'm probably the only person left who hasn't linked to the US takes its toys and stomps off home story of how the Administration is "punishing" those who abide by international law and think we should, too. Could we be acting any more childishly?

And, speaking of childish, the redistricting story is not, as I feared, a dead issue. In fact, the Washington Post has an interesting article about how frequent, almost constant redistricting could become the new order of business. The Republicans are always opening these cans o'worms and then screaming for mommy when things backfire, so be prepared to hear a lot of Republican weeping and wailing when the balance changes and things get districted against them.

Inside Afghanistan, The warlords are reaping the spoils as many of us have been saying for months, while the Afghans await the promised aid.

Also, to no one's surprised, George Bush is revealed as an ignorant jackass.

"America has never been an empire," George W. Bush said in the 2000 presidential campaign. "We may be the only great power in history that had the chance and refused, preferring greatness to power and justice to glory."
That's just semantics, buddy. We own or control territories all over the world and we're currently trying to use our pocketbooks to whip everyone else into line. (I don't know why, but in the context of recent events, that just pissed me off. And, happily enough, it pissed off Kal, the reporter, too. A brief history of the USofA's empire building is provided.)

Sheesh. I mean, I know I make jokes about it. Most of us make jokes about it. But they're starting to research the subject and it is, in fact, starting to look as though rabidly homophobic men are, in fact, hiding their sexual attraction to their own gender. (Via Digby.)

A smile or two

Whoever is behind Samizdata has built a blog glossary.

Not even the freepers are comfortable with Bush's bring 'em on speech inviting terrorists to come after coalition troops. (Personally, I think a man who begged, borrowed, and hid to avoid the possibility of having to face the enemy should be a little more careful about the rhetoric he uses.)

And this is sad. We don't have cricket here, baseball is as close as we come, but if we did, I'd support it. Cricket is a totally cool game.

For those of you in the USofA (or those who just like to dink around on your computers), go here and click your little hearts out.

Have a safe and happy Fourth!

Posted by AnneZook at 09:08 AM | Comments (0)
July 02, 2003
Old News Today

Anyone who still cares about redistricting in Texas (I'd like to see some outcry about this, people) can take a look at what the Texas Democratic Women had to say about one of the "public meetings" they attended. (And read Josh Marshall at Talking points, linked over there on the left. He's still following the story.)

Also, John Moyers, over at TomPaine.com, is calling names. My mother says it's not nice to call names. I haven't asked my mother yet what she thinks of the liar in the White House today, though. She might give me an exemption.

Is Democratic infighting going to bring them down in '04?

I don't know. The "centrist" Democrats have a point in that anyone who wants the White House needs swing voters, but while they're making that point, they're missing another one which is, to paraphrase Nader, if there's no difference between them, what does it matter which party you vote for?

I've been thinking about this one for a while. (Well, obviously, since the article is almost two weeks old.) I read about a study that suggested that the majority of the voters who have failed to turn out in the last few presidential elections have been Democrats. Maybe if those Democrats could be enticed back to the voting booth, we wouldn't need the "swing" voters quite so much?

I mean, clearly, these days, it matters quite a lot who you vote for. If the Dems shuffled to the right in the late 80s and in the 90s, well, it's pretty clear that the Republicans did the same thing with some, I think, pretty scary results so even a "centrist" Democrat is a much healthier choice for this country and, indeed, the world.

Politicians and the Media

I've been contemplating Dean's Dilemma by Howard Kurtz. First, let me say that I view with skepticism the pictures of candidates we're given by most of the media. We've all been watching media coverage for the last couple of years if not longer and we all know how distorted a view of reality you can get if you don't read carefully, and widely.

Also, I'm not surprised by Dean's hostility toward the press at all. It's the same kind of hostility you see from most politicians any more. As far as I'm concerned, the press mostly deserves the hostility they're facing.

Kurtz quotes The Note:

"You can't help but believe that the standard of conduct and coverage to which Bill Clinton was held was too high, and the one for George W. Bush is too low.

"We don't know where the bar SHOULD be placed by the political and White House press corps to hold each and every president (and candidate) accountable to the public interest, but we DO know it belongs somewhere between Point B(ush) and Point C(linton).

"For the first time in The Note's career, Democrats have joined Republicans in the belief that the press is systematically biased against them, and agitate everyday to try to change things (or work around their media enemies).

"The Bush White House tends to leave any griping about press bias to surrogates, while in public, led by Ari Fleischer, they adopt a faux 'the press will do its job/we'll do ours' posture."

I think they're right. When push comes to shove, the press isn't biased liberally or conservatively. They're just biased. When a politician hits the public eye, 99 times out of a hundred, the press goes into a feeding frenzy. Sometimes, inexplicably, they don't. Clinton's zipper got enough coverage to reach to the moon and back. Bush's personal life gets a pass, including the way they started cleaning up his language after he took office. (We've all noticed that "official" records of the few interviews he's done and the few press conferences he's held no longer contain those forays into syntax hell. I doubt that most of us believe he somehow magically developed the ability to speak in coherent sentences.)

Also. For the record? I read the transcript of that infamous Meet The Press segment and I didn't read anything that sounded like the disaster some people are citing. Jake Tapper from the NYT agrees with me.

Republicans and the media

I'm just saying, okay? The U.K.'s Economist thought the sun rose and set on Ronald Reagan. They're old-money conservatives. Nothing neo about these guys at all. So, when they start slapping around other conservatives for going over the line, you know those other conservatives must have really gone off the deep end.

The Media and the Media

Editor and Publisher is, humorously enough, asking quite sincerely if the press fell down on the job before the invasion of Iraq. It seems to be occurring to some people that maybe a few more questions should have been asked about WMD. (I disagree that the press wasn't critical enough. They were exceptionally critical of anti-war protestors, for instance. I just think they spent too much of their time and energy on the wrong subject. As they so often do.)

I mean, it seems to be an open secret today that we know so much about the weapons Iraq might have had because we sold or gave most of those weapons to them. On the other hand, as I mentioned in a previous entry but am too lazy to go look up the reference for right now, we also took out every known site of WMD potential while Clinton was in office, so even those reporters who remembered us selling Weapons of Much Destruction to Iraq should have remembered that we also made a serious attempt to destroy those that the U.N. inspectors didn't find and destroy (a sizeable amount).

It's just a mystery why most of the national media was unable to indulge in a little critical thought in advance of the invasion. Aren't we all just puzzled to death by this one?

Paranoia Corner

What in the heck do you suppose this is?

Welcome to The US HomeGuard.
The Citizen Corps that's helping keep our country safe.
Our citizen corps is a new kind of National Guard composed of ordinary citizens who serve their country working from home over any Internet connection. The US HomeGuard is open to adult US Citizens. Learn more...
But there isn't any more. Just a request that you sign up and a promise you'll be told all about it later.

Other Stuff

Everyone is linking to Welcome to the Machine but I haven't had time to read it thoroughly yet, so I don't have any comments except to say that none of this surprised me a bit. I will say that the first time I glanced at the article, my reaction was a shrug. As so frequently happens to me, I can't remember where I read it, but I know I read about Republicans muscling their candidates into lobbying positions a year or two ago. Might have been pre-9/11, even. Groups and corporations were told that if they wanted their concerns addressed, they'd hire lobbyists friendly to this Administration.

Also, for a smile (as always), go read Mark Morford on Your Vegan Holistic President Sure an odd, spiritual guy like Dennis Kucinich doesn't have a chance in hell. But it sure is nice to dream

Posted by AnneZook at 09:34 AM | Comments (0)
June 30, 2003
Mourning

For Kate, of course. A loss, indeed.

Makes me tired

Rove, no doubt seeing Bush's numbers tumbling, nudges his boy to the right for more wing-nut support.

And Nader, who publicly said he wasn't going to spoiler 2004 because getting Bush out of the White House was more important than showing his, Nader's, utter contempt for all things political in the USofA (okay, I probably did a little paraphrasing and extrapolating, but we know that's how he feels), might change his mind. (Seriously. I have nothing against Nader who has done some fine things in his life, but why is his party concluding, a year before the serious run-down to the vote, that the Dems aren't going to field a winning candidate? What's the rush?)

(Okay, I'll tell you what their rush is. As a nonviable third party, they're going to lose a lot of momentum if they bypass a presidential election. Apparently they're testing the idea that keeping their party alive is of more importance than consolidating the Left in 2004. Which is naturally their choice.)

Guns and Ammo

Gen. Clark, via Meet the Press (excerpts also available via a link at The Smirking Chimp) reminds us of Desert Fox. No, it wasn't a Bush initiative in the Middle East. It was that Zipper of Evil, the Right's biggest nightmare, Bill Clinton who struck, and by Clark's valuation, struck hard at all known WMD sites in Iraq. That's probably why we're not actually finding much now but it's also a reminder of just why this invasion was so unnecessary. (Of course, by questioning the Administration's methods and motives, I realize I've become part of the problem but I'm surprisingly okay with that.)

I found the transcription of the interview interesting in itself. There are things I never thought about before that I now find myself contemplating.

For instance, why does NATO have troops? I don't approve of NATO having troops, an idea that has occurred to me vaguely in the past but is now becoming increasingly important to me. I don't like this trend toward every group and their buddies forming an army, okay? How many blasted armies do those idiots in Washing think this country can support, anyhow? (And is there a term for a country that has not only imperial ambitions, but want to impose military imperialism on the rest of the world?)

(And what kind of hubris contemplates the countries of the world sending money and troops to use to be "led and trained" by us and, no doubt, used however we see fit? There are moments when I'm not sure which I find more frightening, the current Administration or the voters who watch what these guys are doing and approve of it.)

I wish this Administration would get the hate off of the U.N. I think it's quite suitable that the rest of the world doesn't fall into line behind the USofA. We're wrong a lot of the time, okay? A lot of the time. Also, the U.N., like our government and the governments of many countries, is a compromise solution and compromises aren't going to make everyone happy. Such an organization can hope, at best, to make everyone equally unhappy, and that's as it should be. Compromises are about balance.

Just because we find ourselves with a surplus of missiles and an out-of-control war department doesn't mean we have to find those people some place to use their bullets. We have to stop forming a new army every time the ones available don't do just what we want. Talk about your conspicuous consumerism....

Other

I'm grateful that Josh Marshall is still on the story of the Texas redistricting. I'm bitter, but not surprised, that the fickle national media is now ignoring. it.

Also, I'm assuming that by now you're all read and absorbed Michael Totten's fascination comparison of conservatives and liberals and the way they approach international events? I don't agree with all of his points, but his central tenet of "builders" versus "defenders" has the ring of truth.

And I do understand why everyone's linking to the Krugman column pointing out the trend of this country toward one-party rule. Krugman paints a scary picture of a scenario that could well come to pass.

Nor do I doubt that the Right (in their role as "defenders" as listed above) would be quite pleased to build a Washington infrastructure obedient to their agenda, whether they were in power or not. I think that most of us on the "Left" would approve of doing the same on our own behalf but, of course, the difference is that we're altruistic and noble and those other guys are evil, larcenous, reactionaries, so that would be okay.

Sins of the Media

I am, as many of us are, becoming increasingly aware of the part that the media plays in keeping us misinformed on events. For anyone else interested in the topic, I might post a link to an interesting story from time to time. (This one's about right-wing hate-mongering in the name of profit.)

Posted by AnneZook at 11:07 AM | Comments (0)