Saturday, April 10, 2004

What the Conservative Blogs Say 

Or a few of them. I did a tour of this odd land Friday night, and decided to pick one topic likely to be on all conservative political blogs to study their approaches. Condoleezza Rice's testimony seemed a topic that would be covered. Here is what three popular conservative blogs say about her testimony:

1. Instapundit:

ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Missy Nelson wonders if Time pulled an OJ and darkened Condi's skin for this It looks like they've cranked the contrast up in order to produce an unflattering photograph, but beyond that, who knows? They've certainly demonstrated in the past that they're not above this sort of thing.

Deconstruct that!

2. Andrew Sullivan:

CONDI: What is there to say? We have a frigging war on and the major networks all run this? I have nothing to add. Except to say: we have a war on. We used to win them before we engaged in elaborate blame-games as to who was asleep at the wheel when they broke out.

Deconstruct that!

3. The Volokh Conspiracy:

Hardball" Bingo: Condoleezza Rice is going to testify tomorrow. Many people (myself included) will be interested in what she has to say and have not already made up their minds about her and her testimony. But many others have made up their minds -- notably, the partisan talking heads who populate shows like "Hardball." They already have their talking points in their heads, I'd bet. Moreover, they have better reason than usual to write their scripts in advance: My guess is that there will be few, if any, surprises tomorrow. The short format (ten questioners dividing up 2 hours and 30 minutes) doesn't allow for any person to pursue one line of questioning at length, and Rice is too well-prepared and too poised to say something really stupid.

There was no follow-up by today's date. Deconstruct that!

I'd say that these bloggers didn't think Condi did very well. If Andrew Sullivan believes that Iraq would be a more favorable topic for the current administration, things must be a lot worse for Bush people than I thought from my admittedly much more lefty angle.

Speaking of my lefty angle, I'm not a real lefty (like in communist, for example), or even a born-again one. I'm the balancer of scales: if this country ever turns to the extreme left, expect me screeching and shouting arm-in-arm with Rush and Ann! No, cancel that. There are limits to everything in this world.

Thursday, April 08, 2004

Listening To Condi 

All of this reminds me of a personal story.

My sister calls me from North Carolina on a fairly regular basis. My niece (18 months old) will almost always act like she wants to get on the phone with me by saying, "talk?".

It's funny though. When my sister gives her the phone, she doesn't say anything. I just hear her breathing and know from the background noise that she's distracted by Elmo. She will usually finally say only, "buh-bye", after my sister tells her that if she isn't going to say anything then she needs to give the phone back.

Well, one time last week this happened but this time when my sister acted like she was going to take the phone and told her she needed to talk, my niece proceeded to start walking around saying, "talk, talk, talk-talk, talk, talk..."

Yeah, that was funny and a foreshadowing of the smartass to come...but it reminds me of what it feels like to be on the other end of listening to anyone in the Bush Administration. I get a lot of "talk, talk, talk-talk, talk, talk...", but rarely feel like they're really saying anything.

Out of the mouths of babes.

What is best for Rwanda 

The international community fails when it comes to giving a voice to its less powerful of its members. It is no secret that the strong get their say -- and their way -- but this deficiency becomes all the more exasperating when it comes to acknowledging and listening to victims as the authorities on their own conflicts. As I have argued earlier, this is also happening in Iraq, where the debate over the country's future has stayed in upper levels, and no real devolution of power to the people has occurred. Rwanda is a no less painful example.

Joseph Sebarenzi, a survivor, has lost his parents, seven brothers, and many members of his extended family in the genocide. While in parliament he fought against corruption in government, and after an assassination attempt he was forced to resign and go into exile. "Yes, I am a victim of genocide. But we cannot judge one million people -- no jail is big enough. Retributive justice will just lead to another cycle of killing," he says.

More on Sebarenzi and the need for Rwanda genocide victims to be heard

Wednesday, April 07, 2004

What is best for Iraq 

"In Falluja, a reporter for the Associated Press saw cars carrying the dead and wounded from the Abdul-Aziz al-Samarrai mosque, following the US air strike.

The US Marine colonel said his troops attacked the mosque complex because Sunni insurgents were using the site to fire on US forces with small arms and rocket-propelled grenades." (From BBC News)

This isn't good -- an understatement. If even during the Middle Ages someone could call for sanctuary within a church, shouldn't mosques, churches and synagogues be off limits for bombing as well? Not only does such bombing represent relentless revenge, but it also plants further seeds for anti-US hatred among those who feel their religion has been disrespected. I think we have seen enough of what blind retaliation has to offer us.

Revenge isn't something new to us. It's as old as humanity itself, "an eye for an eye and tooth for a tooth." But if we look to history for lessons, we see that resentment goes a long way. If it is allowed to fester and escalate, it will not die with a generation, or with the memories of a past war. As in Germany after WWI, when many people feel unjustly treated, they can provide a fresh base for violent populist causes.

So what can be done in Iraq? Well, maybe -- just maybe -- giving Iraqis a public voice of their own. While the coalition has been so busy debating what is best for Iraq, no one's really asked Iraqis what they want.

More at The New World Blogger

Tuesday, April 06, 2004

Word of the day: "Flip-flop." 

It seems that everyone's favorite puppetmeister, Big Dick Cheney, actually proposed legislation "to create a new import tax that would have caused the price of oil, and ultimately the price of gasoline paid by drivers, to soar by billions of dollars per year." Didn't I just see a big ol' honkin' BushCoTM ad the other day lying about accusing John Kerry of having done that?

The story originally broke in the New York Times. But wait. It gets better:
"Let us rid ourselves of the fiction that low oil prices are somehow good for the United States," Mr. Cheney, who is now vice president, said shortly after introducing the legislation.

In case you missed it the first time, let me highlight the money shot from this tidbit here. Quoth Big Dick: "Let us rid ourselves of the fiction that low oil prices are somehow good for the United States." That's right. The Vice Commissar in Charge of Oil himself, arguing that low oil prices were Not Good for the United States.

More at Musing's musings.

What Are Those Scum Doing Here? 

By now, everyone's been around the bend on this issue with the four dead Mercenaries in Fallujah. And Yes, I said Mercenaries, not "Contractors". Contractors are who you hire when you want to add a deck to your house. Mercenaries are who you hire when you want to invade a sovereign nation under dubious pretexts and steal all their oil. Playing Orweallian name games doesn't magically make the cluster-fuck in Mesopotamia any better, no matter what the wingers might say. The Iraqis now officially hate us and they have every right to. We invaded their country for no good reason, and then hired goons who thought the regular Military wasn't bad-ass enough for them and decided to answer that add in the back of Soldier of Fortune magazine:

Illegitimate Politico seeks amoral anarcho-capitalists for long term "Contract Work."
Military background a plus. Must have own gun, rocket launcher. All the
gold and Arab girls you can carry. No Homos need apply. Call 202-456-1414. Ask for Dick.

~Read the rest at The Invisible Library

Sunday, April 04, 2004

The VeepStakes: Is McCain in Play? 

SoonerThought has the lowdown from the NY Times.