Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Blogging From A Cubicle, Wednesday

Following are my quick hit takes on what grabbed my attention in the last 24 hours.

Frank Gaffney went on Hardball and made some of the most outlandish claims ever heard on that program. Whatever it is that triggers the synapses in Matthews brain to cut off a guest out of disgust or disbelief at what that guest is spouting off about is just a mystery to me. But that's besides the point. Here is Gaffney claiming that Blackwater is populated by ex military members because... there is no room for them in today's military:
Most of these people were until recently in the military, doing these jobs in uniform. They‘re doing them now, having gotten out because the United States military can‘t use them in the uniform at the moment. They‘re too small a force.
Is it just me or do other people who have a very simple grasp of the fundamentals in today's world feel embarrassed when they hear someone make such an obviously inane statement. I don't even feel the need to document the true state of affairs with the services scraping the barrel and dropping their standards in order to fill their ranks. Just turn on any sporting event and let the recruiting advertisements put the lie to Gaffney's statement.

President Bush went to the Chamber of Commerce in Lancaster Pa, where he had a very odd perspective on democracy, when it comes to the Palestinians anyway.
I believe that in order for there to be peace, there needs to be a Palestinian democracy committed to living side by side with an Israeli democracy in peace.
Just who is the President of the United States to determine what democracy in Palestine ought to look like. The hard and cold facts are these: The Palestinians were allowed to vote, in an election which this administration insisted proceed, and they voted Hamas into power. This echoes all the other elections ever held by Arab nations in which the people always vote for candidates and parties which oppose western ideals and Israel in particular. Democracy in Palestine, by definition, means a government which is opposed to Israels existence.

Arabian governments which ally with the United States are invariably run by strong men and one party rule. True democracy in Palestine nearly guarantees further conflict. For there to be peace what Bush should be pushing for is the example set by Pakistan and Egypt. A strong central government which rules by decree, not reflecting the will of the people, and allied with western interests. Do not mistake me on this either. I would love to see a Palestinian democracy which saw things our way. I'm just being realistic here...

My final shot on this is to wonder at the efficacy of the President of the United States, especially when that is this President, lecturing the Palestinians on what policies their democracy should adhere too. How effective would that be if the tables were reversed? Would George Bush take any heed if a world leader lectured him that democracy's should not attack nations which have not attacked them first? I would say that it is the very nature of our own democracy which led us to the war in Iraq. When George Bush was selected in 2000 this nation was set on a path to this war, which Bush wanted since long before the campaign.

In the same speech President Bush said:
[P]robably the most disappointing thing about my experience in Washington is the harshness of the discourse; is the zero-sum attitude. And I've tried to do my part by holding people with respect and to -- you know, talking about people in such a way that it doesn't degrade the process.
This is a theme the right has hit on quite a lot recently: The tone in our national politics has gotten too nasty, and by implication it is the fault of those who do not see things the right way. But with this quote about trying to hold people with respect, the President is trying to remake very recent history. Exactly one year ago Bush was touring the nation postively savaging Democrats. Saying that Democrats winning was the same as terrorists winning, and America losing. Saying that hardly mitigated "the harshness of the discourse". The same applies to Bush's allies. Rush Limbaugh tells his listeners that service members who do not agree with him are phony soldiers. Later Rush says of a wounded veteran who doesn't hold the correct outlook that the left strapped lies to his belt and sent him to walk into as many innocent people as he could. How utterly craven of Rush to draw that hideous comparison between free speech and suicide bombers in respect to a service member wounded in the cause of fighting those who use suicide bombers against us.

If the President really were concerned with the level of debate he would call off his attack dogs. Rush is just symptomatic of a larger drive in the rhetoric of the right, from O'Reilly and the rest of them calling Media Matters a criminal enterprise and labeling Daily Kos like a nazi hate site. They take their cues from this administration and there can be no mistaking this fact. Despite the President now trying to claim the high road when it comes to the tone in Washington, it is right there on record. He is the one tying his opponents to terrorists, and trying to pretend that he is respectful and above the fray is not credible. But then again, whatever is when it comes from this disaster of a President?

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