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The Zell Miller Speech

The polarization during this election season makes me lonely. There are few centrists left. Most have hitched their wagons to one partisan train or another. Hardly any honest dialogue remains.

When I see other people of a moderate persuasion writing sentences like these by Matthew Yglesias I feel a horrible sinking feeling that makes me want to stop blogging until mid-November. (I won’t stop, but I do wish I could hit a fast-forward button.)

Here is Matt on the speech by Democrat-in-name-only Zell Miller at the Republican National Convention:

I don’t believe I’ve ever heard a more disgusting speech delivered in the English language. The fact that I couldn’t see a single person on the floor who seemed to feel anything less than the utmost enthusiasm for that lunacy was, well, a bit disturbing.

Come on, Matt. I have my own problems with the speech (see below) but it wasn’t anywhere near the worst ever. Have you not heard any of the hysterial speeches at anti-war rallies lately? Don’t tell me you have forgotten about those. Want some more recent examples from the left? Here’s one for you:

U.S. Rep. Major Owens, a New York Democrat, warned a crowd of feminist protesters that the Bush administration is taking America “into a snake pit of fascism.”

Owens also said the Bush administration “spits on democracy” and is leading the country down a path reminiscent of “Nazi Germany.”

And here is another:

A featured performer at a National Organization for Women rally accused President Bush of having “savagely raped ” women “over and over” by allegedly stealing the 2000 presidential election.

Poet Molly Birnbaum read aloud to a crowd of feminists gathered in New York’s Central Park on Wednesday night, as part of a NOW event dubbed “Code Red: Stop the Bush Agenda Rally.”

“Imagine a way to erase that night four years ago when you (President Bush) savagely raped every pandemic woman over and over with each vote you got, a thrust with each state you stole,” Birnbaum said from the podium. (If something is pandemic, it affects many people or a number of countries.)

Those speeches, Matt, were in English.

It’s not just the left that can be nasty. Some of the speeches at the 1992 Republican National Convention in Houston were a lot more disgusting than anything Zell Miller said yesterday. Pat Robertson and Pat Buchanan prevented me from being a Republican for a decade all by themselves. I felt vaguely like a Democrat then, but I had no real party affiliation one way or another until I heard those two screwjobs declare war on their own country to roaring applause. I’m a bit older than Matt. Perhaps he doesn’t remember what it was like to be a non-Republican twelve years ago. It was, at least for me, one heck of a serious no-brainer.

Today it is much less so. Like Zell Miller, I’ve been seriously torqued at the Democratic Party. But I’m no Zell Miller. I really don’t get him. Why isn’t he a Republican? He seems to me a lot more right-wing than other Republicans like Rudy Giuliani, John McCain, and Arnold Schwartzenegger. Granted they are all liberal Republicans, but they are still Republicans.

I don’t want to pick apart every sentence Zell Miller uttered. I do agree with some of what he said. He gave John Kerry one heck of a shellacking on military spending, for example. But in other areas he completely let himself go.

That’s the most dangerous outsourcing of all. This politician [John Kerry] wants to be leader of the free world.

Free for how long?

Please. Who, exactly, is going to make the world unfree? France? Don’t make me laugh. Al Qaeda? Even if they nuke New York City they won’t be able to enslave the United States.

One of the strangest things about Zell Miller’s speech is his trouble with the English language.

Motivated more by partisan politics than by national security, today’s Democratic leaders see America as an occupier, not a liberator.

And nothing makes this Marine madder than someone calling American troops occupiers rather than liberators.

Get a grip, Miller.

Of course the American and British militaries liberated Iraq. Removing a totalitarian regime cannot plausibly be called anything but liberation unless another similar regime is installed in its place. But let’s not kid ourselves. There are plenty of people in Fallujah who don’t feel liberated. They sang in their Saddamite chains. It’s horrible, but it’s true. Keeping them out of power required a military occupation. You can’t spin that away, and there isn’t any point in trying to do so. Occupations are sometimes necessary. Getting prickly and defensive about it prevents any serious discussion of the subject.

Keeping Shi’ite religious goons like Moqtada al-Sadr out of power similarly requires an occupation, even though the insurgents in question recognize that they have been liberated from the secular tyranny that predated that occupation. Liberation and occupation are not necessarily exclusive. What the American soldiers are not is colonists. They aren’t moving their families to Baghdad.

President Roosevelt, in his speech that summer [of 1940], told America “all private plans, all private lives, have been in a sense repealed by an overriding public danger.”

Franklin Roosevelt is by far my favorite president of the 20th Century. But the man wasn’t Moses, and I’m not going to praise everything he said just because he was the one who said it.

My private life has not been and will not be repealed. Don’t any Republicans find that quote creepy? That’s the kind of crazy talk that makes up Kim Jong Il’s lunatic North Korean “juche” ideology.

I won’t be misunderstood here. Obviously FDR was not a totalitarian Stalinist. He certainly wouldn’t be my favorite president since Lincoln had that been the case. And Zell Miller is no Stalinist, either, nor anything like it. But come on. It would be scarcely possible for Miller or anyone else to find a worse quote from FDR to apply to the modern era. It really does bring to mind Christopher Hitchens’ description of life in North Korea where everyhing that is not absolutely prohibited is absolutely compulsory. Because that’s what you get when all private plans and private lives are repealed. I know very well that Pyongyang isn’t what Roosevelt or Miller had in mind, but that is what those words point to. Recycling them does make me wonder about Zell Miller’s instincts. I just can’t imagine favorably quoting something like that. I would have to become a very different person in order to do so.

But don’t waste your breath telling that to the leaders of my party today. In their warped way of thinking America is the problem, not the solution. [Emphasis added.]

Whoa there, Jackson. John Kerry is not Noam Chomsky. And John Edwards is no Michael Moore.

There are plenty of people on the left who think America is the problem, that America is eeeevil, that America is the new fascist police state. I’ve beaten them over the head with a rhetorical club on this blog for almost two years now. They are the most irritating people in the entire country, in part because plenty of them live in my neighborhood and I have to put up with their bullshit on a regular basis. I’ve also taken aim at mainstream liberals who refuse to call them out on the carpet. I expect a blowhard like Rush Limbaugh to make no distinction between a mainstream Democrat and a radical wingnut, but no one, and I mean no one, who is a Democrat himself has any excuse for not getting this right. If “the leaders of the Democratic Party” were as Zell Miller described them, Ralph Nader would be out of a job and Noam Chomsky would be a senator instead of a crank on the margins at Z Magazine.

Miller’s argument with Chris Matthews on Hardball was similarly offputting. (Click here to see the video.)

He makes some good points, but he’s still a bully and a loose cannon. Chris Matthews is not generally known for amiability or grace under pressure, but I think he handled Zell Miller’s steamrolling admirably. Miller can’t hold down a conversation with somebody who disagrees with him even when that person is ignoring the insults and the bullying. Matthews even professed admiration for Zell Miller, yet Miller still couldn’t resist threats of physical violence. He seems to have been knocked clean off his rocker by hatred for his own party. He’s been seized by Bush-hatred inverted.

He ought to be my kind of Democrat since we’re both alienated from the party for some of the same reasons. But he’s becoming a hallucinatory right-winger, incapable of grasping straightforward objective reality. It is painful for me to watch. The Democrats are a bit nuts right now, but it simply won’t do to match their craziness and hysteria with more of the same.

Zell Miller might have made me more likely to vote for George W. Bush by presenting a reasonable case. Instead I’ll be stuck cobbling together my own “liberal case for Bush” and seeing if it holds up enough for me to run with it. What Miller is doing is acting as a kind of anti-role model for me. Note to self. Don’t be like Zell.

UPDATE: Matthew Yglesias responds. And for the record, Matt, I do not think you are deranged. You’re on my blogroll, after all.

UPDATE: When Laura Bush was asked what she thought of Zell Miller’s speech she said “I don’t know that we share that point of view.”

The Drive Back

Well, I’m back home again. Sean and I drove 5,350 miles in eight days. I don’t want to go anywhere near my car right now, but the next time I do have to drive someplace it won’t seem far. Mexico’s Sea of Cortez is only one fifth that distance. Big deal, no sweat, I can cruise on down there any time.

I hardly know the first thing about photography. I’m happy with a few of my nature shots, but I can’t seem to figure out how to take decent pictures of cities. Minneapolis and Chicago are both beautiful cities and I took plenty of pictures of each, but somehow the pictures just aren’t working for me.

I really do wish my Chicago pictures turned out since that was our destination. And what a fantastic destination it was. I used to live within three-hours driving distance, so the city was not new to me. But I missed the place because I hadn’t seen it for years. Sean had never been there before. And since he’s a graduate student in University of Oregon’s architecture program, not having been to Chicago was a mistake that needed correcting.

I was afraid I wouldn’t like Chicago as much anymore because I’ve been to Europe and New York in the meantime. But I have to say I still think Chicago is one of the greatest cities on Earth. It really is an architectural masterpiece. If Europe had a towering vertical city it would look like Chicago, not like New York. And Chicago’s sophistication and cosmopolitanism (people from every country in the world live there, just as they do in New York and Los Angeles) easily rivals that of any other world class city.

I’d go so far to say that out of all the American cities only New York beats Chicago, and only just barely. Every time I visit that city I have a hard time understanding why most people on the coasts overlook it. What is the deal, anyway, with the coastal snobs sniffing at “flyover country?” Is it because the Midwest is flat? Because it grows corn and has cows?

If you think San Francisco, Los Angeles or New York is the center of the universe, you’ll be shocked by what you see in Chicago if you ever decide to visit. Chicago makes everywhere else — and I do mean everywhere — seem painfully, even brutally, provincial.

Some day I hope to figure out urban photography. In the meantime, here are some of the places we saw on the drive home.

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Here is the the Iowa River just north of Iowa City. The Midwestern scenery may not be spectacular due to the lack of topography, but it is pretty and I won’t let anyone tell me otherwise.

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One of the rolling green hills of Iowa, of which there are millions.

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The Iowa prairie.

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The trees of the Midwest vanish in Western Nebraska where the rain shadow of the Rockies casts an arid pall over the plains.

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Nebraska has a different vibe from the lush Midwestern states around the Great Lakes. It feels slightly, but not quite, Western. And it’s a lot more conservative.

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Look at the flatness! Some parts of Western Nebraska are just a gigantic featureless ground.

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Eerie hills in Utah. It looks like God torched some sand dunes with a blow torch.

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Arches National Park, north of Moab, Utah.

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Utah is like another world. I enjoyed the drive through Colorado, but it looks so much like my Oregon I’m a little hard to impress. But I can’t tell you how many times I said “wow” while driving through Utah. I need to go back and spend some quality time in the desert.

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Here is one of the arches in Arches National Park. This thing is enormous, much bigger than it looks in the picture.

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And here is the view through the window of the arch to the desert beyond.

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A sunset near Castle Valley, Utah.

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The Great Salt Lake Desert. I heard distant thumping explosions from the military proving ground as I snapped this picture.

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Nevada desolation.

Blogging While Driving

Check it out, I’m blogging while driving.

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Okay, I’m not actually driving. Sean is driving and I’m the passenger. But I took this picture with my digital camera, “developed” it by uploading it onto my laptop, and published it here with my cell phone modem, all without getting out the car or even slowing down.

We’re in Colorado heading toward Utah. Stay tuned for a lengthier post including pictures, commentary, and even – yes – opinion.

In Chicago

Sean and I are in Chicago. We will be at the Signature Lounge on the 96th floor of the John Hancock building (875 N. Michigan Avenue) at 10:00 tonight. If you live in Chicagoland, come on down – er, up – if you’re in the mood for some conversation and the consumption of adult beverages.

From Idaho to Minnesota

Don’t try driving through Yellowstone National Park on the way to somewhere else, not even on a Tuesday. It can’t be done. I don’t even want to think about how many hours that “little” detour took me and Sean yesterday. The idea was to take a quick spin through the park on our way to Rapid City, South Dakota from Idaho Falls. But by 5:00 in the evening we were only 200 miles from where we started at 7:00 that morning. It was two hours before dark and we had 500 miles to go.

Our schedule was utterly shot. There was no hope of getting anywhere near South Dakota, let alone to Rapid City and the Badlands, before dark. So we just decided to heck with the plan. We would drive until we got tired and see how far we could get. We made it all the way to Minneapolis. (Not before dark, though.)

I don’t remember South Dakota. We blew through it on autopilot and cruise-control. Granted, it was dark for much of the way, but still. South Dakota, like Nebraska, is an enormous chore state. It seems to go on forever and ever and ever and there is almost no visual evidence of progress. How could Sean and I be so mentally zonked that we could forget that experience? We made that trip today. I still shudder at the memory of driving on I-80 across Nebraska ten years ago.

Anyway, I have some photo evidence of Eastern Idaho and Wyoming for you. I did snap one picture of South Dakota in an apparently brief moment of lucidity and awareness.

We’re in Minneapolis now. Tomorrow we have to leave, but I don’t want to.

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Morning mist rises out of a valley in Eastern Idaho.

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The most beautiful place in Idaho — Swan Valley.

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The Grand Tetons form the western wall of breathtaking Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

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Wyoming is almost totally empty of people. There is no urban sprawl here.

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You can’t speed through Wyoming the way you can South Dakota.

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We paid money to get into Yellowstone, but the free scenery was best.

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The sky in South Dakota is bigger and more open than here in Northern Wyoming, but this scenery frames it better.

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The Missouri River winds through South Dakota.

Postcards from the Road

Today my friend Sean and I drove 750 miles from Portland to middle-of-nowhere Idaho just shy of the border near Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

Here’s what we saw.

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Mt. Hood looms above Trillium Lake.

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The forest around Trillium Lake.

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After crossing the Cascade Mountains we entered Oregon’s Outback. Most people don’t know it, but half of Oregon really is desert. This photo was taken in the middle of the state just after the forest vanished.

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Malheur County, Oregon, the most remote and least densely populated place in the lower 48 states. Outback, indeed.

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Somewhere in Southern Idaho.

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Somewhere else in Southern Idaho, near Pocatello, as the last rays of sunlight splashed on the mountains.

Tomorrow, eastward!

Will I post more photos? Or will I have enough time for the regularly-scheduled opinionated blather? Stay tuned to find out.

Linking Johann

It has been too long since I’ve linked to anything by Johann Hari, one of the best journalists around. So today I am linking him twice.

I haven’t been paying a lot of attention to Iraq’s Ayatollah Sistani, but he has and what he reports is pretty encouraging.

Before the war, some of us argued that, in a Saddam-free Iraq, democratic strains of Islamic thought would begin to emerge. We were right – but the violence has been so terrible that nobody noticed. Reuel Marc Gerecht, an expert in Shia political thought, says that Sistani’s philosophical arguments for democracy are “almost unprecedented in their scope. He speaks the language of inalienable rights: one man, one vote, and a constitution written by elected representatives and approved by popular referendum. Sistani has managed to launch a project that Muslim progressives have only ever dreamed of: establishing a democratic political order sanctioned and even protected by the clergy.” Here are the slow, tentative roots of the Islamic Reformation so badly needed in the Middle East.

Read the rest. There’s plenty more where that came from.

The arguments between the left and the right don’t interest me as much as the arguments within the left and within the right. Especially since the latest across-the-aisle mudslinging-fest is about Vietnam – not my fight. (Is it really too much to ask to have a presidential campaign about the current war in the current century? I guess with these two idiot candidates the answer is yes.) Even if Vietnam were my fight, there’s nothing quite like grabbing a bowl of popcorn and watching the neoconservatives flail the paleocons.

Likewise, I prefer to read about a face-off between a brilliant leftist like Johann Hari and a nutcase leftist like the former terrorist Antonio Negri, co-author of “Empire,” the new Communist Manifesto.

In the late 1980s, the Italian President Francesco Cossiga described Antonio Negri as “a psychopath” who “poisoned the minds of an entire generation of Italy’s youth”. Negri has been accused of murdering Italy’s former Prime Minister, Aldo Moro, and of being il grande vecchio – the grand old man – behind the Red Brigades, one of the most notorious terror groups to attack post-war Europe until al-Qa’ida. In prison he co-wrote an anti-globalisation bible, Empire. Now he’s out, and he’s heading to London. I am waiting patiently at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, in the shadow of Buckingham Palace, to have my mind poisoned.

Don’t just read the teaser, read the whole thing.

Swift Boat Psychodrama

I haven’t written about the Swift Boat Veterans controversy for a number of reasons. One, I hate the Vietnam War. Two, that war ended when I was three years old and we are in a different historical era twice removed. Three, I can’t stand mudslinging politics on this level. Four, I don’t have the patience to sift through the Andes of accumulated hack pieces to figure out who is and who isn’t a liar. Five, although undecided voters make up the target audience, participating in the game is for partisans.

I also have a reason number Six. I am neither a veteran, nor a Baby Boomer. I don’t feel the need to argue about the 1960s until I’m “eating” through a feeding tube in a nursing home. I have no right to harrumph that George W. Bush, like me, never saw combat. Nor is it my place to say John Kerry’s wounds weren’t bloody enough, as Bob Dole said today. (Bob? Was that really necessary?)

For one reason after another, this is just not my fight. But it’s everywhere now, and it gets harder and harder for me to stay away from it.

Andrew Ferguson in The Weekly Standard has written what I think is the very best piece on this subject. He psychoanalyzes the partisans on both sides of the controversy. The Democrats (according to Feguson) are trying to convince themselves they aren’t wimps. And the Republicans are trying to talk themselves into voting against a war hero in favor of a war dodger instead.

I don’t need to convince myself I’m not a wimp. Nor do I care a rat’s ass that George W. Bush (or Bill Clinton or anyone else) doesn’t have a war record. So I guess I’m the right gut to approve of Ferguson’s theory. I suggest you read it, especially if maybe – just maybe – you think a reality check might do you some good.

(Also, please read the whole thing before sounding off in the comments. Thanks!)

(Hat tip: SoCalJustice)

Howard Dean: Arrogant Cowboy?

I took serious issue with Howard Dean’s stance on the Iraq war, as anyone who has read this blog knows. Nevertheless, I have a lot more respect for him than I have for John Kerry. The man is not, as the JibJab cartoon says about Kerry, a “liberal weiner.” He just thought the Iraq war was dumb. And he said a lot of dumb things about it.

He never did strike me as the kind of guy to back down from a fight. He can be both scrappy and ruthless, necessary traits in the confrontation with Islamofascism.

Did you know he is a columnist at Cagle Cartoons? Yes, he really is. (Hat tip: Armed Liberal.)

In his latest piece he pours a bit of ice-cold realism on the idea that John Kerry (or anyone else) will have an easy time knitting the trans-Atlantic alliance back together again.

Europeans cannot criticize the United States for waging war in Iraq if they are unwilling to exhibit the moral fiber to stop genocide by acting collectively and with decisiveness. President Bush was wrong to go into Iraq unilaterally when Iraq posed no danger to the United States, but we were right to demand accountability from Saddam. We are also right to demand accountability in Sudan. Every day that goes by without meaningful sanctions and even military intervention in Sudan by African, European and if necessary U.N. forces is a day where hundreds of innocent civilians die and thousands are displaced from their land. Every day that goes by without action to stop the Sudan genocide is a day that the anti-Iraq war position so widely held in the rest of the world appears to be based less on principle and more on politics. And every day that goes by is a day in which George Bush’s contempt for the international community, which I have denounced every day for two years, becomes more difficult to criticize.

Bush can still be criticized, of course. But that criticism is meaningless if the behavior of European leaders isn’t taken into account. The trans-Atlantic alliance is cracking up. Some of it is Bush’s fault, some of it is the fault of European leaders, and some of it isn’t anybody’s fault.

Before the onset of the Cold War there was no such thing as any trans-Atlantic alliance. Western Europeans allied themselves with the U.S. through NATO specifically to counter the threat from the post-war Soviet Union. The NATO slogan at the time was “America in, Russia out, and Germany down.” When West Germany mellowed out and the Soviet threat evaporated, the raison d’etre of the alliance no longer existed.

Europeans today tend to feel less threatened than they have in a very long time. That’s because they are less threatened. There is no totalitarian army interested in, let alone capable of, launching a ground invasion.

We Americans, on the other hand, tend to feel more threatened than we have in a very long time. The oceans did not protect us from Al Qaeda as they once protected us from Hitler and Soviet ground forces.

So the fact that today Americans and Europeans tend to have different ideas about the use of military force isn’t surprising or anyone’s fault. It is a natural shift based on changed historical circumstances.

It’s nice to see that Howard Dean, for one, is aware that something bigger is going on here than merely George Bush’s arrogant cowboy style. John Kerry, or whoever else replaces the current president, will have to deal with it. I wouldn’t expect an end to American “unilateralism” just because Bush goes back to Crawford. It started, after all, when Bill Clinton stomped Slobo in Belgrade without consulting the UN at all.

That Wacky Ken Layne

This is hilarious, especially if you have a Web site of any kind.

Comrade Chavez “Owns” Venezuela

Comrade Hugo Chavez and his gun-toting goons think if they win an election it’s okay to murder the opposition. Those comparing him to Chile’s Salvador Allende, stop. The number of people killed by Allende’s government reached a grand total of zero. (Not that such a statistic absolves Allende from any other criticism, but this difference is a rather critical one.)

When Comrade Chavez says he is running Venezuela on the Cuban model and not the Chilean, he’s serious.

Here is Thor L. Halvorssen in the WSJ’s Opinion Journal today.

CARACAS, Venezuela–On Monday afternoon, dozens of people assembled in the Altamira Plaza, a public square in a residential neighborhood here that has come to symbolize nonviolent dissent in Venezuela. The crowd was there to question the accuracy of the results that announced a triumph for President Hugo Chávez in Sunday’s recall referendum.

Within one hour of the gathering, just over 100 of Lt. Col. Chávez’s supporters, many of them brandishing his trademark army parachutist beret, began moving down the main avenue towards the crowd in the square. Encouraged by their leader’s victory, this bully-boy group had been marching through opposition neighborhoods all day. They were led by men on motorcycles with two-way radios. From afar they began to taunt the crowd in the square, chanting, “We own this country now,” and ordering the people in the opposition crowd to return to their homes. All of this was transmitted live by the local news station. The Chávez group threw bottles and rocks at the crowd. Moments later a young woman in the square screamed for the crowd to get down as three of the men with walkie-talkies, wearing red T-shirts with the insignia of the government-funded “Bolivarian Circle,” revealed their firearms. They began shooting indiscriminately into the multitude.

A 61-year-old grandmother was shot in the back as she ran for cover. The bullet ripped through her aorta, kidney and stomach. She later bled to death in the emergency room. An opposition congressman was shot in the shoulder and remains in critical care. Eight others suffered severe gunshot wounds. Hilda Mendoza Denham, a British subject visiting Caracas for her mother’s 80th birthday, was shot at close range with hollow-point bullets from a high-caliber pistol. She now lies sedated in a hospital bed after a long and complicated operation. She is my mother.

In a jarringly similar attack that took place three years ago, the killers were caught on tape and identified as government officials and employees. They were briefly detained–only to be released and later praised by Col. Chávez in his weekly radio show. Their identities are no secret and they walk the streets as free men, despite having shot unarmed civilian demonstrators in cold blood.

There’s plenty more where that came from. Follow the link. I don’t have much more to say about this because I’ve been saying it for the past week.

(Hat tip: Fellow Portland blogger Mellow-Drama.)

UPDATE: Another fellow Portland blogger Sean LaFreniere found some evidence of vote fraud in Venezuela, and the International Herald Tribune found plenty more, too. Please read and follow the links before saying “Jimmy Carter said everything was fine” and thinking that should be the end of the story.

Sadr Quits Najaf (Updated)

Moqtada al-Sadr has quit his Iraq insurgency (for the second time):

Aug. 18 (Bloomberg) — Iraqi Shiite Muslim cleric Moqtada al- Sadr agreed that his militia should lay down their arms and quit Najaf’s Imam Ali Mosque, acceding to demands from an Iraqi delegation to end an uprising in the city, Reuters reported.

A letter from the cleric’s office was read out to delegates at the government-backed Iraqi National Conference in Baghdad, saying that al-Sadr had agreed to their demands to join the country’s political process, Reuters said. A spokesman for al- Sadr, Sheikh Mahmoud al-Sudani confirmed the accord to Reuters.

This could be interpreted as a victory for both sides.

The U.S. and Iraqi governments were able to coax some kind of surrender out of him without having to storm the Imam Ali Mosque.

And Al-Sadr is alive, out of prison, and has a political career ahead of him if he wants it. (He should not expect a life-long career as an insurgent leader unless he expects a short life.)

Something about all this seems strangely familiar. Oh yeah. That’s right. On June 16 of this year I wrote the following:

He’s damn lucky he’s breathing.

So it looks like he’s decided to become a “mainstream” Religious Right figure now. He’ll be Iraq’s Pat Robertson instead of Iraq’s Ayatollah Khomeini, unless he just can’t resist the temptation to bring the gun back into politics, in which case he won’t be just toast he’ll be burnt toast. If he’s smart he’ll get a TV show where he can rail against Godless heathens, raise money for kooky causes, and call it good.

I guess that still stands.

I have an idea. Let’s not make me post that again.

UPDATE: Okay, so that was a brief little “peace.” He’s fighting again. He cannot be reasoned with, bargained with, or trusted. Kill the bastard, and do it right now.

Life Imitates Spoof

For the three of you who don’t know this already, The Onion is a satirical newspaper. It is not “the paper.” The stories they publish are, you know, made up and stuff.

Sometimes they run bogus pieces that could just as easily be real. Area Man Confounded by Buffet Procedure, for example.

Same goes for this one from the last issue.

WICHITA, KS—Delivering the central speech of his 10-day “Solution For America” bus campaign tour Monday, Democratic presidential nominee Sen. John Kerry outlined his one-point plan for a better America: the removal of George W. Bush from the White House.

“If I am elected in November, no inner-city child will have to live in an America where George Bush is president,” Kerry said, addressing a packed Maize High School auditorium. “No senior citizen will lie awake at night, worrying about whether George Bush is still the chief executive of this country. And no American—regardless of gender, regardless of class, regardless of race—will be represented by George Bush in the world community.”

[...]

“This country has embraced a new and dangerously ineffective disregard for the world,” Kerry said. “In order to win the global war against terror, we must promote democracy, freedom, and opportunity around the world. My national-defense policy will be guided by one imperative: Don’t be George Bush. As will my plans to create a strong economy, protect civil rights, develop a better healthcare system, and improve homeland security.”

Heck, run it in Newsweek.

Hatred, Real and Imagined

Gary Farber and Bjorn Staerk are rightly concerned about anti-Muslim hate in the blogosphere.

This problem is overstated by fools. (And I don’t mean Gary and Bjorn.) I have been accused of hating Muslims and/or Arabs solely because I am anti-terrorist and anti-fascist. Pardon me for thinking that is almost explicitly racist right there. When did every Muslim or Arab become a terrorist, anyway? Not while I was looking. Only a bigot or an intellectual and moral idiot would equate terrorism and Muslims to such an extent that being anti-terrorist is the same as being anti-Muslim.

But now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, the other kind of bigotry, the hoary old-fashioned and straightforward kind, is alive, well, and kicking. It hasn’t received the attention it deserves. I’ve had to ban two people from posting in my comments section for racist remarks against Arabs – although I should note that I’ve had to ban more than twice that number for being explicitly anti-Semitic, and I had to boot one person from Germany who bragged about his Nazii grandfather and said both Muslims and Jews are “parasites” and the Children of Satan. I will never allow my own personal Web site to be used as a soap box for hatemongers, even though trolls like to say I “ban people just for disagreeing with me.” This an anti-hate site and will remain so. Thanks for understanding.

I don’t personally have a lot more to add on this subject because I steer clear of this stuff unless it comes my way uninvited. There’s some real ugliness out there, though, and it’s high time we hawks called out the bigots in the “ranks.” (That is not to say such jerks are on any “side” of mine. I refuse to accept them as comrades for or against anything.) Gary Farber and Bjorn Staerk waded into the swamp and get down to brass tacks. They deserve your attention.

Also, please see Marc Cooper for the flip side of the story where PC goons try to prevent any criticism of Islam with their “intellectual blackmail” tactics.

Nader Backs Palestinian State. Big Deal.

Marcus over at Harry’s Place posted this excerpt from Nicholas Wapshot in the Times of London:

While it is hard to distinguish much difference in their attitude towards Israel and Islam of either the President, who is strongly pro-Israel, or John Kerry, whose grandfather was Jewish, there is a ready alternative for Muslims in the third-party candidate Ralph Nader. Although not a Muslim, Mr Nader, who is of Lebanese-Christian descent, has backed three policies that Arab-Americans prefer: withdrawal from Iraq, the repeal of the Patriot Act and the establishment of a Palestinian state.

Is it really necessary for me to remind everybody that John Kerry and George W. Bush also support the establishment of a Palestinian state? Or is the American policy of promoting Palestinian democracy and opposing Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and the dictatorship of Yasser Arafat really that distorted in Europe?

UPDATE: Whoa. Thanks to SoCalJustice in the comments section we find this Washington Post editorial from two days ago:

“The days when the chief Israeli puppeteer comes to the United States and meets with the puppet in the White House and then proceeds to Capitol Hill, where he meets with hundreds of other puppets, should be replaced.”

“Bush also repeated the catch-phrase . . . ‘committed to the security of Israel as a Jewish state,’ which is repeated almost word-for-word again and again by Israel’s sycophants and Capitol Hill puppets.”

QUICK QUIZ: Which of the above quotations is lifted from the Web site of the white supremacist National Alliance and which was uttered this summer by independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader? It’s a tough one. After all, both play on the age-old anti-Semitic stereotype of powerful Jews dominating politics and manipulating hapless non-Jewish puppets for their own ends. Yet if Mr. Nader is at all disquieted by the company he is keeping by using such metaphors, he sure isn’t showing it. In a letter this week to the Anti-Defamation League, which had complained to him about his rhetoric, he responded with breezy indifference and more rhetoric that only compounds concerns.

[snip]

This is poisonous stuff. And if Mr. Nader doesn’t understand what such words actually mean, the less savory elements of American society certainly know how to read such code. But Mr. Nader, as always, is not backing down: “As for the metaphors — puppeteer and puppets — the Romans had a phrase for the obvious — res ipsa loquitor,” which means the thing speaks for itself. Indeed it does.

Quiz answer: The first quotation was Mr. Nader’s

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