Democratic Daily’s Dishonest Response on Criticism of Anti-Semitism

Ginny has posted a response at The Democratic Daily to my post on hate crimes and tolerance of anti-Semitism, including tolerance of anti-Semitism at The Democratic Daily. Her post is a highly inaccurate and dishonest spin on events but at least does bring out the point that Pamela had the goal of stopping me from posting on Mel Gibson. This was a developing story at the time with new events every day, but Pamela wanted me to stop my criticism of Gibson. Apparently, in their view, I was being myopic in seeing Gibson’s anti-Semitism as something bad. Sorry, I will not apologize for that. Nor can I condone Pamela’s initial defense of Mel Gibson, and her attacking me for sticking up for principle and condemning Mel Gibson and anti-Semitism.

And yes Ginny, Pamela did edit things on the blog. and your claims to the contrary do not change reality. I also note that, while I limited this to one issue, Pamela’s defense of Mel Gibson and her attacks on me for criticizing this, both Pamela and Ginny feel the need to both falsely cry libel and then show their true colors by adding in all sorts of personal attacks. At least it is out in the open. In a way that is better than the personal attacks they launched against me behind my back (with some notifying me) the last few months.

Ginny and Pamela have spread far too many lies about me to even attempt to respond to them all. Besides, that is not the point. The point remains sticking to principles in opposing anti-Semitism. Pamela first says she will not attack me at Democratic Daily, and then she and Ginny concoct this scheme to post a bunch of lies about me with the offer to take down their lies if I will take down my post. It’s not going to work, for while Pamela has been commenting all day, no where does she own up to her actions. No where does she acknowledge that it might have been wrong to defend Mel Gibson, that it might have been wrong to blind side me by siding with those who posted defending Gibson, that it was wrong to trivialize Holocaust denial, and that it was wrong to try to keep me from speaking out on these issues. Pamela and Ginny certainly have no qualms about trying to rewrite history and spreading a bunch of lies.

It is rather creepy that my criticism of anti-Semitism would be labeled an attack on The Democratic Daily and lead to such a barrage of personal attacks.

E.J. Dionne on the Rising Radical Center

E.J. Dionne writes that the attempt of the Republicans to rule from the right is likely to be replaced by Democrats who are more likely to govern from the middle:

This incipient Democratic alliance, while tilting slightly leftward, would plant its foundations firmly in the middle of the road, because its success depends on overwhelming support from moderate voters. That’s why a Democratic victory in November — defined as taking one or both houses of Congress — would have effects far beyond a single election year.

The Democrats’ dependence on moderate voters and moderate candidates belies Republican claims that a Democratic victory would bring radically liberal politics to Washington. In fact, the first imperative of Democratic congressional leaders, if their party is successful, will be finding policies, ideas and rhetoric to allow the party’s progressives and moderates to get along and govern effectively together.

The strategy pursued by Bush and Karl Rove has frightened most of the political center into the arms of Democrats. Bush and Rove sought victory by building large turnouts among conservatives and cajoling just enough moderates the Republicans’ way. But this approach created what may prove to be a fatal political disconnect: Adventurous policies designed to create enthusiasm on the right turned off a large number of less ideological voters.

The Democrats’ lead in the polls can be thus explained by two factors: the energy of a passionate phalanx of voters desperate to use this election to rebuke Bush, and the disenchantment of moderates fed up with the failures of Bush’s governing style and ideology, notably in Iraq.

It worked for a while, but it was inevitable that the Republicans strategy of governing from the far right and counting on winning a narrow majority could not work forever.

The Cost of War

The most serious costs of the Iraq war are the lost lives and the manner in which it has undermined our national security. The financial cost is also not trivial, as Nicholas Kristof explains:

In the run-up to the Iraq war, Donald Rumsfeld estimated that the overall cost would be under $50 billion. Paul Wolfowitz argued that Iraq could use its oil to “finance its own reconstruction.”

But now several careful studies have attempted to tote up various costs, and they suggest that the tab will be more than $1 trillion — perhaps more than $2 trillion. The higher sum would amount to $6,600 per American man, woman and child.

“The total costs of the war, including the budgetary, social and macroeconomic costs, are likely to exceed $2 trillion,” Joseph Stiglitz, the Nobel-winning economist at Columbia, writes in an updated new study with Linda Bilmes, a public finance specialist at Harvard. Their report has just appeared in the Milken Institute Review, as an update on a paper presented earlier this year.

Just to put that $2 trillion in perspective, it is four times the additional cost needed to provide health insurance for all uninsured Americans for the next decade. It is 1,600 times Mr. Bush’s financing for his vaunted hydrogen energy project.

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Litigation Day–A Real Concern, But Not Al Gore’s Fault

The Wall Street Journal warns that litigation day may follow election day as each party goes to court to fight the result. To some degree I share in their concern as it would certainly be preferable if we could have an accurate result following the vote which both sides could trust. To some degree I agree with their assessment of the situation where “Election night is not necessarily the finish line anymore. Both sides are lawyering up.” Where I disagree is with their attempts to place the blame for this situation on Al Gore:

We could see either party pursue the kind of lawsuits that Al Gore unleashed in Florida in 2000 and contest any number of tight races that are within the “margin of litigation.”

The implication they make here and elsewhere is that we are in this situation because Al Gore went to court. They leave out some important details, such as that it was necessary for Al Gore to go to court because partisan elections officials were preventing him from having the recount which should have occurred. It was Republicans who had Katherine Harris involved in both Republican politics and in supervising the election. It was also Republicans who went to the Supreme Court to prevent a recount.

Considering how close the election was, Gore’s desire for a recount was understandable. Gore’s actions are particularly justified in retrospect after finding that Gore would have won in Florida if there was a state-wide recount, or if the over-count was taken into consideration. (The over-count consists of ballots where people both punched Gore’s name and also wrote in his name, perhaps believing this would increase the chances that their intentions would be obvious. These ballots were not counted as there were two votes, but in reality they were clearly votes intended for Gore.)

Rush Limbaugh’s Attack on Michael J. Fox

It’s bad enough that Republicans seek to deny people with diseases such as Parkinson’s Disease the potential benefits which could be obtained if not for the restrictions on embryonic stem cell research. It gets worse when the Republicans are deceitful about the science in order to justify their positions. It appears that when all else fails, they are not even above denying the seriousness of the disease, such as when Rush Limbaugh accused Michael J. Fox of exaggerating his symptoms for dramatic effect. (Audio and video reports at Crooks and Liars).

I don’t know if Limbaugh has ever seen anyone with Parkinson’s, but I have many times. There’s no need for them to act or exaggerate symptoms. Parkinson’s Disease is a nasty disorder. We should be doing everything possible to cure it, not playing politics as the Republicans are.

Independents Support Democrats By 2 to 1 Margin

The Republicans have governed from the far right and have paid little attention to the views of the middle, other than to use misleading tactics to attempt to get just enough of their votes to win by a narrow majority. It appears they will pay for this when the independents vote, as their base is not large enough to make up for all the independents who plan to vote Democratic. The Washington Post reports that independent voters favor the Democrats by a two to one margin. Iraq is the major issue this year, but independents support Democrats on far more issues:

Among those voting primarily on Iraq, Democrats hold a sizable lead, 76 percent to 21 percent, in voting intentions. Democrats also are favored by voters who cite health care as their most important issue, while those voting on terrorism or immigration strongly favor Republicans. In 2004 a majority agreed with the Democrats on virtually all issues, but were misled into believing the Repubicans would keep them safer. Voters are no longer fooled by this:

Voters also continue to trust Democrats more than Republicans to deal with the war, the economy, North Korea and ethics in government. On terrorism, the two parties are at parity.

But independents, the key swing voter group, strongly trust the Democrats on all of those issues by margins ranging from 14 percentage points on terrorism to 23 points on Iraq and North Korea and 26 points on ethics in government.

The growing independent support for Democratic House candidates represents a significant shift in attitudes since the 2004 election, when Democrats held only a slim advantage. In winning reelection, Bush narrowly lost the independent vote, 50 percent to 48 percent, and in the vote for the House, independents split 50 to 46 for Democratic candidates.

The USA Today/Gallup Poll has similar bad news for the Republicans which analysts suggest will lead to significant Democratic gains: (more…)