Martin Peretz Weakens Claims To Being a Liberal

I’m not one of those liberal bloggers who feels the need to always trash The New Republic. At time I agree with them, and other times (such as with their position on Iraq and obsession with Kerry-bashing) I disagree. On occasion I’ve even defended them. During the last Kos vs. TNR war I received a number of links to my posts at The Democratic Daily commenting on how I reported the strengths and weakness of the arguments of both sides.One TNR writer even quoted one of my quips.

During the disputes with Kos, TNR editor Martin Peretz gave a list of his positions to defend his position as a liberal (despite his foreign policy views) which I quoted. Here’s one position he didn’t mention–supporter of Scotter Libby. Peretz is listed as a member of the Libby Legal Defense Trust.

Most of the others on the list are prominent Republicans and their inclusion is no surprise. Another person worth noting is Ron Silver, who can no longer plead temporary insanity for his support of Bush in 2004. (Silver also played Bruno Gianelli on The West Wing, a Democratic operative who worked for Republican Arnold Vinick, but Vinick was one Republican I’d have no qualms about supporting. Alan Alda won an emmy for his role as Arnold Vinick.)

Fear of Flying

The Economist has decided to compete with The Onion. They have an article this week on what it would sound like if those in-flight announcements on airplanes were entirely honest:

“GOOD morning, ladies and gentlemen. We are delighted to welcome you aboard Veritas Airways, the airline that tells it like it is. Please ensure that your seat belt is fastened, your seat back is upright and your tray-table is stowed. At Veritas Airways, your safety is our first priority. Actually, that is not quite true: if it were, our seats would be rear-facing, like those in military aircraft, since they are safer in the event of an emergency landing. But then hardly anybody would buy our tickets and we would go bust.

The flight attendants are now pointing out the emergency exits. This is the part of the announcement that you might want to pay attention to. So stop your sudoku for a minute and listen: knowing in advance where the exits are makes a dramatic difference to your chances of survival if we have to evacuate the aircraft. Also, please keep your seat belt fastened when seated, even if the seat-belt light is not illuminated. This is to protect you from the risk of clear-air turbulence, a rare but extremely nasty form of disturbance that can cause severe injury. Imagine the heavy food trolleys jumping into the air and bashing into the overhead lockers, and you will have some idea of how nasty it can be. We don’t want to scare you. Still, keep that seat belt fastened all the same.

Your life-jacket can be found under your seat, but please do not remove it now. In fact, do not bother to look for it at all. In the event of a landing on water, an unprecedented miracle will have occurred, because in the history of aviation the number of wide-bodied aircraft that have made successful landings on water is zero. This aircraft is equipped with inflatable slides that detach to form life rafts, not that it makes any difference. Please remove high-heeled shoes before using the slides. We might as well add that space helmets and anti-gravity belts should also be removed, since even to mention the use of the slides as rafts is to enter the realm of science fiction.

The rest of this is posted at The Economist (article available to non-subscribers).

Words From a Former Republican

Promoted from the comments–a change of opinion from a former Republican who identifies himself as a True American Patriot:

I am so ashamed that I wasted my vote on George Bush. What was I thinking? Why did I let my right wing extremist, neo-conservative, neo-evangelical thinking get in the way of exercising sound personal judgment when I entered that voting booth?

Growing up, I was led to believe that the Republican Party was a grass roots party of the people & for the people. In retrospect, it is clear that the last 3 presidents produced by the Republican Party were nothing more then the rich man’s rich man hiding under the disguise of jingoistic patriotism and the lie of conservative values. The economic dark ages of reagonomics fleeced the middle and lower classes of this county simply to benefit the rich and wealthy and waste money on unnecessary unconstitutional military actions. George Sr. carried that same self-serving torch. George Jr. has quietly shifted this country back to those dark ages. Bush inherited a strong economy and squandered that real quick. And even though 9 -11 did happen, none of bush’s reckless decisions are in any way justified by that day in history. It is clear that he never had any real salient foreign & domestic policies when he became president in 2000. Bush and Cheney have pimped the Presidency and turned the senate into an auction house for legislation to the highest bidder.

Now we have 3 more years of neoconservative republican lies and a growing body count overseas. When are people going to wake up to the truth that neoconservative political philosophy does not work for anyone but the rich and wealthy at the top? When are people in the USA going to wake up to the fact that neoconservative republican political philosophy does not even cross paths with reality? The main goal of the neoconservatives who have destroyed the soul of the Republican Party is to consolidate national wealth to the nation’s top 2% wealthiest at the expense of the middle and lower classes while imperialistically occupying other nations. This is promoted under the façade of promoting democracy elsewhere in order to hide ugly truth regarding the real agenda. It is imperialism but we are now trying to do it to other countries instead of the British doing it to us.


Right Wingers Attack Olbermann For Speaking Out

Conservatives are upset about Keith Olbermann’s recent commentary which was highly critical of George Bush. NewsBusters, a site which presumably wants to bust the news media so that nobody can refute the talking points of the authoritarian right, recommends sending in protests to MSNBC.

I wonder if they were among those who claimed that liberal blogs were practicing censorship for criticizing The Path to 9/11. Protesting blatantly false information being passed off as fact on the public airwaves is hardly censorship. While protesting Olbermann’s cable commentary isn’t censorship either, but it would sure be hypocritical to condemn those who protested about The Path to 9/11 while attacking a commentary, which by definition is a biased presentation.

NewsBusters sent their protest to MSNBC’s general manager: Dan Abrams c/o MSNBC TV, One MSNBC Plaza, Secaucus, N.J. 07094. Email addresses were provided for Mr. Abrams and two other sources at MSNBC:,, .

Perhaps we should drop Mr. Abrams a note encouraging MSNBC to continue to stand up to Bush and the authoritarian right before the right wingers get their dream and all news shows are clones of Pravda, just like over at Fox News. I’ll drop him a line, right after I follow up my earlier protest to investor relations over at Disney.

Bush Politicizing Terrorism But Fewer Are Buying It

Earlier I wrote about Bush’s loss of credibility, and The New York Times provides yet another example as they report, In Unpredictable District, Some Say Bush Is Politicizing Terrorism:

“I do have a bit of mistrust,” said Mr. McBride, who said that he twice voted for Mr. Bush but that he is now disappointed — a sentiment he said is shared by many in his Bible study group. “The whole thing about W.M.D. and that Iraq is somehow tied to 9/11, I just don’t believe it.”

Mr. Bush has plenty of supporters in this Denver suburb and the surrounding cities, an evenly divided swing district that is a bellwether in the battle for control of the House. But interviews over the last three days here found Republicans, Democrats and independents all expressing degrees of skepticism about Mr. Bush’s motives in delivering a set of high-profile speeches on terrorism and the war in Iraq two months before Election Day.

Better late than never, but I wish they had realized how Bush has been playing politics with terrorism from the start. Bush campaigned as “a uniter, not a divider” but decided to govern from the far right, crafting narrow wins in Congress rather than seeking bipartisan support of his policies as previous Presidents such as Ronald Reagan and BIll Clinton did. The 9/11 attacks gave Bush an opportunity to govern with bipartisan good will with a country united against a common enemy, but instead Bush decided to use the attack for political gain, even if it meant weakening the country and playing into al Qaeda’s hands. This worked in the 2002 and 2004 elections, but in the post-Katrina world fewer are falling for the Republicans’ spin and fewer are satisfied with what John Kerry has labeled a Katrina foreign policy.

Not only are the voters interviewed by The New York Times expressing dissatisfaction with the manner in which the Republicans have governed. The October Washington Monthly features a cover feature entitled Time For Us To Go. Seven prominent conservatives write about the failings of the Republicans to govern according to their principles and find believe we would be better off with a Democratic controlled Congress to counter George Bush. Split government never looked so appealing.

Bush Losing Credibility on Iraq

The White House billed last night’s speech as a non-political event, but even if they were sincere in hopes of avoiding politics it is impossible to ignore the political implications of any Presidential public statement this close to such an important election. In 2004 George Bush won reelection largely by managing to demonize John Kerry to keep the election from becoming a referendum on his first term. Republicans are attempting to repeat this strategy in Congressional races, but with the increased public awareness of the Republicans’ inability to govern post-Katrina it is not clear whether they will succeed this time.

The Washington Post  analyzes the election as Bush attempting to “win over a war-weary nation.” Even those who initially supported his policy question if Bush can convince the country at this point:

“The power of his rhetoric is in marked decline, and that’s no reflection on the quality of what he says, which is still very high,” said Max Boot, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and a neoconservative scholar who has been sympathetic to Bush’s anti-terrorism policies. “There’s a desire in the country for more deeds, not more words. . . . We are losing a war right now, and there is no way to get around that.”

One reason Bush will have difficulty winning over the nation is that he is losing credibility. Fewer people accept his pre-war arguments over either WMD or a tie between Saddam and 9/11. Even Bush has been forced to back away from this argument. The Guardian concentrated their coverage on the admission that Saddam was not responsible for 9/11:

George Bush last night admitted that Saddam Hussein had no hand in the 9/11 terror attacks, but he asked Americans to support a war in Iraq that he said was the defining struggle of our age.

On a day of sorrow and remembrance, beginning with a moment of silence at Ground Zero and ending in a prime time TV address from the Oval Office, Mr Bush tried to steel Americans for the long war ahead against al-Qaida which he described as an epochal struggle.

His speech was also focused on November’s congressional elections where the Republicans face a groundswell of discontent about the war in Iraq.

The president conceded some crucial ideological ground, formally disavowing the neo-conservative accusation that Saddam had played a role in the attacks on September 11 2001. But he was unapologetic about the decision to invade Iraq.

Conservative Crticizes Pro-Death Beliefs of Fellow Conservatives

Not all conservatives go along with the anti-science attitudes of the right wing. TCS Daily challenges fellow conservatives on life extension, finding that in this case conservatives take the “pro-death” position. While I would disagree with the underlying assumption that on other issues conservatives are truly “pro-life”, and note many other issues in which conservatives oppose the true “pro-life” position, such as stem cell research, it is still refreshing to see a conservative refute fellow conservatives here:

But when it comes to life extension, many conservatives — without otherwise abandoning their pro-life credentials — turn out to be “pro-death” in the sense of opposing as at least unwise or imprudent any serious attempt to slow down, halt, or reverse the aging process.

The most prominent conservative critic of anti-aging efforts has been Leon Kass, former Chairman of the President’s Council on Bioethics. Kass orchestrated a government report warning of its dire cultural and social consequences, and has given numerous speeches and writings in favor of accepting the natural human lifespan, the infirmities of old age, and eventual death. The Anti-anti-aging position is now an important component of an emerging “bioconservative” intellectual movement.

This view is not prima facie hypocritical. Conservatives such as Kass are urging inaction instead of action; to allow natural events to unfold without human interference. If a baby is conceived, let him be born; if death is coming, do not hasten it, but also do not act to stave it off indefinitely. This is a respectable position, in accord with the natural instincts of a conservative temperament.

What’s more, an indefinite lifespan would create an historical discontinuity, and effect unpredictable social and cultural changes. This brute fact will be enough for many conservatives to maintain their pro-death positions.

But they may want to temper such instinctive reactions because, perhaps surprisingly, there are genuinely conservative arguments for life extension. Central to any conservative social agenda — using Russell Kirk’s principles as exemplary — are desires to inculcate order, temperance, and prudence. And all of these are well served by encouraging longer lives, not shorter ones.

What Were You Doing When Our Country Was Attacked?


Quote of the Day

The polite phrase for how so many of us were duped into supporting a war, on the false premise that it had ‘something to do’ with 9/11 is “lying by implication.”

The impolite phrase is “impeachable offense.”

Keith Olbermann