Sunday, July 22, 2007
Somewhere along the line the elite forgot where they came from, I suppose, having left the burgs and villages for fame and fortune in politics and the reporting of thereof. The problem with this remark;,
DAVID GREGORY: Hillary Clinton, her Sister Souljah moment is going to be telling the left to move beyond their hatred over Iraq, for Bush, and think about how they’re going to engage the war on terror in a very serious and tough way.
is twofold I think. One it conveys the idea that violence and curtailing of civil rights are the only solutions to terrorism, since that is what we have tried so far, which totally ignores the ability of the free flow of information and good old fashion police work in fighting terrorists.
Now I am more than willing to entertain and interject ideas into the war on terrorism if it goes beyond the previously mentioned policy decisions, and first and foremost I would dial them back since they aren’t working at all. Fighting terrorism with war has created more terrorists in Afghanistan and Iraq than they have killed, so perhaps the conservatives need to have their own Sister Souljah moment about the ability to solve all foreign blow back to previous foreign policies with more violence, and exploitation.
I don’t think conservatives are able to, or at least publicly able to, connect cause and effect in the war on terrorism if it might include American foreign policy prior to 911, and perhaps even afterward.
Somehow or another America is blameless and without flaw, and always benign, seeking the good of those other peoples in whose lands we feel a need to interfere in for national security or economic reasons, and putting the shoe on the other foot is a habit best left to other nations than America.
In this sort of situation there will be no pulling together for serious discussions, because the speaker is seeking to justify his position with the straw man of the angry left. I say angry left because there are some on the left who may be angry, just as there are on the right, but that is hardly the case for the majority of either wing, and does not reflect anything but the narrow understanding of the situation by the speaker, unless, like some bloggers I know, he is purposely trying to manipulate the situation which would move him from journalism into political activism.
To some extent I think that is burr under the press corps saddle, that having been somewhere between journalists and political manipulators for all these years the blogosphere appeared and did the same thing just as well without the pretense of being a fair and balanced presentation of the situation. In short, many members of the political press are being caught with their knickers down because of the blogs, which is causing them some consternation. Power is not an easy thing to give up voluntarily or otherwise.
I’m not sure that I have definitively identified the problem so I can’t offer any suggestions for solving it, but I do think that that is the gist of the situation. On the other hand constant personal attacks makes people react and do and say strange things about and to other people, whether those attacks are justified or not, and given ones own maturity and ethics.
I do know however, that the art of politics in America has always included a healthy dose of personal attacks, and if the press wishes to be political players then they will have to get used to being part of the game. The blogs have added a new dimension to that game IMHO, because they are not seeking public office, and so are not beholden to the press for favorable coverage of themselves. This negates one of the press’ best defensive mechanisms they had with politicians seeking office.
I don’t think it has to work out as being alternatives to one another, all though it certainly could, because the blogs for the most part are beholden to the same market forces as the mainstream. That doesn’t mean the internet will ever become mainstream as the mainstream might wish it to be seen, thereby making the two equal in eyes of the law of public opinion, since most people online are not that obtuse. There is no way this blog or any other is ever going to equal the mainstream in financing or access.
The key component I think is access, (Mr. Kristol’s whine,) which like any other tool of mankind’s is a double edged sword, and so access also includes the previously mentioned manipulation being played out on the one receiving the access. What the blogs have done in many respects is to note when the politician or the mainstream has hold of the blade or the handle and in so doing to draw the blade in one direction or the other. This tends to PO the holder of the blade.
However on cannot overlook the October Surprise of 1980, Iran/Contra, Atwater, Rove, and the occupation of Iraq, which may cause some level of anger to expressed at those manipulators that instigated and allowed or encouraged those behaviors to continue. After all you boys didn’t much care for the bleeding heart left either, did you?
Lou Dobbs asked an opinion poll question as CNN is want to do, wondering if Americans needed a time out, you know, a two week no speak break from the political yada yada, which would probably be good idea if we didn’t have so many professional pundits who having been on vacation for years and continuing to speak would probably be totally flummoxed by the silence within their own heads. But it is a good idea, based on the assumption that thinking about stuff is a good thing.
Over the last week I have found that Timmeh, Tweety, and Lou aren’t nearly as bad as I recall thinking they were last year, or six months ago, which may or may not be a change in them as in me. I’m not going to say that I have had any great shift in my opinions either, because I haven’t. The blind faith years are gone forever, killed in the run up to the war in Iraq, but hopefully that is being replaced by the healthy skepticism that they probably have earned and deserve being professionals.
Ultimately I think the blogs have tempered my thinking most of the time in most respects, although I would surmise I have fallen into the old forum rut of late, which had a large element of snark because the partisanship was so pronounced. You know I didn’t just hear the wackos talking points second hand through the MSM there, I actually debated and debunked them. I don’t know how many people remember, or are aware of the level of snark that was circulating back then when liberal was still a dirty word, mostly directed at Democrats for being so. I’d like to think I helped bring that to end, mostly by introducing the conservatives to the bleeding knuckle variety of bleeding heart liberals, and to be honest, at the WaPo there were mostly neocon conservatives which hadn’t yet been differentiated from the paleocons.
I bring that all up because it was a time of transition for myself personally, but also for the nation, as we lost the marketing campaign around the war and the country plunged into the abyss of the quagmire of Iraq. In all that time I can remember only trolling twice, once on Affirmative Action which lead to a long and winding debate with a black conservative from New York who opposed the idea, and added the irony needed for the topic and forum inwhich it was carried out in.
The other troll was to debate the Constitution, which was more of a challenge to one of the better conservative debaters who actually had a good head on his shoulders, except when it came to defending the Constitution, which has its’ own ironic hue as well.
The point of the foregoing is to remind myself of where this all started and try to recall to mind the differences in times and rhetoric as opposed to the current discourse. Hence I noted the rut of the forum in the blog.
Listening to the Republican leadership on teevee I can see that the subject has changed without the topic doing so, or the tactics of the conservatives in the debate, which is basically call on the straw man when a point is being lost, rather than concede the point. Conservatives may not be right but they are never wrong. Liberals on the other hand are overly optimistic about people, human nature, and the power of the people to actually initiate a change in the political thinking of the elite, which even if one considers the most liberal of political leaders, is more than likely more conservative than the rank and file, grass roots, and or blogosphere. Perhaps continuity has something to do with it.
At any rate the challenge is to move things forward, in both political action by the elite, and more importantly in addressing the mind set of the current situation of the world and the national body politics view of America and our role in that world. We can’t so without addressing the dangers, but we should also do that assessment without the patina of fear that current political operatives wish it to be discussed under. Danger is to met, not feared. To my mind at least, death is a part of life and those who fear death fear life. I do not recall the America of my youth being a timid place of timid people.
To do so I think it will require a little bit more attention to the conservatives concerns, which for me are usually hidden behind the rhetoric of false assumptions of the liberals. This may have something to do with actually living in Texas and so talking in voice to conservatives all the time who have assumed that I want to take their guns, or that I am squeamish about blowing up deer and hogs. As much as I despise dog fighting, I really am not offended by those who do that stuff to the point that I would want them thrown in jail over it, nor am I aware of way to re-educate these folks to moderate their behaviors, and mostly not interested in it to the point of becoming to involved or worked up over the issue. Those with strong feelings on the subject can work out something that I can live with.
So we will have to deal with the terrorist, of uncertain numbers, and in many ways and on many levels. We run into the cockroach problem if we just try to kill them without removing the food and shelter that they use on these many different levels. The current strategy of kill them all falls into the trap of we’ll make more, a cycle that proves nothing other than we can be as mindless as the roaches and cans of Raid. So addressing the conservatives need to kill will have to go hand in hand with the liberal desire to clean the house.
To do so will require people to stop talking about our differences long enough to note what makes Americans similar. This doesn’t sell a lot of peas, so the MSM will probably continue to exacerbate the situation currently being deployed by the department of Marketing. The only antidote to television is to denigrate it as a source of information in our personal interactions with other people until it either moderates itself, or the people moderate themselves again.
I’m not saying go Luddite on television, but just consider the source, and the motivation of that source. Television thrives on controversy, and people get some sort of pleasure out of other peoples misery or the reality television shows would flop. So it isn’t a problem with television, or so much as with the people who spend too much time in front of one, but those who actually don’t receive any other form of information. It is basically pictures and opinions. There is a reason that many commentators are starting to apply fictional settings from television to the real world. So long as this is the normative then there will never be a realistic foreign policy position that is popular with the people at large.
Saturday, July 21, 2007
Update II: JetBlue wants me to note that they didn’t pull the tickets they donated to the event. So the sponsorship remains, but they are too afraid to let anyone know that they donated those tickets.
We’ll you’ve got big balls, and she’s got big balls, but everyone knows I’ve got the biggest balls of all.
THE SENATE Democratic leadership spent the past week trying to prove that Congress is deeply divided over Iraq, with Democrats pressing and Republicans resisting a change of course. In fact that’s far from the truth. A large majority of senators from both parties favor a shift in the U.S. mission that would involve substantially reducing the number of American forces over the next year or so and rededicating those remaining to training the Iraqi army, protecting Iraq’s borders and fighting al-Qaeda. President Bush and his senior aides and generals also support this broad strategy, which was formulated by the bipartisan Baker-Hamilton commission. Mr. Bush recently said that “it’s a position I’d like to see us in.”
That’s what you say. The Democrats spent the last week showing the difference between pro withdrawal talk with obstructionism politics with the Republican leadership, and Democratic needs for bi-partisanship in withdrawal of the troops, which should have least been acknowledged by Broder who has been harping on the topic since Lord knows when, and the interjecting of his name into the post at this point is equally germane to the graph as is the editors interjection of the President, the ISG and diverse and other various topics short of tropical fruit.(Mr. Bush also rejected Baker-Hamilton, just to inform the editor.)
The emerging consensus is driven by several inescapable facts. First, the Iraqi political reconciliation on which the current U.S. military surge is counting is unlikely to happen anytime soon. Second, the Pentagon cannot sustain the current level of forces in Iraq beyond next spring without rupturing current deployment practices and placing new demands on the already stretched Army and Marine Corps. Finally, a complete pullout from Iraq would invite genocide, regional war and a catastrophic setback to U.S. national security.
The first inescapable fact being overlooked is that the Bush administration is completely and utterly incapable of running foreign policy, most especially a war either in Afghanistan or Iraq, and is hell bent to go fiascoing in Iran as well.
The first of your points “Iraqi political reconciliation on which the current U.S. military surge is counting is unlikely to happen anytime soon.“, was a no brainer when first proposed since the political reconciliation the US was seeking and is seeking today does not comport with the political realities of Iraq, and given your smug assuredness ought to have been written and acknowledge by you six months ago when the whole strategy was obviously not suited to the Iraqi political situation, as noted by some Senators, Representatives and various and sundry dirty fucking hippies.
Finally I have not seen where, “Finally, a complete pullout from Iraq would invite genocide, regional war and a catastrophic setback to U.S. national security.” Ethnic cleansing of areas are already well under way, and eventually they will subside when the task is completed, which ought to be somewhere into the third six month surge of Republican victory with honor strategy. The regional war you fear is easier avoided by a regional peace, in which all of the border nations are invited to conference and participation in a situation that directly borders on their own national security.
It may just be a sad fact of reality there buddy, that the interests of the United States may have to be of less import than those of Iraq’s neighbors. We may have to take second place.
walking on the dead of war, nominated by the Very Serious People responsible for the dead of war, to lead the people home.
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
One of the most intriguing things about politics is my steadfast ability to cross over the line.
On the other hand it may be a personality flaw. Either way, that’s the way politics are for me, after all if what I wanted was on this side of the line I wouldn’t have to cross one to achieve the goal.
There is a point when I just tire of the debate being judged, if at all, by a relatively uninformed public drinking the kool aid of marketing politics. It is the one business that encourages negativity in assessing other peoples opinions, which I figure leads invariably to ad hominem which has always been started by the other side. The infinite loop of critical self assessment writ large on a self governing people that hates Republicans or Democrats in our case here in America, while leaving that emotion out of the equation in our daily interactions with individuals of those persuasions.
That being said you still have to write large, and counter punches, but sometimes you get to sneak in a sucker shot and then duck, but eventually you’re going to get hit too, proving that two out of three ain’t bad. I don’t think learning to get up off ones ass hurts anyone either, so long as it doesn’t become habitual, when it become debilitating to puncher and punchie. This probably has as much to do with the rise of the political psychopaths, than any real feeling towards an individuals difference of opinions, who say what others would, or couldn’t say about others, hence Rush Ann O’Rielly.
Ultimately there is only so much low I can sink to without getting stuck in the mud, and to be honest I think I have moved my issues in my direction as far as I am going to be able to push them. They have received a hearing. That is one of the most fundamental goals of any debate, and from whence the danger of an idea can spread that the powers that be are always opposing. They, too, are of the not invented here market.
Then again there are just so many more people that are better wonks in their speciality than I’ll ever be that it can take considerable time and effort learning enough about whatever subject, enough to zing them with when the opportunity should present itself anyway. Obviously my interest in those topics has for the better part of my life been nil at best, but fortunately I’m a good learner.
Skating out on the the thin ice is essential for seeing who else is falling into the lake. You can neither laugh nor help in front of the fire of contemplation, necessary as it is to warm and comfort.
Update: Again, I think there is a large measure of domestic politics involved in the recent spate of terrorist fevor, but, one I thought I should point out that asymmetrical means just that, and two, I didn’t want that twit to think no one on the left cared about terrorism. It might be helpful if Americans recognized their own perpetuated on others, but that is another post, and it is doubtful if there shall be one.
FWIW, the NIE report delivered this AM by Fran sounds as though the ability to go asymmetrical still eludes America. The fear factor is still based on symmetrical thinking, along the lines of the Glasgow fire, Fort Dix etc.
Personally I think that things that go boom are diversions. The fact that Iraqi doctors are setting themselves on fire in Britain ought to cause one to wonder what the H-1B visas boys are doing in software, and to to cause one to also contemplate the head start in these areas that the war in Iraq has exacerbated.
Since our government has been so vocal in their kill the rabbit singing, one would expect some sort of reply in kind, in an asymmetrical way against the economic infrastructure of the West. Biting off the head that feeds IT has a nice symmetry, but one cannot neglect the financiers and bankers either.
All three of these targets are soft, they are interrelated and they are not on the cable news networks radar, which would include disrupting them as well. Americans are addicted to information as well as oil, wealth and power.
Just as it may be ignored in official quarters that many of the children blowing themselves up in suicide bombings in Iraq were born after the sanctions and no fly zones were imposed, the emotional impact of those events are being overlooked as well. Outsourcing may very well be AQs insourcing route, the altruistic highway’s potholes.