The Dullest Of Blog Entries

They say the difference between a “real writer” and a “struggling writer” is in their ability to write when they don’t feel like writing. So in that spirit, I am now writing a blog entry even though I don’t particularly feel like it and there is nothing particularly interesting to write about.

Across the pond, all hell is breaking loose in the Gaza Strip, which is not particularly surprising given the tensions in the area, but it seems a little more serious now that Hamas is in charge of Palestine. On the home front, everyone pretty much hates the New York Times, but I personally found the disclosure of the secret government program of tracking terrorist money a big fat non-issue, and I think everyone is blowing it way out of proportion (as news organizations and politicians often do). In Gitmo news, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against Bush’s military tribunals, but that seems like only a minor setback since I’m sure the Republican-controlled Congress will now pass legislation to make the tribunals legal, and I don’t really have a problem with that. Oh, and Bin Laden just released a tape, but, well, who cares? The importance of Bin Laden tapes should rank right up there with, say, the importance of tapes released by the manager of the local McDonald’s. And finally, in local Virginia news, there are rumors that Jim Webb’s campaign staff is self-destructing (oddly propagated by a blog that was a big Webb supporter in the primaries).

Senate Debating The Wrong Metric?

The war in the Senate over the “war” in Iraq was about timetables — Democrats wanted a timetable, but Republicans didn’t. I think “time” was the wrong metric, though. Democrats should have been questioning Iraq in terms of “deliverables.” Ie., what exactly constitutes “victory” in Iraq? The Bush administration says we’ll stay until the mission is complete, which makes sense, but what exactly is the mission? Killing terrorists? Training Iraqis? Rebuilding infrastructure? Personally I think it should be more of the latter one, and less of the former two, and we should keep troops there as long as insurgents keep trying to blow up everything our contractors build.

Pagan Flag Worship Still An Elusive Dream

Just for the record, I think the flag protection amendment idea is just as silly as the marriage protection amendment idea, if not more so. Why on earth does a flag need so much protection? And why the flag and not anything else? Why not an amendment to ban government protest? It’s just silly. The real purpose of the amendment, aside from election year posturing, is pretty obvious: It’s just another scam to restrict the power of the judicial branch, in order to nudge our government toward a more authoritarian state. Republicans are basically saying, as they did with marriage protection, “judges can’t be trusted to make judgments, because they might, you know, judge the wrong way, so to avoid confusion we’ll just take that power away from them.” It’s kind of frightening that 66 senators (including both from Virginia) actually voted for a flag amendment and a more authoritarian United States. I’m not sure if that’s a reflection of the will of the people, or a reflection of Senate corruption. Either way it’s kind of sad.

Don\’t Tread On Israel

Anyone who thinks the U.S. is a warmongering power should take a look at Israel and rethink that position. It’s not very humanitarian of me, but I kind of admire them for their response to Palestinian terrorists snatching one of their soldiers over the weekend and holding him hostage. Israel basically said, “We will not negotiate — either give him back NOW or we will take him back.” And they meant it. So now they’re rolling tanks into the Gaza Strip to look for him. Meanwhile, some spineless Palestinian negotiator is all like, “Help! We don’t know what to do! The U.S. should intervene to stop this!”

Now the terrorists are threatening to kill the hostage if Isael doesn’t back off. This demonstrates there’s at least one good thing about terrorists: Most of them appear to be collosally stupid.

Cut-and-Run Iraqis?

I don’t really feel like writing today (it’s been raining like crazy here on the East Coast, which sucks all the life out of me), but here’s a quick observation: Watching the politics of Iraq is amusing sometimes. I’m pretty sure that Republicans and Democrats and all of America want the exact same thing — for the Iraqi army to defend their own country — yet somehow it’s a divisive, partisan issue. Lately, it looks like the Iraqis might trump everyone by kicking us out. That would be hysterical. Those dern Cut-and-Run Iraqis.

Disturbing Daily Kos Analogy

I won’t comment on the so-called Ko$ola scandal, since you can read about it in excruciating detail elsewhere (see background below). Suffice it to say it just reinforces, albeit circumstantially, my existing suspicions about Daily Kos.

Here’s an interesting parallel that occurred to me over the weekend. Clearly, with Daily Kos, Markos is trying to build an influential organization with which he can affect the political future of the nation. He does this by writing commentary and channeling donations to candidates he endorses. He tries to wrap it in a populist, “people-powered” disguise, but he and his circle of elders are definitely shaping the direction of the movement.

Sound familiar? To me, it sounds like the beginnings of the American Family Association. This is an organization I thoroughly despise, and Daily Kos has the exact same business model. The AFA now wields tons of clout, because they have tons of money, and tons of followers. They have substantial influence within the Republican party. They also claim, like Daily Kos, that they merely give a voice to the people they represent. All because one Rev. Don Wildmon didn’t like what he saw on television one night.

A bad omen, if you ask me.

The Ko$ola Saga:

Malkin Coordinates Lockstep Attack On NY Times

It seems sort of ironic that right after wingnut bloggers got done accusing liberal bloggers of “going into lockstep” and “coordinating attacks” and blindly following Markos’s marching orders and whatnot, we find Michelle Malkin, icon of the rightwing blogosphere, encouraging her readers to write the NY Times to express her outrage: NYTimes Blabbermouths Strike Again. GOP Bloggers follows orders: Fight Back Against Media Traitors! Who else will fall into lockstep and repeat Malkin’s call to write to the NY Times? Could it be that both liberal and conservative bloggers suffer from groupthink? Naaahh… can’t be.

This Week In The Senate Race

A new Zogby poll shows Allen leading Webb by a mere 5.3 points. Democrat blogs are validated, Republican blogs will talk about why political polls are irrelevant. (Isn’t it funny how opinion polls are so useful to support a position, but useless for opposing a position?) Anyway, don’t get too excited, because most people feel Zogby is not a very reliable poll.

George Allen released a new television ad, but I haven’t seen it yet. It’s up on his campaign site. Raising Kaine also reports that the Virginia State Police are unhappy with George Allen for using a photo of state police in a campaign mailing: VA State police upset with Allen over use of photo. “The organization has a long standing policy of not endorsing candidates in political contests.”

Raising Kaine also has an excellent investigative series of articles about donors to George Allen’s campaign: George Allen’s Donors: Part 1 and George Allen’s Donors: Part II (Koch Industries). This may come as a complete shock, but apparently some pretty shady people donate to Allen’s campaign.

No word yet on Webb’s response to Allen’s counter-debate proposal. Spark It Up!! reports that Jim Webb is Silent and quotes another snarky press release from Allen’s guys. Allen’s webmaster, by the way, finally got around to posting Allen’s press releases. Because Webb hasn’t responded, “Born Ducking” is now the fashionable Virginia Republican pejorative for Webb’s campaign.

Markos Gains The Moral Bilgewater

I think of Markos as a shrewd latter-day dot-com entrepreneur trying to exploit progressives (actually, it’s more like he’s successfully exploiting progressives). But then I saw Monday’s Midday open thread, and started to think that his dot-com success must be pure luck, because he’s clearly prone to sticking his foot in his mouth. It pains me to point out the same thing that Little Green Footballs did, but lest it be forgotten amidst all the “Ko$ola” accusations swirling around (which I might comment about later) this bit of Kos wisdom deserves to be highlighted again:

Barbaric torture“. There’s a reason the Geneva Conventions exist. We’ve lost the moral high ground. What a (bleep)ing waste of a war.

I won’t talk about the square-peg-in-round-hole attempt to spin the deaths of those two missing soldiers into a critique of the Bush administration (Kos spins everything into a critique of the Bush administration — he can’t help himself. “Today it rained… and Bush failed to stop it!”) And I won’t discuss whether or not the (misnamed) “war” is a waste. Rather, I’d like to discuss his attempt to conflate the U.S. military’s and Al Qaeda’s treatment of prisoners, because the torture “controversy” is still a pet peeve of mine.

Yes, believe it or not, in Kos’s mind, we treat Al Qaeda prisoners exactly the same as Al Qaeda treats Amercian prisoners, and the latest incident with those two missing soldiers proves it to him. I’ll let that sink in for a moment.

How can anyone, liberal or not, actually believe that?? It boggles the mind. Drawing a moral equivalence between “stress positions” and “waterboarding” and what happened to those two missing American soldiers over the weekend, which was apparently so bad that even the mighty media can’t find out the details, can only have two possible motives: Complete ignorance or wanton propaganda. Either of those reasons is good enough for any reasonable person to throw Kos back into the Internet bilge of irrelevance.

Next Kos will be saying that Al Qaeda actually treats prisoners better than the U.S. military, because they torture and kill and desecrate their prisoners within a few days, instead of making prisoners endure the nightmare of a Gitmo cell, regular meals, and medical attention for years on end. Perhaps soon after that we’ll start seeing Al Qaeda advertise on Daily Kos. “For Kossites only: Special deals on martyrdom and dhimmitude! Get yours today!”

“Lost the moral high ground” indeed. Sheesh.

Well-Intentioned Authoritarian Lunkheads

I got an email recently exhorting me to wear red on Fridays to show my support for our troops. I am sure it was intended to be a friendly gesture of patriotism. But that being said, I was outraged! I quote: “Every red-blooded American who supports our men and women afar, will wear something red.” This gesture has nothing to do with supporting troops. (My wearing red ain’t going to stop insurgent gunfire.) This is about finding a way to build a community of like-minded individuals who can publicly single-out dissenters, and it is a mockery of the principles of personal liberty for which so many soldiers have died in the past. I hope the authoritarian lunkhead that started that email will someday learn that one’s views need not be advertised on a placard to be valid.