April 27, 2007

Brendan Nyhan has a good post up about the history of Republican efforts to paint anti-war efforts by the Democrats as objectively pro-terrorist and "appeasement." Since public opinion on the war has steadily and consistently moved in favor of the Democrats since the war against Iraq began back in March, 2003, it's safe to say that the rhetoric has failed. There's nothing like a failed occupation to cast hawkishness with a jaundiced eye.

We have to be very careful not to draw the wrong lessons from Iraq. Obviously, what we've learned is that diplomacy, alliance-building and multilateralism are good things, and that a true ally is sometimes the country that says no; if we had listened to Chirac's warnings, many thousands of people would be alive today, and U.S. power and influence might not be at a low ebb. But the reason why "appeasement" had such a negative connotation for so long was that a perfectly reasonable policy of negotiating with an adversary was taken to a ridiculous extreme in 1938. Appeasement hasn't always been a dirty word: it was, after all, British policy toward the United States from 1815 to 1917, and it's been American policy towards China since the mid-70's, although we don't call it that. In the aftermath of World War I, when tens of millions perished fighting a war for objectives that simply weren't worth it, it may have seemed a smart idea to be a little more careful the next time a territorially-ambitious despot came to power in Europe.

The problem, of course, was that Hitler was a madman who acted irrationally, who wanted a war with the rest of the world, and no amount of negotiations was going to appease him. Had Britain and France reacted to Hitler the same way it reacted to the Kaiser, or in the alternative, if they had appeased the Kaiser in 1914, a lot of unnecessary bloodshed could have been avoided. And America cannot be afraid of defending itself and its allies by using force in the future, just because the Bushies were so incompetent and reckless in fighting Iraq.
Schilling for Your Thoughts: It was REAL BLOOD, he insists.

April 26, 2007

Paul Begala presents a marvelous defense of the Man from Searchlight:
Mr. Broder has moved with ease from the elite comfort of the University of Chicago to the smug confines of Arlington, Virginia. And so he looks down at a man who rose from among the hard-rock miners and hard-luck hookers of Searchlight, Nevada to be the most consequential senator of his time. While David Broder was thinking great thoughts at his elite university, Harry Reid was working his way through Utah State. While David Broder was pontificating, Harry Reid was working his way through law school as a cop on Capitol Hill.


Perhaps Broder's bed-wetting tantrum against Reid was spurred by the certain knowledge that while Harry Reid has been telling hard truths, Mr. Broder has been falling hard for transparent lies.

Whereas Reid called for Donald Rumsfeld's dismissal long ago, Broder vouched for Rummy, writing, "Overall, Rumsfeld left me with the impression that he is aware of the risks of war with Iraq, but confident they can be handled."

While Reid has called for investigations into allegations Karl Rove broke the law, Broder vouches for Rove: "Let me disclose my own bias in this matter. I like Karl Rove.... I have eaten quail at his table and admired the splendid Hill Country landscape from the porch of [Rove's] historic cabin...." Mighty cozy in Karl's cabin, isn't it, Mr. Broder?

I doubt very seriously that Harry Reid is bothered by Broder's comments. Reid has faced down Vegas mobsters who planted a bomb in his family car. He's unlikely to be intimidated by George W. Bush's housebroken lap-dog.
The Broder column referenced above is here. Atrios would be doing us all a favor if he just retired the banal "Wanker of the Day" designation and replaced it with an "honor" based on the bootlicking sycophancy of David "He came in here and he trashed the place, and it's not his place" Broder.
Christine: Tucked away inconspicuously, on page 2 of the local sports section this morning, was perhaps the most interesting article published in the LA Times in some time, and certainly one of the most courageous ever published in a mainstream newspaper.

April 25, 2007

Is the "G" hard or soft? Best blogtitle of the day....

April 24, 2007

Rather than whine about how mean MoDo and the others are to our candidates, here's an effective counter to the "$400 Haircut" attack that Edwards should have used.

April 23, 2007

For some reason, I've always associated this performance with the Monterey Pop Festival in '67 (I believe they backed Otis Redding), even though I'm sure that it's more likely some German TV broadcast from that period. Awesome playing by all concerned:

Not knowing the context of the rant, I studiously avoided commenting on the Baldwin Controversy last week. But I think there's one aspect that seems to have been ignored, and that is the fact that Alec Baldwin didn't say any of the things on that recording to his eleven-year old daughter. He said it to an answering machine on a telephone that "belonged" to his daughter, but was really under the custody and control of his ex-wife.

It's a big difference. People often feel liberated when they reach an answering service or voicemail rather than the intended recipient of their phone call, more free to vent their frustrations, talk smack or yell things that they would never say to the other party during a phone call, much less say face-to-face. Among my friends, this is known as the Tessmer Effect, after a mutual friend with a tendency for leaving long, often barely coherent messages on our voicemails replete with rage and poetry. Our friend can often go up to ten minutes without seeming to catch his breath on one of these messages, and I've always wondered why he didn't direct that energy into stand-up. Or blogging, for that matter.

Of course, we're middle-aged adults rather than eleven-year olds; whatever psychological scars we may have received from abusive language was generated years before. But it does lead to the other aspect of this controversy that hasn't received play, which is that there's no persuasive evidence yet that the little girl ever heard any of this message until it was leaked by her mom to the tabloids. She's eleven. She doesn't "own" anything, much less a cellphone.

The attack on Baldwin (and it's a fair one) is that you normally don't say those things to a grown woman, much less a pre-teen, but the context of the phone call (him not being able to have contact with his daughter in the middle of a bitter divorce) makes it seem like he was directing his comments at his ex, and not necessarily his little girl. And considering that Kim Basinger's first response to the message was not to go to court to get a restraining order against this madman, but to leak the recording to TMZ, his rage at that target might be understandable.

UPDATE: Maybe he should have taken these words of wisdom to heart:

April 22, 2007

Because her Harajuku mascots have needs too !!!
Sad to say, it shouldn't surprise anyone that the Bush Administration can't even get something like remembering the genocide of the Armenian people right. Referring to Congressional passage of a resolution urging the President to use the "G-word" when observing the anniversary of the mass slaughter bewteen 1915 and 1923, Matt Welch notes:
President Bush won't say "genocide" on Tuesday. In the words of Condoleezza Rice, the administration's position is that Turks and Armenians both need to "get over their past" without American help.

But this issue won't go away. Watching Rice's linguistic contortions in response to harsh congressional interrogation by Schiff, who has become the Armenians' great House champion, is profoundly dispiriting; it makes one embarrassed to be American. Of all issues subject to realpolitik compromises, mass slaughter of a national minority surely should rank at the bottom of the list.

Hitler reportedly said, just before invading Poland, "Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?" It's a chilling reminder that forgetting is the first step in enabling future genocides. Yet Hitler was eventually proved wrong. No temporal power is strong enough to erase the eternal resonance of truth.
In fairness, it should be noted that Clinton was just as chickenhearted when it came to appeasing the Turkish government on this issue, but Bush and his allies were never reluctant to use the term "genocide" when attempting to goad the nation into war in Iraq, and certainly haven't urged Jews to "get over" past crimes against them.