Good to see that Rep. Sam Graves, R-MO, is focused on the big problems that this country and his district face. By which I do not mean terrorism, a tanking economy, or Social Security. No, I mean this one.
May 28, 2004
May 27, 2004
Hey, GOP! The next time you mock Kerry for seeming “French”, consider which country is also moving to ban same-sex marriages.
McSweeney’s presents their own analysis of Kerry’s 20 Vice Presidential possibilities.
May 26, 2004
As of this moment, the lead headline on cnn.com reads:
Ashcroft: ‘Clear and present danger to America’
We here at Bray New World would like to applaud CNN’s candor and to state that we agree with them wholeheartedly – although perhaps not in the way they intended.
The New York Times now admits that their pre-war coverage of Iraq was insufficient, and that they gave the White House a free ride.
Better late than never, I suppose.
May 25, 2004
There have been a number of exposés in the past several months detailing the insecurity, inaccuracy and other problems of electronic voting, such as the lack of paper trails and the inability to ensure that all votes registered at the machine were counted. Perhaps in the distant future, these problems will be solved. But the technical obstacles are great enough that it won’t be feasible by November. So to avoid another election scandal, sign this petition asking to prevent these machines from being used.
May 24, 2004
May 20, 2004
May 19, 2004
For those of you who worry about the Candidate’s (or for that matter the party’s) lack of message, Arianna Huffington has outlined a comprehensive agenda for the Democratic Party. It is perhaps a little idealistic, and one may quibble with the exact details, but nevertheless, it is a strong and coherent message, whcih would work well to define both the candidate and the party.
Read it here.
I’d also be keen to hear people’s own thoughts on it.
May 18, 2004
Fred Kaplan of Slate has a good little piece on Abu Ghraib and where this is all going.
“The sacred institution of marriage should not be redefined by a few activist judges,” remarked our fearless leader yesterday – while at the same time, Catholic church leaders insisted that their flock had to vote lock-step with their decisions.
So state leaders are telling us what’s sacred, while church leaders are telling us how to vote. Maybe I’m a little bit crazy here, but I’m thinking maybe each should render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s, and unto God what is God’s. Of course, that advice originally came from a countercultural revolutionary who hung out with whores, so it’s not like some hippie’s recommendation is good for much.
There is little doubt in my mind that the atrocities of Abu Gharib were caused in part by the Bush Administration’s near-total lack of regard for the Geneva Conventions. From the prisoners at Guantanamo being held to have no access to Geneva rights, to this statement by Alberto Gonzales in a January ’02 memo to the President:
“The nature of the new war places a high premium on other factors, such as the ability to quickly obtain information from captured terrorists and their sponsors in order to avoid further atrocities against American civilians…In my judgment, this new paradigm renders obsolete Geneva’s strict limitations on questioning of enemy prisoners and renders quaint some of its provisions.”
Now remember everyone, Geneva as a signed and ratified treaty is, according to the Constitution, part of the ‘supreme law of the land’ so it’s not like it’s optional.
Of course, this is what they’re saying now:
At the same time, President Bush recognized that our nation will continue to be a strong supporter of the Geneva treaties. The president also reaffirmed our policy in the United States armed forces to treat Al Qaeda and Taliban detainees at Guantánamo Bay humanely and, to the extent appropriate and consistent with military necessity, in keeping with the principles of the Third Geneva Convention.”
- Alberto Gonzales 5/15/04 (NYT Op-Ed)
That Bush, flip-flopping all over the place. Unless of course they’re just lying.
May 17, 2004
So Bishop Sheridan of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Colorado Springs wrote a letter saying saying “Catholics should not receive communion if they vote for politicians who support abortion rights, stem-cell research, euthanasia or same-sex marriage.” LINK
So, leaving aside the question of whether or not this is okay, here’s the thing that gets me. Shouldn’t Bishop Sheridan be including Catholics who vote for politicians who support the Death Penalty? I believe the Catholic church’s teachings on that are pretty clear, as are Bush’s very pro-Death Penalty actions and views.
If there is one thing I cannot stand it is people claiming a balanced, apolitical stance for what is, in the end, a very partisan political message.
According to a telling investigation in The New Yorker, Rumsfeld not only knew of but approved the plan that
encouraged physical coercion and sexual humiliation of Iraqi prisoners in an effort to generate more intelligence about the growing insurgency in Iraq.
May 16, 2004
In an article at In These Times, Kurt Vonnegut writes of our fearless leader:
That chief and his cohorts have as little to do with Democracy as the Europeans had to do with Christianity. We the people have absolutely no say in whatever they choose to do next. In case you havent noticed, theyve already cleaned out the treasury, passing it out to pals in the war and national security rackets, leaving your generation and the next one with a perfectly enormous debt that youll be asked to repay.
Nobody let out a peep when they did that to you, because they have disconnected every burglar alarm in the Constitution: The House, the Senate, the Supreme Court, the FBI, the free press (which, having been embedded, has forsaken the First Amendment) and We the People.
May 14, 2004
This is big,
Presumptive Democratic nominee John Kerry on Friday collected the endorsement of the International Brotherhood of Police Officers, a police union that backed President Bush in the 2000 election. Click here for the story.
From the New Republic:
Today, speaking before hundreds of beleaguered American soldiers at a town hall meeting at Camp Victory in Baghdad, Donald Rumsfeld actually had the nerve to refer to his bureaucratic problems in Washington (you know, that torture thing) and say–again, in front of brave U.S. troops who put their lives and health on the line every day in Iraq–”I’m a survivor.”
May 12, 2004
So how do conservatives respond to the appalling abuses at the Abu Ghraib prison? With horror or apology? Actually neither of these.
There seem to be a number of different tactics to spin this, all of them putting Bush and Rumsfeld in the clear. You could be like Rush Limbaugh and think this was all a fraternity prank.
This is no different than what happens at the Skull and Bones initiation and we’re going to ruin people’s lives over it and we’re going to hamper our military effort, and then we are going to really hammer them because they had a good time.”
Or you could be subtler like Walter E. Williams acknowledging bad things occurred, but still discount the seriousness of it.
These acts arent anything that Americans should be proud of, but at the same time, they dont qualify as torture and atrocities so far as those terms have been historically defined. Moreover, they are mild in comparison to the kind of prison treatment to which Iraqis have become accustomed.
Its always good to compare things during the Saddam Hussein regime to make us look that much nicer. And to think conservatives accuse us of relativism.
Besides Bush and Rumsfeld arent even to blame. Its the medias fault. As Jonah Goldberg said:
CBS should be ashamed for running those photos.
Then there is the underlying assumption that these people were guilty of crimes against Americans anyway. After all, if they werent guilty, then why were they prisoners? In the words of David Limbaugh:
Perhaps we should apologize to the civilized world and to the Iraqi people, but I’m not so anxious to apologize to the “victims” themselves, who would probably have enjoyed eating our intestines for lunch well before the incident.
However, it seems that the most popular method for deflecting the horror of Abu Ghraib is being offended by the sane reaction. Conservatives actually think that liberals secretly enjoy this incident. In the words of Senator Inhofe of Oklahoma:
I’m probably not the only one up at this table that is more outraged by the outrage than we are by the treatment. I am also outraged that we have so many humanitarian do-gooders right now crawling all over these prisons looking for human rights violations, while our troops, our heroes are fighting and dying.
Im tired of this sophistry. Conservatives are trying to explain away an inexcusable incident with some of the most twisted arguments and flexible logic I have ever seen. The simple conclusion any rational being should come to upon reviewing the facts is that American soldiers screwed up badly, they should be brought to justice after due process is given, and their superiors, all the way up to Bush and Rumsfeld, should be removed from office for either being complacent with the actions or incompetent to stop them.
And the people making the above arguments should never be taken seriously again.
May 11, 2004
Wesley Clark writes a stellar piece comparing how we successfully contributed to the democratization of the USSR versus how we’re actively degrading the situation in the Middle East. This is a man who knows whereof he speaks.