Thursday, October 23, 2003

While I'm away....

While I'm away....

Make yourself at home.

Grab a hot cup (or cold bottle) of your favorite beverage and take a look around.

This October 28 wil mark the 41st anniversary of the end of the Cuban missile crisis.
The world breathed a collective sigh of relief after two superpowers headed off a potential nuclear confrontation.

President John F. Kennedy was praised for his diplomatic skills in averting a nuclear war.

I am very much afraid that our current President has no such diplomatic skill...and this is a far more dangerous time in which we live.

In 1962, the two superpowers found a new appreciation of the danger of nuclear weapons, which led to arms-control accords.

We are now a lone superpower.

We have a President who is not interested in honoring or creating accords.

He seems to have no knowlege or remembrance of the reasons we entered those accords.

We have a President who makes unsophisticated and one-sided demands of his allies as well as his enemies.

If we continue on this path...with this leader unwilling to employ respectful diplomacy...the animosity toward our nation and the people of our nation will be so strong that we will eventually be weakened and/or pulled down to an ugly and unrecognizable version of what was once a great and influential member of an international community.

While I'm away, consider the words of James G. Blight and Philip Brenner one year ago in their article entitled
"Cuban Missile Crisis: The Lessons for Iraq"

Think about all that has occurred this past year...and what we might be saying one year from today.

Take Care,

"...So one lesson we can learn by looking at Cuba's experience during the 1962 missile crisis is that our approach to weaker powers is fraught with danger and is not likely to achieve the results we seek. The United States tends to expect a weaker power will cower when the superpower roars, but in fact American efforts to intimidate are more likely to produce the opposite effect. Intimidation emboldens the small power, and however irrational the resulting behavior may seem to us, a weaker power may resort to unimaginable acts as a last line of defense. The Central Intelligence Agency recently came to the same conclusion in its assessment that Saddam Hussein would become "much less constrained" if faced with an attack led by the United States.

Ultimately, what Cuba demanded from the United States in 1962 is the same attitude that American allies have been furiously urging the United States to adopt in general and toward Iraq in particular: that the lone superpower act like a "normal" country and accord others the same rights to survival and sovereignty that the United States demands for itself. The allies have implored the United States to engage Iraq diplomatically and to rely on the United Nations and established international legal principles, which recognize that all nations -- great and small powers alike -- should be treated equally.

Is Iraq "another Cuba"? Not exactly. There are many differences between the two cases. But we believe a key similarity between them has received too little attention from those advocating pre-emptive action against Baghdad. It is this: The inability (or unwillingness) of the United States to empathize with those who feel the threat of annihilation -- people who may be willing to fight to the last man, woman, and child and even to use unthinkable weapons -- increases the likelihood that such weapons will be used, with all the horror and uncertainty that would follow.

We now know that the hawks advising Kennedy in October 1962 were dead wrong to recommend attacking Cuba with what they (mistakenly) believed would be an "acceptable" cost and risk. Might those advocating a pre-emptive strike on Iraq also be wrong in their assessment of the likely consequences?

Based on our reading of Cuba's mind-set 40 years ago, we believe it is worth considering that the hawks might also be wrong about Saddam Hussein and Iraq today. It just may be that the events of October 1962 constitute, if not a crisis for all seasons, at least a cautionary tale with disturbing relevance to the season that is upon us."

Take This Test!

Take This Test!

The social dimension of politics is important. That's the dimension that the mere left-right scale doesn't adequately address. So Political Compass has added one, ranging in positions from extreme authoritarian to extreme libertarian.

My result was here:

Close to this fellow:

NOTE: Don't spoil the results by reading the Analysis section before you take the test.

Florida may "big-foot" the DNC Dems into participating in straw poll

FLORIDA may "big-foot" the DNC Dems into participating in straw poll

Certain DNC Dems' personal campaigns are worried about the straw polls, I'm sure.
I find it curious that all candidates signed a "snub-letter" to the Florida DNC, yet Howard Dean had recently urged Florida to push on with the straw poll. See Palm Beach Post article here.
My personal opinion?
The mainstream media is about nothing if it's not about beauty contests.
We hear the "media mouthpiece" day in/day out without ever being able to talk back en masse.
Media polls are unreliable pieces of doo-doo because they rely on the usual 1000-1500 people who are dumb enough to answer their phones at dinnertime.
That's politics..and with straw polls, we have democracy in a healthy form.
(As opposed to the one-way media).
I say "bring 'em on".
Let's see what the people are thinking.
The people are desiring more of a voice in politics..ignore them at your own peril.

Here are some quotes from the article highlighted above:

"...Democratic activists on the state party's central committee are scheduled to vote Nov. 16 on whether to hold a straw poll. Even in the face of threatened boycotts, support for a straw poll appears to be overwhelming..."

"...Gov. Howard Dean and North Carolina Sen. John Edwards have assured *him they will be at the convention no matter what."
*speaking about Jon Ausman, a DNC member from Tallahassee

"I don't think any of the top-tier candidates can afford to ignore Florida and alienate the very people they will need."
Florida Democratic Chairman Scott Maddox

Governor Jean-Claude van Damme-John Stewart funny

"I am announcing Jean-Claude van Damme as the new governor of Montana!"

-quote from Daily Show host John Stewart at 8th Annual GQ Men-of-the-Year Awards
Bush Heckled by Aussie Senator

"I love free speech." GW Bush 10-22-03

ie: go ahead, ass

".... they're reminders to all Americans that they need to watch what they say, watch what they do. This is not a time for remarks like that; there never is..." Bush Press Secy Ari Fleischer 9-26-01

ie: shuddap, ass
Wal Mart Employees arrested by U.S. government in 61 different stores across the country

I'm certain Wal Mart was more than cooperative in this Ashcroftian crusade.

So the world's largest retailer who imports goods made from some of the cheapest labor in the world doesn't want to promote the same kind of people here in America...let 'em go back to where they belong and make that nickel a day.

I'm sure you'll be happy to know Wal Mart shares were up 4 cents at $58.28 in morning trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

Dennis Prager--America's Next Civil War

Dennis Prager--America's Next Civil War

photo by Iddybud

"......Whatever your politics, you have to be oblivious to reality to deny that America today is torn by ideological divisions as deep as those of the Civil War era. We are, in fact, in the midst of the Second American Civil War..."

"..Added together, the differences suggest people who live in different worlds that are on a collision course...."

See my blogpost Two Nations Under God??...Indivisible??

In today's headlines...

In today's news...

"..somebody doesn't like sara lee....."

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A Howard Dean Op Ed

The man has a plan.

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In today's Washington Post:

1- The Kerry campaign feigns surprise at fellow Dem candidate Dean employing "attack" tactics in early campaign advertising. (Who's actually missing the boat?)

2- Kudos to in their protest for a more aggressive investigation into the leaking of the name of a CIA operative whose husband had been critical of the Bush administration. (Dare I reprint her name?)

_ _

I'd mention the Rumsfeld admission that Iraq is a total blooming mess, but that really isn't news, is it?

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Columnist Richard Cohen on the current state of Germany-U.S. relations

".....With the collapse of the Soviet Union, German-American relations were bound to change. The common enemy was gone. But whatever differences were going to emerge have been exacerbated by the Bush administration's haughty and abrasive style. Might may make right but, as America will discover when it needs them, it does not make friends..."