Sunday, August 07, 2005

Peter Jennings Has Died

Peter Jennings Has Died

My thoughts, as conveyed last April, will tell you how I feel tonight. Peter has died at the age of 67. I am very sad, and my prayers go out to Peter's family and friends. I'll miss him very much. He was as much a part of my life as any close member of my community. I considered him to be a friend who I had never had the opportunity to meet. I thank him for coming to my home each night and telling me the stories that filled in the outline of history and caused me to care. Godspeed, Peter.

In my end is my meaning.
-Thomas Merton

Scott from Powerline Joins Steyn in Mocking the Poor

Scott from Powerline Joins Steyn in Mocking the Poor

"..John Edwards dusts off his "Two Americas" stump speech -- the one with the heartwarming Dickensian vignette about the shivering girl whose parents can't afford to buy her a winter coat ($9.99 brand new from Wal-Mart) -- he might want to add a section about how an easy way for shivering coatless girls to keep warm is to run around the block a couple of times."

- Mark Steyn - an ugly man in many ways, in a Sun-Times column (the newspaper that fails to edit out CIA outings)
Does anyone think the quote above is funny or amusing in any way? A right winger mocking the poor? And can anyone actually find me a decent $9.99 winter coat (that will actually keep a little girl warm in the harsh Illinois winter) at a Walmart? Nowadays, you pay about that much at the goodwill store for a decent winter coat. Of course, I wouldn't expect Steyn to know that because he probably hasn't stepped his foot (which should be in his mouth) into a goodwill store in quite some time.

Powerline thought enough of this excerpt from Steyn's column to paste it into their blog today. I don't think that says much for their good faith or good taste. All this in the name of attacking Air America? All I can say is that Air America must be driving some of these wingnuts mad when we see them driven to mock Americans who live in poverty. Shame on you, Scott.

If Powerline offered any type of commentability, I would have made a comment at the entry site. I guess Powerline doesn't like to be challenged. Unchallengeable journalism doesn't seem like the American way, does it? Regardless of whether or not you agree with Michelle Malkin , you cannot say that she's afraid to take on a challenging comment or two. [edited]


It's a Time to be Enchanting

It's a Time to be Enchanting

"..experts, who include a pioneer in personality profiling, say al-Qaida, always loosely knit, is mutating into satellites that attract local operatives bound by disenchantment with the Western societies in which they grew up."
It isn't rocket science, so where have we gone wrong?
Main Entry: en·chant
Pronunciation: in-'chant, en-
Function: transitive verb
Etymology: Middle English, from Middle French enchanter, from Latin incantare, from in- + cantare to sing -- more at CHANT
1 : to influence by or as if by charms and incantation : BEWITCH
2 : to attract and move deeply : rouse to ecstatic admiration
synonym see ATTRACT
We must learn the art of counter-enchantment, and our best traditional values should reflect that in every political and diplomatic move we make. We should reinforce the belief that the West welcomes diaspora communities and still holds the promise of integration and a better life. Ask yourself why so many youths have stopped believing in the promise of opportunity in the West. Enchant them with a genuine "promise of freedom" in a society in which they are welcomed and in which they can honestly participate and feel they are an important part. Empower them with education. Enlist them in a campaign to end the ideology of murdering one's fellow man as the only desperate way to achieve a feeling of justice. Show them what real social justice means - and that the spirit and the promise of it lives here in the West.

US politics have moved so radically to the right that winning hearts and minds seems to have lost its meaning altogether. Now, England is having a debate about the way certain people will be routed out of their own society. How can anyone ever attract support in this way? A war against poverty and social injustice cannot be won by creating a social atmosphere of distrust of diversity, alienation of immigrants, or an abandonment of multiculturalism.

This is the toughest battle we've ever seen. I fear the murderous side is getting ahead of the game because we do not understand how to mesmerize the "invisible people" who live amongst us with light and hope. The politics of fear will continue to cause us to lose. What a shame.

"How do you attack an ideology?"

Come up with a better idea.

It's what the GOP keeps telling the Democrats when it comes to many issues, including a plan to defeat al Quaeda extremism. When will the party who has enjoyed the electoral majority for the past decade come up with a successful idea?

Attention Trust

Attention Trust

Have you heard about Attention Trust? Read about it at Got Ads? or at Corante. Attention Trust wishes to educate you about a new way to think about the data that you create every day, whether or not you are cognizant of the fact that you're doing so. Examples might be your Google searches, your Amazon transactions, or your connections on a social network, ie. your LinkedIn account. Think of "attention" as a valuable resource, and since you create it, you own it. We are operating in an "attention economy." It's natural to expect that others will want to exploit our individual "attention," and its evidence, for their economic ends, rather than our own. This Trust moves us toward more self-control over economics of choice. Definitely interesting and worth looking into.

Arianna and Gore Vidal Discuss Judy Miller

Arianna and Gore Vidal Discuss Judy Miller

Meowwww - I just love today's Arianna Huffington piece - her latest on the Judy Miller file. Doug Jehl at Miller's own newspaper, the NYT, is digging deep so as to avoid getting the NYT scooped by another media source. Arianna has been talking to Gore Vidal, one of my personal favorites. Arianna says:
"During a conversation with Gore Vidal (more about that tomorrow) we talked about the fact that we had both heard from different people that Judy was planning to start writing a book about her experiences in the Plame case while in jail. "De Profundis it's not going to be," Vidal said, referring to Oscar Wilde's jailhouse classic. "More like De Shallow-undis."

Gore also made the point that Miller had continued to carry water for her neocon chums right up until her incarceration. The last articles she wrote before going to jail -- about Kofi Annan and that neocon bugaboo, the UN -- stand as an example of sloppy and slanted journalism that required two Times corrections, one of them an entire article. For chapter and verse on this, look here and here.
I can't wait to hear the rest tomorrow.

Sen George Allen: Bush should face Cindy Sheehan

Sen George Allen: Bush should face Cindy Sheehan

Sen George Allen just told Wolf Blitzer, on his Sunday Late Edition show, that President Bush should meet Cindy Sheehan face-to-face. A national security aide has met with Sheehan, but Allen says that is not enough - Bush needs to face her - to met privately with her. (That aide was none other than Stephen Hadley - who was responsible for those 16 lying words in the President's SOTU speech in 2003 - talk about a slap in the face).

Barbara Boxer, also a guest on Blitzer's CNN show, said that she thinks it would be a very important thing for President Bush to do. Boxer also encouraged Ms. Sheehan to continue speaking her mind. Bush has refused to meet with Ms. Sheehan.

I think it's the worst PR for President Bush - ever - to have the public knowing that the Secret Service is trying to intimidate Ms. Sheehan to leave Crawford while Bush is refusing to meet with a woman who lost her son while fighting for America in Iraq. This is the age of the Internet. Intimidation and the dirty secrets surrounding it don't fly these days.

The White House is saying they already have met with Sheehan, along with other parents of the fallen, in the past. I'm not impressed with the White House excuse for snubbing this woman.

Wolf Blitzer invited Cindy Sheehan to participate on today's show, and she accepted. She is the one who TOLD Joe Hagin and Stephen Hadley, in a meeting yesterday, that she had met with President Bush once before, on June 17, 2004, after her son Casey had been killed in Iraq. Bush had met with Sheehan and some of her family members, as he had done with about 15 other families that day. He breezed in with a "party" attitude, in Sheehan's view. He was jovial and impersonal, and seemed to wish to keep his business strictly impersonal. The first thing he'd said was "Who are we honoring here?" (He didn't even take a moment to put Casey's name to memory, if only for that brief moment). He refused to look at pictures of Casey when they were offered. He refused to take the time to hear some stories about Casey.

This past week, too many Marines died in Haditha for Sheehan to let her conviction rest. When she heard President Bush once again invoke the fallen soldiers to encourage Americans to support his "killing policies" in Iraq, she demanded a new meeting with him. She says that Bush's representatives, Stephen Hadley and Joe Hagin, with whom she met yesterday, gave her spin on the reasons for the war and she stated, flat out, that she didn't believe them...and couldn't believe THEY really believed what they were saying.

When they left, they told her they would convey her feelings to the President.

If Israel Ever Needed a Friend - They Need it Now

"I am the son of a historian. I want people to be able to say in ten years, 'He was not party to this.'"

- Benjamin Netanyahu, speaking about Israel's planned pullout from the Gaza strip, protests over which have caused Netanyahu to dramatically resign

If Israel Ever Needed a Friend - They Need it Now

Likudnik Benjamin Netanyahu's political move shows that Ariel Sharon needs the firm support of America now - more than ever. Israel cannot afford to have its government or their sense of fragile unity torn apart. Don't they have enough adversity facing them - all around them? If President Bush is committed to battling extremism everywhere, he should back Ariel Sharon and make it very clear that we support him - now.

Netanyahu feels strongly about this issue and he is saying that his move is purely political (Israeli elections will take place in November and Netanyahu will surely seek the office of Prime Minister), but let's not fail to think about how this symbolic act will affect the Israeli street. Expect extremism to flourish - because extremists will feel they have been greatly empowered by Netanyahu's resignation.

Haaretz reports:
A minister opposed to an important governmental decision is not supposed to be a part of that government. After his resignation the former minister can criticize the government at will, something he was not free to do beforehand.
Whose side is the Bush administration on? And why? I think we Americans deserve to hear Bush speak about these questions. We have a stake in Israel's future, because it involves stability in the Middle East. (In case you haven't noticed, over 1800 American soldiers have died in the Middle East because of the deliberate instability aggravated by the neocon Likudniks of America).

Last spring, the Bush administration had reaffirmed U.S. support for the Gaza-disengagement proposal, but had taken no stand on the political maneuverings surrounding it. An AIPAC spokesman (recently the target of espionage indictments in the US) said the group would not comment on "private discussions" with the Israeli prime minister's office. It seems we, in the US, can no longer play both political sides, seeing that they are so deeply divided.

Update: A good posting and quote from DHinMI at The Next Hurrah (with interesting discussion as well - a question of the timing of elections may make or break the Gaza pullout plan):
It's a real statement about how screwed up Israel's politics are these days that a cabinet resignation that puts more power in the hands of Ariel Sharon should be such as clear improvement, that progressives and those hoping for peace between Israelies and Palestinians should be heartened that Sharon may be on the verge of dispatching a rival. Or, rather, if the Gaza pullout is a success, that Sharon's rival may have just dispatched himself.

Augie Schroeder and Jeff Boskovitch

Augie Schroeder and Jeff Boskovitch

Augie Schroeder...............Jeff Boskovitch

They're two boys you'd see on any American street - in any mall, school, Scout meeting, rock concert, sports event...

They're two of the Marines from Brook Park, Ohio (Lima Company) who were killed in Haditha, Iraq, and who were represented by their families today on ABC's This Week. Rosemary Palmer and Jim Boskovitch appeared, along with Ohio Rep Dennis Kucinich. All were interviewed by George Stephanopoulos, who did a commendable job.

The Marines' photos can be seen at VOA along with these words:
Rosemary Palmer was convinced this would happen the last time she saw her son Augie alive. She says, "The pictures that we took before he went, we were sure that was the last time we'd ever see him."

Imagine the pain for Lance Corporal Jeff Boskovitch's family. His body and belongings have been displayed for TV by Iraqi insurgents. Recalling his nephew, "He was like the all-American kid."
I've seen the ugly display of propaganda from the extremists, and frankly, I wouldn't link it here if you paid me a million dollars.

You can see the story of Rosemary Palmer's sorrowful experience, being told that her son had died, at the beginning of this recent Newsweek article titled Sorrow and Debate by T. Trent Gegax.

There is also an article about the Schroeder/Palmer family at (Star Ledger)

ABC Radio National (Au) reporter Michael Rowland has a quote from Augie Scroder's father, Paul:
Paul Schroeder, the father of 23-year-old Edward 'Augie' Schroeder, is not only grieving, he's also very, very angry.

PAUL SCHROEDER: To honour him I can no longer sit still, keeping quiet and being politically correct. I will not rest the rest of my life until the Republican Party is considered an afterthought for a generation or two and the Democratic Party finds some people with backbone to stand up and do what's right. [column: Debate rages in US over Iraq]
Chuck Culpepper writes a sports column for Newsday - a fairly unusual place to find political comment - and he says:
"Of the six who died Monday in a gun battle near the city of Haditha, they found one separate from the others, an indication that he, apparently Boskovitch, might've struggled back toward his unit before he died.

Ohio teachers dialed Ohio teachers, and families dialed families, and a wizened coach said, "I just hope this isn't in vain.

"That's what it comes down to. I'm like most Americans: If we're going to lose our youngest and our best, let's hope it's for something."

And President Bush, in his weekly radio address, having addressed Brook Park briefly Thursday, spoke 682 words exclusively on the economy,
[my emphasis] beginning with: "Good morning. As families across the country enjoy the summer, Americans can be optimistic about our economic future."

And three-quarters of the way up that fence at Brook Park, above the flowers and the flags and the signs near the barbed wire at the top, you could spot it there in news photographs: two tiny American flags tucked on the shoulders, a jersey all white, with orange No. 16 and lettering - BOSKOVITCH."

-- Here's hoping there's a point to all of this pointlessness

How the Bush Admin is Responsible for Miller's Imprisonment

How the Bush Admin is Responsible for Miller's Imprisonment

Murray Waas writes about a meeting between NYT reporter Judy Miller and "Scooter" Libby on July 8, 2003 in Washington DC - six days before Reptile Novak wrote his column outing Valerie Plame as a "CIA operative."

Waas says Libby's failure to produce a personal waiver may have played a significant role in Miller’s decision not to testify about her conversations with Libby, including the one on July 8, 2003.

I have blogged that Miller's attorneys have intimated that Miller was not comfortable discussing her source, because of the conditional nature of that source's general waiver. (Perhaps Libby told her she could talk about some things, but not others, and that was not satisfactory to Miller, who is understandably worried about being incriminated herself.)

A quote from my prior blogpiece titled Michael Ledeen, Judy Miller, "Scooter" Libby:
"Judy's view is that any purported waiver she got from anyone was not on the face of it sufficiently broad, clear and uncoerced."- [Source- WaPo]
In his current article, Waas shows that President Bush was disingenuous, at best, when he averred that he would ensure that the White House would cooperate fully with Fitzgerald's investigation. If that was true, Bush would have pushed Libby to sign a personal waiver rather than a general one.

In essence, for their foot-dragging and non-cooperative nature, the Bush administration can be held partially (and directly) responsible for Judy Miller's imprisonment.

I know there's a lot of speculation about Judy's aggressive style of journalism and the ethics that surround that style, but let's not forget that her choice to remain in prison is because some folks in the White House decided it was more convenient to watch their own ass rather than worry about Judy's summer plans.

Related post - Dave Johnson

US Ambassador to Iraq Offers Shaky Reassurance

US Ambassador to Iraq Offers Shaky Reassurance

Zalmay Khalilzad is the US Ambassador to Iraq. In today's WSJ, he promises Iraqis that the US intends to to "win over" the people of Iraq, and then isolate and destroy "the enemy." As this plan is implemented, the US-led coalition will hand over control of specific areas to Iraqi forces and withdraw its units from these areas. He is preparing Iraqis for the future, telling them that elements of the Multi-National Force will be leaving Iraq. These are his words:
"..the U.S. is working with the Iraqi government to build up Iraqi security forces. These are growing in numbers and becoming more capable. With the cooperation of the people and with more robust Iraqi forces, the Iraqi government and the U.S. will use highly targeted military force to capture or eliminate the terrorists who irreconcilably oppose the new order."

Question - It's apparent we haven't "won over" most Iraqis, given the disastrous security issues we've "brought on" (and have literally invited others to "bring on") in their country today. Here we are telling Iraqis we will soon be leaving them, offering reassurance through an attempt to assign credibility to the narrative about trained Iraqi forces, which is folderol - and we know it - and they know it. If you lived in Iraq today (and thank God if you do not), would you feel comforted by the US ambassador's reassurances, as showcased in this article?

I don't consider myself to be a naysayer for the sake of naysaying, and I am a realist and a conflicted soul who knows that the mission in Iraq was misled and misguided and unjust - yet my heart mourns for the people of Iraq, who never deserved this type of unjust violence to be brought across and into their borders. I'm not the only one who believes this. Here is a statement from a young man who fought in the Iraq war:
"This is a new generation. We have the Internet, discussion forums, cable news. Soldiers don’t just march into battle blindly anymore. They have a lot more information."

- Army Sgt John Bruhns
We are now witnessing more false and terribly shaky promises and reassurances from the people responsible for turning Iraq into an embattled wasteland ripe for terrorist recruiting. I am an American, and if there was a message I could send to citizens of Iraq today, it would be that I am terribly sorry for what my nation did (the way they did it); that the young men and women we sent to their nation are there because they trusted our leaders and were doing a duty to their nation, most of them not having a full understanding of the reason they were sent there; and that I wish our leader would admit the glaring errors and make a commitment, this very day, to turn things around and do his honest best to work, with humility, with world leaders to tackle extremists instead of the US acting as counter-extremists. (Even Ariel Sharon is learning, from hard lessons, that all forms of extremism must be squelched - who would have thought he'd be ahead of the curve?). Neocon war-planners should be banished from the White House - and from Washington DC. Forever.