Friday, December 16, 2005

People Magazine: Elizabeth Edwards Named Newsmaker 2005

People Magazine: Elizabeth Edwards Named Newsmaker/2005

According to the One America Committee blog, Elizabeth Edwards, wife of former Senator John Edwards, will be featured in a People Magazine feature titled Newsmakers of the Year. Congratulations, Mrs. Edwards.

Bemoaning a Free Society

Bemoaning a Free Society

"The only thing that the enemy has got going for them is the capacity to take innocent life and to get on our TV screens with this devastation that they cause. These people cannot stand free societies."

- President Bush, answering a member of the Press on December 6, 2005

I wish the President would be more honest in his statements. Obviously, the insurgents in Iraq "can stand" a free society - at least to the extent that Americans can see the results of the insurgents' devastating attacks on our television screens, in our newspapers, and on our internet screens. They use our freedom to the fullest of their abilities. It's also obvious that the President regrets that we are seeing these awful things. I regret they are happening, but I would have deeper regret if these things were hidden from the public in a world where freedom is paramount and prerequisite to justice.

Who is the one bemoaning a "free society" here, in this context?

Iraq Catch and Release

Iraq Catch and Release
The Quintessential Fish Story -
The One That Got Away

____________ _______________


A top-secret document has been found stuffed in the front pocket of a pair of soiled pants belonging to an Iraqi security troop named al-AhSheet Iletimgo.

It is the Iraq Security Forces' (Really) Rough Guide to "Catch and Release" techniques for Zarqawi


Edwards is Right About A Longing in America

John Edwards is Right About
A Longing in America

I read this statement while searching Google News. It's from a website called the Conservative Voice - an opinion piece by a Lisa Fabrizio. Why it rates "Google News" is puzzling, because it's no more substantial than anything you'd read on a blog. Since it's 'out there,' I have some things to say about it. Quote from op-ed:
Former VP candidate, John Edwards told delegates at a weekend convention of the Florida faithful that Americans would come together behind a leader who asks people to sacrifice for the common good: "There is a hunger in America, a hunger for a sense of national community, a hunger for something big and important and inspirational that they all can be involved in." This statement illustrates a classic Democratic disconnect. In case Edwards hasn’t noticed, there’s already “something big and important and inspirational” going on; it’s called the War on Terror and it’s not only protecting Americans at home.
The only disconnect I see is the writer's own. It is Ms. Fabrizio's major 'disconnect' with the reality that exists today at the very center of American hearts and minds. Any recent poll will tell us that Americans are not inspired and are extremely skeptical, at best, about this war in Iraq. I believe that Senator Edwards is correct - Americans come together when they are inspired by an issue that they care about as a common people. Controversial, unjust and morally questionable wars are not something we have been spiritually enthusing over.

Our spirits govern our inner lives - and our values direct us to our respective political positions. My own spiritual leader at the time of the lead-up to the Iraq war, Pope John Paul II, spoke firmly against the pre-emptive action. If anyone thinks that my spiritual values did not play a part in my overall opinion and dissent about the war, I'll tell them they're dead wrong.

Ms. Fabrizio insinuates that we "pander to the enemy" if we express dissent about this war. That is pure tripe, and I wonder what she would have said at the time President Clinton was leading the humanitarian intervention in Kosovo and he received nothing but opposition from Republicans.

Our soldiers have fought and died from the time of the American Revolution for the right (and civic duty) of each citizen to participate in American democracy; our government is of the people (ask Abe Lincoln if you don't believe me); so I'll take this opportunity to tell Ms. Fabrizio she's full of hot air. *I'd use juicier words, but I'm a nice Christian girl.*

Ms. Fabrizio also insinuates that dissent is more about "disdain" for a President. I believe this overly simplistic type of thinking is either willingly blind or journalistically ignorant - maybe both. Dissent is actually about the very real and admitted failures - and some still unadmitted but obvious mistakes - of the President. Disdain for the results of President Bush's mistakes is a reasonable option, but is not required to prove the real failures of leadership.

If this President was right on Iraq - and if he was an inspiring leader on Iraq, you would never be seeing stories like this.

Senator Edwards is right about a longing in America. Divisive op-eds might make a writer popular with a certain partisan crowd, but its appeal won't reach over party lines and convince any moderate American who can see the forest for the trees on the misleading way the Iraq war was begun - and the failure of strategy that followed - and the very real lives that were taken in between. If anyone thinks that is inspiring, they need to call a therapist - and fast.



- Quote of the Week from the Crisis Papers, by Steven Laffoley:
"While the Self-Righteous-Right wonders where the King's mojo may have gone, the sane center of America - the vast majority of folks now - all know the truth: the administration's endless, blundering incompetence intertwining seamlessly with the administration's contagious, contemptible corruption has sealed the King's doom."

Gary Hart in a brand new Buzzflash interview:
"I’m not "uncomfortable" with the way Jesus is being tossed around – I’m angry about it. I’d go well beyond discomfort. I think the religious right is making Jesus into some kind of Old Testament wrathful prophet who is judgmental, divisive, and opposed to any notion of liberalism, whereas the teachings of Jesus tell quite a different story. He was tolerant. He was forgiving. He preached love, not hate. In many ways, the literal reading of the teachings of Jesus in the gospels, particularly not filtered through the later apostles in the New Testament, but the literal teachings of Jesus as portrayed in the gospels, are almost totally at odds with the teachings of the present-day religious right."


While I understand and appreciate Andrew Sullivan's optimism, it seems unbridled - a bit too sunny on the side of a hoped-for victory in Iraq for which no two people seem to have the same definition.

Juan Cole comments:
It is not actually a positive sign for the Americans that Sunni Arabs came out to vote in order to get rid of them, to see if they couldn't get rid of the current pro-American government, to underline that the armed struggle will continue, and to prove that Sunni Arabs (20% of so of the population) are a majority of the country! The American faith that if people go to the polls it means they won't also be blowing things up is badly misplaced.
William Rivers Pitt looks at facts existing on the ground:
This election will be no panacea, despite what the hopefuls think. Every electoral model has the Shia and Kurds assuming dominant positions in the Iraqi government. Even if every Sunni in Iraq goes to the polls, they make up only 20% of the overall population. Electoral formulas meant to enhance Sunni power within an Iraqi government will still leave them deeply in the minority. A collection of leading Sunni parties called the Iraqi Consensus Front has been pushing a straightforward slogan: "Our goal is to get the invaders out and rebuild the country." If their minority status prevents the Sunnis from achieving their first goal according to their wishes, they may well return to violence to achieve their second goal. A leaflet was broadly distributed in the Azamiyah neighborhood of Baghdad last Monday. Sunni Arabs may have a chance to advance their cause politically in the upcoming elections, read the leaflet, but "the fighting will continue with the infidels and their followers."

Julian Hall [Independent UK] reviews comedian Jon Stewart at the Prince Edward Theatre in London.
To a remark about Americans being stupid for letting Bush back in, he put Blair in the frame: "It's a pleasure to come to a country where they never made the wrong choice!"

Concern About the Integrity of Our Voting System:
"The evidence of voting fraud and election theft is no secret – it is out in the open for all to see who are willing to see....The response of the mainstream media in the face of all this? Total silence....The response of the Democratic Party? Total silence...The response of the media and the Party to the GAO report report validating the concerns of the critics? More silence.Why!? [Ernest Partridge Essay]

Former President Jimmy Carter has said that he doubts that the U.S. military will ever completely pull out of Iraq.
"There has never been a single declaration among the higher levels of government now that we ever intend to withdraw completely our military forces from Iraq," Carter told reporters, according to The Times Herald-Record. "My belief, and it may be erroneous ... is that the top leadership in this country intends 20 years from now, 50 years from now, we'll still have a major military presence in Iraq." - [AP]
I don't doubt that this is true. What are we supposed to think about that?

The Latest Gallup Poll Results:

- Do you think the United States will -- or will not -- be able to establish a stable democratic government in Iraq? - 55% say No.

- Candidates who would be most likely to be supported by registered Democrats for the Democratic nomination for President in the year 2008:

Clinton: 43%
Edwards: 15%
Kerry: 15%
Biden: 8%

- Same question for registered Republican voters:

Rudy Giuliani: 30%
John McCain: 22%
Rice: 18%
Allen: 7%