Sunday, August 06, 2006

Tar Heel Tavern #76

Tar Heel Tavern #76

Billy the Blogging Poet has done a great job with this week's edition of the Tar Heel Tavern.

Screwy Hoolie's Uncle Aubrey has his own ideas about "creating affordable housing, employing folks, and instilling hope in a region [post-Katrina New Orleans] that needs all three."

Fukuyama on Chavez

Fukuyama on Chavez

Jonah Goldberg might be pissed off [in a pseudo-intellectual way] at this man for exposing the extremists among neoconservatives [that Golberg fell for and who who unfortunately grabbed a hold of the heart of the Bush administration], but Frances Fukuyama deserves a reading with his latest Washington Post column about Hugo Chavez of Venezuela: History's Against Him

I hope the next Democratic president (hopefully elected in 2008) will understand that a third way in foreign policy - moderation and healthy compromise for the sake of peace, commerce and healthy democracies - is not a bad word when sane and intelligent policy backs it up and convinces others of its benefit. Bush has done nothing save widen the lanes of extremism on either side. The world's exploding because of it.

Neoconservatism never had to become a filthy word, but the Douglas Feiths (the most f**king stuid guy on the planet according to General Tommy Franks) of the PNAC crowd have forever ruined the moniker. The most stupid f**king pundits on the planet FELL for it. History is no more on the Bush-neocons' side than it is on Chavez' side.

Balz Only Half Right About Lieberman Effect

Balz Only Half Right About Lieberman Effect

Dan Balz is only half-right when he says
An upset by Lamont would affect the political calculations of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), who like Lieberman supported giving Bush authority to wage the Iraq war, and could excite interest in a comeback by former vice president Al Gore, who warned in 2002 that the war could be a grave strategic error.
Whether or not Senator Lieberman wins his primary, the interest of Democrats in a candidate other than the ones who remain steadfastly defensive of their own 'pro-Iraq War resolution' vote and of the war itself is already quite obvious. The damage to the Lieberman mindset has already been done - set in concrete - whether or not he is given a slim margin by Connecticut Democrats to run in November. Of course, a primary loss would give this rolling grassroots stone a lot more speed. This was a man who was a popular VP candidate with Democrats in 2000 - and a "loserman" to Republicans. The fact that there's been a near 180-degree turnaround should be lost on no political analyst.

Mr. Balz seems to think that Mr. Gore is the "not-Hillary" candidate to watch.

(Let's make this clear: Calling any candidate "anti-Hillary" is far too extreme and disingenuous, in my opinion. Mrs. Clinton's views are not like night and day to the positions of other Democrats, so let's not get carried away).

Mr. Balz writes:
None, however, may be as attractive to the grass-roots activists as Gore.
Respectfully, as a grassroots activist, I have to disagree - even though I respect Mr. Gore tremendously. The wood-factor still applies to Mr. Gore. He is not a political animal, and admits this readily. His reticence to run in 2004 (when he would have been in the strongest position to win) is a weak point for a 2008 strength-of-position. I can just hear the GOP hounding him - a pre-9/11 leader refusing to run against Bush again in 2004 (even when he'd won the popular vote in 2000). What was his fear back then? I think these are questions that would need solid and convincing answers if Gore is to be running against a guy like Giuliani or McCain.

Mr. Balz shows how some Democratic leaders may be cowed by the GOP mouth machine to back away from the citizens who are looking for reasons to support them. [Getting scared by GOP talking points is to the Democrats' detriment because they're already seen as a party who shies away from their convictions].
Republicans are already seeking to exploit a possible victory by Lamont as a sign that Democrats are moving too far to the left on national security issues. "They want retreat -- under the guise of 'reducing the U.S. footprint in Iraq,' " William Kristol writes in the latest issue of the Weekly Standard.
In reality, Ned Lamont is staunchly pro-Israel and he's looking for a better way to handle Iraq, if we are to believe his public statements. [And I see no reason why we shouldn't]. There's a new breed of Democrat appearing on the scene, and I would hate for political analysts in the mainstream to miss the boat and spread disinformation unbeknownst to them. The new breed are not the cookie-cutter anti-war left of old.

Bush Policy = Middle East Disaster

Bush Policy = Middle East Disaster

President Jimmy Carter: Bush has pursued 'erroneous' Mideast policy
August 6, 2006
USA Today

Carter said the United States should work for an immediate cease-fire between Israel and Hezbollah and the world community should concentrate on a long-term solution, but he is uncertain whether Bush can accomplish a cease-fire. [..] "It depends on whether world opinion is strong enough to get the administration to change its erroneous policy, which has been to encourage the continuation of attacks on both sides," he said..

Carter: Bush Israel's 'worst ally' in D.C.
(same article as above, different title and link)

Beginning of the End for Israel?
Nathan Gardels' interview with Zbigniew Brzezinski
August 1, 2006
Huffington Post

In the final analysis, Iran is a serious country; it's not Iraq. It's going to be there. It's going to be a player. And in the longer historical term, it has all of the preconditions for a constructive internal evolution if you measure it by rates of literacy, access to higher education and the role of women in society. The mullahs are part of the past in Iran, not its future. But change in Iran will come through engagement, not through confrontation. If we pursue these policies, we can perhaps avert the worst. But if we do not, I fear that the region will explode. In the long run, Israel would be in great jeopardy.

Israel’s Actions Harm Iranian Democracy Movement
By Amitabh Pal
August 2 2006

Bombs won't turn Lebanese hearts
By Ted Galen Carpenter
August 1, 2006
Philadelphia Inquirer

Crisis Could Undercut Bush's Long-Term Goals
By Peter Baker
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, July 31, 2006

The Values That Will Shape Our Future
by Tony Blair, PM, UK
Outlook magazine Online (free registration required)

'What is happening today is..a struggle between what I will call Reactionary Islam and Moderate, Mainstream Islam ... We are fighting a war, but not just against terrorism but about how the world should govern itself in the early 21st century, about global values.

'A Moment of Opportunity'
By Dan Froomkin
Special to
Monday, July 31, 2006; 1:42 PM

President Bush's "moment of opportunity" in the Middle East is increasingly looking like an opportunity for disaster.

In case we all forgot, Americans are still dying in Iraq
by Jimmy Breslin
August 6 2006
The strategy for the Middle East is to keep Israel and Hezbollah/Lebanon fighting. Keep all attention on them. If they ever stop, then everybody would look at Americans dying.

Rice Wallows in an Imaginary World
by Jeremy Seabrook, author, UK
Statesman, India
August 6, 2006
..the transcendent quality of their struggle becomes barely distinguishable from that of their foe. The re-making of West Asia is only part of a wider re-fashioning of this world in the invented imagery of the next, in which we must all learn to recognise, like the inhabitants of Beirut, the ruins of the only home we have.

Shirin Ebadi's Human Rights Group Banned in Iran

Shirin Ebadi's Human Rights Group Banned in Iran

Shirin Ebadi's Rights Group Banned
Written by The Media Line Staff

Iran's Interior Ministry banned on Saturday a human rights group headed by Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi, the London-based daily A-Sharq Al-Awsat reports.

The Center for Protecting Human Rights was banned because it had not obtained a permit, the Interior Ministry stated.

"Violators of this decision will be prosecuted," the ministry warned in its statement.

Ebadi, quoting from the Iranian constitution, said that "non-governmental organizations which respect the law and do not disrupt the public order, do not require a permit."

Nevertheless, Ebadi stated that the rights group tried several times to obtain a permit, but the Interior Ministry rejected its request without giving an explanation.

The Center for Protecting Human Rights demanded last Tuesday an independent investigation into the "suspicious" death of Akbar Muhammadi, a student activist who died in prison last Sunday following a hunger strike.

Nathan Gardels' Interview with Nobel-prize winning Shirin Ebadi
New Perspectives Quarterly
May, 2006