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Monthly Archives: September, 2004

Lawmaker expresses "dismay" that White House allegedly wrote Allawi speech

In a letter to the White House, a leading US Senate Democrat expressed “profound dismay” that the White House allegedly wrote a large portion of Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi’s speech to Congress last week.

“I want to express my profound dismay about reports that officials from your administration and your reelection campaign were ‘heavily involved’ in writing parts of Prime Minister Ayad Allawi’s speech,” California Senator Dianne Feinstein wrote in a letter to President George W. Bush

34 Children Killed in Iraq

A boy picks up the damaged bicycle of his dead brother from the site after two car bombs and a roadside bomb went off in succession in the al-Amel neighborhood of Baghdad, Iraq, Thursday, Sept. 30, 2004. At least 41 were killed, most of them children and over 200 were wounded in the attack. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)

Israel Lobbies America (on Behalf of Taiwan)

Israel has been quietly lobbying for the launch of a U.S. project to provide advanced conventional submarines to Taiwan.

The reason: a Taiwan buy could launch a conventional submarine production line in the United States that would be used by Israel to procure additional subs.

“Israel really wants advanced conventional submarines but can’t afford to buy them on the open market,” a U.S. official said. “With a production line in the United States, Israel could purchase these vessels with U.S. military aid.”

Ashcroft’s Trojan Horse

Via email:

Attorney General Ashcroft and the House Republican leadership, taking advantage of the nation’s desire to avoid another 9/11 tragedy, are pushing legislation that provides the Federal government with abusive police powers and methods to invade our privacy. This measure is a cynical attempt to hijack the effort to fix our broken intelligence system and should be voted down.

Here’s a form you can use to contact your representatives.

The ACLU has more.

The Constitution vs. The Flag

One of the widest gulfs between the left and right is the chasm separating science and religion. People like Dubya because he has the faith to reject science. In the broader historical scheme there has been a battle between the Enlightenment and the counter-Enlightenment since the 17th century. While the Enlightenment is generally understood to support reason and liberalism, the counter-Enlightenment has been the standard-bearer of faith and conservatism.

This election reflects the conflict between Enlightenment and counter-Enlightenment with an eerie perfection. Kerry is the advocate for science and evidence. Bush advocates faith and gut-feelings. Regardless of the debates and the debate spin, people are going to vote with their heads or their hearts. The liberals will point to the constitution and say we must obey the rule of law to stay civilized. The conservatives will point to the flag and say we must believe to be saved.

Philip Green addresses this better than I in a recent issue of Logos . The article is called “Neo-Cons and the Counter-Enlightenment.”

So what I want to do to begin is describe this counter-Enlightenment, for that is what it is, with one pregnant addition. It certainly hasn’t replaced classical American liberalism, but it contends for power with it; and now it has welded together its own anti-modernism with a political strategy imported by ex-Trotskyite and ex-Leninist intellectual savants. Together they now look not just to struggle with liberalism but to wipe it out—along with, of course, all variants to the Left of liberalism. This is where my theme of counter-Enlightenment meets the more specific theme of “neo-conservative strategies.”

Voting Republican This Year = Voting for Torture

t’s not enough that Rumsfeld and probably Bush not just tacitly condoned but actively encouraged studies of optimal torture regimes, creating a climate in which undeniable and disgusting torture was used against Iraqi civilians, including children. And at Guantanamo (more). Even they at least had the hypocrisy to attempt to do the Iraq torture planning under wraps. (Hypocrisy being “the tribute vice pays to virtue”.) Meanwhile, at home, being too delicate to torture domestically, the Administration quietly subcontracted the job to Syria. (See my post almost exactly a year ago, Maher Arar Affair: What is the Pluperfect of ‘Cynic’?.)

Comes now a group of Congressional Republicans who are pure vice, and are not even trying to hide it: they have proposed that US law be amended to remove protections against torture — ie to legitimate torture, to plan to torture — for people we label “terrorists” (modern unpersons). The full horrid details are at Obsidian Wings: Legalizing Torture. The key move would be to exclude “terrorists” from the protection of the U.N. Convention Against Torture and Other Forms of Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. The “terrorists” could be held in secret unless they could somehow overcome (without lawyers or witnesses?) a presumption of guilt. When they failed to overcome this impossible burden they could be subject to “extraordinary rendition” which is bureaucrat for “being ported or transferred to a country that may engage in torture”—a deportation that currently would be a serious violation of US law.

Anyone who votes for people capable of supporting these policies has blood on their hands. Not to mention what they are doing to the image of the US as the ‘City on the Hill’, the beacon to mankind. Once we descend into the torture pit, we’re just arguing about circles in Hell.

Bush’s Hometown Paper backs Kerry!

The Lone Star Iconoclast, the newspaper in George Bush’s home town, shook the small settlement of Crawford, Texas, yesterday by turning against its most famous resident and endorsing John Kerry.

The decision has not made W Leon Smith, the Iconoclast’s publisher and editor-in-chief, very popular among Crawford’s 705-strong population, a mainly conservative crowd who hope a second Bush term will invigorate the sleepy local economy.

“We’re getting a lot of emails about it. A lot of hate mail and some saying this was something that needed to be done,” Smith told the Guardian yesterday.

He conceded that the hate mail outweighed the more encouraging messages, but said: “Sometimes you have to do things that aren’t very popular but you know in your gut are the right thing to do.”

link via the Guardian UK.

Flood of New Voters Signing Up

The November 2nd surprise, only not a surprise anymore, and the GOP is responding with more illegal turn-off-the-likely-dem-voters shit. No question, folks, but always good to be reminded:

GOP = Anti-Democracy

GOP = The True Enemy of Freedom–the Freedom to Vote

GOP = Roman Empire 2, Because Vietnam 2 Wasn’t Enough

(Here the spirit of PKD would silently interject, “But the Roman Empire never ended, yo,” . . . )

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